But there’s a side to you
That I never knew, never knew
All the things you’d say
They were never true, never true
And the games you play
You would always win, always win
– Set Fire to the Rain, Adele
Thursday, November 2, 2006
Morgan Penthouse: Master Bedroom
Elizabeth stood in front of the dresser as she fastened a gold chain around her neck. This was the day. If all went well, she could put Ric and his threats behind her. Diane was sure that no other lawyer would go to the trouble of subpoenaing her.
If Ric was disqualified, she could just go back to her life. To her job. To enjoying this dream of having Jason as her husband. They would have to be married for more than a year to ensure the court took their marriage seriously, but maybe, just maybe, she and Jason could just…be married. Could raise Cameron and the new baby together.
Why not? Why couldn’t she have this life where she felt cherished? With a man she knew respected her, valued her, loved her son as much as he would love their new child.
“Because he doesn’t love you,” she murmured.
“Carly picked up Cam.”
Elizabeth twisted to find Jason standing in the doorway. “What?” She blinked. She hoped he hadn’t heard her self-recriminations. She was just in a mood today.
“Carly picked up Cam,” he repeated, stepping over the threshold. “He was pretty excited to go to school with his best friend and his new aunt.”
“Oh. Right. I appreciate Carly stepping in.” Elizabeth closed the top of her small jewelry box. “I’m nearly ready to go—”
“Were you saying something as I came in?” he asked, his eyes concerned. “Is everything okay?”
“They’re fine.” Elizabeth smoothed her hands down her Kelly green skirt. “Just—just nervous. I know we should be fine, but—” She shrugged. “Doesn’t change my anxiety level.”
“Okay.” She could see he didn’t believe her, but he said nothing to challenge it. Thank God. The last thing she needed today was a state of their marriage discussion.
It was perfect as far as she was concerned. Love would only be icing on the cake.
“We should get going.” She moved past him, but he caught her hand, drawing her back to him. “Jason—”
“Elizabeth,” he began, but he hesitated. “Once this part of it is over—” He stopped. “I don’t know. I just—it’ll be better once this is behind us. We can do anything you want. You can go back to work if you want, we can take Cameron somewhere for Thanksgiving—it’ll be better once these charges go away.”
And she believed that—believed that he would dedicate himself to her, to this family. And maybe it would be better, and maybe she would be happy.
But how long could it last? She loved him, she could admit that to herself, had loved him for so long, she could scarcely remember a time she didn’t. But he had moved on so long ago—to other women. He still loved Sam.
Would he hate her one day for trapping him?
“It can’t get worse,” she responded finally with a hesitant smile. “I’m not—it’s fine, Jason. I told you, I’m just nervous. It’ll be okay. We should get going.”
But he looked unconvinced as she pushed past him and left the room.
Promises Rehab: Lucky’s Room
Nikolas stepped over the threshold into his brother’s room, not at all looking forward to the discussion he was sure was going to go badly.
Lucky knew about Elizabeth’s hasty divorce and remarriage—Emily had told him several days earlier. Nikolas had hoped learning the news in rehab would enable him to deal with it in therapy, but he knew his brother.
And how stubborn Spencers could be.
Lucky was sitting in a chair by the window, staring over the grounds with a sullen look on his face. His scowl only deepened when he saw his brother. “If it isn’t Judas.”
Nikolas sighed and closed the door behind him, leaning against it briefly. “I wasn’t aware she was planning to fly to the Dominican Republic and then remarry within twenty-four hours. She wanted to me to witness your signatures. I did that.”
“You convinced me it was the right thing.” Lucky launched out of his chair. “My family is gone now—she took them to Jason. Do you think I’ll get within five feet of my kids now?”
Nikolas did not roll his eyes, though he was tempted. “Your family was gone before that. You got high, you had an affair with your boss’s daughter—and do you remember the last time you saw Elizabeth before you came here?”
Shame filled Lucky’s eyes as he turned away. “That’s right,” Nikolas continued. “It was the night she found the pills and you threw her to the ground. She’s pregnant, Lucky. If you were capable of that merely a few months into this drug habit you’ve developed, what kind of violence might you have unleashed later? She had a right to protect herself and her kids. Even if you recover, you’ll always be in recovery. And she has a right not to deal with that.”
“Fine. So what. That doesn’t mean she should go and marry before our divorce is a day old!” Lucky retorted. “How do I ever go back to my job? My wife married a gangster—”
“Ric’s coming after her,” Nikolas interrupted. “So maybe she went to him for protection.” Though after a week to consider it, Nikolas thought the marriage had been designed for Jason’s protection. Ric wanted Jason and Sonny, not his ex-wife.
And if that were the truth, Nikolas would do whatever was required to keep Elizabeth safe from his aunt’s husband.
“These charges would have gone away. She didn’t do it—”
“These charges would destroy her career, cause her undue stress during her pregnancy, cripple her financially—” Nikolas bowed his head. “You used to think about Elizabeth before you thought about yourself. You and Elizabeth—I could see what love was, what it could be. What I wanted it for myself—”
“That was then,” Lucky said dully. “I died. I never came back enough for her. She’s never loved me again the way she did.” He met his brother’s eyes. “She settled for me. You think I don’t know that now? Jason’s been single since May. How long has she been back in his life? That stupid damn surgery. I can still see her refusing to come home after he got her arrested for the operation. She almost sacrificed her career for him—I thought it was for Patrick, but I was too blind to see it.”
“I see it now. She did it for him. She always did what he needed. Did what was good for him. I was a consolation prize. She doesn’t need me now.”
Nikolas remained quiet. There was nothing he could say to that. Hadn’t he known that for years? He could still remember the sting of realizing Elizabeth preferred Jason to him, that she had moved on from Lucky to someone like him. The anger in her eyes when he challenged her on it then—
Some people were inside of you, and no matter how you tried to move on, you simply couldn’t. How could he argue with that?
“You still have a few weeks before you’re scheduled to be released,” Nikolas said finally. “I hope you use that time to work through this in therapy. You’re welcome to come to Wyndemere.”
“I’m going after my kids. Maybe I won’t get visitation with Cameron, but I want my child. She can’t keep the baby from me.”
“Get better first,” Nikolas suggested as he opened the door.
He had his suspicions about the baby, too.
Port Charles Courthouse: Courtroom B
If Jason so much as glanced to his left at Ric’s smug, smarmy face, his legendary control would splinter. He’d known Ric was an animal, a monster who preyed on the weak, on the vulnerable. He’d suckered Elizabeth and Carly, Sonny and Alexis. Had somehow maneuvered himself into a position of authority.
“Ms. Miller.” The judge leaned back in his chair. “You’ve filed a motion to disqualify the district attorney’s office from prosecuting any cases in which Elizabeth Morgan or her husband are involved. I’m curious—which charges are we speaking of? Hypothetical or—”
“Your Honor.” Diane rose, a pen in her hand. “My client, Elizabeth Morgan, worked as a surgical nurse at General Hospital until this last month. Ric Lansing’s office in conjunction with the police department reported to the hospital board that she was under investigation for theft of narcotics from the hospital with an intent to distribute.” She reached for a piece of paper. “I have an affidavit from Head Nurse Epiphany Johnson stating that Mrs. Morgan was informed charges would be filed shortly.”
“I cannot be disqualified from a case that hasn’t been filed yet,” Ric said smoothly. “This motion, Your Honor, is premature, but moreover, baseless as my brief indicates.”
Diane arched a brow. “Mrs. Morgan was suspended from her job without pay. In her own affidavit, she states that she was informed that charges were imminent. How long should we allow a conflict of interest to continue? Your Honor, DA Lansing chose to be involved personally with this case. If this were to go to court, we would probably discover he pushed the department to investigate—”
“Hardly unusual, Your Honor,” Ric cut in. “The police department was avoiding looking into drug addiction in their own squad. The district attorney is concerned that if we did not discover the source of Lucas Spencer’s drug addiction—his dealer, so to speak—then, it might compromise further cases.”
“But the district attorney chose to focus on his ex-wife.” Diane shot Ric a scathing glance. “I do not have to prove an actual conflict of interest. The appearance is enough to challenge on appeal, if it were to get that far.”
“Mr. Lansing.” The judge leaned forward. “I’ve considered your brief. You don’t consider your previous marriage to be a factor due to its nature. You married due to a pregnancy that did not come to term, and separated due to the miscarriage.”
“That’s right, Your Honor,” Ric said smoothly. “My ex-wife, understandably, had a difficult time with the loss of our child. While we were separated, she became pregnant again by someone else. We made another attempt to salvage the marriage, but there didn’t seem to be a reason to. It was nearly three years ago. Mrs. Morgan,” he said, stressing the name, “has been married twice since, pregnant three times as well. I, myself, have remarried. We have an amicable relationship.”
“Hmm…” The judge looked to Diane. “Ms. Miller, the brief you filed is four times as long as the district attorney’s. You make…quite a few accusations.”
“And I can back them up.” Diane stood, a sheaf of papers in her hand. “Contrary to the rosy picture the DA is painting, their divorce was anything but amicable. I have a copy of a deposition Mrs. Morgan gave at the time to her lawyer, Alexis Davis, whom the DA later married. In it, Mrs. Morgan states the same reasons she states today, so this is not something that she has conjured up to preclude any case against her.”
“Yes, I’ve considered the deposition. Mrs. Morgan accused her husband of giving her birth control pills surreptitiously in her food and beverages, causing a life-threatening illness. Carly Corinthos has also filed an affidavit stating she was being held against her will and saw the DA committing the crime. That’s, again, quite the accusation—”
“And slanderous, I might add,” Ric cut in. “There’s no evidence—”
“The charges were dropped because the complaining witness was unavailable,” Diane said. “Mrs. Morgan’s police statement is on the record. But don’t take Carly Corinthos’ word for it.” Diane reached into her bag and pulled out more paper.
“Dr. Monica Quartermaine operated on Mrs. Morgan. She states it was a pulmonary embolism requiring emergency surgery. Dr. Robin Scorpio, head of pathology at General Hospital, will testify that the results indicate that Mrs. Morgan’s embolism was caused by an overdose of estrogen. Dr. Kelly Lee is Mrs. Morgan’s obstetrician and will state Mrs. Morgan was not prescribed birth control pills at that point due to her recent pregnancy and miscarriage. In fact, I have Mrs. Morgan’s entire gynecological history. She took birth controls pills between July and November of 2002, then again from February to April 2003.”
Diane held up another affidavit. “I have statements from several well-respected pulmonologists stating that the type of embolism Mrs. Morgan experienced was due to high levels of estrogen, not from long-term use or a hormonal imbalance—”
The judge held up his hand. “I get the point, Ms. Miller. Is there a reason your client did not press charges?”
“She wanted her divorce. She leveraged that very fact to force the divorce through.” Diane held up yet another sheaf of papers. “The divorce decree states that Ric Lansing will drop his opposition to the divorce if Mrs. Morgan agrees not to seek criminal charges.”
“Your Honor, she was upset at the time. Again, the loss of our child—” Ric began.
“This divorce decree, these depositions….” The judge leaned back. “The argument you’ve made to the court, Mr. Lansing, is that you and your ex-wife are almost friendly, that you attended her wedding last year—”
“And became drunk and disorderly, announcing to the world you had had an affair with your brother’s lover,” Diane supplied with a sweet smile. “DA Lansing is married to our beloved former DA Alexis Davis, who is aunt to one of Mrs. Morgan’s oldest and closest friends. The invitation was for her and a guest. He was not personally invited.”
“At the very least, Mr. Lansing,” the judge said when Ric tried to speak again, “your relationship with Mrs. Morgan is anything but amicable. I’ve seen the so-called evidence that you propose to utilize against Mrs. Morgan. It would not pass a preliminary hearing, but your office was intending to go forward with it. Therefore, I not only disqualify you, but your entire office from pursuing any charges against Mrs. Morgan or anyone in her immediate family.”
Elizabeth closed her eyes, felt Jason squeeze her hand. They had won. This was going to be over—
“Your Honor, you cannot tie my hands when it comes to pursuit of justice. Elizabeth Morgan is married to Jason Morgan. This office has the right to pursue charges against him—”
The judge held up his hand again. “A special prosecutor, independent of the office, must be appointed on any cases concerning Elizabeth and Jason Morgan or Sonny Corinthos, seeing as how he is your brother after all.”
“You’re free to appeal, Mr. Lansing, but you’ll lose.” The judge rapped his gavel, closing the session.
Ric waited until the judge had left the bench before storming to Diane’s table as she calmly gathered her notes. “You think you’ve won?”
“Walk away, Ric.” Jason leaned over the table. “You’ve lost. You over played your hand. Walk away.”
“I warned you, Elizabeth.” Ric stabbed his index finger at her. “I warned you. I tried to save you from throwing yourself on a sinking ship. You should have taken the chance—”
“Why, DA Lansing, is that a threat?” Diane drawled. “Just try me. I’ll have your office hauled up on charges of harassment so fast, your head will spin before the mayor cuts it off—”
“It’s not a threat,” Ric snarled. “It’s a promise. You made your choice, Elizabeth. You’ll go down with him.” He glared at Sonny who had remained quiet.
“Diane, about that special prosecutor—” he said finally after his half-brother had stormed out of the court room.
“I can’t promise they won’t appoint someone who will go after the two of you,” Diane said to Jason and Sonny. “But no special prosecutor is going to try to tangle with marital privilege. Not if they want to keep the job. So Elizabeth is off the table. And if she can’t be used as leverage, there’s really very little point to going after her for these scurrilous drug charges.”
“Thank you, Diane.” Elizabeth hesitated. “I didn’t think of all the medical evidence—and you did so much with only a few days warning.” She flashed a hesitant smile. “I wish you could have been here to help me then. Alexis told me I couldn’t file charges on hearsay—”
“Well, my dear, I am the better lawyer.” Diane gathered her bag, patting Elizabeth on the arm. “I would have raked him over the coals, and if a criminal case hadn’t gone forward, we would have shredded him in civil court.”
She turned back to her primary clients. “I’ll be in touch if I hear any gossip about a special prosecutor, but for now, I think we can relax. This particular storm has been averted.”
Sonny followed Diane out of the room, but Elizabeth lingered for a moment, staring at the judge’s bench. Jason leaned against the table where they had sat during the hearing. “He can’t hurt you now, Elizabeth.”
“Not legally,” she murmured. “But I would never count Ric out. The judge—you think he believed me?”
Jason was quiet for a moment. “I think the fact that you’re telling the same story today that you told three years ago helps. That Ric agreed to a quick divorce to forestall any further damage to his reputation…it weighs heavily on your credibility.” He paused. “Did—did you want to file something now?”
“No.” She sighed. “No. I don’t want to put Carly through it. I’m past it. If Ric stays out of my way, I’ll stay out of his. But maybe it’s enough that he knows I could if I wanted to.” She looked at him. “Do you think it’s really over?”
“This part of it,” Jason replied. “But Diane will keep her ear out.” He held out his hand, waited for her to take it. “Let’s go home.”