So these are four scenes from the end of the story that give you a hint of maybe where my story was originally going. There’s a Lucky/Sam scene here that I like, but may or may not make a lot of sense. I had planned for them to open a PI agency with Lulu as their receptionist (I was watching a lot of Veronica Mars haha).
Lucky and Sam Reach an Agreement
Spencer & McCall: Front Room
In the ten months since moving into the ramshackle suite of rooms, Lucky had never felt quite as apprehensive as he did this moment when entering his place of business.
It had been one year and two weeks since his return from rehab. He was sober for eleven months, two weeks and most of that year had been good. He’d found himself, accepted his place in life, that he had forfeited his marriage to Elizabeth for his addiction. That had taken the longest to find peace with but he’d arrived there somewhere over the last year and he knew it had a lot to do with the woman moving about behind her office door.
If someone had told him that he and Sam McCall would find something in each other that would give them both a sense of peace and purpose, Lucky would have thought they were insane but that’s exactly what had happened. He’d been happier these last few months than he had been in years.
Of course, that could be over now.
He wavered between ducking into his own office and avoiding the inevitable discussion or facing it head on. He wasn’t proud that he probably would have voted for the former had Sam not pulled open her door and forced his hand.
“Good morning,” she said hesitantly. “Where’s Lu?”
“In class,” Lucky answered. He shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Ah, how are you today?”
“Fine,” she said warily. She pressed a folder to her chest. “I got the background check back for Nadine. Want me to call her in?”
“Yeah, sure.” Lucky tugged on his ear. “Listen, maybe we should…we should probably clear the air.”
“All right.” Sam stepped to the side and tipped her head. “We should probably do it in here. We don’t want to scare off anymore potential clients.”
Lucky exhaled harshly but kept his mouth closed, following her inside. She closed the door behind him and moved to sit behind her desk.
It never ceased to amaze him that a woman who had spent over two years in one of the most luxurious penthouses could be at home in such a sparsely decorated office. She had a battered desk, scarred with use, that she’d picked up at a flea market and two metal file cabinets. There were several shelves set up in the corner that were not filled with knick knacks or other useless decorative things but books that ranged from the thick and dusty to the glossy and new. The only decoration Sam had allowed herself were a few photos on her desk – of herself with Kristina and Molly, of her mother and one of Robin and Misha.
This office spoke of her more than anything else could – more than the way she dressed, the way she carried herself, the words that spilled from her lips. Samantha McCall was a private woman who would never wear her heart on her sleeve and had learned early to keep her emotions locked inside.
“I wanted to apologize,” Lucky said quietly. “I shouldn’t have treated you that way. No matter how I felt personally, I shouldn’t have interfered with the way you chose to handle the client.”
Sam tapped her fingers restlessly against the desk blotter, studying the view of Courtland Street from her window with some concentration. “I’ve tried to ignore the way you seem to see me,” she finally said. “Because you trusted me to work here when you had no reason to give me a piece of this. And because when we’re alone, you treat me better than any man ever has.”
“Sam—” Lucky began.
She turned her dark eyes back to him. “But when we’re with others, when we’re on a case, you treat me like a whore. Like I would sleep with a client to gain his business, like I would use my body to get information. Maybe I would have once. Before I came to Port Charles. Before I had my daughter, before I fell in love—really in love—for the first time. But I’m not that woman anymore and I guess I don’t understand why you’d see me that way when you didn’t know me then. You’ve only known the woman I am now. Your brother’s cousin. Your business partner. That’s who I am, not this whore you seem to believe me to be.”
“Sam, no,” Lucky shook his head. “That’s not what I see—”
“I find that hard to believe,” Sam cut in. “Because I saw the way you looked at me last night and I’ve never felt that dirty or low.”
“Oh, God…” Lucky dragged his fingers through his hair. “Please, I care about you. If it hadn’t been for you, this place wouldn’t be what it is today, what it could be tomorrow. You’ve been my best friend, Sam, my touchstone and I am so sorry if I ever made you feel any less. I don’t think of you as a whore, or as someone who would sleep with just anyone. I know better than that, I’ve seen better than that.”
“A pretty speech but actions speak louder than words,” Sam replied. “And yours tell a completely different story.”
Lucky shoved out of the chair and stalked around the room. “Because you’re better than me,” he muttered. “You’ve put together this life, with your family, with this job, when you look in the mirror, you probably like who you see now and I still…” he shrugged. “I still haven’t been able to get there. How can I expect you to want anything I have to offer when we both know you could have something better?”
Sam frowned. “What are you talking about? I’m a high school dropout who only got around to getting her GED as part of a plan to torment her mother. I was a con artist. I was a mob moll. What makes you think I deserve something good in my life now?”
“Because you’re strong. Because you were never weak enough to destroy everything that mattered to you for nothing more than a high,” Lucky retorted. “I had a marriage. I had a woman who loved me no matter what, who had loved me most of her life. I had a son that worshipped me and none of that was enough for me. I threw it away for a cheap blonde and some pills. You know why you’re not married to Jason right now? Because he was a coward and walked out on you. You would have stuck and been happy with him. If your daughter had lived, you would never have passed out on the couch while she nearly died from falling into a table. I’m a train wreck, Sam, a lowlife drug addict that’s just been sober a year. There’s no way to know if that’ll last.”
“I know it will,” Sam whispered, shaken. “I’ve made mistakes, too, Lucky, and I’ve paid just as dearly. I think about what would have happened every day of my life if I had agreed to induce my labor instead of shouting and screaming at Alexis. If I had just stayed in my room during the epidemic and been calm, if maybe Danny would have lived. If I killed Manny Ruiz when I had the chance and he never would have been able to kill Jesse Beaudry or injure you. If not for me, that cheap blonde might have still been wildly in love with her living boyfriend and you would still have Elizabeth and Cameron.”
“Sam…” Lucky crossed to her but she held up a hand blocking him.
“We all have our demons. We’ve all made decisions that changed the course of our lives but we cannot spend the rest of our lives punishing ourselves for them. You are not the man you were a year ago. He was an aberration, a blip in an otherwise incredible life. Will it be a struggle to keep walking that straight line? God, yes. I have that problem, too, and I don’t have a drug addiction to blame for it. Maybe your sobriety won’t last. And maybe a satellite will crash from the sky and kill us both.”
“I need you to forgive me for the way I’ve made you feel,” Lucky said earnestly. “You have to know I never saw you that way, never meant for you feel that way. Please accept my apology.”
“All right,” Sam nodded. “I can believe that maybe I misinterpreted the things you said and did.” She eyed him. “Where does that leave us?”
“I don’t know,” he admitted. “I’d like to think that we were building towards something but I’d understand if you didn’t want that anymore.”
“It’s not that I don’t,” Sam said. “Not exactly. But I also think we should just be friends. I can’t…I’m not ready to tie myself down to another man. I made the mistake of thinking that Sonny loved me, but he just wanted me for sex. I know that Jason loved me, but not enough to keep me with him. The next time I give my heart to someone, I want to know that it’s because he loves me, too and that it’s the forever kind of love. With a wedding and babies and maybe even a house with a white picket fence, I don’t know. But I know that I’m not going to just drift into a relationship that starts with a vague ‘building towards something’ as a description. We both deserve more.”
Lucky nodded. “I can respect that. You deserve more than I think I can give you right now. I don’t know that I can ever put myself out there again with marriage. I had the fairy tale romance already and it took me less than a year to grind it into nothing. I don’t trust myself where something like that is concerned and the last thing I ever want to do is hurt you. So I guess we just stay friends and business partners.”
Sam nodded. “Or maybe…” she exhaled slowly. “Or maybe we can just see where the future takes us. I care about you, Lucky and I trust that you care about me. I think I can trust us both enough to be careful with each other.”
Lucky breached the distance between them and kissed the tip of her nose. “I think I can trust that, too.”
Elizabeth Returns to Port Charles
Los Angeles, California: Jason’s Hotel Suite
Jason slid the card in the electronic lock and pushed the door open, stopping in the entrance when he saw a suitcase in the sitting room. He’d walked into this scene before and he knew it meant nearly the same thing.
Elizabeth was leaving him.
He closed the door behind him and leaned against it for a moment, putting it into perspective. He’d invited her on this assignment to give her space from Port Charles, to decide what she wanted from her future and he didn’t really believe she’d choose him.
After the last three weeks, he thought she might decide to break things off with Patrick to at least give them a chance to explore what could happen between them but Jason realized now he’d been fooling himself. Women like Elizabeth, who were meant for things like marriage, children and stability never hooked up for long with men like Jason.
Elizabeth stepped out of the bedroom with another suitcase in her hand. She stopped when she saw him. “Hey.”
“Hey.” He pushed away from the door and entered the room. “I guess you’ve decided.”
She bit her lip. “Jason…” Elizabeth ran her fingers through her hair and turned to close the door the bedroom so to not wake a napping Cameron. “Yeah…I’ve been thinking about this all morning.”
“Are you just going back to Port Charles?” Jason asked hesitantly. “So Cameron can get back to school?”
Elizabeth leaned against the arm of a sofa and tapped her fingers on her thigh. “I think I might have led you to believe that I was out here for other reasons than I intended,” she said softly. “And I guess that’s my fault.”
“No,” Jason shook his head. “It’s not.”
“Yes, it is.” She hesitated. “For most of my adult life, you have been this presence—a larger than life person that I can always turn to. You never fail me, not when it really matters and I’ve never met someone who just lets me be who I need to be, no matter what it might cost you. That means so much to me, Jason, to know that I can always count on you and I hope it doesn’t change.”
“You will always have my friendship,” Jason told her. “I can promise that.”
“Good.” Elizabeth paused. “I won’t deny that this has been…that being in this situation hasn’t affected my decision. I can see myself in this life, Jason. I can see myself doing the job that you do and a piece of me thinks…this is exactly what I’ve searched for my whole life. But this isn’t real life. At least, it can’t be for me.”
He nodded. “If it were just you?”
“You mean, if I didn’t have a little boy that depended on me for everything?” Elizabeth asked. “If I weren’t a mother, would I consider staying here?” She tilted her head to the side. “I don’t let myself think that way. I can’t. Because the second I start thinking about decisions I’d make if I weren’t a mother, I run the risk of regretting having my son and I could never forgive myself for that. I have a son, Jason, and I need to know what tomorrow is going to bring, and the next day and next week, next month, next year. It’s not just about being a mother, though, yeah, it’s a big part of me.” She bit her lip. “It’s about me. I need the stability of my life in Port Charles, of not having to disappear from my friends and family. Or knowing that the man I love won’t leave me in the middle of the night, with a note saying he’s not sure when he’ll be home, or if he’ll be home.”
“I can accept that.” Jason nodded. “I guess you’re not asking me to leave my job.”
“I would never ask that of anyone,” Elizabeth said. “Because even if you had a different job, I would still be going back to Port Charles.”
“Back to Patrick,” Jason finished.
“Yes,” she admitted. “I came to LA to get away from the situation, to get some perspective and come to some kind of decision. Maybe I should have waited longer to start seeing Patrick, maybe we were both on the rebound a bit but that doesn’t change what came from it. Those months with him were some of the best of my life simply because there were no complications, I really didn’t worry about his relationship with Robin because I knew that he had respect for me, for us. I hadn’t been with someone in so long that put what I wanted and needed first.”
“But you think he still loves her,” Jason said.
“Yes and no,” she said. “I think that Robin will be the what-if in his life and I think we all have those. His relationship with her is a lot like mine with you,” Elizabeth told him. “There’s a level of trust, of friendship and loyalty that’s more important than romance and love and all that because being with her changed his life like you changed mine once. Jason, I’m sorry we never had a real chance to be something because I know it would have been a wonderful experience but I’m not the girl I was when that chance came around. We missed it and I don’t think we should trash our friendship trying to get it back. Not when we’ve both moved on.”
“I just want you to be happy, Elizabeth,” he said simply. “That’s all I’ve ever wanted. If Patrick Drake can make you happy the way you deserve, then that’s it. You don’t have to say anymore.”
“I just hate that you’re still alone,” she sighed. “Because you deserve to be happy, too. That’s what I want from you.”
“I guess it’s just not in the cards,” he said with a wry half smile.
Elizabeth Reunites With Patrick
General Hospital: Patrick’s Office
Patrick scribbled his name at the bottom of a patient’s chart and shoved it to the side. He had spent most of the last three weeks catching up on paperwork and as a result, he was the only doctor with everything correctly filled out and filed. Epiphany didn’t know what to do without him to harp on.
He found himself glancing at the frame on his desk every so often – a trio of pictures from his vacation to Hawaii. He’d plucked the pictures out himself from Elizabeth’s collection, liking the way it made him feel like he had a family.
He’d taken the first shot – one of Elizabeth and Cameron posing for him on the beach, covered in sand from the sand castle. The photo in the middle had been taken at Elizabeth’s request by one of the waitresses, with Cameron between them, their arms slung around his chair. The ending picture was of him and Cameron that he hadn’t known existed until the pictures had been developed. He’d put Cam to bed one night and the toddler had demanded a story, which Patrick had read, sitting on the bed next to him, his long legs stretched out. Elizabeth must have liked the moment and taken the picture.
He didn’t think she’d ever seen the frame—they’d said goodbye on the couch and she hadn’t been near the desk. Before that, they hadn’t been speaking. He wondered what she might think of it, of herself and Cameron being the only personal touches in an office that still looked as they he’d just moved in, despite having been there two years.
He’d never given much thought to fatherhood, of having a family. After his mother died and his father fallen into alcoholism, it had seemed simpler to stay a bachelor and not bring that kind of thing onto himself. While he’d been seeing Robin, it had crossed his mind that she would want more and he had wondered more than once if he was capable of that kind of caring, of unconditional love.
He had let Robin go rather than risk hurting her in the long run when he couldn’t deliver her dreams. He still thought that was the right decision because he’d done nothing but hurt her for months and she’d been ready to make that leap before he was. Or maybe he hadn’t been able to see that future with Robin because he was supposed to have it with Elizabeth.
Because he knew now that not only was he capable of being a parent, he thought he’d make a pretty good father figure for Cameron. The kid liked him, talked constantly about being like him and he hadn’t screwed Cameron up too much in the last year, he didn’t think he’d do so in the future. If Elizabeth wanted to have a future.
But that wasn’t fair to Cameron, Patrick realized. If he and Elizabeth crashed and burned, whether it was nor or five years from now, he and Cam had a relationship of their own and he wasn’t going to disappear on him like his stepfather Lucky had.
There was a knock on his slightly ajar door and Patrick glanced up. When he saw Elizabeth standing there, hesitantly, he shot up from his chair and stepped around his desk. “Hey. You’re back.”
“I’m back.” Elizabeth smiled and looked to her side. She crooked her finger and Cameron ran into the office and at Patrick, full throttle. Patrick caught him and lifted him up. “Hey, buddy,” he murmured, tightening his arms to keep the squirming body still. “I was just thinking about you.”
“Patrick!” Cameron wrapped his arms around Patrick’s neck and hugged him. “Miss you!”
“I missed you, too.” Patrick rubbed his hand over Cameron’s curly hair. “Did you have fun?”
Cameron shrugged. “Missed school and Lu, and racing cars.” His eyes lit up. “Can we go race cars?”
“Cam, Patrick has to work,” Elizabeth started.
“Sure, we can race cars whenever you want and when your mom says its okay,” Patrick promised. “No matter what.”
“Awesome!” Cameron kissed Patrick’s cheek and wiggled. “I need to go see Pip’ny. She said I could have a cookie and watch her yell at people.”
Patrick set him on the ground and Cameron raced out the room. “I can’t believe how much I missed him.” He looked at Elizabeth. “I thought you were going to be gone another week.”
“Couldn’t do it.” She stepped into the office fully and closed the door behind her. “Did you miss me?” she asked softly. “Or was it just Cam?”
He answered that by crossing the office in two swift strides and jerking her into his arms. But instead of kissing her—which had been his intention—his eyes caught and held hers for a long moment. “You’re not allowed to outside the city limits without me anymore. I can’t handle it.”
Startled, Elizabeth started to laugh but it was swallowed by his mouth. God, she’d missed this—missed his arms, the feel of his body against hers. She slid her fingers into his dark hair and curled them around the strands.
Patrick drew back after a long moment and cleared his throat. “I’m sorry, I didn’t even ask what you’d decided or what happened—”
“Patrick…” Elizabeth trailed her fingers over his cheeks and then gripped the lapels of his lab coat. “I should have told you before I left…I shouldn’t have let you think…you told me that you loved me, that you wanted to put things back together. I should have been more honest than I was.”
He narrowed his eyes. “What do you mean?”
“I should have told you that I love you, too,” Elizabeth replied softly. “That I wanted the time away to gain some peace of mind, to make sure that I wasn’t making a mistake. We might have started this, being on the rebound a little, but that’s not where we are now. When I look at you, when I look at how you are with my son and how you treat me, I know that I am exactly where I want to be and I trust that you’re where you want to be, too. I never doubted that you loved me, only that you were with me because you couldn’t have Robin and falling in love was just a coincidence—”
“It’s not—” Patrick started.
“I know that now, but I just needed some time and some perspective. I know that Robin will always be in your life and I think I can accept that she’s important to you because she changed your life. Because you know that’s how it is with Jason. He’s my best friend, but once we were more, tried anyway. We didn’t let it ruin our friendship and you shouldn’t let it wreck you and Robin.”
“But as for you and me?” Patrick asked, not caring about anyone else but them at the moment.
“As for you and me,” Elizabeth repeated, “I would like to continue seeing you, spending time with you, so we can see if this has a real future.”
“Good, because that’s exactly what I want with one thing added.” He took a deep breath. “Cameron is important to me, I don’t think I realized how much until he came through that door after three weeks. You told me that Lucky had never adopted him.”
“Right,” Elizabeth said slowly. “I hope you and Cam will always have a good relationship, even if we don’t work out.”
“That’s exactly what I want,” Patrick said. “But I want to give him more than that. I want to adopt him, I want to be his father.”
Elizabeth stepped away from him, blinked. “Patrick.”
“I know you probably have to think about it, and maybe you think that I’m nuts, but I love him. I never thought I wanted kids, but I want him. I mean, I’d like more, if you think you’d be interested in that one day—” He stopped, shook his head. “I’m getting ahead of myself.”
“Patrick, I’m not going to be Carly. I don’t want whatever guy I’m dating to play daddy to my son, that’s not what I want from you. I can’t…Cam’s already lost Lucky, I can’t let him lose anyone else.”
“I know, and I understand that. But that’s why I want to adopt him so that he doesn’t have to look for a father in anyone else. If you don’t trust me to do it—”
“It’s not that,” she shook her head. “I know how you mean to him and to realize that you love him enough to want to him adopt him even without a commitment between us…it’s so much more than I could have expected but I just…I don’t know. I’d have to talk to Cameron, to think about it a little.”
“That’s fine,” Patrick agreed. “I just…I wanted to bring it up for discussion. I don’t expect you to make this kind of decision lightly, because it’s a huge thing but I wanted you to know that I’m serious about you, about Cameron. You guys are already like my family…” he trailed off and shook his head.
“Wait a second…” Elizabeth tapped his shoulder and disappeared out the door. He frowned but he didn’t have to wait long. She returned in a moment with Cameron in her arms. “Cam, Patrick just asked me a question that I think maybe we should ask you.” She looked at Patrick and nodded.
Feeling a bit more nervous than he ought to, he coughed. “Cam, I was wondering, ah, you’re a great kid and I think, I asked your mom if maybe I could adopt you. Do you know what that means?”
Cameron furrowed his brow in thought but then shook his head. “Nope. What does it mean?”
“It means that Patrick would be your father forever and ever, no matter what happens,” Elizabeth said. “I told him that I would think about it but I don’t really have to because I trust Patrick. So really, this is up to you.”
“So if Patrick ‘dopts me, he be my dad?” Cameron looked at Patrick. “You and Mommy getting married?”
“No, not yet,” Patrick said. He stepped closer to Cameron. “Maybe one day, we don’t know. But this has nothing to do with her and me. It’s about you and me. I think I’d make an okay dad and you’d be a great son, if you want.”
“I call you Dad?” Cameron asked. He looked to Elizabeth for confirmation. “That okay?”
“That would be—” Patrick stopped and swallowed. “That would be just fine with me.”
“Cool.” Cam nodded and wiggled in his mother’s arms. “Then Patrick can ‘dopt me and be my dad forever. When?”
Elizabeth shifted Cam to her hip so she could free a hand and wipe her eyes. “As soon as I can talk to Aunt Alexis.”
“We live together?” Cameron asked.
“Not yet,” Patrick said, saving Elizabeth from having to answer that one. “But I’ll tuck you in every night unless I’m not working and we’ll be together as much as we were before you went on vacation, and as much as I can.”
“Okay.” Cameron kissed his mother’s cheek. “Happy tears right?”
“Very happy tears,” Elizabeth replied. She hugged her son before handing him to Patrick. “I’ll call Alexis tonight, but I don’t see why we have to wait for it to be official. If Patrick wants, we can start right now.”
“Does Patrick want?” Cameron asked eagerly. “Be dad now?”
“Absolutely,” Patrick agreed. “I’ll take the rest of the afternoon off. What do you want to do?”
“Let’s race cars!” the toddler declared cheerfully.
Robin stopped just inside the open door way of the library, taking in the sight of her estranged husband seated behind his large ornate, mahogany desk. His head was down, his pen sliding across papers steadily.
She’d had a lot of important conversations in her life but Robin had a feeling this would rank in the top five. She coughed slightly and knocked on the door. “Nikolas?”
His head jerked up and he stared at her for a long moment before slowly getting to his feet. “Robin.” He smiled slightly. “I thought I might be seeing you sometime this week.”
Robin frowned and tilted her head to the side. “Why?” she asked. “I didn’t tell anyone I would be here.”
“Well…” Nikolas tugged on his ear. “Lucky called me yesterday. Emily left for Boston this week.” He stepped away from his desk and started towards her. “That was the reason for this separation and now she’s gone—”
Robin sighed. “Nikolas, that’s not…” she shook her head and stared at the ground for a long moment before looking back at him. “Emily was not the reason I left. The way you treated her, the way you allowed her to affect our marriage, that’s why I left. She decided on her own to move to Boston, you just sat back and waited for the pieces to fall.”
“And they did,” Nikolas said, clearly not seeing her point. “She’s gone. She won’t be in the way—”
“Nikolas, I’m here to ask you for a divorce,” Robin cut in.
He fell silent and blinked in confusion. “No—you said you needed time to sort things out,” he said slowly. “You said you didn’t take your vows lightly—”
“And I don’t,” Robin assured him.
“Then how can you stand there and ask me for a divorce?” he demanded. “If it’s because of Patrick Drake, I don’t care. I trust you to be faithful to me—”
“You shouldn’t have to trust me to be faithful because I took a vow,” Robin argued. “You should trust me because I love you and because I don’t want to be with him.”
Nikolas stepped behind his desk and gripped the edge. “Then that’s why I’ll trust you. Whatever you want me to say, Robin, I’ll say it—”
“Nikolas, I do love you,” she said softly. “This last year has been…” she paused, searching for the words. “I never thought I’d get married and have children and being with you and Misha, it’s been incredible. I wouldn’t trade it for the world but I can’t ignore the reasons we got married—”
“They’re good reasons,” Nikolas argued. “Plenty of marriages start for the same reasons and they last longer than ones based in passion. Robin—”
“You wanted a mother for Misha,” she said. “You wanted someone stable, someone you could count on and you asked me because you knew I was dating someone who would probably never give me a family. That’s not a reason for marriage.”
“Says who?” Nikolas demanded. “It was a good reason. My son is important and he deserves the best family I can give him and the best mother I can give him, other than his own, is you.”
“And I’m humbled by your faith in my ability to love him. I do love him, Nikolas, and knowing that I will be losing him is the worst part of this…” Robin stopped and closed her eyes, willing to for the strength to continue. “But I didn’t just marry you so I could have a family.”
“Do you think I’m stupid?” Nikolas asked. “I asked you because you were all the things I wanted for my wife and you accepted because you found Patrick with Carly and you were too angry to think straight. I knew, after you said no the first time, that it was only a matter of time before he did something to tick you off so I waited.”
“Why would you want to spend your life with someone who marries you because she found her boyfriend with someone else?” Robin asked. “You deserve so much more than that—”
“What I deserve is the family I planned,” Nikolas interrupted. “I deserve the family that you promised to help me build. We had plans, Robin. How can you throw this away?”
“I’m not throwing anything away,” Robin replied. “I’m jus t correcting a mistake. I married you on the rebound and you don’t deserve that—”
“Let me be the judge of what I deserve!” Nikolas slapped an open palm on the desk. “Damn it, don’t make decisions for me!”
“Then I deserve more than that,” Robin countered. “I deserve to know that the man I’m married to loves me because of who I am, not what I can do for him. You married me because I would be a good mother to your son, because I’m a respected doctor and you need the prestige to fix your family’s battered reputation. I deserve more than that.”
“I married you because you’re loyal, because I can trust you, because you give a damn about other people—”
“Nikolas, I can’t live here and keep wondering if I’m cheating us both of a life we deserve to have.” She shook her head. “I do love you and I believe you care for me—”
“I love you, too,” Nikolas said quickly. “Who cares why we got married, we’re married now and that should be the end of it.” He crossed the room towards her, eating up the space with long strides. He gripped her shoulders. “So what if we got married for dubious reasons? You said this last year was incredible—”
“It was also extremely lonely,” Robin whispered. Her brown eyes brimmed with tears and they slid down her cheeks. “Because I couldn’t talk to you about any of this, I couldn’t talk to you about Emily, because you wouldn’t hear me and because I felt so guilty about being angry about Patrick moving on—Nikolas, this last year, I was so miserable—”
“The first year is always rough,” Nikolas said. He shook her a little. “But you can’t just bail when it gets rough, you have to keep fighting. We’ll go to counseling if you want—”
“Nikolas, even though I love you, a very large piece of me is still very much in love with Patrick,” Robin confessed. “And I can’t let myself be married to you, have a family, while that’s true. It’s just not fair to either of us.”
“He doesn’t love you anymore,” Nikolas said, a bit desperate. “He loves Elizabeth, he moved on, why can’t you?”
“I don’t know,” she answered. “I’m glad he has, I’m glad he found Elizabeth, that she could help him take that next step. I don’t want that to change, I don’t want to break them up but I can’t be married to you while I feel this way. Please…” Robin brought her hands to rest on his chest. “Nikolas, if we are ever going to have a chance in the future, you have to let me go now.”
“Then you can go,” Nikolas said. “We don’t have to be together. We can go our separate ways and then when you feel like you want to be married, we’ll—” he stopped and swallowed hard. He released her shoulders and stepped back. “But that’s not what you need me to do. You need to me to end this marriage so maybe one day you’ll come back to me, free and clear of Patrick Drake.”
“Nikolas…” Robin sighed. “I don’t want to hurt you.”
“I could refuse,” he said flatly. “I could refuse and contest the divorce. I could drag it out for years. I have the lawyers and the money to do it.”
“But you won’t,” she replied. “You don’t have it in you to do something like that. You’ve spent the last year proving you’re nothing like the Cassadines that came before.”
“There are moments when I feel like they had point. Take what you want, don’t worry what anyone else wants or says.” He clenched his jaw. “We have the prenuptial agreement to take care of the money situation.”
Robin nodded. “We each leave with what we came in with.” She hesitated. “And Misha?” she asked softly. “Where do we leave him?”
Nikolas looked away for a long moment and exhaled slowly. “I meant what I said when we decided to get married, that I wanted you to be Misha’s mother. That’s not going to change because we aren’t together. You helped me to build this family, Robin, and you are part of it. Just like Elizabeth. I hope you will consider allowing the adoption to become final.”
“I would be honored,” Robin replied. She wiped her eyes with a tissue she fished from her purse. “Nikolas, I know that this is difficult for you—”
“Please.” He held up a hand. “I don’t want to be rude, but I don’t…” He shifted. “I would rather you just leave.”
“Right.” Robin nodded. “Ah, I guess I’ll have my lawyer contact—” she stopped. “Alexis and Ric are my lawyers, too.”
“It’s fine,” Nikolas nodded. “I think we can trust each other to have the same lawyer.”
“Okay.” She hesitated. “I’m so sorry, Nikolas—”
“Just go,” he said flatly.
Robin left, closing the door behind her.
Nikolas crossed to the desk and sat down, staring blindly at the papers he’d been working on before her interruption. His eye caught the photo of himself, Robin and Misha the day of Misha’s christening in Greece.
He picked it up, tracing his fingers over his smile, over Robin’s face, picking up what he’d ignored—the smile was hesitant and didn’t reach her eyes. He’d thought he’d made the right decision—that choosing a wife and a mother should be a process that was well-thought out and not based on what his body wanted. That love and devotion would come with time if he chose the right person.
It was humiliating to know that despite his good intentions, the woman he’d promised to love and to cherish had never been truly happy with him for even a moment. He held the framed photo for another moment before heaving it at the closet wall, the glass shattering into a thousand shards.