August 13, 2016

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Flash Fiction: 60 Minutes or Less

Prompt: “A ragtag team of misfits end up in her library looking for clues to a cache of stolen jewels.”


Elizabeth Webber picked up a pencil and twirled it in her hands. When she fumbled and dropped it, the tap! as it hit the wooden counter of the checkout desk echoed in the silent room.

It was nine o’clock in the evening and there wasn’t a soul to be found in the Lila Quartermaine Library at Port Charles University—no one studied this late save for exam period, and that was still a month away.

Nope, she had been stuck with the deadly Spring Break death week, and endless, boring nights stretched in front of her.

She left the pencil where she found it and returned to her sketch pad, glaring at the stark white page. How would she finish her project if she couldn’t come with a single subject to draw? “Use your experience!” she muttered as she reached for her charcoal. “Draw what you know. Asshole.”

Why had she taken the drawing class? Why was she still wasting her time chasing an empty dream when she should be concentrating on her doctoral degree in art history? Her grandmother’s voice had been that horrible mixture of annoyance, irritation, and fondness. Oh, Lizzie. What shall we do with you?

“If I ever figure it out, Gram,” she murmured as she stared at the charcoal clutched in her fingers, “you’ll be the first to know.”

She started to just scribble some shadows, an outline of the window to her left starting to emerge and lost herself in the work. No one had to see the drawing—no one ever had to set eyes on it. It was just enough to put the charcoal to paper.

The slight click drew her attention several minutes later. Elizabeth blinked, raised her head. Looked around. The room remained empty—the doors to the three connecting hallways and larger collections remained closed.

She set the charcoal down, rubbing her thumb and index finger together to smooth away the black dust as she stood, moving towards the counter and her cell phone. It was Mac’s job to deal with the security, not hers. His job to keep her safe and secure. Even if she had to force him away from his Netflix marathon of Parenthood.

There was another slight click, this time louder and from above. Just as Elizabeth raised her head to look at the skylight dome, the glass shattered and dark shapes catapulted through it, dropping right on top of her.

She screamed, scrambling away from the large lump of someone that had fallen on her. She pushed and shoved until she got her foot free. As she tried to get to her feet, she was tackled again, a hand slapping over her mouth.

“What the fuck, man! You were supposed to clear the library!”

“I did!”

Elizabeth bit down hard on the finger cover her mouth. The guy hissed, but it didn’t move. She struggled, and he let her sit up, but kept an arm clenched around her shoulders, the other at her mouth.

The second voice had been familiar, and she scowled as she recognized the dark brown eyes beneath black ski mask. Mac Scorpio, their security guard. Damn it.  And there was no sound of the alarm ringing.

“Let me go!” She twisted and struggled, but the grip was iron tight and impossible to dislodge.

“Lizzie?” Mac drew off his mask, his expression filled with dismay. “You’re supposed to be in the Bahamas!”

She hissed and bit down again. Her captor hissed again, and removed his hand. “You know her?” he demanded of the security guard, his voice deep and irritated.

And familiar.

“What are you gonna do to her?” a third voice asked plaintively, younger than the first two. “She knows who you are, Mac.”

“I’m not gonna hurt her,” Mac said to him, disgusted. “It’s Lizzie.”

“What are you doing?” Elizabeth demanded, struggling to her feet as soon as her captor released her. She thrust her hands up to the shattered glass dome. “And what’s with the entrance? You’re the goddamn security guard, Scorpio. You could have just walked in.”

“I slipped,” the younger man said with a sigh. “And fell through. Mac and J—” He coughed. “They got tangled up.”

Mac stood and winced at the dome. “I cut the security wires. We got about ten minutes before anyone notices. Let’s just get this over with—”

“What ‘re we gonna do with her?” the youngest asked. “She’ll call the cops man—”

Elizabeth slowly stepped away from the trio, pursing her lips and narrowing her eyes as she did so. She was twenty feet from the nearest exit, but maybe—

“You’ll never make it,” her captor said dryly. He looked at Mac. “You screwed up. You fix it.”

“Lizzie—”

“My name is Elizabeth,” she managed through clenched teeth. If they were going to kill her, she would be damned if she went out with that god awful name. She didn’t even look like a Lizzie. “Look, let’s not be hasty? If you leave, I won’t—”

“We’re looking for the Quartermaine diamond,” Mac said, with a sigh. He dragged a hand through his hair. “It’s here. In the library.”

“The Quartermaine—” Elizabeth blinked, her pulse racing “The six hundred carat…” She shook her head. “It’s a myth. A legend. No one’s even seen it in the last two centuries. Why would it be here?”

“I told you Elizabeth is an expert on the Quartermaine collection,” Mac told the man standing at her side. “She can help us find it—”

She narrowed her eyes. “Even if I said yes—” And everything in her screamed YES!!!  “Even if I said yes,” she began again, trying to keep her voice from quivering with excitement. “It wouldn’t matter. You’d have to cut it up in order to fence it, and there’s no way in hell I’m letting you dismantle the eleventh largest diamond in the world.”

“Eleventh?” her captor repeated, his husky voice laced with amusement. “You sure about that?”

“It’s one hundred and twenty-six carats smaller than the Jonker,” Elizabeth said coolly. She glared at the man, his eyes blue behind his mask. “It was once the fifth largest in the world until the diamond mines in Africa started throwing out larger ones. It was dug out of a Brazilian mine in 1687 and bought by the Duke of Morgan for his new wife in 1700. It remained in the Quartermaine family until 1776, when it vanished from the family collection.”

“She’s a doctoral student in art history with a specialization in gemology,” Mac said with a touch of pride. “She helped me pick out a good ring for Felicia.”

“Felicia,” Elizabeth said, with some disgust, “is going to skin you alive, Mac, if you get caught. And you’re gonna get caught. How are you going to fence the Quartermaine diamond?”

“Don’t have to,” the youngest said, proudly. “We get to sell it whole—”

Elizabeth snorted. “The Quartermaines—”

“Are you in or out?” her captor asked, irritated.

“Do I have a choice?” she demanded.

He tugged off his ski mask, revealing a chiseled set of cheekbones and disheveled short blonde hair in wild spikes. Her breath hitched—because she knew that face. “We’re going to find that diamond,” Jason Quartermaine said, “because it’s my goddamn inheritance and my grandfather stole it from me.”

He was going kill Mac Scorpio. He was going to peel his skin from his bones and flay him alive.  The son of a bitch had one freaking job—one!—and he couldn’t make sure that the night clerk was tucked away somewhere where they wouldn’t run into her.

Instead, the pretty brunette with the smart mouth and flashing blue eyes had been right dead center in their search zone.

“Why didn’t you tell me the night clerk was Elizabeth Webber?” he demanded of his partner as the third member of their trio drew off his own mask, shoving it into his back pocket. He hadn’t wanted to include Michael, but his nephew had threatened to follow them.

“I thought you knew where the diamond was,” the security guard replied with a furrowed brow. “What do you care?”

Elizabeth Webber, his sister’s childhood best friend. His grandmother had told him she was writing her dissertation on the Quartermaine collection, but Jason hadn’t really thought she’d be familiar with the diamond.

“I said I thought my grandfather hid it in the library,” Jason said, his teeth clenched. “I should have asked her instead of hiring you. She could have written a damn chapter about it for her paper.”

“Why did you have to break in?” Elizabeth demanded, drawing his attention back to her. “You’re Jason Quartermaine. Your family built this library. There are, like, three buildings named for you people. You make one phone call and they’d hand the library over to you.”

“I guess she hasn’t kept up with the family gossip,” Michael said with a bit of false cheer. “Grandfather hates Jason. And—”

“I’m not Jason Quartermaine anymore,” Jason muttered. “Where the hell have you been?”

Elizabeth hesitated, regret flashing in her eyes. “I moved to London for school after Emily—” She looked away. “Your grandmother just said you weren’t at home anymore.”

“If we could do the reunion and catch up later,” Mac said, “the security company is going to notice the system is offline—”

“This is a real crack plan you’ve come up with.” Elizabeth rolled her eyes and started towards the desk. She drew up short, her eyes widening with fear as Jason stepped in front of her.

“Where are you going?” he demanded. “Are you calling the police?” He had to keep her quiet. Damn it. If Mac had just told him about her—if he’d asked his grandmother more about her—

“I’m calling the security company,” Elizabeth said slowly. “To tell them that something fell through the dome, and that some thing’s wrong with the system. Mac, you should probably get back to your station to call them, too. You two—” She eyes their dark clothing. “Maybe you should change.”

Michael tossed a duffel at Jason. “We got our street clothes—”

“You can be here…consulting with me about something. You’ll figure out that before they get here.” She lightly stepped around him to reach for the phone. “You can handle that, can’t you?”

Jason hesitated, looked at her as she hit a speed dial. “Does that mean you’ll help me?”

She met his eyes as she put the receiver to her ear. “Find a diamond that no one has seen in two hundred years? A find that could make my career and finally finish my dissertation? You should have come to me first instead of breaking in.”

“Why didn’t we come to her first?” Michael asked as he followed his uncle towards the stacks where they began to swiftly change into the clothes from the bag. “Seems easier than buying off the guard.”

“I had my reasons,” Jason muttered as he dragged on his jeans. “Get rid of the gear and go find some books. You’re a student here, you can make it work.”

“She knew Aunt Emily?” Michael asked, tucking his polo shirt into his slacks. “Why didn’t she recognize your voice like she knew Mac?”

Jason rubbed the back of his neck. “Because it’s been fifteen years. And…”

“Wait…” Michael frowned. “Elizabeth Webber,” he repeated. “Wasn’t she in the car—”

“Yeah.” Jason cleared his throat. “The night your aunt died, my brains got scrambled, and—”

“—my father walked out away without a scratch.”

May 11, 2019

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Flash Fiction: 60 Minutes or Less

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

Written in 30 minutes.


Spring 2019

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

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

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

Sure. That worked.

“One minute.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——

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

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

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

“Elizabeth.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 19, 2016

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Flash Fiction: 60 Minutes or Less

This has not been spellchecked or edited 😛 And this is not a continuation of last week’s prompt. Remember to leave prompts in the comments so I don’t have to spend my time finding my own 😉


Prompt: “You’re lucky I’m tired because if I was fully awake I would have already shoved you off this roof.”


Elizabeth Webber clenched her fists around the steering wheel of the minivan as she heard Maxie Jones blow another goddamn bubble. Pop! Snap!

She was going to murder them all.

She would pull this godforsaken rental vehicle over, force these morons out onto the side of the road and then she would beat them to death. Bury them somewhere in the endless desert that served as the only landscape she’d seen in three days.

She hated people. She hated these people. Who the hell decided it would be a good idea to pile themselves into one car and go cross country?

“Turn on 90s on 9!” Maxiechirped from the back of the van, where she and her boyfriend Nathan had spent most of the trip cuddling and being generally the worst people alive.

“Kiss my ass,” Elizabeth muttered, slapping Patrick Drake’s hand as he reached out to obey Maxie’s dictate. “You do it, and you’ll be out the window.”

“Hey.” Patrick slapped her hand back and changed the station—to Today’s Hits! which might be more mildly annoying than Maxie’s suggestion. If she had to listen to that damned Bieber song one more time—

“Just because you got dumped, Elizabeth,” Maxie began, with as much sympathy as she could muster—

“I did not get dumped,” Elizabeth said, her teeth clenched. “I dumped him. I am the dumper.”

“Well, he was screwing someone else,” Patrick added helpfully. “So I mean, in that sense—”

“If you finish thought, Patrick Michael Drake, I will set you on fire and let the coyotes eat your remains.”

“Are you guys bothering Elizabeth again?” Robin Scorpio said, with a yawn. How Patrick’s girlfriend and Maxie’s cousin managed to sleep through the incessant yacking—

“I’m not bothering. I’m simply saying she’s been taking her bad mood out on us for the last two thousand miles,” Maxie said. “And it’s not cool. This is our summer road trip, too.”

“Speaking of road trips,” Patrick murmured, squinting at the GPS. “There’s a town coming up at the next exit. Last one for about an hour. We could stop there for the night.”

Maybe it was near an airport. She’d fly back to Port Charles, make sure that lying slime bag was out of her life and find new friends—new friends without annoying relatives.

“Sounds good. I’m getting tired of the car,” Robin said. “And I’m sure Elizabeth wants a break from driving.”

“She’s so diplomatic,” Maxie giggled to her boyfriend. “We all want a break from Elizabeth’s driving.”

“One more crack about my driving and I’m steering this van into on-coming traffic,” Elizabeth snapped.

“Yeah…” Patrick twisted in his seat to look at the couple in the back. “She’ll do it, too, so shut up, Maxie.”

“We should have flown,” the blonde pouted, but mercifully—she stopped talking.


The sixth seat in the car was empty—having been meant for the son of a bitch she’d found bouncing on one of his co-workers the day they were supposed to leave. Elizabeth had thought a road trip to California would get her mind off it all.

Until she remembered she was going with two other couples, and while Patrick and Robin were being kind enough to keep their PDAs to a minimum, Maxie could give two shits.

She’d never liked that girl.

After they’d checked into a hotel, the four of them had disappeared to find a diner, while Elizabeth decided a night in with some pizza would be great.

Until the delivery guy brought her ham and pineapple pizza and then blinked at her when told it was the wrong order.

He’d vaguely said something about coming back, but she had her doubts.

And now, standing in front of the ice machine and finding it out of order…

“You know, if I ever needed proof that God was a man and not on my side,” she muttered, “this trip—this is it.”

She gave it one last mighty kick, turned, and smacked right into a broad chest. “Oof—watch where you’re going!” Elizabeth began, stepping back and tilting her head up—and blinking.

“I could say the same about you,” the gorgeous blond man in a pair of blue jeans and a gray uniformed shirt proclaiming his name to be Jason. It hung unbottoned over a dark blue t-shirt.

“Sorry about this machine,” he continued, setting a tool box down. “Owners don’t want to replace it.”

“Oh. Well….” Elizabeth bit her lip, “sorry about kicking it.”

He just shrugged. “It’s not gonna get any more broken.” He—Jason—unscrewed something, and the machine split into two as he opened it. “Did it make you feel better?”

“For a second,” she admitted. “And then…” She looked down the walkway toward the parking lot where the minivan had been parked before the others had left for dinner. “What city am I in, anyway?”

“McLean, Texas,” Jason replied. “I guess we’re not your destination.” He squinted at the machine. “Can you hand me that flash light?”

“What?” She blinked, then handed it to him. “Oh. No, not really. Patrick—my best friend’s boyfriend—he wanted to do a road trip along Route 66 this summer. We’ve been planning it for months.” She looked away, where the lights of the road could still be dimly seen. “I’m ruining it for them.”

“Can you give me that racket wrench?”

She handed it to him. “I’m not a bad friend. Not normally. But at the last minute, Robin wanted to bring her cousin and her boyfriend, and Maxie drives me up the wall. She’s always talking and never has anything to say.”

“So why didn’t you say no?”

His head was all but inside the machine now, his voice muffled as he did—something—to the gears inside.

“Because she’s my best friend. And Maxie’s parents are divorcing—” Elizabeth hesitated. She’d let herself forget that—her own irritation and anger had swallowed everything.

“Can you give me the socket wrench?”

She did so. “Right before we left—I broke up with my boyfriend. He was supposed to come, too.”

“At least it wasn’t a nonrefundable trip.” Jason pulled back, looking at her, his blue eyes with a bit of wicked amusement. “Or you know, after you’d put deposits on caterers. And hotels. You know how difficult it is to get out of those contracts?”

“Guess I hadn’t thought about it that way. The only thing I had to cover was his part of the rental for the van.” She tilted her head. “You speaking from experience?”

Jason shrugged as he reached for a rag to deal with his greasy hands. “My sister. Asshole stood her up two weeks before the wedding. He’s lucky my dad didn’t have a shotgun handy.”

“I’m probably better off. It’s not like we were dating that long,” Elizabeth admitted as she watched Jason close the ice machine back up. “But I should have backed out of the trip.”

“Maybe.” Jason took the bucket she’d had in one of her hands and shoved it under the dispenser. He punched the button with a closed fist. A cascade of ice chips slid into the red plastic. “There you go,” he said, handing her the bucket. ‘

Their hands brushed as she accepted it. His skin was rough, calloused. Elizabeth bit her lip and tilted her head. “You like ham and pineapple pizza?”

“Is that where my order went?” Jason said, grinning. “I guess Bobbie Mack got confused with two orders. You mind sharing?”

“Not even a little.”

September 11, 2016

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Flash Fiction: 60 Minutes or Less

Not a continuation of the medieval series 😛


Prompt: “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” ― C.S. Lewis


Bobbie Spencer found him in his office, long after he normally left for the day. His eldest son had called, worried. Lee was never late for dinner, not since he had brought home another lost boy in January.

He was slumped over in his desk chair, his hand still clutching a pen as he had been finishing a patient’s chart. Lee Baldwin had spent his entire life helping people—from the children he counseled to the three boys he and his wife had fostered and adopted—and no one was surprised he had had his final heart attack in the midst of continuing his life’s work.

On an early spring day, Lee’s sons buried him in the plot reserved for him after his wife Gail had succumbed to breast cancer a decade earlier. They returned to the home where they had been raised, now filled with food and the people who had loved their father.

And Jason Morgan, the eldest of the three boys but the last to come to Lee and Gail, hated every inch of it.

He sat on the back porch, where the backyard met the small patch of woods and a creek. Wind rustled through the leaves, the low level of water babbled over rocks…this was was everything to him.

Patrick and Johnny had wanted to go back downtown, to the streets where they had grown up. Maybe to prove something—that they weren’t the same little assholes anymore, that they were better, stronger men.

Jason just wanted the peace, the quiet. He liked his home, liked his garage two blocks away. Stopping in the local diner for lunch or coffee. He didn’t need more than that.

The porch door creaked behind him, and he heard footsteps. Without turning, he said, “I’m not going back in there.”

“Hell, I know that.” His younger brother sat next to him and passed over a bottle of Rolling Rock. “Figured you’d want another one of these.”

Jason accepted it, and used the corner of the porch to knock off the cap—he’d been doing that since he was sixteen. “I can’t deal with all those people.”

“You don’t like people in general.” Johnny Zacchara shrugged. “I don’t either, but I’m better at pretending.” He took a long pull from his own bottle. “What was the final straw?”

“Bobbie Spencer was crying on my shoulder.” Jason closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the porch post. “I get it. Everyone loved Dad. I didn’t fight having the memorial, I just…”

“Want to put it away.” Johnny nodded. “I get it. Patrick’s the schmoozer, he’s got it covered.” He was quiet for a moment. “The chick from Social Services stopped by. The blonde?”

Jason frowned. “Why? We told her how it was going to be. Dad wanted Michael to stay. He’s ours. Done.”

“Adoption was barely started.” Johnny looked down at his bottle. “She’s worried we’re a bunch of crazy bachelors. But better us than somewhere else, right?”

“Right.” Jason nodded. And it was a done deal in his head. It was Lee’s last wish, so that was the end of it.

The door creaked again, but this time Jason heard the sound of heels rather than the shoes of a man. He straightened and turned. “Elizabeth.” He stood. “Hey.”

“Hey.” Elizabeth Webber smiled at them both, her blue eyes tinged with fatigue, one had propping open the door. “Patrick’s looking a bit wilted, Johnny. He had to deal with the nursing staff without you guys. Maybe…”

“Heard.” Johnny flashed their old friend a smile as he brushed past her into the house. “Jason wouldn’t be any help anyway.”

Jason didn’t even bother to scowl at his brother.. “You okay?”

“Fine.” She shifted. “Jason—”

“Where’s Cam?” Jason asked, cutting her off before she could ask him the same question everyone else did.

He might tell her the truth.

“He’s inside, taking a nap with Lulu’s son.” Elizabeth gently closed the door and stepped closer. “I’m surprised you lasted as long as you did. Almost an hour.” She tried to smile, but it didn’t last. She closed her eyes as a tear slid down. “I’m sorry. I was just—I walked into the kitchen and he wasn’t there. And I didn’t realize how different the house would be—”

Jason reached for her arm and drew her close. “Hey. Hey. Elizabeth—”

She wiped at her eyes and shook her head, drawing away from him. “No, no. I’m okay. I—you lost your father. I’m fine. Really.”

He sighed, but kept his hand on her arm. “Take a walk with me.”

“What?” she frowned. She gestured behind her. “We still have—”

“Don’t worry about it.” He tugged her down the stairs and towards the path that led into the woods. He needed to be away from the house almost as much he wanted to see Elizabeth take a moment for herself, which she rarely did.

From the moment he had come to live with Lee and Gail Baldwin in their home on the outskirts of Port Charles, Elizabeth Webber had been part of his life. She had been a little girl, then, nine to his thirteen, and closer to Johnny and Patrick since they were all in the same grade. At first, she had visited during the summers—her grandparents had lived nearby and worked with the Baldwins at the hospital. She had moved to Port Charles permanently three years later when her parents left for Doctors Without Borders, and she’d remained there.

To Johnny and Patrick, she would always be their sister—a comrade in arms, and often a partner in crime. To Jason, she was…fresh. Innocent. The first person, other than Lee and Gail, to care about him. Even Patrick and Johnny hadn’t warmed up to him as fast as she had.

And if maybe, once they were older, his feelings had shifted, that didn’t matter. She was better than him, deserved more than him.

“It feels weird to take this path now.” Elizabeth wrapped the ends of her thin black sweater more tightly around her torso as they picked their way through the well-traveled route. “How many times do you think we used this in high school?”

“More than my parents knew.” Jason winced—the shoes he’d worn for the service were not much for walking in. “I can’t believe it’s been eight years since your grandmother died.”

“I know.” Elizabeth stopped when the white porch of the old Hardy house was visible. “I wonder if my grandmother knew my parents would sell her home so quickly.” She was quiet for a moment. “They really just thought I could pull up stakes after five years and come to Europe, like I wasn’t in the middle of my senior year.” She turned and offered him a sad smile. “But Lee wouldn’t hear of it. For a little while, I was one of his lost kids. I loved him so much. I hate that Michael won’t get to know him and love him the way we did.”

Jason exhaled slowly. “Johnny told me Social Services is making some noise about pulling him.”

She blinked. “But he’s doing so well here. I know his grades are up and he was talking to Lee last week about playing baseball this year.” She pressed her lips together. “You guys are going for custody aren’t you?”

“Lee wanted us to keep him, so we’re keeping him.” Jason looked off into the woods, focusing on the breaks in the trees where the creek could be seen. “We’ll meet with her. It probably won’t be anything, but—” He looked at her, and shifted, hating what he was about to say. “Can you—can you maybe help out a bit for a few days? We don’t…have a schedule or anything with Michael yet. I—I don’t plan my day around him. He needs to be picked up from school—” He cleared his throat. “I’ll pay you whatever Dad was paying you to keep doing some things around the house—”

Elizabeth scowled and stepped back from him. “You think Lee was paying me to look after him and Michael? To make some meals and clean up? Jason.”

He frowned. “You’ve been around a lot the last few months—I know you cut back on some the houses you look after on the weekend and dropped a shift at Kelly’s to be around for Michael. Elizabeth—”

“Lee was family to me. He needed a bit of extra help.” She huffed. “He wasn’t a young anymore—when he took in the three of you, he did it with Gail. He was a bit out of his depth with Michael.” She bit her lip. “He needed the help, Jason. Couldn’t you see that?”

He looked away. He had. But he had ignored it. Kept to himself. Protecting his quiet world.

“I didn’t mean…” Elizabeth sighed, and tilted her head. “Jason, you know Lee hated asking you guys for anything. He was so proud of all you—”

“Don’t.” Jason shook his head sharply. “Let’s just…” He paused. “Let’s just get back to what—I’m going to need help with Michael. Patrick and Johnny—they can’t just…they can’t pick up and move back to the house, and I still need to work. Please. I know you’d help without it, but I’d feel better if I knew you and Cameron were all right.”

Elizabeth turned and started back towards the Baldwin house. He followed her, but said nothing. He knew she would agree—he just had to wait.

“Let’s do it this way,” Elizabeth said after a long moment. “I’ll still work the lunch shift at Kelly’s, and my regular weekend shifts. But I’ll pick Michael up from school, look after him until one of you can get here. And you can pay me the rate I would usually make at Kelly’s for the evening.”

“Okay.” The house came into view and he stopped. “I have to go back in there, don’t I?”

“Yeah.” She wound her arm through his. “But I’ll come with you.”

October 2, 2016

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Flash Fiction: 60 Minutes or Less

The cottage was smaller than he had expected, a small stone structure separated from the road by a stone fence. Outside the house, in front of some greenery, a woman was kneeling, her hands buried in the dirt.

Jason stepped up to the gate, and hesitated before calling out. “Mrs. Morgan?”

The woman turned, chestnut hair slipping from its pins. She frowned at him for a moment, her eyes shadowed as she must have taken in the stiff redcoat he wore. She rose to her feet.

“Yes?”

He reached into his satchel and drew out a stack of letters. “I believe these belong to you.”

She stepped towards him then, her face ashen. “What are those?” she managed. “Who…who are you?”

“Captain Jason Morgan,” he told her after a long moment. “You’ve…the letters you’ve been sending…”

“Oh.” Her eyes met his, and for a moment—he thought she would crumple to the ground. She swayed, but then she swallowed hard. “You…have my letters.”

“Yes.”

“And you….” Her voice broke. “And you read them?”

“I—” And he faltered, because he had no excuse for reading them. After the first letter, when he had opened it to discover a woman writing to someone who was not him—he should have put them down. Written her back. Stopped them.

“I read that first letter,” he said finally. “And I thought it might…you had already told people…you were writing the letters to…” He dipped his head for a moment. “I thought telling you might create more problems than you needed.”

“Oh.” She didn’t reach for the stack of letters. “You read them all.”

“Yes.”

“Why?” She looked at him.

“Because I thought…” That someone should be listening to her. Not planning her life. “I’m sorry. I—”

“So for…five years, you read every letter I sent to you.”

“Yes.”

Her cheeks flushed and she looked away. “So you know.”

“I do.”

“My father thought…he wanted me to write for a while, and then…” Her throat squeezed.

“And then have me killed in battle so you could get married as a respectable widow,” Jason answered. He swallowed his next question—he had wanted to ask why she wouldn’t do it. Even with the war over, with Napoleon safely in exile and soldiers streaming home, she still hadn’t. “I wanted to return these to you on my way home.”

Elizabeth blinked then, the color draining from her cheeks again. “Did you—did you go into the town? Did anyone see you? Did you give your name—”

“No. I wouldn’t—”

But the door to the cottage opened then, and a small boy came out, his cheeks flushed and eyes bleary from sleep. “Mama?”

“Cameron.” Elizabeth turned to him.

Cameron, the son Elizabeth had protected all these years. She had written of him, and Jason had waited for those letters. After particularly bad battles—after watching men he served with and befriended mercilessly killed—he had read about Cameron, the little boy who thought his father was a brave soldier rather than…

“Who’s that?” Cameron yawned and focused on Jason. His eyes widened. “Is that….is that Papa?”

“What?” Elizabeth shook her head. “Cameron—”

“It is!” Cameron ran towards him, and Jason—without thinking—caught the ball of energy as the child flew at him. The letters scattered to the ground, with one left in Jason’s arms. Cameron plucked it from his grasp. “’Tis Mama’s writing,” he said, happily. “Papa!”

“Cameron, I must explain,” Elizabeth said, voice thin and uneasy.

If they had had another few moments of privacy—Jason was sure they would have found a way out from under the misunderstanding—perhaps he would be someone who had served with the boy’s father, bringing news of his demise personally.

But they were interrupted by an approaching cart, driven by an older couple. The man, his gray hair peeking out from under his cap, peered suspiciously at the scene. “Whoa,” he murmured to his horse. “Mrs. Morgan, everything all right?”

“Papa’s home!” Cameron crowed. “My papa has returned!”

“Oh!” The woman stepped down from the cart, her blue eyes wide with delight. “Oh, at least, my dear Elizabeth.” She sighed with happiness. “I was beginning to despair that you might ever return, wasn’t I, Mr. Spencer?”

“Aye, Mrs. Spencer,” the woman’s husband replied, though his eyes remained wary. “You sent no word?”

“I—” Jason looked at Elizabeth, whose face had gone white. With only a few words, he could destroy her reputation in this village, where she had lived as the vicar’s daughter. Where she had raised her son after her father’s death.

“He didn’t,” Elizabeth said after a long moment. “I confess, I—I nearly didn’t recognize him.” She met his expression, and her eyes were pleading. They would find a way out of this, but for the moment—

“I wanted it to be a surprise,” Jason said.

“Oh, how lovely,” Mrs. Spencer crowed. “We must get back into town and spread the word. We think so highly of our Elizabeth, Captain Morgan. Standing strong against the world, raising her boy. I am so relieved you have returned.” She went back to the cart. “Elizabeth, the Ladies Syndicate will be meeting tonight, but we do not expect you to attend.”

Mr. Spencer stared at them for another long moment before tugging on the reins and pulling away.

When they were out of earshot, Elizabeth looked to Jason, terror etched in her expression. “What do we do now?” she managed.

February 1, 2017

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Flash Fiction: 60 Minutes or Less

Robert Scorpio had led a life of adventure–an agent for the WSB in his early years and the later decades spent as a police commissioner in the small metropolis of Port Charles where his family had settled generations ago.

To accompany the collection of careers and identities he had accumulated, he also had a variety of women.

His first wife had worked as a double agent for the WSB and DVX—Anna had given him Robin, though Robert would not know of her until years after their divorce and Anna’s own death in the line of duty. Robin came to live with him at the age of twelve—a bright but cynical girl who was most like her father.

His second wife had served as part of his cover as his career as an agent had wound down. He had cared for Marsha, but once the job had been over, he had left her behind as well—along with a daughter he was never very close to. Elizabeth had grown up knowing her father as the signer of monthly checks and a yearly visit lasting no more than a week.

In his later years, he had married one more final and brief time—the third wife, Felicia, had died of cancer when their daughter was young. Cognizant of his failures, he had spoiled the girl more than the other two, and Maxie had grown up to be a bit selfish and immature.

Three daughters. Sisters who were not close—and one of whom had never really become part of the family. At the end of Robert’s life, these women were his legacy and he was determined to fix in death what he had broken in life.

Those who meant to honor him gathered at the home that had been in the Scorpio family for nearly fifty years—a comfortable three brick home that reminded his middle daughter of the types of homes people had in the movies. She stood outside of it, her breath little puffs of white in the brisk and chill of upstate New York in January.

“Hungry, Mom,” her three-year-old son said plaintively at her side, his gloved hand tucked inside her own bare palm. “Juice box.”

“I know, sweetie.” Tired by the flight, by the worry over what would happen next, Elizabeth Spencer gathered her energy and picked her son up so they could climb the stone steps to the porch. This house had always intimidated her—as did the woman who likely now owned it.

She knocked, wincing as her freezing knuckles came into contact with the heavy oak door. It swung open, and she stepped back a bit. She knew that face—the kind blue eyes, the chiseled cheek bones. She had met him once, almost a decade ago, but she couldn’t quite place his name.

“Elizabeth, right?” the man said, stepping back and drawing his eyebrows together. “Robin didn’t say you had kids—”

Robin hadn’t known. She had sent a polite decline to the wedding invitation Elizabeth had sent four years earlier, as had her father and her other sister. It had been the last time Elizabeth had reached out to her father’s family. Had Robin married as well?

“This is Cameron.” Elizabeth stepped inside the house, into the blessed warm and set her son on his feet. “I, ah, I didn’t have anywhere—he had to come.”

“Right.” He cleared his throat and extended his hand. “Jason. Jason Morgan. We met once, I think. When we were kids.”

“Yeah, I think I was like fourteen.” Elizabeth gingerly shook his hand but pulled her own back immediately. “I didn’t realize—I didn’t know Robin had married—”

“What?” His eyes widened. “Oh. No.” His cheeks flushed, and Elizabeth found herself comforted by that fact. “No, Robin and I—We’re friends. Just—I mean, she wouldn’t have without telling—”

But he stopped. Of course Robin would have married without telling Elizabeth. It hadn’t been Robin who contacted Elizabeth about Robert’s funeral—it had been some lawyer who wanted her present at the reading of the will. In fact—Elizabeth had learned from that lawyer that the funeral was already over—they hadn’t tracked her down in time.

“Anyway,” Jason continued. “She just asked me to wait here for you. There was a shift at the hospital, and Maxie is—” He frowned. “Not exactly reliable.”

“Oh.”

“Mommy,” Cameron tugged her black coat. “Juice box.”

Elizabeth sighed. She had hoped this would not take long, but apparently— “Cam, we couldn’t bring them on the plane, remember?”

“Mommy had to trow them out,” Cameron told Jason, his lip pouting. She rubbed her eyes.

“I’m sure—” Jason gestured toward the kitchen. “I don’t know if there’s juice, but I’m sure there’s something—”

“I don’t want to impose.” Elizabeth shoved her hands in her pockets. “I thought the reading was supposed to be in—” Twenty minutes. She had timed their arrival to minimize the amount of time she would have to spend here.

“It’s not imposing,” Jason said, but he looked away. Easy for him to say, but she didn’t want a single thing from her sister. Not even juice.

“I’ll come back.” Elizabeth lifted her chin. “We’ll just—we’ll just check into a motel and Robin can call me—”

The door swung open again and her sisters came in then—Robin with her dark eyes and hair, Maxie with blue eyes and blonde, both clad in heavy winter gear. They stopped when they saw Elizabeth. When they saw Cameron.

Robin hesitated, looked at them, then at Jason. “Hey. Thanks for being here—I had to drag Maxie away from Kate.”

“I was busy,” Maxie said, moodily. She nodded at Cameron. “Who’re you?”

“Cameron Hardy Spencer,” Cameron recited. “Who are you?”

Jason smirked, but Maxie scowled—the tones of the three-year-old and the twenty-three-year-old had been remarkedly similar.

“Maxie,” Robin said, touching Maxie’s arm. “Elizabeth, I’m glad you could make it.” She looked at her watch. “Alexis should be here soon.” She gestured at Cameron. “Um, I guess he’s yours. You’re married, right?”

“I was,” Elizabeth said, but she didn’t offer any further information. That was no one’s business.

“Juice box,” Cameron repeated.

“Right,” Robin said, clearing her throat. “Um, would it be okay if Jason hung out with Cameron while we talk to Alexis? He can feed him or just…” Robin swung her hand. “Keep him alive.”

Elizabeth hesitated—she never left Cameron in anyone’s care if she could help it, save her own. Not anymore. But Cameron was rubbing his eyes and if he had to ask for a juice box again, he might throw a tantrum.

Besides, Jason had been kind to her. Had treated her like Robert’s daughter, and not just…someone who was mentioned in the will.

“All right.” Elizabeth gingerly unbuttoned her coat. “Cam, you’ll be good for Mr. Morgan, right?”

“Juice box,” Cameron said again, but this time he looked at Jason, his eyes narrowed.

“I know that look,” Jason said. “Michael gets it, too.” He put his hand out for him. “Want to go investigate what Aunt Robin has in the kitchen?”

“Okay,” Cameron said. “Bye, Mommy.”

When they were gone, Robin looked to Elizabeth. “I didn’t know you had a kid,” she said, with a hint of irritation. “It must have been hell on the plane.”

Elizabeth didn’t know how to respond to that—it had sucked, but there was nothing in her sister’s expression that suggested they should continue the conversation. These women were strangers, and the sooner she got whatever Robert had left her, the sooner Elizabeth could figure out the next step.
A half hour, Elizabeth learned exactly what Robert had left to her. And to her sisters.

Alexis Davis sighed. “I’m sorry, Robin. Your father was very clear—”

“But he can’t mean it,” Robin said, tears in her eyes. “This house has been in our family for generations—he can’t mean to sell it.”

“And leave us with nothing,” Maxie complained. She turned accusing eyes to Elizabeth. “This is your fault. You were so mean to him. You’re why he’s doing this.”

Elizabeth blinked at the younger woman. “What?”

“Maxie,” Robin sighed. “Don’t—”

“We have to live together here for a year,” Maxie complained. “Or we lose the house. How could Daddy do that you, Robin? You love this place. This is our home.”

“He hoped,” Alexis said slowly, “that you might finally become closer. He regretted not knowing Robin until she was a teenager, that Elizabeth was never part of the family unit.” She looked at Elizabeth. “He realized that it might be an imposition for you—there’s some money for relocating—”

“There’s no need—I’ve already—” Elizabeth swallowed hard. “I just finalized my divorce. I signed the papers the day before you called me, and, um, I packed everything I had for me and Cam. I’m not going back. I—I didn’t know where I was going next, but I’m already—” She looked at her sisters. “If you want to do this, I’ll—I’ll do it. I need some time to figure out the next step. But Cam has to—”

“Of course,” Robin said immediately. “That goes without saying. You’re a package deal.” A tear slid down her cheek. “I know this isn’t home for you—or it wasn’t—”

“She’s the one who stopped coming,” Maxie muttered.

“—but it’s the only—” Robin stopped and took a deep breath. “Thank you. For this. You won’t regret.”

Elizabeth wasn’t too sure about that, but what was one more regret to go with all the others?

June 23, 2017

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Flash Fiction: 60 Minutes or Less

Prompt: Your heroine captures something on film that makes people want to kill her.

This is unedited, so excuse the typos.


Elizabeth Webber wrinkled her nose and looked at her film editor. “Can you replay that last fifteen seconds?” The beleaguered Dillon Quartermaine clicked a few buttons and the footage of the park the previous day began to roll again. When it had ended, he looked at her. “Wanna go another six times or can we go to print?”

“I guess.” Elizabeth sat back in her chair and touched her pen to her lip. “I just feel like I’m missing something—”

“You’re doing a minute thirty bit on the annual police barbecue.” Dillon played with a few more buttons, adding titles and shaving an extra half second off the back end. “It’s not really Pulitzer Prize material.”

“You don’t win Pulitzers for television.”

“Okay, well, whatever you win for TV.” Dillon slid the tape out and handed it to her. “I’m sorry to break it to you, but you know this might even get relegated to the D-block.”

“Yeah.” She sighed. “It’s not really what I wanted to do. I wanted to investigate, break stories that matter—”

“You wanted to be Woodward or Bernstein or those guys from the Globe who broke the priest story. You want to do something that people are gonna make Oscar movies about.” Dillon shrugged. “Welcome to the club. No money in that kind of journalism any more. Believe me.” He sighed, wistfully. “I wanted to make documentaries, but it’s like impossible to get funding—”

“This just isn’t how I pictured my life is all,” Elizabeth grumbled. She took out her phone and flipped through the missed notifications and checked her text messages. “My friend at the council’s office said they’re going to try to hold that vote tonight.”

“Yeah? They’re really gonna try to impeach the mayor?” Dillon whistled. “There’s a story. You got a connection to that, maybe—”

“I tell Ned and he’ll just give the story to Carly. Again.” She pursed her lips and eyed him. “You still handy with a camera?”

“What, you wanna show up at the mayor’s office to see his reaction?” He considered it. “It’s not the worst idea in the world—”

“No, I want to go to City Hall and be on scene when the vote goes down. If we’re already there with a camera—”

“More likely Ned will let us at least get the first on camera. He’ll remember you’re alive.” Dillon rose to his feet. “What the hell. I’m not doing anything else interesting tonight.”


The street was quiet as Elizabeth pulled her battered Ford into an empty parking space in the City Hall lot. There were only a few other cars—and it didn’t look like any one was holding a top secret super important vote.

“Maybe Em was wrong,” she murmured as she got out of her car.

“Maybe we’re just super early. “ Dillon hoisted the station camera over his shoulder. “You want to shoot an intro just to have it ready?”

“No, but maybe get some background footage—we can play up how secret and hush hush the vote is. Or we can just film in the dark,” she muttered, pulling her denim more tightly around her.

Obediently, Dillon started to pan the parking lot for about thirty seconds. He frowned. “Hey—what’s that over there?”

Elizabeth came around the side of the car to follow his gaze. On the far side of the parking lot, a man had stepped out of his car, followed by another man. She couldn’t hear what they were saying, but they were furiously arguing. “Film it,” she ordered. “Maybe it’s a council member—”

Later, she would try to describe the sound she heard later—firecrackers. A sharp crack.

But she would never be able to really put into the words the sound the gun made as it flashed. One of the men crumpled to the ground.

“Oh, shit!” Dillon cried out, frantically zooming in. “Oh, shit, that’s—”

“Get in the car, get in the car—” Elizabeth yanked the passenger side door open and shoved him towards it. Dillon’s exclamation had carried—and the shooter had turned towards them.

Had started to run towards them.

Elizabeth stumbled and nearly dropped her keys as she threw herself in her car.

“We have to go,” Dillon said, voice shaking. “Go. Please go. Go.”

“I’m going, I’m going—” She threw the car into drive and squealed out of the parking lot.

“Holy shit, holy shit,” Dillon whimpered. “We just—did you see who that was?”

“It was too dark and they were far away—but you zoomed in, Dillon—” She glanced at him as she turned a corner. She headed for the highway—not thinking about a destination, just wanting to put as much distance between herself and the lunatic with the gun.

“The mayor—” Dillon swallowed. “Julian Jerome just shot Justus Ward.”

Her stomach dropped. “Well, shooting the Speaker of the City Council is one way to avoid impeachment.” Elizabeth swallowed “Do you—do you think he knows who we are—” She looked at the camera in his lap—with the station’s logo—WKPC—emblazoned across it. The light had been shining.

“Well, it was dark,” Dillon managed. “But um…” He looked at her. “I know Julian. I mean, he knows me. I mean, it’s—I dated his niece for a while. A-and the light was kind of—” He waved his hand. “All over us both.”

“Shit. Shit.” Her options were limited. They could go to the police but—ha—

“There’s no way this doesn’t go bad for us,” Dillon said. “The department is in Julian’s pocket. This tape will disappear and you know they’re saying he’s got connections, and he sure as hell doesn’t mind killing people—”

“And if we take it to Ned, we put him in danger.” Elizabeth winced. “Shit. I know who I have to call.”

Dillon frowned. “Who?”

“My ex-husband,” she muttered. “Damn it.” She’d sworn the day she walked out she’d never say another word to him. Damn it.

“How he’s going to help?”

“He works for the FBI,” Elizabeth sighed. “Damn it,” she swore again as she fished in her pocket for her phone. “Siri,” she said, her teeth clenched. “Call Jason Morgan.”

“Calling Jason Morgan…”

 

May 6, 2018

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Flash Fiction: 60 Minutes or Less

I’ve been playing with two ideas for a story taking place in 1999. I wanted to workshop this one a little bit to get a feel for the characters and work out some story kinks.

Starts after the infamous Christmas Party fight and written in about 45 minutes, give or take a computer crash. Not spell checked or edited for grammar.


December 27, 1999

Bannister’s Wharf & Elm St. Pier

Elizabeth Webber slowly made her way down the stairs at the wharf, grimacing as she stepped off the landing to the pier that lay adjacent to her building.

Even from this distance, she recognized the figures milling at the base of the dock stairs, next to the bench. The last thing she needed after a double shift at Kelly’s was a run-in with the Port Charles Police Department.

But there was no avoiding them—it was either today, tomorrow, or another day. She supposed she should thank someone in the universe that it had taken Detectives Marcus Taggert and Andrew Capelli nearly forty-eight hours to follow up on the accusation that she was sleeping with Jason Morgan.

It hadn’t taken anyone else in her life nearly that long to weigh in with an opinion. Emily had arrived the day before shortly after Jason had abruptly decided to move out and demanded answers. Elizabeth had been so annoyed with best friend that she’d smirked and said nothing.

Bobbie had given her that worried look, her grandmother had looked disappointed—and Edward Quartermaine had decided it was worth slumming it at Kelly’s to check in on the rumors.

And that was just the people she knew. Apparently the fight at the hospital had been written up in the local gossip papers and she’d had giggling girls in her section at the diner all day.

“Gentlemen,” Elizabeth murmured as she stopped in front of them, “Are you blocking the steps for a reason or can I get past?”

“Elizabeth.” Taggert managed a warm smile for her. “How was your Christmas?”

“Fine.” She lifted her chin. “Can I help you? I’ve been on my feet all day, which I’m sure you know since you also knew when my shift ended.”

Capelli arched his brows. “Why—”

“Because I doubt you were waiting for me here all that long. Did you ask Bobbie my schedule?” Elizabeth asked. “If you’re not waiting for me, then you can move. I’m tired.”

“Nikolas Cassadine came into file assault charges on Jason Morgan.” Taggert tipped his head. “You’re a witness, aren’t you?”

Elizabeth scowled. “Nikolas pushed Jason first. It was—” She shook her head. She’d take a page from Jason’s book for a change. “I have nothing to say to you. You can talk to the other witnesses or the surveillance tape.”

“I didn’t realize you and Morgan were so close,” Taggert said. He rocked back on his heels. “How long have you been dating?”

Elizabeth stared at him for a long moment before pressing her lips together. “Why don’t you ask me what you really want to know?”

“What makes you think we’re not here about the assault?” Capelli asked with a smirk. “Cassadine filed a report—”

“Which, I’m sure, was easily refuted since most of the hospital was there when it happened. You’re not here on assault charges, Taggert.”

“I guess you’re not as dumb as you look,” Capelli retorted. “I didn’t expect that much from someone who screws a criminal—”

“Yeah, we’re done now.” Elizabeth attempted to move past them, but Taggert blocked her again. “Am I under arrest?”

“No. I apologize for my partner here. He’s new.” Taggert shot a death glare at the younger man who just shrugged. “Where were you on December 1?”

“December 1—” Elizabeth blinked. The night before she’d found Jason at the boxcar. Damn it. “I don’t know. That was like a month ago.”

“It was a Wednesday, the week after Thanksgiving. Ring a bell?”

“I don’t know. I think—” Elizabeth bit her lip, trying to look as if she was remembering it. Not cooperating at all would just keep them looking at her or Jason, so could she give them enough to go away? “I think I had my last classes of the semester that Wednesday—yeah, I guess that makes sense. I had classes and then a shift at Kelly’s until closing. You can check my schedule with Bobbie.”

“Did you see Jason Morgan that night?” Capelli cut in as Taggert began to open his mouth. “How long?”

Elizabeth wrinkled her brows. This was tricky. “He came in at closing. Roy DiLucca was leaving at the same time—”

“Oh, now you remember specifics?” Capelli said with a smirk. “Sure. Morgan told you to give him an alibi, huh—”

“I was having a bad night,” Elizabeth cut in sharply. “I had a bad grade on a project that last day. I forgot to give Roy his change and knocked over the tip jar. Jason helped me clean up. Anything else?”

“How long were you with Morgan that night?” Taggert demanded.

Elizabeth scowled at him. “What exactly are you asking me right now, Detective? None of this is your business. I answered your questions. I want to go—”

“We pulled a body from the harbor yesterday,’’ Taggert said, holding up a hand as she tried to pass him. “Anthony Moreno. No one’s seen him since December 1.”

“That has nothing to do with me. Now either let me pass—”

“What do you think Lucky Spencer would say about you screwing around five minutes after he died? With a man like Jason Morgan?”

Taggert scowled at his partner as Elizabeth stepped back. Tears swelled in her eyes. “Do you think he’d be angry?” Her voice quavered.

“Elizabeth—” Taggert sighed, looked at her. “Don’t—”

“I mean, Lucky loved me. I thought he’d be happy I was…happy again. That I found someone to c-care—” She allowed her voice to stop as she sucked in a deep breath. “He and Jason were friends. Am I—maybe I should be alone. I mean, maybe you’re only supposed to love someone once. I’m only eighteen, but maybe that was it–”

“That’s not what—” He scowled. “Damn it, Capelli.” He grabbed his partner’s arm and shoved him away, clearing the steps. “We’ll finish this another time.”

Elizabeth sniffled, rushed up the stairs, and made for the entrance to her building where she stopped and looked back. Taggert and Capelli were already tiny figures crossing the wharf where it met the street and parking lot.

“Works every time,” she muttered as she flicked away the tears. Imagine them throwing Lucky in her face like Lucky would begrudge her moving on.

Not that she was moving on. She wasn’t. Even if she wanted to, there was no one to move on with. Jason had made that clear by moving out the second he could.

“Are you okay?”

Elizabeth turned to find Jason emerging from the corner of her building, concern etched in his features, in his pale blue eyes. “I thought it would be worse if they saw me—”

“Oh.” Elizabeth shrugged. “Yeah, no it’s fine. They wanted to know if I was with you on December 1 because apparently that’s the last time anyone saw Anthony Moreno alive. By the way, they pulled him from the harbor a couple of days ago.” She pulled her keys out of her purse. “Are you coming up?”

Jason stared at her for a long moment before tilting his head to the side. “You—you’re not upset. You were messing with them.”

“They wouldn’t go away, and I don’t have a lawyer on speed dial. Nothing makes a man run faster than tears. At least that’s what my mom always said.” She held her keys up. “Coming up or not?”