You’re always on display
For everyone to watch and learn from
Don’t you know by now
You can’t turn back
Because this road is all you’ll ever have
– Fences, Paramore
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Port Charles Municipal Building: Scott Baldwin’s Office
Scott was standing by a conference table stacked with paperwork and files as his secretary opened his office door and presented an unhappy trio of guests. Diane Miller strode in first with an annoyed expression drawn on her impatient features.
Jason and Elizabeth Morgan were expressionless, stoic, and even blank as they filed in behind her and took the seats Scott offered them. He was surprised at the poker face Morgan’s wife managed, but all those years of exposure to criminal elements had clearly rubbed off.
He had practiced for this moment, rehearsed this presentation—he was as ready as a man could be for the biggest moment in his career. This meeting would kick off his attack.
He was going to nail Sonny Corinthos to the wall, and the couple in front of him was the key.
“Would you like anything to drink?” Scott asked once the trio was seated, Diane adjacent at the head of the table while the Morgans sat next to one another directly across from him. “Mrs. Morgan?”
“No, thank you.” Diane sniffed. “My clients are here to get to the bottom of your scurrilous and potentially inflammatory threats. They do not intend to make any statements at this time.”
“No problem.” Scott sat and reached for his legal pad. “I’m prepared to do all the talking.” He picked up his pen with one hand and reached for the stack of paperwork with the other.
“While I was unable to confer with DA Lansing regarding current cases pending against Sonny Corinthos or Jason Morgan, I did have access to his court docket. When I saw that he had specifically been barred from dealing with Elizabeth Morgan, I asked the PCPD to provide me with any piece of paper in their archives featuring Elizabeth Webber Lansing Spencer Morgan’s name.” Scott shot Morgan’s wife a smile. “A lot of names for such a young woman.”
He cheered when he saw a muscle twitch in Morgan’s face. Ha! It wasn’t much but it was something.
“I was surprised to see so much.” Scott patted the pile. “But some of it we can discard.” He reached for the first one and set it down. “Your name as a witness involving a drive by shooting at Luke’s in which Nikolas Cassadine was injured, another as a witness to a fire in a garage owned by Morgan…obviously, these aren’t pertinent.”
“Mr. Baldwin,” Diane began.
“But here’s where your history starts to get interesting, Mrs. Morgan.” Scott reached for another report. “A bomb was found in your studio building. Morgan knew about it and saved your life.” He tilted his head. “You were dating back then according to the rumor mill.” He tapped a line. “The officer on the scene refers to you as Morgan’s girlfriend.”
“My clients are not commenting—”
“No need.” Scott reached for another report. “Both questioned when Emily Quartermaine was kidnapped by Zander Smith. Mrs. Morgan is again a witness to another fire involving Morgan—the warehouse fire in 2001.” Scott placed each report down as he enumerated them. “A report to Lieutenant Taggart stating Elizabeth Webber was kidnapped. You and Taggart worked closely to get her back according to the reports. She was rescued, though a bit ill from exposure to gas.”
And then Morgan’s wife glanced at her husband, surprise in her eyes. Should he be enjoying this so much?
“The warehouse explodes again. You’re both on scene, just a month later, when Zander Smith accidentally shoots Mrs. Morgan.” Scott arched a brow. “Not the last time your name appears with him, is it, Morgan?”
“Baldwin,” Diane cut in, her tone much less impatient. “We don’t have all the time in the world.”
“I’m previewing my opening statement, Counselor,” Scott said, not taking his eyes from Jason Morgan. “Mrs. Morgan gives a statement about her ex-husband taking Carly Corinthos hostage, though we’re unfortunately unable to corroborate it. And then…” Scott slid another paper on top of the growing stack.
“Morgan gives a statement that disgraced former officer Andrew Capelli admits to hitting Zander Smith in the head after the Port Charles Hotel burns to the ground. Zander Smith’s murder case is closed—though your statement appears to superfluous since he escaped and was killed in a hail of gunfire.”
“What does that have to do with my clients?” Diane admitted.
“I’m just getting started, Ms. Miller. This will go faster if you don’t interrupt.” Scott held up another report. “The two of you are questioned in relation to the murder of Mary Bishop, but then you both seem to disappear from the files for a bit. Until this year.” He held up a photograph of Jason and Carly standing with a police officer. “Recognize this, Morgan?”
He tossed it across the table. “From this last February.”
Morgan barely glanced at it before glancing at Diane. “No,” he said shortly.
“I have it on video as well. You and Carly are demanding access to the building because you have the antidote to that terrible virus.” Scott leaned forward. “You’re not asking to speak to Patrick Drake, who was nominally in charge. Or Robert Scorpio, head of the medical team and quarantine. Do you know who you ask for? Nurse Elizabeth Webber.” He smirked. “Couldn’t quite remember her married name, could you?”
“The two of you really seem to be back in each other’s lives after that point,” Scott continued, ignoring Diane’s annoyed interjection. “You saved her life when she was kidnapped by Manny Ruiz. She came to visit you while you were in lockup. Then you were both arrested for an illegal surgery.”
The stack of papers in front of him was nearly an inch and a half thick by the time Scott placed this last report on top. “Do you know why I took you down this walk on memory lane?”
“My clients are not making a statement—”
“Because it’s part of my larger narrative. When I tell a jury the charges against sweet and compassionate Elizabeth Morgan, I don’t want them seeing the town sweetheart they all know,” Scott continued. “Granddaughter of Steve and Audrey Hardy, hard-working nurse. I want them to see the woman who has been steeped in the criminal element of this town since she was old enough to drive.”
Again Morgan’s muscle twitched, but the two of them remained poker face, even if Elizabeth’s face drained of color.
“Lansing had the wrong theory of the crime,” Scott continued. “You didn’t steal those drugs to help your husband. You stole them to drug your husband so he wouldn’t discover your affair.”
At that, Morgan stood up. “We’re leaving,” he told Diane.
“If you walk out now,” Scott told Elizabeth Morgan, “I’ll have Detective Rodriguez slap handcuffs on you now. I’ve already drawn up the arrest warrant. I just have to execute it.”
“Jason.” Diane nodded, but Morgan didn’t resume his seat. He shoved the chair away from the table and moved to stand behind his wife. “Baldwin, you spoke of a plea agreement but I still don’t see a shred of proof—”
“Because I haven’t finished,” Scott said, offering her a pleasant smile. He took the stack of paperwork and put it to one side. Then he slid a paper across the table to Elizabeth. “Do you know what that is?”
“I—” Elizabeth swallowed and handed it to her lawyer. “A sign in sheet of some kind.”
“It’s for the PCPD.” Diane narrowed her eyes. “What game are you playing?”
“Do you know what happened on this date?” Scott asked. “Alexis Davis had served a subpoena on Jason Morgan’s financial records, but a crucial part of the file disappeared from the squad room.” He tapped the sheet. “Right during the window Elizabeth Spencer signed in to speak with her husband—who was not on the scene.” He set down a few still photographs. “I have you standing near Alexis and Sam, where you could likely overhear them discussing the case. You stole that file and you destroyed it.”
Elizabeth’s eyes widened and she looked again to her lawyer. “Diane—”
“Baldwin,” Diane began but some of her bluster had dissipated. “What—”
“Look at this stack of reports.” Scott patted it. “Morgan rescued you over and over again. You’re telling me you didn’t take this opportunity to do the same for him?”
“I—” Elizabeth closed her mouth when Jason’s hand dropped down on her shoulder.
“This interview is over—” Diane began, but then stopped when Scott held up the arrest warrant. “Put your goddamn cards on the table, Baldwin,” she snapped.
“I’m about to, but I want Mrs. Morgan to understand the stakes.” He looked back at the pale woman in front of him, her blue eyes filled with fear, with shock, with worry. “Lucky Spencer asked Cruz Rodriguez, a fellow officer, to follow you. He knew you were having an affair with someone. Rodriguez saw you going into a hotel with Patrick Drake, and reported that to Lucky.”
“I wasn’t—” Elizabeth’s voice was faint. “I was working.”
“I know,” Scott told her, ignoring the faint curl of shame in his chest. He knew he was going after a woman who’d led a difficult life, but he told himself that if this worked she’d be free of all of this.
He was helping her, even if she didn’t see it.
“And Rodriguez knew that, too,” he said, a bit more kindly. “He bribed staff to tell him. He knew when he told Lucky about the hotel that it wasn’t true. But he’d seen you going into Morgan’s penthouse by then. And he’s worked in Port Charles long enough to know a bit of the history. He has signed an affidavit claiming to have followed you on several more occasions when you met up with Jason Morgan, going to his penthouse and staying for several hours at a time.”
“Even if it were true, it’s hardly a crime,” Diane said, leaning forward. “I’ll object to any mention of such things—”
“It’s part of my narrative,” Scott repeated. “Elizabeth knew her husband was having her followed—Lucky Spencer confronted her about the hotel. I’m confident he’ll give us a statement to that effect—she was aware Lucky suspected her of having an affair, but knew he had the wrong man.”
When Diane said nothing this time, Scott knew he had won. The lawyer had connected the dots. “And she drugged him to keep him none the wiser.”
“No—” Elizabeth started to protest, but when Diane cut her a scathing glance, she closed her mouth.
“You weren’t ready to leave your husband—maybe Morgan hadn’t given you the go ahead. Why leave a sure thing for something that might not pan out?” Scott shrugged. “You played it smart, Mrs. Morgan. You waited until you knew Lucky could be painted as the bad guy, but you still didn’t leave him. Not until you discovered you were pregnant. Jason Morgan had to pay attention then.”
There was murder in Morgan’s eyes as he listened to Scott paint the picture of Elizabeth as a grasping, greedy woman who had set out to trap him. “Diane—”
“You, again, cannot prove any of this—” Diane said.
“Can’t I?” Scott raised his brows. “Elizabeth is pregnant with his child. I’m sure her medical records will reflect she knew about the pregnancy before Lucky Spencer went to rehab, before the marriage to Morgan. I can tie her to the drugs found in her apartment, I can tie her to the theft of the files last summer. I have means, I have opportunity, and I’ve told you the motive.” He looked to Diane. “Do you really think I can’t convince a jury?”
Diane exhaled slowly and looked at her clients for a long moment before she focused on him. “You mentioned a plea agreement. Let’s just…” She spread her hands out. “Let’s just entertain it for a moment.”
“I don’t want Elizabeth Morgan in jail,” Scott said. “Justice isn’t served that way. And I can’t have her testify against her husband or even his business partner.” At that, Diane’s eyes narrowed. “I thought about trying to leverage her against Sonny, but you could always waive that pesky privilege in my face. Anything she might know might be due to it. Fair enough. But that doesn’t stop me from leveraging her against Jason in another way.”
“I don’t—” Elizabeth licked her lips, flicking her eyes to Diane, then to Morgan who had resumed his seat at those words. “I don’t understand.”
“Do I have to explain marital privilege to you?” Diane demanded.
“I want Jason Morgan to testify against Sonny Corinthos,” Scott told them. “If he cooperates, we can talk about making the rest of this go away.”
“How many ethical violations are you trying to break?” Diane demanded. “You can’t involve a third party—”
“Prosecutorial discretion.” Scott blinked. “Maybe I don’t think these crimes are so important after all. I mean, I don’t have to prosecute her. I could be busy with other cases. More important ones.” He flashed a smile. “It might be on the edge, Ms. Miller, but you and I both know I’m not outright violating anything.”
Diane scowled as she leaned forward. “Are you telling me that unless Jason Morgan testifies against his business partner, you’ll prosecute his wife? Is that what you’re telling me?”
“I’m saying,” Scott said slowly, locking eyes with Jason Morgan, “I have both cases in front of me. It’s up to Mr. Morgan which one I look at first.”
Game. Set. Match.
Emily knew when to throw in the towel, and that moment had arrived. Lucky was seething over the response his lawyer had given him, with the copy of the paternity test and Jason’s petition to adopt Cameron.
She had been on Lucky’s side from the start because she knew what it was like to blow up your life with drugs. She knew the importance of family standing behind you when you emerged from rehab, knew that support was essential.
In all these years, she had never relapsed, and she was determined Lucky wouldn’t either.
He had stood by her, how could she do any less?
But she knew Nikolas was judging her. Knew she had lost her brother in this mess.
Had lost Elizabeth.
“Lucky,” she said, softly. “You said you were concerned about Cameron. That he wouldn’t feel loved if you didn’t try. And I understood that. But now we know he’ll be okay. You know my brother will be an amazing father—”
“But—” Lucky looked at her. “If I don’t have Cameron, if I don’t have the baby, what do I have?” He set the letter down. “I loved them. I love them,” he corrected.
“I know.” Emily hesitated. “I don’t like the way Elizabeth lied to you and deceived you into the divorce, but maybe it was for the best.” She reached for his hand. “You still have me and Nikolas. Lulu. Your grandmother. You’re not alone.”
“I wanted Cameron to know I loved him,” Lucky said. “I don’t want him to think I threw him away…” He looked away. “But Elizabeth thinks that.”
“No.” Emily shook her head. “No, she doesn’t—”
“I had him and it wasn’t enough to stay away from the drugs.” Lucky stared at his hands. “I saw you go through it, Em. How could I do it to my own family? I can’t stop thinking about how I wrecked it. I know Elizabeth was already—I know now I lost her once your brother was back in the picture, but I didn’t know that then. Maybe I could have saved my marriage. But I destroyed it, and I destroyed my family for what?” His mouth twisted as he crumpled the letter in his fist. “I don’t even know anymore.”
“I told my lawyer to drop the custody suit,” he said after a long moment. “He told me with these developments I wouldn’t win and I’d just waste my time and my money. He said I should focus on my recovery.” He exhaled slowly. “I went to a meeting after. And I’m going to another one tonight.”
“Good.” Emily nodded. “That’s for the best—”
“And I guess I’ll just go to a meeting every time I wish I were floating away from it all.” Lucky took his lawyer’s letter and tossed it in the busboy’s bin at the next table. “I hope your brother takes care of them. They deserved better than me.”
Greystone Manor: Living Room
“How is Elizabeth taking it?” Sonny asked quietly after Jason had discussed the meeting with him.
“She went to Robin and Patrick’s. She’s—she’s devastated.” Jason sat on the sofa, his head in his hands. “I never—I never thought about the file she destroyed. I—I thought if they had any evidence against her, they would have come for her already.”
“What does Diane say about the chances?” Sonny asked. “She didn’t think the charges would be an issue—”
“When it was just Elizabeth risking her career because Lucky wanted her to steal the pills, no, Diane wasn’t worried. She said no jury in her right mind would believe it.” Jason clasped his hands between his knees and looked at Sonny. “But Scott’s not going with that narrative.”
“What’s the other narrative?” Sonny frowned.
“He’d gone through Elizabeth’s records from the station. Every time her name appeared in report—every time it was even remotely related to me or you.” His mouth twisted as he remembered. “He’s using our history to suggest we were having an affair, that she drugged Lucky to keep him from learning about it until she could leave him. That she stole those files to protect me the way I’ve always protected her.”
He waited a moment. “And I could see it in my head—the way he’d pictured it. A jury isn’t going to understand how it happened. They’re not—” Jason rose, restless. “An officer was tailing her last summer—trying to prove an affair to Lucky. She used to come to the penthouse, stressed about Lucky. Worried he was getting addicted. Wanting my advice. A jury won’t believe that’s all we were doing.”
“Not with you getting married only months later.” Sonny shook his head. “Did Scott say what he wanted you to flip on me for? Any specific case?”
“I get the feeling he’d like anything I can prove,” Jason muttered. “We have time to think about it. Diane is—she’s going to look at the case files. He gave her copies of the reports, of the evidence. He wants her to know how strong the case is.”
“I thought Diane said it would be career suicide to go after you like this?” Sonny demanded. “Can’t we file a grievance?”
“Diane was hoping he’d tip his hand, show his vendetta against you.” Jason paced to the window, looked out over the grounds. “But he was smart. He phrased it as a matter of priority. If he were busy prosecuting you, he wouldn’t have time for petty offenses.” Jason looked at him. “Diane is going to put together a trial strategy.”
“If—” Sonny hesitated. “If she went to trial—”
“If she were convicted,” Jason said, “she’s looking at ten years. And no judge is going to be lenient on my wife.” He scrubbed his hands over his face. “We just—we have to get the charges dismissed. That’s all. Diane will get us out of it—”
But Sonny doubted it. Jason had panic etched into his normally stoic features. And if it came down to letting Elizabeth go to trial and possibly to jail or testifying against him…
Sonny had a good idea what his chances were.
“Jason, if we need to talk about you testifying—”
“It’s not going to come to that. Elizabeth told me not to even think about it. She said we’d find another way.”
But Jason didn’t meet his eyes.
Patrick’s Apartment: Living Room
“I don’t understand.” Patrick scowled. “Jason has a get out of jail free card for you, and for some reason, Sonny Corinthos isn’t cooling his heels in jail already?”
“It’s not that simple,” Robin told him, with a shove to the shoulder. But she looked skeptical as she turned back to Elizabeth. “What does Diane think?”
Elizabeth rubbed her arms, feeling chilled through her thin sweater. “She came back to the penthouse to talk strategy with us.” She looked at Patrick and Robin as they loomed over her, their faces wearing identical expressions of confusion and concern. “Scott gave us a week. She wants to go over his reports to determine how a trial might go.”
“Trial?” Patrick demanded. “This is insanity. Sonny Corinthos is an actual criminal. You are his actual pregnant wife. Why isn’t this simple?”
“I told Jason it wasn’t even on the table.” Elizabeth rose to her feet. “Maybe if it were just the drug charges—I mean, those are insane. I never would have stolen from the hospital—” She dipped her head. “But the file—”
Robin held up her hand. “Stop there. If you say what I think you’re going to, Patrick and I will have to perjure ourselves in court. I mean, I’ll do it,” she added quickly when Patrick just scrubbed his hands over his face with a groan. “But I’d prefer not to.”
“I’m sorry.” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “I just—Diane can make this go away. She’s an amazing attorney. She’ll make this go away, and Jason won’t have to make this decision. I don’t want him to make it. I couldn’t live with myself, and I told him that.”
“So what?” Patrick countered. “He should do it anyway—”
“We’re waiting to see what Diane says.” Elizabeth licked her lips. “I just—I left. I told him I needed some space, and I knew he had to talk to Sonny.”
“Robin, maybe it’s because I’m new, but I don’t get it,” Patrick said to his girlfriend. “She can walk away clean. The drug charges are bullshit and the others—” He looked to Elizabeth. “It was a moment of insanity, whatever it was. They can’t seriously mean to put you in jail.”
“Scott Baldwin has wanted Sonny Corinthos for ages,” Robin murmured. “Looks like he might get the chance.”
Elizabeth shook her head. “Not because of me. I won’t be the reason—” She took a deep breath. “Diane will make this go away. I have faith in her.”
The alternative was too terrifying to consider.