Chapter Thirteen

Five Weeks Later

Mac slammed the folder down on Ric’s desk. “Inconclusive. If there were any prints, they’re long gone and the blood is too old to get any decent evidence from.”

Ric sighed and leaned back in his chair. “Maybe it’s time we faced the facts, Mac. Zander Smith had a lot of enemies in Port Charles. One of them bashed him over the head. We might never know who.”

Mac shook his head. “I don’t accept that. I can’t let another murder in this town go unsolved–the mayor will have my ass and you know it. Especially Zander Smith–he was wanted for questioning in the shooting of Detective Brian Beck and even if Beck died from unrelated injuries, we still can’t let it go unanswered–”

“It’s beating a dead horse, Scorpio.” Ric shook his head. “We’d never get enough evidence to prosecute and nobody is going to miss a useless human being like Zander Smith. His last link to this world was his father and he died in the fire too. What exactly are you trying to prove here, Mac?”

Mac dragged his fingers through his hair. “I don’t even know anymore,” he muttered. He shook his head and his eyes fell on a wedding photo of Ric and Elizabeth. “Elizabeth was due this summer, wasn’t she?”

Ric coughed. “Uh, yes. She’s away with family right now.”

Mac narrowed his eyes. “Her baby–I heard some gossip that it was Zander Smith’s.”

Ric tensed. “That is…they were friends once, Mac. But Elizabeth was out of his life long before Zander was killed in that fire.”

“Of course–I didn’t mean to speculate. Did she have the baby?” Mac asked.

“Ah…we’re actually separated,” Ric admitted. “She’s filing for divorce.”

Mac blinked. “That was awfully sudden.”

Ric smiled faintly. “You’re telling me.” He glanced at his calendar. “I’m actually flying out to join her in Colorado to try to work things out. If you’ll excuse me…?”

“Oh, right.” Mac picked up the lab report and left, feeling slightly unsettled about the news that Elizabeth Lansing, biological mother of Zander Smith’s child had suddenly filed for divorce from her husband and remembered that she had disappeared from town only a month after Zander Smith died.

Something didn’t add up.

Ric coughed lightly and peered at Johnny, the guard on the door. “If he doesn’t want to be dragged downtown to answer questions, he’ll see me,” he said confidently.

Johnny rolled his eyes but opened the door. “DA Lansing,” he called in.

Sonny, who was sipping a glass of water at the mini bar sighed but waved for Ric to enter. “What do you want?” he demanded.

“Oh, just to drop in on my darling brother,” Ric remarked smoothly. “Where’s your family?” he asked with a smirk.

“Where’s yours?” Sonny returned with the same smirk. “Oh, right–Elizabeth left you. No surprise there.”

It was clear that Sonny had no clue about his affair with Sam, Ric concluded as he thought about the best way to hint about where Carly, Jason and the kids were. If Sonny had known, Ric wouldn’t have gotten three words out before a bullet would have been between his eyes.

“Elizabeth is away visiting family,” Ric lied. “I’m going to join her in Colorado in a few weeks to see her and the baby.”

“Good luck in Colorado,” Sonny said, “since her family has lived in Europe for the past decade or so.”

That made Ric pause. Elizabeth had only mentioned she’d grown up in Colorado but now he realized she’d never really spoken about her childhood. He cleared his throat. “Her immediate family may be in Europe, but her mother’s family is still in Colorado–”

“Cut the bullshit, Ric. You and I both know that Elizabeth has barely spoken to her parents or anyone in her family for years.” The corners of Sonny’s lips curved into a mean smile. “Of course, you probably don’t know. Elizabeth doesn’t talk about her family with people she doesn’t trust.”

“Oh, and she trusts you,” Ric scoffed. “After you chased Carly and your kids away. Please.”

“Maybe not now, but she did once,” Sonny acknowledged, “and she will always trust Jason.” He saw the sudden clench of his half-brothers jaw. Direct hit. “She and Jason have a friendship that goes beyond your understanding–you’ve never been able to change that and it must eat at you.”

“And you were never able to control it,” Ric retorted. “That must have killed you. So, what? You think my wife is off somewhere with your sister’s husband?”

“No,” Sonny said slowly. “Jason is not my sister’s husband. He is my partner and he is my best friend. And I think that where Elizabeth is, she’s safe. From you. She made the right choice in getting away from you because you would have only broken her. And she’s been broken enough.” He sipped his water.

“Since when are you my wife’s biggest fan?” Ric demanded. “And the last time, I checked Jason had custody of your son.”

“Jason has custody of his son,” Sonny corrected calmly. “Michael has always and will always be Jason’s son where it counts. Look, Ric, I’m not going to tell you where they are so you might as well just leave.” He raised his voice slightly. “Johnny, the DA is leaving.”

Ric glared at him before storming out. Sonny waited until the door had closed before reaching for the phone. He dialed a familiar number and waited for the intended party to answer.

“Dr. Winters? I was hoping you had time for a session today…”

Jason slipped his cell phone into his back pocket before stepping out onto the sun porch. Elizabeth was curled up in a lounge chair, Andi in her arms as they watched Michael chase Carly around on the beach. She glanced up when she heard his foot steps. “Hey.”

“Hey.” He took a seat next to her and looked out over the ocean. “Are you feeling all right?”

“Mmm,” Elizabeth smiled and looked at her daughter. “Never better. Now that it’s been a few weeks since Andi was born, I’m feeling stronger and just so…happy. I never knew it could be like this.”

Jason nodded and then bowed his head. “I was talking to one of my sources at the PCPD, Elizabeth.”

Elizabeth tensed and her grip on Andi tightened. “Jason…”

“Mac’s looking into the case with a little more urgency now. Apparently they found the pipe in the wreckage the hotel. It had some dried blood on it that the lab tests say they’re not able to conclusively link to Zander’s, but the blood type matches. There are no finger prints, though.”

Elizabeth exhaled slowly. “Well, that’s okay then. Without something like that to tie me to it, then…” she shook her head. “I should have confessed,” she murmured. “I should never have ran.”

“Don’t worry about what you should have done or what you could have done,” Jason stated. “I still think you made the right decision.” He looked away. “But apparently, there’s a lot of pressure on Mac to solve it because Zander was wanted for questioning regarding Brian Beck’s shooting. A cop shooter is always going to be hunted. So he’s looking into things and my source says that he overheard Mac questioning someone about you.”

Elizabeth’s eyes widened and there was a glaze of fear in their depths. “B-but…why?”

“Because Mac heard the gossip that you were pregnant with Zander’s baby and he realizes that you left town rather abruptly.” Jason stood and went to the railing. “When I go back later this month, I’ll look into it and gauge the danger, okay? If we need to move you, we will.” He dragged his fingers through his hair and turned away from her. “But it would be different. If we had to move you, Michael wouldn’t be able to come visit you. I wouldn’t…” he trailed off.

Elizabeth knew what he wasn’t saying. Her time in Spain had almost been a vacation with Michael and Jason coming and going, Carly and Morgan visiting, the idea that Nikolas and Emily could pop over whenever she asked Jason to arrange it, but if she were to actually have to be on the run from murder charges, she would be alone. Her daughter would be alone.

Unless Jason joined her. Elizabeth wasn’t stupid–the words hadn’t been spoken, but Carly was right. The decision had been made that they would try to build something together. If Elizabeth had to run, that would change unless Jason went with her. She put the idea out of her mind immediately. Jason had Michael to think of and she would never ask him to abandon his son, not after all that he’d gone through and he could never bring Michael with him because it was no life for a boy who already lost enough family.

But Jason would tear himself apart with that choice, Elizabeth realized.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come it,” Elizabeth said softly. She stood and joined him at the railing. “If we have to take those steps, we’ll think about those possibilities then. There’s no point in worrying if there’s nothing to link me to it yet.”

“Okay,” Jason said quietly. He met her eyes. “You’re right. There’s no point in thinking about something that might not have to happen.”

But it wouldn’t stop him from thinking about what he might have to do. Elizabeth squared her shoulders and realized that she would have to be the strong one here.

She would have to take the next step on her own.

Later that night, when Andi had finally drifted off to sleep and the rest of the house was silent, Elizabeth slipped out her phone.

“Elizabeth–it’s in the middle of the night over there,” Nikolas said with surprise.

“Is that anyway to greet your best friend?” Elizabeth said with a false sense of humor.

“I’m sorry, I was just–nothing’s wrong right? Everything is still okay with Alexandria?”

“Everything is fine, she’s absolutely wonderful. That’s why I’m calling.” Elizabeth hesitated. “How would you like to come over for a visit in early September?”

There was a long pause. “Elizabeth, what is wrong?”

“I need…I need you to fly over when Jason and Carly go back to Port Charles,” Elizabeth finally admitted. “There’s something that I have to do that Jason can’t…he can’t be a part of. Will you do this for me?”

“I don’t even know what it is yet,” Nikolas remarked. “But whatever you need, Elizabeth, you know I’m here for you, right?”

“I know.” Elizabeth sighed. “I’ll call you back when I can give you more details. Thanks, Nikolas. I really appreciate it.”



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