August 15, 2018

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Fiction Graveyard: Fallen From Grace

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

October 2007

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

October 2007

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

October 2007

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.


October 2007

Wyndemere: Library

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.

 

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Fiction Graveyard: Fallen From Grace

This chapter is only partially completed — one complete scene and part of a third scene.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Random Apartment

Patrick pushed open the door and stepped to the side to let Elizabeth enter. It was a nice enough place, he supposed. He followed in her steps, shoving his hands into the pockets of his pants. Large open space, two bedrooms, a decent kitchen. Paint job was all right, hardwood floors. He ambled over to the window and peered out. Good view of the park.

“Looks good,” he said. He turned. “But so did the other five places.”

Elizabeth murmured something noncommittally and wandered into one of the bedrooms. She’d been distant most of the morning, but Patrick had chalked it up to making such a big change. She was still living in the place that she and Lucky had shared—where Cameron had nearly died. He wished she’d vacated the small apartment on July, but her financial situation hadn’t been ready for that.

Not that it wasn’t now, but Patrick knew Nikolas was loaning her the money—had insisted on it as a show of faith that she was still part of his family. Patrick might not like the dark prince for more personal reasons, but even he could admit the other man cared for his former sister-in-law.

“It’s nice,” Elizabeth said, emerging from the bedroom, “but I don’t think it’s right.”

He pursed his lips. “Why not?” he asked. He flicked a wrist towards the windows. “It’s in a nice neighborhood, I think the hospital’s pretty close, I don’t know anything about schools, but I’m sure it’s in a nice district—”

Elizabeth ventured towards the window and peered out. The color seeped from her skin, making her fair complexion look like chalk. “I changed my mind. I know it’s not right.” She took a few steps back. “I’ll talk to the realtor, get some more listings. I’ll drag Emily along next time—”

“Whoa…” Patrick held up his hands. “What’s with the turnaround? You haven’t felt one way or another about most of the places, but suddenly this one is definitely not it? What gives?”

“Nothing,” Elizabeth said flatly. “I just know what I want and t-this isn’t it.” She took another step backwards, towards the door.

“I’m so not buying that, kid.” He shrugged. “I mean, if you don’t like the place, you don’t like it. But no apartment puts that look in someone’s eyes. If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s one thing, but give me some credit.”

Elizabeth closed her eyes. “I’m sorry. I’m mostly—it’s not an issue all the time but I’m afraid it could be if I moved here.” She opened her eyes and met his gaze. “When I was fifteen I was raped in the park over there.” She glanced out the window. “By that fountain.”

Patrick opened his mouth, but discovered there weren’t any words. After a brief, tense silence, he coughed. “I’m sorry. I wouldn’t have—of course, this won’t do—” he stopped, not wanting to babble.

She smiled wanly. “Most everyone knows anyway. Lucky found me, he supported me through everything, which is why we fell in love. It’s part of the reason I didn’t leave him when he got addicted. I didn’t feel right, abandoning him in his time of need. He stayed with me through the nightmares, he didn’t mind waiting three years until I felt like we could sleep together, he was so good to me that I just—” Elizabeth shrugged. “I wanted to do right by him.”

“That makes sense,” Patrick said feebly, unsure what else he could say. What could you say to something like this? Elizabeth was one of his favorite people, one of his closest friends and no one he’d known personally had ever been violated in such a way. Sure, he’d treated rape victims but from a distance, as an uninvolved doctor. “Uh, I mean, did they catch…him?”

“Sort of,” Elizabeth sighed. She rubbed her arms restlessly. “He tried to blackmail Emily about eight months later about some doctored nude photos and he went to jail for that.” She hesitated. “He was killed in prison a few months ago.” A faint smile flitted across her lips. “And this stays between us, but I’m pretty sure Jason arranged it.”

“Good,” Patrick said. Another man he disliked for personal reasons, but he could definitely agree with the assessment that any man who did that to a woman—a girl, for Christ’s sake—deserved whatever he got. “So, let’s go. We should just go—I don’t know, anywhere but here—”

He started past her and she reached out to grab his arm, to stop him. “Patrick, wait a second.” He turned to look at her. “This—this can’t change anything, okay? You’re important to me, your friendship and the way you treat me…” Elizabeth hesitated and laughed a little. “Even the absolutely ridiculous flirting you do with me—please don’t make this change any of that.”

Patrick thought about telling her of course he’d still flirt with her, treat her like the woman she’d always been—since the moment he’d hit on her and she’d cracked him over the head with a clipboard. But he knew that’d be a lie and he was done with lying to females. “I can’t promise that, Liz. I wish I could, but I can’t.” He paused. “I already knew you were strong, because you kept yourself in one piece after Cameron was hurt, and I knew you had common sense and intelligence, because you didn’t take Lucky back. I knew all of that and I respected you, which is new for me, because other than my mother and Robin, I don’t really get close to women.”

“Patrick—”

“But now I know that you went through something like…” he couldn’t even say the word out loud to her.  “I know that it happened to you, and that you found a way to pick yourself up, put the pieces back together and keep it together despite all the crap life has tossed at you. So, no, I can’t promise I’ll treat you the way I always did because I don’t think of you the way I did before. I’m a little in awe of you, honestly,” he admitted. “And I’m a bit worried about myself, because damn if I don’t have a knack of picking women who are stronger and smarter than me as…well…” he shrugged.  “Whatever.”

Elizabeth blinked at him and found it in her to laugh at him. “I’d say it means you have good taste…” she paused and patted his chest on her way towards the front door, “but I’ve also met Carly.”

“Haha,” Patrick muttered darkly. “Everyone’s entitled to a mistake.”

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

General Hospital: Robin’s Office

Robin opened the door to the hallway, glanced up and down the corridor before motioning for the man waiting across the way to hurry in.

She closed the door and pressed her back to it. “I think we’re going to have to find somewhere else to meet,” she sighed.

Jax was already across the room, settled on the couch with Misha in his lap. “He’s getting so big,” he murmured, pressing his lips to the infant’s smooth dark head of hair. “I scarcely recognize him.” He looked up at her. “I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to visit him, it means the world to me.”

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Fiction Graveyard: Fallen From Grace

September 16, 2006

 Wyndemere: Foyer

Samantha McCall had made her living as a con artist in a life that seemed so far away from the one she lived now. She’d been a drifter, had participated in a number of felonies and she’d learned everything she knew about manipulation, conning, and depending on no one but yourself from her father. Or the man she’d believed to be her father.

Three short years after she’d crashed landed in Port Charles, she had a different life and somehow it was supposed to be fit–she was supposed to fit. But she was never more certain that she was the odd piece in a jigsaw puzzle than when she was standing beside her elegant mother and her handsome stepfather in the middle of the gothic foyer of Wyndemere.

She was sure, that at any moment, someone was going to pop out and laugh at her, tell her that it had all been a mistake and that her real mother was some trailer trash from West Virginia–because at least that made sense. But for as long as this dream existed, as long as she had a family, she would hold on to it with both hands.

As out of place as Sam felt, she was sure that Emily felt even more so. The willowy brunette stood apart from the Davis-McCall-Lansing bunch and was settled looking out at the view of lake from one of the arching front windows. She was unsure why Nikolas had invited his ex-wife to the first dinner party he was throwing with his new wife, but she was sure Nikolas had his reasons.

Alexis touched her arm and Sam looked up at her, still unfamiliar the idea of a maternal touch and even more flustered by the easy affection in her eyes. Was it really that simple? Had finding out that they shared blood just created that bond, that warmth in her eyes? Had it really negated the previous two years?

“Thank you for taking Kristina to school this morning,” Alexis said. “She loves spending time with her big sister and getting to show you off.”

Sam smiled and looked for her sister, currently climbing all over Ric and tugging at his coat, trying to get his attention. “I love spending time with her as well. And Molly.” Her eyes found Emily again and she wondered why she would have accepted Nikolas’s invitation. Wouldn’t she feel uncomfortable in the same room as Robin?

Alexis followed her gaze and sighed softly. “Nikolas has a penchant for damsels in distress,” she said softly. “It’s going to steer him wrong one day.”

“Hm, I’m not sure I know all the rules but isn’t kind of…rude to invite your ex-wife to the first dinner with your new wife?” Sam asked curiously.

Emily turned her head towards the mother and daughter, narrowing her eyes. “No less rude than gossiping and creating problems where they don’t need to exist, Sam.” She folded her arms tightly and stared down at the shorter woman. “Nikolas and I are friends. That doesn’t change because we were married once.”

“Right, of course.” But Sam didn’t apologize because part of her still felt that Emily’s presence was unfair to Robin and she thought that her loyalty should be with Robin now. Robin was family. They were the new kids in the Cassadine family and she felt obligated to put herself in Robin’s camp.

Robin descended the stairs, a warm smile in place to greet them. She was always thrilled to see Alexis and Ric and get the chance to see Molly. But her smile faded when she saw Emily standing just beyond Alexis and Sam. She faltered and paused on the steps for just a small moment, but everyone present saw it. Understood it.

She cleared her throat and smiled again. “I’m sorry, Misha just refused to go down for the night. And Nikolas was held up in town, so we’re running just a little late this evening.” She stepped off the stairs. “Dinner isn’t ready yet–”

“We should wait in the conservatory,” Emily spoke up. She stepped forward and smiled at Robin, a smile that made Robin clench her teeth and tense her shoulders. “It has a beautiful view of the gardens. I had them redone during my short time in the house.”

She started towards the conservatory, clearly expecting everyone to follow her. Kristina, not really understanding, automatically followed Emily and Ric, throwing an apologetic glance at Robin, took Molly from Alexis and started after her.

“My nephew can be thick,” Alexis proclaimed, patting Robin’s shoulder before following the others.

“I guess you didn’t know about the surprise guest then?” Sam asked Robin as they hung back for a moment.

“No,” Robin said slowly. “But I’m not surprised. Nikolas had made it clear that he wants Elizabeth and Emily to still feel like part of the family.” She twisted her wedding ring. “I just–we haven’t spoken much today.”

“Right,” Sam nodded. “Well, I suppose we should join them before Emily accuses me of more bad manners.” She smiled faintly. “It gets easier right? This family thing?”

“That’s the rumor,” Robin said dryly.

Wyndemere: Conservatory

Alexis and Ric settled themselves on the sumptuous sofa as Kristina crawled into her mother’s lap to play with the strands of her mother’s hair. Ric put Molly on the floor and helped her into her walker. The ten-month-old haltingly stumbled around the room, with a grin.

“I can’t believe how big she is,” Robin remarked, getting on her hands and knees to watch Molly play. “Or that she’s almost a year old.”

“I know, this last year had gone so fast,” Alexis remarked, glancing at Sam with a smile. “But so many wonderful things have happened.”

Sam returned the smile nervously and flicked her attention to Emily who had seated herself in an elegant Victorian style chair at the right of the sofa, looking for all intents and purposes, as the hostess of this group. She wasn’t sure what Emily’s goal was but she was pretty sure that she was being rude.

Robin cleared her throat and smiled thinly at Emily. “How is your last year of medical school going?”

“It’s fine,” Emily said absently. She glanced at the doorway that led to the dining room. “It’s unusual that Mrs. Lansbury is so late with dinner. When I lived here–”

“Dinner is on time,” Robin interrupted, trying not to let her frustration with the situation show. “Nikolas had a meeting and it ran late. We’re holding dinner for him.” She flicked her eyes to Alexis, as if begging for some help.

Alexis, bless her soul, took the hint and set Kristina on her feet. “Remember that song you showed Mommy and Ric after school yesterday? Why don’t you show the girls?”

Kristina, always looking for a reason to be center of attention, nodded eagerly and then proceeded to launch into a high pitched version of John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. After the first few rounds, Emily quietly slipped out of the room and headed back towards the foyer.

Wyndemere: Master Bedroom

It had been more than a year since Emily had been inside this room, and then it had been decorated in lighter, welcoming colors of green and yellow. This room reflected the rest of the mansion now, with the dark reds and intimidating browns.

She blamed Robin for this, of course. Robin had made Nikolas change, to go back to the way he once been–proper and reserved. He’d been happy with her, Emily told herself. Robin was a convenience, a mother for Misha and nothing more. When Emily told him that she wanted him back, it would all be okay again.

She was doing everyone a favor. Everyone would go back where they belonged. Emily and Nikolas would be together, Robin could go back to Patrick and then Elizabeth would need Lucky when he returned and everything would be the way it was supposed to be.

The vanity table caught Emily’s eye and she frowned at it. There had never been one in this room before her and this wasn’t the one that had matched the furniture during her tenure.

The table in question had makeup neatly arranged to one side and a jewelry box to the opposite. Emily could just make out some of the Cassadine jewels before she realized that it was Robin’s vanity table and that this must be Robin’s bedroom as well.

“Emily?”

She turned to find Nikolas emerging from the dressing room, fastening his cuffs and frowning at her. “What are you doing up here?”

“I–” Suddenly, she couldn’t find the words. She looked towards the dressing room that he had just merged from. She could see a few dresses from her vantage point. Emily gestured towards the vanity table. “Why–why is that in here?”

Nikolas blinked. “Robin’s table? Where else would it be?”

“I…” Emily cleared her throat. “I thought–I didn’t realize–you’re sleeping together?” she finished, her voice rising with each word.

Nikolas opened his mouth and then closed, not understanding the question. “We’re married,” he said slowly.

“But–” Had the idea of convenience just been in her head? Had she made it all up to suit her purposes? Emily shook her head. “But you don’t love her.”

“Emily…” Nikolas began but he trailed off as if he himself couldn’t find the words. Emily only wished she knew what he wanted to say. That he did love Robin? That it was a marriage of convenience that happened to have been consummated? That it was all a terrible mistake and that Emily should come back to him?

The tense awkward silence was more than Emily could bear. “I just came to tell you that I can’t stay for dinner,” she said after another moment. “Robin clearly didn’t know I was coming and I just–I can’t–it’s wrong. Good bye.”

She turned on her heel and was in the hallway before Nikolas could protest.

If he even wanted to.

Wyndemere: Dining Room

Sam shifted in her chair and gradually tuned out the sound of Kristina chattering to Nikolas about the pink teddy bear that Daddy Ric had won for her at the carnival last week. Nearly half an hour after Nikolas had made his entrance and Emily had mysteriously disappeared, the newlyweds did not appear to be speaking to one another and Sam couldn’t really blame Robin. After all, if Jason had invited an ex-girlfriend (or an ex-wife) to dinner mere weeks after the wedding when said ex was clearly not over the new husband, Sam would have kicked him in the teeth.

Better not to think about Jason, Sam told herself. He was in her past, he had a new life, she had a new life. It was time to move on and she would. She had a new family, one that was embracing her (even if she didn’t really understand why) and starting tonight, she was going to make the most of it.

When Kristina had finally stopped talking and concentrated on the plate of chicken that the maid had set in front of her, Sam cleared her throat. “Ah, I wanted to make an announcement if that’s okay.”

Nikolas nodded. “Of course.”

Sam nodded and smiled nervously at Alexis–at her mother. “I received the results of my GED exam this afternoon.”

“You passed?” Alexis asked, but she asked with a smile because she was sure of the answer. Was that something else that came with the maternal gene? The belief that your child could do anything she set her mind to? The very idea that because they shared some biological strain, that her mother would automatically find this well of love and affection…Sam wasn’t sure if she was ever going to be comfortable with that.

“Ah, yes, I passed. With a pretty decent score,” Sam answered. “So, I may not have a high school degree, but I have something almost as good and who knows? Maybe I’ll take some college classes.”

“That’s really great news,” Robin said warmly. “Congratulations.”

Nikolas raised his glass of wine. “A toast,” he said, standing. “To my new cousin, Sam.”

“Here, here,” Alexis agreed, raising her glass. Robin and Ric followed suit.

“To Sam,” they echoed.

Sam’s cheeks felt hot and she smiled nervously. “I can’t wait to see what you guys do if I manage a college degree.”

After Nikolas had reclaimed his seat, he sipped his wine. “Have you thought about what you might like to pursue from here?”

“Give her some time to breathe,” Alexis said. Once again, that maternal smile was directed at Sam, who just glanced down at the table. She was never going to get used to the idea of having a mother like Alexis Davis. She only hoped she didn’t find a way to destroy this, like she had so many things in her life.

Port Charles Woods: Boxcar

The boxcar was a dilapidated shell of itself–not that it had ever been a palace but once upon a time, it had served as her haven and her shelter from a world that seemed too scary to face. She had fallen in love within these walls and experienced that first perfect kiss outside.

Was it any wonder that it had taken nearly a decade to let go of that love? Lucky had made her feel safe in her own skin when she was too afraid to peel the bedspread away in the morning. He had picked the broken pieces up from the snow and helped her put them back together.

She had loved him for more than half her life and she was sure that if not for her sweet Cameron, if not for that tragic accident, she would still be in that marriage fighting tooth and nail for the boy she’d fallen for outside of Kelly’s with the bracelet his little sister had made him wrapped around his wrist.

Today, Elizabeth Imogene Spencer had received the documents that finalized her divorce from the love of her life. It was her third failed marriage to her second husband and somehow, this one hurt more than the first. Admitting to herself that she just couldn’t make it work with Lucky was more difficult than saying that Ric had too many insecurities for her to live with. Lucky was her white knight and saying goodbye to him was saying goodbye to a chapter of her life that she wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to close.

But it made no difference really–Elizabeth had other responsibilities, other loyalties. Cameron came first now. First, last and always. His happiness, his safety–that would always be more important than hers and in the end, she knew Lucky had accepted that. He had not fought the divorce and it had been over in a matter of months. All that was left now was taking the step to change her name from Spencer to Webber, though she wasn’t sure she wanted that. She’d dreamed of bring a Spencer for so long that she couldn’t break that last tie, she couldn’t leave that family.

She heard soft footsteps behind her and Elizabeth turned to find Jason entering the clearing. “Hey,” she greeted softly.

“Lulu said I could find you here.” Jason tugged on his ear. “She wanted to pass along a message to you.”

“Oh?” Elizabeth asked. “What’s that?”

“You can change your name and divorce her brother all you want, she’s still your sister and you’re going to have to work a lot harder to get rid of her.”

Elizabeth laughed softly. “She always was a strange one. I suppose we’ll see how that goes now that the papers are final.” She hesitated. “That’s why I’m here–just saying goodbye. I’ve been divorced three times from two different men. I’m starting to catch up to Carly.”

Jason just continued looking at her with that steady gaze. “Are you all right with it? Not having second thoughts?”

“Second, third and fourth thoughts,” Elizabeth admitted. “But every time I feel myself weakening on the subject, I remember the day I found Cameron lying in a pool of his own blood. I remember the hours I waited, praying for Patrick to perform a miracle. I remember that scar and how my little boy had to grow his hair back. And then I remember why I made the choices I’ve made. My son is more important.” She cleared her throat. “You were looking for me?”

“I just wanted to give you a heads up that I’ve been called out of town on another assignment. I’m not sure when I’ll be back or–”

“If you’ll be able to call,” Elizabeth finished. “I remember.” She leaned up and hugged him tightly. “Just be as safe as possible and come home in one piece. Good friends are hard to come by these days.”

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Fiction Graveyard: Fallen From Grace

September 15, 2006

Wyndemere: Nursery

Nikolas Cassadine had grown up in a family that had defined everything a family shouldn’t be. Manipulative, deceitful, abusive, unloving and outright insane at times. The first time he’d even had contact with a normal family had been with the Spencers and no one would ever accuse Luke Spencer of being normal.

Despite his uncle’s high hopes for the future of the Cassadine family and Nikolas’s role in reviving their once rich heritage, Nikolas had made his own plans years ago and despite a few detours along the way, he’d stuck to it. He had planned a life with Gia, but they had never intended to have children. He’d married Emily but they’d never had a moment’s peace to think about children.

So he’d never had to explain to either woman why he didn’t intend to procreate. That he wanted the direct Cassadine line to die with him. And it almost had. Until Courtney became pregnant and the possibility of having children became tangible.

During those long, awful months after Courtney’s death, watching Jax and Carly with Misha (though he’d been John in those days), a piece of Nikolas’s heart opened and for the first time, he wanted a family. He wanted a life. He’d sent his grandmother to the ends of the earth and paid men quite well to see that she stayed there. He’d done that after discovering that John was, in fact, his son.

In those first few terrifying weeks of being a father, Nikolas realized that a nanny would not provide everything that his son needed. Misha would need a mother, a family, and that had been the start of Nikolas’s grand vision of revitalizing the Cassadine family and making it something to be proud of.

His proposal to Robin had been painstakingly thought out–he’d thought about Emily, but only briefly. She’d been through too much thanks to his family and even so, she had been in love with Sonny. Nikolas didn’t altogether mind Emily being in love with someone else, but Sonny was dangerous in his own ways and Emily would always be tied to him. Being a Cassadine was bad enough without cursing Misha twice, so Emily had never been a serious option.

When his brother’s marriage collapsed and Elizabeth indicated that she would be seeking a divorce, Nikolas had briefly entertained her as a possible candidate but there were too many reasons that it could never work–most notably, he loved his brother too much. So she had never been a serious option either, though she’d been more likely than Emily.

No, Robin had been the best choice and though she’d turned him down the first time, he’d known she’d change her mind. She was too warm, too loving and she wanted a family too much to wait around for Patrick Drake to come to his senses. So he’d bided his time and it had taken only a week for Robin to find the doctor with Carly Corinthos at his hotel room. She’d come straight to him and accepted his proposal. They’d left for Greece only days later.

It didn’t particularly bother him that she was more than likely still in love with Patrick. He was still in love with Courtney and it was really too soon to move on from her. But Misha needed a mother and Nikolas wanted a family. He knew he could trust Robin to be faithful, so even if she still had feelings for the doctor, it would never go anywhere. She was beautiful, she was intelligent and above all, she loved Misha. She was the perfect wife and mother.

With Robin at his side, he could change the way Port Charles looked at the Cassadines. They would think of Alexis Davis, the district attorney. Samantha McCall, the college student. Robin Scorpio-Cassadine, the brilliant and dedicated doctor.

And one day, Helena, Mikkos and Stavros would be distant memories and in a few generations, they wouldn’t be remembered at all. This was the plan Nikolas had set out for his life now and he would do anything to ensure its success.

So he sat in the nursery and rocked Misha to sleep, telling him a story about his own childhood on Mykonos–one of the few happy stories, which involved learning to ride his first horse under the tutelage of his uncle.

When he’d set the sleeping infant into the crib and turned, he was startled to find Robin standing in the doorway with a soft smile on her face. “I didn’t realize you were back yet.” He switched Misha’s night light on and moved into the hallway, closing the door softly behind him.

“I was hoping to get here before you put him down for the night,” Robin murmured. She checked her watch–there was still a half hour before Alexis, Ric and the girls were due to arrive. “Nikolas, we need to talk.”

Unconcerned, he led the way to the master bedroom and disappeared into the dressing room, changing for dinner. “Is something wrong?”

Knowing that if she wanted to this hashed out before their family arrived, Robin would have to deal with his routine of changing before every meal and speak to him through the walls. “I want you to promise me that you won’t go to Patrick again and ask him to stay away from me.”

Nikolas stepped into the door, clad only in a pair of dark trousers, a frown marring his face. “What are you talking about?”

“Nikolas…” Robin sighed and leaned against the mahogany bedpost. “I know you were at the hospital today–Elizabeth mentioned it and I can’t think of a single reason why you’d go out your way unless you went to see Patrick.”

“Robin, I am the hospital’s chief administrator,” Nikolas reminded her. “I’m on the board of directors. There are any number reasons why I would go to the hospital.”

Robin stared at him for a long moment and her heart sank when she realized he wasn’t going to volunteer the information that she needed. “Don’t lie to me, Nikolas.”

He exhaled slowly, his jaw tensing. “I cannot believe he would complain to you about it. It just proves my point that he is nothing but a worthless-”

“I had to pry it out of him,” Robin argued. “Nikolas, you don’t know him. Please stop judging him based on my relationship with him. If nothing else, he saved Cameron’s life. He saved Sam’s life. Why can’t you remember those things?”

“Because I remember that you had tear stains on your cheek when you accepted my marriage proposal,” Nikolas said bluntly. “He hurt you, Robin. He knew sleeping with Carly would hurt you and he did it anyway. That makes him both a very poor judge of character as well as a bastard. So I’m sorry if I wanted to protect you from that–”

“I’m not going to deny that I was hurt that day,” Robin said slowly. “I was devastated, if you want me to be honest. I thought that I was falling in love with Patrick, that we were building something between us. That was why I turned you down initially.” She hesitated for a moment. “But it’s not fair to blame my behavior on that. It’s been two months since that day, Nikolas. And Patrick has nothing to do with why I’ve been distant since we came home.”

Something twisted in Nikolas’s gut and he forced himself to take a deep, calming breath. “You think we’ve made a mistake, then. You’re regretting your decision.”

“No,” Robin said, with a wistful smile. “I’m adjusting to my new life. Before, I was just Robin Scorpio, a doctor. And now, I’m Robin Scorpio-Cassadine, a doctor, wife and a mother–not to mention all the other things that comes along with being a Cassadine wife–” she sighed. “Nikolas, we have been friends for nearly a decade and I love you. But you went from being just a friend to being my husband. We didn’t date, we didn’t live together first. But here we are, married. It’s not going to be perfect right away, okay?”

Nikolas nodded. “Okay, I can accept that.” He looked towards the windows, his eyes taking in the grounds surrounding the estate. “I’m overbearing, Robin. I tend to think I know what’s best for people whether they agree with me or not and I’m not subtle about trying to make people do what I want them to do. I don’t know how to change that about myself.”

“Well, I’m quick to jump to conclusions; I have a bad habit of setting impossible to set standards and then being self-righteous when people fail to meet those standards. I also tend to believe the worst in people.” Robin’s lips curved into a mischievous smile. “Now that we know each other’s worst traits, we can watch out for each other and try to curb them. That’s part of being married. I’ll tell you when you’re being an arrogant, over bearing jerk and you’ll tell me when I’m being a pain in the ass.” She held out her hand and after a moment’s hesitation, he took it, lacing their fingers together. “We’re going to make this work, Nikolas. I promise.”

Patrick’s Apartment: Living Room

Patrick didn’t manage to get the front door full open before a blur was sliding past Elizabeth and hurtling himself at Patrick. “Patty!”

With reflexes he’d once used to race cars, Patrick caught Cameron as the toddler threw himself into Patrick’s legs and lifted him in the air. “Hey, buddy. Busy day?”

“He ate his weight in sugar today,” Elizabeth remarked with the tired smile he’d come to know so well over the last few months. “Cam, we’ve talked about this. When we go to someone’s house, what is the right way to say hi?”

“Hello, my name is Cameron Webber, is pleasure to see you,” Cameron recited dutifully before turning his grin on Patrick. “Patty!” he cheered.

“Well, at least he knows what he’s supposed to do.” Elizabeth entered the apartment and closed the door behind her. “Let’s see this new place of yours.” She set her bag down and sent Patrick a bemused look. “I thought you said you were all moved in.”

“I am.” Patrick shrugged. “I just haven’t gotten around to unpacking the boxes.”

Elizabeth eyed the living room skeptically which consisted of a couch, a coffee table, a big screen television and piles of boxes. “When do you plan on getting around to those?”

“Eventually.” He set Cameron in front of the couch where he had his race car track set up. “Remember this buddy? From the hotel room?”

Cameron reached for the controller. “Lemme play!”

“Cameron…” Elizabeth set her hands on her hips. “What have we discussed?”

Cameron sighed impatiently and looked at Patrick. “Can I please play, Mr. Patrick?”

“Thank you, Cameron,” Elizabeth nodded, perching on the sofa. “Eventually you’ll remember to ask nicely before I have to remind you.”

“Hmm…” Patrick handed Cameron the controller and joined Elizabeth on the couch. “If he were a girl, I’d say yes. But he’s a guy. Chances are…you’ll be reminding him on his wedding day.”

Elizabeth laughed. “I don’t even want to think about that right now. I have to get through the next two decades.”

Patrick stood and pulled her to her feet. “You gonna be okay out here for a while, Cam?”

“I win!” Cameron crowed.

“I think he’s going to be fine, he seems to have discovered the gene for competitiveness. I’ll have to sign him up for some kind of activity where he can bash people.” Elizabeth followed Patrick to the kitchen where he poured her a glass of wine. “So Robin said she left you alive but was not going to promise the same for my brother-in-law.”

“Yes, the good prince stopped by my office to remind me that Robin was his wife and I should stay away from her.” Patrick took the steaks out of the fridge and headed for the patio where the grill was set up.

“That’s strange…” Elizabeth shook her head. “Well, I suppose Nikolas had his reasons. He usually does.” She sipped her wine and stared out over the cityscape. “You have a great view here.”

“The one from the hotel was better,” Patrick said absently, tossing the steaks onto the grill. “But I got tired of spending all that money on a hotel suite.”

“You also got tired of running into Carly all the time,” Elizabeth pointed out. “Anyway, I don’t know what took you so long to get an apartment, it’s like you weren’t even planning on sticking around.”

“Well, I wasn’t.” Patrick closed the lid and sipped his own glass. “I was going to perform the surgery and go back to Manhattan.”

“But then you met Robin, fell madly in love and moved here for her,” Elizabeth teased.

“Ha,” Patrick countered sardonically. “No, Alan Quartermaine offered me a better job here. More money, and more reign over choosing my surgical team. But I guess with my dad being here, I didn’t think I’d stick it out.”

“I was only supposed to stay here for a year,” Elizabeth said, leaning against the patio wall, one eye on her son in the living room. “My parents dumped me on some neighbors back in Boulder, my sister on my grandmother here while they went on a one year tour for Doctors Without Borders.”

“So what happened?” Patrick asked. “You liked it so much, you decided to stay?”

“Well, first my parents decided to stay in Europe, so my sister went to live with them but by that time…” Elizabeth sighed and looked away. “I’d met Lucky and things…there were some extenuating circumstances. I didn’t feel ready to leave. And I never have. Except for a short stint in Napa when I had Cam.” She swirled the wine in her glass, wondering why she’d chosen not to tell him about her rape. It wasn’t a secret, it wasn’t something she’d be ashamed of but she didn’t want to see that look in his eyes that everyone else seemed to get when they found out that eight years ago–

“Where’d you go?” Patrick’s voice broke into her thoughts and she looked at him, slightly confused. “You just kind of zoned out–are you okay?”

Elizabeth smiled faintly. “I’m fine, I guess. Justus called while I was on my way over. He filed my divorce papers at the courthouse so…I guess I’m single again.” She raised her glass in the air. “Three times divorced. Just call me Elizabeth Taylor.”

Later, after they’d eaten dinner and Cameron had crashed on the bed in the guest room, Elizabeth had had three glasses of wine and Patrick was considering the possibility of hitting on her for real. “What do you think it says about a girl if she’s divorced three times before she’s twenty-five?” she asked, idly.

“That she really likes weddings,” Patrick replied.

Elizabeth sighed and curled her legs up underneath and leaned her head on Patrick’s shoulder. “I’m so glad we’re not like that.”

“Like what?” he replied, wondering if their friendship would survive an actual pass. He was ready to move on from Robin, he couldn’t think of anyone better than Elizabeth. She was gorgeous, she was intelligent and God knows, a piece of him had been attracted for months. And she was also single.

But she was Robin’s friend and while that didn’t entirely bother him (except for a tiny bit but he was ignoring that bit, wrong brain and all) he was sure it would bother her. Was there a way around that? Or did you just write off all friends of the women you’d slept with?

“I mean, I can sit here and talk with you and be almost sure that you’re not thinking about the best line to use to get me into bed.” Elizabeth kicked her shoes off.

Patrick coughed. “Ah, right. So glad we’re not like that.”

“I’m glad that Robin seems happy with Nikolas,” Elizabeth continued, “but I’m still sorry it didn’t work out for you two.”

Robin again. How the hell was he supposed to move on from her if the people around him didn’t let him? Nikolas warning him to stay away, Elizabeth offering her regrets and Robin just…being there all the time and looking so beautiful–damn it.

“Let’s not talk about Robin or Nikolas anymore,” Patrick said decisively. “That’s–I want to move on from all that. She’s married, it didn’t work. Life goes on.”

“Right.” Elizabeth reached for her wine and sipped it. “So how many times did you almost make a pass at me tonight?”

Patrick almost choked on his own wine. “Excuse me?” he asked, flustered. “I didn’t–I would never–”

“Please–” she laughed.  “You think I don’t know that look? Gaging whether I’d smack you or not if you went for it.” She swirled her wine for a moment before looking at him with considering eyes. “It’s a shame that you’re still in love with Robin and I’m…” she waved her free hand. “Whatever.”

“It is?” Patrick asked, a little confused. “Wait, I wasn’t going to make a pass–” she arched an eyebrow and he coughed again. “I mean, yes, I had considered it but obviously, it’s too soon.”

“And that’s only one of the many reasons it wouldn’t work.” Elizabeth nodded firmly. “For one, I value our friendship and I saw what happened to you and Robin. You guys were really close and now…you’re not. So I would hate for that to happen.”

“That’s a good point,” Patrick allowed.

“And even so, I value my friendship with Robin and I’ve already dated one friend’s ex so I’m not doing that again,” Elizabeth continued. “And even all of that weren’t the case?”

“You don’t see me that way,” he muttered, cursing all the karma in the world. He’d fallen for the one girl in Port Charles that was friends with everyone and screwed his sex life up forever.

“Oh, that’s not the case,” Elizabeth assured him. “I mean, hello, you are a beautiful man, but there’s just one really big problem.” She eyed him. “I have a thing about fidelity. Exclusivity, if you will.”

“I’m beginning to think it’s in the water.” Patrick collapsed back against the couch and sighed heavily. “So because I dated Robin first and allowed us to become friends and don’t do the one woman thing, I can’t make a pass at you.”

“You are free to make all the passes you want,” Elizabeth said primly. “I’m just free to rebuff them.” Her eyes softened. “I know you want to put Robin behind you, but jumping into bed with the first available woman is not going to get the job done.”

“It seemed like a good idea at the time.” Patrick sat up and set his wine back on the coffee table. “Just for the record, if I ever make a pass at you for real, Elizabeth–” He gripped her chin in his hand and pressed his thumb against her bottom lip. “It won’t be because I’m trying to move on from another woman.”

“And if I ever accept said pass?” Elizabeth grinned. “It won’t be because I’m feeling lonely and any man will do.” She pulled away from him and finished her wine. “But I think it’s time for Cam and I to head home for the night.”

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Fiction Graveyard: Fallen From Grace

September 15, 2006

General Hospital: Hallway

Patrick Drake had had this conversation before. Stay away from my wife, my girlfriend, my sister, my friend, my daughter–and on one particularly memorable occasion, my mother. Before moving to Port Charles, he’d had this conversation once a week, on average. Some weeks were, ah, busier than others. Not that Patrick had ever actually slept with a woman in a committed relationship. Not intentionally. It was hardly his fault if the woman in question didn’t bother to mention her husband or boyfriend until after the sex.

But for some reason, he hadn’t foreseen this particular round. He and Robin hadn’t been together since early July and other than a few tense consults and that disastrous reunion two weeks ago, he’d thought he was behaving himself rather nicely. So when Patrick rounded a corner and saw Nikolas Cassadine standing outside his office door, he didn’t think the warning was coming. He’d thought it was hospital related and had let the prince inside without any hesitation.

But no sooner had Patrick closed the door behind them than Nikolas had delivered his message. “Stay away from my wife.”

His hand still on the doorknob, Patrick turned to Nikolas, confused. “I’m sorry?”

“My wife,” Nikolas repeated. “Robin. Your ex-whatever. Stay away from her.”

It would be at this moment in a previous life that Patrick would grin, lick his lips and tell the husband in question that he didn’t need to go to the woman–she always came to him. But he bit down on that response and counted to ten silently. “I haven’t been anywhere near Robin except for professional reasons. We work together, Cassadine, and I’m not about to use another doctor when I have the best at my disposal.” Patrick crossed the room and dropped the files on his desk with flop.

“I’ve seen the way you’ve looked at her–” Nikolas began.

“Looking isn’t against the law,” Patrick bit out, annoyed that despite his attempt to put Robin Scorpio firmly in the past, no one in his life was allowing him to do so. “She’s a beautiful woman–which you’re aware of. And I think you’re insulting Robin by insinuating that you don’t trust her–”

“I don’t think Robin’s going to be unfaithful to me,” Nikolas said with such certainty that Patrick almost envied him. He hadn’t felt certain about anything in months. “But you disturb her peace of mind. If it’s as professional as you say, then–” he broke off and shook his head. Patrick tensed–there was more that Nikolas had been about to say–had been something to reveal. “Just leave her the hell alone.”

The prince stalked out of the office and Patrick stared after him, wondering how he’d hurt Robin this time.

General Hospital: Nurse’s Station

Elizabeth absently touched the silver chain she wore around her neck as she made some notations in a patient’s chart. She was glad that her friendship with Jason hadn’t been a momentary distraction from their lives last spring. She’d worried that as Jason got over Sam and settled into his new life, he’d have no use for her but that wasn’t the case and she was pleased to see that their friendship had survived their disastrous past intact.

“A penny for your thoughts.”

Elizabeth glanced up and smiled faintly at her brother-in-law. “Hey, Nikolas. Here on hospital business?”

“You might say that,” Nikolas remarked vaguely. “So, Lucky will be home at the beginning of next month. Are you sure you won’t reconsider counseling?”

Elizabeth’s smile faded. “Nikolas…” she reached underneath the counter and withdrew a large sealed manila envelope.  “I’m dropping these off with Justus after work today. They’re signed. As soon as he files them at the courthouse, the divorce will be final.”

Nikolas stepped back, a little surprised. “Already? But you just filed—”

“Lucky called from rehab,” Elizabeth began, “and told me he was sorry for what happened to Cam, that he’d do anything to make things right. I told him that I wanted him out of my life and out of my son’s life. The only thing he could do to make this right was to sign the papers. I don’t want alimony, I just wanted the apartment. He agreed.”

Nikolas exhaled slowly. “I’m sorry to hear that, Elizabeth. I wish–I wish things could have been different.” He cleared his throat. “Will you come to dinner tonight? Robin’s invited her parents and Alexis, Ric and the girls are coming. I thought we’d make it a family affair.”

“I–ah–” Elizabeth coughed and licked her lips nervously. “I have plans. I’m going out for dinner.”

“Oh, with the girls?” Nikolas asked. “Because you can just invite Lainey and Kelly if you want–”

“No.” Elizabeth hesitated another moment. “I’m having dinner with Patrick.” She watched that news sink in with her soon-to-be former brother-in-law and quickly added, “As friends, of course.”

“Liz,” Nikolas sighed, “I just don’t understand how you can be in the same room with him after the way that he treated Robin–”

“Nikolas…” Elizabeth sighed. “You’ve got a very white washed view of events as usual. He didn’t come out of that without scars of his own, okay? And anyway, we’ve already done twelve rounds on my friendship with Jason over the last seven years, do we really have to go through this again?”

“I had a good point about Jason,” Nikolas grumbled. “Fine. Have dinner with the peasant, but we will be expecting you next Friday. We’re going to try and make this a regular thing–”

Elizabeth bit her lip. “With Lucky coming home, I think we should play all gatherings by ear, okay? Just until we see how things end up.”

“I don’t want you to disappear from my life,” Nikolas said sternly. “You were always more than my brother’s wife to me, I want you to know that.”

Elizabeth sighed and smiled fondly at him. “I do know that, Nikolas. It’s just that things are going to be awkward for a while and if Lucky’s going to really make some changes, he’s going to need the support of his family. I wish–I wish I could be there for him and I will do what I can but I have to look out for myself, I have to protect my son.”

“I understand that more than you know,” Nikolas replied. He reached out and squeezed her hand. “If you need anything, let me know–and if I can offer just one piece of advice?”

Elizabeth arched an eyebrow and waited.

“Be careful around Patrick Drake.”

As soon as the doors slid closed on Nikolas’s elevator, the second set of elevators to the left opened and a slightly uncomfortable pair stepped out, obviously fresh from another completely professional consult.

Robin stepped up the nurse’s station and set her charts down. “We’re doing a semi family dinner out on the island tonight. Will you come?” she asked Elizabeth. “I could use a friendly face.”

Elizabeth laughed. “The mansion freaking you out or did Helena pay another spooky and vague visit?”

Robin grimaced. “I don’t want to talk about Helena or the décor of my new home. No, it’s just Alexis is bringing the girls and Ric will be there and I thought you could be a great buffer–”

“Nikolas was just here to ask me the same question but I had to decline.” Elizabeth flicked her eyes in Patrick’s direction but he kept silent for once. Bastard.

Robin frowned. “Nikolas has meetings all day downtown–I told him that I’d ask you.” She reached for a patient file and shook her head. “Why in the world would he go out of his way?”

“I think he had other business here,” Patrick muttered under his breath, not intending for either woman to hear him but Robin had excellent practice with his grumblings and narrowed her eyes at this remark.

“What does that mean?” she demanded.

“I’m going to go–” Elizabeth coughed. “Anywhere else.” She made her escape but Patrick, for once, refused to rise to the bait. He picked up his schedule, grabbed his messages and started for his office but Robin, having a very bad feeling about this indeed, followed him.

“Did Nikolas come to speak to you?” she demanded, catching up with him just as he reached his office door.

Patrick stopped, thought about whipping out some insult or glib remark but saw the worry and anxiety in her eyes instead. He’d been the cause of that look far too often to brush it off now and he was actually curious as to why Nikolas Cassadine felt the need to warn him away from Robin.

“Yes,” he admitted after a long moment. He pushed the door open and stepped inside, Robin reluctantly on his heels. “He thought he needed to make it clear to me that you were his wife and I should stay away from you.”

Robin blanched and swallowed hard. “I can’t–there’s just no reason for him to think–I don’t know why he thinks that you needed to hear that. We work–we work together and just because–” she waved her hand in the air, frazzled.

Patrick narrowed his eyes. “There was something about disturbing your peace of mind though I’ve gone out of my way and bit my tongue more than once to avoid doing just that so I think I deserve to know how I’ve pissed you off again.”

“But–you haven’t.” Robin shook her head. “I’m sorry, I can’t–” she exhaled slowly and looked away. “It’s been a very difficult two weeks–two months really,” she admitted quietly. “I haven’t–it’s a very strange thing to go from being just a doctor to being the wife of someone like Nikolas. I guess you know he’s a Russian prince–”

“Yes,” Patrick interrupted shortly. “Believe me, we all know that Nikolas Cassadine is a prince.”

“Well, it’s just–it’s a very long and complicated lineage and heritage. I guess when you factor in the family, the idea of adjusting to marriage at all and having a child–I suppose I haven’t been handling it well. Nikolas was probably looking for someone to blame,” Robin said faintly. “I’m sorry–I’ll talk to him–”

“So Nikolas wants to blame a third party for making you unhappy,” Patrick shrugged. “It’s not the first time I’ve been in that position–”

“I’m not unhappy,” Robin said firmly. “It’s a difficult adjustment but I am very–” she hesitated. “I made the right decision. And I’m sorry that Nikolas is putting too much emphasis on what happened between you and me. There’s no reason for him to keep dragging this out-”

“I didn’t hear you say you were happy,” Patrick said with an almost amused smile. “You made the right decision but are you happy?”

“I’m happier now than I was with you,” Robin retorted. “It’s a step up from being miserable and feeling–” she broke off abruptly. “Look, I’m sorry about Nikolas. I’ll handle it–”

“You’re just going to walk away then?” he interrupted. “That doesn’t surprise, you were always damn good at it–”

“What reason did I have to stay?” Robin demanded. “You didn’t want anything permanent from me, you made that real clear. You didn’t want my feelings, you didn’t want anything from me except sex–”

“You were the one that said it first,” Patrick muttered, preferring to rest the blame on someone else. “After the cabin, you were the one who set the rules, you can’t be irritated because I chose to follow them–”

“I was irritated because you chose to sleep with Carly,” Robin spat out. “I was irritated because you knew–” she stopped and closed her eyes. “I’m not going to do this anymore, Patrick. It was probably for the best that you slept with her when you did because otherwise, we might wasted more time than we did.”

“Oh, so now it was all a waste?” Patrick demanded, stung. “That’s real nice–”

“No,” Robin said, her composure restored. “Being with you was not a mistake. If nothing else, it showed me what I really want. Commitment, family…guarantees.” Her voice faltered a little. “Marriage, children–none of which you were prepared to discuss. So, yes, being with you was enjoyable and I learned a valuable life lesson.” Her hand was on the door now and she pulled it open. “I don’t deserve to settle for less than what I want and I have what I want now, Patrick. I only hope that you can figure out what the hell you want.”

She didn’t slam the door behind her but he almost wished she had. He hadn’t meant to dredge up all that–had only intended to get a few answers for Nikolas’s behavior but he’d gotten that and more.

When Elizabeth had informed him that Robin taken a leave of absence to fly to Greece and marry Nikolas Cassadine, she’d accompanied that news with a firm order to go after Robin, tell her that he loved her and to stop the wedding. He’d thought about it–had almost booked a ticket more than once, but in the end, decided that Robin was better off this way.

Nikolas would treat her well–had always seemed to hold in high regard and that was important to Patrick–that Robin was respected and valued. Nikolas had a son and he had a large extended family and that was important to Patrick, too. Because he knew Robin wanted those things.

So he’d stayed in Port Charles and Robin had married Nikolas. While part of Patrick had thought it had been a mistake, a much larger piece of him had been somewhat relieved. Robin would have what she wanted and she would be happy. That was all he really wanted, after all. He would never have been able give her all the things she deserved.

But seeing her face, knowing that that she wasn’t happy–he wondered for the first time if maybe they would have all been better off if he’d flown to Greece and he’d hashed everything out with Robin. At least, then he wouldn’t wonder if maybe he could have made her happy.

But there was no point in thinking about any of that now. He tossed his files on his desk and reached for his coat. It was time to clock out and head back to his new apartment where he was intent on feeding his favorite nurse and her toddler. At least one person had stood by him after his relationship with Robin had imploded and Patrick intended on making sure that Elizabeth knew exactly how much he valued her.

He wouldn’t make that mistake again.

General Hospital: Locker Room

“So I never got an answer about dinner tonight,” Robin said, opening her locker. Elizabeth glanced at her apprehensively and Robin laughed, misinterpreting the reason for the look. “Don’t worry, he’s still alive.” Her mouth set in an angry frown, “Nikolas won’t be when I’m done with him.”

“I’m not going to dinner tonight,” Elizabeth said. “For one thing, I want to be careful about going to the family stuff for a while. It’s going to be awkward when Lucky comes home and I just–I want to make the transition as easy as possible. And another, I have plans.”

“Oh?” Robin tugged her tank top on and reached for her sheer blouse to button over it. “Kelly and Lainey?”

“No,” Elizabeth sighed. “Patrick moved into his new apartment last weekend and he invited Cameron and me for the first cooked dinner.”

Robin’s hands stilled for a brief second but then her fingers resumed their buttoning. “Well, that’s good. I’m glad he’s finally out of the Metro Court.” She looked at Elizabeth oddly. “Is it…a date?”

Elizabeth shook her head and laughed, a little defensively. “With my two-year-old running around? Doubtful. No, I’m really–I’m one of the few people that’s still talking to Patrick after the Carly debacle and he’s been really good to me since Lucky–” she licked her lips. “I’m not ready to jump into anything, Robin–”

“Hey–” Robin held up a hand. “Even if you were, I wouldn’t begrudge you, okay? After the summer you’ve had, you deserve to have fun and to concentrate on yourself. And Patrick…” she hesitated. “He can be a really good friend when he wants to be so I’m glad he’s making the effort with you.”

“I’m just–I’m worried about Lucky coming home,” Elizabeth admitted, twisting her fingers in the soft fabric of her white pullover shirt. “Because he was so angry about our friendship before and I’m worried that if he finds out about the dinners and the time Cam’s spent with him during the recovery, it’s all going to start all over again.” She looked back at Robin. “Part of me is hoping for a miracle. That he’ll come back from rehab as the sweet boy I fell in love with once upon a time.”

“Would you stay with him if he did?” Robin asked.

“No.” Elizabeth sighed. “No, that chapter in my life is over with but part of me is always going to be that girl who loves that boy and it’s just—it’s just so painful to finally let go of that dream.” She smiled faintly and met Robin’s eyes–eyes that understood just how hard it could be. “It sucks growing up.”

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Fiction Graveyard: Fallen From Grace

September 1, 2006

Elizabeth’s Apartment: Living Room

Elizabeth Spencer had never given motherhood and family much thought, not even as a teenager when she and Lucky had planned their futures together. She’d assumed, of course, that they’d have a family but she’d never given a lot of thought to the actual practice of having a child.

Her first pregnancy had changed her entire life, despite how tragically short it had been. In the two days that she’d known about her child, something woke up inside her. It was the best way to describe the unwavering love that she suddenly felt her in her heart for the child not yet born. She’d never thought she’d been capable of that kind of love, but from the moment she’d decided to keep the baby, she’d loved it.

Cameron Hardy Webber was her entire life. As far as she was concerned, the sun rose and set by his smile. He had a beautiful smile–he’d stretch his lips wide, revealing his full set of tiny white baby teeth. His brown eyes would crinkle up and she’d laugh at him, pressing a kiss to the small dimple in his right cheek. Her son was the most beautiful child in Port Charles, and Elizabeth didn’t care how biased she was.

Her love for her child had been the reason she’d finally filed for divorce. The lies and the distrust hadn’t been enough to break her union, but when she’d walked through that door and seen her beloved child sprawled out on the floor, a pool of blood beneath his dark hair, something inside Elizabeth shriveled up and died that day and not even the brightest smile from her son could fix that.

She didn’t care if Lucky cleaned up his act. She didn’t care if he came home and pleaded with her for a second chance. And she didn’t care if he suddenly morphed into that sweet boy he’d been once upon a time. She had nearly paid too high a price for her love and devotion to her first boyfriend and found it wasn’t worth it.

She’d have done anything to save her son’s life, she’d had broken any laws and gone to anyone for their help but in the end, it had been almost painlessly simple. And she would never be able to repay Robin and Patrick for their part in saving Cameron’s life–though she’d tried when she’d given Patrick the advice to go to Greece. He hadn’t, of course, but that hadn’t surprised her. He was a jackass. A very sweet and kind jackass.

Despite the love she had for her son, right now–in this moment–she would have preferred he’d sleep. It was past his bed time but Cameron was feeling irritable and not at all obedient. He was standing in the middle of living room, buck naked, his tiny hands fisted at his hips as he imitated his mother’s stance.

“Cameron, you have to sleep.”

“No.” Cameron nodded as if this would settle the matter. “I no sleep.”

“You yes sleep.” Elizabeth took a step forward but Cameron squealed with laughter and ran into the kitchen where he’d inevitably climb into a cabinet to hide. Single motherhood was not at all what it was cracked up to be.

The door to her apartment swung open and an irate Emily burst in. “You are not going to believe–”

“Hold that thought–” Elizabeth held up a finger and started for the kitchen. “Cameron’s doing his hide and seek game again.” She raised her voice. “Cam! Auntie Em is here!”

“Auntie Em!” There was a loud crack as the cabinet door flew open and smacked the wall. A little blur of peaches and cream flew past Elizabeth as Cameron launched himself at his aunt and godmother.

“Hey, there…” Emily hauled Cameron into her arms. “Cam’s missing some clothes, huh?”

Cameron giggled. “Too hot!”

“I’m trying to get him to go down for his nap,” Elizabeth sighed, pressing a finger to her temple to simulate a plea for Emily to shoot her. “But he’s in a mood tonight.”

“Hmm…” Emily looked at her godson and smiled. “Cam, would you take a nap for your Aunt Emily?”

Cameron pursed his lips as if thinking over this suggestion with the utmost consideration. “Okay,” he agreed happily. He kissed her cheek with a loud smack. “For Auntie Em.”

“We’ve talked about this, Cam. You’re not Dorothy and I’m not a pudgy old woman,” Emily began as she disappeared into the back bedroom to put Cameron down.

Elizabeth busied herself by gathering Cameron’s toys and tossing them into the box in the corner that Nikolas had given them. Since Cam came home from the hospital and Lucky had been in rehab, her brother-in-law had stopped by daily before his jaunt to Greece for his marriage. And had always brought new toys. He was spoiling Cameron rotten but Elizabeth was past caring. If she’d have had the money, she’d have given him the world at this point.

When Emily reappeared, Elizabeth shot her friend a grateful smile. “You saved my life, you know that?”

“I love spending time with Cam,” Emily murmured. She lowered herself into an arm chair and tapped her fingers restlessly on the armrest. “I should never have agreed to divorce Nikolas. That’s why this is all happening now.”

Elizabeth frowned. “Why what is happening now?”

Emily shot up and paced the tiny room. “Why everyone’s lives have exploded. If I hadn’t filed for divorce, Nikolas and I could have worked through our differences, you know? Jax and Courtney might still be together, she might not have died and Misha would still be John–he’d be Jax’s child and then Carly would never been involved and she wouldn’t have slept with Patrick and Robin wouldn’t have married Nikolas.”

Elizabeth exhaled slowly. “And you wouldn’t have fallen for Sonny.”

“That’s–” Emily looked at her friend’s understanding eyes. “I don’t regret that, Liz. That’s not what this is about.”

“Is this about Robin and Nikolas then?” Elizabeth asked. “Because–”

“It’s just–” Emily huffed. “She wore the Cassadine jewelry–at the wedding. Sam showed me pictures and she’s wearing the emerald ring that’s been in his family for centuries. Every Cassadine bride has worn it, except for Helena. Nikolas bought our rings, he wanted to make a fresh start. But with Robin, it’s like–” She shook her head. “It’s wrong to be upset, it’s wrong to be jealous but I don’t–they’re not married because they love each other, Elizabeth, so why did they do it?”

“I’m not sure,” Elizabeth answered honestly. “I don’t know why he asked and I don’t know why she said yes. But they’re good for each other, Em. After what Carly did to her and what Jax did to Nikolas, I think they both needed someone to count on, someone who isn’t going to let them down. But Em…you filing for divorce, that’s not what brought this all on. Nikolas and Courtney were gravitating towards each other. The divorce just made them a little less guilty.”

Emily sank onto the couch. “It just feels like my life has been on a fast track to disaster for the last year. Each choice I’ve made has been wrong and it’s just…I feel so awful. Because I wouldn’t break up with Sonny, Jason and Sam are over now.”

“I think they had something to do with their own break up,” Elizabeth said, squeezing her friend’s hand. “Jason pushed Sam away and she stopped pushing back. Don’t make yourself out to be a martyr, Em. We can destroy our own lives without your help.” She stood and started arranging a pile of magazines on the table.

“I’m not trying to be a martyr, Elizabeth,” Emily stood, feeling a little stung. “But if Nikolas and I hadn’t divorced–”

“Then Patrick would have found another jackass way to screw things up, Carly would found another lie to be involved in and the epidemic still would have hit so Courtney would probably have died anyway.” Elizabeth sighed. “Em, it’s not healthy to concentrate on what could have been or what used to be. We can only pick up the pieces and move on.”

“Well.” Emily pursed her lips. “That’s twice today I’ve been put in my place. Clearly I know who I can really count on.” She turned and stalked out of the apartment, slamming the door behind her.

Elizabeth closed her eyes and reached for the phone. Lulu answered on the first ring and reluctantly admitted to come over and watch Cameron while Elizabeth tried to find a way to get through to her oldest and dearest friend.

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

Jason Morgan was no longer in the organization. He liked to repeat that to himself at least once a day because then he might be able to get used to the sensation of no longer having to look over his shoulder, to not have to plan every action down to minute details.

His life was still dangerous but not openly and it was a weight off his shoulders that those who were special to him, the select few that he did give a damn about were no longer in danger. The only way they would be in danger is if his cover was blown and the WSB was careful to assign him to assignments that had nothing to do with the mafia and were not located anywhere near New York or the East Coast.

He’d told only one person about his new job and apart from her, only his contact in Port Charles knew about the change though Jason wasn’t sure if he trusted Robert Scorpio entirely.

Though he still loved Sam, he had accepted that she had moved on, that she had embraced her new family and when he saw her now, there was only a pang in his heart. The ache had faded until it was almost a dull throb because he knew she really was better off. She didn’t have a life apart from his when they’d been together and it was healthier all around this way.

There was a knock at the door and then someone hesitantly pushed it open. Elizabeth stepped in and smiled with relief. “Good, I was hoping you were back from…” she waved her hand.  “Wherever you went.”

Jason moved away from the pool table and reached into the duffel bag at the bottom of the stairs, removing a small paper bag. “Germany,” he said, without offering further details. “I brought something back for you.”

Elizabeth grinned and reached into the bag, removing first the postcard. He had picked her up one on his last jaunt to Singapore and she liked that it was their little tradition. “This is really pretty,” she murmured, studying the view of the German country side. After a moment to mourn her lack of time to sketch, she set it aside and pulled out a small cloth bag. Elizabeth eyed Jason oddly for a moment before untying the string and withdrawing a silver chain made of tiny delicate rings. “This is…Jason, this is too much.”

He shook his head and took it from her, undoing the minuscule clasp with ease. “I saw it in a market when I was meeting a contact. I had to buy something in order to keep him talking so I thought you might like it.” He arranged it around her neck and fastened the clasp.

“Well, then, thank you.” She touched the chain and took a deep breath. “I need you to talk to Emily.”

Jason stepped back and frowned. “What’s wrong with Emily?”

“I’m not really sure. She’s taking Nikolas’s remarriage really hard and blaming herself for everything that’s happened this last year.” Elizabeth set her purse on his desk and leaned against the edge. “She saw Nikolas and Robin today, I think, for the first time since they came home from Greece.”

“I saw them at Kelly’s when I grabbed my lunch,” Jason nodded. “But Emily moved on–they both did.”

“I suppose they think they both did. To tell you the truth, Jason, I’m really kind of worried about the whole situation.” Elizabeth sighed. “I don’t doubt that they care for one another, believe me. And Robin’s so good with Misha. I know she and Nikolas could make it work but…” she shook her head. “A week after she ended things with Patrick, she flew off to Greece to get married. You don’t see that’s weird timing?”

Jason frowned. “I knew he was an ass, but I didn’t think he’d hurt her.” He looked away. “I should have shot him.”

Elizabeth laughed slightly. “He’s not so bad. If it hadn’t been Carly, it would have been someone else. He can be very sweet, Jason, but he wasn’t ready for where he and Robin were headed and I don’t blame her for washing her hands of him. I’m not worried about that. I’m worried that Emily’s going into a place that I can’t help her out of. With everything that’s happened this summer…” she lifted her shoulder in a helpless shrug. “I was hoping you could help. Maybe…I don’t know…talk to her?”

“I can try,” Jason offered. “But we’re not really on good terms.”

“Thanks.” Elizabeth reached for her purse. “I should get back home and rescue Lu before Cam wakes up.”

Docks: Pier 43

He knew this was the dock that Nikolas Cassadine used for to commute between the island and the main land. He knew that and still went out of his way to walk by it on his home from the hospital.

Patrick stopped at the top of the steps when he saw Robin standing with Nikolas as they were preparing to step onto the launch. Nikolas maneuvered the stroller on, handing the infant over to the care of his nanny and then turned to Robin, laughing as he tugged her light jacket closed. “It’s getting chilly at night already.”

“Mm…summer’s finally ending,” Robin replied. “I’ve never been more relieved to have a season end. It began and ended with disaster, so you know…I’m looking forward to the fall.”

Nikolas kissed her forehead. “Before you know it, it’ll be Christmas and we’ll be buying out Wyndham’s for Misha’s first Christmas.”

Their chatter faded as Nikolas lifted Robin into the launch and the motor drowned out their voices. Patrick watched as the boat took them towards the gothic mansion that sat five miles off shore.

“Fancy meeting you here.”

Patrick turned and found Elizabeth stepped onto the docks from the street. “I could say the same for you. Are you even old enough to be out this late?”

She laughed and started down the steps. He followed her. “I was just on my way home to relieve my baby sitter. What are you doing here? The last time, I checked…” Elizabeth paused on the landing and turned to gesture in the opposite direction. “Your apartment is that way.”

Patrick shrugged. “I knew Robin and Nikolas were meeting to go back to Spoon Island. I just…” he shrugged again. “I don’t know.”

“Mm…” Elizabeth turned back around and took a few more steps. Then she whirled back around and nearly slammed into him. She coughed and took a step back. “You know when you’re all old and alone, you’re going to remember this.”

“Remember what?” Patrick inquired, following her example and taking a step back from the single mother. Now would not be a good time to remember the brief attraction he’d felt for the brunette before focusing his attention on Robin.

“You’re going to remember Robin as the one that got away,” Elizabeth lectured him. “And you’re going to regret not going to Greece.” She pointed a finger at him.

“It’s possible,” Patrick allowed. “Speaking as someone who was feeling all cranky and bitter about marriage this morning, you’re sure on the side of the love right now. What’s that about?”

“Because every time I’m sure that love is a bunch of bullshit cooked up by the card companies, I remember my grandparents,” Elizabeth remarked. “My grandmother and grandfather danced around each other for almost fifteen years before finally making it work and every day they were together, they were happy. And they were in love. And that’s how I know it exists.” Her eyes softened. “C’mon, I know you’re not as cynical and jaded as you like the world to think. What about your parents?”

“My parents,” Patrick echoed. He hesitated for a long moment but decided–what the hell. “My parents were like your grandparents. They were happy and I had a great childhood. But then my mom died. And my dad fell apart. So you know what that taught me about love? It’s nice when it works but when it ends, it destroys you, so what’s the point?”

“Humph,” Elizabeth muttered. “If I were your mother, I’d smack you for that. Do you really think she’d want you to think that way?”

Patrick looked her up and down, his lips curving into a smile. “If you were my mother, I could be arrested for some of the thoughts I’ve had.”

Elizabeth laughed and punched him in the shoulder. “Oh, you are so nasty. No, I’m serious. I would never want my son to think about my marriage with Lucky and think that’s how all love ends up. A lot of the times, it sucks. And I’ve been there. But I’ve seen it work and I just think, with the right person, at the right time, it can be special.”

“Well, maybe I haven’t met the right person,” Patrick replied. He slid her a glance. “Would you like to be my right person?” he teased.

She rolled her eyes. “Oh, God, I can’t believe you’re hitting on me right now.” She tugged on the sleeve of his shirt. “Come on and walk me home. I’ll make you dinner and save you from the Metro Court restaurant.”

He followed her but cast one last look at the island. Maybe he’d met the right person, and it’d been the wrong time. Or maybe it had been wrong from the start and he’d just refused to see it. Whichever it was, it was time to move on. Robin had made her choice, she’d gone on her own path and it was time that he set out on his own.

He slung an arm around Elizabeth’s shoulder. “So, will you make me some of your famous brownies?” he asked, grinning.

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Fiction Graveyard: Fallen From Grace

September 1, 2006

General Hospital: Waiting Area

Robin Scorpio–Robin Scorpio-Cassadine she corrected mentally–had never planned on being a mother. That particular dream had died a tragic death when she was just eighteen and she’d never had the courage to resurrect it, no matter how many advances had been made in the field of HIV positive mothers and pregnancies. To pursue that dream would mean finding someone who not only accepted her disease but would willingly take the risk their children would be infected.

So she had put that dream on a shelf–along with most of the dreams of her youth–but she’d never quite been able to forget it.

And that had been one of the factors in her decision to accept Nikolas’s surprising proposal of marriage in July.

He wanted his child to have everything that Nikolas hadn’t. Two parents. Two decent parents, Nikolas had corrected, remembering that the man who had raised him and the one that had been responsible for his genetic makeup had both been disasters at the job in the end.

Robin, Nikolas had told her, was the only person that he could trust. The only person who would always have Misha’s best interests in heart. Robin, who never had an agenda other than doing the right thing and being a good person.

Robin had turned him down at first, a fact that no one knew and one that she’d keep to herself. Because if the world at large knew that she’d been asked before that day at the Metro Court, then they would get the idea that perhaps she had said yes to spite Patrick Drake or even to spite Carly.

Which wasn’t the case at all. Or at least Robin told herself that every morning, when she woke up to her new life as Dr. Robin Scorpio-Cassadine, wife to a prince and by all rights and purposes, a princess. She told herself that she’d married Nikolas because she genuinely cared for him, that she wanted the life he had built in his mind for them. She’d married Nikolas because she wanted a life, a family.

But there were nights when she couldn’t lie to herself and the truth of the matter was she was tired of waiting. Tired of being alone and tired of setting herself up the fall. She’d let herself believe there was something in her relationship with Patrick Drake, something that went beyond the sex and beyond the physical attraction.

And sometimes she admitted to herself that there could have been. That Patrick–despite his words–to the contrary had never actually dated or slept with anyone else during the five weeks their affair had lasted. That if Robin had kept John’s paternity to herself, she and Patrick might have been able to build something. But Carly had decided to take revenge, and the only way Carly knew how to make someone pay was to take something the other person valued.

And in a way, Carly had saved her. Because Robin might have gone months pretending that what she and Patrick had was real. That they might have stayed together because they hadn’t cared enough about anyone else to go elsewhere. And Robin admitted to herself on those nights that it would have broken her heart eventually.

But despite her reasons for the marriage, despite her murky motives, Robin was content. Happiness was elusive and would likely remain that way but she was satisfied. She had a good man who did care for her, which wasn’t so bad and she had a beautiful stepson that no one could take from her.

She reached into the stroller and adjusted Misha’s pacifier and smoothed the blanket across his napping body. It was ironic that with the first paternity she’d revealed, she’d lost contact with the child in question forever and with the second, she’d gained him.

Twice she’d played the role of the mother to a child not her own but this was the first time she’d let herself relax in the role.

It was the first time since their return from Greece that Robin had taken Misha out without Tasha, the nanny or without Nikolas. She wanted Port Charles to understand that this was not the Robin Scorpio that had fled town just two months ago, and it wasn’t the same Robin that had returned to Port Charles nearly a year ago.

“So you went through with it.”

The smooth, husky voice had once sent chills down her spine and made her skin tingle. After the first time they’d slept together, whenever he spoke–no matter the location, bedroom, operating room, restaurant–she’d picture the sound of his voice murmuring her ear all the wicked things he’d want to do.

If she had chills and tingles now, she told herself they were chills of disgust and well…the tingle she’d just outright ignore.

Robin glanced up from her stepson and didn’t look directly at Patrick Drake, instead she chose to focus on his forehead. “I’m sorry, you’re going to have to be more specific.”

Patrick chuckled and looked away. “All right, we’ll play it that way, Robin. Should I say congratulations?” he asked, somewhat sardonically.

So he was reverting to jackass. That would make this entire situation a lot easier, Robin decided. She met his eyes and was a little surprised to see just how cold they were. “It would be the polite thing to do, but I don’t suppose you’ve often wasted your time with politeness and courtesy.”

He shrugged half a shoulder. “When will you be back at work?” he asked. “Or are you retiring to be the happy little housewife?”

“I’ll be back in a week.” Her lips curved into a mocking smile. “You can’t do without me for six weeks? My, my. That is definitely something I’m going to take note of.”

“I didn’t even remember you five seconds after you left,” Patrick said, a cruel smirk spreading across his face. “The hotel room that is.”

The hotel room in which she’d walked in and found him undressing Caroline Benson Quartermaine Corinthos Alcazar, Robin remembered with a sliver of disgust. “I never thought you had.”

She spied Kelly Lee over Patrick’s shoulder and stood, arranging the diaper bag and purse over her shoulder. “It’s been…fun catching up, Dr. Drake but Misha has a doctor’s appointment–”

“Misha?” a new voice interrupted, shrilly. Carly Corinthos stepped away from the elevator and stared at the sight of Robin with a baby stroller. Her eyes narrowed and her lip curled back in a snarl. “You changed his name?”

“Nikolas changed his name, which as his father, is completely within his right,” Robin said patiently. She would not let Carly get to her. She would not let Carly ruin her new life. This was one of the many things she chanted to herself when she woke in the morning. “Misha Nikolaevich Cassadine. If you’ll excuse me, Carly–”

“Oh, there’s no excuse for you,” Carly hissed. “You’ve redefined the role of scorned woman, do you know that?”

“How did I know you’d go for the easy comeback?” Robin asked, tilting her head to the side. “There’s no excuse for you? Please, Carly. Are we still in high school?”

Taken aback at that, Carly had to fumble for words and that gave Robin the opportunity to walk away and disappear down the hall. “I can’t believe she just walked away from me!” the blonde remarked, planting her hands on her hips. “The little twerp.”

“If only she’d learned to do that three months ago,” Patrick muttered, abandoning the acidic woman and going back to the nurse’s station where Elizabeth had been watching the entire encounter. “What? You have something you want to hit me with?”

“Nope,” Elizabeth remarked. She started entering some patient information onto the screen. “I think you’re self destructing just fine on your own.”

Patrick scowled. “You’re usually good for advice I don’t want to hear–”

“There’s no advice to fix this situation, Patrick.” Elizabeth reached for a chart and accidentally whacked him with it. “But there was a month ago when I told you to go to Greece, stop the wedding, and not be an idiot.”

“I didn’t think she’d go through with it.” Patrick stared down the hallway and his scowl deepened. “I mean, didn’t everyone else see that she’s only married to him because I–” he broke off and shook his head. “You’re right, there’s no advice that will fix this. She’s married and Robin’s–she actually believes in the marital vows of fidelity and honor and cherish, I bet, so I guess that’s over.”

“Hmmm…well, I’m sorry I can’t offer any assurances,” Elizabeth said sourly, “since she’s married to my best friend. But you’re right, Robin may be the last woman in this town that actually believes in the idea of marriage.” She smirked. “Course, this is only her first trip down the aisle. Her third divorce might cure her of that notion.”

Patrick slid a confused glance her way. “Three divorces?”

“To be fair, the first two were to the same man,” Elizabeth turned and smiled brightly at him. A smile that didn’t match the shadows in her eyes. “That’s right, the first time around wasn’t enough–what with all the murder attempts and the kidnapping of a pregnant woman. Nope, I had to punish myself more and grind my self-worth into the ground by marrying him a second time and really have the idea that I never matter enough to come first pounded into my head. So you know, Patrick, the way marriage goes in Port Charles, give them about six months. I’m sure by then, they’ll have self destructed.” Elizabeth grabbed some charts. “Everyone else does.”

Patrick watched the nurse storm away and shook his head. He couldn’t deny her right to anger–after her soon to be ex-husband had passed out on the sofa, high on painkillers, Elizabeth’s two-year-old son had fallen and hit his head on the end table. If Elizabeth hadn’t returned home when she had, if Robin’s drug therapy hadn’t stabilized Cameron, if Patrick’s hands had failed, Elizabeth would be mourning more than a third divorce.

The cop was in rehab and would be there another month but Elizabeth hadn’t waited that long. She’d filed for divorce as soon as Patrick had given Cameron the green light. The kid would be fine and would probably never remember the episode but Patrick had a feeling Elizabeth would remember it for the rest of her life. He would certainly never forget having that kid on his operating table. He had been relieved not to have to tell Elizabeth her son hadn’t made it. He would never want to be in any way responsible for hurting her like that.

Part of him hoped her words would ring true, that Robin would realize she’d made a mistake in marrying Nikolas Cassadine and would divorce him. But he’d seen her face when she’d fussed over the baby. This was the life she wanted. To be a mother and a wife.

And he’d never been sure if it was a life he was capable of giving anyone.

Kelly’s: Courtyard

Nikolas stood up and kissed Robin on the cheek as she pushed the stroller up to the table. She lifted Misha and handed him to his father. “Dr. Lee said everything is fine and he’s progressing normally.”

Nikolas cradled Misha one handed and used the other to pull the chair out for Robin. “How did it go at the hospital?”

“Carly was there,” Robin sighed. “But to my credit, I finally just walked away from her. She’s not happy about the name change.”

Nikolas laughed and sat. “Well, I’m sure I’ll be devastated over that for about five seconds.” He hesitated and looked down at Misha when he asked his next question. “Did you…run into anyone else?”

“Did I run into Patrick?” Robin asked wryly. “Yes, Nikolas. I ran into Patrick. We exchanged a few rounds of insults and then Carly showed up.” She shifted uncomfortably. “Nikolas–”

“I just want to make sure he’s not giving you a hard time,” he said. “He strikes me as someone that doesn’t take being thwarted all that well.”

“It was fine, back to our old banter,” Robin murmured. She plucked a menu from the holder in the middle of the table and studied it, despite the fact that she knew it by heart. “It’s going to be weird for a while because of the way things ended but he’ll be on to the next conquest and I’ll be a distant memory.”

“Well, his loss is my gain,” Nikolas said with a charming smile. He set Misha back in the stroller and looked at him a long while. He cleared his throat and turned his attention back to his wife to find her smiling at him fondly. “We should celebrate.”

Robin arched an eyebrow, set the menu on the table and leaned forward, folding her elbows. “Celebrate what? And how?”

“Well, the Cassadine family has grown just in the last few months,” Nikolas remarked. “First Sam, then Misha and now you. And it’s the first time in generations that additions to the Cassadines are welcomed rather than dreaded. We should celebrate that.”

“Hmm…well, if you want to throw a grand ball, I am totally in support of that,” Robin nodded. She reached across the table and twined their fingers together. “I want everyone to know that I am completely happy with my decision.”

Nikolas’s eyes drifted over her shoulder and he released her hands, sitting up. “Hello.”

Robin turned to find Sam standing there with an extremely uncomfortable Emily Quartermaine. Robin sighed–yet another person that was uncomfortable about the recent marriage. Robin and Nikolas had gone to Greece shortly after she accepted his proposal and it just hadn’t occurred to Robin that Emily would have an issue with the marriage since she had moved on with Sonny.

But Sonny’s life had exploded and Emily had been a casualty. She’d been hurt and in need of friends and the news about the engagement had come as a slap in the face to her. Alexis told Robin that Emily had felt betrayed and had taken the news very badly.

“Hi, Em,” Robin said cautiously, discretely folding her hands in her lap so as not to draw attention to the Cassadine family engagement ring. Nikolas had remarked that he’d bought Emily’s rings but had elected to use the family jewels for Robin in an effort to continue his family in a way that they could be proud of. Robin understood the sentiment but worried that Emily would feel worse about it.

“Robin, Nikolas,” Emily nodded stiffly. Her eyes softened as she took in the sight of the baby. “Misha, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” Nikolas turned his proud eyes to his son. “Misha Nikolaevich Cassadine.”

“Wow.” Emily blinked. “When we discussed names, you never wanted to go the Russian route.” She flicked her eyes to Robin as if this were her fault. “I thought you didn’t want anything to do with the Cassadine lineage.”

“I can’t run from it forever,” Nikolas said soberly. “I can choose to hide my family or I can choose to make it into a family that I can be proud of. With my son, with Sam, with Robin and Alexis, I think that’s a possibility now.” He looked to Sam, who looked both surprised and pleased to be included in that statement. “A lot of things have changed since we were together, Emily.”

“Well.” Emily pursed her lips. “That puts me in my place.” She looked to Sam. “I’m sorry, but I’m going to skip lunch.” She turned and left the courtyard.

Sam exhaled slowly. “I’m sorry, I thought she had accepted things.” Her dark eyes stared out after Emily, concerned. “She’s taking everything really hard. Sonny’s breakdown, their breakup, your marriage.”

“We can make it a point not to throw it in her face,” Robin said softly. “It’s best if I just keep my distance from her for a while.” She smiled at Sam. “Join us for lunch.”

Port Charles Park

After lunch, Nikolas had a meeting and took Sam to take a tour of Cassadine Industries. Robin, still enjoying her vacation from work and adjusting to her new life, took Misha for a walk in the park. When she went back to work, Misha would spend more time with his nanny and Robin wouldn’t have as much time to devote to him. Her career was still important to her, though it had fallen from first priority.

She slowed the stroller to a stop when she saw Jasper Jacks seated on a park bench. She and Jax had never been able to put their friendship back on an even keel. Jax had firmly put himself in Carly’s camp and Robin had, of course, put herself against the poisonous viper. Nikolas hadn’t relented on letting Jax into Misha’s life but part of Robin still ached that the truth had cost Jax so much.

When Carly had devoted her life to making Robin pay, she’d destroyed her own relationship with Jax. Once he’d discovered exactly what Carly had done to achieve her revenge, Jax had tossed her to the curb but Robin was already on her way to Greece to be married and the two hadn’t seen each other since.

Jax glanced up at the sound of the strollers and Robin’s heels. He smiled faintly. “A little bird tells me that Nikolas changed his name.”

“He did,” Robin confirmed softly. “To Misha. It’s Russian for Michael.”

Jax stood and his eyes drank in the sight of his former son. “Courtney–she would have approved of that. There are, of course, too many Michaels running around Port Charles and it’s a good way to honor Mike as well as his father.” Jax’s voice faltered and he looked down. “I’m glad…he looks good. He looks happy.”

“He’s a very happy little boy,” Robin promised him. “I wish…I wish I could let you hold him but–” she swallowed. “Nikolas has forbidden it and I don’t–I don’t see him relenting any time soon.”

“No,” Jax swallowed hard. “I understand.” His eyes met hers. “I’m sorry for what Carly did.”

Robin shrugged lightly. “What did she do really? She just hastened the inevitable. I was fooling myself with Patrick, believing he’d want the same things I did. If he could be with her…” she shook her head. “You’re not responsible for Carly’s actions.”

“I know.” Jax hesitated. “Are you happy, Robin?”

Robin glanced down at Misha and felt her lips curve into a sad smile. She wished with all her heart that she could give him the answer he wanted. But she wanted nothing but honesty between them. “No,” she admitted softly. “But this is the closest I’ve felt to happiness in a long time. And that’s enough.”

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Fiction Graveyard: Fallen From Grace

Prologue

August 26, 2006

Mykonos Island, Greece

Cassadine Estate: Gardens

Misha Nikolaevich Cassadine was christened for the second time in his short life in the presence of a small group of family friends in his family’s ancestral home on the small island off the coast of Greece.

Nikolas Cassadine had kept the invitation list to the bare minimum, choosing not to invite those who had sought to keep Misha from him. He invited only his aunt and her family, his sister-in-law, Courtney’s brother and father, and of course, his new wife was present.

Misha, formerly John Michael Jacks, had had quite the life so far and was in fact, on his second father and second set of godparents. Though he was only seven months old and seemed no worse for the wear, his father was overly protective and insisted that he be renamed as to completely start again–as though they hadn’t been kept apart.

The guest of honor fell asleep shortly after the reception began and Tasha, his new nanny, took him inside the Gothic mansion to the nursery that Nikolas himself had slept in during his youth on the island.

Alexis approached the other new member of the family as the petite brunette stared out towards the Mediterranean Sea. “Quite a month, August has been,” she murmured.

Robin Scorpio glanced her, somewhat distracted, as she twisted the heavy emerald ring on her finger. Another part of the Cassadine legacy that she had willing entered into. “I’m glad we came here for the month,” she remarked. “It was good to get away from everything.”

“Yes,” Alexis nodded. “Are you ready to go back next week, to face…everything you left?”

Robin smiled faintly. “You mean am I ready to go back and face Patrick,” she clarified. When Alexis only smiled and tilted her head to the side, Robin sighed. “He and I were over before Nikolas ever proposed, Alexis. You know that.”

“Yes,” the older woman drew out, “but that doesn’t mean the feelings are no longer there. Nikolas has had a tumultuous year. I believe that you, and now Misha, are his best hope for a future. I would like to see three of you form a family.”

Robin glanced over her shoulder and peered at her new husband, standing with Mike Corbin and Misha’s new god parents, Elizabeth Spencer and Sonny Corinthos. The two men were talking to the young brunette quietly and Robin couldn’t help but hope they weren’t trying to give her advice again.

It had been surprising when Nikolas chose Sonny, but he had merely told her that he wanted to get over the past. Sonny, fresh from a mental breakdown, was in therapy for the first time in his life. He was receiving treatment to stave off the dark episodes that had for so long haunted him. His eyes were clear and he looked lighter than he had in months. Nikolas had wanted to honor Courtney by involving her family, and he and Sonny had a tenuous relationship now. One bolstered by the fact that Nikolas was quite relieved that Sonny and Emily were no longer involved.

“We will be a family,” Robin said softly. “We are a family,” she corrected. “Alexis, whatever I felt for Patrick Drake, it was one-sided and it was a mistake. I know that now. I saw what I wanted to see.”

Samantha McCall joined them and placed a hand on her mother’s forearm. “Kristina’s feeling a little restless. Should I take her in for a nap?”

“Let me do it,” Alexis smiled. “Keep Robin company.” She left and the two women stood there awkwardly, both cast-offs of the same man and each struggling to find their place in this new family.

“It’s nice that the two of you have bonded,” Robin said finally.

“It’s still a little weird,” Sam admitted. “But I’m mostly adjusted.” She bit her lip and turned her attention back to Sonny, Nikolas and Elizabeth. “They’re advising her not to file for divorce.”

Robin followed her gaze. “I suspected that. With Sonny’s health issues, he’d be a big fan of sticking it out and Nikolas is Lucky’s brother.”

“What do you think she should do?” Sam asked. “Stay with him? Wait until he’s out of rehab?”

“If she were by herself,” Robin said slowly, “I would tell her that she should wait until Lucky finishes his treatment. See where things are then. But she’s a mother first and what happened to Cameron was…” she shook her head. “I have no real connection to him but I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to help him.”

“But you did,” Sam said. Her eyes narrowed speculatively. “And so did Dr. Drake. The two of you make a good team.” She paused for a moment. “I’ve heard talk around the hospital there’s no better surgical team than Patrick Drake’s and that you and he work better together than most.”

“He’s a brilliant surgeon,” Robin admitted. “He did the hard part. Pediatric neurosurgery is rough; you lose more than you save. I only kept Cameron stable with my drug treatment for the surgery. Either way, I’m relieved it worked out. But if I were in Elizabeth’s position, I’d do what’s best for my son.”

Sam nodded. She shifted restlessly. “I was surprised when Nikolas announced your engagement,” she admitted. “I thought you were dating–”

Robin held up a hand to ward her off. “Patrick and I were sleeping together,” she remarked bluntly. “But we ended that when I–I couldn’t do it anymore.”

Sam nodded. “It’s just–” she paused and licked her lips nervously. “Nikolas has been really good to me since he found out about Alexis. And I wouldn’t want–marriages don’t seem to last very long in this town.”

“I never would have married him if I didn’t believe we could make it work,” Robin said softly. “I’ve never been married before, Sam. I’ve never even been engaged. It’s an important step, not one I could ever take lightly.”

“I understand,” Sam replied. Before she could press the matter, Elizabeth escaped the good intentions of Sonny and Nikolas and joined the ladies.

“Save me,” she pleaded. “Sam, can’t you distract them from giving me advice?”

Hearing Elizabeth’s subtle request to be left alone with Robin, Sam smiled and excused her self. Elizabeth cleared her throat. “I thought you might want an update from home.”

Robin shook her head. “I appreciate the thought, Elizabeth, but it’s not necessary. I don’t need to know who Patrick’s sleeping with or–”

“Robin…” Elizabeth put a hand on her forearm. “Despite the fact that I intend to divorce Lucky, Nikolas is my brother and you are now his wife. We’re family. You should be prepared when you go back to Port Charles.”

Robin exhaled slowly. “You’re right. What’s going on?”

“Well, he’s not sleeping with Carly.”

That one statement released a knot in Robin’s stomach that she hadn’t realized existed. She didn’t know just how much she wanted that to be said. “How–how do you know?”

“Because after you left for Greece, I took Patrick aside and smacked him,” Elizabeth said. “And I hope you don’t mind, but I gave him a cliff notes version of exactly what kind of hell Carly’s put you through.”

Robin hesitated. “What exactly did you tell him?”

“Nothing specific,” Elizabeth assured her. “But I thought he might appreciate knowing that Carly was only using him to punish you and as soon as I explained that, that pissed him off. And when I told him that Carly had a history of lying about the paternity of children, he seemed to understand that you were involved in the last round of lying, so I guess that was enough for him. Or maybe he really didn’t like being used to hurt you.”

“Well, I suppose that’s a point for him. It doesn’t really matter, Elizabeth. I didn’t marry Nikolas because I was angry at Patrick.”

“I know that,” Elizabeth said with a faint smile. “But that doesn’t mean you weren’t in love with Patrick.”

“We should focus on Misha today,” Robin changed the subject. She put a hand on Elizabeth’s shoulder. “This is his day.”

December 23, 2015

This entry is part 19 of 19 in the series Fiction Graveyard: Tangle

Chapter  17 is the last completed chapter of the first version of Tangle. I wrote a few scenes for Chapter 18, outlined the rest of the story but never finished it. Here is the unused scenes and outline for the end of the story. Tangle will be rewritten as Feels Like Home in 2016, and will be found at the new sub section of Crimson Glass, Hand Me Down.


Chapter Eighteen

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Elm St. Pier

She found him standing by the edge of the pier, his hands in the pockets of his jeans. In many ways, Elizabeth dreaded this conversation, as happy as she was. She and Lucky Spencer would forever be tied to one another, but they had finally learned to keep the past exactly where it belonged and her future looked so wonderful.

She only wished Lucky could find the same type of happiness.

“How many times did we end up on this pier?” Lucky turned and flashed a sad smile at her. “Though not especially fun to live under.”

Elizabeth smiled. “We had a lot of fun back then. It saved my life.”

“We’re even, Elizabeth.” The wind from the lake swept through his shaggy hair. “You never owed me anything. That summer, I needed you to get through what was happening in my family. You never had to stick with me through the brainwashing and all…” Lucky shook his head. “That’s all behind us now. We’re not who we were then.”

“No, we’re not.” She hesitated. “Lucky, I came to tell you—”

“You and Jason set the date.” He rocked back on his heels. “I’m a cop, you know. I know it’s been relatively quiet and stable the last month or so.”

“We’re getting married at the Quartermaine estate next month. I wanted to make sure you heard from me. I don’t want you to be worried about the boys—”

“I’m not.” Lucky paused. “I know how it might sound, but Jason’s life, as dangerous as it can be, is much safer without Sonny. He had a way of riling things up, but Jason’s top priority will always be you and the boys.” He was silent for a moment. “You know, I never legally adopted Cameron, and you and Jason haven’t put his name on Jake’s birth certificate, so I am legally Jake’s father.”

Elizabeth tilted her head to the side. “What are you saying?”

“I’m saying,” Lucky said slowly, “that you should fix Jake’s birth certificate and…” he swallowed hard.  “Jason should adopt Cameron. You should be a family.”

“Lucky—”

“I have never been the best father I could have been for Cam,” he cut in. “I did drugs, I ruined both our marriages and I never put him first. I want to do that now, Elizabeth. With me remaining his father, I will always be part-time. He deserves more than that. He loves Jason. He loves his little brother. I want him to have that security. I’ve been thinking about it since you told me you and Jason were engaged, that you were waiting for the right time to set the date. I’ve watched Jason with Jake and Cameron, and he’s a good father. He deserves someone full-time, Elizabeth.”

“I want you to be sure about this, Lucky,” Elizabeth said, a tear sliding down her cheek. “Because it’s not something you can’t take back and I would never have asked it of you—”

“I know, and we would have continued with the way things are.” Lucky paused. “It’s not enough for Cameron. You know better than I do, Elizabeth, that being a parent is about doing what’s right for them, not you.” He stepped closer to her and took her hand in his, pressing his lips briefly to her cheek. “I wish you happiness, Elizabeth.”

He released her hand and started up the dock steps. When he had turned around a corner and disappeared, Elizabeth sighed, her breath emerging on a shaky gasp. “I wish you the same,” she murmured.

Monday, August 26, 2024

Wyndemere: Nikolas’s Study

Nadine hesitantly stepped into Nikolas’s study. She didn’t know what she was going to say to him, what words she could possibly use that would make this okay for both of them.

Nikolas looked up at the sound of her footsteps and got to his feet. “Nadine. I’m sorry I haven’t been available this last month—there was a problem in London and…” he trailed off. “That’s not altogether true.”

“Nikolas—“ Nadine swallowed hard.

“I thought that some space might be necessary,” Nikolas said. He fisted his hand and pressed his knuckles against his desk. “I’ve spoken to Lucky and he’s heard it somewhat second hand from Leyla Marquez that Lia did this shortly after you told her of our engagement. I felt somewhat responsible—“

“No, no…” Nadine came forward and shook her head violently. “The blame for this rests squarely on me and Johnny. We love our daughter, but we have destroyed her by using her in this war between us. I don’t know why we were never able to really see it before, but we do now. Amalia is fragile right now. She certainly doesn’t trust our motives.” Suddenly exhausted, Nadine sank onto the sofa and stared blankly at the wall in front of her. “We’ve been in family therapy almost since the moment she woke up. Johnny and I have poured our hearts out to her—being painfully honest about our pasts—about Johnny’s father, and my sister. We’ve tried to make her understand that it was never about her, but I suppose that’s made it worse.”

She closed her eyes. “She is my entire world, Nikolas, and for the first time in her life, I have to devote my entire life to making sure she believes that.”

“You’re going back to Johnny Zacchara,” Nikolas said quietly. He lowered himself into a chair. “Are you doing it because it will help Amalia?”

“I—“ Nadine paused. She looked at him. “Nikolas, if Emily walked through that door we both know that you would be with her in a heartbeat. She’s the other half of your soul, so I know you’ll understand me when I tell you that Johnny’s mine.” She stood. “The failure of our marriage, the divorce and how we’ve spent the last decade, we are both to blame. I can’t keep running away from Johnny and my feelings for him, and marrying you would be just that.”

“I can accept that answer.” Nikolas twirled a pen through his fingers. “Because I know what it is to throw away a marriage with the person you love. I told you once that if you honestly believed that you and Johnny had a chance to find one another again, to be happy, that you should take it.”

“I want us to stay friends.” Nadine got to her feet. “Your friendship has always meant the world to me, Nikolas. Promise me I haven’t ruined that.”

He finally came around the desk to stand in front of her, taking her hands in his. “You could never do that, Nadine. That’s not the way friendship works.”

Kelly’s: Courtyard

“They key to life,” Ian proclaimed, leaning back in his chair and sipping his iced tea, “is keeping your complications in life to a minimum.”

“I don’t remember him being this cynical in college,” Patrick said to Pete, jerking a thumb at their friend. “Or was I drunk a lot more than I remember?”

“No, I think you’re right.” Pete tapped his chin. “In fact, I remember once a upon a time, this routine was switched. Patrick was espousing the benefits of a single life while Ian was trying to convince everyone and their mother that he was a one woman man.”

“I am a one woman man,” Ian said, slightly annoyed. “Her name was Gina and she’s not around anymore.” He sneered at Patrick. “You wouldn’t be so blasé if Robin died of cancer.”

Patrick hesitated and decided to lay off his old friend. After all, the anniversary of Gina’s death was only about a week from now and Ian always seemed be a strange combination of carefree and highly sensitive at the same time during the month of August. Gina had been gone for nearly twenty years now and he was ashamed at how often he’d forgotten her when he knew that she was never far from Ian’s mind.

“I think Pete also subscribed to my point of view,” Patrick said, switching targets. “Isn’t comforting to know that in our middle age—“

“Hey!” Ian interruputed.

“I am not middle aged!” Pete said at the same time.

“—some of us have remained exactly the same frat brother we always were.” Patrick raised his soda in a mock salute. “To Pete, who still aspires to sleep with all the undergraduates in the land.”

“Some of them are looking for father figures,” Pete said with an unapologetic grin. “To Ian, for actually believing that stuff he used to say in college.” He raised his iced tea. “Even if he’s taking it a little far after twenty years.”

Ian shook his head. “To Patrick, who found the perfect woman.”

Zacchara Estate: Backyard
Jake tells Amalia how much she scared him.

General Hospital: Waiting Room
Elizabeth is talking to Nadine about re-certification for nursing and chit chatting when someone in the background talks about rape counseling Everything flashes back in an instant and Elizabeth flees.

My file for Chapter Nineteen is missing. I’ll try to locate it, but sorry 😛

Chapter Twenty

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Zacchara Home: Back Porch
Nadine goes into labor.

General Hospital: Maternity Ward
Johnny introduces Amalia to Elizabeth, Patrick, and Robin

Thursday, August 29, 2024

Davis Home: Living Room
Molly gives Alexis a break and explains her future plans.

General Hospital: Lainey’s Office
Elizabeth begins to come to terms with her time away.

Friday. August 30, 2024

Crimson Manor: Conservatory
Johnny thinks they should get back together, Nadine thinks he’s insane.

Metro Court: Spa
Carly and Robin officially bury the hatchet.

Morgan Home: Backyard
End of the summer cookout.

Chapter Twenty-One

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

General Hospital: Elizabeth’s Room
Juliet and Amalia meet for the first time.

Monday, September 2, 2024

Morgan Home: Living Room
Liz feels at home with the kids for the first time.

Drake Home: Anna’s Bedroom
Anna frets over her ballet future and Patrick counts his blessings.

General Hospital: Lainey’s Office
Progress for the Zaccharas

Chapter Twenty-Two

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Port Charles Park

The annual Fourth of July picnic was one of the few days of the year when the citizens of Port Charles gathered and managed to remain civil to one another for at least three hours. That particular record had been set by the Quartermaines themselves in the early nineties. They had been within fifteen minutes of three and a half hours, but Edward had blustered about something that Alan had taken offense to and somehow, the mayor had ended up with mashed potatoes in his hair.

Each year, the celebration had grown in attendance until one couldn’t go to the park on that day and not tread over a picnic blanket, a table or in the case of more well-to-do residents – an entire tent.

On this particular day, the tent in question belonged to Jason Morgan. He was there with his wife, their two boys and their newborn daughter, Juliet. He had invited his best friend Carly, her husband Jax and their two children. It was a bittersweet celebration as neither Jason nor Carly were completely adjusted to spending this holiday without Carly’s ex-husband Sonny Corinthos and son Michael. Both had died just two years earlier.

They had endeavored to move on with their lives and both had done so with the birth of subsequent children. Each had solid marriages to their spouses and if life wasn’t exactly perfect, it was as close as either of them had ever been.

Despite the shade the tent offered, the day was steaming hot and sweat dripped from Jason’s adopted six-year-old son Cameron’s face. Cam had been chasing Carly’s son Morgan in a circle and both were red-faced and panting from the heat.

His wife, Elizabeth, bit down on her lower lip. “Maybe I should take them back to the car. Sit in the air conditioning for a while.” She adjusted her two month old daughter in the portable crib that had been set up and studied her Cameron and their three-year-old Jake, who didn’t look much cooler. “It’s hotter than it was supposed to be.”

Carly gripped the front of her sweat-soaked cherry red tank top and pulled it away from her chest. “Well, it is summer,” she said with a smirk. “I’d be surprised if it was chilly.”

Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “Anyway,” she said, directing her remarks to Jason. “Maybe we should feed the kids and take them home. We can bring them back for the fireworks.”

“No!” Cameron argued. He shook his head. “I want to stay!”

“It’s too hot out here.” Elizabeth reached for a napkin, dipped it into a glass of iced water and started to wipe down her son’s face. Cameron squirmed.

“Come on, Mom!” he complained, twisting away. “I’m not a baby!”

“Which is why I didn’t spit on it first.” She sighed and released him. “Fine. Go. Run. Get heatstroke.”

“Thanks, Mom!” Cameron immediately tagged Morgan. “You’re it!” he crowed and took off.

“I’m taking Jules back to the car,” Elizabeth told Jason. She reached down and picked up the infant. “I can take Cece if you want.”

Carly glanced over to her fourteen month old daughter who was chattering away to her daddy about a ladybug she’d seen crawling on her arm. “I think she’s okay for now. I’ll make sure the boys don’t keel over from too much sun.” She glanced over at them and narrowed her eyes. “Excuse me. My kid is wandering too close to the Quartermaine tent. Nothing good comes from that.” She made a quick exit to grab head off Cameron and Morgan.

“We can all go back to the house,” Jason offered. He rubbed the back of his neck. “I mean, I’m okay, but if you think the kids are going to get too sick—”

“No, no,” Elizabeth shook her head. She smiled. “It’s the first year we’ve all been together as a family. Last year Carly and Jax were visiting Lady Jane and I know Cam’s having a good time with Morgan.” She brushed her hand over Juliet’s almost existent fluff of blonde hair. “I just don’t think it’s good for Jules.”

“I wasn’t able to stop Edward from coming over to see his great-grandchildren,” Carly huffed, hauling both boys back, a hand wrapped around each one of their arms. “What did we say about wandering away from the tent?” she demanded.

“To stay away from Robin Drake,” Morgan said with an impish smile.

“And the Zacchara tent,” Cameron added dutifully. He grinned, revealing his dimples.

“I’m pretty sure that’s not what I said,” Carly muttered.

“And I’m almost positive that I said not to leave the immediate area,” Elizabeth said, arching an eyebrow. “Isn’t that right?”

“Possibly,” Morgan nodded. “But Cam was gonna tackle me and the last time he did that, I ate dirt.” He shook his head. “So not interested in repeating that experience, Aunt Liz. I think you can get what I’m saying.”

“I can get that you didn’t follow my instructions or your mother’s,” Elizabeth remarked. She grinned. “Because I’m pretty sure we both said to stay away from the Quartermaine tent.”

“That is…” Cameron paused. “Entirely possible.”

“Mayday,” Carly hissed to Elizabeth. “Incoming. Quartermaine at ten o’clock.”

“You think if I hide Jake under the table, he won’t notice him?” Elizabeth asked. “The last time we took the kids over, Edward was trying to convince us it was time for Cam to go away to boarding school.”

“I told you visiting Edward was a mistake,” Jason shook his head. “But you insisted.”

“To be fair, I took them to see Monica,” Elizabeth reminded him. She pasted a smile on her face as Jason’s grandfather joined them. “Mr. Quartermaine,” she greed politely.

Edward rubbed his hands together, looking uncharacteristically harmless in a pair of khakis and a polo shirt. Elizabeth wasn’t sure if she’d ever seen him out of a suit. “Now, now, my dear, I’ve told you to call me Edward.” He smiled charmingly. “Or Grandfather.”

“Right, Mr. Quartermaine,” Elizabeth nodded. She turned to Jason. “I think I should take the kids to the car for the air conditioning. They need a break from the heat.”

“Oh, but I’ve just arrived.” Edward leaned closer trying to get a closer look at Juliet. “And I’ve hardly had time to meet my great-granddaughter.”

“Will you try to enroll her in college before she can walk?” Jason asked, a little resigned.

“It’s never too early to plan for the future,” Edward advised firmly. “If you have a firm idea now, you will be able to execute it without a flaw later. It’s solid parenting advice that Lila and I followed for our children and it worked. Alan was a splendid doctor and Tracy is well…” he paused. “She had great potential at one time. I can’t quite fathom her marital choices, but she’s not bad at business.”

Elizabeth glanced at her husband, looking for some direction. Jason just shrugged. When it came to Edward, it was best to let him have his say and avoid conflict. “That’s very nice advice, Mr. Quartermaine,” she said. “Jason and I appreciate it.”

“Don’t patronize me, young lady,” Edward said sternly. “It’s not my fault that they were both incapable of raising their own children. Lila and I did a fine job but our entire crop of grandchildren was worthless. Except for Emily, of course. She was a fine girl who is still missed greatly.”

“Of course,” Elizabeth replied, softening. She held out her daughter. “Would you like to hold Juliet for a moment? It’s a bit warm out here for her so I’m going to take her into some air for a while, but I’m sure she’d like to meet her great-grandfather first.”

Edward’s eyes lit up as she placed the infant in his arms. “That’s very kind of you, my dear.” He cradled Juliet in his embrace and smiled down at her. “I was very pleased when Monica told me Jason was marrying you, you know.”

Jason shook his head, knowing that Elizabeth was a lost cause now. She’d insist Edward have regular visits from now on, she’d feel obligated to both the old man and his sister. His wife had always been a soft touch.

“You were always so good to Emily,” Edward continued, “and you had such a good work ethic and a strong moral compass. You are the exactly the right woman for my grandson and for the mother of his children. He is very lucky you chose him.”

He handed the baby back to her. “You get that child out of the sun,” he cautioned. He looked to Jason. “You have a very nice family. Don’t screw it up.”

Edward ambled back over to his tent where Monica and Tracy were arguing, Dillon was attempting to hide behind Alice and Ned was ignoring everyone and speaking to his daughter, Brook Lynn.  Another day at the Quartermaines.

“I give them five minutes before Tracy throws water in her face,” Carly nodded.

“Ten before the ribs goes flying,” Elizabeth replied.

“I doubt they’ll hold out that long,” Jax joined them. “I can see Monica eyeing up the hot dogs.”

“You’re all wrong,” Jason surprised them by speaking up. “Tracy’s hand is inching towards the chicken wings.”

Sure enough, a moment later, Tracy flung the first chicken wing at her sister-in-law. Monica retaliated with a hot dog and Dillon ducked in the picnic table entirely to avoid the ribs that flew a moment later.

“They’re going to need that water,” Carly remarked. “To cool down and to clean up.”

Elizabeth laughed and reached up to kiss Jason’s cheek. “I think I can take Jules back to the car now. I’m glad I didn’t miss the annual food fight. It’s just not the Fourth of July without it.”

Saturday, September 14, 2024

Morgan Home: Back Porch
Elizabeth wants to renew their vows.

Crimson Manor: Conservatory
Nadine wants a good reason to take him back.

Epilogue

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Quartermaine Mansion: Gardens
Liz and Jason get married.

Friday, November 15, 2024

Quartermaine Mansion: Gardens
Liz and Jason renew their vows.

This entry is part 18 of 19 in the series Fiction Graveyard: Tangle

Thursday, December 24, 2011

Morgan Home: Living Room

Three-year-old Cecily planted her tiny hands on her nonexistent hips, screwed her face up in a scowl and glared at her mother.

The stance and the look was so quintessentially Carly that it made Jason smile slightly, though he knew his friend wouldn’t appreciate it.

“I wanna open now!”

His attention drifted from that scene to the one near the Christmas tree, where eighteen-month-old Juliet sat in four-year-old Jake’s lap as their older brother Cameron slowly read to them from The Night Before Christmas. Carly’s son Morgan sat next to them, eying presents under the tree.

This would be his first Christmas without Elizabeth.

She’d been gone since last November, but that Christmas had been just a day spent in some cold dank bar, following up a lead from someone he couldn’t remember. He’d called the kids, but he’d had to hang up — Cameron had started to cry and beg him to bring home his mother.

He never asked for Elizabeth now.

When Jason had first married Cameron’s mother and adopted him, the boy had been a little shy and very quiet. As the next two years passed, that had altered only slightly since he’d entered kindergarten.

In the ten months Jason had spent tearing apart the known world for clues to Elizabeth’s disappearance, that had all changed. Cameron had emerged as a confident and outgoing little boy with a passion for baseball…and for his younger siblings. Hardly a day went by that Cameron wasn’t tugging Juliet to her feet and encouraging her to walk and to talk or teaching Jake how to throw.

He was being the father that Jason wasn’t sure he could trust himself to be any longer.

Carly handed her spoiled daughter off to her husband and joined Jason on the couch. “He’s so wonderful with them,” she murmured. “I only wish Morgan had that sort of patience with Cecily.”

Jason said nothing and kept his eyes on the kids. After a long moment, Carly propped her elbow on the back of the couch and rested her head against her hand. “Jason. I know…well, I guess I can’t possibly really know how hard it’s been since you came home, but I’m sure it’ll get…oh, I don’t know…easier, in some ways.”

“And it’ll get harder in others,” Jason responded. “Juliet has Elizabeth’s smile. Her eyes. Cameron and Jake, they remind me of her, too, but I can just tell…”

“Juliet is going to look so much like her,” Carly agreed, “and that’s gonna be hard. Because you’ve put those photos away. I know why you did it, Jase, and I can’t blame you. But you can’t let that effect how you look at the kids, especially Jules. Cam’s got some memories, and Jake is going to have some vague notions about his mom, but she’s not going to have anything to cling to.  She’s going to need you. They are all going to need you.”

“I almost didn’t come back,” Jason confessed.  “I promised Cam that I was going to bring his mother home, and I couldn’t. I can’t even tell them what happened to her.”

“Jax wondered if you were going to be able to come back without her, but I knew you would.” Carly was quiet for a moment. “I don’t know if Elizabeth is dead. I hope, for your sake and for those children, that one day she comes home. You can’t live your life, hoping for that. If this were reversed, if one day you never came home and there was no clue as to what happened, what would you want for Elizabeth?”

“If you’re suggesting that I move on with someone else–”

“God, Jason, even I’m not that callous,” Carly cut in.  “I know you’re not ready to do that, and I’ll be honest, I don’t see that changing any time soon, if ever. I’m talking about everything else. Cameron is playing Little League this spring. It’s all he talks about with Jax. But he said he hasn’t brought it up to you, because he doesn’t know if you’ll go to the games. Or if you’ll even let him play at all–because you don’t let the kids out of the house without you.”

“Carly–”

“You wouldn’t let me sign Jules up for dance class with Cece, Anna, and Amalia, even though you know that was something Elizabeth was looking forward to because it means letting her out of your sight for more than thirteen seconds.”

“Carly–”

“Cam says that Jake has nightmares about people coming to get him because you scared the crap out of them about talking to strangers.”

Jason looked at the floor, unable to defend himself. It was true. Every word.

“I know about protecting your kids and the emptiness inside when you can’t. When we thought Michael was dead all those years ago, I broke inside and I had a nervous breakdown, and then when he was shot and died for real…” Carly closed her eyes. “If I hadn’t become pregnant with Cecily, I’m not sure I ever would have been able to pull myself out of it, despite Morgan and Jax. I didn’t think I was strong enough, so please believe me when I say that I truly do understand at least a piece of what you’re going through.”

“I know you do, Carly,” he replied. “I know what you’ve suffered, and I know what you’re saying about the kids is true.” Jason pressed lips together. “I’m just not sure how I’m supposed to change it.”

“One step at a time.” Carly hesitated. “Morgan is signing up for Little League. I’ll pull strings with the league and make sure they’re assigned to the same team. They’re in each other’s pocket as it is. Jax is going to coach and I’ll pull the same strings to make sure they’re on his team. Cam will never be far from Jax’s sight. Will that help?”

“I can accept that.”

“And I will be at as many dance practices as I can. When I’m not there, you know that Robin will be. Or Nadine.”

“What about Jake?” he looked at his son. “Can he be fixed so easily?”

“Nothing about this is easy, Jase,” Carly responded softly. “It’s one second at a time, one hour at a time. One day at a time. And one day, it will be better. You’ll be able to wake up and breathe just a little bit easier.”

“But it will never go away,” Jason stated.

Carly looked over at the scene by the Christmas tree. Jax and Cecily had joined the other kids and now, Jax was reading A Christmas Carol to them, though she was sure only Cameron and Morgan could really grasp it. She thought about how uncomfortable she was taking Morgan and Cecily within a mile of the warehouse where Michael had been shot. How she still couldn’t go on the seventh floor at General Hospital because it was where he’d slipped away from her.

“No, it never goes away,” she agreed. “But it gets easier to put it in a different compartment and live your life anyway.”

Sunday, July 28, 2024

Morgan Home: Living Room

It had been just over a week since Juliet had told her father her wild theory about her mother’s disappearance. Exactly a week since Jason had left to look into said theory. Five days since Juliet learned her mother was still alive.

One day since her best friend tried to kill herself.

It was more than any one fourteen-year-old girl should have to deal with.

“Did the doctors say when Lia would wake up?” Molly asked Juliet. She sat next to her on the sofa. “Will it be soon?”

“Any time now or maybe she has already. Not like her parents would call me,” Juliet muttered. “I wish I could be there, but…” she gestured towards the front hallway.  “My mother is going to walk through that door at any minute and I can’t…”

“Lia would be the first person to understand,” Jake said, his own eyes telling the story of his exhaustion. It used to feel weird to Juliet, the knowledge that her best friend had the hots for her brother, but one day this spring, she’d woken up and saw that Jake wasn’t altogether disinterested. What’s more, she saw that occasionally it was her best friend that was able to get through his dense skull.

Now she just wished they’d do something about what was between them so she wouldn’t have to worry about either of them.

“I can see Dad’s car coming down the street,” Cam said, from his position by the window. Molly immediately stood and crossed to grab his hand. “What do we do when she comes in?”

“I think we should take our cues from her,” Jake said. “She remembers stuff about us, Dad said, and she’s seen pictures. I don’t…” He grimaced. “I don’t want to make her uncomfortable. So let’s just…see what she does.”

Juliet told herself that her mother would be uncomfortable if she got out of the car in the driveway and saw them all staring at her, so she should just sit on this couch and wait.

It was the longest seven minutes of her life as she remained the only one person away from the window.

“She looks just like all the pictures,” Jake said, his voice rough. He glanced at Juliet, sitting so quietly, her eyes squeezed shut. “She looks like you, Jules. So much.”

She heard the front door open, footsteps in the hallway and voices. And still, she couldn’t bring herself to look. She was terrified. When the footsteps stopped suddenly, she forced herself to open her eyes.

Her father stood there, slightly behind her mother, his hand at the small of her back. The room was completely silent.

Jake was right, Juliet thought, as she slowly rose to her feet. Elizabeth Morgan looked like all the photos Juliet had pored over. Her hair was even the same length. It was the same brown with strands of gray threaded through. Her eyes were the same blue, but there were lines at the corners.

This was her mother. The first time she had been in the same room with her since Juliet was six months old.

“I–” Cam began but had to stop and look down, swallowing hard.

Elizabeth’s eyes darted from one person to the next, as if she, too, were unsure of the first move. Finally, she took a deep breath and stepped forward, towards Cameron. “Look at you,” she murmured, reaching up to touch his face. Her fingers slid towards his hair. “I remember when you had the most beautiful curls. You hated them, but they were just like mine at the same age.”

“You always said they’d grow out one day,” Cameron said hoarsely, his grip on Molly so tight Juliet was sure there’d be bruises later, but loyal Molly said nothing. She probably couldn’t get the words out through the tears sliding down her face.

“You must be Molly,” Elizabeth said with a smile. “I remember the night you were born, and how terrified your father was at the hospital when he was finally able to be with you. He didn’t know what to do with a girl. Did he ever figure out?”

“He’s done all right, I guess,” Molly said softly. “He lives in New York now.”

Elizabeth looked next to Jake. “My beautiful little boy,” she murmured, stepping towards him. “I knew you’d look just like your father. His eyes, his hair.” She wrinkled her nose. “My nose and chin. I’m sorry about that.”

“Could be worse,” Jake managed to say. “I could have his ears.”

Elizabeth laughed, but it sounded almost like a sob. Jason and Cameron grinned, but Juliet couldn’t do anything.

“Your father says you’re a bit of a handful, but that you’re a good boy and that you look out for your sister.”

“I try, but she doesn’t make it easy,” Jake admitted. “Dad says she and Amalia are like you and Aunt Emily.”

“Oh, dear,” Elizabeth murmured, “I remember enough to know why Jason has so much gray hair.”

Finally, she looked at her daughter and Juliet steeled herself. There was nothing for her mother to say to her. No years of memories to draw on. There had been six months, and all Juliet had done was drool and poop. That was okay, they’d make new memories.

Elizabeth slowly walked towards her, their eyes locked on one another. “You’re so lovely,” she said. She reached out to smooth a hand down Juliet’s hair.

And then suddenly, all the things Juliet told herself flew right out the window. With a choked cry, she lunged forward and threw herself at her mother so hard it drove Elizabeth back an inch or two. And because Elizabeth Morgan was every inch a mother, she didn’t hesitate for a moment. She wrapped her arms around her daughter and drew her in tightly. “My little girl,” she murmured. “My beautiful little girl.”

She looked at her sons, standing there, both looking slightly envious, as if they wished they’d thought of just throwing themselves at her. “Come here,” she said, beckoning with a free arm.

To everyone’s surprise, it was Jake that crossed the room first to join his mother and sister, and it was Cameron that held back.

“Cam,” Molly said softly. “I promise you, she won’t disappear if you hug her.” She squeezed his hand. “Go.”

Cameron hesitated another moment before finally giving in and wrapping his long arms around his siblings and his mother.

“She remembers them,” Molly said, more to herself than anyone else, but Jason answered.

“She was afraid she wouldn’t.” He looked at the girl that his son loved enough to share this moment with. “She thought she wouldn’t remember her love for them.”

“It looks like that’s the one thing she does remember,” she responded.

Finally, Cameron, Jake and Juliet relinquished their hold on their mother, and stepped back, but only to let her have some breathing room. “I’m sorry,” Juliet said. “I told myself I shouldn’t–”

“Sweetheart,” Elizabeth caught her under her chin. “I’m going to be honest with you. I thought about not coming back. Of sending Jason home to tell you that it was all a mistake and I wasn’t who he thought I was.”

“Why?” Jake said, his eyes burning with tears he couldn’t let himself release.

“I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to remember any of you, that I would walk in this room and I wouldn’t know you,” Elizabeth admitted. She looked at Cameron, then at Jake, and finally Juliet. “You’ve grown up so much; you’re almost adults with lives of your own. How could I come back and get your hopes up if I couldn’t be the mother you deserve?”

“But you came anyway,” Juliet sniffled.

“I came anyway,” Elizabeth confirmed. She drew her daughter into a quick hug again. “And the second I walked into this room, I saw my babies again. My beautiful Cameron, who gave me a reason to go on when I was an unemployed single mother with a useless art degree. My precious Jake, who gave me the strength to get up in the morning when my marriage fell apart.” She looked at Juliet. “My little Juliet, who I dreamed of having, months before it was a reality. I knew you would be a girl, that my wonderful, perfect family would only be complete when you arrived.” She touched Cameron’s cheek, and then Jake’s. “I walked into this room, and I remembered my children. If I remember nothing and no one else, that will be enough.”

General Hospital: Amalia’s Room

As soon as Amalia opened her eyes and saw a white ceiling, she knew that something had gone tragically wrong with her plan. She was pretty sure she wasn’t dead, so the immediate goal had obviously failed.

She blinked a few times and slowly turned her head to the left. She recognized a hospital setting and then her eyes focused on a plastic chair that had been dragged from the corner to just beside her bed. Her father sat there, his head lolling back….snoring very loudly.

She hadn’t even known he snored.

Amalia turned her head to the right and realized then that her hand was intertwined with another — her mother sat in a matching plastic chair, but she was slumped over the bed, her head resting next to their hands. Nadine did not snore, so clearly Amalia took after her mother.

Amalia returned her gaze to the ceiling and remembered lying down on her bed at home. She thought she could remember some yelling, but that was somewhat blurry and she couldn’t remember distinct voices or words.

She cleared her throat experimentally and winced. Her throat was on fire. She twisted her head, hoping to find some water somewhere. She’d figure out what to do next….just as soon as she put out the blaze in her esophagus.

Her twisting on the bed must have jarred Nadine because the blonde shot up and looked around. “Amalia?” She looked at her daughter and squeezed her hand when she saw the open eyes. “Baby, thank God.”

Amalia opened her mouth and tried to say water, but all that came out was, “Ack.”

God Bless her mother the nurse, because Nadine immediately sprang into action. She grabbed the empty pitcher from the bedside table and disappeared into the bathroom. The running water woke her father — an amazing feat as Amalia knew that very few things were able to wake her I-Sleep-Like-The-Dead Dad. Johnny sat up and started to rub his eyes.

They stared at one another for a long moment before Nadine reappeared, the pitcher and a cup in her hand. She handed the cup to Amalia who drank it in two quick gulps. She tested her voice again, but “Ack” was really the only thing that resembled a word. She narrowed her eyes with some annoyance. She wanted answers, but without being able to ask the questions, she was screwed.

Her parents stared at each other for a moment, both unsure what to do or say before Nadine finally decided to go look for a doctor.

Johnny leaned forward, rested his elbows on the bed, and looked at her. “You scared the shit out of your mother and me.”

She almost rolled her eyes but thought better of it. She didn’t know what had happened really after she closed her eyes, so it was best not to make any reaction.

“We’ve screwed up with you, Li, we know that,” Johnny continued once Amalia had met his gaze again. “Nothing we do or say can ever make that better, but the things we’ve done to you so we can hurt each other…have nothing to do with how much we love you. It’s the only thing that we’ve agreed on for the past eleven years. We love you, Amalia. You were not a mistake, you were wanted very desperately, and you still are. I wish to God I could take back this last decade so I could make sure you went to bed and woke up every morning knowing that, but I can make a promise to you now.” He picked up her hand and pressed it to his cheek. “I will spend the rest of my life making up for the first part.”

He leaned forward a little. “Just so we’re clear, I love you, Amalia. You are the best thing in my life and the only thing that makes it worth waking up in the morning.”

Johnny sat back and Amalia studied him. Even if she could speak, she wasn’t sure what she’d say.

It was all nice to hear, but then again, were parents supposed to say anything else after their kid tried to kill herself?

Kelly’s: Courtyard

Kelly’s Diner had been part of Port Charles so long that many people thought it had been built when the city had been founded and for as long as anyone could remember, it had been a Spencer enterprise.

To Lucky Spencer, the current patriarch of the family, Kelly’s was more than an institution. It was a living reminder of the people that had once meant so much to him; from his brother Nikolas, the last close member of his family, to his long gone best friend Emily and to his first love, Elizabeth. This place was the setting that had defined their friendship all those years ago.

So it seemed fitting to Lucky that he should be sitting outside, in the courtyard, eating breakfast with someone he suspected might be the great love of his life when his first love walked back into his world after fourteen years of being absent.

He was transported back to those days when he’d been sixteen and she’d been fourteen, a wild child who wore skimpy clothes, smoked, drank and did anything she could to get attention. And he thought about all the days that came later — the devastation of her rape, the disintegration of his family, his brainwashing and their many forays in trying to recapture the halcyon days of their youth.

He saw her children standing with her, the two boys he’d wanted for his own behind her and Juliet, the living image he’d had to confront for so long, standing at Elizabeth’s side, arms intertwined.

“My God,” Lucky murmured, slowly rising to his feet. Across from him, Leyla Marquez followed suit. “Elizabeth.”

“Mom,” Cameron said, touching her shoulder. “I’m not sure if you remember–”

“Lucky Spencer,” Elizabeth cut in with a soft smile. She looked around the courtyard and her eyes narrowed somewhat. “And Kelly’s courtyard. The two are almost synonymous to me. You look…” Her nose wrinkled and a mischievous light snuck into her eyes. “You look old.”

Lucky laughed. “I have to say, honey, you don’t quite look like the girl who made fun of my name in this spot once a time. I’m so damn glad to see you, Elizabeth.” He glanced behind them. “Jason let you out of his sight?”

“We convinced him,” Juliet chirped. “He got to have her for a whole week to himself. We told him it was our turn and he needed to catch up on some work.” She beamed up at her mother, worship in her eyes. “Do you remember Mrs. Marquez?”

“The last name seems vaguely familiar…” Elizabeth frowned at Leyla. “And your face…”

“I married after…” Leyla trailed off. “Well, after. I would have been Leyla Mir at the time. We worked together at the hospital…” When no recognition kindled, she smiled. “We weren’t very close and I’m not altogether positive we worked together a great deal. You and Nadine were more surgical, I was in maternity for a long time.”

“I’m sure it will come to me soon,” Elizabeth said, but they could see this failure to recognize a coworker had not been well received. “I’ve remembered so much at first sight, you know, I guess it was inevitable that it would taper off. I’m just so grateful that I remember my children.” She patted Juliet’s shoulder. “I imagine it will come to me in time…Leyla, and if it doesn’t, well then we’ll just have to create new memories.”

“Of course,” Leyla replied, graciously. “I am so happy you’re home. Everyone at the hospital was incredibly grateful to hear the news.” She looked at Lucky. “I have to go work, so why don’t I leave you to catch up…”

Part of Lucky wanted to do just that…to just sit in front of Elizabeth and drink in the sight of her being healthy and alive, if a little unfamiliar with her surroundings, but that wasn’t something he had a right to do. Elizabeth was in his past, though it had taken him a great deal of time to put her there, and he very much wanted Leyla to be his future.

“I’m sure Elizabeth and the kids have so much to do today,” Lucky said finally. “We’ll catch up soon and with Nikolas in town…” He looked at Elizabeth.  “He wants to see you as much.”

“Of course,” Elizabeth nodded, but only a vague sense of recognition lit her eyes. “We’ll have to do that. I’ve asked the kids to take me to some of the people I remember — Robin and Patrick should be next.”

With one last glance at the diner and courtyard that had painted so many memories in her life — most she couldn’t remember, Elizabeth and the kids disappeared back into the parking lot.

“You should talk to her, Lucky,” Leyla said. “I remember that you were very close–”

“And I hope we can be again,” Lucky responded. He took her hand in his. “But that was a long time ago, Leyla. We’re not those kids anymore and I’ve already wasted too much of my life trying to be him again. I like who I am now…and who I’m with.”

General Hospital: Hallway Outside Amalia’s Room

Amalia was asleep again, or maybe she was pretending to be — it was hard to know for sure. Johnny closed the door behind him and leaned against it, and studied his ex-wife standing across the hall. “I’m sorry.”

Nadine frowned and looked at him with tired eyes. “For what?”

“When you came to tell me you were getting married to Nikolas, I threw a tantrum and made things difficult. I made noises about custody and…” He looked down at the floor. “It occurs to me that the more we threw Amalia in the middle, the more damage we did to her. I did it to needle you and I can only guess you did the same for similar reasons. I know we didn’t do it to hurt her but–”

“It was a way to hold on,” Nadine said softly. “And when she was five or six, it didn’t matter as much. After that, she had to testify and God, we just kept doing it to her…” She blinked and looked at ceiling. “I love her so much, Johnny, but when I really look at what I did to her, what we did…it kills me.” She wiped her eyes and cleared her throat. “I talked to Ian earlier. They’re holding her on a three day psychiatric order, which is the standard procedure, but she’ll make a full recovery.”

“And then what?” Johnny murmured. “I wish I could say that telling her we love her will solve everything–”

“I asked Ian to look around and find the best therapist,” Nadine told him. “A family therapist. We all need to go. Even if it’s just to show Amalia that we love her, that we support her. I know you hate that kind of thing–”

“No, I think you’re right. I think we all need to go.”  Johnny crossed the hall and took Nadine’s hand in his. “We’re still a family, Nadine, and we need to show that to our daughter.”

Morgan Home: Study

“You didn’t want this room.”

Jason glanced up from paperwork that he’d been staring at blankly for almost twenty minutes to find Elizabeth standing at the door. Had it really been fourteen years since he’d looked up to that sight?

“It was one of the only things you argued about when we bought this house,” Elizabeth continued, entering the room and closing the door behind her. “You didn’t want to bring your work home.”

“I wanted it away from all of you,” Jason said quietly. “But I had no choice…”

“Cameron mentioned that you’d never hired any sort of nanny or a baby-sitter, for that matter. They were always with you or one of our friends.” Elizabeth crossed to the window and smiled sadly. “When I first saw you again, memories tumbled back so fast I could hardly keep up with them…and after I saw the kids, I thought maybe I would keep getting them back.”

“The trip around town didn’t go well?”

“I know you wanted to go, but I thought…” she sighed.  “I wanted a little space.”

“I don’t mean to smother you,” Jason said, his throat tightening. “I…arranged with Carly to a hold a suite at the hotel if you don’t want to stay here–”

“Jason…” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “You’re not smothering me.” She turned to look back at him. “It’s just…I feel this pressure when you look at me, and I’m so sorry because I just don’t…” She gestured. “I know we’re married and I feel…” She huffed and shook her head. “God, I just don’t know what to say.”

Jason was silent for a long time. He set his papers aside and joined her at the window. “I won’t lie and say that I don’t want…things between us to be the way they were. I know they can’t be. For the last fourteen years, I wasn’t sure if you were alive somewhere, or if you’d been dead all the while. You’re standing in front of me. I’ll try to let that be enough.”

“It’s not enough for me,” Elizabeth replied. “I walked around this town and I could feel that this was my home, but I couldn’t remember people I worked with, people I called friends. I saw Lucky Spencer at Kelly’s and I know he was important to me but I don’t really remember why, I don’t know who his brother is to me and it frustrates me, Jason, because this was my life and I want it back.” Tears sparked in her lashes and she squeezed her eyes shut. “I want those years back. I want my life, my career, my family…I want it back.”