The human heart is a scary part in fact
‘Cause I could break you and you could break me back
Though my head says just forget it
You’ll get hurt and you’ll regret it
Ask me now and I won’t hesitate
– Hesitate, Steve Moakler
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Against Elizabeth’s better judgment, she allowed the front desk to send Nikolas upstairs when they called. Lucky wasn’t allowed past the front doors, but Nikolas had treated her fairly so far.
And maybe she could convince Nikolas to get Lucky to drop his pursuit of Cameron and avoid the court hearing where she would have to admit to that night with Jason. She did not want to be cross-examined about her relationship with him. Not at the moment.
And honestly, not ever.
She and Jason had gingerly discussed Diane’s visit, but had reached no specific conclusion, only that any decision would be life-changing and required some more thought.
Cody opened the door, his expression skeptical. “Nikolas Cassadine. If you’re sure.”
Behind Cody, Nikolas merely rolled his eyes. Elizabeth gestured him forward. “We’ll be fine, Cody. Thanks.”
When the door was closed, Nikolas lifted his brow. “Some security there.”
“He doesn’t like people coming to my home in order to harass me.” Elizabeth sat on the sofa and gestured for Nikolas to take a seat as well. “I’m sorry, I know we haven’t spoken since that day at the rehab. I thought you might be angry with me.”
“Not angry,” Nikolas said after a moment as he considered his words. “Sad.”
She frowned, tilting her head. “Because of my choices?”
“Because you didn’t feel you could confide in me.” He leaned forward. “I know your issues with Emily at the moment, that you feel as though she’s taking Lucky’s side, and maybe she is to a certain extent. I also know that you need to do right by you, and by your children. The divorce was a good idea.” His gaze flickered around the room. “I just—I don’t know about any of this.”
Some of the tension eased from her chest as she realized Nikolas had an open mind. “There were a lot of reasons why I did this,” Elizabeth said.
“I’m assuming Ric was one of them.” Nikolas rose and crossed to a shelf where a framed photo of her wedding sat. Jason and Elizabeth stood next to each other, each with smiles. Robin and Sonny on either side. It sat next to another photo from the ceremony itself—from their kiss at the end.
Sonny had given her the wedding photos at Thanksgiving, suggesting with a sly smile that putting some on display would be good in case the PCPD ever came knocking.
They both knew it was just an excuse. Her wedding had been beautiful, and she wanted to remember those moments with her friends, with the man she loved.
“I won’t say it wasn’t a factor,” Elizabeth murmured. She pressed her hand against the slight swell of her abdomen. Four months along, and only just beginning to show. “But you know it wasn’t all.”
“I read the papers,” Nikolas said. “And I’m not stupid.” He looked back at her. “You always turned to Jason in moments of crisis, in grief. In sorrow. It was this summer, when you found out about Maxie.”
“I didn’t mean for it to happen,” Elizabeth admitted, “but I’m not sorry.”
“I told Lucky that filing for custody was a bad idea.” Nikolas faced her, setting the photo down. “That the papers were probably right. And that it would be better for everyone if you and Jason raised Cameron with the new baby. Lucky should have a fresh start, and I worry that some of this might be triggers.” He hesitated. “I’m not blaming you, just—”
“You’re just stating the facts.” Elizabeth nodded. “I get it, Nikolas. I really do. I can see how this might be a setback, and I hope it isn’t. I don’t love him anymore, but I don’t wish Lucky ill. I just don’t want him near my children.”
“But Lucky worried that Cameron would remember him, and wonder why Lucky didn’t want him. He didn’t want him to have the same doubts Lulu has.” Nikolas paused. “Lulu loves Luke, but there’s no doubt that he hasn’t known what to do about her. She was our mother’s pride and joy. And she fears he didn’t want her so much as he wanted whatever our mother wanted.”
“I suppose.” Elizabeth shifted. “But it’s not enough of a reason to allow Lucky to be in Cam’s life. Not after what he put us through.”
“I suggested as much to Lucky, but you know how he can be.” Nikolas sighed. “So I’m hoping you and Jason can figure out how to stop a court hearing.” He sat in the arm chair. “Insisting on one is Lucky’s petty idea of revenge. He wants to put you on the stand and make you admit you wanted Jason, that it was always him. That there was some sort of affair.”
“He wants to humiliate me,” she murmured. “Jason and I surmised as much. I’m not much interested in it either, but I don’t know if we can make it stop. A paternity test for the baby seems straightforward, but Lucky would have to let go of visitation for Cameron on his own.”
“Jason should adopt Cameron,” Nikolas said bluntly. “The only reason a judge would even entertain giving Lucky any custodial rights is that Cameron doesn’t have a second parent with legal standing. It’s patriarchal nonsense, but I’m afraid with your history of divorce, a judge might think keeping at least one stable father in Cam’s life by force is the best bet. I don’t agree, but—”
“Jason and I are considering it,” Elizabeth interjected, bristling at the accusation but understanding Nikolas’s motives. “It’s not something you can just decide over lunch. You know how serious Jason takes these kinds of things. He’d be making a lifetime commitment to Cam. I mean, I’m not saying we plan to divorce—” She stopped. “I don’t know how that would stop a hearing.”
“If you and Jason filed the paperwork before the hearing is set,” Nikolas told her, “I’d have a better shot convincing Lucky to drop the suit. He has a slim chance now. It disappears entirely if Cam has a legal father who lives in the home full-time.”
He stood. “I know we may not be close going forward,” he told her. “But you know that I love you, and if you never need anything, all you have to do is ask.”
Her eyes burned with tears as she stood and accepted his hug. “Thank you, Nikolas. You have no idea how much it means to me to hear that from you.”
Greystone Manor: Living Room
Diane scowled at Sonny and Jason. “I cannot believe the two of you asked to meet with me when you damn well know I cannot discuss Elizabeth’s custody arrangements with either of you.” She huffed. “Does attorney client privilege not mean anything to anyone anymore?”
Sonny frowned. “I just wanted to make sure Elizabeth has everything she needs and you know she won’t tell me—”
“And I want Lucky to go away,” Jason said bluntly. He crossed his arms. “They’re not just Elizabeth’s arrangements. Cameron—” He hesitated. “Diane. I’m serious.”
“Then ask your wife,” Diane retorted. “You live in the same home, I presume. She knows the status.” But she paused, remembering who she was talking to.
Men. Insufferable jackasses.
“I responded to Spencer’s attorney this morning,” Diane said. “I sent a copy of the paternity, offering to have another test performed after the birth of the child if his client was so inclined. There isn’t much I can do regarding Cameron Webber. Legally, it’s a gray area. Stepparents rarely have legal standing, but courts look kindly on petitions by former stepparents because they want to preserve the stability of the child.”
“Stability.” Sonny snorted and moved away, to pour himself a tumbler of water. Too early for bourbon, Diane thought sourly.
“I laughed at the notion in the response,” Diane told them. “Cameron has the stability of two parents at the moment.” She studied Jason. “Though I’ve told you already how to improve the situation.”
“I wanted to talk to Cameron about it,” Jason admitted. “He considers Lucky his father. I’m his mother’s husband. I’m his friend. But I don’t know how he’d feel if those roles changed.”
And responses like that were the reason Diane couldn’t stay mad at him. Adorable bastard. “Well, then you need to have that conversation with him. The sooner you file paperwork, the sooner I can scare the crap out of Spencer. If Elizabeth walks into that court and presents a normal nuclear family with Mom, Dad, child, and baby, the judge is going to laugh Lucky out of court. You might be an alleged criminal, but he’s an actual drug addict.”
She looked at them. “Now, if we can put away the reality show nonsense, I’ve been digging into Scott Baldwin. My sources in the DA’s office tell me he’s working on something, but he’s keeping it close to the vest.”
“Against us or Elizabeth?” Jason asked.
“Hard to say. He’s not working with the PCPD so much as he and Mac have their heads together. The problem with Scott Baldwin is he’s a good lawyer. A damn good lawyer,” Diane said. When Sonny rolled his eyes, she scowled. “Don’t underestimate him. He made some mistakes and that deal with Ric Lansing was beyond the pale, but it doesn’t change anything. If Scott puts his head down, and doesn’t rush into anything, he’s a formidable foe.”
She turned her attention to Jason. “If he comes after Elizabeth on these drug charges, it’ll be because he knows he can break privilege. Because he knows a judge won’t toss him out. He doesn’t have Ric’s notes, but he has a brain. He knows they were trying to flip her. Which means she probably knows something.”
Sonny’s expression had shifted into trepidation. “Do you think they’re working out a way to flip her on me?”
“It’s possible,” Diane allowed. “I don’t see how they could do it at the moment. Elizabeth’s involvement comes through Jason, and they’re protected by privilege. They can’t break that. They can’t challenge it.” She looked at Jason. “You two have done a good job of being married, by the way. And the fact she’s knocked up by you makes it almost impossible for a court to say you’re faking.”
Jason scowled. “Don’t talk about her that way—”
“Exactly my point.” Diane jabbed a finger at him. “This is not a case of you and Brenda Barrett managing not to murder one another long enough to avoid jail. There’s history with you and Elizabeth. So I’m not overtly worried about Scott breaking marital privilege.”
“But?” Sonny prompted.
“I don’t know,” Diane admitted. “There’s something about this that doesn’t feel good to me.” She paused. “What if…” And hell. “What if Scott uses these drug charges to flip Jason?”
Sonny frowned in confusion, but Jason’s eyes narrowed. He understand Diane’s point exactly. “Can he do that?” Jason demanded.
“Do what?” Sonny demanded. “How could he flip Jason? Jason’s not involved in this—”
“No,” Diane allowed. “But he might be invested in not letting the mother of his children go to jail.” She pursed her lips. “Technically, it borders on illegal. It’s one thing to flip one defendant against another, but a third party not facing charges? It would violate the Ethics Code.”
“But you think he could do it.”
“I think Scott wants Sonny’s head on a platter,” Diane said. “We tied his hands when it came to using Elizabeth against Jason. But it wouldn’t surprise me if Scott was trying anyway.”
“It’s too risky.” Sonny dismissed it with a wave of his hand. “The drug charges are weak—you said so yourself. All of this happened to keep Elizabeth out of the grand jury. None of us were seriously worried about the charges.”
“No,” Diane allowed. “And I’m still not.” She was quiet for a moment, her mind racing. She couldn’t stand not knowing what Scott Baldwin was planning. It would be too risky for Scott’s career to go after Elizabeth in order to scare the shit out of Jason, but just maybe… “Thanks to Ric,” she said slowly, “Scott Baldwin can surmise that Elizabeth knows something about Jason’s criminal activities. Would it be so much of a stretch to think she knows something about yours?”
“But she doesn’t—” Sonny began, but then he faltered. “Does she?”
“I don’t know,” Jason said. “I’ve never—I’ve never considered it. She’s…seen a lot,” he admitted. “But most of it is related to me.”
“But maybe not,” Sonny said with a sigh. “She and I were in contact while you were out of town. I put a guard on her. I can’t guess what she might have seen and not spoken about.” He smiled, almost sadly. “Her loyalty has never been in question, though I didn’t always remember that.”
“So which is it?” Jason demanded. “Is he going to try to flip me or Elizabeth?”
“I don’t know,” Diane said. “But he’s up to something, and you’ll have to be ready.” She reached for her briefcase. “Now if you’ll excuse me.”
As she left the estate, she wondered which tactic Scott would take and how her clients would respond. Would Elizabeth go to trial on her own charges to refuse to testify against Sonny?
Would Jason flip on Sonny to protect Elizabeth?
No matter how it shook out, Diane was going to have to drop one of her clients. Their interests were about to conflict, and she could hardly to tell one to sell the other down the road.
It would be interesting to see how it would turn out.
Morgan Penthouse: Cameron’s Room
Jason finished the last words in the chapter they were reading and set the closed book on the night stand. “Can we talk for second before we go on to the next chapter?”
Cameron, still sitting cross-legged in his race car pajamas on his new race car bed, nodded. “Uh huh. What about?”
“Um.” Jason hesitated. He hadn’t cleared this conversation with Elizabeth first, and now he thought maybe he should. He wanted to protect Cameron from Lucky Spencer to be sure, but mostly, he just wanted Cameron to be his.
“You know your mother and I are married,” he began, shifting on the bed. “And you’re going to have a brother or sister soon.”
“Yup.” Cameron nodded. “I’m gonna be awesome at it.”
“I know you are, buddy.” Jason ruffled his dark hair with a smile. “And you know—the baby is—I’m going to be the baby’s daddy.”
Cameron frowned a bit, but nodded. “Okay. Right. Because you’re married and married people have babies.”
Because that explanation was simpler than the truth, Jason nodded. “Your mom and I—we were thinking about you. And we—I—wondered if you…” How did a man ask a four-year-old if he wanted a new father?
“Does that make you my new daddy?” Cameron asked, with a skeptical eye. “I have a daddy, right? I think. I don’t see him much.” He looked down, “Mommy said he was real sick and wouldn’t come around no more.”
“That’s—that’s true,” Jason allowed. “Would—would you mind if we signed some papers that said I was your dad? You—” His throat was tight. “You wouldn’t have to call me Dad. I mean, you could if you wanted to—” He was close to babbling. Damn it, he should have had Elizabeth here for this.
“Do you want to be my dad?” Cameron asked. “Do people change daddies a lot?” He frowned. “Am I going to have another one someday?”
“No,” Jason said firmly. “If we sign these papers, if we make this decision, Cam, I promise you, we won’t ever change again.”
Cameron wrinkled his nose, his expression almost identical to Elizabeth’s in that moment. “And you wouldn’t stop being around? I like playing cars and reading books.” He shrugged. “My first daddy didn’t. Mommy said he was always working.”
“I would always be around,” Jason told him. And he was going to keep that promise. His responsibilities with Sonny had shifted once the paternity test results came back. He would be a father. And nothing was more important to him. “Just like Mommy is.”
“Could I call you Daddy?” Cameron asked. “I mean,” he said, with wide eyes, “the new baby might not know what to call you if I didn’t—”
“Nothing would make me happier,” Jason told him. “What do you think?”
Cameron climbed into his lap and wrapped his arms around Jason’s neck, hugging him. “Okay. I’ll sign papers, too.” He leaned back, and smiled broadly. “Daddy.”
Jason’s chest tightened as he gripped Cameron’s head and pressed a kiss to the top. “I love you, Cameron.”
“I love you, too.” Cameron’s grin slid into a smirk. “Can I have a real race car like Morgan?”
Jason laughed. “We’ll see what happens at Christmas.”
Morgan Penthouse: Master Bedroom
Elizabeth twisted at her vanity table, the brush in her hand falling to the ground. “You asked Cameron?”
Jason drew on a pair of sweat pants, balling up his jeans and shirt to toss in the hamper. “Yeah. I mean, I guess we should have talked about it together with him or talked about what we were going to say to him, I’m sorry—”
“I’m not…” Elizabeth rose, his old blue t-shirt falling halfway down her thighs. “I just—I wasn’t thinking about asking him.” Tears glittered in her eyes. “I should have. It should be his decision. You always seem to know exactly how to handle him.”
Jason shrugged. “It just—it seemed right. He had a father. If he didn’t want me, then we’d figure out another way to deal with things. But—” He looked at her. “Why did you think we hadn’t made a decision?”
“I—” Elizabeth hesitated. “I suppose I thought you were thinking it over. It’s not an easy decision to take on another man’s son—”
“I’ve never considered Cameron in that light,” Jason cut in. “He’s your son. Not Lucky’s. Not Zander’s. You’ve raised him. I love him, you know that. And it was easy for me.” He paused. “I just didn’t—I didn’t know if you’d want it.”
“To give my son an amazing father?” Elizabeth blinked. “Jason, I told you—from the moment I found out I was pregnant, all I could pray for was you to be the father. I saw you with Michael. I see you now with Cameron.” She stepped towards him. “I wanted to give you a child. Why would I hesitate to give you Cameron?”
“I—” Jason faltered. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “I mean…” he exhaled slowly. “It’s one thing for us to be having this baby together…” He gestured towards her in the space that remained between them. “That’s a situation that existed before everything else, and exists regardless of it. But—” He paused and swallowed. “But to be married, to adopt your other child—it’s—it’s saying something.” He looked at her, his eyes soft. Open. Even vulnerable. “About where we’re going. And what we want our future to be like.”
Elizabeth closed the distance between them, sliding her arms around his waist. “I want my future to be with you,” she told him. “And I want my children to be yours.”
When he kissed her, closing his mouth over hers, almost devouring her, his hands in her hair—she knew that while neither of them had said the actual words, they’d made promises here every bit as important as the ones they had made the day they married.
A week later, Scott Baldwin called Diane to discuss a plea agreement in advance of filing charges against Elizabeth for theft of narcotics, drug possession, and obstruction of justice.