Chapter Fourteen

August 21, 2003

Quartermaine Mansion: Emily’s Bedroom

Zander threw open the window to Emily’s bedroom and climbed through. His girlfriend was still sleeping but he didn’t care. He crossed the room and shook her shoulders. “Wake up, damn it!”

Emily sat straight up. “What’s going on?” she demanded.

“Elizabeth was attacked last night—Ric Lansing and Faith Roscoe aren’t dead,” Zander informed her.

Emily stared at him. “What do you mean attacked?” she asked softly. She climbed out of bed and gripped his shirt. “Is she hurt?”

“Emily—”

“Because she can’t be hurt—they promised!” Emily cried. “They’re not supposed to hurt her, they’re supposed to leave her alone—he wasn’t supposed to attack her!”

Zander stared at her for a moment before slowly taking her hands and pulling them away from him. “What do you mean by that, Emily?” he asked slowly.

“I-I wanted this to be over,” Emily stammered. “They weren’t going to go after them—Sonny and Jason, I mean. They were just going to wait it out. While my brother and Elizabeth stayed married and Jason was forced to watch Elizabeth raise her child—it was never going to end!”

“Emily—what did you do?” Zander asked quietly forcing himself to quell the rising panic.

“I guess my fight with Elizabeth was pretty—pretty well-known. I got a call late last month a-and she offered to separate them. No harm to them—just find a way to end the marriage. All I had to do was tell her a few things—”

“You sold them out to Faith?” Zander demanded. He jerked away from her and shook his head. “Damn it, Emily, what the hell were you thinking?”

“I didn’t sell them out!” Emily shrieked. “I just—she wanted to know who guarded Elizabeth and Carly. A-and the name of all the guards I knew. I didn’t see the harm—”

“They sold Elizabeth out!” Zander yelled. “Ric cut the power in her apartment and threatened her life—he told her that he would take her baby and then kill her—because you couldn’t stand to see your brother married to her. He got to her, Emily, and she’s holed up in the guest room at Jason’s. She refuses to come out, refuses to talk to anyone.”

“I didn’t think—”

“Lucky says she acted this way after the rape,” Zander said softly. “That’s what you’ve done to her. You gave Ric Lansing a clear path to her and now he’s terrorizing her again. How could you do this to her?”

“I didn’t mean for it to happen this way!” Emily cried. “I just wanted to get Jason away from her. I was scared he’d fall in love with her again and she’d turn him away again! I was afraid she’d turn back to you!”

Zander stared at her for a moment. “Back to me.” He closed his eyes. “We slept together once, Emily. Last summer. She was trapped in a stairwell and so scared—she wanted to feel something other than that fear and I wanted to feel something other than isolation. We slept together and we tried to make something of it because she’s not the one night stand type and you know it. She loved your brother and he turned her away for making a mistake. And by the time he forgave her, she’d fallen off the pedestal he’d always put her on. He didn’t trust her anymore—Jason hurt Elizabeth far more than she hurt him.”

“Gia said that Elizabeth went from Lucky to Jason to you to Jason to Ric and I was scared she’d keep doing it—I wanted to stop the cycle,” Emily tried to explain. She started forward.

“And now a man she trusted enough to sleep with is threatening the life of her child and the only thing you can think of is yourself. You weren’t trying to protect Jason. You were trying to protect yourself. Because you thought maybe Elizabeth might turn to me and apparently, you don’t trust me either.”

“No, Zander—”

“We’re done, Emily.” He shook his head. “We are completely done. You’re going to get dressed and you’re going to Jason’s. You’re going to tell your brother what you did and if he lets you, you’re going to tell Elizabeth.”

“No—there’s no reason they have to know—Zander, I love you—”

“I’m not sure I love you,” Zander interrupted. “I know that I love the Emily who left two years ago—the Emily I first knew. She was a little selfish but she had a good heart and would have done anything, sacrificed anything for her friends. This girl standing in front of me?” he shook his head again. “I don’t know her. Get dressed.”

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

“Did she at least let the doctor in?” Sonny asked Jason softly glancing towards the stairs.

“Yeah.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Her blood pressure’s up but some rest will take care of that. She sprained her ankle—but with the shock and everything, she didn’t even realize that until this morning.”

“But the baby’s okay?”

“As far as the doctor said, yeah.” Jason glanced towards the couch where Luke and Nikolas were engaged in a bitter debate—over what, he wasn’t sure.

Lucky trudged down the stairs and sighed. “She’s not opening the door. Did Zander call?”

“Not yet. Do you think he’ll convince Emily to come over?” Jason asked. “I know Elizabeth would appreciate her support.”

Luke rose from the couch and glared at his stepson before joining the trio by the stairs. “Laura’s at home and I vote we take the door down and at least get a woman in there to stay with her.”

“I’m not forcing Elizabeth to do anything she’s not ready for,” Jason said firmly. “If she wants Laura, fine. But she says she wants to be alone.”

“Did you find out who the leak was?” Nikolas demanded. “Because if you can’t keep her safe, I’m packing her off to Greece if I have to tape into a box and ship her there.”

Jason stepped towards the Cassadine prince. “She’s not going anywhere.” He looked at Sonny. “Dara took care of those annulment papers right?”

“It’s been called off. The families want a meeting and they want Elizabeth there. I don’t know why—but she needs to be there.”

Luke snorted. “If she’s going, I’m going—”

“There’s no need for you to go or for anyone other than the three of us,” Sonny said firmly.

The penthouse door swung open and Zander entered, practically dragging Emily behind him. She dug in her heels and refused to cross the threshold so he lifted her and set her inside. “Tell them.”

“Zander, what the hell is going on?” Jason demanded.

“Your sister will explain.” Zander shut the door and glared at his ex-girlfriend.

“I—” Emily shook her head and folded her hands to look at the ground.

“Maybe seeing Elizabeth will make your filthy mouth work,” Zander said angrily. “Maybe if she tells you what that slime did to her—”

“Zander, you must have a death wish,” Lucky snarled, pushing past Sonny and Jason. Nikolas held his brother back.

“Emily, what is Zander talking about?” Nikolas asked carefully.

“Tell them,” Zander spat.

“Faith Roscoe contacted me last month,” Emily said softly. “She’d heard about the fight Elizabeth and I were having and she offered her help.”

Jason stared at his sister—his face unreadable. “What kind of help?”

“In exchange for information, she would find a way to end the marriage,” Emily admitted. She darted her eyes up to Jason’s before closing them. “When she and Ric faked their deaths…I thought it was over. I made her promise not to hurt you or Elizabeth—”

The room was eerily silent as the men in Elizabeth’s life watched her own best friend tell them how she inadvertently set Elizabeth up to be ambushed.

“What information did you give her?” Sonny asked calmly.

Emily met no one’s eyes full on now. She stared at the floor. “The guards protecting Elizabeth and Carly and any other men I knew working for you.” She dug her hands into the sides of her jeans. “I know for a fact that she turned Francis against you—because he was the one who identified the bodies in France.”

Sonny bit off a vehement curse. He wanted to throttle the young woman for not only putting Elizabeth in danger but his own wife. But this was Jason’s little sister and for once—Sonny would follow Jason’s lead rather than his own.

The fight drained out of Lucky’s body and Nikolas released him. They stared at the girl they’d known most of their lives—the fourth member of the Musketeers.

“Zander says I should be the one to tell her,” Emily said softly. Tears were streaming down her cheeks but no one felt sympathy—no one felt pity. She’d brought it on herself.

“He’s right but I can’t let you do that,” Jason said coldly. “I don’t want you anywhere near her. Zander, take her home. Don’t let her out your sight.”

“But Jason—” Emily began to protest but Zander had already wrapped his hand around her arm and was dragging her out. “Jason, wait!”

He ignored her and ignored the looks from the other men in the room. “I’ll go and tell Elizabeth about the meeting but I’m not telling her about Emily. I want to wait until she’s stronger.”

“I’ll go home and give Laura the update,” Luke sighed. “Cowboy, you and the dark prince might as well come with me. There’s nothing we can do here right now.”

The trio filed out and Sonny turned back to Jason. “What do you want to do?”

“Keep Emily under lock and key for now,” Jason murmured. “I know what should be done about her but…”

“We can’t,” Sonny finished. “I understand. I don’t know how she justified this in her mind but…” he trailed off and shook his head.

“I’ll go upstairs and make sure Elizabeth is ready for the meeting,” Jason told him. “I’ll meet you in the parking garage.”

Morgan Penthouse: Elizabeth’s Bedroom

Jason knocked on the door before testing the doorknob. He was surprised when it twisted freely, indicating the door was open. He pushed it inward. Elizabeth was curled up in a large armchair near the window, staring out over the harbor.

“Elizabeth?” he said softly.

She glanced over at him. “Did you need something?”

“The Families called a meeting—and they want you there.” He crossed the room and kneeled next to her. “Your things are back from the apartment and Dara has cancelled the annulment.”

Elizabeth laughed bitterly. “So I guess you’re stuck with me, huh?”

He took her hand in his—rubbing his finger over the simple gold band of her wedding ring. “You’re stuck with me, too,” he pointed out.

“I wish…” she trailed off and sighed.

“What?” Jason pressed.

“I wish that this were real,” she breathed. She met his eyes. “I wish that we were married because we loved each other, that Laura was your daughter…I wish that you loved me.”

He stared at her for a moment, seemingly stunned at her words and part of him wanted to admit that he’d wished for the same as well. She dropped her chin into her chest and sighed.

With his free hand he tipped her face back up and traced the smooth line of her jaw. “What if I told you that I did?” Jason asked quietly.

She met his eyes—her gaze hesitant and a little bewildered. “Jason…”

He leaned forward and brushed his lips over hers. When he pulled back, she was still staring at him, her eyes wide with surprise. Before he could pull back any further, she caught his mouth again and kissed him hard, taking advantage of the moment.

He gripped her hips and pulled her off the chair and into his lap, thrusting his tongue past her willing lips. The kiss was wild and carnal, each only too aware that it’d been too long since they’d touched one another like this.

She raked her nails down the fabric of his blue t-shirt and he buried his hands in her long dark hair. He used the position to yank her head back so he could trail his lips down her neck, occasionally nipping at the soft skin.

Elizabeth yanked his shirt up and almost had it over his head when his cell phone rang. They broke apart abruptly and Elizabeth blinked, her chest heaving from the exertion of the passionate encounter. “Jason…”

He took a moment to calm his breathing before yanking his phone out of his back pocket. “Yeah?” He closed his eyes. Sonny. Jesus, he’d forgotten all about meeting him downstairs—forgotten all about the meeting with the Families.

“We’ll be right down.” Jason hung up and put the phone back in his pocket. “We have to get to the meeting.”

Elizabeth nodded and bit her lip. “What just happened here?” she asked quietly.

“Something I think we’ve both been thinking about for a while,” Jason admitted. He stood and pulled her to her feet. “Let’s talk about it when we get home, okay?”

“Okay.” She found a pair of sneakers and slid her feet into them. “Let’s get this over with then.”

No Name

The representatives were seated around the table, looking grim and disappointed. Ric Lansing’s death had been the best news they’d received all year and if they hadn’t seen the security tapes of Elizabeth Morgan being attacked, they might have thought Sonny had faked the deaths himself.

Sonny entered the room first and pulled out the chair so Elizabeth could sit down. She was limping a little on her sprained ankle and Jason had an arm around her waist, bracing her weight against him.

He helped into her chair and kept his hand tightly wrapped around one of hers.

Sammy Tagliatti cleared his throat. “First of all, I’d like to extend my apologies to Mrs. Morgan. We have viewed the tape and we are all very grateful that you are safe.”

Elizabeth did not acknowledge the words but kept her eyes trained on the table. Sonny clasped his hands together. “We launched a search but were unable to locate him. We have already made great strides in finding out who betrayed us.”

John O’Reilly nodded. “Ric Lansing is lower than scum,” he declared. “To treat any woman like that, especially a pregnant one—we have decided Elizabeth Morgan is no longer a threat to the organization.”

Her shoulders slumped and she closed her eyes. “Thank you,” she whispered.

Sammy nodded. “Yes—we are satisfied that she is willing to go to any lengths in which to protect herself from Lansing and the adoption has also satisfied us. However—we think it’s for the best you remain married.”

Michael Hernandez nodded in agreement. “It’s for security reasons. We will concentrate on finding Lansing and Faith,” he told Sonny. “Lansing has made it clear that retrieving Elizabeth is his primary goal. He will go for her again and you need to concentrate on keeping her safe.”

“I agree,” Sonny said. “Our lawyer has already stopped the annulment and Elizabeth has moved back into the penthouse. We appreciate your help in this situation.”

“Mrs. Morgan?” Sammy said.

She reluctantly met the mobster’s eyes and was surprised to find them kind and compassionate. “I would like to apologize for the way we have treated you and your unborn child. We are told that it is a girl?”

“Yes,” Elizabeth said softly. She glanced up at Jason, who squeezed her hand in response. “We’re naming her Laura.”

Thomas Caracas nodded. “Good, strong fine name. You and your daughter are under our protection as well, Mrs. Morgan and we will do our best to keep you both safe.”

“That is why we asked for you especially to be present this afternoon,” Sammy continued. “We thought an apology made face-to-face would mean more than one passed through Corinthos and Morgan.”

“Is that all?” Sonny asked. “We want to keep Elizabeth out of sight as much as possible. We’re installing a new security system at the Towers and she will have new guards.”

“We would like to hear more about the strides you have made in finding out the traitors in your organization,” Daniel Vega remarked. “Do you have names?”

“We know that Francis Corelli is one of them. He identified the bodies in France.” Sonny hesitated and looked to Jason.

“We know that someone close to the situation informed Faith Roscoe of the names of the guards working for us,” Jason admitted. “Faith knew Carly’s guards, Elizabeth’s guards and most of the ones who work at the building. We are already shuffling them out and moving new ones in.”

“Who is this person?” Hernandez asked. “Can you give us a name?”

Jason put his other hand on Elizabeth’s shoulder and sighed. “Emily Quartermaine.”

Elizabeth gasped and twisted in her chair. “No! It can’t be Emily!”

“Zander Smith discovered her involvement and brought her to us where she informed us.”

“Quartermaine…” Caracas frowned. “Isn’t that your sister, Morgan?”

“Yes,” Jason admitted.

“No, she’s covering for someone,” Elizabeth denied. “Emily’s my best friend—she wouldn’t do this to me.”

“What exactly did Faith Roscoe offer her in return?” O’Reilly asked.

“In return for the names of the guards, Emily was promised that the marriage between Elizabeth and Jason would come to an end without harm being done to either one of them. Unfortunately, Faith kept her word. With the annulment filed, she was free to do what she wanted to do. She got some guards to turn on us and they informed Ric of the security at the Towers,” Sonny revealed.

“I knew she was upset about the marriage…” Elizabeth blinked, her hands starting to tremble. “How could she do this?” She glared at Jason. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I wanted to wait until you were stronger,” Jason admitted. “We didn’t intend to say anything about it at this meeting but…”

“I’m sorry you had to find out like this,” Sammy told her. “A friend’s betrayal is one of the worst things that can ever happen.”

“I want to—I want to go home,” Elizabeth whispered. She stood. “Please—can we go?”

“Of course.” The men stood up as Jason helped Elizabeth from the room. Once they were out of earshot, Sammy looked at Sonny. “I’m sorry to hear about Ms. Quartermaine and I hope Mrs. Morgan can learn to accept the truth about her.”

“I sincerely hope we’re finished fighting this situation amongst us,” Sonny said quietly. “And that we can finally concentrate on the real villains. Ric Lansing and Faith Roscoe must be stopped.”

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