May 11, 2019

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Flash Fiction

I don’t really know what I think about this one. I had a thought a few months ago about Jake’s kidnapping and I thought maybe I’d play with it. So here’s an idea I had. It kind of cuts off abruptly because I ran out of time, so no edits for typos.  It picks up in 2019 current time but the show stops after Jake’s kidnapping.

Written in 30 minutes.


Spring 2019

Scott Baldwin strode into the offices of Spinelli & Spencer and raised an eyebrow at the clean and modern lobby, complete with a receptionist desk. Somehow, when he had learned that Luke Spencer’s daughter had ended up as a private investigator, he’d pictured a dark and drab interior but maybe he had watched one too many noir films in his life.

He stepped up to the desk where a chirpy strawberry blonde young woman sat, her bright blue eyes matching the smile on her face. “Good morning, welcome to Spinelli & Spencer. Do you have an appointment?”

“No, I don’t, but I was hoping that Spinelli or Lulu might have a few minutes. Scott Baldwin.” He hesitated, but decided against mentioning that he had once been married to Lulu’s mother. He hadn’t seen either of them since he’d left town ten years earlier, and he had no way of knowing if Laura had even told her kid anything nice about him. “I’m an old friend of the family.”

Sure. That worked.

“One minute.”

A minute later, a young woman stepped out from the back office, her brow arched and Scott’s heart skipped a beat. Lesley Lu Spencer looked just like her mother when he’d fallen in love with her more than thirty years ago. “Lulu.”

“Scott, come on back.” Lulu lead him to an office down the hall. “I haven’t seen you since you moved to…Rochester?”

“Buffalo,” he murmured as they took seats. “I came because I had a friend out in Oregon contact me about an estate he was handling. A woman, recently deceased. She left…something…to some people here in Port Charles, and he thought I might be able to help.”

“Oh?” Lulu picked up pencil. “How’s the family? Serena? Logan?”

“Good, good.” Scott scratched his temple. “Are you…I know she’s not married to your brother anymore, but I wondered if you were still friendly with Elizabeth Webber.”

“Elizabeth?” Lulu frowned. “Yeah. I mean, she and Lucky broke up ages ago, and you know my mom and Aunt Bobbie always loved her. Plus, it’s not like Lucky and I are giving Mom any grandkids. Did your client leave something to her?”

“You might say that.” He cleared his throat. “She…still with Morgan? Even after all crap with Corinthos?”

“You mean Sonny getting arrested and fleeing extradition?” Lulu said dryly. “Yeah. You probably read in the newspapers that Jason helped the FBI and WSB dismantle the waterfront and the organized crime. He got to walk away scot free. Opened another garage. He and Elizabeth got married maybe six months later, after Aiden was born.”

“Oh. So they had another kid?” Scott exhaled. Nodded. “Good, good. I always felt terrible the PCPD was never able to find Jake.”

“Yeah.” Lulu bit her lip. “Yeah. It took Liz and Jason some time, but they got past it. They had Aiden, and then just six years ago, a little girl, Juliet.” She tipped her head, her blonde hair cascading over her shoulder. “What’s this about, Scott? You and my ex-sister-in-law barely knew each other. And you never liked Jason Morgan.”

“Yeah, well…” Scott reached into his briefcase. “I was contacted by the estate of Maureen Harper of Portland, Oregon, who recently passed away from breast cancer, leaving custody of her thirteen-year-old son to Jason and Elizabeth Morgan.”

“Maureen Harper?” Lulu leaned froward. “What?”

Scott drew out a picture and set it in front of Lulu. “It’s the damnedest thing though, Lulu. I was around Morgan a little bit as a baby. I used to date his biological mother, Susan.”

Lulu picked up the photograph, frowning. “This…he looks…” She reached for her phone and flicked a few times before handing it to Scott. “He looks familiar.”

Scott looked at the photograph Lulu had selected for him, a trio of kids—a teenager and then two younger children. The little boy was nearly shared many of the same features as the Harper kid.

“When I heard the age, I knew it was wrong, but something told me…” Scott rubbed his chest. “It’s not that wrong. The PCPD always thought whoever kidnapped Jake must have wanted to raise him.”

“You—” Lulu swallowed hard, setting the photograph down and accepting her phone back. “You can’t just spring this on them. We need—we need to be sure—”

“I know. I already asked the guy in Portland to take some samples. They’re being sent to General Hospital, but—” He hesitated. “Either way, this woman left her kid to them. That needs to be sorted out. Whether he’s Jake or not. And the minute I start telling them about a kid matching Jake’s description and relative age—”

“They’re not stupid. They’ll figure it out.” Lulu scrubbed her hands over her face. “Yeah, okay. I’ll call my mom. She’s the hospital administrator and she can let me know if Liz is working today. We could go see her. Man, this wrecked my family back then. Mom was just recovering, Lucky ended up going back to drugs when he found out Jake wasn’t his—I can’t believe we might finally be solving it.”

——

Across town, Elizabeth Morgan was rethinking her bright idea at allowing her teenaged son to volunteer at the hospital along with his girlfriend. It was the third time she’d caught Cameron slacking off in a corner, texting and playing video games with Josselyn Jacks.

“C’mon, Mom. Don’t you remember what it’s like to be young?” Cameron rolled his eyes as he followed his mother back to the nurse’s station as a petulant Joss was led in a different direction by Epiphany Johnson. “You never let me have any fun.”

“Oh, God, it’s like looking in a mirror sometimes,” she muttered as she glanced at her watch. “Your father is picking you up in ten minutes. D oyou think it will be possible for you to stay out trouble that long—”

“Elizabeth.”

She turned at Laura Collins’ voice, with a slight grimace. “I’m sorry, Laura. I know I’m late for the meeting, but—” She frowned as she saw her husband step off the elevator with Scott Baldwin and Lulu Spencer. Why was Jason around a lawyer? A lawyer that hated him and…didn’t even live in Port Charles anymore?

She saw Laura’s concerned gaze as the trio from the elevators approached. At her side, even Cameron could read the room. He looked back and forth between his parents and frowned. “What’s going on? You guys look weird.”

“Elizabeth, Scott came to see Lulu today with some news—” Laura touched Elizabeth’s shoulder. “Maybe we should go into the conference room—”

“Oh, God. You found him.” Her stomach pitched and Elizabeth braced herself against the counter, her fingers digging into the hard plastic. “Where? What happened?” It was the only explanation. It would be just like that poor Wetterling mother last year who finally learned where her little boy had been buried after all these years. Oh, God, her baby. She’d always known he was alive, but maybe he wasn’t.

“Mom—” Cameron wrapped an arom around her shoulders as Jason stepped up inside the nurse’s station, looking a bit confused.

“We have a lead, maybe,” Lulu admitted. “Scott’s friend is handling an estate in Oregon, and some woman named Maureen Harper left custody her son to you—”

Elizabeth blinked. Shook her head. “What? What does that mean?” She looked at her husband, into his pained blue eyes. “Jason. Are they—” She frowned. “What’s wrong? You—you look like—”

Jason looked at Lulu and sighed. “I know who Maureen Harper is. She lost her son in a fire a few months before Jake went missing. Sam had her on her show, and she—she wrote us a few times to ask about the search.”

“Maureen—” Elizabeth pressed her hands to her mouth. “Maureen Harper came to see me after the park—Oh, God. Did she have my baby the whole time?”

March 8, 2019

This entry is part 13 of 13 in the series Flash Fiction: Fool Me Twice

Written in 20 minutes. No editing for typos.


Scott swallowed hard, his hands spread at his side to block any possible view of the exhausted and traumatized teenager behind him. In front of him stood his son. The only son he had left—

The sociopath that had played them all for fools these last few years, earning their trust, earning their affection—and then using it against them—

“I’m taking Cameron back to his mother,” Scott said slowly, his heart pounding, a trickle of sweat running down his back beneath his button down shirt. “And then we’re going to the hospital. Your tumor is obviously back—

Franco laughed then, a low chuckle that sent a chill racing down his father’s spine. He’d never heard that sound before, had never seen that light in his eyes—

He hadn’t been in town during Franco’s first rampage—didn’t know exactly who he was looking at—

“There’s no tumor,” Franco said, tilting his head slightly. “Well, there might be. But the tumor doesn’t matter. It never did.”

“Franco—”

“I never lost the taste for it—that rush of taking a life—” Franco closed his eyes, shook his head slightly as if in a dream. “But I had to wait. I had to be smart. I couldn’t play my games with anyone who could be missed.”

Scott swallowed hard. Oh God. “Franco—”

“The homeless, the whores—” Franco sighed. “It’s cliche, but it works. No one even wondered why my art came back to me. Why I could create magic again—”

“Oh, God, he’s going to kill us,” Cameron moaned.

“I thought about giving it up. Elizabeth—” Franco nodded. “If there was ever anyone who might be worth it, I guess it would have been her. But it got boring. The kids were whiny—that one—” He shuddered. “That behind you was going to catch on. It was only a matter of time.”

Franco’s hands were empty, and Scott couldn’t see a weapon. If he rushed his son—maybe Cameron could escape—but what if Betsy didn’t let the boy leave? What if Franco got past Scott and caught up?

Why hadn’t he told anyone where he was going? Why he had tried to save his son?

It was obvious there was nothing left to save. Maybe there never had been.

So with great regret, Scott reached behind him and pulled the gun from the holster attached at his waistband. He pointed it at his son. “Let me take him back to his mother,” he said slowly. Franco looked merely amused at the gun, not at all worried.

“He’s a bit too old for Betsy to raise, I guess. It’s a shame Elizabeth didn’t have any more babies I could have given my mother.” Franco touched a finger to his lips. “I thought about trying to Sam or Lulu’s kid. Maybe even Danny.” He wiggled his eyebrows. “I wonder if he’s my kid after all. You know you can’t trust paternity tests.”

Scott’s stomach rolled and pitched as the reality of that set in. Franco had actually raped Sam. Had obviously been lying all along. How did they miss it? How did they ignore the signs?

He took a step forward, the gun trained directly on Franco. “We’re going to go. You can run. You’ll need to if you want to stay ahead of Jason Morgan and everyone else in Port Charles.”

Franco smirked. “No, I think I’ll stay here and wait. Isn’t the cavalry coming? Shouldn’t they be right behind you?” He arched his brows. “Or did you think you could save me? Is that why you’re alone?”

Scott stepped forward again, his hands trembling slightly as he cocked the gun. “I don’t want to do this, but if you’re right, if you’re still the same sick, twisted, psycho—then I should do everyone a favor.”

“How many children have you lost, Dad? Logan? Karen? You think I believe you’ll make it three?” Franco shook his head. “You’re just not as devious as you think you are—”

Franco lunged forward suddenly, in the middle of the sentence—and Scott reacted. He pulled the trigger. Once, twice, then a third time—

The first shot slammed into Franco’s shoulder, sending him flying back—the second ripped into his gut—and the third missed, taking a chunk out of the wall.

His son slumped to the ground, his hands covering his abdomen as blood pooled beneath him. He stared up at Scott, glazed shock in his eyes. “You shot—”

With one hand, Scott dug into his suit jacket and tossed his cell phone at the stunned Cameron. He heard screaming from the first floor, then footsteps as Betsy struggled to climb to the second floor. “Call Jason.”

“Why can’t I call my mother?” Cameron demanded, his voice shaking as he took the phone, his blue eyes locked on the bleeding man on the wooden floor.

“Call Jason, then call Mac Scorpio. Just do it, Cameron. I’ll explain later.” Scott swallowed hard and watched as the life left Franco’s eyes. As his chest stopped rising.

He’d wanted to protect his son, to save him, but he had to stop Franco from hurting anyone else.

Because sometimes that was a parent’s job, too.

March 6, 2019

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Flash Fiction - Desperate Measures

This is kind of set in contemporary GH — my idea of trying to save the goddamn show again. I don’t know if it’ll work. These characters are pretty far gone, but it’s a soap opera so nothing is ever over. It’s set a bit in the future, and all you really need to know is that this ridiculous serial killer storyline happened, Franco plead guilty, ended up stabbed. Ryan is gone, Ava is gone. (I figure she should get to kill him and then split town to deal with it, I don’t really care tho). Jason and Sam are done with the Dawn of the Dead shit because that is dumb as hell and I’m too tired to save it. Everything else should be self-explanatory.

First part is short because I’m getting a super late start and only had about 20 minutes.  No time for editing or typos, and I assure you — they’re always in there.

I ended up taking about 25 minutes altogether.


The Port Charles Police Department was not a place that Jason Morgan liked to spend a lot of time, but thanks to his career choice and the company he kept, he was here at least three times a month.

He pushed his way into the squad room, took in the the cluster of officers around the desk, and squinted down the hallway where he knew the commissioner’s office still sat empty. Jordan Ashford had died after a car accident three months earlier, and Laura Webber couldn’t find anyone willing to take the job.

But he hadn’t pulled himself out of bed at three in the morning to think about any of that. Diane Miller had sounded upset on the phone and hadn’t given him many details, only that he needed to get here as soon as possible.

His redheaded virago of lawyer was standing in front of the interrogation room, her fingers at her lips—Jason noticed with some surprise that she was actually biting on them. Diane was normally put together—her hair carefully done, her nails polished, her suits pressed—for her to be standing here without any makeup in a pair of yoga pants and a cardigan thrown over a tank top—

That was actually pretty terrifying.

“Thank God you’re here.” Diane strode towards him and wrapped her hands in the lapels of his leather jacket. “She’s insane. You’re the only person left who might be able to talk some sense into her.”

“Into who—” Jason started to ask but he stopped as he looked into the window of the interrogation room where the blinds had been left open for a chance. Sitting at the dark wooden table was one of his oldest friends and the mother of his son.

Elizabeth Webber.

Her skin was so translucent, it was nearly colorless. Her eyes were bloodshot, and there were thick dark purple circles beneath them. Her chestnut hair lay limply against her shoulders.

Her hands were encased in a pair of silver handcuffs.

Across from her, Detective Harrison Chase sat, with the earnest look he knew so well. He was talking, and Elizabeth was shaking her head.

“What—” Jason turned to his lawyer. “What—”

“Scott Baldwin called me from the hospital, almost in tears,” Diane said. “Said Liz needed a lawyer and he wasn’t—he couldn’t. He said it was a matter of life and death—and I get here and she’s confessing—”

“Confessing to what—”

“It’s a lie. She would never—and even if she did, there was a damn good reason—” Diane pressed a hand to her forehead. “I feel responsible. I should have been nicer to her. More understanding. I don’t know how to do those things, but I could have figured it out.”

Diane was babbling. What could Elizabeth have done—

Jason took a deep breath. “Where’s Franco?”

She knew this feeling. She’d been here before. She’d lived here before. There was nothing. Nothing in her heart. Nothing in her head. Nothing in her body.

She was empty inside.

Elizabeth Webber stared down at her hands, at the handcuffs around her wrists, at the blood caked under her fingers—they had already scraped for evidence, but she hadn’t washed them. They hadn’t let her.

There could be evidence.

“I don’t know you that well, but Willow likes you. I know you’re not telling me the truth, Mrs. Baldwin—”

“I never—” Her voice didn’t feel like her own. She had to force it through her throat, past her lips. “I never changed it….”

“Miss Webber,” Chase corrected, his voice gentle. He was a nice man. He must not have been a cop long enough to see true darkness.

She knew what evil looked like. Tonight hadn’t even been the first time she’d been faced with it.

But tonight was the first time it had won.

“Where are your sons? Are they with family? They weren’t in the house—”

Elizabeth blinked. The boys. Put them first. Do it right. “Out of town. I sent them away. Earlier tonight. Before anything—they’re gone. They don’t know anything.”

“We need to talk to them—”

“No. No. You don’t.” She closed her eyes. “I did it. I did it all. I had to. Is…is Drew still alive?”

There was a sharp knock at the door and Diane threw it open. Chase sighed. “Mis Webber still doesn’t want her lawyer—”

“Can I talk to her?” came a voice Elizabeth still couldn’t get used to hearing. She opened her eyes, and there, standing behind Diane, was Jason.

She frowned. Why was he here? What was going on?

Chase hesitated. Looked at Elizabeth. “If you can talk some sense into her. She needs to tell us the truth.” He left the room, then Diane and Jason entered. Jason closed the door behind them.

He met her eyes, then took a seat as Diane paced restlessly.

“Diane told me what the charges are.” He leaned forward, those blue eyes intent on hers. Oh, God. She didn’t know if she had the energy to lie to him anymore. She didn’t want to lie to Jason.

Hadn’t she lied to Jason enough?

“It’s my fault,” she said roughly. “All of it. So I should have to pay for it.”

Diane growled. “Damn it—”

Jason shook his head. “Drew is in the hospital, with a head injury. And Diane says the boys were gone when the police got to the house.” He sighed heavily. “Did they see anything?”

“I—” She pressed her lips together. “Don’t ask me. I can’t lie to you.”

“They did, then. Where are they?”

“If you want to help me—” Elizabeth met his eyes. “If you ever loved me even a little, then you’ll do as I ask. This needs to be my fault. The boys are in a car heading towards the border. Cameron has his phone. He knows only to answer if I call him. But he might pick up if it’s you. You can get them and keep them safe.” Her voice shook. “But you can’t let Cameron talk to the cops. Okay? You need to get my boys away from here.”

“Elizabeth—”

“It’s my fault. I did this. I brought him into our homes. I let him lie to me. And I ignored all the signs that nothing that changed. It’s my fault. It doesn’t matter what happened. Please, Jason.” She spread her hands flat on the table. “The blood is on my hands. I’m asking you to let it stay that way. You did this for Michael. I’m asking you to do this for me.”

Jason leaned back, exhaled slowly, then looked at Diane for a long moment. He looked back at Elizabeth, the nodded. “Under one condition.”

“Jason—”

“Stop talking to the police. Let Diane help you. Don’t plead guilty. I don’t know what happened tonight, Elizabeth. But whatever it is, it’s not on you.” He rose to his feet. “It’s on me. For not killing Franco when I had the chance.”

“I wish I could blame you. It would be so easy.” Her voice broke, and tears started to slide down her cheeks. “But I can’t. I did this. I destroyed my life. Please don’t let the boys—”

“Will you let Diane help you?” Jason asked.

And even though she knew he would help the boys anyway, she nodded. “Okay. But—”

Jason looked at Diane. “Whatever it takes. You make this go away.” He looked to Elizabeth. “We’re going to get through this. I promise.”

She closed her eyes, so she didn’t have to watch him leave. “Don’t make promises you can’t keep,” she murmured when the door had closed behind him.

She heard the chair scrape out again as Diane sat down. She opened her eyes to find the fierce brown eyes of her lawyer. “Tell me everything that happened, and don’t leave a single detail out.”

December 25, 2018

Written in 24 minutes. Continuation of Yesterday’s Past.


Her first conscious thought was the delicious, toasty warmth as she slowly forced her eyes open. She turned her head to the side, wincing—why did her head ache so?

And why couldn’t she move? Why did it feel as though her limbs were weighed down by rocks and stones?

Elizabeth Webber blinked blearily, her fingers sliding over the soft thick cotton linen spread across her. She didn’t own a blanket like this—and could not remember when she last slept on a mattress so soft—

“Oh, miss!” a lovely accented feminine voice came from the other side of the bed, and a slight blonde came into her view, coming round the end of a bed. She wore a plain dark wool dress, a cap covering her hair. “You’re finally awake! The master will be so relieved—”

“M-master—” Elizabeth managed but to no avail. The blonde had flitted out of the room without waiting for Elizabeth to respond, obviously to fetch the aforementioned master.

Where was she?

She closed her eyes—she remembered being in Wapping, at a local pub. She had counted out her last coins for a chunk of bread and ale, her first meal in two days. There had been a conversation—two men talking nearby—and a name—

Oh, God, had she gone to seek out the man who shared the name of her childhood sweetheart? It had seemed such a crazy idea at the time—of course her beloved Jason was not a shipping magnate in London. How could he have gathered those kinds of resources—

But then—a flash of a rain soaked street, startled blue eyes—

Oh, God.

The door opened, and a tall man stepped through. He wore naught but his shirtsleeves, his dark blonde hair mussed as if he had been sleeping. Was it day? Or night? She couldn’t quite tell—the curtains were drawn tight across the windows.

“Elizabeth.”

His voice was deeper, rougher than she remembered but it was him. He had always said her name differently from everyone else—had never called her Lizzie as her family had.

Tears slid down her cheeks at the sound of her name on his lips. After all she had been through in the last four months, it was like a balm to her soul.

Jason lowered himself into a chair next to her bed, his eyes on hers. “How are you feeling? I’ve sent for the doctor—”

“How—” Elizabeth coughed, closed her eyes. She swallowed hard, but her throat felt so raw and sore. She felt her upper body being lifted as Jason put another pillow behind her to prop her up slightly. Then he held a cup of tea against her lips.

She drank even as he apologized for it being lukewarm. He said something to the maid still in the room—to fetch her something to eat, some more tea, to get the damn doctor, but her mind was already struggling to stay in the moment.

“How long…” Elizabeth whispered. “Since—”

“A week,” Jason told her. He rubbed the back of his neck. “You had a fever—it broke last night.” He exhaled slowly. “Your child still lives according to the doctor.”

Her child.

Elizabeth pressed her hand to her abdomen, at the distended belly that had cost her both her position and lodgings a month earlier. Of course he knew if she’d been recovering from illness in his home. Oh, God. Was he married? What did he think about—

“I should go,” she murmured, even as her eyes struggled to stay open. “I only—I only wanted somewhere to sleep for the night. I should go.”

Jason hesitated, then leaned forward. He tucked her hair behind her ears. “If you want to go, I couldn’t stop you.” A ghost of a smile flitted across his face. “I could never say no to you.”

Her heart ached at the sweet truth in that statement. It had been her idea to elope, to run away from her parents—it had been her fault he’d been sent away. “I can’t take—don’t pity me.”

“I don’t. But I know you hate asking for help. I’m asking you to stay. Until you’re strong enough to leave without being carried out.” His fingers drifted down her face before he sat back. “Is—is there someone I should send word to? Your father—” He swallowed hard. “A husband—”

“No.” She squeezed her eyes closed. “No. I’m not married. There’s no one.” She opened her eyes again, focused on him. “Is there someone—are you—am I making trouble by being here?”

“No, there’s no one,” he repeated. “The only people who know you’re here are my servants, the doctor, and my business partner, Sonny.” Jason hesitated. “I haven’t wed.”

“I still shouldn’t be—”

“Stay,” he cut off gently. He rose from the chair. “At least until you’re strong enough to argue with me. The doctor will be here soon.”

“All right,” Elizabeth agreed, her eyes closing. “All right. I’ll stay. For now.”

December 1, 2018

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Flash Fiction

Alternate universe. Written in 30 minutes.


London, England 1853

To many in London, the smell of the Thames River filling one’s nostrils at all hours of the day would not be a welcome smell. The curious mixture of sewage and grime that turned the waters a thick muddy gray on a good day was relatively unpleasant.

To Jason Morgan, the scent only reminded him how far he’d come from his childhood in the rolling green pastures of Hampshire and how much he owed his success to the water. Four years in the Royal Navy, three more working his way up on the docks—

He now owned three ships that made regular voyages along the French and Iberian coasts, trading in the goods and luxuries that the denizens of London craved. He’d gone from a one room cottage to a four story home in Bloomsbury, and he was stepping out of a building he owned, waiting under the alcove for his own personal carriage to be brought around.

Most people would agree that Jason Morgan lived a charmed life. Certainly, his best friend and silent investor Michael “Sonny” Corinthos thought so.

They stood beneath the alcove on the High Street in Wapping as rain pounded down around them, the drops sliding along the granite paving of the street.

“It’s going to flood,” Sonny murmured. “Maybe it’s not the best night for drinks at the club.”

Jason merely grunted, putting his hand on his head so that his hat wouldn’t blow away in the fierce wind. “I told you.”

Sonny shrugged. Very few things were allowed to get between him and a night at the gentleman’s club he owned. The Paradise Lounge was a gambling hell that Sonny loved more than he’d ever loved a woman, and to him, every night ought to be capped off with drinks and a hand of faro.

Jason squinted down the dark street, hoping to see his carriage turning the corner from the mews, but all he saw was a woman swathed in a dark cloak slogging along the walk, her head bent against the wind. Jason grimaced, stepped down off the step, intending to take her out of the rain.

“Miss—”

The woman stopped in front of him, lifted her head, and Jason stopped short, his hand still stretched out towards her. It froze there, the rain sluicing down his sleeves, soaking his skin beneath, the chill sinking into his bones.

Her face was thinner than he remembered, her eyes so large in her face he could see nothing else. In the bright sun, he knew they were the color of sapphires, of the blue waters they’d grown up around. But in the dark, dim, October evening, they were as muddy as the waters of the Thames.

He shook his head. It couldn’t be—

But her lips formed a word—and he knew without even hearing the sound sucked away into the wind—he knew she had said his name.

“Jase!” he heard Sonny shout behind him.

Jason turned back to his friend for just a moment—but when he turned back—the woman had slumped to the ground, the cloak of her hood falling back to reveal matted brown curls that turned to inky black as the rain drenched them.

Jason threw himself forward to drag her into his arms, and he heard Sonny’s footsteps behind him, helping him lift her.

“Do you know her?” Sonny demanded once he’d helped Jason drag the woman’s limp form into the carriage, their clothing soaking the plush velvet interior. He threw his hat aside, dragged his hand through his coal-black curls. “What—”

Jason just shook his head, smoothing her hair away from her face. “A lifetime ago,” he murmured. “When we were children.”

Sonny said nothing else as the carriage careened through the streets of London, until they had reached Jason’s town home. Sonny helped him inside, sent one of the footman for a doctor. Once Jason had relinquished the woman to the care of his housekeeper and one of the maids, Sonny pulled his friend into the study and handed him a brandy.

“Who is she?” Sonny asked.

Jason scrubbed a hand down his face. “It’s complicated—”

They were interrupted by the butler with fresh towels and the announcement that the doctor had arrived and was seeing to the young miss.

“I told you my father sent me to the Navy when I was nineteen,” Jason said after a long moment. “He did that because our vicar was threatening to have me arrested for kidnapping his daughter.” He sipped his drink, looking younger than Sonny had ever seen him.

Sonny glanced towards the heavy double doors that separated the study from the stairwell—the woman had been taken a flight above them where the bedrooms were located. “I suppose that’s the daughter—”

“We asked for his permission, and he refused. She was only sixteen—we’d need him to agree to call the banns—” Jason swallowed. “So we decided to run away to Scotland.” He shook his head, closed his eyes. “We made it as far as the next shire.”

Sonny nodded. “And I suppose her father didn’t leave her much choice.”

“Go home with him or see me taken up on charges of kidnapping. He was a pious son of a bitch, but—” Jason hesitated. “I tried to go back to see her when she was of age—but by the time I got back to the village, she and her father had gone. The place was destroyed by typhoid—I never found her again.”

“Until tonight.” Sonny poured himself another brandy. “Seems odd she’d show up now. At night, in the rain.” Looking like death. He met Jason’s eyes. “What’s her name?”

“Elizabeth,” Jason said. He swallowed hard as he repeated the name he so rarely even allowed himself to think about. “Elizabeth Webber.”

Sonny went home after for a fresh change of clothing, and Jason’s valet also talked him into changing into dry clothes. By that time, the doctor had finished seeing Elizabeth and was awaiting him in the hallway.

“She’s in bad shape, sir,” Dr. Anthony Jones said with a regretful sigh. “She only arrived tonight?”

“Yes. Why? What’s wrong?” Jason demanded, his tone sharp.

“Well, she’s quite thin. Malnourished, I might add. Coupled that with the fever, I fear the child will be lost.”

Jason stared at him. “Child,” he repeated.

Dr. Jones raised his brows. He pushed open the door and gestured towards the bed in the middle of the room. Elizabeth lay on her back, her face pale against the blue linen, a white night dress twisted around her body.

Jason moved slowly across the room, almost as if in a daze. He could see the evidence of her illness in the sweat on her brow, the thinness of her wrist, the way her collarbone pressed against her porcelain skin.

Just as the small, tight, mound rose on her abdomen was evidence of the child the doctor now said was at risk. Jason swallowed hard, forcing the words out. “Will she recover, though?”

“With rest, with care,” Dr. Jones shrugged. “Hard to say.” Jason felt his eyes on him. “Did you say she was a relative, sir?”

“You’ll return tomorrow to look in on her,” Jason said, instead. He took a deep breath. It didn’t matter if Elizabeth was carrying a child, if she had married after Jason left. She had come to him for help, and he would not let her down.

“You will come every day until she recovers,” he said, roughly. Then he left the room.

October 5, 2018

This entry is part 12 of 13 in the series Flash Fiction: Fool Me Twice

Written in 57 minutes.


Scott exhaled slowly and shook his head. “No, no. I don’t know where he moved Betsy—I thought she was still—” He looked over at Mac before returning his attention to Spinelli. “He’s been paying her expenses, though. Can you track that?”

“I can,” Spinelli said evenly. “As long as no one asks me how I did it.” He clicked away at a few keys on the laptop, while Scott shoved himself to his feet and started to pace the conference room.

He felt like such a goddamn fool. He’d defended Franco, he thought they’d had a relationship. He had tried like hell to get his daughters, Serena and Christina, to develop a relationship with him. He wasn’t the man they thought he was, he kept telling the world.

But Franco was that man. He had always been that man, and now someone else’s son was in danger because of it.

“It’s not your fault—”

“He’s my blood, Mac—”

“He’s a sociopath. And from what Spinelli’s been telling us, there’s a hell of a more we didn’t know. This plan? He didn’t think of this this morning when Elizabeth broke up with him.”

“No, he didn’t.” Mac looked back at Spinelli who was frowning at his keyboard screen. “Cloning phones. How hard is that?”

“Not that hard,” Spinelli said absently as he continued to type. “If you know how to do it. Still can’t be done in a few hours. So maybe he didn’t plan for this today but he definitely had something planned. Explosives aren’t easy to come by either.”

“You said Drew and Sam were talking to Anna?” Mac asked. He pulled out his cell phone. “I’m calling in my own WSB contact.”

“You two do that. I’m going to go see about Elizabeth and the boys.” Scott pulled open the door and left the conference room.

—-
Down the hall, in the surgical waiting room, Jason and Diane were having a heated argument about something in the corner while Joss bit nervously at her nails.

How much longer was it gonna take for them to find Cameron? And why wasn’t anyone looking more upset? More worried? Cameron was missing. Even Oscar had merely shrugged when Joss called him crying. Cam had probably run away, her idiot boyfriend had said. Everyone knew Cam hated his mom’s boyfriend.

Well, now Oscar was her idiot ex-boyfriend. See how he liked that.

“How long does it take to find one stupid woman?’ Joss demanded. “Find Betsy. Get Cameron back. Dump Franco off a cliff. Why is this so hard?”

“God, you are my kid,” Carly muttered. “Look, I know you’re worried about Cam—”

“He’s been my best friend since we were kids. He’s the only one who gets how crazy all of you are. And I just—I need him to be okay. I really need that.”

“I get it—”

“And what about if his mom dies? What happens to him and his brothers? There’s no one left who gives a damn—”

“Well, first, you don’t have to worry about Elizabeth dying,” Carly said, with a grimace. “She’s like a cockroach. They never die—”

“Oh, my God. You’re such an embarrassment sometimes. I don’t get why you hate Cam’s mom so much.” Joss jumped out of her seat and stalked across the room to Jason and Diane.

She poked Diane in the shoulder. “Hey. I need to know what’s going to happen to Cam and his brothers.”

“Joss—” Carly hissed, following her.

Diane looked down at her shoulder where Joss’s finger was still touching the silk white sleeve of her blouse. “Excuse me—”

“Joss,” Jason began, looking on the other side of the room where Jake and Aiden were sleeping on one of the long sofas.

“I want to know what happens to Cam and his brothers if their mother isn’t okay.” Joss folded her arms. “I’m the only person here who actually gives a damn about Cam, and I think that qualifies me—”

“Jocelyn Jacks—”

“Shut up, Mom. You don’t have anything to do with this. You don’t even like Elizabeth.” Joss turned her back on her mother.

“Ah, well, that’s what we’re sorting out now. Elizabeth doesn’t have a legal, adult next of kin anymore,” Diane said as she cleared her throat. “Normally, the hospital is obligated to call Children’s Services who sort things out, but—”

“Well, that’s bullshit,” Joss muttered.

“Let her finish,” Jason said with some irritation. “I’m worried about Cam, too—”

“Yeah, now. Where have you been while his mother lived with a freak?” Joss demanded. “You’ve been back for four months. Why isn’t Franco wearing cement shoes? God damn it. What’s the point of being in the mob if you can’t get stuff done—”

“I didn’t hear that,” Diane said, delicately. “As I was saying, the hospital located a durable power of attorney for Elizabeth that was outdated, and there wasn’t time to consult with me.” She held up a folder. “I have Elizabeth’s living trust which she updated a few months ago.”

“So?”

“As I was telling Jason before I was interrupted, Elizabeth had to update the trust once there were two Jason Morgans in the world. Unless Lucky Spencer or his parents contest the trust, custody of all three boys is left with you and you are her healthy proxy.”

Joss blinked, and Carly scowled. “Of course you are. She never misses the chance to sink her claws into you—”

“Mom.” Joss said before Jason could jump in. “Go away. Go sit over there and wait until someone something to say to you. I don’t have the time for your ridiculous hatred for Cameron’s mother, and I highly doubt Jason does either.”

“Joss—”

“Carly,” Jason said sharply. “Thank you for your help. Go over there.” He pointed to the same chair Joss had indicated.

Carly glared at the two of them but did as she was asked—clearly recognizing the stony glint in Jason’s expression.

“That’s good, though, right?” Joss said to Diane. “Children’s Services don’t have to get involved, and Laura Spencer already said she’s not able to come back from England.”

“Well, Lucky has to be contacted, but yes, it’s good.” Diane exhaled slowly, looked back at Jason. “She thought you were her best chance to keep her boys together after her grandmother passed last year.”

“Well, she’s right.” Jason turned when the door opened and so did Joss. But it wasn’t Griffin coming in with news—it was Spinelli.

Spinelli shook his head. “I just wanted to let you know I set up a bunch of searches but I haven’t been able to find Betsy yet. Mac is calling Robert Scorpio, so I wanted to know if Drew or Sam had called back yet about Anna.”

“No, no.” Jason folded his arms. “Scott didn’t know where Betsy was staying—”

“No, but—” Spinelli looked around. “Didn’t he come in here? He said he was—” He scowled. “Damn it.”

“Where did Baldwin go?” Jason demanded as Spinelli turned on his heel and rushed out of the conference room. Jason started to follow, but turned back to Joss.

“Joss, stay here with the boys—”

“Go find Cameron. I got this,” Joss promised.

Betsy Frank had moved only three towns over, but Scott hadn’t wanted to tell Spinelli that. He wasn’t sure why he’d kept the information to himself.

But the tumor had come back, maybe that was why Franco was doing all of this. If he could just find his son, if he could just bring Cameron Webber home safely, it would be okay.

He could get Franco help. They could get rid of the tumor again—stay on top of it in the future.

Scott couldn’t lose another son. Not like this.

He pulled into Betsy’s driveway, turned off his engine and sat back in the seat. He reached over to the glove compartment, pulled it open, and drew out a handgun. He tucked it in the pocket of his suit jacket. He opened the car door, and went up the front walk.. The lights in the house were all off, but that didn’t mean anything.

He rang the doorbell.

After a minute, a light switched on and the door opened hesitantly. Betsy Frank, Heather Webber’s old friend and partner in crime.

Her mouth looked pinched at the corners and she didn’t open the door more than an inch. “What do you want, Scott?”

“Something bad has happened to Bobby,” Scott said carefully. “I’m worried about him. Everyone’s looking for him, but they’re pissed, and I need—we need to find him, Betsy. We need to protect him before it gets worse.”

Betsy sniffled, then stepped back to open the door more widely. “He was here,” she said in a hushed whisper. “He was so angry. Everything was ruined, he said. He was screaming at me. I had to keep him a secret. I had to keep the door locked.”

“What door?” Scott said, stepping over the threshold. He closed the front door behind him. “Betsy, did Franco come here alone?”

Betsy’s eyes were wide as she pressed her lips together. “Bobby said I couldn’t say.”

Which meant he hadn’t. “Okay. What door did he want you to keep locked?”

“Bobby said I couldn’t say.”

“Ah, forget this,” Scott muttered, dismissing the crazy old bat and stalking past her, up the stairways. Once on the second floor, he started throwing open doors. A bedroom, a bathroom—

He threw open the last door, but it was another empty bedroom. Scott scowled. What door did Franco want locked? As he turned to return to the hallway, he caught sight of a door inside the room. He pulled on the knob—but it didn’t turn.

Locked.

“Cameron?” he called softly. “Cameron?” he said a little more loudly. He heard something rustling inside, a sound like a grunt, and then something thrown against the door—as if Cameron had shoved his weight against it.

“Step back, Cam, I’m getting you out of here—”

Scott tugged on the lock—it was one of those old locks and with a bit of brute force, he was able to pull it open.

Cameron was in the room, his dark blonde hair messy, his eyes red, his cheeks swollen from crying. Duct tape was stretched across his mouth, and his hands were behind his back.

“This is gonna hurt,” Scott said. He ripped the tape from the kid’s mouth, and Cameron hissed. Quickly, Scott untied him. “We gotta get you out of here and back home—”

“Oh, it’s too late for that, Dad.”

Shoving Cameron behind him, Scott turned around to face his son as Franco stood in the doorway, blocking their escape.

September 1, 2018

This entry is part 11 of 13 in the series Flash Fiction: Fool Me Twice

Written in 53 minutes.


Spinelli found Jason sitting where he’d left him — in the ER waiting room, Carly sitting by his side. He looked towards the curtain, frowning when he realized Elizabeth had not yet been taken into surgery.

Jason lunged to his feet when he saw Spinelli. “What? What did you find?”

“Cameron’s phone was cloned—” When Jason frowned, Spinelli waved his hand. “Franco had a second phone that duplicated Cameron’s signal, and one of those phones at at the Lexington Street. I just got a second ping on a phone at Scott Baldwin’s house—”

“Scott?” Carly repeated, her eyes narrowing. “He wouldn’t be involved this? And when the hell did Franco have time to clone Cameron’s phone?”

“There’s a lot we don’t know about Franco,” Jason said. “Where’s Baldwin?”

“I called him—he’s been at the court house—he didn’t know about anything that’s happened today. He said he was going to call Mac Scorpio and have him go to the house with him.” Spinelli hesitated. “Unless that was a mistake—”

“Jason, I could wait here if you—” Carly began.

Jason took a deep breath. “She’s not in surgery yet. And Jake and Aiden are still at your place, aren’t they?” He looked to Carly. “I don’t want to leave until she’s in surgery—”

“I can explain things, Jase. You know she’d rather you be out there finding her baby. That’s where I’d want you.” Carly cleared her throat. “Go. Go to Baldwin’s place. Find out what he knows.”

“Has anyone called from the house?” Spinelli asked. “Do they know if there are any—” He faltered on the word bodies.

“No, but the fire probably isn’t out yet—” Jason stopped as they saw Griffin and Monica walking towards them. “Any change? Are you—”

“We’ve stabilized her,” Griffin interrupted. “But we’ve got to take her into surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain.”

“We’ve contacted Sarah Webber in California,” Monica said, then grimaced. “She isn’t going to fly out, but said she’d sign power of attorney to one of her sister’s baby daddies. Her wording not mine,” she added when Jason scowled.

“Well, good, Jason is the only one who’s alive and in the country, so—” Carly waved her hand at him. “That solves that problem.”

“Take her into surgery,” Jason said. “What are you waiting for?”

“Paperwork, but—” Griffin eyed Monica who merely raised her brows. “Monica and I have decided not to wait for the bureaucracy. The sooner I get into the OR, the better we’ll all be. You can sign the paperwork later.” He hesitated. “Just don’t sue me.”

Dante murmured something to a firefighter and then walked over to join Drew and Sam where they had take up vigil across the street. His father milled about behind them, his dark eyes trained on the house. It had taken the fire department nearly an hour to get it under control.

“They’re going to look for—” He hesitated. “Remains.”

“I don’t think Cameron was ever here,” Sam murmured. She looked at her husband. “It’s too easy. If Franco—if Franco has given up the act—if he’s stopped pretending—he wouldn’t kill himself now. Not when the game is just starting.”

“Given up the act?” Dante asked.

“What does that mean?”

“It’s been a day,” Drew said after a moment. “Elizabeth threw Franco out this morning, and at some point, she found an ornament with a flash drive tucked in. Yeah, that flash drive. Sam and I were on our way to talk to Andre when we got the call about Cam.” He flexed his hands. “The flash drive wasn’t just about me. It was a history of other patients. Me. Jake. Helena. Franco.”

“Franco?” Dante demanded. “What the hell—”

“The WSB played with his brain—” Sam pursed her lips. “Probably actually gave him the brain tumor. I wonder if that’s how they knew there were twins. If maybe Franco knew something. You were both kidnapped that same summer after they started playing with his head.”

“Wait, wait, the WSB gave him the brain tumor?” Sonny cut in. “Then—”

“Franco’s been playing all of us for years pretending to be a new man. Though the things he’d done since his surgery haven’t really been all that different.” Drew looked back at the house. “So if it’s been an act—”

“Then I doubt you’re going to find anyone in that house,” Sam said. “If Franco wants to torture Elizabeth—”

“And by extension, Jason,” Drew said reluctantly, “then the way to Elizabeth is through her kids. It always has been.”

“So we’ve still got a missing kid on our hands and Franco the serial killer.” Dante swore and reached for his police radio and radioed for backup.

Scott pulled his car to a stop outside his home and then just stared the steering wheel. Beside him, sometimes friend and former colleague, Mac Scorpio, cleared his throat. “Any time now, Scott.”

“I don’t even know what I’m doing here. That crazy tech seems to think Franco did something to Elizabeth’s kid—”

He looked at Mac. “He wouldn’t do that. He loves her. He loves those kids.”

“Does he?” Mac asked. He arched a brow. “I can’t help but notice that you started to develop a better relationship with Franco after he took up with Elizabeth Webber. She made him normal, didn’t she? Hell, people started to think maybe he really did clean up his act.”

“She was good for him. Those boys—” Scott closed his eyes. “Those boys are good boys. Franco’s my blood. If he did this thing—”

“Then we’ll deal with it, Scott. Let’s go in—”

They got out of the car just as a dark SUV drew up—Scott scowled when Spinelli got out of the passenger side, but his scowl slipped when Jason Morgan emerged.

Jason’s black t-shirt was torn at the shoulder, and there was a burn on the side of face—his hands looked chapped and red. Soot lined his face and his hair was a tangled mess. Spinelli had said Jason carried Elizabeth out of the burning home.

The home where she believed Franco had stashed her son, leaving him to die in a fiery explosion.

“Spinell, where is this phone you said is pinging at my place?” Scott demanded. Spinelli reached into his bag and drew out a small boxy object.

“This will lead us right to it. If…you’ll let us in.”

Scott looked at Mac who nodded at him. “Let’s do this.”

Mac slipped his old service revolver from a holster at his side, noting with some irony that Jason was doing the same with the gun he’d kept tucked in his back waistband.

They went in first—but the house was silent and no one leapt out at them. No teenage boy or overgrown psycho to be found.

“Spinell?” Jason said, turning back to his friend. The box began to beep, beeps that seemed even and regularly spaced at first but became louder and more rapid as Spinelli walked towards the kitchen.

On the kitchen table sat a gray backpack.

Scott knew the backpack. He’d picked Cameron up at school last fall when he’d had a field hockey practice that ran late. He’d done Elizabeth a favor, thinking these boys would be like his grandchildren one day.

“That’s—” Scott couldn’t find the words. “That’s Cameron’s.”

Jason quickly unzipped it — inside sat Cameron’s books, a notebook, and his phone. He held it in his hand for a long moment, just staring at it.

“Why—why would he leave Cameron’s things here?” Scott asked Mac. “I wasn’t here when—when he was—I thought the tumor—” He swallowed all his protestations. Set them aside. None of that mattered anymore.

All that mattered was bringing Cameron Webber home safely.

“He knew we’d find the phone eventually.” Jason flipped through the books—but they looked like standard algebra and literature textbooks. The notebook looked like a journal rather than a class notes, and he set that aside. It was none of his business. “He left it here. At your house.”

“Cameron must still be alive.” Scott grabbed Mac’s arm, looking for reassurance. “That’s what this is. It’s proof of life.”

“Unless this is the cloned phone.” Jason handed it to Spinelli. “Can you tell?”

“Not right away, but whoever bought him the phone—or knows his phone.” Spinelli examined it, flipped it over. “He left Cameron’s phone with his father. What does that mean?”

Jason’s phone rang and he dug it out of his pocket. “Yeah?”

“Jason—it’s—we’re at the house. The firefighters have gone in looking for—but there’s no sign of anything so far.” Drew sounded weary. “Listen, I think this was all a goddamn joke to him. I don’t think Cameron was ever here—”

“I know. He cloned Cam’s phone and left his backpack at Scott Baldwin’s,” Jason said with a grimace. “I don’t know where to look.”

“Neither do I. Look, Dante is calling in Jordan and the rest of the PCPD, but I think we need more help than that. The WSB screwed with his brain—I think they should tell us what the hell is going on and why Franco had that damn ornament. Sam and I are going to see Anna Devane.”

“Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. Let me know what happens.” Jason closed his phone and shoved it back in his pocket. “They haven’t found any sign at the house. Dante called in the rest of the PCPD to look for Cam, and Drew and Sam are going to see Anna about the WSB.”

“WSB?” Scott demanded. “What the hell is going on? I go to work for one day and the whole damn world falls apart!”

——

With no other leads, Jason and Spinelli returned to the hospital while Scott and Mac went to the PCPD to see if there was any assistance they could lend there.

Monica had paperwork for Jason to sign, belatedly agreeing to the surgery—but before she let him sign it, she forced him to let her look at the burns, cuts, and bruises he’d sustained in the fire.

Jason didn’t care about any of that, but he knew it would make her feel better so he let her deal with it. When he emerged from her office, he found Joss in the waiting room with her mother—and Aiden and Jake.

“Joss—” He said with a wince as the blonde turned to look at him, her eyes red and swollen, “What are you—”

“I saw it on the news. The house. And the boys wanted—” She lifted her chin. “I’m not sorry.”

“Is my mommy going to die?” Aiden asked, his cheeks stained with tears. Carly put an arm around him. “Did my brother die?”

“Where’s Cameron?” Jake asked, those serious blue eyes trained on Jason’s. “Where’s my brother?”

“Sit down.” Jason took a seat and waited for Aiden and Jake to sit on the adjoining love seat in the waiting room. “You know that Franco signed your brother out of the school earlier today. He wasn’t supposed to do that. Your mom had broken up with this morning.”

“Good.” Aiden sniffled. “He’s stupid, and I don’t like him.”

Jake eyed his brother with irritation before turning back to Jason. “But he wouldn’t hurt Cameron. He loves us.”

“He loves you,” Aiden muttered.

“He called your mother from your old house—or at least that’s where we thought they were. We went to the house—and he called again, showing her a video of Cameron. And then the house exploded. We thought Cam was inside. So your mother ran in.”

“Not the first time she’s tried to walk through fire for you guys,” Spinelli added with a half smile. “Your mom’s tough.”

“But you got her out,” Jake said slowly. He reached for Jason’s hand, at the new bandage across his forearm. “Joss said she was okay.”

“She’s in surgery. She hit her head,” Jason told them. “We still can’t find Cameron. We think Franco was playing a trick on us.”

“What’s going to happen to us?” Aiden sniffled. He dragged his hand over his nose. “Is my mommy going to die?” he asked again.

Jason hesitated. The thought that Elizabeth might not survive her injuries wasn’t even something he was willing to entertain. Elizabeth’s power of attorney had been outdated. What about custody of Cameron and Aiden if something happened to her?

He looked to Spinelli who nodded. “I’m on it.” The computer tech disappeared down the hall.

“Right now, I don’t think anyone is going to mind if you guys are here waiting for news,” he finally said. “We should call your grandmother—”

“I already did,” Joss said. “But Laura is in England with Spencer. She’s trying to get a flight back, but it’s—I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention once she said she couldn’t come back.” Joss scowled. “No one ever seems to rush for Cameron. Where is he? What are you doing to find him?”

“The PCPD is looking for him. Spinelli is looking. We were tracking his phone, but it was a dead end. Drew went to see about getting Anna and the WSB involved.” Jason looked at Carly’s daughter, realizing that the blonde had obviously inherited her mother’s fierce loyalty. “No one is forgetting about Cameron.”

“Okay.” Joss sniffled and leaned into her mother’s embrace. “Okay. Can we call the FBI? Or the National Guard? I don’t know. There has to be something we’re not thinking about.”

“I know, baby.” Carly smoothed her hair. “Stay with the boys. I want to talk to Jason alone for a minute.” She kissed Joss’s forehead and then stood. Jason followed her to a corner of the room. “Listen. Franco’s playing games, isn’t he?”

“He left Cameron’s backpack, knowing we’d track the phone, so yeah.” Jason shook his head. “I don’t know what the hell kind of games—”

“Listen to me,” she repeated. “Not long after Franco had his surgery, when we started dating—” She grimaced. “Heather Webber kidnapped me and I nearly died at Wyndemere. Those old stupid tunnels—no, I don’t think Cameron is there because there was a collapse, but for a while there, he was obsessed with Heather Webber.”

“Why—” Jason nodded. “Right, right, I remember. She’s his biological mother. So what—”

“When he was looking to get revenge on me for sleeping with Sonny, he arranged for Heather to escape and come after me.” Carly took a deep breath. “Because Heather hates me. But my point is that Franco left Cameron’s things with Scott. His father.”

“So you think it’s pointing at Heather—”

“The last time he kidnapped Elizabeth’s child?” Carly asked with raised brows. “When he took Aiden? Where did he take him?”

“To Betsy.” Jason swore, reaching for his phone. “You don’t think he’d do that again, do you?”

“I don’t know. But Franco has a twisted obsession with parents and children, don’t you think? He went after Michael because of what I did. He kidnapped Danny because of you when he first came back to town. He’s going after Cameron because of Elizabeth. The sins of the father or the mother, in this case. All that crap about Cameron not belonging to anyone?”

Jason nodded as he dialed the phone. “Yeah. It makes sense. He took Aiden to give her to his mother. Maybe that’s what he wants to do with Cameron.” When Dante answered, Jason said, “Where is Betsy Frank right now?”

August 31, 2018

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Flash Fiction: Kismet

Written in 29 minutes.


Friday, December 5, 1997

Port Charles Police Department: Squad Room

As Jason Morgan stood in the middle of the squad room, his hands handcuffed behind his back, the dress shirt that once been snowy white now covered in splotches of blood, he remembered now why he usually tried to stay in at night.

When Jason went out to public events, something bad always happened, and he supposed he really couldn’t blame Anthony Moreno for thinking this might be a good time to take a shot at Jason. He was only in the first few months of his tenure as the head of the organization (and truth be told, Jason would happily just shove it all right back at Sonny Corinthos if he returned), and probably the weakest.

Jason stayed in to avoid making himself—or others—a target for anyone trying to prove himself.

But Luke Spencer was one of Sonny’s closest friends, and the Christmas Party at the club had been one of Sonny’s few favorite events, so when the invitation had come, Jason had felt obligated to the man who had given him his first job parking cars.

Now Luke’s stepson, Nikolas Cassadine, was fighting for his life while Jason was stuck in the police station with—he glanced to his side at the shell shocked brunette at his side—he thought it was one of Emily’s friends, but he didn’t really know her that well.

She wore a pale blue dress with silver swirls—it was now covered in blood which also stained her hands. He knew that because she kept staring down at them. She was wearing his suit jacket because she’d managed to keep her head about her during their…surgery, but once it was over—her pale bare shoulders had started to shake.

And then the crazy blonde woman had slapped her, and Taggert had dragged her into the department just to annoy Jason.

This was why he stayed in at night.

“Don’t say anything,” Jason murmured under his breath. “I’ll call my lawyer and we’ll be out of here in no time.”

She glanced up at him, her dark blue eyes still a bit wide with shock, tendrils of brown hair falling down around her face. Her skin was pale, save for the angry red mark on the side of her cheek. “I—I didn’t do anything,” she said faintly. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath. “But if he can help me go home sooner—I won’t say a word.”

“Good.” He grimaced as she rolled her shoulders and winced, remembering too late that she was handcuffed as well. Damn Taggert and his vendetta.

“Well, Anger Boy,” the man in question said, as he sauntered towards them. “You ready to make a statement?”

Jason stared at him. Said nothing. A muscle near Taggert’s mouth jumped and his jaw clenched. “Fine,” the detective snapped. He turned his attention to the brunette. “Miss…”

She licked her lips. “Um. Elizabeth Webber.”

“Webber?” Taggert raised his brows. “Aren’t you hospital royalty or something? Didn’t your grandparents basically found medicine in Port Charles?” He smirked. “And you’re hanging with scum like Anger Boy here. They must be real proud.”

Elizabeth narrowed her eyes. Pressed her lips together, then stared straight ahead, though Jason could see it was costing her to remain silent.

“Yeah, you’re definitely with him. Both of you think the silent treatment will get you somewhere,” Taggert snarled.

Justus Ward, Jason’s cousin and lawyer, swept through the doors, dressed in a tuxedo which told Jason that he must have been at Luke’s and had followed them down there. He hadn’t even been able to call him yet.

“I know you don’t have my client in handcuffs,” Justus said with a good-natured smirk. He eyed Elizabeth Webber for a long a moment. “Your lawyer coming, darling?”

Elizabeth pursed her lips, slid a glance at him, and Jason realized she was really going to follow his advice to say nothing.

“You’re representing her,” Jason said, shortly.

“Oh, that’s bullshit,” Taggert declared with a stab of his finger at Elizabeth. “Conflict of interest. What if I want to her to testify again—”

“That’s a problem for the DA’s office to deal with,” Justus said, flashing him another smile. “Why don’t we use the interrogation room? I’ll take a moment with both my clients.” Justus glanced down at the metal bracelets circling Elizabeth’s wrists. “Take them off. Now.”

“I will not—”

“If they’re not uncuffed in five seconds, I will file a civil rights lawsuit against this department—”

“Fine, fine.” Taggert reached in his pocket for the cuffs.

Beside him, Jason felt the brunette take the first easy breath since they’d locked eyes over Nikolas Cassadine’s bloody body.

With in a few minutes, Justus had both of them released from their handcuffs and in the interrogation room. Elizabeth sat down in one of the chairs and examined her knees—which Jason saw now were bleeding and scraped from the gravel.

“All right. I got the gist from the scene, but no one was exactly sure what they saw, so—” Justus raised his brows. “What happened?”

“I heard the gunshots from inside the club,” Elizabeth said, flatly. She stared down at her hands again, rubbing at her blood-streaked palms, the dried blood stuck under nails. “When it was over, I went outside with Luke—”

“Why didn’t you stay inside?” Jason demanded.

She twisted in her chair to scowl at him, those eyes now crackling with irritation. “I don’t know. I’m a student nurse at General Hospital. And I just finished a rotation in the ER, so I guess I thought—let me run to the people who need help. Why didn’t you stay inside?”

Jason arched a brow at her. “I was already outside. Who do you think they were aiming at?”

“Children, if we could please.” Justus snapped his fingers. “And I didn’t hear that, Jason.”

Jason cleared his throat. “I had just started walking up to the club. I heard the shots and ducked. When it was over—I saw Nikolas in parking lot—you were already there,” he told Elizabeth. Their eyes met and she didn’t look away for a moment.

“He’d been shot in the throat.” Elizabeth turned her attention back to Justus. “It’s not that complicated. He needed an airway. Jason and I made an airway. He cut into Nikolas’s throat, I put the pen in—and then the paramedics—”

“Wait, wait—” Justus held up a hand. “Let me get this straight. The two of you risked your life to save someone else’s life and now you’ve been arrested? Oh, yeah.” Justus turned back to the door. “You’ll be out of here in about five minutes or I’m going to own this place.”

He strode out the door, slamming it behind him. Elizabeth wrinkled her nose. “I think he’s enjoying himself.”

“It’s not the first time Taggert has arrested me without cause. It won’t be the last,” Jason said simply. “I’m sorry you got dragged into it.”

“Yeah, well, story of my life.” She reached up to rub her forehead, then stopped, staring at her hands again. “It’s different,” she murmured. “Outside of the hospital. I didn’t even blink. I ran right towards the danger to help.” She rubbed her fingers together, then looked at him again. “How did—how did you know how to do that? The tracheotomy, I mean?”

“I—” Jason hesitated. “You’re friends with my sister, aren’t you? You know about my accident.”

“She’s mentioned it,” Elizabeth said. “Only to explain why people say—anyway. You were in medical school before it happened.”

“I know things. I don’t have any memories—” He shrugged a shoulder. “But I know how to do a few things.”

“Well, I guess it’s a good thing you did. I knew what had to be done, I’m just not sure I could have—” Elizabeth sighed. “I hope he’ll be okay.”

“I can arrange to have someone take you home,” Jason said after a moment. “Justus will have us both out of here in a minute—”

“Yeah, Emily was my ride, but I’m sure she’s at the hospital, and I—” She looked at her hands and at her dress. “I really need to wash my hands. I’m at Harborview Towers. Do you know—”

“You live in the Towers?” Jason cut in, eyebrows raised. “So do I. Top floor penthouse.”

“Oh, well, lucky you. I’m on the second floor in a studio.” Elizabeth wiggled her shoulders, then examined her wrists which were red and scraped from the cuffs. “Man, Taggert really is a piece of a work.”

“I’m sorry you got dragged into this,” Jason said again. “This is my fault—”

“I don’t know. Maybe it wouldn’t have happened if you’d stayed home—but the part where I got arrested for saving a life?” Elizabeth shrugged and got to her feet. “I doubt that’s on you.”

Before he could answer, Justus opened the door, with a wide smile. Behind him, Taggert’s sullen face could be seen. “Free to go. As usual.”

August 30, 2018

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Flash Fiction: Kismet

Written in 27 minutes. No editing.  Quick note on the set up, though it’s probably relatively clear from the part that follows:

It picks up General Hospital canon in December 1997 with a few important changes:
– Jason’s history is as it was on the show. He had his accident in early 1996, went to work for Sonny, dated Robin, slept with Carly. He broke up with Robin, helped Sonny stand Brenda up at the altar, and then promised Carly he would help her with Michael.
– Elizabeth is slightly different. I’ve aged the group of teens. Nikolas and Sarah are both twenty-two, Lucky and Elizabeth are twenty, and Emily is nineteen. She and Sarah came to town to help with Audrey’s injury earlier in the summer. Sarah is in medical school, Elizabeth has enrolled in the nursing program.

And yes…I did look up the actual date of the shootout of Luke’s club — it was the Friday cliff hanger. I miss those days so much.


Friday, December 5, 1997

Luke’s Club

It was supposed to be a night of celebration, and to Elizabeth’s Webber’s way of thinking, a night of toleration.

How else would Emily Bowen-Quartermaine, the closest thing she had to a best friend in this town, have talked her into spending the evening at a private party with three of Elizabeth’s least favorite people.

“You just have to get to know them better,” Emily had told her earlier that day with big brown eyes wide with hope. “Please.”

“I know my sister as well as I’m ever going to know her, and Nikolas and Lucky both think she’s amazing, so that’s all I need to know about them.” Elizabeth had rolled her eyes, and Emily had pleaded, and she’d finally given in.

After all, she did want to celebrate finishing up her first official semester in General Hospital’s nursing program. Finishing. Surviving. The words meant the same thing. She still wasn’t sold on this career, but her internship at the hospital paid her bills and gave her time for her art.

That’s all she really wanted.

So here she was, trying to make small talk with Lucky Spencer, Emily’s other best friend, as they awaited Sarah’s arrival. Elizabeth had been highly suspicious when Emily had chirped about Nikolas attending considering that Nikolas was Nikolas Cassadine, and therefore, the equivalent to Lex Luthor.

The only Cassadine Elizabeth figured was allowed in Luke’s Club was the really hideous painting of evil matriarch Helena that hung near the bar. It gave her shivers to even think about it.

Emily was beaming, looking very happy, Elizabeth didn’t really think about shooting Lucky all that much, even though he kept checking his watch for Sarah—because Lucky didn’t even know Nikolas was supposed to be there. She wasn’t sure how Emily intended to get away with this, but that was going to be her problem.

The music was loud, and everyone was laughing and dancing. Luke stopped the music long enough to proclaim his sister-in-law Amy Vining the winner of something. More laughter.

And then—

POP! POP! POP!

Somewhere glass shattered. Someone screamed. Emily’s face was pale as Lucky put his hand on her shoulder and motioned for Elizabeth to get down as well.

POP! POP! POP!

Tires squealed—

The screams continued—from inside the club. Outside—

Elizabeth stumbled to her feet and towards the front door. She—she was supposed to be a nurse right? That was the plan, wasn’t it?

“Elizabeth!” Emily cried, her fingers missing the hem of Elizabeth’s dress as Elizabeth darted around the warm bodies moving away from the doors.

The shots had stopped—who ever was shooting was gone now—and maybe someone was hurt—

The bitter winter wind swirled around her bare shoulders as she shoved the door open, Luke Spencer on her heels. “Lizzie, my dear,” Lucky’s father began—but he stopped—

Because they both saw the prone body laying near their feet. Elizabeth leaned down, pressed two fingers to his neck and took in the gunshot to his head. No pulse. Not that she’d expected it—

“Oh, God, don’t—” Luke murmured, staring hard across the parking lot.

Elizabeth got back to her feet and saw another body laying in the lot—but his legs were jerking, his hands clutching his throat, blood spurting—

Nikolas.

She hauled her skirt up to in her hands and started to run towards him, her heels kicking up gravel. “Hey, hey—” She slid to her knees, wincing as the small rocks bit into her stocking knees. She pressed her hand to his wound, her fingers drenched in blood almost immediately. “Jesus—” She looked up, whipperd her head around for Luke. “I need—”

“What do you need, darling—”

“He can’t breathe—” Another voice chimed in as Jason Morgan, Emily’s older brother and the town’s resident mafia boss, fell to his knees and moved Elizabeth’s fingers until she was pressed more firmly down on the spot. “The blood is pooling—I need—” He looked up, his wide blue eyes meeting hers across Nikolas’s jerking body. “I need a pen.”

“A pen?” Luke repeated.

People started to crowd around them. There were more screams—Elizabeth recognized them now—her sister was crying shrilly.

“Get her away from him! She’s going to kill him—”

“We need a pen—if you can hollow it out like a tube,” Elizabeth told Luke. “And—something to cut his throat—”

“I’ve got that,” Jason murmured, as he slid his hand into his back pocket, drawing out a switch blade. He met her eyes again. “You never saw this.”

“Right. Luke?” Elizabeth looked up again to find a pen in her face. She quickly unscrewed it, slid out the ink until it was a tube. “I need more towels!”

She felt fingers clawing her her shoulders dragging her back—she lost her grip on the wound and blood spurted—Nikolas jerked, gasping—

“Get off of me—” Elizabeth batted at the hands, struggled forward.

“Emily!” Jason barked, his voice clipped, and rough.

Sarah was gone then, and Elizabeth didn’t look to see where she went. She had observed a tracheotomy only twice and now she was going to assist—and how the hell did Jason Morgan know how to perform one?

“Ready?” Jason asked her. “I’m going to make the cut—”

“I’m ready,” Elizabeth said as she moved her fingers slightly to allow Jason to press the tip of his knife into the right spot. He made the cut, she adjust the pen, and then—

Then Nikolas drew in a ragged breath, his dark eyes finding hers—wild with fear. Elizabeth took her hand in his, squeezing it hard.

The paramedics arrived then, a roar of sirens that rolled into the parking lot, followed by a couple of patrol cars and then an unmarked mud brown sedan.

The paramedics came over, and after another moment or two as they stabilized the rudimentary airway they’d created, Jason and Elizabeth were gently pushed aside.

Nikolas was loaded into an ambulance, and Luke climbed in after him. The doors closed—

And he was gone. No more then seven minutes after it all begun—

It was over.

Elizabeth’s breath started to come more rapidly then as the cold bit into her bare arms. She stared down at her hands, stained with blood that looked bright red even in the dim lights the parking lot.

“What did you do?” Sarah Webber’s shrill scream broke into her trance, and Elizabeth turned to face her sister, blinking. Almost immediately, her head snapped to the side as Sarah’s hand connected with her.

“Whoa!” Lucky shouted, shockd, as he put an arm around Sarah, dragging her away. “What the hell is your problem?”

“She probably killed him!” Sarah screamed.

Elizabeth stared at her, trans fixed until something heavy dropped onto her shoulders and she felt a presence at her side. She blinked and turned to Emily’s brother, who had been wearing a suit before—and now his jacket was around her.

“Are you okay?” Jason asked, his voice low.

“Well, well, well, what do we have here?” came the drawl of one of the detectives who had climbed out of the sedan. He broke away from a uniform who had been giving him a report. “You juggling yet another woman, Anger Boy?”

Jason’s concern slipped from his features almost as if it hadn’t been there—his chiseled features appearing now as if etched from stone. He said nothing.

“She tried to kill Nikolas!” Sarah’s hysterical cry came from behind them.

“Jesus Christ,” Emily said with a roll of her eyes. Her voice was shaky as she continued. “Jason and Elizabeth saved his life, Taggert—”

“Nothing to say there, Anger Boy?” the bald-headed cop demanded, stepping right up to Jason, tilting his chin slightly so their eyes met. “She’s covered in blood, so I guess she belongs to you.”

Elizabeth knew she should say something—that she should correct him—but her words wouldn’t come. She’d rushed out into a potentially dangerous situation, seen a dead man with a gunshot to the eye, helped Nikolas breathe while covered in his blood—

She couldn’t seem to find the words.

And that was probably how she found herself in the back of a patrol car, handcuffed next to Jason Morgan, on her way to the Port Charles Police Department.

August 25, 2018

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Flash Fiction: Smoke and Mirrors

Written in 35 minutes.


Though she had known Jason for several years before they both ended up working at the same place, the garage held bittersweet memories. She’d taken the job while pregnant with Cameron, had gone into labor while working behind the desk, and had very nearly given birth there.

Cameron was her impatient baby who had to do everything as soon as he thought about it, so Elizabeth was unsurprised her first child had actually been born in the hospital parking lot. Jason and one of the other workers had driven her to the hospital, Max Giambetti driving like a lunatic while Jason was holding her hand in the back. The startled thrill when she’d given birth to a son. She’d never even bothered with a gender report from her doctor—Devane women had girls.

And then she and Jason had started to flirt while working together, gradually building themselves up to a date. And then the best year of her life. Elizabeth had really thought it was her turn to be happy.

Until Jason had brought the garage and suggested they move into the rooms above. Together. As a family.

She still hadn’t told him all her deep, dark secrets and Jason was talking about a future? Elizabeth had freaked out, split, and gone to a party with her cousin.

The one time she had tried to bond with her hostile family member and it had shattered her life.

With the passage of time and the maturity one gathered parenting two rambunctious boys, Elizabeth could see now that she’d missed the signals—that Jason had always clearly intended a future for them, and for him, moving into together had likely been a compromise. He probably would have rather proposed and this had been a middle ground.

She pulled into the parking lot and bit her lip. She could do this. She needed to do this. Jason had to have all the facts if Elizabeth expected him to take on Jake—and possibly Cameron—if the worst happened. She hoped Jason would keep her boys together. He’d loved Cameron once.

And now that she knew he hadn’t rejected Jake at all—it seemed like less of a far-fetched fantasy.

She got out of her car and walked up the sidewalk to the concrete building, and pulled open the door.

The interior looked the same as it had the day she’d fled almost eight years earlier, down to the dingy desk in front of the manager’s office. There was a larger computer screen now, and a young man with lanky brown hair tucked under a backwards black ball cap, and eyes that seemed to bulge slightly.

“Excuse me?”

“Oh!” He jumped, startled. “Oh. Profound apologies, ma’am. I was—” They both looked at the computer screen where he’d clearly been playing a video game. “I was multi-tasking. Can I help you? Interest you in an oil change?”

“No. I was wondering if Jason Morgan was around—he said—”

“You must be Elizabeth.” He stood with a flourish and bowed. “Greetings. I am Damien Spinelli, Jackal of Cyberspace and Stone Cold is my Yoda. Everyone calls me Spinelli.”

Elizabeth furrowed her brow. “Stone Cold—is that—is that Jason?”

“But of course. He said to bring you right back as soon as you arrived.” Spinelli gestured for her to come behind the desk and rushed in front of her to push open the door to the office. “Stone Cold, your VIP guest hsa arrived—”

She saw Jason wince from behind the desk. “Spinelli—”

“I have brought her back forthwith just as instructed—”

Jason pushed himself to his feet, crossed the room, took Spinelli by the shoulder and gently directed him back out. “Thank you. Go.” He closed the door and shook his head. “Sorry. He…gets carried away.”

“He seems nice.” Elizabeth bit her lip, gripped the strap of her purse at her shoulder. “So. Hey.”

“Hey.” He cleared his throat, dragged his hand through hair, then gestured at the rickety wooden chair in front of his desk. “Um, do you want to sit—”

“You should probably be the one sitting,” Elizabeth admitted. She frowned down at the chair. “Is that the same chair that’s been here since Pete owned this place?”

“Yeah, I didn’t see the point—” Jason cleared his throat again. “It’s fine. I don’t get a lot of visitors.”

“Okay.” Elizabeth reached into her purse—really a tote bag—and drew out a thin photo album. “I, um, thought you might want—I keep an album of the boys. Every year, I add another page with the important—I just—”

Jason took it, his fingers gripping the bright blue fabric tightly. “Yeah. Yeah. We should talk about—”

“There’s a lot I have to talk to you about before we get to—” Elizabeth sat down and Jason returned to his desk. “I’m not sure where to start. You know…there are things I never told you. Why I came to live with Anna, why I was…” She wiggled her fingers. “Insane before I got pregnant.”

“Elizabeth—”

“But I don’t know—” Elizabeth bit her lip. “And maybe I should start there because it’s kind of why it all went off the rails. I just…” She laughed weakly. “Because it doesn’t even start when I was fifteen.”

“Elizabeth.” Jason met her eyes. “I just want you to talk to me. Wherever you start is fine.”

“Okay.” Elizabeth hesitated, thinking about it for a minute. “You know that my mother died when I was born, and that my father didn’t really like my aunt. I grew up on the other side of Port Charles. I didn’t know there were reasons Anna and my dad didn’t talk. Until I was twelve, and I tried to kill myself.”

Jason swallowed hard. “At… twelve.”

“Yeah, I…a few months before I turned twelve, things started…to change. I started to think I was insane. Because I could…I could see colors around people.” Elizabeth’s eyes darted away. “And I thought I could see what people were feeling. Not their thoughts, but their feelings. I knew when my dad was angry, because the world around him just vibrated red—”

“Are—” Jason swallowed. “You saw colors and emotions.” He was looking at her when she dared to meet his eyes again. “Okay.”

“And my dad thought I was crazy. He started sending me to doctors, and they kept giving me these medications, and it made it worse because I could see that they thought I was crazy, and it was getting worse anyway, because I started to see the colors and emotions everywhere, and they were screaming at me all the time—I was having nightmares—” Elizabeth squeezed her eyes shut. “So I took a bunch of the medications.”

“Jesus—”

“My dad called my aunt, and it turns out Dad knew I wasn’t crazy.” Her voice faltered. “Because he knew about my mom. My mom, my aunts—every female in my family for generations—and probably some of the men, but I’m the first one to have boys in like sixty years, so it’s harder to be sure—”

“Anna has…she can see emotions, too?” Jason said hesitantly. He cleared his throat. “Sorry. I don’t mean to sound—I’m just…I’m trying to process…”

“No, we all have abilities, but they manifest in different ways.” She licked her lips. “Apparently, I’m pretty rare. I’m an empath. And…I can do some healing.”

“Healing,” Jason repeated.

“Yeah…” Elizabeth got to her feet and rounded the desk. She held out her hand and he hesitantly stood, giving her his hand. She ran her fingertips over the calluses of his fingers and found what she was looking for. A cut. She concentrated, pressed the tip of her index finger to it, and….

It was gone.

Jason stared down at his hand and nodded. “Okay. All right. So you—you’re…” He squinted at her, trying to figure out what to say next.

“We don’t really like the term witch, but it’s okay if you want to use it. Um, so Anna came to see me in the hospital, and for three years, she tried to convince my father to let me live with her. He finally agreed when I was fifteen. It didn’t matter. Anna didn’t know how to help me. Empaths are rare, like I said. We have to figure out how to block our powers, and I just—I couldn’t.”

“So—”

“I tried to drown them out. Anyway I could. And drinking helped better than anything else.” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “And, yeah, I slept around. Because sometimes that helped. Anna thought I was going nowhere. She threatened to throw me out a lot, and then she finally did. And Robin hated me because I could heal people—”

“Hey—” He tightened his hand around hers, letting the other drift through her hair. “You don’t have to tell me all of this—”

“I do, because it’s all part of it. I got pregnant and I was kind of terrified. I stopped everything, and I started trying to figure out how to do this on my own. I cleaned up my life, but no one believed I could. Until you.” She looked at him, tears sliding down her cheeks. “You believed in me.”

“Then—” He hesitated. “Why did you leave that day—Why—”

“Because it was too much. I went to that stupid party, and—” Elizabeth tried to pull her hand back. “And I was drinking. Robin’s boyfriend—he gave me a drink. A—and the next thing I rememeber…I was laying on my back, and he was on top of me—”

Her voice broke and she turned. “When it was over, he laughed at me, and poured more of his drink on me. He said to go ahead and tell Robin. No one would ever believe me because she made sure everyone knew I was a whore.”

“Elizabeth—” Jason’s voice was raspy, strained. “Elizabeth—”

“I thought—I thought Robin can see things. That’s her power. She can see truth. I knew she’d have to believe me, even if she hated me.” She pressed her hands to her face. “So I tried to put myself together. I tried to find her, but he was already there. And she already—she was already crying and screaming at him. He told her I had seduced him. That it had been my idea, and she believed him. And when she looked at me, I could—I knew she was too hurt, too angry to let the truth—she couldn’t see.”

He put an hand on her shoulder gently, turned her back to face him. “So when you came to see me—”

“Our powers—they’re not always reliable, you know.” Elizabeth inhaled a sharp breath. “Our own emotions—they can warp what we see. I—I didn’t know that then. So when I got to your place, Robin was already there. And she was already telling her what she thought was true—and I could see you—and I don’t know if it was just her overlapping onto you or just me seeing what I thought—” She bit her lip. “So I fled. I wanted to go to tell my aunt. I thought—I thought she’d help me figure it out but that was—”

She was sobbing now, her breath hitching. “But Anna had Cameron and she told me she wouldn’t give him back to me. That I was going to ruin him like I ruined myself and she wouldn’t let it happen—I managed to get him out of the house—and so I ran. I ran from this place.”

Jason’s breath was shaky as he exhaled, his eyes rimmed with red. “I don’t—I don’t know what to say to you. To know you were going through that—and then felt like I had rejected not just you but our son—” He cupped her cheek, his thumb brushing away some of her tears. “Why would you ever come back to this place?”

“Because you’re all the family my boys have,” Elizabeth managed. “And here’s a good change that a stupid family curse that we thought was broken—that I might die.”