I shot for the sky
I’m stuck on the ground
So why do I try, I know I’m gonna fall down
I thought I could fly, so why did I drown?
Never know why it’s coming down, down, down
– Down, Jason Walker
Friday, October 27, 2006
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Jason had just set his cell phone on the coffee table when Elizabeth descended the stairs later that night. He glanced up at the sound of her soft footsteps. “Hey. Cam asleep?”
“Finally.” She offered a tired smile as she joined him on the sofa, curling up against him. They had had what amounted to an almost perfect family afternoon—after picking Cameron up at school, they had taken him to Wyndhams where Jason bought him the promised race track set (and one or two extra things Cam just couldn’t live without). After dinner, the three of them had set the new toys up in Cam’s room where he played until Elizabeth put him to bed.
“Three stories before he finally fell asleep, but he was still looking at those cars.” She closed her eyes, exhausted by the day. From the newspaper article to the confrontations with Emily, Carly, and Sam—
To learning she and Jason were having a child together.
“Sonny called,” Jason said after a long moment. “His source in the DA’s office got in touch.”
Elizabeth lifted her head from his shoulder and frowned. “What? Why? I thought—”
“Ric’s going ahead with the paperwork to convene the grand jury,” Jason told her. “But it’s possibly just because he doesn’t expect to lose on Thursday at the hearing.” He took her hand in his. “But just in case…”
She straightened, twisting to look at him more directly. “But—”
“Just in case,” Jason repeated, “Sonny and Diane want to meet on Monday. Diane wants to talk to you more about your relationship with Ric. She’s worried that he might harp on the short time you two were together—it was a more than a year between meeting him and the final divorce.”
Elizabeth sighed and tilted her head back. “So I’m going to have to tell some judge all the nasty reasons I divorced Ric the first time, make some cogent argument for why I ever went back, and then explain why I left him again.”
“Yeah.” Jason hesitated. “And Diane wants to talk about some…things Ric might ask about if he gets you in the grand jury.” She snapped her head back to look at him, but his eyes were trained on their joined hands. “If the hearing doesn’t work, Elizabeth, I can’t—you’ll have to testify. I can’t send you out of the jurisdiction. Not now.”
“Because you’ll be seen as an accomplice.” She pressed her lips together. “Yeah. I figured. We’ll—” She took a deep breath. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, okay? Let’s just…work with the idea that Ric was an awful husband who can’t be trusted to prosecute his ex-wife.”
“Okay.” After a long moment, Jason spoke again. “Emily’s called me all day, but I didn’t—I haven’t taken her calls. Do—do I want to?”
Elizabeth frowned. “Why didn’t you talk to her?” she asked curiously. “She’s your sister—”
“I listened to one or two of her voicemails,” Jason said. “Which led me to believe that she’s pretty angry at you. What’s going on?”
“Oh…” Elizabeth leaned back against the sofa. “She kept telling me to stick with Lucky, to give the rehab a chance. Apparently, me divorcing him and marrying you is going to be really hard on Lucky.” She chewed on her bottom lip. “Ah. She thinks we were having an affair this summer.”
“I had a feeling.” Jason shifted again. “She asked me a few weeks ago if—if I gave you money for Cam to go to school.”
“What?” Elizabeth demanded. “How—” She huffed. “Honestly. She could have just asked me. Cameron Lewis—Zander’s father—he knew I was having his grandson. I didn’t—I was scared of having Zander in my life, in Cam’s life, because he was just—he was spiraling out of control…” She sighed. “But Cameron was a good man, and I knew he’d be kind to his grandson. He’d lost his wife and was alone in the world. So he left money to Cam in a trust to be used for his education.”
“Emily didn’t know about the trust?”
“I guess not.” Elizabeth shrugged. “I found out after I had him and by then, Emily was dealing with Nikolas and Mary Bishop. I guess it never came up.” She shook her head again. “But of course she’d think I’d go to you to put my son in a private pre-school. Why not? That’s the kind of person she thinks I am.”
“I’m sorry,” Jason began.
“I’m not,” Elizabeth interrupted. “Because now I know who my friends were. Lainey and Kelly called and left messages. They congratulated me for trading up. Robin stood by me every inch of the way. Patrick loaned his prize possession to my son—”
“Why are race cars—”
“Sonny arranged for my divorce and planned the most beautiful wedding,” Elizabeth continued. “And Carly duct taped your ex-girlfriend’s mouth shut. I know who I can count on, Jason. And it’s not going to be Emily. I’m just glad I know it for sure now.” She hesitated. “I’m sorry if it creates difficulties for you, I know how close you guys—well I mean, I know you guys have been working on things,” she murmured, remembering the distance over the last few months after Emily’s relationship with Sonny came out. “But I can’t pretend anymore her priority isn’t Lucky.”
“Okay,” Jason said simply. “I’ll give her some more time to cool down. She’s the least of our problems.”
Which now included baring her soul for Diane Miller to use in court. Fantastic.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Miller & Associates: Diane’s Office
Elizabeth settled in a seat at a conference table, Jason at her side, Sonny across from them and Diane at the head of the table.
She knew that the next few hours were likely to be difficult. She would have to talk about her marriage to Ric in excruciating detail. It was true that Jason and Sonny knew the big moments, but there was so much they didn’t know.
So much she had hoped to take to her grave. But her desire for privacy was outweighed by the need to keep Ric away from her, from her family.
“So, Elizabeth, I wanted to say ahead of time that I’m aware this is going to be a bit rough,” Diane said. She drew out a tape recorder and set it in front of her. “I don’t want to miss any details, and I want to be free to pay attention to you, so I intend to tape this session. Do you have any objections?”
“Do you promise to destroy it after the hearing?” Elizabeth asked softly. “And is it possible to have the records sealed? I can…I can live with the three of you knowing what happened, but I don’t want any spoken record to ever leak out—”
“I’ll file a motion.” Diane gestured towards Sonny. “Sonny is present due to the possibility of a grand jury testimony—”
“But I can step out for this first part.” Sonny leaned forward. “I want you to be comfortable—”
“I trust you, Sonny.” Elizabeth looked to him, then to Jason. “I trust you both, I’m just—you’re not going to like a lot of what I’m going to say. I’m not proud of some of my choices, but I’ve learned to live with them.”
“I’ll do whatever you need.” Jason drew her hand into his, his thumb smoothing over her wedding rings.
“Ric delivered a brief in response to my motion to disqualify. He states that the marriage between the two of you lasted less than a year and ended amicably.” Diane slid the papers across to Elizabeth. “You were pregnant with another man’s child at the dissolution of the second marriage, and he agreed to generous alimony.”
Her stomach pitched as she skimmed Ric’s brief statement. “He makes this sound like I had an affair, that he tried to forgive—” Elizabeth blinked. “This is…this is such a lie, Diane. Every word of this.”
“He’s banking on you not wanting to say some of the worse details,” Sonny mused. “It’s been three years since you two were married. Not long in the grand scheme of things, but a lifetime considering where the two of you are today.”
“He says I was never the same after we lost—” Her voice broke. “God. He always comes back to that miscarriage. He blames it for every wrong thing he’s ever done, as if we’d still be together if I had had that child—”
Diane gestured for Jason to fill a glass of water. “Elizabeth, now that we know his position, I need yours. Go back to the first ceremony. Your decision to marry him.”
Elizabeth took a sip of water. “We weren’t dating anymore when I found out I was pregnant. He’d lied to me and done some horrible things to people I—” She hesitated. “To people I knew. To people who mattered to me in some ways. I couldn’t—I couldn’t deal with it. So I walked out.” She hesitated. “But when I found out I was pregnant…”
She closed her eyes, pressing her hand to the slight swelling of her child. “I always thought about having children one day, but it was abstract, you know? The way girls dream about getting married without knowing who will be at the end of the aisle. But that baby—” She looked at Sonny. “Carly talked me out of an abortion. Sometimes I wish I had never seen her that day.”
She turned to Diane, whose face remained stoic. “I was pregnant, I was working as a waitress and living in a studio apartment without a bathroom, without reliable air conditioning or heating. My grandmother and I were at odds over—well, a lot of things. We usually were. I was scared. And so I told Ric. He made it sound like this could be a fresh start. He wanted to move past his hatred for Sonny, and I wanted to believe him because I didn’t have anywhere else to turn—”
Elizabeth stopped and took a deep breath. “So I married him. I knew he had done horrible things, but I—” She looked to Jason, then to Sonny. “I had some experience caring for people who were good men, but did things I didn’t necessarily agree with. That’s how I rationalized it. We all do horrible things, but maybe he could be different.”
“Elizabeth,” Diane murmured, “you don’t have to rationalize the decision to go forward—”
“I do. Because I did that to myself and I can’t always understand why.” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “It might have been okay, we’ll never know. Because I had the miscarriage, and I’m not—I don’t know how Ric dealt with it at first. I was—I was in shock. I was devastated. I’d had this little life inside me for a brief shining moment, and then it was gone—”
Her breath caught. “I’ve had another miscarriage since and it—it just stays with you. I couldn’t get out of bed for a few days. When I could finally face the world, Ric talked about Sonny. How it was your fault—he was convinced you had pushed me that night, but I never could believe that. However we felt about each other that night, Sonny, you were my friend. And I was yours.”
“I always wondered…” Sonny hesitated. “If you were pushed by someone else. You weren’t the type to fall. You were there because you were having a child. Because Carly was having a child. You wanted peace. You wanted safety. I understood that, Elizabeth. So I wondered why you would have rushed down stone steps.”
“We moved about two weeks after,” Elizabeth continued, because she couldn’t dwell on Sonny’s words, couldn’t think about it too closely. “I look back now and I think maybe I was just…tired. Worn out. It had been a long year already—so much had happened, and I just didn’t want to deal with the world. So when Ric told me he’d found a house with a nice yard—when he told me he was going to open a law office and we were going to have a good life, I thought…why not. He said he loved me.”
“You never saw the house before you moved in,” Diane said.
“No. I didn’t know there had been a breakfast nook there once—where Ric had a panic room filled in.” Elizabeth sighed and leaned back in her chair. “We were okay at first, but then Carly went missing. Jason and Sonny were convinced Ric had something to do with it. I couldn’t understand why—he was home so often. When would he have been able—”
She closed her eyes. “The period with the panic room is where most of the damaging information will come in handy, I think. You, ah, might need Carly to verify it. There were…monitors so Ric could make sure the coast was clear before leaving. She…she told me a lot of it when I was leaving for Napa Valley that last time. I think she had tried to put it behind her, but I don’t know…” She lifted a shoulder. “There’s…you know the basics. He was never prosecuted for kidnapping her, which is just—I can’t believe he’s the DA.” She pressed a hand to her eyes. “I had a pulmonary embolism the day I found her. I passed out before I could tell anyone and Ric and Lorenzo Alcazar moved her.”
Diane frowned. “About the panic room—”
“I’m getting to that.” Elizabeth twisted her hands in her lap. “The embolism—it was odd, according to my doctors. I didn’t have any of the usual risk factors, but my estrogen levels were high. They told me I couldn’t use birth control pills anymore, that it was likely I had messed up my dosage or something. I wasn’t—I wasn’t on them. Not then. I—didn’t even take birth control until….” She took a deep breath, her cheeks flaming.
“Elizabeth, take your time,” Diane said. “I can have Jason or Sonny—”
“No, it’s—it’s fine. They know—” She raised her eyes. “I was raped when I was fifteen and you know, I hadn’t—I was a virgin. So I wasn’t sexually active. Lucky and I—once or twice, shortly before I called off the wedding. He—he took care of the protection. So I didn’t use birth control pills on a regular basis. Not until…I was in the hospital after I was kidnapped last summer.” She glanced at Jason who was looking at her. “And I just—I thought it would be a good time to start. So I had them for a few months, then stopped. Then another few months.”
She cleared her throat and avoided Sonny’s eyes as he stared at the ceiling. “I’m saying that because I read into it after I started nursing school. I didn’t have the right kind of build up for embolism based on long-term usage. I would either have developed it right away if the hormone levels were wrong, or I would have required birth control for more than three years. I want you to know all of that, because Ric is going to claim I’m lying when I tell you what caused my embolism.”
Sonny swore. “That son of a bitch—” He sat up. “I just thought he was slipping the pills—“
“Are you telling me—” Jason straightened, twisted in his chair.
“I can’t prove it with the medical evidence, but Carly told me she saw him slipping me pills.” Her eyes burned, but she struggled to continue. “He used to put them in the hot chocolate I drank in the morning. And sometimes, if I didn’t finish it, he would put them in a glass of water—she saw him slipping me three pills one day because he wasn’t sure I had ingested them.”
She looked at Jason whose face was expressionless while his knuckles were white where his hands were wrapped around the arm rests. “I swear that I didn’t know when I agreed to marry him again. Carly—Carly can tell you that I was upset, that I called her a liar—until she told me that Ric sat by while I was poisoned.”
“Poisoned?” Diane blinked. “How the hell is this man in charge of a patch of grass? He—”
“Faith poisoned a pitcher of lemonade, Carly saw her do it. And she told Ric. She warned him, but he couldn’t stop me. Not unless he wanted me to see him come out of the panic room.” She closed her eyes. “It would have ruined his plan. So he waited until I passed out to take me to the hospital.”
“You did know about the panic room when you married him again in December,” Diane said with a slight hesitation.
“Pregnant again,” Elizabeth sighed. “And I had alienated pretty much everyone I knew by that point. I was still recovering my eyesight after a car accident that fall, and Ric—he’s good at making you believe in him. He said he would get counseling, that he just—he blamed Sonny and Carly and he wanted revenge. He said that losing the baby had broken him, and I believed him, because it broke me. It had to have, because what else could explain what he had done?”
Her cheeks were hot as tears slid down them. Jason pressed a tissue into her hands. “We’re done,” he told Diane. “You have enough—”
“No, no. I have to do this. I have to make sure we’re safe from him.” Elizabeth wiped her eyes. “I married him because I was scared and alone. I was pregnant. And I blamed myself for Carly. He couldn’t have gotten away with it if I hadn’t been so blind. So maybe if we had a child together, if he could open himself up to my child, it could be okay. I still saw the good in him. I thought—he has a good heart and I can fix him. I can, if I just try hard enough—but I couldn’t. I never trusted him again. He framed Nikolas for murder, he manipulated Zander right to his death…but worst of all—” She choked. “He didn’t love the baby. My sweet little Cameron. He didn’t give a damn about him. He was doing it to prove he was better than Sonny.
“So I left him,” she said simply. “It was one thing to torture myself with a bad marriage, but now I knew my child would never be a priority. He would never look at Cameron and see his own. He’d always be my bastard child. So I walked away. And I filed for divorce when Carly told me about the pills, about the lemonade.”
“That’s enough,” Sonny said softly. “There’s no way a judge is going to let Ric prosecute her for anything. Carly will get on the stand and demolish him. She’s an eyewitness. There’s no statute of limitations on kidnapping, on attempted murder.”
“I’m inclined to agree that this should be enough, but I suppose…” Diane tapped her pen against the pad of legal paper where she had scribbled notes. “Just for form, we should discuss any information Ric might have gleaned from you regarding Jason and Sonny.”
“Nothing,” Elizabeth said firmly. “I never knew anything really important, and even if I did, I would never—”
“Let’s just—take it slow. Did Ric ask you questions about Jason and Sonny? Did you discuss them in any fashion?” Diane asked.
“In passing,” Elizabeth admitted. “You know, the way you might talk about friends and people you know. He was trying to work for Sonny, he asked if I knew him. I said yes, everyone did. Sonny and I had been friendly for years at that point, but I don’t know…” She blinked at Sonny. “We hadn’t been particularly close for months at that point.”
“And Jason?” Diane asked. “Did he come up?”
“In passing,” Elizabeth stressed. “As someone I had been involved with briefly. I don’t recall him asking for more information, I can’t imagine what I might have told him.” She sighed and shifted a bit. “I think maybe he tried more for Jason at the time—it’s probably why he sought me out at all. Hoping for a scorned ex or something. It didn’t work. Whatever I know about Jason and Sonny is separate from the rest of that.”
“Are you sure?” Sonny pressed, leaning forward. “You have to think about this. Ric’s a con man. If he gets past the hearing on Thursday, we need to be ready—”
“I am thinking,” Elizabeth retorted. “I didn’t want to talk about Jason or you then. Remember? I was pretty goddamn pissed off and trying to put it all out of my head.”
“Elizabeth, we’re not trying to accuse you,” Jason broke in quietly. She twisted to stare at him. “It might have been an accident—”
“And you were pissed at us,” Sonny repeated. “We were in your face that summer about Carly. You pulled a gun on Jason—”
“Are you two serious right now?” Elizabeth shoved back from the table and got to her feet. “What would I have told him that was so goddamn crucial? I didn’t know anything, Sonny. That was the whole damn reason we were in that mess at all—”
“Oh, it’s back to me keeping you out of the plan again.” Sonny also stood. “You were demanding I leave Ric alone. You were protecting him while my wife was in a locked room—”
“Sonny—” Jason stood, holding up a hand. “That’s enough.”
“I didn’t know she was there!” Elizabeth snapped. “I turned him in the second I was conscious enough. You want to blame me for being in this mess? How about you? You didn’t take care of this—you let him into your goddamn business. Anything he knows probably came from you—if you had just taken him out when he kidnapped your wife like a normal criminal—”
“Oh, for Christ’s sake—” Diane groaned. “It didn’t hear that.”
“You didn’t give a damn about me then, Sonny,” Elizabeth snarled. “I was a means to an end. You didn’t think about what it would mean that I was married to a man who drugged me, who watched me drink poison—you knew all of this before I married him again. You knew I didn’t know the worst of it and you let me walk into it blind—literally,” she finished, venom dripping from her. “You and Jason covered for Courtney while I was sitting blind in a hospital room. I’m supposed to apologize for doing the best I could?”
Sonny took a deep breath and dropped it into his seat. “You—you’re right. I’m sorry.”
“Elizabeth—” She turned at Jason’s stricken voice.
“I’m not mad about the accident,” Elizabeth told Jason. “You did what you had to do, and Courtney had a problem. I got it. I don’t know, maybe I was able to let it go because I recovered. I can’t answer that. It’s not important.”
“It is,” Jason insisted. “Let me—”
She turned to Diane. “You want to know what I know? I know that Jason was shot for some reason in December 1999, right around the time Anthony Moreno was killed in a shootout. I know that I lied to everyone in my life to keep the police from finding out. I know that I had a bomb in my studio, but the police knew that as well. I didn’t tell them that Sorel planted it or that he admitted it.”
She hesitated. “I know Jason had something to do with that guy Roscoe being killed because I was kidnapped five seconds later. I know Jason is the one who shoved Manny Ruiz off the hospital building, not Lucky. Those are the things I know for sure. And I never repeated them to anyone except for right here in this room.”
Jason just stared at her. “Elizabeth—”
“The only person who knows that we weren’t sleeping together that December is Lucky, and if he tries to make something of it, I’ll tell everyone I lied to him to spare his feelings because I thought he was supposed to be dead,” Elizabeth cut in. “It’s close enough to the truth.”
“Ah, well…” Diane capped her pen and switched off the recorder. “I really don’t think we’re going to get that far. Though, in the future, I’d rather not know if you plan to tell a specific lie under oath.”
“Fair enough.” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “Sonny, it’s all fine. It’s over with. It was a long time ago, and I’ve put it behind me. He’s a lousy human being who’s just trying to terrorize us. “
“I was a selfish bastard then.” Sonny pressed a hand to his chest. “I’m not much better now, but I wish to hell I had told you what I knew then—”
“You were going through a lot with Carly and Alcazar. I made my choices. I have to live with them.” She looked to Diane. “Can we go? Is that enough?”
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Jason said nothing as they stepped out of the office and until Sonny’s limo dropped them off at the Harborview parking garage. He was silent as Cody rode the elevator with them before opening the penthouse door.
“Let’s—let’s go upstairs to talk.” Jason cast an eye towards the door, remembering as she had a few days earlier that his home was often Grand Central station and telling Cody to prevent visitors was asking someone to hold back a hurricane often enough.
“Fine.” She looked tired as she trudged up the stairs towards their room.
He closed the door behind them. “I’m sorry that Sonny—”
“Sonny and I never talked about that summer when Carly was missing,” Elizabeth interrupted. She wrapped her arms around her torso and looked to ceiling. “I’m not surprised he had some residual anger left over. He’s not wrong to be annoyed with me for being so blind. But he knows better than anyone how Ric can play a person. He actually let Ric work for him.”
“Yeah…well…” Jason let that go, because explaining that was beyond him. “Elizabeth—”
“And I’m sure he’s held back all these years because he knew what Carly knew.” Elizabeth tilted her head back. “It’s fine—”
“It’s not,” Jason told her. “Because I want to make sure you believe me when I tell you I know you didn’t tell Ric anything. I didn’t think you did, but—”
“You wanted to make sure.” She sat on the edge of the bed. “Jason, we have to get Ric disqualified. Because if he starts fishing with the basics, there’s no telling. He knows about Manny Ruiz. He has to. I saw the autopsy report—Manny had no gunshot wounds. Alexis declined to prosecute. But Ric might try to. He can’t work on cases that involve you or me—”
“I’m not worried about me—”
“I am. I told you—I will not be the reason you go to jail.” She closed her eyes, her face pale, her mouth set in a thin line. “After Thursday, this might be over and I can get Diane on getting my job back. Can we just stop talking about this—”
“Fine.” Jason let the subject drop, but he wouldn’t forget the way she’d looked in Diane’s office, hesitantly describing the nightmarish things Ric had done to her. He had nearly killed her with pills, had allowed her to drink poison—
Someday, somehow, he was going to wipe Ric from this Earth and he didn’t care what Sonny said about it.