January 19, 2019

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Workshop: Bittersweet Rewritten

This is a little bit shorter and it represents Jason’s return. I didn’t really like the way I had plotted Jason’s return or how hard it was for me to write scenes where Jason explains himself. This is where I decided I had to change things.


Monday, October 7, 2002

Oasis Strip Club: Back Office

Zander checked his watch and thought about how long the ride to the airport would be once he was out of here. He’d been asked to come to Port Charles with Hector Ruiz as part of his entourage—but that had been a cover for him to check in with Nico and Roscoe and report back to Alcazar.

And now that Zander knew the fucking plan, he wasn’t sure he wanted to go to the meeting at all. Idiots.

“It’s suicide to carry out a hit on Sonny while the Families are in Port Charles,” Zander told them. “Luis doesn’t—”

“Hey. It’s not up to him,” Nico leaned forward. “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The organization has fallen apart since we took out Morgan. The Paradise is gone. We took out another club last week. The PCPD raided the warehouse twice—the drugs are all over the streets. We need to hit while we got the shot. Eventually Sonny is gonna right the ship—”

“You got cold feet, Smith, that’s your fucking problem,” Roscoe said with a sneer. “Alcazar tee’d us up for this, but there’s no reason Nico and I can’t finish this our way. We’ll divide the territory, and he gets what he wants. Sonny gone.”

Sure, because it would be that easy. Zander fought the urge to roll his eyes.

“Sonny isn’t gonna see it coming—” Nico said.

“You shatter the truce at a meeting like this, none of the Families will do business with you,” Zander retorted. “Maybe you get Vega. Tagliatti’s a creep. He can be bought. But you know Anthony Zacchara is fucking ruthless. He will take you and this city apart if you go against all the codes—”

“You scared of a little old man in a wheelchair?” Nico snorted, held out his empty tumbler to Lenny who promptly refilled it with tequila. “You’re not half the man I thought you were.”

And that was why Nico had been remained secondary in every organization he’d ever served. Under Frank Smith, Anthony Moreno, and Joseph Sorel—Nico thought too much of himself and too little of everyone else.

And Roscoe was just an idiot.

Why the hell had a man like Luis Alcazar trusted these assholes with destroying Sonny Corinthos? Why was he content to sit back and let them fuck up a damn good opportunity? They were so close to making this work, but at the crucial moment, Alcazar had stepped back.

“Your guys got their spot picked out at the restaurant?” Roscoe asked. “You got your best on this?”

“You’re using your own guys?” Zander asked. “What if it goes wrong—”

“You know what, Smith? I think we can handle it from here” Nico rose to his feet. “You did good for us, helping to get Morgan out of here. And that’s what you really wanted, isn’t it? So let’s just walk away. You go back to Ruiz and Miami, and leave Port Charles to us.” His dark eyes glinted. “It’s a one time offer. You go now, and we’ll call it quits.”

It was supposed to be a warning, but Zander didn’t feel threatened.  “You know what? He smirked as he stood. “Not a problem. I wanted Jason Morgan gone. He’s gone. You can do what you want with what’s left.”

Once he was in his car in the parking lot, he made a short call to Hector Ruiz’s suite at the Port Charles Hotel before heading to the airport.

This was going to fall apart tomorrow, and Roscoe and Nico were going to get themselves killed, but not before they surrendered Zander and Alcazar’s name. And probably even toss in Ruiz’s for good measure.

Zander wanted to make sure Luis Alcazar and Hector Ruiz knew which side he was on once the shit hit the fan.

A Room Across from the No Name

Jason edged the blinds back from the window, adjusting the scope of his rifle. “You got your guys around the corner?”

“Yeah,” Johnny said as he loaded a magazine into his handgun. “They’re watching the traffic. And we got cars on either end of the street ready to block any cars.” He joined Jason at the window. “How do you think they’re gonna do it?”

“They haven’t done anything we expected,” Jason said after a moment. “You’d think a drive by, but—”

“You get the sense these assholes have watched Godfather one too many times,” Johnny muttered. “It’s not supposed to be a manual, but some of these assholes—”

“The restaurant has been cleared twice. And yeah, they checked the bathrooms,” Jason added dryly. He checked his watch. “They’re already inside, so they probably won’t make a move before the meeting was over.”

“And if they don’t make a move?”

“I’m gonna take a lawyer to the PCPD in the morning and tell them I was out of town.” Jason sighed. “Who is replacing Alexis? Did Sonny find someone?”

“The new partner in her practice checked out for now—” Johnny hesitated. “Listen, man, this isn’t my business and it’s not really the kind of friendship we have, but you should go to Elizabeth before the PCPD—”

“It’s not your business,” Jason said shortly.

“Yeah, yeah, it’s just—Sonny told me she didn’t know. And that he eventually did tell her, but I overheard her arguing with Carly—I just wanted a coffee, and they were going at it in the courtyard—”

“Johnny.”

“She just seemed like she was really going after Carly about it being her fault for destroying your life or something. And taking away her future with you.” He shrugged. “I just…thought it was a weird way to say it if she knew the truth. Are you sure—”

“He told her. Or he brought her to the house and sent her inside so I could tell her,” Jason muttered.

“I don’t know her that well, but, hell, man, we all know about her and you. I just figured after everything, you’d tell her—”

“Johnny—”

“Not my circus, not my monkeys,” the warehouse manager muttered as he peered through the curtain again. “Just seemed a bit…cruel. But I guess that’s Sonny’s influence. He never did forgive Carly for last year, and hell, Brenda really broke him into pieces. He probably didn’t think Elizabeth would be able to handle it.” Johnny eyed him. “Just surprised you agreed.”

“I didn’t—” Jason shook his head. He didn’t explain himself to anyone, but— “Sonny was supposed to tell her the truth but he backed out at the last minute. Said something about Roscoe’s guys watching her at the diner.”

“Yeah, I’ll admit he was sort of right on that. Dock workers were practically living there for a few days, and I caught a few of Nico’s guys last week. I guess they were testing her—and then you know, that crap with Zander. I mean, I guess it was useful that she didn’t have to pretend when it really mattered, but hell, still seems cold to me.”

Johnny waited, but Jason said nothing. What could he say? That yeah, Sonny had been partially right—that Elizabeth was probably the reason these assholes thought he was dead. Did that make it right? Just because Sonny’s gamble had worked, it made it okay?

“You never said what you think they’re gonna do—” Johnny said finally.

“Drive-by is the easiest. If it were anywhere else, maybe they’d have someone walk up to take the shot, and have the car waiting, but—”

“Not enough people around to make that work.” Johnny rolled his shoulders. “How long do you think this meeting is going to last?”

No Name Restaurant: Back Room

 

Sonny kept his face expressionless as Sammy Tagliatti expressed concern about the rise in drug traffic and Daniel Vega asked about the two arsons at his club.

At the other end of the table, Hector and Anthony just smirked at him. He couldn’t wait for those assholes to die—then again, considering that the Ruiz sons were worse than the father, maybe not.

“We’ve been having some issues,” Sonny granted. “We’ve narrowed it down and will likely be taking care of it in a few days. A week, maybe more—”

“Convenient,” Tagliatti growled.

“We’ve had our eye on some of the men who worked with Sorel.” Sonny spread his hands out, as if to say What can you do? “I had hopes for some of the men, but anyone who followed that idiot probably isn’t going anywhere anyway. We’re just wrapping up some things—make sure we have all the loose ends.”

“Care to be more specific?” Zacchara asked, lifting one bushy eyebrow.

“No. Your shipments will get through. With the exception of the warehouse explosion—which the police ruled an accident, by the way, no one here has been inconvenienced.” Sonny shrugged. “I don’t know what we’re doing here. You’re making more money with me in the last year than you did any year since…fuck, when have you made more money?”

“He’s not wrong about that,” Vega allowed to the others. “Still—”

“I don’t micro manage your territories,” Sonny continued. “We all got idiots who work for us. Some of them are even related to us,” he said in Ruiz’s direction. “I’m working through it. Losing Jason Morgan—that was a personal blow. Not a business blow. He wasn’t involved anymore.”

“Please.” Ruiz snorted. “He fired the boy you sent to me—”

“Because the idiot harassed Jason’s girlfriend. And then punched her in a bar fight. He’s lucky he walked out of Port Charles breathing.”

“Are you satisfied, Hector?” Tagliatti asked. “You called this meeting.”

The elder Cuban man sent a scathing glare at the Philadelphia don, who just shrugged. A chill slid down Sonny’s spine.

If Zander was a spy—had fed someone information on the organization and Jason’s habits—and Ruiz himself had asked for a meeting—

“Is there anything else?” Sonny asked. He rose to his feet. “If not, I have a territory to run.”

“Get it straightened out,” Zacchara said with a snarl. “Or I won’t be backing you the next time an upstart comes after you.”

“Hey, you do what you gotta do.” Sonny shrugged. “Now if you’ll excuse me.” He turned and waited as Max helped him into his overcoat. “Have a nice dinner.”

He strode out of the back room, across the dining room—sparsely populated—and then stopped for just a moment in the lobby, peered out through the glass door.

—-

Across the street, Johnny flipped open his phone to take a call. “Yeah?” He looked at Jason. “A car is making a turn—driving slowly.”

Jason exhaled slowly, slid the curtain open slightly, checked his rife again. “Make sure we’re in position at the end of the block.”

“You got it.”

——

“Boss?” Max asked.

“Stay behind me when we go out,” Sonny murmured to Benny and Max. “You’re not wearing vests—”

“Boss—”

“Sonny—”

“I’ll go outside, and you two go for the car.” Sonny turned to his guard and manager. “Go quickly. Get around the corner. If they make a move, I don’t want any casualties.”

He opened the door.

——

“Car is fifty feet away,” Jason murmured as he trained the rifle scope. He watched as Sonny stepped out, and then Max and Benny moved away from the mobster, disappearing towards the parking lot.

“Twenty feet.”

“It’s slowing down,” Johnny said from the other window.

—-

Sonny saw the car before he saw the window sliding down. He ducked away, moving fast towards the valet booth that had been left empty for the evening, but before he could make it to safety, the night exploded with gunfire.

Pop! Pop! Pop!

 

Sonny gritted as lead dug into his shoulder, the metal burning its way through skin. Another in his leg.

But the gunfire didn’t stop—bullets were raining down the front of the No Name—

As  Sonny slumped to the ground and turned his head slightly towards the street, he saw men going towards the building where Jason and Johnny were staked out.

And then everything went black.

Elizabeth & Gia’s Apartment: Living Room

Elizabeth grimaced as a disgusting demon began slicing pieces of Willow’s skin and eating it. “Jesus Christ, what is this stuff? I liked it better when it just was badly dressed vampires—”

“Just tell me when it’s over,” Gia muttered, putting her hands over her eyes.

Footsteps pounded down the stairs and then they both heard fist against the door. “Gia! You open this door right now!”

Gia frowned as Elizabeth switched off the television. “Marcus? What on Earth is wrong with you—” She yanked open the door. “Civilized—”

“Did you know?” Taggert demanded as he shoved his way past his sister and turned angry eyes at Elizabeth. “Did you?”

Elizabeth just stared at him, shook her head. “Did I—”

“Marcus, what the damn hell is wrong with you?” Gia slapped his shoulder. “Tell us what’s going on or you can get out. We have rights—”

“There was a shooting at the No Name tonight,” Taggert bit out. “Sonny is on his way to the hospital.”

Elizabeth swallowed. “Is—what happened? Why would I know that?”

“Because shots were fired in another building across the street,” he continued. “And several men are also on their way to the hospital with injuries. Including Morgan.”

“What?”

Elizabeth didn’t have to fake the shock and fury as she shot to her feet. The paralyzing fear that they had gone through all of this for nothing—that Jason would still be critically injured enough to go to the hospital when she damn well knew the organization took care of non-threatening conditions on their own.

“What are you talking about?” she demanded, her voice trembling. “That’s not—That’s not possible!”

“Marcus, you were here the day after he died. Why the hell do you think she would know anything? How the hell is Jason in the hospital? He’s dead. We buried him.” Gia hesitated. “Didn’t we?” She cast her eyes to Elizabeth. “Sonny—he never let—”

“You told me not to insist on seeing him,” Elizabeth said, as tears slid down her cheeks. Nothing about this was false, she realized. The disgust she felt in lying—in using Taggert’s affection for her—to keep Jason and Sonny’s secret—

It was easy to make that disgust look like shock and horror.

“Sonny told me he was dead. Why would he do that if it’s not true?” Elizabeth shook her head. “No. They—they were wrong. It’s someone else. How am I supposed to trust any of you? You all—there were photos, weren’t they? And someone performed—” And then she simply stopped. “I don’t understand what’s going on.”

“You got the sensitivity of an ox,” Gia muttered, smacking her brother’s arm again. “What’s going on? Are you sure it’s him? She’s right. Y’all fucked it up the first time, and now—”

“We’ll get to the bottom of it, you can be sure. I got a page from Capelli at work. He’s cleaning up the scene—not there’s much of a scene.” Taggert hesitated. “I don’t know anyone’s injuries—” He stopped as his beeper vibrated at his belt. He took it out, grimaced. “I gotta report to the station.” He looked at Elizabeth. “I’m—I’m sorry.”

“If this is true,” Elizabeth said slowly, “then…I don’t know. I don’t think it’s you who needs to be sorry.” She looked at Gia. “Can we go? I don’t think I can drive.”

“Yeah, yeah, sure.” Gia reached for her purse. “Can we show you the way out, Marcus? You moron.”

“Yeah, yeah, shut up,” her brother muttered as he led the way into the tiny landing that separated the two apartments on the second floor of the Brownstone. He hurried down the steps as Gia locked the door behind her.

Elizabeth couldn’t bring herself to move until the front door had closed behind him. “So this is how it’s gonna be—”

“My brother is an idiot—”

“He wasn’t wrong. I did know—”

“You didn’t know that it was all gonna blow up like this. What the fuck is wrong with these people? They can’t ever give you a heads up?” Gia scowled as she and Elizabeth started down the stairs.

“Are you surprised?” Elizabeth asked. Gia pulled open the front door, allowing the chill of October to fill the foyer. “Because I’m not.” She sighed. “Nothing surprised me anymore. Let’s just get this over with.”

Tuesday, September 8, 2002

AJ & Courtney’s Home: Living Room

The special report from WKPC faded to black, the red breaking news alert proclaiming the resurrection of Jason Morgan lasting seconds longer.

Courtney pressed the power button on the remote and turned to Michael whose brow was furrowed. “Michael?”

“I told you,” the little boy said calmly. “It was like Mommy.” He frowned at his stepmother and father, both of whom were in shock. “How come this keeps happening? Why don’t people know how to tell when people are dead and not?”

“Um…” AJ blinked. How did he explain this when he didn’t know what he was thinking himself?

“I hope ‘Lizabeth knew,” Michael continued in that wise beyond his years tone that AJ was beginning to worry about. They’d be lucky if he didn’t spend years in therapy at this rate. “She was really sad.”

Courtney hesitated. “I hope so, too,” she murmured. “Are…are you okay?”

“I told you he was okay,” Michael reminded her. “Is it time to brush my teeth?”

“Um, yeah. I’ll be up to tuck you in a minute.” AJ watched as Michael started towards the back of the house where bedrooms and bathroom were. When he heard the running water of the sink, he looked at his wife. “Do you think—”

“I think Sonny lied to her,” Courtney interrupted. “At first. She knew by the time Emily left, I think. I thought something was weird with her, you know? But what did I know? But yeah, I think he lied to her. And then told her.”

“For what—” AJ broke off. “Are…she lied to you, too, then.” And everyone else.

“Of course she did.” Courtney got to her feet and grabbed Michael’s discarded ice cream bowl. “What did you think she’d do? If she did know, and I’m only guessing she did, if she’d told me—I would have had to lie to you. Or break a promise to her. She didn’t put me in that position.” Courtney grimaced. “I should call her, but she’s probably at the hospital.”

AJ followed her into the kitchen and leaned against the counter, watching as Courtney loaded dishes into the dishwasher. “I don’t know what to think. I mean, he doesn’t owe me anything. Any…connection I thought we had, it’s mostly in my head, I know that—”

“Why would he fake his death on purpose?” Courtney asked, irritated. “Why would he put everyone through that? Your grandmother. Emily. Elizabeth. I’ll never believe she knew the entire time. I was there when Sonny came in. The light just went out of her, you know? You saw her.”

“Yeah, I guess.” AJ waited. “I’m angry. I’m pissed as hell at him for doing this to our family, but I guess…that doesn’t matter. They’re not his family.”

“Well, I imagine tonight you’ll have to get in line. There’s going to be a long line of people pissed at him.”

General Hospital: Emergency Room

 

Behind a curtain in the emergency room, Jason waited for someone to come deal with the deep bullet graze in his upper arm.

If he weren’t bleeding like a stuck pig, he’d already be out of the hospital. Already trying to find Elizabeth.

This was not how it was supposed to happen. This was supposed to be a clean operation, and Jason would have gone to her. Included her in the end of this. Let her know what was happening.

Instead, Jason knew she’d likely found out from the news or an interested party. By the time they had cleaned up the scene, got the cars out of there and arranged for Sonny to get to the hospital, the PCPD had been on the scene. They had only just managed to get the shooters to a secure location for questioning.

This entire plan had been a disaster from the moment they had concocted it, and Jason knew it was only going to get worse.

The curtain was shoved back as a furious Bobbie stalked past it, her dark eyes flashing. “You son of a bitch.”

“Bobbie—”

“IF you weren’t already shot, I’d take a gun to you myself—” Bobbie pressed her lips together and jerked a tray forward as she cut Jason’s t-shirt away from the shoulder wound. “What were you thinking? No, don’t answer that, I don’t know what the hell answer you could give—”

“I’m sorry—”

“Don’t bother with that either—”

She said nothing else as she focused on cleaning and bandaging the wound, but when she had taped the final piece on—

“You destroyed her.”

Jason didn’t need to ask what she meant or who Bobbie was talking about. He exhaled slowly. “Yeah. I know. It wasn’t—it wasn’t supposed to be like this—”

“When you came home last spring,” Bobbie said, her jaw so tight that it looked like stone, “we sat and talked about Elizabeth. About how she had worked so hard to put herself back together. I told you—”

“I know—”

“Then how could you do this to her?” Bobbie cried. “To me? To Michael? Why don’t any of us matter? How could you put any of this through this?”

“It wasn’t—” Jason stopped. He couldn’t make this go away. Couldn’t undo the damage. Bobbie was absolutely right. In the moment, he had agreed to a plan that completely dismantled his entire life.

And he couldn’t understand why.

“She was supposed to know,” Jason managed to say. “Sonny wasn’t supposed to—” He shook his head. “It doesn’t make it better—”

“No, it really doesn’t.” Bobbie closed her eyes. “I consider you part of my family, Jason. Not because of Michael or Carly. Or because of Elizabeth. Because of you. You watched me grieve for my daughter, and then consoled me when it turned out to be a lie. You were a lifeline to Elizabeth in her own grief. How could you think that this would be okay?”

“I—” Jason faltered. He swallowed. And was honest. “I thought as long as Elizabeth knew, that…it wouldn’t really matter to anyone else.”

“What?” Bobbie reared back, her eyes wide. “We thought you were dead—your grandparents, your entire family grieved for you. They may not always show it, but the Quartermaines loved you—” She paused. “Jason—”

“It’s not—” Jason shook his head. “I’m not Jason Quartermaine—”

“Do you think they don’t know that? Do you think that means they love you any less?” Bobbie demanded.  They can miss Jason Quartermaine and still love the man you are today.” She paused. “You’re trying to prove to the world that you’re not damaged, but you’re the only one who thinks so.”

“Yeah. Maybe.” Jason hesitated. “I have to go. I have to find Elizabeth—”

“You’re as good as you’re going to get,” Bobbie muttered. She sighed and then hugged him tightly. “Thank you for not being dead. You do anything this stupid again, and I’ll kill you myself.”

General Hospital: Emergency Room

Elizabeth was getting nowhere with the nurse behind the desk. She wasn’t family, so she didn’t get to know Jason Morgan’s status.

“A bunch of assholes,” Gia muttered as they stepped back from the desk. “C’mon, let’s try to find Bobbie—”

But before they could get far, Monica Quartermaine descended upon them.

“How could you?” Jason’s mother demanded angrily. “We allowed you into our home. You sat with Lila. You grieved—”

“Monica—” Elizabeth began, but her throat closed. “I didn’t—”

“What kind of person can be so cold? So cruel?”

“Whoa, whoa, back up—time out—” Gia waved her arms. “Dr. Quartermaine, she didn’t know—”

“You expect me to believe that Jason faked his own death and didn’t tell you?” Monica demanded, her words like claws raking down Elizabeth’s flaming cheeks.

“I don’t—” She couldn’t speak, so she just shook her head. “I can’t—”

“She didn’t know,” Gia repeated harshly, this time stepping between the doctor and her roommate. “You want to go at someone? Go drag Sonny Corinthos out of surgery and give him this shit. He came to Kelly’s and told her Jason had been shot in the head. Your goddamn hospital signed a death certificate. And you want come at Elizabeth? For what exactly?”

“I—” Monica faltered. She looked at Elizabeth. “I—”

“You’re not the only one who thinks she should have known. But she didn’t. My brother came over and shouted at her, too. We’re here trying to find out what the hell is going on, so why don’t you make yourself useful and tell us if he’s dead this time or not—”

“Gia—” Elizabeth said, weakly. “Don’t—”

“I just—”

A curtain shoved back and Jason strode out into the emergency room proper, Bobbie scowling behind him. He stopped short when he saw the three women standing there.

Monica took a step towards him. “Jason—” She swallowed hard. “You—how could you do this—”

Jason spared her a brief look before focusing on Elizabeth. “Hey. I’m sorry—this wasn’t—”

It wasn’t until this moment that Elizabeth realized that part of her had thought that day at the safe house was a hallucination. That yes, she had known Jason was alive, but she hadn’t…accepted the reality of that.

Part of her had still kept going as if it weren’t true.

Except it was true. Jason was alive, he’d faked his death, she’d been forced to lie, and now he was standing here in the middle of the emergency room—looking at her as if nothing had changed.

As if he hadn’t been all but dead for a month.

As if she hadn’t grieved for him. Mourned him. Buried him.

“I’m sorry, I can’t—” She sucked in a deep breath. “I can’t do this—”

She spun around and rushed out the doors.

Jason started after her, but Monica stepped in front of him. “You lied to her,” she said flatly. “And you lied to everyone else. I don’t know you don’t give a damn me or your father, but I would have thought Emily and Lila mattered.”

“Monica—” Jason took a deep breath. “Listen. I can’t—I have to go fix this—”

“Fix it?” Monica laughed harshly. “You think I’m going to be the only person who assumed she knew? Apparently, I’m not even the first person tonight to come after her, and for that I’ll have to apologize—but how in the hell do you think you can fix this? You pretended to be dead, Jason.”

“I know that!” Jason snapped.

“Your grandfather went into his suite with Lila for days,” Monica said simply. “He looks a thousand years older. And Lila was devastated. Emily could barely breathe through her tears. You wanted to be free of the Quartermaines, Jason? This might finally do it.  I don’t know how any of us could ever trust you again.”

She stepped aside. “But go ahead. Go fix things with Elizabeth, if you can. At least someone’s opinion matters to you.”

General Hospital: Parking Lot

Outside, in the parking lot, when the bitter wind hit her cheeks, the tears began to freeze against her skin. Elizabeth stopped and turned back to Gia.

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.”

“I’m not sure there’s a manual for this, Liz—”

“I just—” She shook her head. “I can’t do this. I don’t know how to do this. I thought I knew—I knew people were going to be angry, but—” Elizabeth sighed. “You shouldn’t keep…going after people on my behalf, Gia—”

“First of all, I’m not even lying. You didn’t know,” Gia said flatly. “Who gives a shit if you found out later? It doesn’t change the fact that you didn’t lie. Not on purpose. And by the time you did, what choice did you have? And it’s no one’s god damn business what you knew. They ain’t paying your bills. You don’t owe anyone anything, Elizabeth. Just yourself.”

“I wish I believed that,” she murmured.

The door opened behind them, and Jason strode out. “Elizabeth—”

“What part of her running away did you not get, you jackass?” Gia snarled. She poked at him. “And what the hell did I say about hurting her? You think I’m afraid of you—”

“Gia—” Elizabeth sighed. “Go get the car, okay? I’ll…I’ll be right there. We should check in with Courtney.”

“Yeah, hopefully she’s still talking to you,” Gia said with another dirty look towards Jason. But mercifully, she stalked off to do as Elizabeth asked.

“I’m sorry,” Jason said, but she couldn’t see him that well in the dim lights of the parking lot. Couldn’t see his eyes.  “I can’t go back and not—can we just go somewhere and talk?” He paused. “Please.”

That was the last thing Elizabeth wanted to do because she didn’t know what the hell she was going to say, but then she saw a dark sedan turn into the lot. She knew that car—it was always parked outside the Brownstone.

The PCPD had arrived.

Elizabeth waited until the car had parked and the doors had opened before she spoke again.

“The last thing I want to do is go anywhere with you,” she said.  “You think you being alive is enough? You think I’m just going to run and jump into your arms because it was a lie? You lied to me, Jason. And—” Her voice broke. “How am I ever supposed to trust you again?”

“Elizabeth—”

“Trouble in Paradise, Anger Boy?” Taggart mocked as he and Capelli approached.

She saw Jason frown—had he not seen them before now? Hadn’t he seen them pull in as well?

“What, are you here to yell at me some more?” Elizabeth demanded, coolly. “You gonna haul me in with Jason?”

Some of the swagger disappeared from Taggert as they closed the distance between them. “Elizabeth, I’m sorry—”.

And for the first time in weeks, the universe was on her side, because Gia pulled up then. Elizabeth opened the car, and then looked at Jason again. “I think you’re going to have your hands too full to worry about me, anyway. Wouldn’t be the first time.”

She got into the car, and Gia drove away.

“So that last dig—” she said after a long moment. “Was that for my brother’s benefit?”

“Not entirely.” Elizabeth let her forehead rest against the window. “Let’s go to Courtney’s. If she’s gonna yell at me, too, I’d rather get it over with tonight.”

“She won’t. I only said that to get at Jason.” Gia paused. “If my brother hadn’t showed up—”

“He wanted to go somewhere and talk.”

“Would you have gone?”

“No.” Elizabeth sighed. “No. I can’t—I don’t know what I would say to him. I’m so angry, Gia. So hurt. I don’t know what supposed to be feeling. How I’m supposed—”

“Stop worrying about what you’re supposed to do, Liz. And just do what feels right. You want him to give you space while things settle? Then do that. You want him to get away from you because you won’t be able to look at him again? Then do that. But stop worrying about what you’re supposed to do.”

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Workshop: Bittersweet Rewritten

This next section represents the period where Liz finds out the truth and has to lie. Roughly Chapter Twenty-Four through Twenty-Seven. Some of this stuff, particularly this first scene where Liz finds out the truth, was sooo hard to cut. Because I really did kind of want this confrontational moment with Jason and Liz. But I just kind of accepted that I didn’t think Jason would plan to fake his own death the way Sonny did. Still, I’m glad people will be able to read it now 😛


Stone Cottage: Living Room

A part of Jason had already accepted that Sonny had been lying to him in some sort of way. He must have known it.

Because when Sonny pushed open the door, and Elizabeth walked inside—

It was written on her face.

And he wasn’t surprised.

“What—” Her lips formed the word, but the sound was so faint. Her face, already so fair, paled. She stepped forward, just a moment. Swayed.

“J-Jason?”

“Elizabeth.” He stepped around an arm chair, started across the room towards her—and then she was in his arms, sobbing, clinging to him.

“Oh, my God. You’re alive—” Her fingers, cold and trembling, framed his cheeks, her fingernails scraping against his skin as she touched him. “Are you real? Is this happening? What’s going on? I—I don’t understand—”

Jason took her hands in his, bringing them to his lips, kissing them. Fighting the anger that boiled within. Behind Elizabeth, Sonny stood as if made from stone in the open doorway.

“I’m real,” he murmured. He kissed her mouth, her lips trembling as she pressed herself against him, returning his caresses greedily.

For a moment, he forgot the man behind them and just—lost himself in this woman he loved, this woman who had believed him to be dead.

Because in a few minutes—Elizabeth would start to think.

And this might be the last time he would be able to touch her.

“I don’t understand. Why didn’t you tell anyone? Where have you been? What happened—” Her words tumbled over one another as if her brain couldn’t keep up and then cut off as if someone had switched off a radio.

Elizabeth stepped back—and then she looked back at Sonny. Then to Jason, who just stood there. What could he say? How could he make this better?

There was no going back. No way to make this not happen.

“It’s my fault,” Sonny said quietly. “I’m sorry.”

“S-sorry—” Elizabeth pressed her hands to her mouth as the truth begin to sink in. She stepped back. Stepped away from them both. “Oh, God.” Her voice was harsh now, almost a whisper torn from her soul. “Oh, God. It was a lie.”

“Elizabeth—” Jason began, but stopped. What the hell could he possibly say? He cast a hot glare at his supposed best friend. “You son of a bitch.”

“I did it,” Sonny said, looking at her. Not making eye contact with him. “I lied to you, Elizabeth. Not Jason.”

“I-I d-don’t understand—” She shook her head. Then took a deep breath. She held her hand up, her palm slowly closing in a tight fist. “You told me he was dead. A week ago. You came to Kelly’s. You—You told me—”

“You were supposed to tell her the truth,” Jason said, his hands in fists at his side. “What the hell—”

“I got to Kelly’s,” Sonny said slowly. “And Roscoe’s men were in there. They were in there all day, weren’t they, Elizabeth?”

With angry eyes, she nodded firmly. “If you mean the rush of dock workers we had from about 4 until-until—yes. They were—is that why you did it?”

“They were there to watch you,” Sonny continued. “If I pulled you aside, it wouldn’t—they wouldn’t believe it. I thought they’d act—I didn’t think we’d go this far, Elizabeth.” He looked to Jason, anguished. “I thought they’d make a move within days. But they didn’t believe it at first—”

“I don’t give a damn about them!” Jason cut in. “You told me you would tell her—”

“Why didn’t you?” Elizabeth said quietly. “Sonny doesn’t owe me anything.” She looked at him as Sonny flinched.  “Not friendship. Not loyalty. Those are just words. He never promised me anything—”

“Elizabeth—”

“But you—” Those gorgeous eyes he loved so much turned to him, and he could see in her eyes that he’d been right.

She would never forgive this lie.

“You did. So why didn’t you tell me?”

“He couldn’t. Everything happened—”

“Get out, Sonny,” Jason said in a low voice. “Get out. You’ve said your piece.”

“But—”

“Get out,” he repeated for the third time, and this time, Sonny did with a slow exhale. When the door closed behind him, Jason looked back at Elizabeth. “Please. Please sit down. Let me try—You have a right to be angry, but please, before you walk out—before you—”

Elizabeth closed her eyes. “An hour ago, I was at your funeral,” she said softly. “And all I could think was…you didn’t belong in the ground.”

His chest ached as pressure built in his head. She’d thought he was dead. If he’d been a man who could dream, this would have been the stuff of nightmares. “Elizabeth—”

“I—I told Sonny we had done it wrong. That you needed to be free, and he brought me here. Because I wanted to talk about cremating you so we could let you be free. I was so scared you wouldn’t be able to rest in peace, stuck in the goddamn ground, and I guess that was too far for him—”

“I’ve been asking to talk to you since the minute it happened,” Jason cut in. “I told him if he didn’t bring you today, I would contact you myself. Elizabeth—”

“In the middle of Kelly’s, where I work, in front of my best friends and strangers, Sonny told me you had been shot.” Elizabeth’s eyes burned into his. “And that I couldn’t see you because you’d been shot in the head.”

God damn it. Jason closed his eyes, bowed his head. “Let me—”

“And whatever crime scene you faked, whoever you paid to doctor the photos,” Elizabeth said with a snarl, “must be worth every penny because Taggert of all people told me the same. He hates you, Jason, and he was almost in tears when he was telling me not to insist on seeing the body. That you wouldn’t want that to be my last memory—” She turned away, pressing her fist against her mouth.

“I’ve sat with your grandmother, with Emily. With AJ. With Michael. God, Bobbie. All these people who love you. Who are grieving tonight as I stand here, racked with guilt. Michael—Michael—” She laughed harshly as he began to understand that there was no form of this lie Elizabeth would have been able to look past.

“Michael is the only one of us who knows how screwed up everyone in this world is because he says you’ll come back just like—” Elizabeth closed her mouth. “Carly. Just like Carly.”

“Elizabeth, I can—”

“There’s no explanation you can give me that will change the last week.” Elizabeth shook her head. “I haven’t been able to focus. Haven’t been able to think, but now—she came to see me last week and I told her to go to you. She did, didn’t she?”

“Yeah.” There was no point in trying to avoid it. Jason could see now that it was always going to come back to this. To Carly.

“And because of what she said, you faked your death—what, was she supposed to set you up? Was that the deal?” Elizabeth demanded. “And you went along with it?”

“It all happened fast. Please just give me a second—”

“Carly came to you because she was supposed to set you up in an ambush. And you went.” Elizabeth stared at him for a long time.

There was maybe a handful of feet between them, but it might as well have been thousands for as far away as she felt right now.

“Someone kidnapped her,” Jason began, even as he told himself not to. That trying to explain Carly’s actions would not help. But he had to be honest. Had to hope he could change her mind. Keep her from leaving. “If I hadn’t gone to the meeting—”

“Then they would know she had told you the truth.” Elizabeth snorted. “Of course. So you leapt at the first dumb ass plan you and Sonny could concoct to keep Carly safe.” She shook her head. “So what’s the plan, Jason?”

“What?” Jarred by the abrupt change in topic.

“Sonny said this was supposed to be over by now,” she said, her tone so scathing he almost didn’t recognize her voice. “What’s the endgame? How long am I going to have to pretend to be the grieving girlfriend?”

“I—” He faltered. “I don’t know. I wanted to tell you the truth—”

“So I could lie to everyone and grieve for you while you destroyed your life to save Carly.” Elizabeth nodded. “Great. You get a gold star—” She stopped. “That’s not fair. I’m—I get it, Jason. It happened fast. You did the best you could under the circumstances.”

The words should have been reassuring.

They weren’t.

“Elizabeth—”

“So we’re just…waiting for something to happen that will tell you who kidnapped Carly or who’s the big bad or something?” Elizabeth asked with an arch of her brow. “That sounds like a great plan.”

“It’s—” An idiotic plan, Jason could see that now. And he couldn’t quite understand how it happened. How they had managed to talk themselves into it.

“I’ll do what I’m supposed to do.” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “This last week has been—I’ve been drowning. Reminding myself to take my next breath. Berating myself for missing time with you. For not having a future with you. And now it’s a lie. So I need to go, Jason. Because I am so angry—so destroyed by all of it that—” Her voice trembled.

Jason stepped forward. “Elizabeth—”

“I need time. I need to space. Because I—” She took a deep breath. “Because it does matter you didn’t intend to put me through that. And I can’t seem to—I can’t seem to separate my anger from knowing that. And I stay here, I’m going to keep talking. And I’m going to say things I can’t ever take back, and they might not even be true.”

She came to him then, placing a cold hand on his cheek and kissing him again.  He clung to her, because now he really thought this was the last time. That she was, in her own way, saying good bye.

And he didn’t have the words to make it stop.

“I love you,” she told him, but the words weren’t in her eyes. Not like they had been before. Those beautiful eyes were closed to him in a way he didn’t understand. Had never seen. “And thank God you’re still alive. Because I need you here to be angry with. I love you, Jason. But I have to go.”

“I love you, too.”

She stepped back. “I’ll send Sonny back in so you can yell at him.” Elizabeth paused with a bitter sigh. “I think he genuinely thought if you didn’t lie, it wouldn’t be so bad. God, he really doesn’t get it.”

She opened the door and beckoned for Sonny to come back in. “Here’s how this is going to go. I’m going to go wait in the car for you,” she told Sonny in a clipped tone that suggested very strong that she wasn’t going to take any arguments.

“You’ll talk about whatever the hell you have to talk about. And then we’ll drive back together. You’ll take me to the Brownstone,” Elizabeth continued. “Don’t say a word, Sonny. Because for now, I’m cooperating. But I’ve decided I do blame you for Jason’s death which is why I’m going to be angry as hell when I see you in public. I think people will understand that.”

“I didn’t—”

“And when this is over…we’ll…” Elizabeth faltered as if she didn’t quite have all the energy she needed to push her bravado to the finish. “We’ll see what’s left.”

And then she was gone.

Sonny turned to Jason. “I never—I never wanted that. I wanted it to be my fault—”

“I told you,” Jason said, his voice raw. “If Elizabeth thought I was dead, she’d never forgive me. You heard what you wanted to hear, Sonny. And if she doesn’t—” He shook his head. He couldn’t think about it. Couldn’t even say it out loud. “Let’s talk about what the hell we need to do to end this.”

Elizabeth & Gia’s Apartment: Living Room

She made it as far as her apartment before she couldn’t stand it anymore. She had made some small talk with Lucas downstairs—mercifully, Bobbie was still at the Quartermaine mansion, but there was no way Elizabeth would make an appearance there now.

Jason was alive.

He was alive.

It had all been a lie.

And she would have to keep lying to the people she loved. To the people to whom she had promised better. She’d told Jason she would cooperate, and she meant it. She would never be vindictive and petty enough to blow up their plan, as idiotic as it sounded.

She made her way into the living room and blinked at her roommate at the dining table, cursing at some books. “G-Gia—you were supposed to be—”

“I have a quiz tomorrow.” Gia rose to her feet. “I didn’t expect you back so soon. Did dinner go okay? You look like hell—”

“He’s alive.”

The words rushed out of her mouth almost before Elizabeth knew she was going to say them, but once they were in the air—

She didn’t want to take them back.

She just wanted this one person she could be honest with. This one person she knew she could trust.

Gia just stared at her for a long moment before sitting back down. “Jason. Jason is alive.”

Elizabeth nodded. And she swayed, falling to her knees. Sucking in deep breaths. Struggling too keep herself from blacking out.

Had it just been hitting her? Had it just been sinking in? Jason was alive.

It was a lie.

Gia came to her side, helped her to sit on the sofa. “Hey, hey—”

“I didn’t know. I didn’t know, I swear to God, I didn’t know—”

“Of course you didn’t.” Gia took her coat and tossed it over the side of the armchair before rising and stalking into the kitchen. “We’re opening the good wine.”

“I can’t—I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I don’t even—I don’t understand how they could do this—” Elizabeth closed her eyes, but accepted the wine glass Gia handed her.

“Okay. Deep breath. Let’s take this step by step. What happened after you left the church?”

“I—I was just struck by how wrong it was,” Elizabeth murmured. “I thought—Jason shouldn’t be buried, right? You know, so I wanted Sonny to help me fix it. I didn’t even know who would be responsible for any of that—”

“You are, sort of.” Gia sipped her wine. “You know I’m working with Alexis part-time for my internship program. We were preparing the will reading for next week, and Alexis mentioned some things. Jason changed his will like…three months ago, right after I guess you guys got serious. You and Sonny are co-executors. He left Emily some money, something for Michael. Sonny gets the business. You get everything else.”

Elizabeth just stared at her. “What? Are you even allowed to—”

“Fuck them. I could care less about that, but just in case it comes up again—you’re co-executor. And fuck Jason for not telling you any of this. Anyway.” Gia coughed. “Carry on.”

“Oh.” Elizabeth sipped her wine, trying to gather herself. She took Gia through the strange car ride with Sonny, the shock and joy at seeing again, the horror as the lie set in. And…the despair of learning that he’d done it to save Carly.

“You know, I wondered if she was involved in some way,” Gia said after a long moment. “Bobbie said Jason had sent Carly to talk to her that night—that’s why they were at Kelly’s together. But I figured…what good would it do you to think that way? But Jesus…he faked his death and you’re telling me they don’t have an endgame? Some goddamn mobsters they’re turning out to be.”

“Sonny seemed to think—” Elizabeth sighed and shook her head. “I don’t know. That it was supposed to be fast. That it…would be just days. But apparently, they’re not taking it for  granted that Jason is dead. I mean, faked crime scene photos—anyone can do that. But following a grieving girlfriend around? Sure.”

And then she thought about the night before, when Zander had showed up out of nowhere. God. Had that been—

She sighed. She should probably tell Sonny, but she didn’t want to have anything to do with him right now. Maybe she could get a message to him or something.

Gia hesitated. “You said that Jason was pissed that Sonny lied. Doesn’t that—doesn’t that mean he was going to tell you? He didn’t want you to go through this—”

“He just wanted me to pretend he was dead and lie to my friends and family. Put them through hell worrying about me.” Elizabeth took a long swallow of the wine, trying to burn the look in Jason’s eyes out of her brain.

He’d looked so…devastated that she’d believed the lie, so honestly upset with Sonny, that she had nearly set aside her own anger.

But she couldn’t. She couldn’t ignore it.

“He blew up his life to save Carly from herself,” Elizabeth said slowly. “How do I ignore that?”

“I—” Gia closed her mouth. “I don’t know.”

“His first instinct when Carly came to him with whatever insane story she cooked up was to create a plan that kept her safe. That was his first concern. Not that she’d set him up, but how to make sure she stayed out of trouble.”

“Elizabeth—”

“And Sonny agreed with him.”

“I know, but—”

“How do I know this is the last time?” she demanded. “A year from now, is Jason gonna go to her rescue? Is he gonna leave me to take care of her? What about two years? What if we had—” She closed her eyes. “The first time I fell asleep after Sonny told me, I had this really vivid dream, you know? It…was later. I don’t know when. But Jason was alive. And we were together. And there was this little boy. With his hair, his eyes, his smile. Our son.” Elizabeth closed her eyes again. She felt so weary, so exhausted by the world.

“And in my dream, his name was Jake. Because that’s where we fell in love, and I could remember in the dream thinking he’d like that when he grew up and we told him that story. That maybe his parents had been cool enough once to live over a bar. To get into bar fights and kick—” She set the glass on the coffee table and dragged her hands through her hair.

“There’s nothing stopping you guys from having that dream, Liz,” Gia murmured. “But I guess you’re wondering—”

“If he’ll ever be able to put me first.” Elizabeth’s lip trembled. “I know he loves me, Gia. And I know he wanted me to know the truth. But I’m not his first instinct. I’m not his priority—”

“That’s not fair…” Gia shook her head. “Look, I’m no fan of any of this, but—”

“I don’t know. I don’t know. I can’t make myself think about any of this without just…” She sighed. “I’ve got time to sort this out. I don’t know,” she repeated. “How much of what I’m dealing with is just…shock and…anger. I had to leave because I think I came close to saying that  to him. To accusing him not giving a damn about me—because I know that’s not true. I just…I don’t know if he even understood that what he’s doing to me—what he wants me to do—is exactly what I promised myself I would stop doing.”

“Lying?” Gia asked. After a moment, she sighed. “We can’t tell Courtney.”

“God, no.” Elizabeth shook her head. “She would keep the secret, but I don’t want to put her in that position. Not with AJ involved. I wouldn’t do that to her. She matters too much. And of course, I need you to lie to Taggert—”

Gia waved that away. “Not a problem. I do that anyway.”

“I just—I think I need to take this all in. I can’t make any decisions, because I’m not even sure it’s hit me yet—” Elizabeth finished her wine. “It hit me today at the funeral that he was dead. And I was…destroyed by the idea of him being closed up in that coffin, buried in the ground when he was supposed to be free—I had just come to this conclusion, just kind of finally let it sink in.

“Except it was a lie,” she continued. “And they both did this to me. They made me a liar again.” Her voice broke. “I don’t want to be a liar anymore.”

Friday, September 13, 2002

Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room

It should have been good news.

When Benny had arrived with the news that the Paradise strip club—the first club Sonny had ever owned—had burnt to the ground the night before, Sonny should have been relieved. No one had been hurt—but finally, someone was striking at them.

But all Sonny could think about was Elizabeth’s anguished face.

He made me Robin. Even if I had been told the truth, he did the one thing I begged him not to do…you shattered me, Sonny.

 

Even though Sonny had been the one to lie, even though he’d been careful about—he knew that neither he nor Jason had seen that coming—that Elizabeth would take her part in this plan as evidence that Carly came first.

That she would always come first.

And now he couldn’t get that accusation out of his head. Was it true? Had they defaulted to protecting her? He couldn’t quite remember if that had been the reason—only that it seemed to be without question that somehow Jason had to go to the meeting.

They had never entertained the proposition he would sit it out. They hadn’t talked about Carly. But maybe it had just been understood. Carly had to be protected.

“Sonny?” Benny asked, placing the phone back on the receiver. “Taggert is one his way up. I already called Alexis from across the hall.”

“What does Nico say about this?” Sonny asked as he poured himself a cup of coffee. “Have we talked to him yet?”

“Can’t get him on the phone.” Benny rubbed his forehead. “We got eyes on him and his crew, especially Lenny. Lenny’s boys torched the place.”

“Yeah?” Sonny pursed his lips “Interesting. You’d think Nico would protect the income. He can’t funnel the drug traffic through the clubs a well if he torches one of them. How does this play into it? And do we—”

“And one of Francis’s boys finally checked in overnight—the one we put on Roscoe. He met with Nico at the Oasis yesterday during the funeral.”

“At the Oasis?” Sonny snorted. “Fucker is getting cocky. Thought we wouldn’t notice—”

“This is what we wanted, isn’t it?” Benny asked. “The proof that they’re working together—”

They didn’t fake Carly’s death—”

“But we know Roscoe is working with whoever did. We grab him now—”

“Not yet.” Sonny looked away. “We—we need more. Anything less than the guy behind it all and it’ll be for nothing.” And if they walked away without new information they hadn’t had before the set-up at the pier—he would have destroyed Elizabeth for nothing.

He couldn’t live with that on his conscious.

Max knocked briefly, then opened the door. Taggert charged in just ahead of his lawyer. Alexis carefully avoided Sonny’s eyes as she whirled around to plant herself between the cop and Sonny.

Nothing new there. She hadn’t allowed a moment alone between them since the night they’d slept together.

“We’ve been informed that my client’s property burned down,” Alexis said, her tone clipped. “I suggest you make this quick and go find out—”

“A lot of loss lately, Corinthos,” Taggert interrupted with a scathing tone. “The warehouse and all those men. Your partner. What’s one more strip club after all that? Those girls not turning a profit?”

Sonny just blinked at him. Silence drove the asshole crazy.

“Are you here to report something to my client or do you intend to harass him—”

“You know what? I’m sick of you mouth pieces,” Taggert hissed. “Your partner’s girlfriend barely leaves her apartment. She’s sick over him, and you did that to her. You and Anger Boy. You brought her into your world and let her think you were good men. You’re nothing. And one day, Corinthos, I’m going to prove it to the world.”

He stalked out, slamming the door behind him.

Benny cleared his throat. “I should—”

“I’m leaving.” Alexis looked at Sonny. “I’ve represented you since Jason left town, but I need a break. I can’t—” She swallowed. “I can’t do it anymore. I have other things to worry about. Other priorities. And I just—I can’t do it.”

“Alexis—” Sonny took a step towards her but she shook her head.

“I’ve taken on a partner at the practice, and he’s been vetted. He’ll be taking over—you’re welcome to use him or not. I really don’t care.”

And then she was gone.

Benny sighed. “I have to go deal with the insurance company on the club. Sonny—” He looked at his boss. “Don’t let this plan go on too long. Last night, we only lost some property. The next time we might not be so lucky.”

Quartermaine Mansion: Terrace

Elizabeth embraced Emily lightly once more before stepping back with a tight smile. “I wish…God I wish you were home under better circumstances.”

She looked down at her feet—felt like the lie was written all over her face. How could anyone not see it?

Or had she just slipped back into her old habits? Like a second skin, apparently, lying—even lying by omission—was part of her DNA.

“I’ll be home at Christmas,” Emily said, with a tearful smile. “And then I’ll be here for medical school. I just— She looked at her sister-in-law. “I hate this is how we had to meet, because I’ve heard such good things, and AJ—he looks so good, except when he doesn’t.”

She sat down with a huff on the bench. “I just can’t bring myself to believe it. I keep thinking I’ll wake up and it’ll be a nightmare. Except I look at you, Elizabeth, and I don’t know how you’re breathing.”

Courtney frowned at Elizabeth slightly. “Were you able to sleep last night? I was worried about you after the viewing—and then you were so quiet at the cemetery.”

“I just hate the thought of him in the ground,” Elizabeth murmured. It wasn’t a lie. It wasn’t a lie.

It hadn’t been a lie.

“God, I know.” Emily shuddered. “I’m just going to have to…I’m going to remember him the way he was, you know? When he drove into the house on that bike. God, he drove everyone nuts, and I just—I have to think about him that way.”

Courtney sighed, touched Emily’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, Emily. That sounds useless, but I am sorry. I wish I had known him better. He…seemed like a really great guy.”

“He was the best.”

Monica stepped out onto the terrace, having changed from the dark suit she’d worn to the cemetery. “Hey, girls.” She touched Elizabeth’s shoulder. “How are you doing, Liz?”

“Managing,” Elizabeth murmured. “You?”

“The same,” Jason’s mother said with a sad sigh. “Wishing that things…had been different. That I had been able to accept him sooner.”

“Oh, Mom,” Emily said with a shuddering sigh. “He loved you. He even loved Grandfather, though he wanted to kill him most of the time. He was—” She closed her eyes. “God. I can’t think.”

“We have to leave for the airport,” Monica said, her voice trembling for a moment. “I’m sorry—”

“No, no,” Emily shook her head. “It’s okay. I have to—Jason wouldn’t want me to put my life on hold for him. You, either, Liz. Promise me you’re going to finish like you wanted to.” She embraced Elizabeth again. “If you still want to—”

“No, you’re right. Jason wouldn’t want us—us to stop being us.” Elizabeth hugged her back fiercely. “We just have to figure out how to do it.” She pulled back. “Now go finish UCLA so you can come home and we can all have wine night together.”

“I will.” Emily kissed her cheek and then followed her mother inside the terrace after hugging Courtney.

Elizabeth took her seat again and picked up the cup of tea, and then stopped as she realized Courtney was looking at her oddly. “What?”

“Nothing. You just…” Courtney shrugged. “Nothing. You just seem a bit better today.” She bit her lip. “I know you might want to pretend for Emily because of how close you are to her and how close she was to Jason, but—”

“I’m not…pretending.” Elizabeth hesitated, trying to pick her words carefully. “I’m just…trying to deal. Today…I’m okay. Tomorrow, I probably won’t be.” She bit her lip. “I promise, Courtney, I’m trying not to lie to myself.”

“Okay, I’m just…I’m worried for you. And for AJ. We’ve been staying here with Michael because it’s good for him to be around his family, but…we can’t stay forever. And eventually Michael is going to realize Jason’s really gone…” Courtney shook her head. “This all just sucks, Elizabeth. And I hate it.”

“Yeah…” Elizabeth’s eyes burned as she sipped her tea. “Yeah, it really sucks.”

Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room

Johnny had managed the warehouse and shipments, and he had worked for them almost as long as Sonny could remember, but he had not been privileged to know the truth about Jason’s shooting.

That information had been kept to himself and Benny at first — as well as the paramedics and the pathologist Sonny had bribed to fill out certain forms and then quietly relocate after some time. The pathologist had left on vacation a week ago. Yesterday, Benny told him, the first of the paramedics had submitted the resignation. And a week from now, the third would leave Port Charles well.

Elizabeth, of course knew now, and Sonny suspected her roommate knew as well judging by the scathing looks Gia Campbell had aimed at him when he’d attempted to check on Elizabeth.

But Johnny did not know, and the grief was in his dark eyes as he told Sonny about some phone calls that had been sent his way.

“Tagliatti and Vega are not happy,” Johnny told him. “And they’ve been talking to Zacchara and Ruiz.”

“This, I did not need,” Sonny muttered. He looked at Benny. “What do we know about this crap? What’s their issue?”

“The warehouse explosion. Jason being ambushed and—” Johnny shook his head. “The drug trafficking—they don’t care that more drugs on the streets—”

“They care because it looks like I’m weak,” Sonny muttered.

“Nico and Lenny aren’t even trying to hide their profits anymore. They’re still cataloging it as alcohol sales for the IRS, but they’ve doubled their July take—and that was already quadrupling what they had been taking in before we started looking.” Benny rubbed the back of his neck. “But no one has made a move—”

“Well, it’s only been two weeks,” Sonny murmured. “Maybe whatever they’re trying to do takes time to set up. Taking out Jason—” And at this, he forced himself to pause, to let his voice break just a bit for Johnny’s benefit.

And if there was a tickle in the back of his throat that suggested that just maybe Sonny’s lies had taken out Jason anyway, he ignored it.

He was getting good at that.

Johnny scowled. “Why don’t we have any damn leads on what happened to him, Sonny? Why did he go to the warehouse? What the hell is going on—”

Sonny exchanged looks with Benny and reluctantly decided to bring Johnny into the circle. If the news got out at this point, he’d know where to look.

“The day of the meeting—” Sonny hesitated. “We learned that Roscoe was partially behind Carly’s disappearance. He took her, kept her drugged until mid-August, and then sent her home, her head filled with lies about how we were all happier without her—whatever. She could come home, but she couldn’t tell Jason what happened. He had to give her custody back.”

Johnny exhaled slowly. “I had a feeling she was involved,” he muttered. “She was at the warehouse that day—what, was she setting him up revenge?”

“It was supposed to be, but I guess Carly got cold feet when she realized that revenge wasn’t gonna be simple like turning on him.” Like she had for Sonny. Turning him in the federal government—that had stung more than the wire. It had taken months for Sonny to dig out from under the pile of shit Carly had handed him. “She told him everything. We knew it was an ambush—”

“And he still went? With no goddamn backup?”

“We decided,” Sonny said slowly, “that it would be a good idea if Roscoe and whoever is bankrolling him thought it had worked. I wanted to know what they would do if Jason were gone.”

Realization slowly filtered into Johnny’s expression as his scowl only deepened. “And you didn’t tell me? Damn it, Sonny. Jason and I have been working together since the beginning—if anyone should have been brought into this—”

“It was only me and Benny. And the necessary people to bribe,” Sonny said. “I didn’t even tell Jason’s girlfriend.”

Johnny’s head snapped back. “You didn’t tell Elizabeth? Holy shit, Sonny.”

“That’s not important right now,” Sonny said with a wave of his hand, irritated that even the men in his organization had expected him to bring in Elizabeth. What happened to the code? Tell no one anything ever.

Especially women.

“It wasn’t the best plan,” Benny said, with an irritated sigh. “But it was already too late to change it by the time I got involved. We thought they’d make a move within forty-eight hours. They didn’t.”

“Huh.” Johnny narrowed his eyes. “You know, I saw Elizabeth at Kelly’s yesterday—”

“Christ, can we get away from that—”

“She told me that Zander Smith had come up to her on the docks before the memorial service. She was upset when she saw him. And that it…just didn’t occur to her it might be related, but you know, it’s been a few weeks. She said her mind was starting to focus.”

More likely, Elizabeth had realized the possible connection and had waited for an opportunity to tell Sonny through an indirect source.

With sorrow for the friendship he had willingly sacrificed, Sonny nodded. “Did you check it out?”

“Yeah. Smith was in town, staying at some motel. He came in the day Elizabeth saw him. He told her some story about maybe wanting to see Emily, but she didn’t buy it. I don’t either. Because he checked out two days later. And I don’t think he talked to Emily at all. Stan found him on a flight back to Miami that day. I called a guy down there—and he said Zander was back at the dock, running his crew after a few days away.”

Benny tipped his head. “He was testing her.”

Sonny looked at his business manager. “How do you figure?”

“When we fired Smith, it was before the warehouse explosion. Nico said he’d relocated him, and it checked out with Ruiz. I didn’t think there was a reason Ruiz would cover for Nico, but maybe he wasn’t.”

Sonny sat down on the sofa, scrubbed his hands over his face. “Are we really worried about Zander Smith being involved? He’s a punk—”

“Who dated Jason’s sister and certainly spent enough time in the organization and around Emily’s circle to know the players.” Johnny pressed his lips together. “There was some doubt initially on the streets, but the media coverage of Elizabeth mostly solved that. He’d figure that Jason wouldn’t lie to Elizabeth about his own death.”

“But that was still weeks ago—”

“The Paradise burned that very night,” Benny reminded Sonny. “The time line fits. Arranging for Carly as an ambush, Sonny? That took someone who knows that Carly was capable of being turned. Even if was briefly. They went after Jason, not you.”

“And not Elizabeth,” Johnny pointed out. “Anyone else who wanted to get at Jason would go for the girlfriend. For his family. But someone who knows better—someone who kidnapped Jason’s sister and then was ruthlessly tracked down—Zander Smith knows that would get him nowhere. Go after someone Jason loves, he’ll take you apart. That’s his grieving process. He doesn’t fall apart as long as the threat is out there.”

“Take out Jason…” Sonny nodded. “You cripple the organization—”

“No,” Benny said with a shake of his head. “No, Jason’s not essential to the organization. He’s essential to you. If you take out Jason, and then go after you, Sonny—that cripples the organization. That’s a power play. The whole territory is up for grabs, with men like Nico and Roscoe ready to scoop it up.”

“They’re putting together a hit on me,” Sonny said after a moment. He exhaled slowly. “Well, fuck me. It’s not the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“And if Jason were actually gone?” Johnny shrugged. “They had a chance of it working. So we need to wait until an opportunity presents itself.” He hesitated. “Do we know who is bankrolling Roscoe? Because it’s not Zander or Nico.”

“Ruiz has to be involved,” Benny reminded Sonny. “So either it’s him or someone in his network. I’ll get in contact with some sources. See what they think.”

“I want to end this soon,” Sonny murmured. “The longer Jason is dead, the harder it will be for him to come back to his life.” He looked at Johnny. “For what it’s worth, I told Elizabeth after the memorial. So she knows.”

“Hey, not my monkeys, not my circus,” Johnny said, holding up his hands. “That’s Jason’s problem, not mine. She’s not the love of my life.”

“Johnny, you’re not helping,” Benny muttered.

Stone Cottage: Living Room

 

“The Families have asked for a meeting next week at the No Name?” Jason asked with some skepticism as Benny hung his coat on the hook by the door.

“Sonny isn’t convinced they’ll use the meeting,” Benny told him with a sigh. “It would be a massive sign of disrespect to the other families to use it as assassination—”

“Nico and Roscoe don’t care about disrespect. About codes.” Jason shook his his head. “If they want to take Sonny out, and I agree that’s probably the plan, then they know how Sonny and the others feel about tradition. About these meetings be off limits for violence. They’ll use that.”

“I agree.” Benny hesitated. “And I think it’s time we bring this farce to a close.”

Jason agreed, but their business manager didn’t usually voice his opinions so freely and forcefully. He squinted at Benny.  “I know you weren’t happy with the plan—”.”

“From the moment you told me about it, I knew it was a mistake, but by the time you called me, I didn’t have time for an alternative.” Benny hesitated. “I was there the night Sonny told Elizabeth. I didn’t know he was going to lie—I never would have participated or stood there if I’d known, but once it was done—”

“Benny, you don’t have to explain—”

“It isn’t just that he hurt that girl. I don’t know her very well, but I know you. And Sonny unnecessarily created problems with you.”

“Benny—” Jason hesitated. How could he confide in Benny that he was right? That Jason wasn’t sure if he could ever trust Sonny again? Sleeping with Carly—that had been devastating, but Jason had understood it. Eventually accepted it, and now thought he was almost relieved. How much more time would he have spent letting Carly manipulate him?

He was still letting her do it. She was still costing him the things that mattered to him.

If Sonny’s lie had cost him Elizabeth—but it wasn’t just that lie, Jason remembered. Because Elizabeth hadn’t shut down until she’d talked about Carly.

“We’re setting up surveilance, and a team across the street. If Sonny doesn’t like it, well—” Jason just shrugged. “I don’t really care. He’s assuming that Nico and Roscoe probably aren’t going to want to piss of Zacchara and Ruiz, but—” He shook his head. “We’ll set up guys in cars around the neighborhood. Cut off any cars that try a drive by. We’ll do our usual sweeps. They’re going to use this meeting, Benny. Otherwise, what’s the point?”

Sonny would wear a vest as he always did to these meetings, and they would have the area cleared—no snipers would get through that Jason didn’t know about. This was their best chance to end this.

There were a thousand ways this could go wrong, but Jason wanted to take his life back, and he wasn’t going to sit around until Sonny said it was okay.

The longer that Elizabeth was put in the position of having to lie to everyone, the worse it was going to be when he went home.

And he was done hurting her.

“We’re ending this next week, or I’m coming home regardless. We’re not getting anywhere like this. They’ll either use this opportunity or taking out Sonny isn’t the plan.” Jason nodded to the phone. “Let’s set it up.”

“You got it.” Benny hesitated as he reached for the receiver. “Listen, I wanted you to know that I had Francis put one of his guys on Elizabeth. She doesn’t know, but I just thought—she’s doing all right. As best as she can, anyway.”

“Thanks,” Jason said, swallowing hard. “I appreciate that, Benny.”

He knew Elizabeth could take care of herself—that she would be able to send the right image out the world. He’d known that it would a problem for them—that asking her to lie was a lot.

But to ask her to lie after she thought he was dead?

He’d told Sonny if she was lied to about his death, Elizabeth wouldn’t be able to look past that. It didn’t matter who told the lie.

She hadn’t wanted to be broken, and that’s exactly what he’d done. He had no defense for it, no way to explain it. He should have found a way to tell her himself. Should have fought Sonny harder.

Whatever happened next was entirely on him.

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Workshop: Bittersweet Rewritten

All of this takes place after Chapter Nineteen and goes through until Jason’s memorial service — the time when Liz believed Jason was dead. I moved the timeline of everything up — Jason was “dead” from early September on, rather than waiting a few weeks with him being missing. I’m only posting the scenes that were cut. Some of Liz’s grieving made into the final draft.


Friday, September 6, 2002

 Kelly’s: Diner

“You think Jason is going to take Carly’s side after all?” Courtney asked as she joined Elizabeth behind the counter. They were winding down the dinner rush—a rush that had lasted, for some reason, until nearly ten that night. The diner was filled with dock workers she’d never seen before and who had lingered.

“Courtney—” Elizabeth bit her lip. “I don’t know why Jason canceled the appointment. Didn’t he tell AJ he would explain everything later?”

“Yeah, but…sorry.” Courtney started another pot of coffee. “Sorry, I know you’re over all this Carly crap.”

“It’s not that. It’s—” she shrugged. “I’m going to trust that Jason has this under control. Besides, he’ll be here around midnight and he’ll tell me what’s going on.” She turned to include Gia in the conversation. “And…it looks like you’ll be living alone in the near future.”

“Jason asked you to move in with him?” Gia asked with raised brows. “We’ve forgiven him enough for this?”

“We’re going to discuss it. It’s a good step, Gia. And I’m excited. We’re not putting our lives on hold for Carly’s bullshit. We’re…we’re going to move forward.” Elizabeth’s smile bloomed into a full-fledged grin. “It’s the first time in almost two weeks I’ve felt…good about all of this. So whatever Jason has planned, Courtney, I’m not worried. I trust him.”

“Well, if you’re confident, then I am, too,” Courtney said with a nod. “Okay. Let’s talk about you and Jason living together. Because that is good news and I want to enjoy it.”

Kelly’s: Courtyard

Sonny stepped up to the door of the diner, peered through the glass windows, took in the scene, and then let his hand fall from the handle.

“Sir—” Benny put a hand on his shoulder. “You want me…to go in? Pull her aside? If she sees your face, she’s gonna know something’s wrong—”

“No.” Sonny cleared his throat. Forced the words out. “No. I—I, ah, I can do this, Benny. I can—” He looked at his business manager. “It should be me.”

Kelly’s: Dining Room

Elizabeth checked her watch before rolling her eyes at Gia. “How can you possibly be failing your class already? It’s been five minutes since the semester started.” She snapped her fingers as Gia ignored her question and concentrated on the newscast blaring from the television they kept behind the counter.

Courtney grimaced as the bell over the door rang. “If that’s another customer—”

But it wasn’t.

Elizabeth frowned as Sonny strode in, Benny Abrams behind him. Both men were a bit…more sober than usual. Were they looking for Jason?

“Hey, Sonny. Coffee?” she asked, moving towards the carafe.

They stopped in the middle of the room. And just looked at her. Sonny’s eyes dark. Worried.

“Elizabeth…” Gia murmured, as she straightened. “Hey. Let’s—” She stopped as a breaking news alert banner slid across the newscast. “Oh, God.”

“Sonny.” Elizabeth walked around the counter to meet Sonny halfway. She wouldn’t jump to conclusions, even as everything inside her started to scream. “What’s going on?”

“Elizabeth,” Sonny started. Then he stopped. Swallowed.

“Are—are you looking for Jason? He’s not—he’s at the warehouse—” Her eyes darted between the two men.

And behind them, she heard Gia swear. Heard glass shatter behind her.

“Jason is supposed to pick me up.”

Behind Sonny, Bobbie rushed in, Carly on her heels. “Sonny—” Bobbie said, throwing a hand up at Carly who began to speak.

Their faces were ravaged with tears.

“Jason is picking me up,” Elizabeth continued, but she already felt…outside of this. She was speaking, but she didn’t know how she was forming the words. “We’re going to move in together.”

“Elizabeth—”

Gia and Courtney stepped up behind her. She could feel them behind her, their warmth seeping into her. She was cold. Why she was so cold?

“There—” Sonny’s voice broke. “He was shot.”

Shot. Elizabeth could deal with that. “He’s at the hospital. I’ll—Gia, can you get my purse—”

“Elizabeth—”

“Sonny,” Carly managed, but Sonny turned and sent her a dirty look which shut Carly up.

Later…later Gia would relate these details to her, but at the moment…Elizabeth just stared straight ahead.

Because this wasn’t happening. Not again. Oh, God. Not Again. “No,” she said firmly. “He’s at the hospital. Is he in surgery?”

Sonny dipped his head, looked down for a moment. Took a deep breath. “He didn’t make it to the hospital, Elizabeth. They called me—”

“We heard it on the news, baby,” Bobbie said now, stepping forward. Stepping past Sonny. “It’s—real—”

“No.” Elizabeth shook her head. “No. No, no, no.”  This was all a dream. Wasn’t it? Was it real? How was any of this happening?

She felt Gia’s arm around her shoulder. “Liz,” her roommate began. “Let’s—”

“I don’t believe it,” Elizabeth managed. Started forward. “I have to see him. I have—I don’t believe—”

Sonny took her shoulders, gripping them with his hands. “It’s not—he wouldn’t want you to—” His voice broke again. “The shot was to his—”

Elizabeth moaned. Swayed. She dipped again, but this time, Gia and Courtney got her to a chair.

“Sir,” Benny said, softly. “Sir, maybe this isn’t—”

Carly was sobbing across the diner, but Elizabeth couldn’t hear anything. Couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t think.

Sonny knelt in front of her again. Had she gone back in time? Dimly, she felt her hair. It was still short. Not long. It wasn’t 1999.

The smell of smoke wasn’t choking her throat. There were no flames flickering in the distance.

So it must be today. How could it be today? How could any of this—

“Elizabeth, do you want a ride home?” His eyes were wet, his voice rusted. “What do you need?”

Need. What did she need? Did she need anything? She needed Jason.

Oh, God. Again. It was happening again.

“I’ll take care of it,” Gia said softly. “I’ll get her home—”

“If she needs anything—”

“I’ll close,” Courtney said to Bobbie, her voice thick. “But I need to get to—”

“Call Don. And Penny. You should both be—” Bobbie pressed a fist to her mouth. “You should both be with family. They’ll have seen the news—”

“Bobbie—” Sonny stood. Touched Bobbie’s elbow. “What can I do—”

“You’ve done enough,” Bobbie said shortly, dismissing him. “I’m sure you have other things you need to be doing.”

She, along with Gia, pulled Elizabeth to her feet, and Elizabeth followed. She couldn’t—she couldn’t breathe.

“Carly—” Bobbie looked at her weeping daughter.

“I’ll—” Carly swallowed. “I’ll find my own way home. Mama—”

But Bobbie and Gia were already through the door, Benny holding the door open to them as they gently guided Elizabeth out the door.

Sonny watched them go, his heart heavy. He hadn’t wanted any of this, but—he looked at Carly. Hatred mingled with disgust. “You got your revenge,” he said in a low voice. “You said you’d make him pay for taking your son.”

“You’re lying,” Carly said, brokenly. “He wasn’t supposed to—”

“Things don’t always go the way we plan, do they?” Sonny demanded. “Get away from me, Carly. You and I are done.”

Yacht: Study

Jason Morgan was dead.

If Roscoe’s men could be believed, Morgan had showed up the meeting at the warehouse, had taken two bullets to the head, and had died on scene. He had never made it to the hospital.

“I heard from some of my guys at Kelly’s,” Roscoe told Alcazar. “Just like you said, I put them there to see what happened if Morgan’s girlfriend heard on the news.”

Zander blinked at him. Elizabeth. He hadn’t…he hadn’t really thought about what it would mean for Jason to be dead.

He wanted him dead. Had rejoiced at the idea.

But Elizabeth’s best friend was Emily. And Emily, God, she would be crushed. She was like a dream now, a sweet dream that felt so far away.

If only Morgan hadn’t come back. If he had just stayed away.

“Did she hear?” Alcazar asked. He eyed Zander a moment. “Smith? Are you with us?” He tilted his head. “Second thoughts?”

“No. I just—it’s hard to believe.” Zander swallowed hard. “You’re sure? What happened at Kelly’s?”

“Corinthos came to tell her personally. Told her at Kelly’s. My guys said she was destroyed. If she was acting—” Roscoe shrugged. “She should be getting an Academy Award.”

“Corinthos told her?” Alcazar asked, leaning forward. “He went right to her?” He looked at Zander. “What did you say the relationship was like? My intel says they’re close, but—”

“If he’s the one that told her—and she’s not acting for the public—” Zander hesitated. “It’s hard for me to accept that Morgan or Corinthos would put her through that. She’s not my favorite person for a lot of reasons, but she’s been through some real shit in her life that they both know about. She was raped as a teenager, her boyfriend died in a fire—came back. I just—it’s not the kind of men they are.”

“You don’t think they’d lie to her about business? If they faked Morgan’s death?” Alcazar asked.

“What fake?” Roscoe demanded. “My men said that they put two bullets in him—”

“From a distance, they put two bullets into a man who looked like Jason Morgan,” Alcazar cut in with some irritation. “The news is reporting it as Jason Morgan. Without an autopsy, without reports from the PCPD, I am not going to take any chances.” He looked back to Zander. “You know this organization. What do you think?”

“I don’t know,” Zander admitted. “I wouldn’t think they’d put Elizabeth through a public display like that, so maybe she is in on it. You’ll have to watch her. She’s good at putting a mask on.” He scratched his forehead. “I’m not saying Corinthos wouldn’t ever lie to her. He’s an asshole. But I’m saying…it’s not in Morgan’s nature.”

“He’s supposed to be a stone-cold killer,” Roscoe muttered, “and we’re saying he’s too soft to lie to his girlfriend—”

“There are some lines a man won’t cross,” Alcazar murmured. “Everything I’ve learned about Jason Morgan tells me he’s a loyal man. A protective one. I agree with you, Smith. I find it difficult to believe he would lie to the woman he loves. Not about his own death.”

“When can we set up the hit on Sonny?” Roscoe demanded. “We’ve gotten rid of Morgan. He’s next. And when they’re both gone, the organization will be in chaos—”

“Patience.” Alcazar held up a hand. “We’ve already been delayed by your impatience once, Roscoe. I don’t intend to be thwarted again.” His dark eyes flashed. “Do you understand me?”

“What are we waiting for?” Roscoe shot back. “What’s gonna convince you?”

“We’ll watch the girlfriend. Morgan has been in her pocket almost since the moment he returned to Port Charles. If he is alive, he may not be able to hold himself back from contacting her. And she may not be able to put on an act twenty-four hours a day. We’ll watch her. I want men at Kelly’s during every shift. She may not be there, but those who work there love her. They’ll know. Watch her home.”

He looked to Zander. “The sister will be coming home for a funeral, won’t she?”

God. He wasn’t going to have to…face Emily after being part of her brother’s death, was he? But he’d signed up for this. “Probably. She’s close to him. Close to Elizabeth. Can’t imagine she won’t at least fly in.”

“We may need you to talk to her. Or talk to the girlfriend one on one. We’ll see how it goes. We’re waiting. If we move now…it will defeat the purpose and we will have used Carly Corinthos for nothing. She did her part. He showed up.”

Roscoe muttered something under his breath as he stormed out. Zander hung back to look at Alcazar. “You say you want to destroy Sonny Corinthos.”

“Yes.”

“Why?” Zander asked. “Most people would use your resources to actually go after him, but you’ve sat back and let Roscoe and Nico go to town. You know Corinthos is looking at Nico’s records by now. Morgan will have put him on it. The crap I pulled probably put a spotlight on his crew. The drug trafficking is heavier than I can remember it.”

“My reasons for destroying Sonny Corinthos are my own.” Alcazar sat back in his chair. “You need not concern yourself with them. If you are unhappy with how things are proceeding, you are free to return to your employment with the Ruiz organization.”

Zander hesitated, then nodded. “Fair enough. I’ll wait to hear from you.”

Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room

Sonny sipped his bourbon, his hands trembling as he set the tumbler back on the mini bar.  Behind him, he heard the door open and Max announce Benny Abrams had arrived.

“Benny.” Sonny turned. “What’s…what’s the word?”

“Well, it’s all over the news,” Benny said as Max closed the door. “Fucking vultures at WKPC didn’t wait more than five minutes before they headed to the Brownstone. Practically shoving cameras in Elizabeth’s face—”

“Benny.” Sonny hesitated. “They got inside okay, though?”

“Yeah, um, Bobbie got her inside. I called Bobbie, asked if she wanted any of our guys to keep the street clear. Asked about Elizabeth.”

“How—” he cleared his throat. Forced the words out. “How’s she doing?”

“Bobbie said she was doing as well as could be expected. She left her with Gia. Declined our offer to help.” Benny hesitated. “Sir, I work for you. I take orders from you, but—”

“I’m not…this isn’t how I planned it,” he murmured.

“It didn’t need—it didn’t need to be so public, Sonny. We could have taken her aside. Arranged for her to get home privately—”

“Benny—what’s going on with the guys? What’s happening on the street?”

“About what you expect. Grief. Turmoil. Worry. They think this is an escalation of problems we’ve been having. Some…confusion as to why Jason went to a warehouse by himself.” Benny sighed. “Oh, and…” He reached into his pocket. “The burner cell you wanted.”

“Thanks.” Sonny took it from him. Checked the time. “Cutting it close, aren’t you?”

“Isn’t that the story of the day?” his manager muttered as the phone vibrated in Sonny’s hand.

Sonny took a deep breath, flipped it open. “Hey.”

“Hey. Did it—” Jason’s voice was rough. “I saw some of the coverage from the safe house. They—the reporters are all over her. She looked upset. Did you get to her in time?”

“Ah, yeah. I got to her before she saw the reports.” Sonny looked at Benny, who just grimaced. “Everything went according to plan. Benny says there’s no doubts on the street. And…we just gotta lay low. I know you hate this plan, Jason. It’s just—it’s the only thing we had available to us with short notice.”

“Yeah, I just hate that my sister is going to have to—my grandmother. And Bobbie. Elizabeth is going to hate lying to all of them.” Jason paused. “I want to see her.”

“It’s not safe—”

“I didn’t get a chance to talk to her first, and this is a lot to ask. I just want—I want to see her, Sonny. Make it happen.”

“I will,” Sonny promised. “As soon as I can. But we gotta play it safe. No point in lying to everyone only to screw it up. Elizabeth is tough. She’ll get through this.”

“Okay.”

Sonny hung up the phone and stared at it. “How long do you think I have before he isn’t asking but demanding to see Elizabeth?”

“If the reports keep looping that footage of her going into the Brownstone or they film her going into any memorial service—” Benny pressed his lips together. “You didn’t lie to him, Sonny. But none of this is okay.”

“Benny, don’t—” Sonny closed his eyes. “I didn’t lie to him before either. I didn’t…intend to lie at all. But I got to Kelly’s, and it was full of dock workers. Men I damn well knew work for Mickey Roscoe. He put them there because of Elizabeth. They’re watching her. And her grief is going to convince them—”

“The logic makes sense, but Jason is not going to care about any of that. Sonny—”

“Benny, it’s done. Now let’s make it worth it.”

And with that, the disgruntled business manager left, and Sonny poured himself another drink.

Jason scowled as he glared at his phone. “Damn it, Elizabeth, answer the phone,” he muttered. “I won’t do it if she doesn’t know, Sonny.”

 

“People are going to be watching her—Roscoe isn’t working alone—”

 

Jason shook his head sharply. “You’re insane if you think I’d agree to do this and lie—

 

Sonny sighed and paced the length of the room. “I don’t like this anymore than you do, but she’d understand. She knows what you do—”

 

“She knows—” Jason bit off the words as he dialed the phone again. “I’m telling her, Sonny. Or this isn’t happening—she must have left her phone at home. Or at Jake’s. She never remembers to grab it from the charger. I’ll have to go to Kelly’s—”

 

Sonny snagged his friend’s elbow as he started out of the room. “There isn’t time. We need to nail down the details. We have an hour to get a hold of the guy at the hospital, to fake the scene, to arrange for paramedics—we have more important—”

 

Jason shrugged off Sonny’s grip, his eyes flashing. “If you think I am going to fake my death and not tell Elizabeth, Sonny—”

 

“I don’t like it any more than you do, but this is the way we do things. Elizabeth damn well knows you can’t tell her what’s going on—”

 

“That’s bullshit, Sonny. You know there’s no one we can trust more than Elizabeth. After what she’s been through for us—after hiding me in her studio twice, lying to everyone then—”

 

“That was a small lie, damn it, Jason. She was half in love with you back then, and it was easy to pretend that you were sleeping together. I don’t think she can pull this off—”

 

Jason’s hands clenched in fists at his side. “I am not for one second letting her think that I am dead—Sonny, either I tell her what’s going on or no one is showing up at this meeting. It’s not negotiable.”

 

“Jason—”

 

“If it were Brenda, would you put her through this?” Jason demanded. “You—” He paused. Swallowed. “You knew before I could admit it to myself. You know what she is to me. If I did this to her, if I put her through it, that’s it. She’ll never forgive me.”

 

Sonny waited a moment. “I think…I think you’re overreacting. She’ll be angry—”

 

“And even if she did forgive me, she’d never trust me again. And she’d be right not to. I love her, Sonny. And I’m not letting her think I’m dead. You can agree to get on board with this or you can go to hell and fix this bullshit on your own.”

 

Sonny looked away, took a deep breath, and accepted the inevitable. “All right. All right. But you can’t go to Kelly’s. As far as Roscoe is concerned, Carly did her part. We have to assume we’re being watched her. If either of us leave, we’ll be followed. You go to Kelly’s, pull Elizabeth aside, it’ll look suspicious—”

 

“I’ll call—”

 

“No—” Sonny stopped Jason as he pulled out his cell phone again. “I’ll take care of it. I’ll go to Kelly’s. I’ll tell her before the media picks it up. Make it look like a notification—”

 

“No.” Jason shook his head. “That’s too risky.”

 

“I’ll look better this way. I’ll go to her after I’ve been notified. I’m your emergency contact. I’ll be called as soon as it goes into motion. I’ll get to her before the media is notified, I’ll pull her aside to give the news. It’ll make it look better.”

 

Jason hesitated. Doubt was in his eyes as he spoke, “Sonny—”

 

“Look, I get it—” Sonny pressed a hand to his chest. “You want her in on it. I made my argument. But you made it clear. Let’s do it in way that makes it look real. If she hears before I get there, it’ll be by minutes. She’ll understand if we tell her as soon as possible. Can—can we please settle the details—”

 

“Sonny.” Jason paused. “I’m trusting you.”

Sonny lifted the bourbon to his throat and swallowed it on gulp. Jason was right. If Jason lied to her, Elizabeth would never forgive him. So…Sonny had been the one to lie.

He just hoped like hell it was worth it.

Elizabeth & Gia’s Apartment: Living Room

Gia pulled open her door and grimaced. “Marcus, don’t take this the wrong way, but yours is, like, literally the last face I want to see right now.”

Detective Marcus Taggert sighed and nodded. “I get that, Gia. But I gotta talk to her. I figure better me than someone else—and don’t look at me that way. I’m not a monster.”

“That remains to be seen.” Gia stepped back to let her brother in. “You step out of line, and I am going to sue the shit out of the PCPD. I got friends. We know people—”

“Gia—” Elizabeth said from the table, where she sat in one of the chairs, her legs drawn up under her chin. “I know he has to talk to me. Detective,” she said with a tired sigh. “I get it. Let’s just get it over with.”

“I’m watching you,” Gia muttered as Taggert took a seat across from Elizabeth and drew out a small notepad and pencil.

“You know, she used to be my sister,” he said with a half-smile. “I’d ask how you’re doing, but that’s a stupid question.”

“I’m…not okay,” Elizabeth admitted. “But I’m…breathing. That’s good enough for now.” She let her legs drop to the floor and leaned forward, ignoring the cold toast and coffee Gia had tried to feed her. “Go ahead and ask me what you need to.”

“All right. Let’s start with the easy stuff. When was the last time you talked to Jason?” he asked.

“Yesterday, just before eleven. I was working a double yesterday, twelve to twelve. But I wanted to come in early and do some paperwork.” Elizabeth sighed, rubbed her forehead. “So Jason dropped me off. He was going to the warehouse. It’s the end of the fiscal year—” Her voice broke. “I’m sorry. We just—we were talking about the end of the year, about the books for the warehouse. He asked me if I wanted him to check Kelly’s things. To m-make sure I hadn’t messed up the math. He likes to tease me about—” She pressed her lips together. “Anyway. That’s the last time I talked to him.”

Taggert hesitated. “We pulled his cell phone records, Elizabeth. He made a series of phone calls to you yesterday afternoon. You—you didn’t talk to him—?”

Elizabeth sat up straight. “What? He called—”

But Gia was already standing up, looking inside Elizabeth’s purse for her phone. “It’s not in here—”

“I—” Elizabeth pressed a fist to her mouth for a moment. Oh, God. She could have talked to him one more time and she’d missed it. “I’m really bad at remembering to grab it sometimes. It’s…it’s probably—I left it at Jason’s.”

“Okay, okay. It’s not a big deal, Liz. We just…we want to nail down his movements. One of his calls connected—he must have left a voicemail. Um—”

“You want to listen to it when I get my phone.” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “God. Yeah, okay. Um, I can get it today, right? Did—did you need his room—”

“No, we did a quick look last night, but we know from experience Morgan wouldn’t have kept anything there. Especially—”

“Since I spent so much time there.” She twisted her fingers together. “What else?”

“Did…were you aware of any issues Jason has been having lately? Anything in particularly bothering him?”

She managed a half smile. “Other than Carly? I don’t know. Jason’s—he’s kind of a silent partner with Sonny right now. I think he was helping them audit some books, do background checks on some employees at the warehouse or something. He wasn’t—he wasn’t really planning on moving back to Port Charles. That’s why…that’s why he was still at Jake’s.”

“Okay.” Taggert made a note. “Could…could Carly be in trouble? Could it  have something to do with…what happened?”

“I don’t—” Elizabeth bit her lip. “I don’t know. I can’t see how, but you know…it’s Carly.” She rubbed her eyes. “Taggert, can I ask you something?”

“Yeah.”

“Sonny—Sonny, he said I shouldn’t…go to see him. I mean, that—it would be better—”

“Elizabeth,” Gia murmured. “Maybe he’s right—”

Taggert help up a hand to wave off his sister. “Listen. You know I’ve never been a fan of Morgan and Corinthos.” He ignored his sister’s snort. “But he’s right. I didn’t—I didn’t see him for myself, but I saw the photos from the scene.” He tilted his head. “Morgan was a lot of things, Elizabeth, but I know he cared about you. He wouldn’t want that to be your last memory.”

“Oh, God.” Elizabeth covered her face, trying to swallow the bubble of sobs tearing at her throat. “God. I can’t—I can’t breathe—”

Gia moved to sit directly next to her roommate and put an arm around her. “It’s…it’s not okay, but you know, you just—you just get it out.” She flashed an irritated look at her brother. “You need anything else, Marcus?”

“No.” Taggert shook his head. “For what it’s worth, Elizabeth, this—this is not what I wanted. I never wanted to see you like this again. I am so goddamn sorry.”

“I—” Elizabeth struggled to get herself together. To keep it together. She had to think about the details. Had to get through the next five seconds. The next minute. One step in front of the other. “I—thank you. For your kindness. Um, if Gia will take me to Jake’s—I’ll—I’ll get my phone. A-And I’ll let you know about the voicemail.”

“Thanks, Liz. Let me know if I can do anything.”

When her brother had left, Gia said, “We don’t have to do anything today, Liz. We can just sit inside and ignore the world. Or maybe you want to go scream—I just—I don’t know if—”

“I have to—” Elizabeth laced her fingers together to keep them from trembling. “I’m not going to ignore it. Not like last time. I can’t—I can’t just stop either—”

“It’s been twelve hours, girl. You can take a breath—”

“If I take a breath, then it’s real. And I just—” Her voice shook. “I have to…I have to know. He called me. And I didn’t have my phone. I just—I want to know what he said. Please, Gia.”

“All right. Let me go tell Bobbie we’re going.”

Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room

Benny tossed the Port Charles Sun and the Port Charles Herald on the dining table in front of Sonny. “Is that real enough for you?”

Sonny scowled as he took in the headlines. Corinthos Enforcer Murdered! With grainy photos of Elizabeth inside of Kelly’s, Sonny standing with her. And that was the respectable Herald. The tabloid Sun had photos from Elizabeth going into the Brownstone as well as photos of Elizabeth being all but carried out of the diner by Gia and Bobbie.

“How the hell are they always there?” Sonny muttered as he set aside his coffee to pick up on the Herald. Vultures.

“I’m keeping the papers from Jason. He sees this now, especially this one in front of Kelly’s—he’s not going to believe she knows—”

“Benny, you got something to say?” Sonny said, irritated. Like this was how he wanted any of this to go? “We went over this. Someone wants to take Jason out, we need to see why. This was the best plan under the circumstances. I’m not saying it doesn’t suck in about eight different ways, but after the warehouse, after faking Carly’s death, who’s to say someone else isn’t next? Jason wouldn’t want someone to come after Elizabeth—”

“You better practice your excuses because when Jason gets a hold of these? When he finds out you told her in the middle of Kelly’s and put her on display—Sonny—” Benny hesitated. “I get all the reasons you did it. And yeah, you were right. Roscoe has men outside of the Brownstone. They’re gonna follow her. Keep an eye on her. She’s the key. But that’s not gonna matter to Jason—”

“He’s going to be pissed at me.” Sonny shrugged as if it didn’t bother him. It did. Nothing about this plan made him feel good. He could tell himself it was to protect everyone, but damn it—it was. They didn’t have to like the way Sonny did business, but they had to respect it.

He was the goddamn boss in this town, not Jason. And he was getting tired of people acting like he needed to be scared—

Sonny dipped his head. “More than that, he’s going to be hurt. Because he trusted me, and I lied to him. I know it, Benny. But whoever planned this ambush went to a lot of trouble. And they wouldn’t have stopped. I was afraid they’d go for Elizabeth or Michael next. That they’d figure out exactly how to break Jason.”

“You’re right. Losing Elizabeth would break Jason. I’ve watched that boy for years, Sonny. And she is the best thing to happen to him since Michael.” Benny took the newspapers back, tucked them into his briefcase. “He forgave you for Carly—”

“Does everyone know about that?” Sonny asked with a mutter, though of course they did. Like Elizabeth said, everyone could do the math. Carly was pregnant before Jason left.

“Because Carly didn’t mean nearly as much as Elizabeth Webber.” Benny waited. “Have you talked to her since last night?”

“Gia Campbell said she isn’t talking to anyone. I offered to go over, but she said there was enough press and media. We get rid of them yet?”

“I sent a guy over this morning but Taggert had already threatened them with an injunction and trespass. They’re keeping their distance.”

Sonny nodded. Waited a moment. “Jason might forgive me, but she won’t. Will she?”

Benny hesitated. “Somehow, I doubt it. But you had to know that before you lied.”

“Yeah.” He picked up his coffee and stared down at the dark liquid “Yeah, I knew that. But I was hoping I was wrong.”

Monday, September 9, 2002

Elizabeth & Gia’s Apartment: Living Room

Elizabeth sighed before she opened the door to find a solemn Sonny Corinthos standing on her landing. “Hey.”

“Hey.” He glanced towards the stairwell, to the third floor where Taggert’s apartment was located. “You mind if we come in?”

“Oh.” She blinked at Max behind him and then stepped back. “Sorry. Yeah. Come on in.”

They both entered the apartment, and Elizabeth closed the door behind them. She took a deep breath before turning to face them. “Hey,” she said again. “I-I know I haven’t returned any of your calls. I-I’m—”

Sonny shook his head. “You don’t have to apologize, Elizabeth. We’re all…managing the best we can.” He frowned, looking around. “Are you by yourself?”

“Oh. Yeah. Gia had classes today.” Elizabeth went to the dining table and closed the textbook she’d been attempting to read. “She offered to skip, but we’re…we’re graduating in December, so…”

“I’d forgotten you’d be back to school.” Sonny waited. “Are you—are you—still attending classes?”

“Oh. No. Not this week, but…” Elizabeth closed her eyes. Tried to gather her thoughts. She kept drifting. Kept losing her focus. “I’m going to try to go back next week. To give myself something to do.”

“Good, good. Keeping yourself busy—that’s a good idea.” He cleared his throat. “I…I feel like asking if you’re okay…or need anything…I don’t know. It’s the thing to ask but it feels—”

“I’m breathing.” She sat at the table, picked up the highlighter she’d been using and twirled it between her fingers. “I…I have to go to the mansion later today. Emily’s flying in this week for the funeral—” She stopped. “I, ah, anyway. I’m managing, Sonny.”

“Good.”

She hesitated. “How are you doing?” Elizabeth asked softly. “I mean, I guess you and I are—we were the closest. I—I should have asked—”

“I’m the same,” Sonny cut in, with a dismissive hand. “Managing. Focusing on anything that takes my mind off of it.”

“And—And Max,” Elizabeth looked at Sonny’s guard. “I-I know all the guys—Jason thought a lot of you guys. I mean—I don’t have to tell you that. I guess I just—we all lost—” And then her bravado failed.

“We’re doing the best we can, Ms. Webber,” Max said, kindly. “You let us know if we can do anything for you. If you need a ride somewhere—you want to avoid the press—” He looked at Sonny, who nodded. “I’ll get you Francis’ number. He runs the security—”

“I liked Francis,” Elizabeth murmured with a half-smile. “He’s the one who guarded me a few years ago, right?”

“Right.” Sonny rubbed his jaw. “Anyway. I just—you let me know if I can do anything for you, Elizabeth. I just—I hate all of this.”

“Yeah, that makes two of us.”

When they had both left, Elizabeth turned back to her textbook and opened it. And pretended to read another page.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room

 

Sonny scrubbed his hands over his face after tossing the burner cell phone aside. Across the table, Benny just clucked his tongue and continued making notes.

“Don’t start.”

“He’s only going to keep asking to see her, Sonny.” Benny slid that morning’s newspaper across the table. “They ran the same photo on the news, and Jason is watching. She looks devastated. She is devastated,” he corrected.

“He doesn’t suspect I—” Sonny muttered. “These goddamn vultures taking pictures of her every time she leaves the house. What good does it do? He thinks it’s the lying. He’s worried she’s lying to everyone and he didn’t even get to explain it to her.”

“We’re not going to have the same argument,” Benny told him. “Because the damage has been done and telling her the truth now isn’t going to change anything. If you had told her in those first twenty-four hours, maybe. But we’re burying him tomorrow, Sonny. Or we’re burying an empty casket.”

“I’m gonna—” Sonny exhaled slowly. “The shock of it is over, you know? The funeral will take off some of the heat. We already know it’s working. You said the guys are reporting that the drug trade is more obvious in the clubs. I don’t know if Nico is just taking advantage of the situation or he’s in on it, but he’s not waiting around.”

“I don’t like this plan,” Benny said with the same shake of his head that Sonny had seen a million times in the last five days. “There’s no target. No goal. It’s a fishing expedition, and what if there’s nothing to know? How long are we gonna put his family through it—” He bit off those words. “How long is Jason going to pretend to be dead, Sonny? What’s the magical event that’s gonna make this worth it?”

“To be honest,” Sonny said slowly, “I didn’t think it’d last this long. I thought—I thought maybe they’d think Jason’s death would make things chaotic. That they’d go for a kill shot or something those first few days. But I guess we underestimated them.”

“If either of you morons had come to me,” Benny muttered, “I could have told you it was a stupid idea. But you were both so goddamn worried about Carly.”

Sonny scowled at him. “What the—”

“There was no point in actually showing up to the damn meeting. Carly was supposed to give Jason the information. She could have easily told them Jason was too pissed at her to listen. To go. But you didn’t want to put her in danger—”

“There’s nothing wrong with that,” Sonny shot back. “And it worked. Everyone thinks Jason is dead. They’ll lay low until the funeral, but they’ll come after us—”

“How? And how are we gonna know it’s the right guys and not someone trying to take advantage of Jason’s absence?” Benny got to his feet. “You went through with this plan on a hope and a prayer, Sonny. And I’ve sat back, letting it happen because it’s my job. But you are going to tell that girl the truth or I will—”

“I’m taking her to see him tomorrow after the memorial,” Sonny interrupted. “Jason made it clear today. He’s not going to wait to talk to her. I either bring her to him or he’ll contact her himself. So…I have to do it. Because if he reaches out, she might be too upset to let him explain. I did this. I lied. I put her through this. She needs to know that’s the truth.”

“You’re clinging to that as if it’s going to be black and white.” Benny gathered his paperwork. “I pray that you’re right, Sonny. I hope that we do get our answers. But this wasn’t the way to do it. And you know that.” He tilted his head. “That’s why you didn’t let him go to her at Kelly’s. He wasn’t thinking it through, but you were. If he left, if he had time to think about this plan, he might not have done it.”

Sonny hissed. “What the hell is your problem, Benny? You work for me, not for Jason. I give the orders. Not him. I told him this was the plan and he was damn well going to do it. This son of a bitch faked Carly’s death to get at me, tried to take out my lieutenant. They’re coming after me. Who would be next if they didn’t get Jason, Benny? Elizabeth? Michael? Someone who isn’t part of this? No more collateral damage. We get to the bottom of this now.”

He stopped, took a breath. “Jason’s going to be angry at me, but he’ll see this was the only way. And it’s only been a few days. She grieved Lucky for a year—”

“I have paperwork to deal with at the warehouse, Sonny.” He rose to his feet. “Days, months, years. What does it matter? Grief is grief. You still grieve for Lily. For Brenda. Has time dulled it? Who told you Brenda was dead?”

Sonny blinked at him. “What?”

“Jason went to the island, didn’t he?” Benny continued. “He told you Brenda was dead. If he came home tomorrow, and told you she was alive, that he had helped her fake her death, that you or Jax were supposed to be told. Would it matter? Do you think Jax would forgive Brenda? Would you?”

Sonny pressed his lips together. “It’s different. Since when do you give a damn about Elizabeth Webber—”

“When did you stop?”

And when Sonny didn’t answer, Benny picked up his briefcase and left.

July 11, 2018

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Workshop: Bittersweet - Deleted Scenes

When I initially wrote Chapters 20-25, I had intended for Jason to decide to fake his death, a la Sonny in 2002. Sonny was supposed to tell Liz the truth but he lied to her, and Jason didn’t know Liz didn’t know. I ran into an issue with it because the more I wrote, the less I believed Jason would ever agree to the plan in the first place. At least, my Jason.

But I wrote A LOT of stuff using that story — I wrote about seven chapters. A lot of it got recycled, but some of it didn’t make the cut. Some of it was okay —  I think the direction I decided to take the story is a lot better and gives me more options character wise. I think what I did with Sonny, in particular, was way more interesting and uses more of his history.

So the scenes in this chapter were cut reactions — Jason was supposed to be declared dead that night in September, rather than going missing as he did in the final version. The timeline was a bit more stretched out. I have more I can post after maybe…two or three more chapters. But this content is everything that got cut from Chapters 20-23, and takes place between September 6-12, 2002.


Kelly’s: Diner

“You think Jason is going to take Carly’s side after all?” Courtney asked as she joined Elizabeth behind the counter. They were winding down the dinner rush—a rush that had lasted, for some reason, until nearly ten that night. The diner was filled with dock workers she’d never seen before and who had lingered.

“Courtney—” Elizabeth bit her lip. “I don’t know why Jason canceled the appointment. Didn’t he tell AJ he would explain everything later?”

“Yeah, but…sorry.” Courtney started another pot of coffee. “Sorry, I know you’re over all this Carly crap.”

“It’s not that. It’s—” she shrugged. “I’m going to trust that Jason has this under control. Besides, he’ll be here around midnight and he’ll tell me what’s going on.” She turned to include Gia in the conversation. “And…it looks like you’ll be living alone in the near future.”

“Jason asked you to move in with him?” Gia asked with raised brows. “We’ve forgiven him enough for this?”

“We’re going to discuss it. It’s a good step, Gia. And I’m excited. We’re not putting our lives on hold for Carly’s bullshit. We’re…we’re going to move forward.” Elizabeth’s smile bloomed into a full-fledged grin. “It’s the first time in almost two weeks I’ve felt…good about all of this. So whatever Jason has planned, Courtney,  I’m not worried. I trust him.”

“Well, if you’re confident, then I am, too,” Courtney said with a nod. “Okay. Let’s talk about you and Jason living together. Because that is a good news and I want to enjoy it.”

Kelly’s: Courtyard

Sonny stepped up to the door of the diner, peered through the glass windows, took in the scene, and then let his hand fall from the handle.

“Sir—” Benny put a hand on his shoulder. “You want me…to go in? Pull her aside? If she sees your face, she’s gonna know something’s wrong—”

“No.” Sonny cleared his throat. Forced the words out. “No. I—I, ah, I can do this, Benny. I can—” He looked at his business manager. “It should be me.”

Kelly’s: Dining Room

Elizabeth checked her watch before rolling her eyes at Gia. “How can you possibly be failing your class already? It’s been five minutes since the semester started.” She snapped her fingers as Gia ignored her question and concentrated on the newscast blaring from the television they kept behind the counter.

Courtney grimaced as the bell over the door rang. “If that’s another customer—”

But it wasn’t.

Elizabeth frowned as Sonny strode in, Benny Abrams behind him. Both men were a bit…more sober than usual. Were they looking for Jason?

“Hey, Sonny. Coffee?” she asked, moving towards the carafe.

They stopped in the middle of the room. And just looked at her. Sonny’s eyes dark. Worried.

“Elizabeth…” Gia murmured, as she straightened. “Hey. Let’s—” She stopped as a breaking news alert banner slid across the newscast. “Oh, God.”

“Sonny.” Elizabeth walked around the counter to meet Sonny halfway. She wouldn’t jump to conclusions, even as everything inside her started to scream. “What’s going on?”

“Elizabeth,” Sonny started. Then he stopped. Swallowed.

“Are—are you looking for Jason? He’s not—he’s at the warehouse—” Her eyes darted between the two men.

And behind them, she heard Gia swear. Heard glass shatter behind her.

“Jason is supposed to pick me up.”

Behind Sonny, Bobbie rushed in, Carly on her heels. “Sonny—” Bobbie said, throwing a hand up at Carly who began to speak.

Their faces were ravaged with tears.

“Jason is picking me up,” Elizabeth continued, but she already felt…outside of this. She was speaking, but she didn’t know how she was forming the words. “We’re going to move in together.”

“Elizabeth—”

Gia and Courtney stepped up behind her. She could feel them behind her, their warmth seeping into her. She was cold. Why she was so cold?

“There—” Sonny’s voice broke. “He was shot.”

Shot. Elizabeth could deal with that. “He’s at the hospital. I’ll—Gia, can you get my purse—”

“Elizabeth—”

“Sonny,” Carly managed, but Sonny turned and sent her a dirty look which shut Carly up.

Later…later Gia would relate these details to her, but at the moment…Elizabeth just stared straight ahead.

Because this wasn’t happening. Not again. Oh, God. Not Again. “No,” she said firmly. “He’s at the hospital. Is he in surgery?”

Sonny dipped his head, looked down for a moment. Took a deep breath. “He didn’t make it to the hospital, Elizabeth. They called me—”

“We heard it on the news, baby,” Bobbie said now, stepping forward. Stepping past Sonny. “It’s—real—”

“No.” Elizabeth shook her head. “No. No, no, no.”  This was all a dream. Wasn’t it? Was it real? How was any of this happening?

She felt Gia’s arm around her shoulder. “Liz,” her roommate began. “Let’s—”

“I don’t believe it,” Elizabeth managed. Started forward. “I have to see him. I have—I don’t believe—”

Sonny took her shoulders, gripping them with his hands. “It’s not—he wouldn’t want you to—” His voice broke again. “The shot was to his—”

Elizabeth moaned. Swayed. She dipped again, but this time, Gia and Courtney got her to a chair.

“Sir,” Benny said, softly. “Sir, maybe this isn’t—”

Carly was sobbing across the diner, but Elizabeth couldn’t hear anything. Couldn’t breath. Couldn’t think.

Sonny knelt in front of her again. Had she gone back in time? Dimly, she felt her hair. It was still short. Not long. It wasn’t 1999.

The smell of smoke wasn’t choking her throat. There were no flames flickering in the distance.

So it must be today. How could it be today? How could any of this—

“Elizabeth, do you want a ride home?” His eyes were wet, his voice rusted. “What do you need?”

Need. What did she need? Did she need anything? She needed Jason.

Oh, God. Again. It was happening again.

“I’ll take care of it,” Gia said softly. “I’ll get her home—”

“If she needs anything—”

“I’ll close,” Courtney said to Bobbie, her voice thick. “But I need to get to—”

“Call Don. And Penny. You should both be—” Bobbie pressed a fist to her mouth. “You should both be with family. They’ll have seen the news—”

“Bobbie—” Sonny stood. Touched Bobbie’s elbow. “What can I do—”

“You’ve done enough,” Bobbie said shortly, dismissing him. “I’m sure you have other things you need to be doing.”

She, along with Gia, pulled Elizabeth to her feet, and Elizabeth followed. She couldn’t—she couldn’t breathe.

“Carly—” Bobbie looked at her weeping daughter.

“I’ll—” Carly swallowed. “I’ll find my own way home. Mama—”

But Bobbie and Gia were already through the door, Benny holding the door open to them as they gently guided Elizabeth out the door.

Sonny watched them go, his heart heavy. He hadn’t wanted any of this, but—he looked at Carly. Hatred mingled with disgust. “You got your revenge,” he said in a low voice. “You said you’d make him pay for taking your son.”

“You’re lying,” Carly said, brokenly. “He wasn’t supposed to—”

“Things don’t always go the way we plan, do they?” Sonny demanded. “Get away from me, Carly. You and I are done.”

Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room

Sonny sipped his bourbon, his hands trembling as he set the tumbler back on the mini bar.  Behind him, he heard the door open and Max announce Benny Abrams had arrived.

“Benny.” Sonny turned. “What’s…what’s the word?”

“Well, it’s all over the news,” Benny said as Max closed the door. “Fucking vultures at WKPC didn’t wait more than five minutes before they headed to the Brownstone. Practically shoving cameras in Elizabeth’s face—”

“Benny.” Sonny hesitated. “They got inside okay, though?”

“Yeah, um, Bobbie got her inside. I called Bobbie, asked if she wanted any of our guys to keep the street clear. Asked about Elizabeth.”

“How—” he cleared his throat. Forced the words out. “How’s she doing?”

“Bobbie said she was doing as well as could be expected. She left her with Gia. Declined our offer to help.” Benny hesitated. “Sir, I work for you. I take orders from you, but—”

“I’m not…this isn’t how I planned it,” he murmured.

“It didn’t need—it didn’t need to be so public, Sonny. We could have taken her aside. Arranged for her to get home privately—”

“Benny—what’s going on with the guys? What’s happening on the street?”

“About what you expect. Grief. Turmoil. Worry. They think this is an escalation of problems we’ve been having. Some…confusion as to why Jason went to a warehouse by himself.” Benny sighed. “Oh, and…” He reached into his pocket. “The burner cell you wanted.”

“Thanks.” Sonny took it from him. Checked the time. “Cutting it close, aren’t you?”

“Isn’t that the story of the day?” his manager muttered as the phone vibrated in Sonny’s hand.

Sonny took a deep breath, flipped it open. “Hey.”

“Hey. Did it—” Jason’s voice was rough. “I saw some of the coverage from the safe house. They—the reporters are all over her. She looked upset. Did you get to her in time?”

“Ah, yeah. I got to her before she saw the reports.” Sonny looked at Benny, who just grimaced. “Everything went according to plan. Benny says there’s no doubts on the street. And…we just gotta lay low. I know you hate this plan, Jason. It’s just—it’s the only thing we had available to us with short notice.”

“Yeah, I just hate that my sister is going to have to—my grandmother. And Bobbie. Elizabeth is going to hate lying to all of them.” Jason paused. “I want to see her.”

“It’s not safe—”

“I didn’t get a chance to talk to her first, and this is a lot to ask. I just want—I want to see her, Sonny. Make it happen.”

“I will,” Sonny promised. “As soon as I can. But we gotta play it safe. No point in lying to everyone only to screw it up. Elizabeth is tough. She’ll get through this.”

“Okay.”

Sonny hung up the phone and stared at it. “How long do you think I have before he isn’t asking but demanding to see Elizabeth?”

“If the reports keep looping that footage of her going into the Brownstone or they film her gong into any memorial service—” Benny pressed his lips together. “You didn’t lie to him, Sonny. But none of this is okay.”

“Benny, don’t—” Sonny closed his eyes. “I didn’t lie to him before either. I didn’t…intend to lie at all. But I got to Kelly’s, and it was full of dock workers. Men I damn well knew work for Mickey Roscoe. He put them there because of Elizabeth. They’re watching her. And her grief is going to convince them—”

“The logic makes sense, but Jason is not going to care about any of that. Sonny—”

“Benny, it’s done. Now let’s make it worth it.”

And with that, the disgruntled business manager left, and Sonny poured himself another drink.

Jason scowled as he glared at his phone. “Damn it, Elizabeth, answer the phone,” he muttered. “I won’t do it if she doesn’t know, Sonny.”

“People are going to be watching her—Roscoe isn’t working alone—”

Jason shook his head sharply. “You’re insane if you think I’d agree to do this and lie—

Sonny sighed and paced the length of the room. “I don’t like this anymore than you do, but she’d understand. She knows what you do—”

“She knows—” Jason bit off the words as he dialed the phone again. “I’m telling her, Sonny. Or this isn’t happening—she must have left her phone at home. Or at Jake’s. She never remembers to grab it from the charger. I’ll have to go to Kelly’s—”

Sonny snagged his friend’s elbow as he started out of the room. “There isn’t time. We need to nail down the details. We have an hour to get a hold of the guy at the hospital, to fake the scene, to arrange for paramedics—we have more important—”

Jason shrugged off Sonny’s grip, his eyes flashing. “If you think I am going to fake my death and not tell Elizabeth, Sonny—”

“I don’t like it anymore than you do, but this is the way we do things. Elizabeth damn well knows you can’t tell her what’s going on—”

“That’s bullshit, Sonny. You know there’s no one we can trust more than Elizabeth. After what she’s been through for us—after hiding me in her studio twice, lying to everyone then—”

“That was a small lie, damn it, Jason. She was half in love with you back then, and it was easy to pretend that you were sleeping together. I don’t think she can pull this off—”

Jason’s hands clenched in fists at his side. “I am not for one second letting her think that I am dead—Sonny, either I tell her what’s going on or no one is showing up at this meeting. It’s not negotiable.”

“Jason—”

“If it were Brenda, would you put her through this?” Jason demanded. “You—” He paused. Swallowed. “You knew before I could admit it to myself. You know what she is to me. If I did this to her, if I put her through it, that’s it. She’ll never forgive me.”

Sonny waited a moment. “I think…I think you’re overreacting. She’ll be angry—”

“And even if she did forgive me, she’d never trust me again. And she’d be right not to. I love her, Sonny. And I’m not letting her think I’m dead. You can agree to get on board with this or you can go to hell and fix this bullshit on your own.”

Sonny looked away, took a deep breath, and accepted the inevitable. “All right. All right. But you can’t go to Kelly’s. As far as Roscoe is concerned, Carly did her part. We have to assume we’re being watched her. If either of us leave, we’ll be followed. You go to Kelly’s, pull Elizabeth aside, it’ll look suspicious—”

“I’ll call—”

“No—” Sonny stopped Jason as he pulled out his cell phone again. “I’ll take care of it. I’ll go to Kelly’s. I’ll tell her before the media picks it up. Make it look like a notification—”

“No.” Jason shook his head. “That’s too risky.”

“I’ll look better this way. I’ll go to her after I’ve been notified. I’m your emergency contact. I’ll be called as soon as it goes into motion. I’ll get to her before the media is notified, I’ll pull her aside to give the news. It’ll make it look better.”

Jason hesitated. Doubt was in his eyes as he spoke, “Sonny—”

“Look, I get it—” Sonny pressed a hand to his chest. “You want her in on it. I made my argument. But you made it clear. Let’s do it in  way that makes it look real. If she hears before I get there, it’ll be by minutes. She’ll understand if we tell her as soon as possible. Can—can we please settle the details—”

“Sonny.” Jason paused. “I’m trusting you.”

Sonny lifted the bourbon to his throat and swallowed it on gulp. Jason was right. If Jason lied to her, Elizabeth would never forgive him. So…Sonny had been the one to lie.

He just hoped like hell it was worth it.

Elizabeth & Gia’s Apartment: Living Room

Gia pulled open her door and grimaced. “Marcus, don’t take this the wrong way, but yours is, like, literally the last face I want to see right now.”

Detective Marcus Taggert sighed and nodded. “I get that, Gia. But I gotta talk to her. I figure better me than someone else—and don’t look at me that way. I’m not a monster.”

“That remains to be seen.” Gia stepped back to let her brother in. “You step out of line, and I am going to sue the shit out of the PCPD. I got friends. We know people—”

“Gia—” Elizabeth said from the table, where she sat in one of the chairs, her legs drawn up under her chin. “I know he has to talk to me. Detective,” she said with a tired sigh. “I get it. Let’s just get it over with.”

“I’m watching you,” Gia muttered as Taggert took a seat across from Elizabeth and drew out a small notepad and pencil.

“You know, she used to be my sister,” he said with a half smile. “I’d ask how you’re doing, but that’s a stupid question.”

“I’m…not okay,” Elizabeth admitted. “But I’m…breathing. That’s good enough for now.” She let her legs drop to the floor and leaned forward, ignoring the cold toast and coffee Gia had tried to feed her. “Go ahead and ask me what you need to.”

“All right. Let’s start with the easy stuff. When was the last time you talked to Jason?” he asked.

“Yesterday, just before eleven. I was working a double yesterday, twelve to twelve. But I wanted to come in early and do some paperwork.” Elizabeth sighed, rubbed her forehead. “So Jason dropped me off. He was going to the warehouse. It’s the end of the fiscal year—” Her voice broke. “I’m sorry. We just—we were talking about about the end of the year, about the books for the warehouse. He asked me if I wanted him to check Kelly’s things. To m-make sure I hadn’t messed up the math. He likes to tease me about—” She pressed her lips together. “Anyway. That’s the last time I talked to him.”

Taggert hesitated. “We pulled his cell phone records, Elizabeth. He made a series of phone calls to you yesterday afternoon. You—you didn’t talk to him—?”

Elizabeth sat up straight. “What? He called—”

But Gia was already standing up, looking inside Elizabeth’s purse for her phone. “It’s not in here—”

“I—” Elizabeth pressed a fist to her mouth for a moment. Oh, God. She could have talked to him one more time and she’d missed it. “I’m really bad at remembering to grab it sometimes. It’s…it’s probably—I left it at Jason’s.”

“Okay, okay. It’s not a big deal, Liz. We just…we want to nail down his movements. One of his calls connected—he must have left a voicemail. Um—”

“You want to listen to it when I get my phone.” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “God. Yeah, okay. Um, I can get it today, right? Did—did you need his room—”

“No, we did a quick look last night, but we know from experience Morgan wouldn’t have kept anything there. Especially—”

“Since I spent so much time there.” She twisted her fingers together. “What else?”

“Did…were you aware of any issues Jason has been having lately? Anything in particularly bothering him?”

She managed a half smile. “Other than Carly? I don’t know. Jason’s—he’s kind of a silent partner with Sonny right now. I think he was helping them audit some books, do background checks on some employees at the warehouse or something. He wasn’t—he wasn’t really planning on moving back to Port Charles. That’s why…that’s why he was still at Jake’s.”

“Okay.” Taggert made a note. “Could…could Carly be in trouble? Could it  have something to do with…what happened?”

“I don’t—” Elizabeth bit her lip. “I don’t know. I can’t see how, but you know…it’s Carly.” She rubbed her eyes. “Taggert, can I ask you something?”

“Yeah.”

“Sonny—Sonny, he said I shouldn’t…go to see him. I mean, that—it would be better—”

“Elizabeth,” Gia murmured. “Maybe he’s right—”

Taggert help up a hand to wave off his sister. “Listen. You know I’ve never been a fan of Morgan and Corinthos.” He ignored his sister’s snort. “But he’s right. I didn’t—I didn’t see him for myself, but I saw the photos from the scene.” He tilted his head. “Morgan was a lot of things, Elizabeth, but I know he cared about you. He wouldn’t want that to be your last memory.”

“Oh, God.” Elizabeth covered her face, trying to swallow the bubble of sobs tearing at her throat. “God. I can’t—I can’t breathe—”

Gia moved to sit directly next to her roommate and put an arm around her. “It’s…it’s not okay, but you know, you just—you just get it out.” She flashed an irritated look at her brother. “You need anything else, Marcus?”

“No.” Taggert shook his head. “For what it’s worth, Elizabeth, this—this is not what I wanted. I never wanted to see you like this again. I am so goddamn sorry.”

“I—” Elizabeth struggled to get herself together. To keep it together. She had to think about the details. Had to get through the next five seconds. The next minute. One step in front of the other. “I—thank you. For your kindness. Um, if Gia will take me to Jake’s—I’ll—I’ll get my phone. A-And I’ll let you know about the voicemail.”

“Thanks, Liz. Let me know if I can do anything.”

When her brother had left, Gia said, “We don’t have to do anything today, Liz. We can just sit inside and ignore the world. Or maybe you want to go scream—I just—I don’t know if—”

“I have to—” Elizabeth laced her fingers together to keep them from trembling. “I’m not going to ignore it. Not like last time. I can’t—I can’t just stop either—”

“It’s been twelve hours, girl. You can take a breath—”

“If I take a breath, then it’s real. And I just—” Her voice shook. “I have to…I have to know. He called me. And I didn’t have my phone. I just—I want to know what he said. Please, Gia.”

“All right. Let me go tell Bobbie we’re going.”

Elizabeth & Gia’s Apartment: Living Room

Elizabeth sighed before she opened the door to find a solemn Sonny Corinthos standing on her landing. “Hey.”

“Hey.” He glanced towards the stairwell, to the third floor where Taggert’s apartment was located. “You mind if we come in?”

“Oh.” She blinked at Max behind him and then stepped back. “Sorry. Yeah. Come on in.”

They both entered the apartment, and Elizabeth closed the the door behind them. She took a deep breath before turning to face them. “Hey,” she said again. “I-I know I haven’t returned any of your calls. I-I’m—”

Sonny shook his head. “You don’t have to apologize, Elizabeth. We’re all…managing the best we can.” He frowned, looking around. “Are you by yourself?”

“Oh. Yeah. Gia had classes today.” Elizabeth went to the dining table and closed the textbook she’d been attempting to read. “She offered to skip, but we’re…we’re graduating in December, so…”

“I’d forgotten you’d be back to school.” Sonny waited. “Are you—are you—still attending classes?”

“Oh. No. Not this week, but…” Elizabeth closed her eyes. Tried to gather her thoughts. She kept drifting. Kept losing her focus. “I’m going to try to go back next week. To give myself something to do.”

“Good, good. Keeping yourself busy—that’s a good idea.” He cleared his throat. “I…I feel like asking if you’re okay…or need anything…I don’t know. It’s the thing to ask but it feels—”

“I’m breathing.” She sat at the table, picked up the highlighter she’d been using and twirled it between her fingers. “I…I have to go to the mansion later today. Emily’s flying in this week for the funeral—” She stopped. “I, ah, anyway. I’m managing, Sonny.”

“Good.”

She hesitated. “How are you doing?” Elizabeth asked softly. “I mean, I guess you and I are—we were the closest. I—I should have asked—”

“I’m the same,” Sonny cut in, with a dismissive hand. “Managing. Focusing on anything that takes my mind off of it.”

“And—And Max,” Elizabeth looked at Sonny’s guard. “I-I know all the guys—Jason thought a lot of you guys. I mean—I don’t have to tell you that. I guess I just—we all lost—” And then her bravado failed.

“We’re doing the best we can, Ms. Webber,” Max said, kindly. “You let us know if we can do anything for you. If you need a ride somewhere—you want to avoid the press—” He looked at Sonny, who nodded. “I’ll get you Francis’ number. He runs the security—”

“I liked Francis,” Elizabeth murmured with a half-smile. “He’s the one who guarded me a few years ago, right?”

“Right.” Sonny rubbed his jaw. “Anyway. I just—you let me know if I can do anything for you, Elizabeth. I just—I hate all of this.”

“Yeah, that makes two of us.”

When they had both left, Elizabeth turned back to her textbook and opened it. And pretended to read another page.

February 17, 2018

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Workshop: Bittersweet - Deleted Scenes

After Carly’s return in Chapter 15, Bittersweet was going to look very different for the next four chapters. Carly was going to come home, refuse to talk, and then go to custody for Michael, and then lose it. I got as far as writing the custody hearing, but it didn’t feel right.

What I did have was a brief conflict between Jason and Elizabeth in Chapter 16, in that final Brownstone scene. They were going to resolve it at that point, but it gave me this idea to make that conflict a bit more deep. To really hit the beats of 2002. I’m glad I cut the original story and I think you’re going to like where it goes, because I think, ultimately, it does good things for the Liason story.

However, I did cut almost 4000 words. Some of the scenes from those chapters stayed — I just rewrite them slightly, but there were a few I had to lose entirely. Here they are now. They’re not edited or beta’d. I hope you enjoy.


AJ and Courtney’s House: Living Room

“I don’t understand how the Play-Doh got in the carpet, Michael,” AJ said as he scrubbed the blue dried bits entangled in the threads of the gray carpet. “You were supposed to keep it on the table.”

“I know, Dad,” Michael said with wide brown eyes that shown with innocence and guile. “But then I was playing with my guys, and Yoda was lightsabering Darth. I sort of…” he flashed his white baby teeth. “I knocked it over. And then I didn’t see. I was trying to run from the Siths and…I stepped on it.”

AJ just stared at him. “That actually…sounds logical to me.” He handed Michael the sponge. “But it’s your turn to finish this. You’re old enough to clean up after yourself.”

Michael scowled but took the sponge. “Yeah, yeah, Grammy and Liz say that to me all the time but Lucas gets to leave his stuff everywhere and no one yells at him—”

The doorbell saved AJ from having to explain to a five-year-old that sometimes teenagers weren’t worth arguing with, and he rose to answer it.

He liked these afternoons with his son on Wednesdays. He had the overnight shift, which meant he slept until noon and Courtney left for work. And then, it was just the two of them for eight uninterrupted hours.

He had never expected to still have custody of Michael once Carly came back—had really thought Jason would eventually change his mind or that Carly would work whatever voodoo she usually did and AJ would at least be cut back to supervised visitation.

But AJ now had unofficial full custody. It was easier, Jason had told him, if Michael stayed with them from now on. Until the hearing. To…give the judge more to work with.

He and his brother were united for once in what was best for Michael, and AJ wanted to enjoy that for as long as he could. He knew that Jason was hoping the custody hearing would force Carly’s hand—that she would have to tell them what the hell had happened in April and why she had been gone for four months.

But if Carly hadn’t come clean in the last month, AJ…he wasn’t convinced she would tomorrow. Carly still thought a judge would look at the two of them and give her Michael. Even though she had never retained custody on the up and up, she was arrogant enough to think it would work this time.

AJ’s lawyer was confident that AJ would be awarded permanent full custody. No unofficial custody agreement, no Jason standing there, holding the strings—not that AJ had minded that part—but that Michael would be his son. Forever. Irrevocably.

And God he wanted that. He didn’t want Michael to lose Carly, permanently. And he hoped that he and Jason, Bobbie, Lucas, Elizabeth—all of the people who loved Michael could continue to be united in what was best for him. Because knowing every day he didn’t drink was another day he could be a father to his son—

That was worth everything.

When he opened his front door to find his grandfather standing there, AJ didn’t even grimace. Didn’t wince. Edward didn’t hold that power over him anymore.

He was just his grandfather, and AJ stepped back to welcome him into his home. “Hey. I didn’t know you were coming by.”

“Spontaneous decision,” Edward said. Michael turned to look at him with a considering eye. “Good afternoon, Michael.”

“Grandfather,” Michael said, kicking the carpet with the toe of his sneaker. “Hi. We were just playing.”

AJ frowned at the stilted tone his son had, but then remembered—they hadn’t seen one another since those clandestine visits to Michael’s school in May. He’d taken Michael to see his grandmother, his parents. Even Ned. But Edward had absented himself.

Doing penance? AJ didn’t think it was likely, but…maybe.

“Hey, why don’t you put away the rest of the Play-Doh and go into the family room to pick out some video games for us to play when Lucas comes by later?”

“Okay.”

AJ waited until Michael had gathered the colored tubs of clay and left the room. “He’s still a little wary of you.”

“To be expected. I didn’t—I really didn’t intend to do any harm when I went to his school.” Edward lifted his chin. “I just…I wanted to know him.”

“I know. And you will.” AJ slid his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “What brings you by?”

“I know the custody hearing is tomorrow. I, ah, I wanted to go. To show my support. We all did. But—” He coughed lightly. “We—I wasn’t sure if you’d want—or need us there.”

“I—” AJ hesitated. He didn’t want to flaunt his family in front of the judge, particularly since it would be unfair to Carly who wouldn’t have any allies in the room. But at the same time—

He did want to his family there to support him. Not the support he’d once craved like the taste of vodka sliding down his throat—but he wanted the comfort of knowing that his family thought he was doing the right thing.

“If you want to come, that would be okay. I don’t know—I know how long it will be,” AJ told him. “I know I’ll be testifying. My lawyer is calling Jason and Bobbie. And probably Carly will testify. I don’t think Michael will have to talk. I hope not, anyway.”

“I—” Edward hesitated. “I know it was hard on you losing him. And we pushed you to get him back. I pushed too hard. Your grandmother always said I put too much pressure on you boys. I did the same to Alan and Tracy. I just wanted the best for you both, and instead, neither of my grandsons talk to me.” He looked away.

For a man who loved his family as fiercely as Edward Quartermaine, the loss of both the Quartermaine scions obviously weighed heavily on him. “I had to get away, Grandfather. I had to stop waiting for you to love me for me. And not have your disappointment weigh on me enough to make me drink. I don’t blame you for the pressure you put on me. You did the same to Jason, and he thrived.” Until AJ had stolen him away.

“I blame me for the way I reacted to it. For not being strong enough—”

“I blame me, too,” Edward said quietly. “You boys were smart. And you were good young men. Decent. Kind. I could see such potential in you both. You to carry on at ELQ, and Jason at the hospital. You were going to be the next generation, and I knew you would be great men. I just…I thought my way was the best.”

He cleared his throat. “But you and Jason went your own way, and I—I might not entirely approve of Jason’s line of work, but there’s no denying that you both grew up to be good men. You put Michael’s needs above your own last spring, AJ. And you’ve kept doing it. And Jason saw that. Before the rest of us. He gave you the chance with Michael. And I’m-I’m proud of you both. You’re the kind of father that neither Alan nor I could ever have been, and I know if and when Jason has children of his own, he’ll do the same.”

“Grandfather—”

“And your wife—Courtney. I know—we were harsh. We didn’t see her worth.” Edward paused. “We see it now. It doesn’t matter, of course, because you saw it all along. And I know you don’t want to come back—to the house. But I thought…in time, we might discuss…I know you like your job. I just…I hope you know ELQ is always here for you.”

AJ hesitated. ELQ was the dream. He did like his job, but it didn’t satisfy his soul the way the corporate world did. He liked making deals, making decisions. The power of it all. But…

“I don’t know. It’s a lot of pressure to be in that job,” he said slowly. “Maybe one day. But for now, I have be the man my wife and son deserve. But…I do miss the company, Grandfather. So maybe we can talk about it one day.”

Elizabeth and Gia’s Apartment: Living Room

“I shouldn’t be nervous,” Courtney said, pouring her second glass of wine. “I’m not.”

“Not at all,” Gia said with a side eye glance at Elizabeth as she raised her own glass of Moscato to her lips. “But we’re cutting you off after this. You’re supposed to be the golden stepmother tomorrow. Wouldn’t do if you had a wine headache.”

“And besides,” Gia continued when Elizabeth just sipped her wine. “You got nothing to worry about. Carly is not a good candidate for visitation, much less getting custody. Is anyone even testifying for her?”

“Nope,” Elizabeth murmured. “I feel guilty.”

“Oh, hell.” Gia rolled her eyes. “I knew it.” She held out her hand to Courtney. “Five bucks, Quartermaine. You owe me.”

“What?” Elizabeth demanded as Courtney grumbled and slapped a crumbled five-dollar bill in her roommate’ s hands. “What did you bet on?”

“You feel guilty because Jason is going to testify against Carly. And you think it’s because of you,” Courtney said. She wrinkled her nose. “I thought we were on the same page about her. Anti-Christ, yeah? She doesn’t deserve—”

“See, that’s where you’re wrong, my esteemed friend. Elizabeth gives not one single fuck about that psycho. She’s guilty because—”

“If it weren’t for me, Jason would be helping Carly. And maybe—” She huffed. “Maybe he’ll be irritated with himself later for it.”

“And hence, irritated with you.”

“Hence the guilt,” Courtney said, finishing Gia’s thought. “Elizabeth—”

“I mean, you’re completely right. He’s not helping her because of what you said to him—”

“Gia, this isn’t not helping—”

“But I think you’re wrong about why,” Gia said, ignoring Courtney. “You made it clear to him. You did what I cannot imagine Robin ever did or you did it in a way that scared the living shit out out of him. Because you were not going to play Back-Up Barbie the way Robin did. You demanded he respect you.” She wiped an imaginary tear. “I’m so goddamn proud.”

“But—”

“Jason isn’t going to be irritated with you,” Courtney told her. “I wasn’t here for Robin—”

“I wasn’t either. But I’ve seen the way Carly is around him, and that’s even when she was married to Sonny. She thinks Jason is hers.” Gia hesitated. “He’s going to get her out of trouble because he’s still Michael’s uncle, and Carly is still that kid’s mother, God help him. And because he loves Bobbie.”

Elizabeth hesitated. “I know that. And I never said he had to completely walk away from her. I get that they need to know what she’s up to. Especially if Bobbie was right and Carly was being fed a bunch of crap, but I don’t know. I mean, I think maybe I wasn’t super fair or didn’t handle it right—”

“Is there a right way to handle your boyfriend’s ex-whatever coming back from the dead?” Courtney asked. “Because if there’s a manual and none of you bitches have given it to me, you’re all in for it—”

“Look, if Carly had shown all upset and explained right away what happened, this all would have been different. Because the Carly that went over the cliff was not the raging bitch I knew last year—”

“Or that I’ve known for the last few,” Elizabeth agreed. “If I honestly felt like she was in trouble and scared or something, I don’t know—maybe I wouldn’t have even worried about her and the way she treats him. I would have given her more space—”

“But eventually, this was gonna be an issue.”

“She would have been waiting for the first opportunity to go after him,” Elizabeth agreed. “I wouldn’t—I thought she’d moved on. Jason talked her into marrying Sonny. He thought they were good together. But he told me that the second she thought he and I were fighting, she tried to seduce him with Michael.”

“She didn’t think that through,” Gia said. “Played that card way too early. Which almost makes you wonder if she was testing him.”

“I’m just—he’s not chasing after her. I know he and Sonny are looking into it, but she hasn’t taken over the way I thought she might.” Elizabeth bit her lip. “And I think that actually scares me more.”

“I thought that what you wanted,” Courtney began, but Gia nodded.

“You’re thinking back to the Carly of old. She’s channeling that destructive anger again, so it makes sense to think she’d act the way she did then. When she wanted something at Deception, she just kept at it. Relentless. Laura would eventually give in just to shut her up.”

“If Carly wanted Michael back, if she really thought she had a shot at convincing Jason to be a family with her and Michael—she wouldn’t have just…stopped. Unless Jason isn’t telling me something—and I don’t think that’s it—she hasn’t bothered with him. Or Sonny. Bobbie saw her today for the first time. And—”

“She hasn’t come near the house or Michael,” Courtney added.

“If she really wanted Michael, why did she just file custody papers and sit back? She doesn’t know that you basically threatened to walk if Jason so much as lifted a finger to help her—”

“That’s not how it was—”

Gia rolled her eyes. “It’s what it boils down to. Either way, she has no way of knowing that. How many people told her—just tell us where you were Carly, and this can go away. You said it yourself. Had she just told Jason that night, Jason probably would have tried to do something with custody.”

Courtney nodded. “AJ’s been worried for weeks that Carly will come clean and that Jason will revoke the custody agreement. Not that Jason would—not like, harshly, I mean. But that—I don’t know—AJ doesn’t trust Carly. And he’s trying hard to trust Jason, but—”

“But Jason has gone to extreme lengths so that Carly can keep Michael,” Elizabeth said. “And so has Sonny.”

“You said Jason and Sonny think whatever Carly was doing is connected to them somehow. I think they have to be right. Because otherwise, custody hearing be damned, the Carly we know would have not waited for a custody hearing.”

“She’d be hassling Jason every day,” Courtney said.

“Pulling fire alarms,” Elizabeth murmured. “Someone is pulling her strings.”

“Someone who doesn’t want Jason and Sonny to know where she is.”

“Which means this custody hearing is part of a plan,” Elizabeth said slowly. “If Carly loses custody tomorrow—”

“How much you wanna bet that whoever is winding her up about everything else has told her — play it cool, Carly. They don’t matter. Ignore them. You’ll go to court, and I’ll make sure you get your son back.”

“But why?” Courtney asked, exasperated. “What does this have to do with anything. How would help anyone—”

“Because Carly isn’t going to get custody tomorrow,” Elizabeth said, meeting Gia’s eyes. Her best friend nodded. “She’s going to lose. And she’s going to lose hard. Because everyone is testifying against her and she’ll probably refuse to tell anyone anything. She doesn’t have to. The fix is in.”

“No way Carly goes through everything she’s been through with Michael and just sits back to wait for a custody hearing. She wouldn’t leave it to chance that way. Unless she knew something.”

“But she’s going to lose custody,” Courtney said. “If you’re right—”

“If Carly loses custody after her mother and Jason get up on that stand to tell the judge Michael is better off with AJ…” Elizabeth said, and simply stopped, pressing a hand to her stomach. “Christ.” She reached for her cell phone. “I have to call Jason.”

Port Charles Courthouse: Hallway

“Gia, you could look a little less excited,” Elizabeth muttered as she and her roommate stepped off the elevator. Ahead of her, she could see Jason, Bobbie, Courtney, and AJ huddled in front of the doors speaking quietly with a well-dressed redhead who must be AJ’s attorney.

“I can’t help it. I get that this is all emotional,” Gia said, “but you know I don’t have a dog in the fight. I’m just here for the entertainment.”

“Gia—”

“And to support you and Courtney, but there’s no law that says I can’t enjoy it.” But she rolled her shoulders and somehow, managed to ease down the energy.

Elizabeth could understand that—part of her was almost looking forward to seeing Carly raked over the coals—but at the same time, she wondered what could have happened to the woman in the four months she had been gone.

She had told Jason her suspicions the night before—that the custody hearing was part of some larger scheme. That Carly’s strange behavior could only explained if she was following someone else’s instructions and expected to win. Jason saw her logic, agreed with it to a certain extent, but couldn’t quite allow himself to think Carly could follow directions for a full month.

Blinders, she had told with some annoyance. Carly could be extremely focused when she wanted to be, but Jason wouldn’t believe that. For all of his protestations that Carly wasn’t his friend anymore, he still treated her that way. Still thought he knew her. He thought the custody hearing was a distraction, and that when push came to shove, Carly would tell the truth.

Which meant Elizabeth would have to be on her guard for him.

“Hey,” she said as she and Gia joined the group. She slid her arm around Jason’s waist waist, his went around her shoulders as she curled into a half-embrace. “Sorry we’re late. Gia got into an argument with the officer who gives out tickets in our neighborhood.”

“It was 9:01 and we were right in front of the car. She wants to write me a ticket, she’s going to have do it over my dead body,” Gia declared. “I threw out Marcus’s name, but of course she’s a bitter ex-girlfriend.” She scowled.

“She nearly got us arrested,” Elizabeth offered with a roll of her eyes.

Courtney managed a smile, and AJ had some amusement in his eyes. Which is why she had told the story.

“How’d you get out of it?” Bobbie asked, folding her arms rightly across her chest. “The last time Gia got into an argument with the parking officer—”

“By the way, when are you due in court for that?” Courtney asked.

“There is no way that she can get me for double parking. By the time she got there, the other car was gone, which means at best, I’m a shitty parker—”

“You keep getting cited for disorderly conduct, they’ll never let you be a lawyer,” AJ told her. “Right, Diane?”

“Well, if you have the right attorney…” the redhead produced a card from nowhere. “Diane Miller.”

Gia took the card. “Let me tell you, if my idiot brother keeps breaking the hearts of the female officers in the parking authority, I’m gonna kill him. You do criminal law, too?”

And this time, she saw a ghost of a smile at the corners of Jason’s lips which made her feel much better.

“Anyway,” Gia continued, tucking the card away, “I would still be there fighting for the common man—”

“You were parked illegally, Gia,” Elizabeth said, rolling her eyes.

“—but Elizabeth started to hassle me about places we needed to be. So I took the ticket. But I’m not happy.”

With the end of the story, the group fell in silence again as AJ looked at his watch. “Almost time,” he murmured. “I’m going to try keep you and Jason from having to testify, Bobbie—”

“We’ve talked about this,” Diane interjected. “They’re important—”

“I don’t want to do any of this,” AJ cut in. “I never wanted to go to court. We offered her lawyer all kinds of things—”

“AJ,” Jason said after a long moment. “This is the last thing any of us wants. Because if Carly keeps pushing this, Michael will have to testify. After everything we did to keep that from happening—” He shook his head. “I don’t want to get on the stand and say Carly shouldn’t have custody. But if she’s going to leave him for four months without a word and not bother to explain herself, she shouldn’t have custody. Not full custody.”

“I agree with Jason. I’m in no hurry to take custody away from Carly because I know she loves Michael. But I can’t support what she’s doing,” Bobbie added. “Michael comes first.”

“Should we have kept Michael from her this last month?” AJ asked his lawyer. “Won’t that count against us?”

Jason opened his mouth but hesitated a moment before saying. “Carly said I should have taken Michael and left. When I realized I would lose in a custody hearing.”

Diane pursed her lips. “Would you be willing to state that if Carly brings up the lack of visitation? I can argue that AJ had a good reason to worry that she would leave the jurisdiction.”

“Yeah,” but Jason sounded less assured than he had earlier.

The elevator doors opened, and Carly stepped off with a woman at her side. “That must be Jordan Baines, her lawyer,” Bobbie murmured. “She doesn’t look happy.”

Carly glared at the group and then scowled as the elevator opened again and a trio of Quartermaines stepped out—Edward, Lila, and Ned. “Why am I not surprised? Good. You can all watch me me win and walk away with my son.”

She lifted her chin and strode through the doors.

“Good luck,” Lila said softly. “Though I wish this weren’t happening at all.” At her side, neither Edward nor Ned spoke a word.

“Let’s get this over with,” AJ said as he started towards the courtroom.

The hearing was as bad, if not worse, than Jason thought it would be.

Carly’s lawyer attempted to make a cogent case that Carly had not agreed to the custody arrangement with her ex-husband, making it invalid.

Diane countered with a death certificate, the court’s legal declaration naming Jason guardian. Therefore, Diane declared, Jason had the right to negotiate any agreement he saw fit. With copies of AJ’s paternal rights petition and the notarized custody agreement—this was a black and white case. AJ had unofficial custody thanks to his brother, and Carly would have to overturn Jason’s guardianship if she wanted Michael back.

“And since Ms. Benson has declined to inform anyone of her whereabouts from April 9 through July 28, Mr. Morgan has not seen a need to revisit custody of his nephew, so Ms. Benson’s suit against Mr. Quartermaine is invalid. However, we are countersuing in order to streamline today’s hearing. Mr. Quartermaine seeks an official custody order, awarding him full custody.”

“Thank you, Ms. Miller. Do you have any witnesses, Ms. Baines?” the judge asked.

“I do,” but the woman sounded even less thrilled than she had during the opening statement. “We call Caroline Benson.”

With an arrogant air that Jason didn’t recognize—that she had never held herself with before—Carly was sworn in.

Elizabeth had been right, he saw now with a sinking feeling. Carly was too confident, too sure of herself. Her lawyer had obviously argued with her over the weakness of her case. And yet, she sat there. Sure of herself.

Someone was giving Carly her marching orders, and she was listening to them.

Jordan Baines took Carly through her difficult pregnancy, and to her credit, Carly owned up to her initial mistakes. Her lies to AJ. Her affair with Sonny. She had not been a good wife, but she had always been a good mother.

And in fact, AJ had not been a bad father when sober. But Carly couldn’t trust him, she told the court tearfully. After he had pushed her down the steps, after the death of her second son, she could never bring herself to trust AJ again, and it broke her heart that Jason had.

In front of him, Jason saw AJ’s shoulders slump and felt a bit of pity. It was still an uncomfortable feeling, but Jason couldn’t bring himself to blame AJ any longer. He’d been wrong. He’d fought with Carly, but he could understand now how it could have been a tragic accident.

And AJ’s sobriety had to count for something. A person could change for the better. Otherwise, what was the point?

And he saw how Carly would use it as a weapon for the rest of AJ’s life to punish him. The way that the Quartermaines had used the accident.

Jordan took Carly through her marriage to Sonny and the early months of owning the club and doing well. And then simply stopped.

There were no questions about the four months Carly had been gone. It was if they hadn’t happened.

“She didn’t ask anything about it,” Elizabeth murmured, her hand tightening in his. “Why? She has to know Diane—”

But Jordan was already sitting down, and Diane Miller stood.

“That was a lovely account of the first five years of Michael’s life, Ms. Benson.” Diane tilted her head. “How did he like kindergarten?”

Carly hesitated. “Fine,” she said warily. “He liked his teachers. Made friends.”

“What did he make you for Mother’s Day?”

Carly pressed her lips together. “I don’t know.”

“He made his grandmother a lovely crayon drawing of his family.” Diane picked it up, held it up so Carly and the judge could see it.

Carly looked at Bobbie whose eyes were shining with tears, but Diane continued. “He drew his entire family. That’s him. I think that’s supposed to be his uncle Lucas. He told me they were playing video games. And then there’s his grandma Bobbie with a doctor’s bag. And his uncle Jason on his motorcycle, and Elizabeth Webber—he calls her Liz—with a paintbrush. He drew his family, Ms. Benson.”

Diane laid it down in front of her. “You’re in this photo, too, aren’t you?”

Carly looked down at it and took a deep breath. “I’m at the top.”

“Mommy,” Diane said, reading the scrawl under the blonde figure at the top of the drawing. “You’re surrounded by clouds. Why do you think that is?”

Carly closed her eyes. “I’m sure I don’t know,” she said through gritted teeth.

“Did you see Michael on Mother’s Day?”

“No.”

“What about the Fourth of July?” Diane set a picture down. “Lucas Jones took pictures of Michael with members of his family at the Port Charles Park celebration. Are you in any of them?”

Carly didn’t even bother to look down. “No.”

“Are you sure?” Diane asked with a friendly smile. “Let’s make sure. Here’s a really nice one of Michael and Lucas. Oh, I like this one of Michael with his stepmother. She seems like him—and here’s a good one of Michael with his uncle Jason and Elizabeth—”

“Your Honor,” Jordan Baines said with a tired sigh. She stood. “What’s the point?”

“Move on, Ms. Miller.”

Diane gathered the photos up. “Ms. Benson, did you see your son between April 9 and July 28 of this year?”

“No.”

“Did he know where you were?”

“I—I don’t know.”

“Did you tell anyone where you were?”

“No.”

Diane arched a brow. “Where were you?”

“I don’t have to answer that.” Carly lifted her chin. “I love my son. I am a good mother.”

“A good mother who walked away from her child, giving him reason to draw a picture of you on Mother’s Day…in the clouds. You suppose that means he thought you were in Heaven?”

Carly didn’t answer. Just looked away.

Why wouldn’t she just tell them? What could be so awful?

Diane waited another moment. “I have no more questions for this witness.”

She took her seat.

The judge hesitated. “Ms. Benson, is it your contention that you do not have to tell this court where you were during the months of April, May, June, and July?”

“I am saying that I had full custody of my son. And when I was not available, Jason was to be his guardian. I never agreed to allow AJ Quartermaine to have custody,” Carly said, gritting her teeth. “He had no rights. He signed them away.”

The judge sat back, his sigh heavy. “Do you have any further witnesses, Ms. Baines?”

“No.”

“Ms. Miller, I see that you’ve listed three witnesses here. Alan James Quartermaine, Jr., Barbara Spencer, and Jason Morgan.”

“Yes, Your Honor—” But even as Diane stood, the judge waved for her to take a seat.

“Do they plan to testify to the same facts? That Ms. Benson has been absent from her son’s life since April 9?”

“Yes.”

The judge nodded. “Mr. Morgan. Stand up.”

“Your Honor,” Jordan protested. “This is irregular—”

Jason got to his feet. “Your Honor.”

“You’re the child’s legal guardian.”

“Yes.”

“Is there a reason you have chosen not to vacate your guardianship and return custody to the child’s previous custodial parent?”

“I—” Jason hesitated, looked at Carly. “I don’t know where she was. Michael didn’t know where she was. I don’t know if she’s in trouble. She won’t say anything. I thought…all things considered, it would be best if Michael stayed in a stable situation. Which he has with AJ and Courtney.”

“So if Ms. Benson just tells you where she’s been, you would vacate guardianship?”

“I—” Jason stopped abruptly. “I don’t know.”

“Fair answer. You can sit.” The judge looked at Carly, still seated in the witness stand. “Ms. Benson, this is your last chance. You abandoned your son for four months. Where did you go? And why did you say nothing?”

Carly shook her head.

“Carly,” Bobbie pleaded. “Just tell us—”

“Carly, Michael deserves to know,” AJ said.

But she said nothing. Just stared at Jason as if he should have said something. Fixed it. How could Jason do anything but put Michael first? She hadn’t left him any choice.

The judge sighed. “All right. I am awarding custody of the minor child, Michael Benson, to the child’s biological and legal father on record, Alan James Quartermaines, Jr. Ms. Benson is to have supervised visititation at the agreement of Mr. Quartermaine, and I am ordering three months of counseling.”

Carly’s face paled. “Wait, what? What did you just do? What—”

“Here we go,” Gia murmured from next to Elizabeth. “Liftoff in 5, 4—”

“Gia,” Elizabeth hissed.


And I stopped writing there. These scenes are fine, but I think what I ended up writing is ultimately better.

October 20, 2017

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Miscellaneous Stories

When I started to revise Mad World, I started to add extra material to the front of the story. I had an entire first chapter written but I decided I’m not using it. I don’t hate the material — it just really doesn’t fit the story because Elizabeth’s not in it and this has to be her story.

But hey, y’all are being patient, so I’ll post this cut chapter and let it serve as kind of a preview for where we’re going. This is not edited or revised, but first draft.

Quick set up:  Starts in the post panic room era of 2003. You really shouldn’t need more than that (Courtney’s not pregnant because that was a stupid storyline. Like most of 2003.)


Friday, July 11, 2003

General Hospital: Waiting Room

They hadn’t let him into the emergency room.

Monica’s eyes had been filled with apology as she had gently held him off with her hand out, palm out. “I’m sorry, Jason. You can’t be back here.”

He didn’t know the other doctor’s name, but she’d had a nurse block him from even approaching the other curtain.

Sonny could be there. Sonny was allowed access. But not him.

“Jason…” Bobbie Spencer’s soft hand touched his forearm. “Why don’t you try sitting down?” Her red hair slid over her shoulder as she tilted her head in concern. “When was the last time you slept?”

Jason Morgan squinted at her as if the question was in another language. Sleep? Why would he have slept? When was there time to sleep?

His silence was all the answer she expected as she nodded. Her own eyes told the story of the last six weeks. Those terrifying days that now seemed like one endless nightmare.

One moment Carly had been outside the church waiting for his wedding to begin. And then…and then she’d vanished.

If Jason could not remember the last time he had slept, he didn’t think Bobbie could really remember either.

Bobbie folded her arms, tapping her fingers against her upper shoulders. Restless. Her foot tapped as well. She stared at the curtain where Carly was being kept.

And then looked to the other curtain. There were more doctors and nurses in and out. He had seen Monica holding a set of x-rays.

“I don’t understand,” Bobbie murmured. “What did they say on the phone?”

“Nothing much.” Jason scrubbed his hands over his face. The grit and sand of sleepless nights dug into the corners of his eyes. “Mac called. There was a 911 call from the house. Paramedics got there. Ric apparently pulled up while they were…” He absently rubbed a fisted against his chest. “Loading Elizabeth into the ambulances. They arrested him.”

“So he wasn’t there during.” Bobbie exhaled in a huff. “Monica won’t tell me anything. They can’t. Privacy laws. Well who the hell are they going to turn to? Her grandmother is gone. Her sister is across the country. I couldn’t tell you where the rest of her damn family is and her husband—” She closed her eyes. “I don’t understand how she got hurt. I don’t know how my daughter is. If she’s okay. All I know is she’s alive. And I’m sorry, but that’s—”

“Bobbie…” Courtney Matthews approached with worry. “Hey. Can I get you something? Coffee?”

“No.” Bobbie shook her head. Stepped away from her. “No. I just need answers, and I can’t get them until someone—”

Nikolas Cassadine was glaring as he joined them. “You know, I still own controlling shares in this place. You’d think that get me somewhere.” He took a deep breath. “I did manage to get something out of one of the paramedics who responded.”

Jason focused on the dark prince. “What?” he demanded. “What happened? Where was Carly? How did Elizabeth find her?”

“If she didn’t already know,” Courtney muttered. Jason shot his fiancee a look and she glared right back at him. “What? I’m not the only one who thinks it—”

“Go away,” Bobbie said, her voice trembling, her eyes flashing. “Now.” With a roll of her eyes, Courtney returned to a chair next to her father, Mike, and Bobbie waved for Nikolas to continue. “What did the paramedic say?”

“Elizabeth was on the ground, and Carly was…” Nikolas took a deep breath. “It looked like she’d been in some sort of panic room. Her leg was chained. She was hysterical, but she looked okay, they said. Her vitals were crazy, but no injuries.”

“Chained,” Jason repeated. In a panic room. She’d been there all along.

Every time he’d looked in that house….he’d walked right past her.

“What about Elizabeth?”

“I don’t know yet. I only found the ambulance that transported Carly. I’m trying to pull some strings. Her next of kin isn’t available. I don’t know who steps in at that point—” Nikolas shook his head. “Did she ever sign a power of attorney?”

“Unless she did before she got married.” Bobbie all but growled as she continued, “I should have been paying more attention. I should have seen—”

“Bobbie.”

Monica’s quiet voice broke through and the three of them turned. “I’ve been talking to Legal about Elizabeth’s situation. They’re in contact with the PCPD about getting Ric involved in her treatment—” She held up a hand when Nikolas opened his mouth. “I’ve already lodged a complaint but until we can prove what happened is because of him…”

“That’s not good enough,” Bobbie shot back. “What’s wrong with her?”

“I—” Monica hesitated. “We’ve pulled Elizabeth’s medical files from her stay last year—after she was grazed by a bullet on the docks. She listed you as her emergency contact, Bobbie. So until Ric arrives or sends legal representation, it’s you. But I don’t know how long.”

“Okay. Then what’s happening to her?” Bobbie asked.

“We’re not sure,” Monica admitted. “According to the paramedics on the scene, she passed out. They…” She paused. “They lost her in the ambulance.”

“Lost her.” Nikolas’s hand reached out into space as if he wanted to hold something, but it fell to his hand as Jason just stared at his mother. He couldn’t seem to make the words penetrate and make sense. “What—”

“They were able to resuscitate. She’s on a ventilator but she cannot breathe on her own.” Monica looked at Jason. “There’s a blockage in her lungs, but we need more tests to diagnose.” She held out a clipboard. “I can explain these to you—”

“Do whatever you need to do.” Bobbie scrawled her signature at the bottom. “Monica…” She looked at Jason for a moment then back at her. “Can you let us know when we can see her? I just…I need to hold her hand. To let her know she’s not alone.”

“Bobbie—” Sonny called from the curtain. “Carly’s asking for you.”

“How is she?” Courtney demanded, lunging to her feet.

Bobbie hesitated, took a step. “Elizabeth—”

“Authorize me,” Nikolas said. “At least to know her condition.”

“Okay, yeah.” Bobbie pressed a hand to her head. “And Jason. You can tell Jason.”

She joined Sonny and Courtney and they disappeared behind the curtain. Monica took the paperwork and left Jason standing with Nikolas.

They eyed each other, perhaps remembering the last time they had been in the hospital together. “Shouldn’t you be with Sonny and Carly?” Nikolas bit off.

Part of him agreed. He’d been searching for Carly for weeks. Hadn’t slept more than a handful of hours here and there. Food…he couldn’t remember what he had eaten. Carly had been the reason for all of that.

He should walk away. Join his partner and best friend. Stand with the woman he had asked to marry him and share a life with. See for himself that Carly was okay.

“I know Carly is okay,” Jason said evenly. “And there’s a lot of visitors. I can wait. I need to know—” He looked at the curtain. “I left her in that house. I knew he did it. I knew he was guilty, and I left her there.”

“Yeah, well, I congratulated her on marrying someone who wasn’t you,” Nikolas muttered. “Neither of us are shining examples of friendship.”

General Hospital: ICU Waiting Room

Nearly an hour passed and Jason still didn’t have an opportunity to see Carly. She was resting, Sonny had told him with a sigh. Exhausted. Understood Jason was waiting for Elizabeth’s condition.

She understood it, Sonny had repeated with a dangerous flash of dark eyes. He didn’t. And neither did his sister. Courtney had left to be with Michael, but Sonny wasn’t going home without his wife. So he sat in her room as Carly’s only allowed visitor.

“I can’t believe he’s mad at you,” Bobbie muttered. “You didn’t kidnap his wife. You didn’t do any of this.”

“I didn’t find her,” Jason said flatly. And that was enough to condemn him.

Another week and his source at the city would have given him the plans for the house. He was sure the panic room would have shown up. He would have found her.

Monica stepped out from behind the curtain. They stood and met her in the middle of the waiting room. “Elizabeth has a pulmonary embolism.”

Nikolas frowned. “What?”

“It’s a blood clot in the lungs,” Jason offered absently. “I don’t—she doesn’t have any of the risk factors.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Nikolas demanded.

“Immobilization, travel, recent trauma, obesity—” Bobbie hesitated. “What about her pregnancy?”

“We’re not sure yet what caused it, but her chem panels suggest her estrogen levels were through the roof.” Monica hesitated. “We just don’t know yet what caused it. What we need to do is decide how to treat it—”

“I believe that is where I come in.”

The new voice came from a man in a dark suit who held out a piece of paper. “Thomas Livingston, legal representation for Richard Lansing. This is paperwork allowing me to make medical decisions on behalf of his wife, Elizabeth.” He arched a brow. “You no longer have a need for her emergency contact to handle this.”

“I am family,” Bobbie snarled, but Nikolas put a hand on her shoulder.

“Let me bring you up to speed,” Monica said with a warning glance at Bobbie, and then another at Jason. As if she could read his mind and knew he was thinking of the best way to take this son of a bitch apart. “Elizabeth is suffering from a pulmonary embolism. She lost consciousness while at home and coded in the ambulance. She cannot breathe on her own and is on a ventilator.”

“Treatment options?” Livingston said briskly.

“We have her on blood thinners,” Monica said. “But we think the situation merits more aggressive treatment. I would like to take her to the catheter lab and break up the clot.”

“Is that the only option?”

Jason scowled. “It’s the best one or she wouldn’t have asked for it—”

“I’m sorry, are you a doctor here?” the lawyer asked with a sneer. “Dr. Quartermaine, perhaps we should continue this in private—”

Monica ignored that. “Other treatment options include stronger medications then what we’re currently using, but having already flatlined once—”

“If you will excuse me, I will phone Mr. Lansing and inform him of the options,” Livingston interrupted. He crossed the room to a bank of pay phones.

“Any progress on getting Ric removed as next of kin?” Bobbie asked.

Monica sighed and shook her head. “No, oh, maybe Lieutenant Taggart can help.” She waved a hand to the doorway.

Jason turned and grimaced. Marcus Taggart had never met a situation he couldn’t make worse. Followed by another cop Jason didn’t know, Taggart embraced Bobbie tightly.

“Hey. We came as soon as we heard Carly was stabilized. We need to get her statement because Lansing is making noises about not knowing anything.” Taggart grimaced. “He’s half a step from blaming Elizabeth. How’s she doing?”

Bobbie explained the situation as Livingston rejoined them.

“Mr. Lansing would like to proceed with the treatment she is currently receiving.” There was a slight twitch as if…just maybe…the lawyer didn’t quite agree. “He doesn’t want anything invasive.”

“Anything invasive—” Monica faltered. “Are you insane? She needs stronger treatment—”

“He’s a fucking psychopath,” the cop next to Taggart growled. “He’s blaming the wife. She dies, he’s got reasonable doubt.”

“I’m sure that’s inappropriate,” Livingston began, but he trailed off. He cleared his throat. “You may not like the situation,” he said slowly. “But for now, this is how it is. I will…continue to make your arguments to Mr. Lansing.”

He excused himself and disappeared.

“I need Carly’s statement,” Taggart said tightly. “She might know something that can get Ric disqualified.” He looked at Monica. “How much trouble do you get in if you ignore his orders?”

“A lot,” she admitted. “Nikolas?”

“The board will bury him in legal fees if he tries to sue you,” Nikolas said. “But…”

“Your medical license,” Jason said quietly. “Don’t ignore the orders, Monica. We’ll find another way.” Uncomfortable with her look of gratitude, he turned his attention to Taggart. “She’s a witness against him. Can’t that be enough?”

“Baldwin’s already filing paperwork, but we don’t have enough yet.” Taggart rubbed the back of his neck, turned to the other cop. “Vinnie, stay out out here and keep an eye out. That lawyer comes back or, God forbid, Ric gets bail, I want a cop here.”

“Got it.”

“I’m going to take a preliminary statement from Carly.” When Bobbie shook her head, he touched her shoulder. Gently. “The last thing I want to do is make this night worse, Bobbie. You know me. This isn’t about Corinthos or Morgan for me. It’s just not.” His voice was rough as he continued. “I saw the panic room where she was kept. I saw the chain. I need to make sure Ric can’t get released. He gets out, he might flee.”

Bobbie closed her eyes. “I’ll go with you. Run interference with Sonny. He’s not going to understand.”

“He just wants to protect his wife.” Taggart hesitated, looked at Jason. “I mean it, Morgan. Nothing else matters to me or the department except putting Lansing away.”

And as Taggart followed Bobbie to the elevator to go to Carly’s floor, Jason believed him.

General Hospital: Carly Corinthos’ Room

Carly blinked, opened her eyes, and then closed them in relief. She was still okay. Still in a hospital.

Not in the panic room.

It hadn’t been a dream.

She wasn’t sure exactly how long it had been since she’d been brought to the hospital. They had kept her on light sedation and she’d drifted in and out. She remembered doctors. Her mother. Courtney and Mike. Sonny.

Jason…she vaguely remembered he was still in the emergency room with Elizabeth. Was the other woman okay? Why had she collapsed?

“Carly?” Sonny’s voice was rough as he leaned forward. His hair was disheveled, falling in its soft curls around his face. His eyes were bloodshot and several days of scruff lined his jaw.

She reached forward, her fingers lightly brushing his chin. “You look like hell,” she managed.

He laughed then, shakily, as he dipped his head, pressing his forehead against her limp hand. “I feel it. But you’re okay. You and the baby. You’re okay.”

The door slid open then, and her mother came in. “Mama.”

“There’s my beautiful girl,” Bobbie murmured, pressing a kiss to her forehead. “I hate to disturb you both but we’ve got a problem. I need you to give a statement to the police.”

“Fucking bloodsuckers,” Sonny began, lunging to his feet but Carly looked at her mother.

“Ric wasn’t there when I was found,” she said quietly. “He came later. I remember that. He’s pretending he doesn’t know anything.”

Bobbie nodded. “And he’s still responsible for Elizabeth’s medical treatment. He has this scum lawyer here recommending the last effective treatment.”

Sonny scrubbed his hands over his face. “Jesus Christ. He’s trying to kill her.”

“Monica filed a protest and Scott is working up a protective order, but we don’t….Taggart says that Ric might get released. He doesn’t want that. I’ll be here the whole time, Sonny. But he’s not going to hurt her.”

“Let him in,” Carly said. “Let’s…get this done.”

“Are you sure?” Sonny demanded. “You just woke up—”

“He terrorized me for six weeks. I need him to be away. I need…I can’t let him be out. Be free.” Carly closed her eyes. “I just can’t.”

Bobbie had already gone to the door and gestured for Taggart to come in. Carly’s interactions with the cop weren’t all that friendly unsurprisingly, but there was no trace of irritation or impatience today.

“Hey, Carly.” He stood at the foot of the bed. “Thanks for letting me come in.” He looked at Sonny. “Thank you.”

Sonny just blinked at him as Carly took a deep breath. “I’m…I’m not really up for a whole thing—”

“Just give me the outline.” Taggart reached into his pocket and drew out a recorder. “When you’re feeling stronger, we’ll go for a more detailed statement, but for now—” He pressed play and set it on the tray table hanging over the bed. “On May 25, 2003, where were you, Carly?”

“I was at the Queen of Angels church,” Carly said. “Jason and Courtney were going to get married, and I was outside. Someone came up behind me, put a rag over my mouth. I passed out.”

She closed her eyes. “I woke up in the back of a car and I was tied up. I could see Ric in the driver’s seat. He pulled into his driveway and dragged me into the house. He had a remote and pressed a button. A wall slid open and he chained me inside.” She looked at Sonny. “What day is it?”

“July 11.” Sonny looked at his watch. “July 12, actually, I guess now.”

More than a month. Carly exhaled slowly. “Elizabeth was passed out on the sofa. She never woke up. Ric told me later he had drugged her to make sure he didn’t get caught. The panic room was sound proof. She never heard me screaming.”

“God.” Sonny put his arm around a silently weeping Bobbie.

“You never spoke to Elizabeth?” Taggart asked.

Carly narrowed her eyes. “That son of a bitch is blaming her.” Her cheeks heated as she continued. “He lied to her every day. Told her he was leaving the house to go somewhere and waited for her to leave the room. He spent hours in that panic room talking about his plans.”

“His plans,” Taggart prompted.

“To take my baby and kill me,” she said flatly. “To arrange a private adoption. Elizabeth needed a baby. She wouldn’t stay with him forever if he didn’t give her a baby. Since Sonny took their baby—” Carly leaned back, exhausted. “Faith Roscoe poisoned a pitcher of lemonade. Ric was in the panic room and I told him. I begged him to stop her from drinking it. But if he left—”

“She’d see him,” Taggart murmured. “He waited.”

“He’s lucky he never killed her between that, the drugs the night he took me, and the birth control pills—”

“Birth control pills?” Bobbie demanded. “What?”

Taggart squinted at her mother, then turned back to Carly. “What birth control pills?”

“He gave them to her every day. Three or four times a day. Can’t have her getting pregnant now, she might not want the baby he’d killed for.” Her voice broke. “God. Oh, God. He was going to kill me.”

Sonny took her her hand, sat back down. “No, that’s enough.”

“I got what I needed. Just…one more question, Carly, and I’ll go.” Taggart picked up the recorder. “Do you know where Ric kept the pills?”

She nodded, her eyes closed. “There’s…a safe in the panic room. It was locked, but he kept them in there. Is that what’s wrong with her?”

“Maybe.” Taggart stopped the recorder. “Thank you, Carly. That was more than we needed. Get some rest.” He looked at Sonny again. “I’m sorry we didn’t find her. I wish to God we had.”

“You and me both.”

General Hospital: ICU Waiting Room

Bobbie charged off the elevator, her eyes lit with fury. “Where’s Monica? Where’s that goddamn lawyer?”

Jason and Nikolas shot to their feet. “What happened?” Nikolas asked, his voice slurring a bit from lack of sleep. “What did Carly have to say?”

“If I get in the same room as that son of a bitch,” Bobbie began, but Monica stepped out from Elizabeth’s room, irritation in her eyes.

“I need to get her on stronger meds,” Monica said without preamble as she joined the three of them. “There’s no improvement.”

“He fed her birth control pills,” Bobbie spat. “Three or four a day for the last six weeks. Could that do it?”

“Jesus Christ,” Nikolas breathed as every muscle in Jason’s body clenched. Birth control pills. “Three or four a day?”

“Yeah, that would do it. Nikolas, I need—”

“I’ll call the board counsel to prepare an injunction against Ric’s supervision of Elizabeth’s treatment,” Nikolas said. “Carly saw him do it?”

“She knows where he kept the pills. Taggart already left to locate them and secure them.” Bobbie tapped her foot. “He drugged her the night he kidnapped Carly and sat by while Faith Roscoe poisoned her to protect his secret. He was going to kill my daughter and give their child to Elizabeth.”

“He was going—” Jason couldn’t finish. Couldn’t repeat it. “Take the baby?”

“A private adoption, no doubt,” Monica muttered. “Get that injunction, Nikolas. I don’t know how much longer we’re going to be able to stabilize her on the ventilator.”

She disappeared back into Elizabeth’s room and Nikolas excused himself to make some phone calls. Bobbie sank into the chair as if her energy had simply evaporated.

“Six weeks she spent in that room,” Bobbie murmured. “Trapped. Screaming. Knowing Ric planned to kill her. She was able to talk about it today, but…” She met Jason’s eyes as he sat next to her. “I could see it starting to set in for her. The adrenaline of survival—it got her through the statement, but…my God, Jason. The emotional torture of it all. How does she ever come back from this? And Elizabeth.”

Tears slid down her cheeks. “Her entire world is going to be shattered when she wakes up. Her husband not only kidnapped Carly, but…he tried to kill her. Is still trying to kill her.” She pressed a fist to her mouth. “How did I miss it? How could I not see it?”

“Bobbie—” Jason hesitated, the guilt settling into his bones again. He should have ignored Sonny all those months ago and killed Ric when he’d had the chance. This was his fault. He’d allowed Ric to walk free, and he’d tormented everyone Jason cared about.

He hadn’t found Carly in time to save Elizabeth. Hadn’t found Carly at all.

“Thank you for waiting here,” Bobbie murmured. “Nikolas can represent the hospital and take care of her, but I’m glad you’re still on her side.” She squeezed his hand. “She’s family to me, Jason. And I’ve been bad at it lately. I can do better. I’m going to do better. I’m going to get my daughter through this. And I’m going to get Elizabeth through this, too.”

“Elizabeth is my friend, too,” Jason said, though it sounded awkward even to his ears. It wasn’t really true, but at the same time, it wasn’t true enough. She existed in a gray area in his mind. Not quite friend. Something more.

The elevator opened again and this time, Courtney stepped off. She located the two of them and Jason could see the irritation snapping in her blue eyes as she approached.

“You’re still here,” she said flatly. “I thought you’d be upstairs with Carly by now.” She stopped in front of them. “Is Elizabeth okay?”

“No,” Bobbie said softly. “She’s still in critical condition. Jason has been keeping me company—”

“Don’t,” Jason said quietly, touching her hand. Appreciating the excuse Bobbie offered. “I stayed because I wanted to. You didn’t ask.”

“Does you being here change anything?” Courtney demanded.

“Courtney,” Bobbie began, but Jason stood to face his fiancee.

He understood—somewhere inside—that Courtney saw Elizabeth as a threat. And Jason tried to imagine how he’d feel if Courtney was waiting for news about AJ and refused to leave him—if that would be something he could live with.

But AJ had terrorized and stalked her. It wouldn’t make sense to stand by him.

Elizabeth had done nothing except be manipulated by Ric—they had all allowed him into their lives to a certain extent. Ric had even defended Jason against murder charges.

“Elizabeth is in critical condition,” Jason repeated. “Ric is still in charge of her treatment, and the PCPD thinks he might sabotage her treatment so he can blame her for kidnapping Carly.”

“Okay,” Courtney said slowly. “So you’re protecting Carly’s interests by staying here?”

“No,” Jason said, because he wouldn’t lie to her. “I’m here because I care about Elizabeth and what happens to her.”

“Oh.” She pressed her lips together. “Okay.” She looked at Bobbie, then again at Jason. “I’m going to go home. It’s almost two in the morning, and I haven’t…I haven’t slept. I left Michael with Leticia because I was worried, but I guess…you guys have everything handled.”

“We do.”

“So I’ll go.”

Courtney walked to the elevator, paused at the door as if he would stop her, and then stepped on board.

“Jason,” Bobbie said after a moment. “Courtney…she’s right. There’s not much more you can do tonight—”

“I’m not leaving this hospital until I know she’ll be all right,” Jason said, and clearly Bobbie believed him because she dropped the subject.

September 11, 2016

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Miscellaneous Stories

So Flash Fiction #3: Illusions of Truth, which kicked off the medieval series, is a bit shorter than the others. That’s because I had about 770 words written and tossed it. I still finished within the hour, but I thought you guys might want to see how close it came to sucking.

I try to post on Facebook when I start writing, so make sure to like Crimson Glass there if you want to know when Flash Fictions are coming.

Continue reading

May 26, 2016

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Workshop: Collision

Years ago, I had planned to write my own version of GH based on 2006. I plotted it out to the craziest insane detail, but never got around to writing it before my hiatus, and now that so much time has passed, I don’t plan on using the majority of this.

But since I actually wrote a prologue and the first chapter, I thought you guys might enjoy seeing it. So here’s your setup:

The General Hospital universe stops about January 2006, so before the virus storyline. I had heard Courtney was going to leave, and I thought about how she might leave the canvas. I vastly prefer watching her die on screen because I still celebrate February 20, 2006 like a national holiday (that’s right, I remember the date).  It picks up again on New Year’s Eve. I had no idea GH would actually spend most of 2006 reuniting Jason and Liz, or I wouldn’t have skipped it 😛  In my universe, the virus happened, but not to the extent it did on the show.

I also have tons of slideshows dedicated to this story, ha. I spent way too much time planning.


Prologue: Auld Lang Syne

December 31, 2006

Metro Court Hotel: Restaurant

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?

Caroline Corinthos was a blur of red as she flitted from guest to guest at her second annual New Year’s Eve bash. Her honey blonde hair spilled down her back in a wild array of curls and flew around her face as she mingled.

She was a full fledged business success and she’d done it all without Sonny Corinthos–a fact that she rarely let anyone forget.

She was having the time of her life with her new career as a hotel manager and her life as a mother–if she ignored some of the peskier details such as her best friend’s misery, the disappearance of her ex-sister-in-law and the rebellious behavior of her eldest child–oh and the whirlwind relationships her ex-husband seemed to be addicted to.

But as long as she ignored those details, life was grand.

As Carly’s mind drifted to her ex, she spotted him across the room with his lady of the moment–a short brunette she didn’t recognize. She ignored him and searched the crowd for her best friend, whom she’d blackmailed into attending. She spotted him near the refreshment table and made a beeline for him.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days of auld lang syne?

Jason Morgan stood in the corner of the room, sipping a warm beer and waiting for midnight so that he could go home. If he hadn’t let Carly talk him into this, he’d be there now. But as usual, the feisty blonde had talked circles around him until he’d almost thought he’d volunteered to attend.

The room was littered with people he didn’t care to talk to–people would just want to check on him–see that he was doing all right. He was tired of people asking that question. He was fine. It’d been a year after all, and six months since he’d given up the search. He’d long accepted ago that for whatever reason, Samantha McCall had abandoned her life here, abandoned him and their future. He wished he knew why but he was done worrying about her and done thinking about what might have been.

He was going back to the basics. He’d moved out of his penthouse–a place that had always felt too large to him anyway and had rented rooms above Jake’s. He was back to riding his bike, playing pool and doing all the things that had always distracted him before.

Carly stepped up to him and planted her hands on her hips. “Why are you hiding here?” she demanded. “You should be over with Sonny or something.”

“I’m only here because you asked me to be,” Jason said patiently. He took Carly’s wrist and turned to glance at the slim gold watch wrapped around it. “I have an hour and forty minutes left–can I spend it how I choose?”

Carly pursed her lips. “Fine, but I don’t have to like it. Are you going to be by this week to see Morgan and Michael?”

“I’ll come by,” Jason assured her. “You should go see to your other guests.”

“If you want me to go away, you don’t have to be polite about it,” Carly replied.

“Fine. Go away.”

And days of auld lang syne, my dear,
And days of auld lang syne.

She found her next target at the bar, loading up a tray to take back to his table. “Where’s Princess Purity?” Carly asked. “She’s usually glued to your side.”

Patrick Drake glanced at her from the corner of his eye as he shifted the tray of drinks to his other hand. “She’s with her family, I’m just getting some drinks–”

“Let a waiter take care of that.” Carly signaled to someone and a young man appeared at Patrick’s side. “Take that tray to the table where the twin sourpusses are seated,” she directed.

The waiter hesitated and Patrick took pity on him. “Commissioner Scorpio’s table,” he clarified. When the waiter left, he looked to Carly. “Thanks. Did you need something?”

“Just wanted to check in with my favorite doctor,” Carly said with a little smirk. She reached out to touch his hand but Patrick stepped back. “Worried that your little guard dog will see?”

“I’m worried that Commissioner Scorpio will tear my head off,” Patrick clarified. “He doesn’t like me.”

“Well, there’s an easy way solve that,” Carly remarked.

“Happy New Year, Carly,” Patrick cut off her next remarks and turned to rejoin Robin Scorpio, her parents and Mac and Felicia Scorpio.

Carly frowned but shook it off. He wasn’t anything more than someone to flirt with and even then, he’d been hard to track down the last few months. It was Princess Purity’s influence she decided as she spied her mother and Patrick’s father leaving the dance floor and started towards them.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days of auld lang syne?

“You don’t even have to speak to that woman to know that she’s a twit,” Anna Devane remarked as she sipped her martini.

Robin Scorpio sighed and looked away from where Patrick had been waylaid by some colleagues from the hospital–he never missed a chance to do a little sucking up.

“If it weren’t for her flair in giving parties, I wouldn’t be here at all,” Felicia Jones-Scorpio said. She reached for Mac’s glass of champagne in lieu of her requested margarita. “Stop watching them,” she chastised her husband, kicking him under the table.

“I can’t,” Mac muttered, his eyes glued to the dance floor where his daughter Maxie was slow dancing with Kyle Radcliffe. “I thought he was gone. She was dating a cop. She was doing so well.”

“And now she’s dating a Yale law student,” Robert Scorpio interjected. “At least she’ll be a little safer.”

“He’s not objecting to the boy he is now,” Robin said with a polite smile towards the father she still hadn’t completely forgiven. “To the boy he used to be…”

“Who’s that?” Patrick asked as he rejoined them.

“Maxie’s boyfriend, Kyle. Uncle Mac does not approve,” Robin said in a dramatic voice.

“Does he ever?” Felicia sighed mournfully. “No one’s ever going to be good enough for his girls.”

“Damn straight,” Mac muttered, sending a glare in Patrick’s direction before turning his gaze back to his daughters.

“Couldn’t have asked for a more overprotective father,” Robin said fondly. “Of course, the more he tried to protect me, the more I wanted to rebel so possibly it backfired but I appreciated the sentiment.”

We twa hae run aboot the braes
And pu’d the gowans fine

“You know, Mom, no one who sees you in that dress would ever believe you’re my mother,” Carly proclaimed as she draped an arm around Bobbie Spencer’s shoulders. “Doesn’t she look fantastic tonight, Noah?”

Noah Drake nodded and sipped his water–he’d been sober for ten months and twenty days. “I’ve told her that about half dozen times.”

“Carly, I’m glad you came over here,” Bobbie twisted out of her daughter’s grip and stood next to Noah, keeping Carly’s hand in hers. “I have something to tell you.”

“Oh, this is something out of a bad movie,” Carly sighed, sensing what was coming. “Mom, don’t be ridiculous. You can’t possibly be thinking of getting married.”

Bobbie frowned. “You sure know how to take the surprise out of an announcement. Carly, I’m not sure what the problem is now but–”

“Bobbie,” Noah cut in softly. He held a hand up in front of his fiancée before looking to her daughter. “Carly, you know that I love your mother and we’ve been seeing each other for the better part of a year. I’m too old for this dating crap and so is she. We want your blessing but the lack of it is not going to stop us from going forward.”

Carly bristled. “I already have one useless father figure in my life; I certainly don’t need a second.”

“And I already have one angry child, I certainly don’t need a second,” Noah retorted. He looked to Bobbie. “It’ll be midnight soon, let’s go find Patrick and Robin.”

Carly watched them going, a horrifying thought occurring to her. If this abomination were allowed to proceed, Patrick would end up being her stepbrother and God forbid, if he ever lost his mind and proposed marriage, Robin Scorpio would be her stepsister-in-law.

“I need a drink,” she muttered.

We’ve wandered mony a weary foot
Sin’ auld lang syne

“Okay, Lucas has stepped on my foot for the last time,” Lulu Spencer declared, stepping up to Dillon and Georgie Quartermaine. The young married couple stepped apart and Lulu smirked. “It’s so your turn, Maxie and I can’t feel our feet anymore.”

Georgie sighed and kissed Dillon’s cheek. “If I’m not back in ten minutes, come find me. I’ll be the one sprawled out on the dance floor in pain.”

When she’d gone off in search of her cousin, Lulu stepped up to her ex-stepbrother. “So, Dillon, your first anniversary is coming up. Doesn’t it scare the crap out of you to be saying that before you turn twenty?”

Dillon rolled his eyes and put his hands around her waist to start dancing. “Not at all. Except for the part where my mother won’t let us live at the mansion so we’re stuck in a dorm room with no room to breathe, things have been perfect.”

“It would have been a lot more romantic if you’d died,” Lulu said decisively. “I mean, the last gesture of undying love and then the actual death–it would have been a good ending for a movie. This whole being married young thing screams Molly Ringwold.”

“You saw that one, too, huh?” Dillon mused. “Yeah, it’s definitely the plot of an eighties teen movie but hey, that had a happy ending.”

“Yeah, ’cause it’s a movie,” Lulu replied cheerfully. “Since when do people get happy endings?”

“All the time,” Dillon argued. “Look at your parents. Laura’s home, Luke’s happy.”

“My parents are the exception to every rule that ever lived but they also had like sixteen different movie plots before they got to have the good ending. And you know it,” Lulu countered. “Name one other couple in here with a happy ending.”

Dillon frowned and scanned the room. “Robin and Patrick,” he said with conviction. “They’re still together after like eight months.”

“Patrick is still friends with Carly, which drives Robin insane. Also, they’ve broken up three times and he’s a dog that can’t stop flirting with the entire female gender. That’s a crappy pick.”

“Well, Lucky and Elizabeth are out, I don’t think I’ve seen her smile all night,” Dillon continued. “Mac and Felicia are good picks.”

“I’ll give you that,” Lulu conceded. “But that’s one out of like a hundred people, Dillon. Happy endings are the exception, they’re flukes. They don’t exist in reality.”

“You’re just full of sunshine and cheer, aren’t you?” Dillon asked. “Haven’t you ever heard of a turning over a new leaf, celebrating a new year?”

“Sure,” Lulu said easily. “But it’s been my experience that people tend to break their resolutions before the first hour of the new year is out.”

Sin’ auld lang syne, my dear
Sin’ auld lang syne

“At least we’re not freezing this year,” Elizabeth Spencer offered to her sullen husband Lucky.

“We’re some place we can’t afford to be,” Lucky muttered. “We can’t afford the tickets, the drinks, the dinner–”

“Hey, knock if off,” Elizabeth hissed with a worried glance to her in-laws. “I told you that my second job took care of these expenses. That’s why I took it–to give us some breathing room.”

“It ought to,” Lucky replied shortly, “You’re never home.”

Elizabeth rubbed her temple. “Can we not have this argument tonight?” she asked.

“It looks like my favorite nurse needs a drink,” Luke stepped up to the married couple and handed his daughter-in-law a margarita. “Have one on me.”

“Thanks, Luke,” Elizabeth sipped the drink gratefully. She’d thought a night out among friends would be a good idea but apparently, it just drove home to Lucky all the things they didn’t have. But a few more months at her second job would change that, she promised herself. And then things would be okay again.

“Hello, there, cousin dear,” Carly said, sidling up to the trio, “where’s my darling aunt?”

“Please don’t say that too loudly,” Laura Spencer sighed joining them. “I don’t want to remind people of our familial connection.”

“I hear you,” Carly sighed. “If my luck doesn’t turn soon, I might be related to the princess over there and I just can’t handle that prospect.” She shook her head. “Everyone having a good time? Enough to drink?”

“You don’t have to play nice,” Lucky remarked. “No one here actually cares if you get along with every single guest.” He set his drink on a nearby table, some of the liquid sloshing from the rim. “And everyone knows that we’re only here to–”

“Lucky,” Laura said softly, “that’s enough. Carly, we’re fine, here. Thanks for checking in.”

“I can’t even play nice hostess for one evening,” Carly muttered as she disappeared into the crowd.

“Lucky, I think you’ve had enough to drink for the night,” Laura reached for Lucky’s drink but he blocked her and picked the cup up to take another gulp.

“And I think I need another one,” he muttered. He took off towards the bar.

Elizabeth flushed and buried her embarrassment by focusing on her feet.

We’ve wandered mony a weary foot
Sin’ auld ang syne

“The party’s looking like a success,” Jax remarked as he caught Carly going towards Robin’s table. He pulled her out onto the dance floor.

“Did you ever doubt it?” Carly replied with a grin. She looked up at the ceiling. “The balloons and confetti will definitely come down right? I don’t want a repeat of the test run.”

“We certainly paid them enough,” Jax reported. He twirled her and did a dip. “Relax, no one thinks of you as Sonny’s ornament anymore. You’ve proved yourself.”

“That’s not what I’m worried about,” Carly said, bristling. She cast her eyes toward Commissioner Scorpio’s table and frowned at her mother showing off her ring to a enthusiastic Robin. “My mother’s engaged to Noah Drake.”

“That could put a crimp in your fling with Junior Drake.” Jax grinned. “Which was already on life support after he fell head over heels for Robin.”

“It’s an aberration,” Carly muttered. “He’s blinded by…I don’t know what exactly, but he’s got to be blind to date her for ten months.” She focused on Jax. “Not that I care. I don’t want him anyway, but he was a nice distraction.”

“You know, if Noah and Bobbie get married, you and Robin will practically be related,” Jax observed.

Carly glared at him. “That thought has occurred to me and I wish that you would never bring it up again. Besides, it’s not a remote possibility. I know men and that man is not the marrying type. Eventually, he’ll make that known to her and the precious princess will run crying in the other direction.”

Jax frowned. “I dislike admitting it, but you have a point. He doesn’t seem to be the faithful type.”

“Exactly,” Carly smacked his shoulder to emphasize her point. “Someone else sees it! I’m amazed he’s lasted this long, you know? I mean, they’ve been off and on but I bet it’s just a matter of time. I wouldn’t even need to meddle.” She grinned. “Not that that’s ever stopped me.”

“Carly, the last time you tried to meddle in their relationship, you ended up carrying on Lucy’s tradition at the Nurses’ Ball,” Jax reminded her. “Don’t you think you’ve learned your lesson?”

“That was a fluke,” Carly waved it off. “Besides, I either stop my mother’s wedding or…make Princess Purity see the light. The second way is easier and I have less guilt attached because Robin means nothing to me.”

“If she means nothing to you, why does it matter if you’re related to her through marriage?” Jax asked. “Which isn’t likely to happen.”

“Would you want to be related to Sonny through marriage?” Carly asked and then winced. “Right. Yeah. Never mind.”

“No, no, it’s okay.” Jax exhaled slowly. “I’m okay with Courtney not being here. And you’ve got a point. Before I met Courtney, I wouldn’t have wanted to be related to him for all the money in the world. Why not let it run its natural course, Carly?”

“Now, where would the fun be in that?”

We twa hae sported i’ the burn
From morning sun till dine

“Hey, partner,” Sonny Corinthos greeted Luke. “How’s the new year going so far?”

“Well, it actually hasn’t started yet, so it’s going pretty well,” Luke said absently, his eyes on his son and his wife as Elizabeth tried to take Lucky’s drink from him. “Yours?”

“Same as usual, I guess. I gotta say, it’s still good to see Laura around.” Sonny watched as Dillon Quartermaine swung Laura around the dance floor. “You look a thousand times better.”

“I’d feel even better if that weren’t happening,” Luke nodded towards Lucky and Elizabeth, whose arguing was rapidly spinning out of control. “I’d go break it up but I’m not sure how to do that without making it worse.”

“A situation like this calls for charm, something that you lack,” Sonny remarked. He ambled over to the duo. “Elizabeth, you’re looking lovely tonight.”

Elizabeth shut her mouth abruptly and smiled thinly at her old friend. “Sonny, I could say the same for you. Except that…well lovely isn’t right.”

“What do you want?” Lucky demanded rudely.

“A dance with the lovely Mrs. Spencer.” Sonny held out a hand and Elizabeth accepted it without a backwards glance to her fuming husband.

“You should be smiling tonight,” Sonny said softly once they were out on the dance floor.

“And you shouldn’t be with your newest flavor of the month, either,” Elizabeth replied with a soft sigh. She rested her forehead on his shoulder. “When did life get so complicated Sonny? We were happy once.”

“Sure, when you were kids and the future was bright and all the possibilities were at your fingertips,” Sonny replied.

Elizabeth leaned back a little frowned. “We were happy this time last year,” she argued.

“Were you?” Sonny asked. “I mean, really really happy?”

She sighed and put her head back on his shoulder. “Well, no. But we could have been. If not for the money. They knew what they were talking about when they said money is the root of all evil.”

“Well, not all evil.” Sonny sighed. “If you would just let me help–”

“No,” Elizabeth shook her head. “Absolutely not. It’s bad enough I’m hiding the job with you at the warehouse from Lucky. I could never explain where I got the money–”

“You shouldn’t have to hide either,” Sonny chastised.

“Lucky has his pride,” Elizabeth said. “I can’t take that from him. I don’t want to talk about this anymore–let’s talk about something else.”

“Okay…” Sonny let his eyes linger on the crowd where he knew Jason was lurking. “Would you do me a favor?”

“Anything,” she promised.

“Go over and say hi to Jason. He’s been hiding from Carly most of the night and I think he needs a friendly face. ”

“Done.”

Metro Court Hotel: Terrace

But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin’ auld lang syne.

Skye Quartermaine braced a hand on her back and stared out over the elaborate gardens her ex-husband had planted behind the hotel. She had come only at his urging this year and wished she’d ignored him. After being all but abandoned by Lorenzo Alcazar, the last thing she needed was to see the happiness of Luke and Laura Spencer, even though Skye was naturally thrilled for Luke.

This had been a nightmare of a year but Skye was going to put that all behind her now. She had other responsibilities to worry about–to concentrate on and she would make the most of it.

Someone cleared their throat at the terrace doors and she turned to see who had intruded on her moment of privacy.

“Skye–” Lorenzo broke off in mid sentence as he took in her full figure–at nine months pregnant. “You’re pregnant.”

“Nothing gets by you,” Skye said dryly. She started towards the door. “Welcome back, Lorenzo,” she said flippantly as she went past him. He touched her elbow.

“Skye…you didn’t tell me before I left,” Lorenzo said quietly.

“I didn’t know and once you were gone…” Skye shrugged. “With no word for six months, I didn’t even know you’d care.”

“There were circumstances–” Lorenzo began.

“There always are,” Skye cut in. “Something is always more important than me. Well, not anymore. Happy New Year, Lorenzo.”

She disappeared inside.

Metro Court Hotel: Restaurant

Sin’ auld lang syne, my dear
Sin’ auld lang syne

10…

The countdown began just as Elizabeth joined Jason in the corner. “I wanted to wish you a Happy New Year,” she began.

Jason’s lips curved into a half smile. “Sonny didn’t want me to be alone, you mean.”

“He’s worried about you,” Elizabeth said quietly. “I am, too.”

But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin’ auld lang syne.

9, 8…

Lorenzo tracked Skye down at the doors to the restaurant. “That’s all you’re going to say?” he demanded. “You’re pregnant, Skye!”

“Yes, I am. It never supposed to be possible,” Skye spat at him, “but it is and you left me. What else is there to say?”

Port Charles Airport

And ther’s a hand, my trusty friend,
And gie’s a hand o’ thine;

7, 6…

A man stepped out of the gate and his driver. It was hell trying to get a cab at the airport these days, especially on a holiday and he was in a mood to avoid it altogether.

He spotted his driver standing near the luggage claim and hoisted his carry on over his shoulder and strode towards the card bearing his name.

Jerry Jacks.

Metro Court Hotel: Restaurant

We’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

5, 4…

“I can’t believe she left me for him,” Jesse Beaudry snarls in the general direction of Maxie and Kyle. He sips his drink and turns to his partner. “It just doesn’t make any sense. I’m a cop, I work with her dad–”

“All girls want bad boys,” Lucky muttered. He eyes fell on his wife, speaking to the worst of them all.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,

3, 2…

Carly was headed for Jason’s corner when Jax stepped in front of her. “We’re not off to begin our plan of mayhem are we?”

“No, I’m going to find Jason and make sure he’s not alone.” Carly tried to side step him but Jax blocked her again. “No one should be alone at midnight.”

“Precisely,” Jax grinned. He took her hand in his and kissed it. “So keep me company then.”

We’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet

1…

“I’m fine,” Jason insisted. He glanced over the crowd, who were quickly counting down the last second of 2006. “Happy New Year, Elizabeth.”

She smiled wistfully and reached up to kiss his cheek. “It will be, because of you.”

“Happy New Year!”

For auld lang syne

 

Collision — Chapter One

Monday, January 1, 2007

General Hospital: Locker Room

“Just the way I want to start the new year,” Robin sighed as she spun the combination for the lock and pulled it open. “A shift in the ER.”

Elizabeth glanced over from her own locker. “It could be worse.”

“Yeah, I suppose.” Robin tugged her scrubs top on. “It could be a double shift.”

Elizabeth tied her hair up and closed the locker door. “Oh…it might as well be. I’m on until three and then I’m picking Cameron up from day care, dropping him at my grandmother’s so I can work until nine at my second job.”

“You’re going to work a thirteen hour day?” Robin asked. She clipped her pager to her waistband.

“I usually work sixteen, so this will be a bit of a break for me,” Elizabeth replied, “but they didn’t need me in this morning until eight.” She pinned her ID badge to her shirt. “Did you have fun at the party last night?”

“Most of it, yeah.” Robin put her white jacket on and followed Elizabeth into the hallway. “It was weird to be sharing a holiday with my entire family. With my parents. But Jax kept Carly away from the table all night so that helped. What about you?”

“It was fine. Better than I would have expected going to a party hosted by Carly Corinthos.” Elizabeth stepped into the nurse’s station and scanned her patient list for that shift. “It was nice to see everyone together.”

“Yeah, yeah, it was.” Robin took a chart from the stack and slid it under her arm. “I’ll catch you for some coffee later?”

“Sure.”

Robin disappeared down the hallway as the elevator doors slid open and Skye stepped out. She slowly made her way to the nurse’s station. “Hey, Elizabeth. I have an appointment with Dr. Lee.”

“Yeah, she’s running a little behind schedule. Do you want help sitting down?” Elizabeth asked.

Skye shifted uncomfortably. “Ah, no. It’d probably be better if I stayed standing.” She touched the small of her back. “Some party last night.”

“That’s what everyone’s saying,” Elizabeth murmured. “I’ve paged Dr. Lee for you, so she knows you’re waiting. If you need anything…”

“Elizabeth…” Skye bit her lip and leaned forward. “I couldn’t help but notice that Lucky was…well…he spent a lot of time at the bar. I just…if there’s anything you need…”

“It was a party, Skye. Everyone spent some time at the bar.” Elizabeth picked up a chart. “Dr. Lee will be with you shortly.”

Metro Court Hotel: Restaurant

“You’re up early,” Carly chirped. She sat in the seat across from Patrick without waiting for an invitation. “Whatever happened to sleeping in on New Year’s?” she wondered as she signaled for a waiter.

“I have a shift at the hospital,” Patrick said flatly. He took a sip of his coffee.

Carly ordered her own cup of coffee and a blueberry muffin. “So, I guess you’ve heard the news.”

“That we’re going to be step siblings?” he replied. “Yeah, sure.” He shrugged. “We’re too old for it to really matter to either of us so whatever keeps my dad sober.”

“Well, my mother doesn’t have the track record of successful marriages.” Carly thought for a moment. “She might still be married to Tony Jones if I hadn’t seduced him though.” She shook away that horrible memory. “Anyway, I just wanted to make sure you weren’t considering any insane and terrifying thoughts that end with me related to Saint Robin through marriage.”

Patrick’s coffee went down his windpipe and he started coughing. “What the hell?” he managed to say.

“I’m just making sure you’re not planning any permanent commitments,” Carly said innocently. “And from your reaction, that would be a no.”

Patrick coughed again and took a long sip of water. “Carly, I don’t know what gives you the right to ask questions like that–”

“You’re my friend and I want to make sure you don’t do anything you can’t take back. I’ve been trying to tell you for months that she’s poison–”

Patrick tossed his napkin onto the table. “You don’t know anything about Robin or our relationship.”

“It would be a mistake,” Carly said firmly. “Because she’s always going to want something you can’t give her.” She leaned forward and lowered her voice. “She’s a family girl, Patrick. Despite her disease, she wants a family, she wants children. I know that about her just like I know that’s the last thing you want.”

Patrick hesitated for a brief moment before standing. “Put the bill on my room tab,” he muttered.

As he left the restaurant, a man stepped by him and grinned when he saw the blonde still seated at Patrick’s table. She was sipping her coffee and smiling to herself. “Hello, Carly,” Jerry remarked. “Ruin someone’s life today?”

Carly leapt up from her chair, startled. “Jerry–you-you’re supposed to be in jail–or on the run–” Her eyes narrowed and she took a step towards him. “So help me God, if you’re here to bother my mother–”

“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Jerry held up a hand. “Bobbie’s settled in her life, I understand that. I’m here to see my brother. I know he lives in one of the penthouses but I’m not sure which one. I was hoping you could direct me towards it–”

“Top floor,” Carly said, irritated. “Stay away from my mother–she’s happy now.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Jerry saluted her and headed for the bank of elevators. She glared after him for a long moment before she brightened.

If she couldn’t finish off Robin and Patrick…Jerry would be a nice addition for the Bobbie and Noah side of the plan.

Jones-Scorpio House: Living Room

Bobbie wiggled her finger in Felicia’s face. “Isn’t it the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?” She sat next to her friend on the sofa. “And he asked in the most darling way.”

“It’s nice to see you so happy,” Felicia replied. She grabbed Bobbie’s hands and squeezed. “Since Tony died last winter, it’s only with Noah and Lucas that you’ve even smiled.”

“It was a tough year,” Bobbie said softly. “But Noah makes me happy and I know Carly will accept it in time.”

“Carly…” Felicia rolled her eyes. “She’s a harpy–do you know how she’s tortured my poor Robin this last year? It’s no wonder Mac doesn’t like Patrick, if he’s going to associate with that…” She sighed. “I know she’s your daughter, Bobbie, but she drives the rest of world crazy. I wouldn’t worry too much about her acceptance.”

“She’s my daughter, Felicia. I have to love her anyway.” Bobbie leaned back against the pillows and closed her eyes. “But she drives me crazy most of the time. I wish she would just back off Patrick–she only does it to annoy Robin.”

“That’s what I keep telling Mac.” Felicia smiled. “But no one’s good enough for his girls.” She twisted her hands together. “Which is I think we should adopt a boy. With three girls, Mac needs a boy, I think.”

Bobbie frowned. “Adopt? Boy? Did I miss a chapter somewhere? When did you two decide to adopt?”

“Before Christmas,” Felicia replied with a slow smile. “We want children but…I’m not exactly looking forward to the idea of pregnancy not to mention that neither one of us wants to wait nine months. We’ve been remarried for four months and trying just as long. I mean, if it happens, it happens but the girls are out of the house and they have their own lives…you don’t think it’s a bad idea, do you?”

“No, no–I think it’s fabulous and there’s no one that deserves children of his own more than Mac.” Bobbie bit her lip. “Not that he doesn’t think of Robin, Maxie and Georgie as his own but…well…you know what I mean…”

“No, I do know and I’ve been very lucky that my girls have had Mac in their life.” Felicia frowned. “Anyway, we’re just in the preliminary stages naturally. We contacted a lawyer who has an excellent reputation and we’re just waiting for the call now.”

“Well, I think that is going to a great year for both of us then.” Bobbie reached forward and hugged her best friend. “Just as long as nothing goes wrong.”

Felicia laughed. “Don’t tempt Fate.”

Metro Court Hotel: Jax’s Penthouse

The last person Jax expected to see when he opened his penthouse door that morning was his fugitive brother leaned against the door frame. “Hello there, little brother,” Jerry said cheerfully.

Jax frowned, glanced up and down the hallway before focusing on his brother. “You’re awfully nonchalant for someone who I last saw running from the authorities.”

“Oh, that.” Jerry grinned and ambled past his brother and headed for the table where Jax’s breakfast was set up. He seated himself and poured a glass of orange juice. “I made a deal of course. In exchange for some information and signing my life away to the WSB, the charges against me disappeared.”

“Right,” Jax drawled. He slid his hands into the pockets of his pants. “When did this deal get made?”

“Oh, going on seven years now,” Jerry replied. He pointed at Jax’s plate of scrambled eggs, sausage links and toast. “Are you going to eat that?” Without waiting for his brother to answer, he took the plate and set it across from him. “Sorry about not keeping in touch, part of the deal.”

“Well, I always like wondering if my brother is dead or alive.” Jax shifted. “You heard about Dad, right?”

Jerry sobered for a moment, “Yeah,” he said quietly. “I was up to see Mum before coming here. As soon as I was able to, Jasper, I came to see my family. I hope you believe that.”

“Okay, I’ll accept that.” Jax finally relaxed and sat across from his brother. “So what brings you to Port Charles?”

“Well, unofficially to let you know that I’m still alive and officially to recruit an old member of the organization to help me out on a case. I’ve tracked a girl wanted for questioning in a smuggling ring from Greece. She’s holed up here in PC and I’m looking up the old recruit to get his help. Plus, the WSB likes to remind people that even if they are retired, you never get out.” Jerry raised his glass to his brother. “Cheers, mate.”

Jax sighed and sat back. “Well, at any rate, it’s nice to see you’re alive. Have you stopped by Bobbie’s?”

“God no,” Jerry said, sounding horrified. “She would kill me. I’m staying clear of that particular redhead, believe you me.”

Spencer House: Lulu’s Room

Nik,

So big brother, are you finished sulking in Greece yet? Because we could really use the big bad Cassadine branch of the family back in PC.

Life is getting kind of crazy. Mom’s her usual overbearing self–trying to make up for four years of absence. I keep telling her it’s all good but she insists on joining every parent club at school and having mother-daughter nights. I like to humor her and besides, she’s still one of the coolest moms.

Lucky is insane and I wish I meant that in a fun way. We were at this totally awesome party at the Metro Court and he got seriously wasted. I felt so bad for poor Liz, I mean, she had to go home with them. Dad and Mom argued again about them again last night. Mom wants to give them money and Dad says Lucky would never accept it which is totally right because Lucky’s got that annoying Spencer pride going for him and it makes me want to scream because he’s so unhappy and Liz is totally miserable. She works way too hard and the only time she sees anyone is when we stop by the hospital. She’s also got this mysterious second job that she’s tight lipped about.

So Dillon got a letter from Emily last week and not that I’m trying to you know make a point or anything but Em’s doing okay. I know you’d never ask, but whatever, it has to be said. Dillon thinks she’s lonely in NYC all by herself but if you ask me, that girl makes herself miserable. It’s like a train ride away and she could totally visits but she’s probably super embarrassed at the way her relationship with the big bad mobster crashed and burned.

School’s okay. It’s not tons of fun or anything, but it’s so lonely now that Georgie’s all graduated and in college. I’m the only one left and I can’t wait to graduate. Every time I bring it up, Mom gets all teary eyed like she can’t believe her baby’s all grown up. Very sickening.

So, listen, it would be tre fab if you would just come home. If Courtney wanted to be found, she would be. And she’s an idiot if she chose to run instead of choosing between you and Jax. I mean, he’s way old but he’s like a millionaire and not that I’m biased, but you’re all kinds of cute. She’s a twit and you deserve better.

So…come home already!

Always,

 Lu

Lulu pressed send on her email screen and then scanned her incoming messages. She clicked on one from Georgie.

Lu,

We have got to talk! Don’t call me, Dillon’s here and he’ll hear us. So, reply when you get this so we can set up a time and place.

Georgie

Lulu rolled her eyes and replied to Georgie. One day the girl would have to learn that she was only Georgie’s friend because Lulu was friends with Dillon. They were not long lost soul sisters, they were not close. Honestly, Georgie grated on her nerves at times with her eternal naivety. Life was not perfect and after they’d been cut off by the Quartermaines, they’d both been forced to take jobs. If not for Georgie’s scholarships, she wouldn’t even be in college.

It was all well and good to get married when they thought Dillon would die but they should have had it annulled after he got well. So what if they would have decided to tie the knot eventually? That didn’t mean they were ready at eighteen.

But she was still Dillon’s wife and Lulu respected that for the most part so she played nice and was now privy to a very annoying secret. She hated the fact that her parents had drilled into her the idea when you swear to keep a secret, you keep it.

No matter who it hurts.

Lansing Apartment: Bedroom

“Can I please…can I please just hold her a little longer?” Alexis Davidovitch asked the nurse softly. She touched the soft hair on her daughter’s head and wondered if it would turn darker like her own hair or stay the light brown like her father’s.

“You’re really not supposed to,” the nurse replied sympathetically. “But I suppose it wouldn’t hurt…” She touched Alexis on the shoulder and gestured towards the hallway. “I’ll wait outside.”

“I wish I could keep you,” Alexis whispered to her daughter. “But I can’t. I hope you’ll be given to parents who can love you without reservations, with conditions. I hope that they will love and encourage you to be whoever you want to be.”

She shifted the small bundle and grasped one of her daughter’s hands with her pinky. “I wonder what your new family will name you. I’m not allowed to do it officially but I think I’ll always think of you as Kristen, for my mother.”

There was a soft knock on the door and the nurse smiled sadly. “I’m sorry, but it’s time.”

Alexis jerked away and sat up, rubbing sleep out of her eyes. She wasn’t in a home for unwed mothers but in her bedroom, in the apartment that she shared with her husband. She looked at her daughters, Kristina and Molly curled up in the bed next to her as they napped and she bit her lip, remembering her daughter that she had loved so fiercely and so briefly all those years ago.

She had put Kristen out of her head for years, successfully pretending that she had never been a mother, never carried a child but the dreams about holding Kristen had begun haunting her when Kristina had needed a bone marrow transplant. Alexis had contemplated finding her daughter at that point–had even called a lawyer but then Sam’s baby had presented an opportunity that would allow Alexis’s secret to be kept and she had put Kristen out of her mind again.

And since the virus, when Ric had had that awful hallucination about his mother giving him up and Alexis had briefly flashed back to the moment she’d given her own child away, she’d never been able to put Kristen out of her mind again.

Alexis sighed and rubbed her eyes again. Kristen would be almost twenty-seven now. Far too old to look up and present herself as her mother. It would be ridiculous and once again, Alexis put the thought out of her head once.

PCU: Georgie and Dillon’s Dorm Apartment

“It’s a good thing you got a scholarship.”

Georgie looked up from her letter, a guilty expression on her face. “What?”

Dillon never glanced up from his computer where he was balancing their budget. “My tuition for this semester nearly put us in the red so it’s good that you had your scholarship,” he repeated.

“Oh…” Georgie sighed and looked back at the letter she was writing to Diego, congratulating him on his upcoming early release and repeating her promise not to tell his father or any of her friends. She’d been unable to keep the information to herself and since Lulu Spencer had once become privy to her letter writing, she had seemed to be the right person to tell.

Georgie had become a lot more careful about hiding her correspondence with Diego Alcazar since Lulu had accidentally found a letter on her desk when she’d been visiting their apartment last semester. She kept them under lock and key and each time she set another letter on the growing pile, she promised herself that she would tell Dillon when the time was right.

Not that the time had ever been right. After the virus and their hasty marriage, they’d been thrown into early adulthood when Tracy had cut her son off financially. Dillon had gotten a full-time job that summer and Georgie had worked, too and together they had scraped enough money together to live on this academic year but she knew she had another summer of work to look forward to.

It was worth it, she told herself every morning when she had to make a choice between paying for gas in their car or eating breakfast with her sister. Being married to Dillon made it all worth it.

She hoped that the more she repeated it, the more she would believe it.

The door to their tiny apartment swung open and an annoyed Maxie entered, dropping her purse on the floor by the door and flung herself on their couch. “I had another run in with Jesse,” she sighed.

“He’s still giving you a hard time?” Dillon asked as he saved their meager budget plan and shut the lid of his laptop. “I honestly would have thought that he’d be over that.” He tilted his head as if considering the situation again. “Then again, you did dump him for Kyle Radcliffe, so it’s understandable he’s somewhat miffed.”

“Come on, all of that crap was four years ago,” Maxie complained. “Kyle’s at Yale, you know. He’s going to law school, he’s a great guy and he makes me happy.”

“Well, Jesse thought he was a great guy and that he made you happy,” Georgie pointed out. “Can you blame him for being upset that you dumped him for someone else?”

“No,” Maxie admitted. “But it was six months ago.” She sighed impatiently. “I just want him to get over it and move on. We weren’t even together all that long, you know?”

“Nine months might not seem long to you, but it’s long to guys. It’s practically a lifetime commitment,” Dillon told her. “Just be patient, Max. Eventually, he’s gotta realize he’s mooning over you and want to smack himself.”

Maxie glared at him. “Bite me.”

Port Charles Police Department: Squad Room

Lucky dropped his coat on his chair and slumped into his chair, yawning and rubbing his face. Jesse leaned across his adjoining desk. “You’re late, you know.”

“No, I couldn’t tell,” Lucky muttered. He shook his head and reached a file on the top of pile of pending investigations. Before he could even flip it open, his named was bellowed from the commissioner’s office.

“Spencer, get in here!”

Lucky sighed and ambled his way towards Mac’s office, not in the mood to hear any litany of his behavior for the last few months. So what if he’d been late a few times? He’d done his work, he’d made his shifts. What was Mac always harping about anyway?

“You were late again,” Mac said as soon as Lucky closed the door behind him. “This is the fifth time in the last four weeks.”

Lucky shrugged. “I overslept. I’m sorry.” He clasped his hands behind his back and assumed his usual defensive stance. “What do you want from me?”

“I want you to do your damn job. You’re late, your paperwork is sloppy and I’m concerned about how much drinking you’ve been doing–”

Lucky bristled. “I don’t drink on duty.”

“Maybe not but you barely walked away from the bar last night,” Mac pointed out.

“What I do in my off hours is none of your business,” Lucky snarled. Mac’s eyes narrowed at the tone.

“No,” Mac drawled, “but when you’re too hung over to do your job, that makes it my business. Shape up, Lucky. You’re on probation as of right now. Get your act together or find yourself suspended and facing the review board, you got that?”

“Fine,” Lucky muttered. He stalked out of the office and back to his desk where he grabbed his jacket. “Let’s go,” he barked at Jesse before heading out of the squad room.

Corinthos-Morgan Warehouse: Office

Elizabeth switched her on her computer and then dialed in for the messages. As each message played, she jotted down the name of the caller, their return number and the general gist of the call. It was safe, boring work and it allowed her to wind down a bit after the difficult shift she’d just gone through.

Robin had been in a bad mood when they’d taken their coffee break that morning–she and Patrick had had one of their customary arguments though Robin seemed mystified about this particular one. She’d merely asked him what he wanted to do that night and he flew off the handle at the idea of making any plans whatsoever and Robin taking him for granted.

Elizabeth usually got the urge to smack Patrick upside the head after one of these occasions. If he’d just stop being such a man, maybe the two of them wouldn’t break up every few weeks or so.

She started to sort the mail that had come in during her last few days off and glanced up when Sonny entered. “Hey–I didn’t think you’d be in today.”

“Carly has the boys for the afternoon. I didn’t think you’d be in today,” Sonny turned it around. “It is a holiday, you know.” He sat in the chair across from her desk.

She smiled faintly. “Lucky had work and it just seemed like a good time to pick up some extra hours here. Besides, it’s nice and quiet here–I definitely need the silence after today.”

“Busy day saving lives?” Sonny quipped. He stood and went to the coffee machine to pour himself a cup.

“Busy day playing best friend to a pair of idiots,” Elizabeth replied. She slit another letter open and stamped it received. “Patrick is getting his monthly dose of cold feet and Robin’s being snarky about it. Nothing puts her in a bad mood more than remembering she’s dating the definition of a ladies man.”

Sonny scowled and sipped his coffee. “She deserves better than Patrick Drake,” he muttered. “She deserves someone who will give her the family and the attention she deserves.”

“Oh, he’s in love with her,” Elizabeth assured him. “He won’t admit it to himself or anyone else, but you’d have to be deaf, dumb or blind not to see it.” She considered it. “Or you’d have to be Robin. Anyway, he’s mostly a good guy. I was actually surprised to hear he was up to old behavior. They’ve been doing so well.” She shrugged. “Have you been to the club today?”

“Nah, I’ll stop by tonight for the New Year’s Day party. Are you going?” Sonny asked.

“I can’t. Lucky’s on until midnight and I want to spend some time with Cameron. I feel like I’ve barely seen him.” Elizabeth gathered up the mail and the various messages before she stood.

“We’ve talked about this, Elizabeth,” Sonny said quietly. “Anytime you want to come here full time–I’d make it worth your while. Flexible schedule, excellent pay.”

“You shouldn’t tempt me on a day like today,” Elizabeth replied with a wry smile. “I love my job and eventually, I’ll have some room to breathe and I won’t have to work myself so hard.”

Sonny sighed and reached for his stack of mail and messages. “Is Jason in yet?”

Elizabeth shook her head. “No, I’m not sure when he’ll be in today but he said he’d be in. Do you want me to send him in when he gets here?”

Sonny nodded and disappeared into his office. Elizabeth set Jason’s mail and messages on his desk and then went back to the outer office to type some memos and made herself busy. She knew they didn’t really need a secretary when she’d began working but Sonny had been kind enough to create this job for her when he’d become aware of her financial difficulties.

Shortly after returning for his search for Sam, he’d been down on the docks and Elizabeth had been sitting on a bench staring at the latest of the collection notices. They’d cut her hours at work and Cameron’s medical bills had sent their debt soaring. She’d been on the verge of tears and really, it had only taken a kind word from Sonny before all the depression, desperation and bitterness had flown from her like an angry wave.

He’d handed her a handkerchief from his coat and told her to come over to the warehouse so they could work things out. She’d been at such a low point that she’d accepted a position that had been really no more than charity at that point but Sonny had sworn off romance and instead threw himself into the legitimate side of his business so by the beginning of the new year, the orders were pouring in and Elizabeth actually had something to do. It had helped her financially but with the longer hours away from home, it was slowly breaking down her marriage.

She put that out of her mind and focused on the task at hand. Jason came in, looking a little tired and got himself a cup of coffee. After some small talk–he always asked about Cameron–he disappeared into his office.

No more than ten minutes later, Jason exited with a thin manila envelope in his hand. Elizabeth knew that envelope–she set it on his desk every week without fail and hoping that for once, it would hold some good news. After he and Sonny had given up the personal search for Sam, Jason had hired a private investigator to keep up the effort and each week, he sent his progress report.

And each week, it held same words. No sign of Samantha McCall.

“I want you to throw this out,” Jason said. He set it back on her desk. “And I need you to contact Andrews to tell them that I no longer require their services.”

Elizabeth bit her lip. “Jason, are you sure? I mean, they could still find her–”

“It’s been a year,” Jason interrupted. “A year with no word. If something had happened to her, I would have…there would have been something to go on. But there’s been no sign of her. She doesn’t want to be found and I’m through caring about where she went.”

“Okay,” Elizabeth agreed. She took the envelope and set it aside her desk before reaching for her telephone book to find the number for Andrews Investigations. “You’re not even going to open this one?”

“No,” Jason said. “It’ll say the same thing the last fifty have said. There’s no word. Just toss it, okay?”

“Okay,” Elizabeth repeated. When he was back in his office, she set it inside a drawer in her desk. Just in case.

April 2, 2015

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Miscellaneous Stories

I had a concept for Chapter 9 that didn’t feel right as I wrote it. It felt like I was dragging the story out and I thought it was slowing my writing down. So I rewrote it — and you’ll get Chapter 9 eventually. But these scenes were cut and at the moment, I have nothing planned where I could use any of the content, so I thought you might enjoy it since my updates for this week are otherwise non existent.

It hasn’t been edited so there’s no italics or anything added other than my usual scene settings. I haven’t even really looked at it for typos.


Chapter Nine

Friday, October 27, 2006

Morgan Penthouse: Master Bedroom

He was going to be a father. He was a father. How different his life was today than merely a week ago. He had been trading words with Carly, trying not to think about Elizabeth still married to a man who did not deserve her, possibly pregnant with his child—but more likely her husband’s.

He had been feeling guilty for not feeling worse about Sam and Ric, had been living with a general…dissatisfaction with how things stood in his life.

But now, just a week later, he lay in his bed, his wife curled up beside him as she napped after they had made love to celebrate their child.

He had a wife, a new child on the way, and he had Cameron, his stepson who he would treat as his own, never making him feeling different than Jason’s biological child.

He was a father, something he had always wanted to be again, but never truly hoped for.

“What are you thinking about?”

Her cheek against his bare chest, he could feel Elizabeth’s lips as she spoke, as they stayed curved in a slight smile.

“How different everything is,” he admitted, his fingers lightly stroking through her hair, letting the strands slide through his grasp, falling down to rest against her bare shoulders and his chest. “Good different,” he clarified before she could think he meant anything else.

“I know,” she murmured. “Considering everything that’s waiting out there, I suppose I should feel…less at peace, but I can’t help it.”

Something inside him released as she said this—he had told Sonny he wanted to take care of her, an emotion he wasn’t used to feeling. He was used to taking care of people—he’d been carrying Carly on his back for nearly a decade, and of course he had taken care of Courtney and Sam, but—

It was different—this urge to make Elizabeth’s world better, to ease her burdens. She always took on too much, worried about people and things she shouldn’t. She had always internalized everyone else’s problems and taken them home with her.

He had never wanted to be one of those people who used her generosity and warmth to make themselves feel better.

“I just…I hoped if we did this, that I would truly feel as though it had been the right choice. Not just for the moment, but…” Her arm, draped over his waist slid up his torso, her fingers tracing some abstract pattern as they moved. “But later. When the craziness of this moment had passed.”

He knew what she was trying to say, what she didn’t have the courage to put into words. He had suggested marriage as a solution with an expiration date, but something had shifted in the days since—beginning with the conversation before the ceremony and continuing to this moment.

He could no longer see a reason to consider what was between them as something that should end, and Jason thought she possibly felt the same—even if she wasn’t ready to put it out there.

It had only been a week after all.

“I know Ric is not going to go away just because Diane gets him thrown off the case, and I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of people who aren’t thrilled that we’re having a child together, but…” Elizabeth tilted her head up, resting her chin on his shoulder. “I can’t bring myself to worry about any of that. It all…it feels so far away right now.”

“Good,” Jason said, not telling her that’s exactly what he wanted. He didn’t think she’d respond well to his urge to make her problems go away. He had always been one for letting people live their own lives—except for Carly, who had proved she could not do so without some sort of supervision—but it was different with Elizabeth. It always had been.

“Boy or girl?” Elizabeth asked, leaning up a bit more, leaning on her elbow. “Which do you want?”

“Healthy,” Jason answered, his fingertips drifting up and down her opposite arm. Her skin was so soft…

“That’s it?” Elizabeth asked. “You don’t have a preference?”

He hesitated. “I don’t know,” he answered. “I guess a boy would be easier because we’ve both been around them more, but it might be nice to have a girl.” A daughter. With her smile. He could see that.

“I guess I’m supposed to want a girl,” Elizabeth said. “Because I have a boy, and most people want a matched set, but it’d be nice for Cameron to have a brother.” She pursed her lips. “I really don’t know. Do you want to find out?”

“Can we?” Jason asked, frowning slightly. “Isn’t it a bit early?”

“Oh…” Elizabeth sat up, the sheet pooling to her waist, her hand braced against her still flat tummy. “Yeah. I’m only—it’s about ten weeks right now. And I—I think we have to wait another six, maybe ten weeks before it can be seen on an ultrasound. Kelly and I didn’t talk about it yet.”

“If you want to find out, we can.” Jason lifted a shoulder. “It—it doesn’t matter to me much—” He hesitated, because maybe that sounded like he didn’t care overall, but she just smiled.

“I know, you’ll love the baby no matter what. I don’t know. I found out with Cameron because it…” She bit her lip. “So much about my life was out of my control at that point, but knowing whether I was having a boy or girl, planning for him, picking his name? It was something I could do.” She chewed her lip. “I’m just not sure I could wait until May.”

“You’re due in May?” Jason asked, bringing one of his hands to rest behind his head. There was so much he didn’t know—he had tried to stay out of it, not speak about it, but now that he was the father, now that they were a family—

“May 15.” Elizabeth hesitated. “Though Kelly might adjust that at the next appointment since well, I clearly know the date of conception.” Her blush crawled up her neck, her cheeks flaming as he grinned.

“Clearly.” He laced their fingers together, her small, pale hand enveloped his larger, darker one. He had always liked the way they fit together.

“Anyway, waiting to find out is a nice idea, but I’ll probably go insane by then.”

“So we’ll find out when we can.” He tugged her towards him so he could draw her in for another kiss. It was barely noon and they still had a few hours before Cam needed to be picked up.

He wanted to spend those hours with her.

Elizabeth drew back a moment later, her brows furrowed. “What’s that sound?”

Jason blinked, then listened to the tinny sound of his phone ringing somewhere at the foot of the bed where his jeans had been discarded. “My phone,” he said flatly.

“Oh. Okay.” Elizabeth sat up, tugging the sheet to cover herself.

“Just—I have to…” He stood and quickly located the phone in his pocket, scowling when he saw Sonny’s name on the screen. “Sonny?”

“Hey, man. I know you wanted to kind of settle in today, but—”

“Is it important?” Jason demanded, because he had told Sonny to handle things for a few days to give himself time to get into a routine with Elizabeth, with Cameron.

“I promise—and I need to talk to Elizabeth as well.” Sonny sounded serious, and Jason remembered the trouble his friend had gone to make sure they had a nice wedding.

Jason scrubbed a hand over his face. “Okay. It’s about noon now. We have to pick Cam up at school at—” He looked to Elizabeth. “What time?”

“Two-thirty,” she murmured, her eyes blank, her expression still as she seemed to be preparing for him to leave her alone.

“We’ll stop by Greystone on the way to get Cam, around one-thirty. Is that enough time?”

“I mean…yeah, but—”

“I promised Cameron we’d buy race cars after school and I’m busy right now Sonny. Is it going to make a difference if we deal with it in ninety minutes and not now?”

“No,” Sonny admitted. “I’ll see you at one-thirty, Jase.”

Jason set the phone on his nightstand before climbing back into bed. “Sorry—”

“You—you could have gone,” Elizabeth said, chewing on her bottom lip. “I’m—I mean, I get it. It’s like the island, right? You have to deal with things—”

“He wants to talk to you, too,” Jason told her. “Which means it’s not life or death. If it needed to be taken care of immediately, Sonny would have said something.” And he could remember now all those years ago when he and Elizabeth would be together, and he’d leave her for Sonny or worse, for Carly’s nonsense.

And how she’d walked away from him after weeks of leaving her alone in the penthouse.

“There are going to be times when I have to leave when Sonny calls,” Jason told her. “And I’m going to hate it. It’s going to be in the middle of the night, it’ll be in the middle of dinner or breakfast. There’s nothing I can do about those times. But not today.”

“If you’re sure…” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “I’m ready for that, I promise you.”

He cupped her cheek and drew her closer. “Where were we?”

Greystone Manor: Foyer

Jason touched Elizabeth’s elbow. “Hey. Could you—just wait here a minute, okay?” He gestured towards Max. “Catch up with Max. I’m sure you remember him.”

“I do, I harassed him just this summer when I was trying to find you after you checked out of the hospital.” Elizabeth said.

Leaving them, Jason closed the door behind him once he was in the main room. “Sonny—”

“Hey, man…” Sonny came away from the windows. “I really am sorry about this—”

Jason held up a hand and shook his head. “I get it, but I just—” He hesitated. “I know there are times when it has to be me you call, but I think—”

“We need to get someone else,” Sonny finished. “Delegate. You’ve got a wife and son at home now, another baby on the way. I get it. We can do that. I thought about it after I called you—” He paused. “You got the results this morning, didn’t you?”

“We did, but—” Jason hadn’t expected Sonny to know exactly what he was thinking. “Let me get Elizabeth.”

Jason opened the door just as Elizabeth was looking at something on Max’s forearm. “I don’t think it’s infected, Max, but you need to take better care of these kinds of things,” she said. “Don’t you guys keep a doctor around for this kind of thing?”

“Sure, Mrs. Morgan, but it wasn’t much,” Max said. “It didn’t even hurt.”

“Well, clean it with some peroxide, keep it clean and covered for a few days.” Elizabeth blinked at Jason. “Hey, ready for me already?”

“Yeah.” Jason frowned at Max. “You okay?”

“Oh, yeah, just a cut I got in the kitchen.” Max rolled down his sleeve.

Elizabeth joined Jason at the door. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah, I just—Sonny asked about the test and I didn’t know if you wanted—”

“We can tell him if you want


The above scene is unfinished because I ditched the concept in the middle of the scene…and apparently, the line. 😛 Like I said, some of the dialogue didn’t feel right, some of it felt forced, at least to me, and I like the changes I made. You’ll be able to make up your own mind soon, I hope.