Please don’t shout
I stopped listening
I’m not listening
No, I’m not listening
Can’t you hear me?
I’m not listening
– Please Don’t Shout, Billie Myers
Monday, December 4, 2006
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Elizabeth pursed her lips and studied her husband before looking back down at the child-sized motor bike he had had delivered that morning. “Jason. Where are we going to hide this until Christmas?”
Jason opened his mouth, then frowned. “I—I didn’t think that part through, I guess. I just…I saw Cam’s eyes when he saw the stupid convertible Morgan has and I thought he’d want one—”
A smile tugged at Elizabeth’s lips as she knelt and picked up another box, this one much lighter. “And this one?”
“A helmet. He might—” Jason scowled at her, but his eyes were amused. “You’re laughing at me.”
“No, no. I wouldn’t dream of it.” The generosity of his gestures—the way he had fallen in love with her son and his penchant for anything fast or on wheels—if Elizabeth wasn’t already head over heels, this would have done it. “Do you think one of the guys would take it to Sonny’s? I’m sure he’d hide it for us.”
“Yeah, I’ll call Nico.” Jason passed her as he headed for the desk. “Have you thought about what we talked about on Thanksgiving?”
“The island?” Elizabeth asked. She bit her lip. “I like the idea, don’t get me wrong, and Cam would love to have Christmas on the island with Carly, Jax, and the boys. I’d also pay good money to see Sonny and Jax celebrating together.”
“But?” Jason prompted, picking up the receiver.
“But,” Elizabeth continued, “Cam has his Christmas traditions, too, and he’s been asking about Gram. He hasn’t seen her since we got married, and I know—that’s her fault, not ours. But we go to the hospital party, and Gram comes over during the day. We drink egg nog, and he falls asleep in her lap.” Elizabeth set the box down, twisting her fingers together. “I guess if I say let’s change it, let’s go away for the holidays—it’s admitting that Cam doesn’t have that anymore.”
“I guess.” Jason left a message for the guard to make the pickup and turned to her. “Did you want to call Audrey? Ask her?”
“I was thinking about it,” Elizabeth admitted. “I don’t know. I mean, we should go. Cam loves the beach. It’s warm. It makes sense to go.” She leaned against the arm of the sofa. “Robin, Lainey, Kelly, and I are having lunch before the holidays because Lainey’s going home to Buffalo, and Kelly’s flying to Key West for a few days.”
“Then I should call Carly?” Jason asked, frowning in confusion.
“Can we just…hold off a few days in making a decision?” she asked. “We’ll probably go. I just want to be sure—”
“Of course.” He took her hand, drew her closer to brush his mouth against hers. She fisted her other hand in his shirt, and he contemplated taking another hour this morning to go upstairs.
Then Cody knocked.
Jason pulled away and turned to the door. “Yeah, Cody? You can open it.”
“Ms. Miller’s here.”
Cody pushed the door all the way open to admit the redhead who breezed past the guard with an apprehensive smile. “Jason, Elizabeth. Sonny said you were home this morning.” With a cheerful tone that sounded flat, even false, Diane continued, “Marriage must be agreeing with you. You always seem to be here when I call.”
“Diane.” Jason moved away from Elizabeth, reaching for his coffee on the desk. “What brings you by?”
“Ah, well, my visit is twofold really.” Diane set her bag on the desk and drew out some paperwork. “Elizabeth, your ex has hired a lawyer—or his brother has. He wants to settle custody.”
“Custody?” Elizabeth blinked. “I thought—” She flushed. “When the Herald printed that article a few weeks ago—”
“Ah, the one that gleefully announced your pregnancy and speculated as to paternity?” Diane pursed her lips. “Yes, I rather thought he’d get the message myself. Your divorce papers stated custody would be determined later, so…Lucky’s attempting to determine it.”
“He can’t have Cameron,” Jason said. “He never adopted him. There’s no standing.”
Elizabeth blinked at Jason’s abrupt dismissal, but directed her attention back to Diane. “What should we do?”
“Well, a copy of the paternity test will do for this unborn child, but Cameron may be a bit trickier.” Diane slid on her reading glasses. “The lawyer acknowledges that while Lucky did not formally adopt Cameron, he has acted as his father since the child was roughly ten months old. Cameron considers him a father?”
“I suppose, but—” Elizabeth cleared her throat. “Diane—”
“And as there is no biological father or anyone else with a legal claim, there’s a case here. Lucky has shared in the raising, he’d like to continue.” Diane handed Elizabeth a copy. “I’m not saying he’ll win. I’m just saying he’s not without precedent.”
Elizabeth scowled. “He’s just doing this because he’s angry with me. The police found drugs in the apartment. He has an addiction—when did he get out of rehab?”
“Last week, apparently. He’s staying with his brother and he’s been encouraged to keep his distance from you.”
“What’s our next move?” Jason took the paperwork from Elizabeth to look it over. “The paternity test, but what about Cameron?”
“Oh, well, we’re going to have a court date set by the court. Probably after Christmas.” Diane drew off her glasses. “You did hear that part about anyone else with a legal claim, yes? I’d look into finding someone with a legal claim.”
Elizabeth frowned at her, but the redhead steamed ahead. “Now, as to the other purpose for this visit—the mayor has appointed a special prosecutor vis á vis you and Sonny,” she told Jason. “He’s tapped Scott Baldwin.”
“Baldwin? He was run out of town in disgrace.” Jason’s scowl only deepened. “What the hell?”
“Well, none of the DAs since Ric—Durant and Alexis to be exact—filed charges. Scott’s record is clean, and he’s the only one who’s a glutton for punishment, I suppose.” Diane pursed her lips. “Elizabeth, this is a good thing for you. Ric despised Jason. Scott’s target is Sonny. You’re probably not a blip on his radar at the moment.”
“Somehow, that doesn’t feel all that comforting,” Elizabeth replied, “but if you feel good about it, that’s fine.”
“Well, that might be too strong,” Diane admitted. “I can’t promise he won’t turn his eyes on you, but as he lacks the personal connection, he might see what the rest of us do—these charges are insane. I’ll have more of a feel for him once he’s been on the job a bit longer.”
She made her goodbyes and exited, leaving her clients somewhat speechless.
“I can’t believe that bastard is coming after Cameron,” Jason muttered, looking over the paperwork again. “What did Diane mean about legal claim?”
Elizabeth sighed and pulled the paperwork from his hands. “She means you. You’re his stepfather at the moment.” She hesitated. “And I think she’s hinting we should talk about a more permanent legal claim regarding Cameron.”
“Adoption?” Jason asked, surprised. He blinked. “Are—are you sure that’s what she meant?”
“I guess it’s something we’ll have to talk about.” Elizabeth glanced at her watch. “I’m meeting Robin for lunch, so I’ll pick up Cam. Will you be home for dinner?”
“Ah.” Jason blinked again. “I don’t know. Maybe not dinner. But I’ll be home to put Cameron to bed.” He offered her a smile. “We’re on the last chapter in the first Harry Potter, and Cam wants to catch up to Jax and Morgan.”
“Okay.” Eager to be away from this moment and Jason’s stunned reaction to the idea of adopting Cameron, she kissed him on the cheek and darted out the door.
Metro Court: Restaurant
“I think you’re reading too much into this.” Robin set her menu aside and reached for her tea. “You know Jason loves Cameron. You know Cameron loves Jason. I’m sure he’ll agree—”
“I’m not sure how I feel about it,” Elizabeth interrupted. They paused to give the waiter their lunch order before continuing. “I mean, they are good together. And Cam has all these new ideas about how a dad should act because he’s with Jax and Morgan, and you know how amazing Jax is with Carly’s boys.”
“Jax has been eager to be a father for a long time.” Robin pursed her lips. “And Carly is much less annoying now.”
“But Jax reads to Morgan, so Cam wants Jason to read to him. Cam wants to play soccer with Jason in the spring, because Jax is signing Morgan up and is thinking of being a coach.”
“I would love to see Jason as a peewee coach,” Robin said, grinning. “That is a fantastic visual. Elizabeth—”
“And Jason never protests. He brings home toys for Cam all the time. All Cam has to do is mention something he likes, and it gets delivered within a day or two.” Elizabeth chewed on her lip. “Robin, my family life is perfect. My husband is amazing, he’s incredible with my son. We’re excited about having a new child—do you understand how terrifying this is?”
“Oh, yeah.” Robin nodded. “When things are perfect, that’s when they fall apart.” She leaned forward. “Can you picture Jason looking at you and saying, no, no, I don’t want Cameron, I don’t want to adopt him?”
“No.” Elizabeth sighed. “No. But—”
“But nothing. You’re actually jealous, that’s what it is.” When Elizabeth just blinked at her, Robin shrugged. “You have two children, who are about to be tied forever to Jason, without any equivocations. You know that Jason isn’t going to walk away from Cam or the baby. And you want that kind of reassurance.” She reached for a bread stick. “You and Jason got married for a specific reason. But neither of you have ever treated the marriage like that. You had a beautiful ceremony with a romantic honeymoon, then you came home and started a life together.”
“I want him to love me,” Elizabeth murmured. “I want him to love me as much as I love him. But that seems like a lot to ask at this point. He’s been so good to me—”
“Maybe,” Robin said, “he’s having the same thoughts. Jason just doesn’t reach out for what he wants anymore.”
“I know what you’re going to suggest.” Elizabeth thanked the server as they set her salad in front of her. When Robin had her food as well, she continued, “You’re going to suggest I talk to him.”
Robin waited a moment. “No. I don’t think either of you are ready for a conversation like that. Neither of you is going anywhere. Maybe…maybe you just let this happen.”
“That sounds like something I can do,” Elizabeth replied with a wry smile.
“Though it sounds like you’re on board with Jason adopting Cameron.” Robin arched a brow. “No hesitation there?”
“None. If it’s something that keeps Lucky out of Cam’s life, then great. But more importantly, it would be great for Cam. Jason’s so good to him. He’s already been so much more there than Lucky ever was.” Elizabeth paused. “I want Cam to have what this baby is going to have. He deserves it.”
“He really does.” Robin sighed, a bit wistfully. “How fast do you think Patrick would run if I told him I wanted a baby?”
“Ah.” Elizabeth blinked. “Do—are you guys going in that direction?”
“Not really.” Robin lifted a shoulder. “But I’ve seen him with Cameron. And I want that with him. Am I insane?”
“No, he’s amazing. You know I love him.” Elizabeth hesitated. “But if you brought up babies right now? He’d feel sorry about it later, but he’d run so fast, he’d vaporize. A few more months, you might be able to say something without completely spooking him.”
“Well, I guess that’s the price you pay for falling for a playboy.” Robin wrinkled her nose. “You have to wait for the boy to grow up a bit.”
Greystone Manor: Living Room
Sonny sighed and sank onto the sofa. “It really never ends, does it?”
Jason leaned against Sonny’s desk and nodded. “Diane’s not wrong in thinking the risk to Elizabeth is minimal at this point, but still—”
“Trying to flip her against you was the last tactic by these bastards, so I’m not convinced they’re not going to have Scott pick it back up.” Sonny stood, pacing to the window. He turned around. “The cops traced the stash of pills from their apartment to Elizabeth’s floor to GH. That’s not easy. Ric spearheaded it, but the cops have it in their teeth now. You can’t tell me someone who works down there isn’t pissed about Elizabeth shacking up with you.”
“I don’t know how Scott can go forward with that. It’s the only evidence against her, and with Elizabeth having divorced and remarried, there’s no reason for her to risk her career for him.”
“Don’t underestimate the boys in blue. They hate me. They hate you. And they’re not entirely fond of Elizabeth.” Sonny rubbed his chin. “But odds are Scott will come after me first. And I don’t think anyone is going to make that jump. No one is going to try to flip Elizabeth on me.”
“I told Bernie and Stan to make sure our accounts are squeaky clean,” Jason told Sonny, “and I put the word out to the Families that the authorities are looking into us a bit more closely for the time being, so we’re changing some things around. Zacchara bitched, but that’s not news.”
“Yeah, make sure there’s nothing to see if they do look.” Sonny waited a moment. “You said Diane had news about Lucky?”
“Nothing much to worry about.” But Jason slid his hands in his pockets and looked at the floor. “It’s not related to this.”
Just Lucky forcing Elizabeth to say out loud what most of the goddamn world had already figured out last month. He was making her admit the baby’s paternity in open court to embarrass her. Humiliate her. Jackass.
“If it’s about Elizabeth and the kids, I’m concerned.” Sonny stepped forward. “You need to be home more? The new system is working—”
“No, it’s…” Jason hesitated. “You know Elizabeth couldn’t put anything in the divorce papers about custody—not if we wanted it to be uncontested. So Diane just put a clause in there that any custody issues would be settled at a later date. It’s a boilerplate clause, but Lucky’s forcing the issue.”
“He doesn’t read the papers?” Sonny poured himself a glass of water, offered the pitcher to Jason who shook his head. “I’m thinking of buying the Herald and firing everyone. Maybe leaving a monkey in charge. Can’t do much worse.”
“Elizabeth asked me not to read the articles about it.” Jason looked away, still remembering the day he’d come home from a meeting to find her crying on the sofa. She’d begged him not to read it, and he’d promised her. If it had been worse than the articles regarding their marriage, then it was for the best he be in the dark.
Though Sonny’s idea was starting to sound good.
“He’s forcing a hearing,” Jason said. “Diane seems to think it’ll be enough to send over the results of the test, but I know better. He wants to drag her through the mud. He’ll want another test, put her on the stand and cross-examine her.” He paused. “And that’s just the baby. Diane says he’s going for custody of Cameron.”
“I guess there’s a point there. He’s raised Cameron since he was a baby.” Sonny sipped his water. “Cam talk about him much?”
“Not really. He asked me once or twice where he was. Elizabeth and I decided we would tell him Lucky was going away for a while because he wasn’t feeling well.” He pinched the bridge of his nose. “We were hoping, with Cam being four and Lucky not usually being around, it would just…stop being an issue.”
“What does Diane think about Elizabeth’s chances? Did Lucky adopt Cam?”
“No.” Jason shifted. “But since Cam doesn’t have anyone else, the court might give him visitation.” He waited a moment. “Diane hinted I might—that maybe I should do something about it. Or at least, that’s what Elizabeth says.”
“Adoption?” Sonny asked. He paused. “Why not? Keeps it simple. Does Elizabeth have any objections?”
“I don’t know.” Jason recalled her quick exit a few hours ago. “She was meeting Robin for lunch so we didn’t really talk about it.”
“Listen. I don’t know much about what’s—” Sonny hesitated. “I know the reasons this started, but I doubt you guys have some sort of calendar with a divorce date circled. It’s not like you and Brenda.”
“No, but—” Jason shifted again, uncomfortable. How could he explain the way things had changed since that night at Vista Point when they’d first broached the topic?
They had a life together, a routine. They had divided caring for Cameron—he’d gone to his first doctor’s appointment the month before, and they were finding out the gender later this month. She’d picked out a room for a nursery and was going to have it cleaned out in a few months. They shared a room—shared a bed.
They were married. She was his wife. And Jason didn’t see that changing at any point in the future. Or wanting it to.
“And I’m not asking for details,” Sonny continued. “I do think that it might be a good idea to consider something more permanent for Cameron. If it weren’t for the baby, you could ease away one day, play the role of close friend, honorary uncle. But Cameron is going to have a front row seat for you and Elizabeth playing Mommy and Daddy.”
“No, I—” Jason paused. “I get the reasons why—”
“But you have to want it,” Sonny continued. “It can’t be so Lucky stays away, or because it just makes sense, or even because it looks good on paper for Elizabeth’s charges.” He paused. “At some point, Jason, you’re going to have to think about why you and Elizabeth are married, because I’m telling you—she already is.”
And then, mercifully, Sonny dropped the subject entirely and they moved on to other concerns—shipments, accounts, and events on the island.
Jason wasn’t ready to examine his relationship with Elizabeth too closely yet. If he did, he might have to admit to himself that he wanted to be married to Elizabeth, to be Cameron’s father.
He wasn’t ready for that. Not quite yet.
Port Charles Municipal Building: Scott Baldwin’s Office
Scott Baldwin took in the austere interior of the office he had been assigned upon his return to the district attorney’s office. While the mayor had acquiesced to Alexis’s request that Ric take over her duties as district attorney, Ric Lansing was on thin ice and everyone knew it. Having his office disqualified from pursuing charges against Sonny Corinthos and Jason Morgan had been devastating.
Scott had made mistakes during his first tenure, but he wouldn’t make them again. There would be no rush to judgment, no quick charges. He would do this right.
And he already had the inklings of a brilliant idea.
Mac pursed his lips as he set files on an empty table to the left of Scott’s desk. “You don’t have access to any of Lansing’s files do you?”
“Nope.” Scott picked one the files up at leisure. “I just know his court docket. He was working on paperwork for a grand jury intending to investigate Jason Morgan on RICO charges. Then he was disqualified from any case regarding Corinthos and Morgan—” Scott glanced up with a gleam in his eye. “As well as Jason Morgan’s brand-new wife, Elizabeth. I don’t have to have Ric’s notes to realize he was trying to flip the wife. She tried to avoid it with a hasty divorce and remarriage.”
“She had her reasons for divorcing Lucky,” Mac admitted. “I’m sure you’re familiar with some of them.”
“I am.” And Scott’s tone evened out. “As well as the rumors that Lucky was having an affair with your daughter. I’m sorry, Mac.”
Mac’s lips thinned as he pressed them together. “He took advantage of her after Jesse was killed—”
“I’m sure that’s true.” And Scott knew the pain of a father whose daughter had fallen victim to an older man who damn well should have known better. Sonny hadn’t given a damn about Karen.
“Are you going to attack spousal privilege?” Mac asked.
“Nah. No point. I don’t have Ric’s knowledge of Morgan and his wife, and I’m not allowed to have them. I don’t need them.” Scott glanced at a file from the summer. “But I like the idea of using the wife.”
Mac hesitated. “I may not agree with Elizabeth’s decisions or her choices, but—”
“She made her choice, Mac.” Scott lifted a shoulder. “She’s in this up to her eyebrows.” He lifted a report. “For example, I took a glance at a few things before I came in today. A file containing bank records and other things pertaining to Alexis’s investigation went missing last summer.”
“Sam McCall was blamed and fired,” Mac said. “You don’t think it was her?”
“Not likely, no.” Scott took out a single sheet of paper. “The sign in list for that day has Elizabeth Spencer, there to check up on her husband. Did anyone ever question her?”
Mac narrowed his eyes and reached for the sign in sheet. “Alexis did, informally, but—” He muttered under his breath. “She stole the file?”
“I can’t prove it.” Scott leaned forward. “Not yet. But if I could, I could take these drug charges and spin them into a larger narrative. She didn’t steal those drugs to make Lucky happy, but to keep him drugged. So he wouldn’t discover her actual affair. And I have proof of that affair—she’s carrying Morgan’s kid.”
Mac reached for his phone. “Should we bring her in?”
“No, that’s what we would have done in the old days.” Scott took a seat behind his desk. “When I meet with Elizabeth Morgan and her husband, I’m going to make them an offer they can’t refuse—not unless they want Baby Morgan born behind bars.”
“How are you getting around spousal privilege?” Mac asked. “I—”
“You leave that to me, Mac. This is a new era in Port Charles.” Scott leaned back, a broad smile on his face. “And I’m going to be in charge.”