Three years and six months ago, Jason Morgan had stood in this hospital—a few floors down on the surgical floor where Elizabeth had worked as a nurse—and watched her open a thin white envelope with the results of their paternity test.
He’d wanted the baby she’d been carrying to be his—even though it would have complicated everything. Elizabeth was in the middle of a difficult divorce and Jason had still technically been dating someone else—but from the moment she’d told him that she was pregnant and unsure about the paternity, Jason wanted the baby.
She’d looked at him and he’d seen it in her eyes even before her lips formed the words. This baby—who turned out to be a boy—was not his. Paternity belonged to the jackass she was trying to get rid of.
They’d both been disappointed—and the truth seemed to have closed the door they had cracked open the night they’d found each other at a local dive bar, shared a few too many shots of tequila and ended up stairs.
He’d promised to remain her friend, and she’d sworn the same. Her ex-husband had never been much of an active father figure and Jason made sure he was the first call when Elizabeth needed someone to pick her boys up from day care. He was Cameron’s emergency contact at school, had already agreed to be Jake’s when he started pre-school in the fall.
He knew what it was like to grow up without a father—his own biological father hadn’t been around until Jason was almost a teenager and nearly made a ward of the state when his mother had died from cancer.
He didn’t have the title of father—didn’t have the blood—but in his heart, those paternity tests hadn’t meant anything. He was the only father that Jake or Cam really knew.
And now…he saw the doctor tell Elizabeth that Lucky Spencer wasn’t Jake’s biological father—he heard the words—but he couldn’t seem to take them in.
“I don’t—” Elizabeth’s voice rose in pitch. “I don’t understand. What do you mean? We—” Unconsciously, her fingers dug into Jason’s arm and she looked at him, her eyes wide with shock, with confusion. “We had tests—”
Silas Clay squinted and looked back at the lab technician. “Brad, are you sure—”
“I ran the test three times, Liz. I wouldn’t tell you this otherwise.” Brad hesitated. “Did…you had a test here?”
“Before Jake was born—three—” She shook her head. “Jason, you have to get tested. You have to get tested right now, and we need to call everyone in your family—”
“Hey—” Jason put a hand on her shoulders because her words were starting to tumble over one another, making her difficult to understand. “Take a deep breath—”
“All this time! All this time, Jake didn’t—” She choked back a sob. “All this time, Jason—how did this happen—”
“We’ll find out, but Jake comes first.” He drew her to him, pressing her cheek to his chest, tangling his hands in her chestnut curls. “I promise you. But let me go get tested. You call Emily and tell her to stop tracking down Spencers, okay?”
“Okay.” He heard her take in a deep, shuddering breath. “Okay. I’ll go have her paged—she’s around here somewhere.”
Elizabeth wiped her eyes and started down the hallway towards the nurse’s hub where she’d have a colleague page Jason’s sister and her best friend.
Jason looked at the doctor and the tech. “We had tests done here. At General Hospital. What the hell happened?”
“I—” Brad shook his head. “I only took over as the director of the lab last year.” He looked at Silas. “I could look into it, but—”
“Do that,” Silas said with a heavy dose of irritation and impatience. “We’ve been wasting time and resources testing the wrong people because of this screw-up.” He hissed under his breath and jerked his thumb in the other direction. “Let’s go set up a test for you.”
Jason stared at the lab tech another moment. “I want to know what happened,” he said evenly. “And who screwed it up.”
“I’ll do what I can,” Brad murmured, and watched the son of the Chief of Staff follow Silas down the hall. Who the hell fucked up the paternity test of a cop and nurse? He growled as he headed for the elevator.
Once back in the lab, he bypassed the computer files and went straight for the archived paper files in the back room. He fished out a file for Elizabeth Webber and flicked through the paperwork—she’d had the usual lab tests done during both her pregnancies, and it took him a moment to find the single piece of paper with the paternity results.
Sure enough, Jason Morgan had been eliminated as the father of the fetus, but Brad knew that couldn’t be true. He made a copy of the test and then punched in the number of the result into the computer system.
The computer spit back not only the original results—but the file history. Jason Morgan had been given a 99.999996% percentage match with the fetus, but a lab tech had manually changed those results.
“Someone is going to get fired today,” Brad told Ellie Trout, an employee working at the station next to him. She rolled her eyes at him—still smarting over the fact that General Hospital had brought in an outside director of the lab. Well, if this was the kind of screw-ups occurring under the last director—
“I don’t recognize these initials,” Brad said. “This employee id isn’t in use anymore.” He looked to Ellie. “Do you know who MG is?”
“Can’t you just ask personnel?” Ellie said with a smirk. “She doesn’t work here anymore. She quit, like, two years ago. Michelle Glenn.”
“Michelle Glenn—” Brad wrinkled his nose. “Why would she manually change paternity test results?”
Ellie perked up at that. “What? Whose results?” When Brad told her the situation, the redhead’s eyes widened. “Oh…well, that’s simple. Michelle was also Courtney Matthew’s best friend. She happened to be dating Jason Morgan then. I bet she did it for her.”