October 20, 2017

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Miscellaneous Stories

When I started to revise Mad World, I started to add extra material to the front of the story. I had an entire first chapter written but I decided I’m not using it. I don’t hate the material — it just really doesn’t fit the story because Elizabeth’s not in it and this has to be her story.

But hey, y’all are being patient, so I’ll post this cut chapter and let it serve as kind of a preview for where we’re going. This is not edited or revised, but first draft.

Quick set up:  Starts in the post panic room era of 2003. You really shouldn’t need more than that (Courtney’s not pregnant because that was a stupid storyline. Like most of 2003.)


Friday, July 11, 2003

General Hospital: Waiting Room

They hadn’t let him into the emergency room.

Monica’s eyes had been filled with apology as she had gently held him off with her hand out, palm out. “I’m sorry, Jason. You can’t be back here.”

He didn’t know the other doctor’s name, but she’d had a nurse block him from even approaching the other curtain.

Sonny could be there. Sonny was allowed access. But not him.

“Jason…” Bobbie Spencer’s soft hand touched his forearm. “Why don’t you try sitting down?” Her red hair slid over her shoulder as she tilted her head in concern. “When was the last time you slept?”

Jason Morgan squinted at her as if the question was in another language. Sleep? Why would he have slept? When was there time to sleep?

His silence was all the answer she expected as she nodded. Her own eyes told the story of the last six weeks. Those terrifying days that now seemed like one endless nightmare.

One moment Carly had been outside the church waiting for his wedding to begin. And then…and then she’d vanished.

If Jason could not remember the last time he had slept, he didn’t think Bobbie could really remember either.

Bobbie folded her arms, tapping her fingers against her upper shoulders. Restless. Her foot tapped as well. She stared at the curtain where Carly was being kept.

And then looked to the other curtain. There were more doctors and nurses in and out. He had seen Monica holding a set of x-rays.

“I don’t understand,” Bobbie murmured. “What did they say on the phone?”

“Nothing much.” Jason scrubbed his hands over his face. The grit and sand of sleepless nights dug into the corners of his eyes. “Mac called. There was a 911 call from the house. Paramedics got there. Ric apparently pulled up while they were…” He absently rubbed a fisted against his chest. “Loading Elizabeth into the ambulances. They arrested him.”

“So he wasn’t there during.” Bobbie exhaled in a huff. “Monica won’t tell me anything. They can’t. Privacy laws. Well who the hell are they going to turn to? Her grandmother is gone. Her sister is across the country. I couldn’t tell you where the rest of her damn family is and her husband—” She closed her eyes. “I don’t understand how she got hurt. I don’t know how my daughter is. If she’s okay. All I know is she’s alive. And I’m sorry, but that’s—”

“Bobbie…” Courtney Matthews approached with worry. “Hey. Can I get you something? Coffee?”

“No.” Bobbie shook her head. Stepped away from her. “No. I just need answers, and I can’t get them until someone—”

Nikolas Cassadine was glaring as he joined them. “You know, I still own controlling shares in this place. You’d think that get me somewhere.” He took a deep breath. “I did manage to get something out of one of the paramedics who responded.”

Jason focused on the dark prince. “What?” he demanded. “What happened? Where was Carly? How did Elizabeth find her?”

“If she didn’t already know,” Courtney muttered. Jason shot his fiancee a look and she glared right back at him. “What? I’m not the only one who thinks it—”

“Go away,” Bobbie said, her voice trembling, her eyes flashing. “Now.” With a roll of her eyes, Courtney returned to a chair next to her father, Mike, and Bobbie waved for Nikolas to continue. “What did the paramedic say?”

“Elizabeth was on the ground, and Carly was…” Nikolas took a deep breath. “It looked like she’d been in some sort of panic room. Her leg was chained. She was hysterical, but she looked okay, they said. Her vitals were crazy, but no injuries.”

“Chained,” Jason repeated. In a panic room. She’d been there all along.

Every time he’d looked in that house….he’d walked right past her.

“What about Elizabeth?”

“I don’t know yet. I only found the ambulance that transported Carly. I’m trying to pull some strings. Her next of kin isn’t available. I don’t know who steps in at that point—” Nikolas shook his head. “Did she ever sign a power of attorney?”

“Unless she did before she got married.” Bobbie all but growled as she continued, “I should have been paying more attention. I should have seen—”

“Bobbie.”

Monica’s quiet voice broke through and the three of them turned. “I’ve been talking to Legal about Elizabeth’s situation. They’re in contact with the PCPD about getting Ric involved in her treatment—” She held up a hand when Nikolas opened his mouth. “I’ve already lodged a complaint but until we can prove what happened is because of him…”

“That’s not good enough,” Bobbie shot back. “What’s wrong with her?”

“I—” Monica hesitated. “We’ve pulled Elizabeth’s medical files from her stay last year—after she was grazed by a bullet on the docks. She listed you as her emergency contact, Bobbie. So until Ric arrives or sends legal representation, it’s you. But I don’t know how long.”

“Okay. Then what’s happening to her?” Bobbie asked.

“We’re not sure,” Monica admitted. “According to the paramedics on the scene, she passed out. They…” She paused. “They lost her in the ambulance.”

“Lost her.” Nikolas’s hand reached out into space as if he wanted to hold something, but it fell to his hand as Jason just stared at his mother. He couldn’t seem to make the words penetrate and make sense. “What—”

“They were able to resuscitate. She’s on a ventilator but she cannot breathe on her own.” Monica looked at Jason. “There’s a blockage in her lungs, but we need more tests to diagnose.” She held out a clipboard. “I can explain these to you—”

“Do whatever you need to do.” Bobbie scrawled her signature at the bottom. “Monica…” She looked at Jason for a moment then back at her. “Can you let us know when we can see her? I just…I need to hold her hand. To let her know she’s not alone.”

“Bobbie—” Sonny called from the curtain. “Carly’s asking for you.”

“How is she?” Courtney demanded, lunging to her feet.

Bobbie hesitated, took a step. “Elizabeth—”

“Authorize me,” Nikolas said. “At least to know her condition.”

“Okay, yeah.” Bobbie pressed a hand to her head. “And Jason. You can tell Jason.”

She joined Sonny and Courtney and they disappeared behind the curtain. Monica took the paperwork and left Jason standing with Nikolas.

They eyed each other, perhaps remembering the last time they had been in the hospital together. “Shouldn’t you be with Sonny and Carly?” Nikolas bit off.

Part of him agreed. He’d been searching for Carly for weeks. Hadn’t slept more than a handful of hours here and there. Food…he couldn’t remember what he had eaten. Carly had been the reason for all of that.

He should walk away. Join his partner and best friend. Stand with the woman he had asked to marry him and share a life with. See for himself that Carly was okay.

“I know Carly is okay,” Jason said evenly. “And there’s a lot of visitors. I can wait. I need to know—” He looked at the curtain. “I left her in that house. I knew he did it. I knew he was guilty, and I left her there.”

“Yeah, well, I congratulated her on marrying someone who wasn’t you,” Nikolas muttered. “Neither of us are shining examples of friendship.”

General Hospital: ICU Waiting Room

Nearly an hour passed and Jason still didn’t have an opportunity to see Carly. She was resting, Sonny had told him with a sigh. Exhausted. Understood Jason was waiting for Elizabeth’s condition.

She understood it, Sonny had repeated with a dangerous flash of dark eyes. He didn’t. And neither did his sister. Courtney had left to be with Michael, but Sonny wasn’t going home without his wife. So he sat in her room as Carly’s only allowed visitor.

“I can’t believe he’s mad at you,” Bobbie muttered. “You didn’t kidnap his wife. You didn’t do any of this.”

“I didn’t find her,” Jason said flatly. And that was enough to condemn him.

Another week and his source at the city would have given him the plans for the house. He was sure the panic room would have shown up. He would have found her.

Monica stepped out from behind the curtain. They stood and met her in the middle of the waiting room. “Elizabeth has a pulmonary embolism.”

Nikolas frowned. “What?”

“It’s a blood clot in the lungs,” Jason offered absently. “I don’t—she doesn’t have any of the risk factors.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Nikolas demanded.

“Immobilization, travel, recent trauma, obesity—” Bobbie hesitated. “What about her pregnancy?”

“We’re not sure yet what caused it, but her chem panels suggest her estrogen levels were through the roof.” Monica hesitated. “We just don’t know yet what caused it. What we need to do is decide how to treat it—”

“I believe that is where I come in.”

The new voice came from a man in a dark suit who held out a piece of paper. “Thomas Livingston, legal representation for Richard Lansing. This is paperwork allowing me to make medical decisions on behalf of his wife, Elizabeth.” He arched a brow. “You no longer have a need for her emergency contact to handle this.”

“I am family,” Bobbie snarled, but Nikolas put a hand on her shoulder.

“Let me bring you up to speed,” Monica said with a warning glance at Bobbie, and then another at Jason. As if she could read his mind and knew he was thinking of the best way to take this son of a bitch apart. “Elizabeth is suffering from a pulmonary embolism. She lost consciousness while at home and coded in the ambulance. She cannot breathe on her own and is on a ventilator.”

“Treatment options?” Livingston said briskly.

“We have her on blood thinners,” Monica said. “But we think the situation merits more aggressive treatment. I would like to take her to the catheter lab and break up the clot.”

“Is that the only option?”

Jason scowled. “It’s the best one or she wouldn’t have asked for it—”

“I’m sorry, are you a doctor here?” the lawyer asked with a sneer. “Dr. Quartermaine, perhaps we should continue this in private—”

Monica ignored that. “Other treatment options include stronger medications then what we’re currently using, but having already flatlined once—”

“If you will excuse me, I will phone Mr. Lansing and inform him of the options,” Livingston interrupted. He crossed the room to a bank of pay phones.

“Any progress on getting Ric removed as next of kin?” Bobbie asked.

Monica sighed and shook her head. “No, oh, maybe Lieutenant Taggart can help.” She waved a hand to the doorway.

Jason turned and grimaced. Marcus Taggart had never met a situation he couldn’t make worse. Followed by another cop Jason didn’t know, Taggart embraced Bobbie tightly.

“Hey. We came as soon as we heard Carly was stabilized. We need to get her statement because Lansing is making noises about not knowing anything.” Taggart grimaced. “He’s half a step from blaming Elizabeth. How’s she doing?”

Bobbie explained the situation as Livingston rejoined them.

“Mr. Lansing would like to proceed with the treatment she is currently receiving.” There was a slight twitch as if…just maybe…the lawyer didn’t quite agree. “He doesn’t want anything invasive.”

“Anything invasive—” Monica faltered. “Are you insane? She needs stronger treatment—”

“He’s a fucking psychopath,” the cop next to Taggart growled. “He’s blaming the wife. She dies, he’s got reasonable doubt.”

“I’m sure that’s inappropriate,” Livingston began, but he trailed off. He cleared his throat. “You may not like the situation,” he said slowly. “But for now, this is how it is. I will…continue to make your arguments to Mr. Lansing.”

He excused himself and disappeared.

“I need Carly’s statement,” Taggart said tightly. “She might know something that can get Ric disqualified.” He looked at Monica. “How much trouble do you get in if you ignore his orders?”

“A lot,” she admitted. “Nikolas?”

“The board will bury him in legal fees if he tries to sue you,” Nikolas said. “But…”

“Your medical license,” Jason said quietly. “Don’t ignore the orders, Monica. We’ll find another way.” Uncomfortable with her look of gratitude, he turned his attention to Taggart. “She’s a witness against him. Can’t that be enough?”

“Baldwin’s already filing paperwork, but we don’t have enough yet.” Taggart rubbed the back of his neck, turned to the other cop. “Vinnie, stay out out here and keep an eye out. That lawyer comes back or, God forbid, Ric gets bail, I want a cop here.”

“Got it.”

“I’m going to take a preliminary statement from Carly.” When Bobbie shook her head, he touched her shoulder. Gently. “The last thing I want to do is make this night worse, Bobbie. You know me. This isn’t about Corinthos or Morgan for me. It’s just not.” His voice was rough as he continued. “I saw the panic room where she was kept. I saw the chain. I need to make sure Ric can’t get released. He gets out, he might flee.”

Bobbie closed her eyes. “I’ll go with you. Run interference with Sonny. He’s not going to understand.”

“He just wants to protect his wife.” Taggart hesitated, looked at Jason. “I mean it, Morgan. Nothing else matters to me or the department except putting Lansing away.”

And as Taggart followed Bobbie to the elevator to go to Carly’s floor, Jason believed him.

General Hospital: Carly Corinthos’ Room

Carly blinked, opened her eyes, and then closed them in relief. She was still okay. Still in a hospital.

Not in the panic room.

It hadn’t been a dream.

She wasn’t sure exactly how long it had been since she’d been brought to the hospital. They had kept her on light sedation and she’d drifted in and out. She remembered doctors. Her mother. Courtney and Mike. Sonny.

Jason…she vaguely remembered he was still in the emergency room with Elizabeth. Was the other woman okay? Why had she collapsed?

“Carly?” Sonny’s voice was rough as he leaned forward. His hair was disheveled, falling in its soft curls around his face. His eyes were bloodshot and several days of scruff lined his jaw.

She reached forward, her fingers lightly brushing his chin. “You look like hell,” she managed.

He laughed then, shakily, as he dipped his head, pressing his forehead against her limp hand. “I feel it. But you’re okay. You and the baby. You’re okay.”

The door slid open then, and her mother came in. “Mama.”

“There’s my beautiful girl,” Bobbie murmured, pressing a kiss to her forehead. “I hate to disturb you both but we’ve got a problem. I need you to give a statement to the police.”

“Fucking bloodsuckers,” Sonny began, lunging to his feet but Carly looked at her mother.

“Ric wasn’t there when I was found,” she said quietly. “He came later. I remember that. He’s pretending he doesn’t know anything.”

Bobbie nodded. “And he’s still responsible for Elizabeth’s medical treatment. He has this scum lawyer here recommending the last effective treatment.”

Sonny scrubbed his hands over his face. “Jesus Christ. He’s trying to kill her.”

“Monica filed a protest and Scott is working up a protective order, but we don’t….Taggart says that Ric might get released. He doesn’t want that. I’ll be here the whole time, Sonny. But he’s not going to hurt her.”

“Let him in,” Carly said. “Let’s…get this done.”

“Are you sure?” Sonny demanded. “You just woke up—”

“He terrorized me for six weeks. I need him to be away. I need…I can’t let him be out. Be free.” Carly closed her eyes. “I just can’t.”

Bobbie had already gone to the door and gestured for Taggart to come in. Carly’s interactions with the cop weren’t all that friendly unsurprisingly, but there was no trace of irritation or impatience today.

“Hey, Carly.” He stood at the foot of the bed. “Thanks for letting me come in.” He looked at Sonny. “Thank you.”

Sonny just blinked at him as Carly took a deep breath. “I’m…I’m not really up for a whole thing—”

“Just give me the outline.” Taggart reached into his pocket and drew out a recorder. “When you’re feeling stronger, we’ll go for a more detailed statement, but for now—” He pressed play and set it on the tray table hanging over the bed. “On May 25, 2003, where were you, Carly?”

“I was at the Queen of Angels church,” Carly said. “Jason and Courtney were going to get married, and I was outside. Someone came up behind me, put a rag over my mouth. I passed out.”

She closed her eyes. “I woke up in the back of a car and I was tied up. I could see Ric in the driver’s seat. He pulled into his driveway and dragged me into the house. He had a remote and pressed a button. A wall slid open and he chained me inside.” She looked at Sonny. “What day is it?”

“July 11.” Sonny looked at his watch. “July 12, actually, I guess now.”

More than a month. Carly exhaled slowly. “Elizabeth was passed out on the sofa. She never woke up. Ric told me later he had drugged her to make sure he didn’t get caught. The panic room was sound proof. She never heard me screaming.”

“God.” Sonny put his arm around a silently weeping Bobbie.

“You never spoke to Elizabeth?” Taggart asked.

Carly narrowed her eyes. “That son of a bitch is blaming her.” Her cheeks heated as she continued. “He lied to her every day. Told her he was leaving the house to go somewhere and waited for her to leave the room. He spent hours in that panic room talking about his plans.”

“His plans,” Taggart prompted.

“To take my baby and kill me,” she said flatly. “To arrange a private adoption. Elizabeth needed a baby. She wouldn’t stay with him forever if he didn’t give her a baby. Since Sonny took their baby—” Carly leaned back, exhausted. “Faith Roscoe poisoned a pitcher of lemonade. Ric was in the panic room and I told him. I begged him to stop her from drinking it. But if he left—”

“She’d see him,” Taggart murmured. “He waited.”

“He’s lucky he never killed her between that, the drugs the night he took me, and the birth control pills—”

“Birth control pills?” Bobbie demanded. “What?”

Taggart squinted at her mother, then turned back to Carly. “What birth control pills?”

“He gave them to her every day. Three or four times a day. Can’t have her getting pregnant now, she might not want the baby he’d killed for.” Her voice broke. “God. Oh, God. He was going to kill me.”

Sonny took her her hand, sat back down. “No, that’s enough.”

“I got what I needed. Just…one more question, Carly, and I’ll go.” Taggart picked up the recorder. “Do you know where Ric kept the pills?”

She nodded, her eyes closed. “There’s…a safe in the panic room. It was locked, but he kept them in there. Is that what’s wrong with her?”

“Maybe.” Taggart stopped the recorder. “Thank you, Carly. That was more than we needed. Get some rest.” He looked at Sonny again. “I’m sorry we didn’t find her. I wish to God we had.”

“You and me both.”

General Hospital: ICU Waiting Room

Bobbie charged off the elevator, her eyes lit with fury. “Where’s Monica? Where’s that goddamn lawyer?”

Jason and Nikolas shot to their feet. “What happened?” Nikolas asked, his voice slurring a bit from lack of sleep. “What did Carly have to say?”

“If I get in the same room as that son of a bitch,” Bobbie began, but Monica stepped out from Elizabeth’s room, irritation in her eyes.

“I need to get her on stronger meds,” Monica said without preamble as she joined the three of them. “There’s no improvement.”

“He fed her birth control pills,” Bobbie spat. “Three or four a day for the last six weeks. Could that do it?”

“Jesus Christ,” Nikolas breathed as every muscle in Jason’s body clenched. Birth control pills. “Three or four a day?”

“Yeah, that would do it. Nikolas, I need—”

“I’ll call the board counsel to prepare an injunction against Ric’s supervision of Elizabeth’s treatment,” Nikolas said. “Carly saw him do it?”

“She knows where he kept the pills. Taggart already left to locate them and secure them.” Bobbie tapped her foot. “He drugged her the night he kidnapped Carly and sat by while Faith Roscoe poisoned her to protect his secret. He was going to kill my daughter and give their child to Elizabeth.”

“He was going—” Jason couldn’t finish. Couldn’t repeat it. “Take the baby?”

“A private adoption, no doubt,” Monica muttered. “Get that injunction, Nikolas. I don’t know how much longer we’re going to be able to stabilize her on the ventilator.”

She disappeared back into Elizabeth’s room and Nikolas excused himself to make some phone calls. Bobbie sank into the chair as if her energy had simply evaporated.

“Six weeks she spent in that room,” Bobbie murmured. “Trapped. Screaming. Knowing Ric planned to kill her. She was able to talk about it today, but…” She met Jason’s eyes as he sat next to her. “I could see it starting to set in for her. The adrenaline of survival—it got her through the statement, but…my God, Jason. The emotional torture of it all. How does she ever come back from this? And Elizabeth.”

Tears slid down her cheeks. “Her entire world is going to be shattered when she wakes up. Her husband not only kidnapped Carly, but…he tried to kill her. Is still trying to kill her.” She pressed a fist to her mouth. “How did I miss it? How could I not see it?”

“Bobbie—” Jason hesitated, the guilt settling into his bones again. He should have ignored Sonny all those months ago and killed Ric when he’d had the chance. This was his fault. He’d allowed Ric to walk free, and he’d tormented everyone Jason cared about.

He hadn’t found Carly in time to save Elizabeth. Hadn’t found Carly at all.

“Thank you for waiting here,” Bobbie murmured. “Nikolas can represent the hospital and take care of her, but I’m glad you’re still on her side.” She squeezed his hand. “She’s family to me, Jason. And I’ve been bad at it lately. I can do better. I’m going to do better. I’m going to get my daughter through this. And I’m going to get Elizabeth through this, too.”

“Elizabeth is my friend, too,” Jason said, though it sounded awkward even to his ears. It wasn’t really true, but at the same time, it wasn’t true enough. She existed in a gray area in his mind. Not quite friend. Something more.

The elevator opened again and this time, Courtney stepped off. She located the two of them and Jason could see the irritation snapping in her blue eyes as she approached.

“You’re still here,” she said flatly. “I thought you’d be upstairs with Carly by now.” She stopped in front of them. “Is Elizabeth okay?”

“No,” Bobbie said softly. “She’s still in critical condition. Jason has been keeping me company—”

“Don’t,” Jason said quietly, touching her hand. Appreciating the excuse Bobbie offered. “I stayed because I wanted to. You didn’t ask.”

“Does you being here change anything?” Courtney demanded.

“Courtney,” Bobbie began, but Jason stood to face his fiancee.

He understood—somewhere inside—that Courtney saw Elizabeth as a threat. And Jason tried to imagine how he’d feel if Courtney was waiting for news about AJ and refused to leave him—if that would be something he could live with.

But AJ had terrorized and stalked her. It wouldn’t make sense to stand by him.

Elizabeth had done nothing except be manipulated by Ric—they had all allowed him into their lives to a certain extent. Ric had even defended Jason against murder charges.

“Elizabeth is in critical condition,” Jason repeated. “Ric is still in charge of her treatment, and the PCPD thinks he might sabotage her treatment so he can blame her for kidnapping Carly.”

“Okay,” Courtney said slowly. “So you’re protecting Carly’s interests by staying here?”

“No,” Jason said, because he wouldn’t lie to her. “I’m here because I care about Elizabeth and what happens to her.”

“Oh.” She pressed her lips together. “Okay.” She looked at Bobbie, then again at Jason. “I’m going to go home. It’s almost two in the morning, and I haven’t…I haven’t slept. I left Michael with Leticia because I was worried, but I guess…you guys have everything handled.”

“We do.”

“So I’ll go.”

Courtney walked to the elevator, paused at the door as if he would stop her, and then stepped on board.

“Jason,” Bobbie said after a moment. “Courtney…she’s right. There’s not much more you can do tonight—”

“I’m not leaving this hospital until I know she’ll be all right,” Jason said, and clearly Bobbie believed him because she dropped the subject.

September 11, 2016

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Miscellaneous Stories

So Flash Fiction #3: Illusions of Truth, which kicked off the medieval series, is a bit shorter than the others. That’s because I had about 770 words written and tossed it. I still finished within the hour, but I thought you guys might want to see how close it came to sucking.

I try to post on Facebook when I start writing, so make sure to like Crimson Glass there if you want to know when Flash Fictions are coming.

Continue reading

April 2, 2015

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Miscellaneous Stories

I had a concept for Chapter 9 that didn’t feel right as I wrote it. It felt like I was dragging the story out and I thought it was slowing my writing down. So I rewrote it — and you’ll get Chapter 9 eventually. But these scenes were cut and at the moment, I have nothing planned where I could use any of the content, so I thought you might enjoy it since my updates for this week are otherwise non existent.

It hasn’t been edited so there’s no italics or anything added other than my usual scene settings. I haven’t even really looked at it for typos.


Chapter Nine

Friday, October 27, 2006

Morgan Penthouse: Master Bedroom

He was going to be a father. He was a father. How different his life was today than merely a week ago. He had been trading words with Carly, trying not to think about Elizabeth still married to a man who did not deserve her, possibly pregnant with his child—but more likely her husband’s.

He had been feeling guilty for not feeling worse about Sam and Ric, had been living with a general…dissatisfaction with how things stood in his life.

But now, just a week later, he lay in his bed, his wife curled up beside him as she napped after they had made love to celebrate their child.

He had a wife, a new child on the way, and he had Cameron, his stepson who he would treat as his own, never making him feeling different than Jason’s biological child.

He was a father, something he had always wanted to be again, but never truly hoped for.

“What are you thinking about?”

Her cheek against his bare chest, he could feel Elizabeth’s lips as she spoke, as they stayed curved in a slight smile.

“How different everything is,” he admitted, his fingers lightly stroking through her hair, letting the strands slide through his grasp, falling down to rest against her bare shoulders and his chest. “Good different,” he clarified before she could think he meant anything else.

“I know,” she murmured. “Considering everything that’s waiting out there, I suppose I should feel…less at peace, but I can’t help it.”

Something inside him released as she said this—he had told Sonny he wanted to take care of her, an emotion he wasn’t used to feeling. He was used to taking care of people—he’d been carrying Carly on his back for nearly a decade, and of course he had taken care of Courtney and Sam, but—

It was different—this urge to make Elizabeth’s world better, to ease her burdens. She always took on too much, worried about people and things she shouldn’t. She had always internalized everyone else’s problems and taken them home with her.

He had never wanted to be one of those people who used her generosity and warmth to make themselves feel better.

“I just…I hoped if we did this, that I would truly feel as though it had been the right choice. Not just for the moment, but…” Her arm, draped over his waist slid up his torso, her fingers tracing some abstract pattern as they moved. “But later. When the craziness of this moment had passed.”

He knew what she was trying to say, what she didn’t have the courage to put into words. He had suggested marriage as a solution with an expiration date, but something had shifted in the days since—beginning with the conversation before the ceremony and continuing to this moment.

He could no longer see a reason to consider what was between them as something that should end, and Jason thought she possibly felt the same—even if she wasn’t ready to put it out there.

It had only been a week after all.

“I know Ric is not going to go away just because Diane gets him thrown off the case, and I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of people who aren’t thrilled that we’re having a child together, but…” Elizabeth tilted her head up, resting her chin on his shoulder. “I can’t bring myself to worry about any of that. It all…it feels so far away right now.”

“Good,” Jason said, not telling her that’s exactly what he wanted. He didn’t think she’d respond well to his urge to make her problems go away. He had always been one for letting people live their own lives—except for Carly, who had proved she could not do so without some sort of supervision—but it was different with Elizabeth. It always had been.

“Boy or girl?” Elizabeth asked, leaning up a bit more, leaning on her elbow. “Which do you want?”

“Healthy,” Jason answered, his fingertips drifting up and down her opposite arm. Her skin was so soft…

“That’s it?” Elizabeth asked. “You don’t have a preference?”

He hesitated. “I don’t know,” he answered. “I guess a boy would be easier because we’ve both been around them more, but it might be nice to have a girl.” A daughter. With her smile. He could see that.

“I guess I’m supposed to want a girl,” Elizabeth said. “Because I have a boy, and most people want a matched set, but it’d be nice for Cameron to have a brother.” She pursed her lips. “I really don’t know. Do you want to find out?”

“Can we?” Jason asked, frowning slightly. “Isn’t it a bit early?”

“Oh…” Elizabeth sat up, the sheet pooling to her waist, her hand braced against her still flat tummy. “Yeah. I’m only—it’s about ten weeks right now. And I—I think we have to wait another six, maybe ten weeks before it can be seen on an ultrasound. Kelly and I didn’t talk about it yet.”

“If you want to find out, we can.” Jason lifted a shoulder. “It—it doesn’t matter to me much—” He hesitated, because maybe that sounded like he didn’t care overall, but she just smiled.

“I know, you’ll love the baby no matter what. I don’t know. I found out with Cameron because it…” She bit her lip. “So much about my life was out of my control at that point, but knowing whether I was having a boy or girl, planning for him, picking his name? It was something I could do.” She chewed her lip. “I’m just not sure I could wait until May.”

“You’re due in May?” Jason asked, bringing one of his hands to rest behind his head. There was so much he didn’t know—he had tried to stay out of it, not speak about it, but now that he was the father, now that they were a family—

“May 15.” Elizabeth hesitated. “Though Kelly might adjust that at the next appointment since well, I clearly know the date of conception.” Her blush crawled up her neck, her cheeks flaming as he grinned.

“Clearly.” He laced their fingers together, her small, pale hand enveloped his larger, darker one. He had always liked the way they fit together.

“Anyway, waiting to find out is a nice idea, but I’ll probably go insane by then.”

“So we’ll find out when we can.” He tugged her towards him so he could draw her in for another kiss. It was barely noon and they still had a few hours before Cam needed to be picked up.

He wanted to spend those hours with her.

Elizabeth drew back a moment later, her brows furrowed. “What’s that sound?”

Jason blinked, then listened to the tinny sound of his phone ringing somewhere at the foot of the bed where his jeans had been discarded. “My phone,” he said flatly.

“Oh. Okay.” Elizabeth sat up, tugging the sheet to cover herself.

“Just—I have to…” He stood and quickly located the phone in his pocket, scowling when he saw Sonny’s name on the screen. “Sonny?”

“Hey, man. I know you wanted to kind of settle in today, but—”

“Is it important?” Jason demanded, because he had told Sonny to handle things for a few days to give himself time to get into a routine with Elizabeth, with Cameron.

“I promise—and I need to talk to Elizabeth as well.” Sonny sounded serious, and Jason remembered the trouble his friend had gone to make sure they had a nice wedding.

Jason scrubbed a hand over his face. “Okay. It’s about noon now. We have to pick Cam up at school at—” He looked to Elizabeth. “What time?”

“Two-thirty,” she murmured, her eyes blank, her expression still as she seemed to be preparing for him to leave her alone.

“We’ll stop by Greystone on the way to get Cam, around one-thirty. Is that enough time?”

“I mean…yeah, but—”

“I promised Cameron we’d buy race cars after school and I’m busy right now Sonny. Is it going to make a difference if we deal with it in ninety minutes and not now?”

“No,” Sonny admitted. “I’ll see you at one-thirty, Jase.”

Jason set the phone on his nightstand before climbing back into bed. “Sorry—”

“You—you could have gone,” Elizabeth said, chewing on her bottom lip. “I’m—I mean, I get it. It’s like the island, right? You have to deal with things—”

“He wants to talk to you, too,” Jason told her. “Which means it’s not life or death. If it needed to be taken care of immediately, Sonny would have said something.” And he could remember now all those years ago when he and Elizabeth would be together, and he’d leave her for Sonny or worse, for Carly’s nonsense.

And how she’d walked away from him after weeks of leaving her alone in the penthouse.

“There are going to be times when I have to leave when Sonny calls,” Jason told her. “And I’m going to hate it. It’s going to be in the middle of the night, it’ll be in the middle of dinner or breakfast. There’s nothing I can do about those times. But not today.”

“If you’re sure…” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “I’m ready for that, I promise you.”

He cupped her cheek and drew her closer. “Where were we?”

Greystone Manor: Foyer

Jason touched Elizabeth’s elbow. “Hey. Could you—just wait here a minute, okay?” He gestured towards Max. “Catch up with Max. I’m sure you remember him.”

“I do, I harassed him just this summer when I was trying to find you after you checked out of the hospital.” Elizabeth said.

Leaving them, Jason closed the door behind him once he was in the main room. “Sonny—”

“Hey, man…” Sonny came away from the windows. “I really am sorry about this—”

Jason held up a hand and shook his head. “I get it, but I just—” He hesitated. “I know there are times when it has to be me you call, but I think—”

“We need to get someone else,” Sonny finished. “Delegate. You’ve got a wife and son at home now, another baby on the way. I get it. We can do that. I thought about it after I called you—” He paused. “You got the results this morning, didn’t you?”

“We did, but—” Jason hadn’t expected Sonny to know exactly what he was thinking. “Let me get Elizabeth.”

Jason opened the door just as Elizabeth was looking at something on Max’s forearm. “I don’t think it’s infected, Max, but you need to take better care of these kinds of things,” she said. “Don’t you guys keep a doctor around for this kind of thing?”

“Sure, Mrs. Morgan, but it wasn’t much,” Max said. “It didn’t even hurt.”

“Well, clean it with some peroxide, keep it clean and covered for a few days.” Elizabeth blinked at Jason. “Hey, ready for me already?”

“Yeah.” Jason frowned at Max. “You okay?”

“Oh, yeah, just a cut I got in the kitchen.” Max rolled down his sleeve.

Elizabeth joined Jason at the door. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah, I just—Sonny asked about the test and I didn’t know if you wanted—”

“We can tell him if you want


The above scene is unfinished because I ditched the concept in the middle of the scene…and apparently, the line. 😛 Like I said, some of the dialogue didn’t feel right, some of it felt forced, at least to me, and I like the changes I made. You’ll be able to make up your own mind soon, I hope.

May 30, 2014

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Miscellaneous Stories

I was having trouble visualizing the end of the story, but I knew how I wanted it to start, so I started to write hoping it would assist me in finishing the outline. It did, but I ended up not quite liking it this. I realized I was telling this scene all wrong — it needed to be Jason’s voice, not Elizabeth’s. So once I knew I had to be inside his head, it worked so much better. And Jason couldn’t open up to her so fast, so I think my actual opening works better for the characters.

But for funsies, here’s the original opening. Because it never made the move from Scrivener, where I do the rough writing, to Microsoft Word where I do italics and typo checks, it’s messy and unformatted.


 

December 2004

Elm Street Pier

Elizabeth Webber tightened her grip on her cup of hot chocolate and stopped at the top of the stairs. Below her, she saw something that made her think she had gone back in time five years.

Jason Morgan, at the top of the other stairs, his hands in the pockets of his leather jacket, and his face looking as though someone was kicking him.

The image of standing here all those years ago was so vivid, so strong, she reflexively glanced down, expecting to see AJ Quartermaine and his son, Michael, looking at the ELQ crane over the harbor.

Instead, the pier was empty.

She looked back at him now, and wondered if she should say something. They hadn’t been friends for so long, but he’d been there for her the previous winter—had done what he could to keep her from going to jail.

Once…she would have just approached him without worry. Put a hand on his arm, asked what was wrong. Could she still do that? Despite…everything?

He moved then, and started down the stairs, each step seeming heavier than the one before it. His eyes were lined with exhaustion, his shoulders were slumped. When he sat on the bench, her decision was made.

She stepped down her own stairs and started towards the bench. “Hey. I recognize that look.”

Jason looked up and blinked at her for a moment, before offering a wan smile. “Elizabeth. Emily-Emily told me you were home for the holidays.” He slid over on the bench, and she sat down. “When did you get in?”

“The day before Thanksgiving.” Elizabeth hesitated. “You look as tired as I felt the first two months of Cameron’s life, so I guess..” She cleared her throat. “It’s the single parent syndrome, I think. Like kids just know there’s no backup, no second person, so they just…refuse to sleep for two months straight. I know…I know Cameron did.”

Jason was quiet for a moment, and she bit her lip. “Should I…not have said that? I’m sorry—”

“No, no.” He shook his head. “I…yeah. I haven’t…really been sleeping much.” He leaned forward, his elbows resting on his thighs. “You’re living in California?”

“Um, yes.” She shifted a little. “I was just…going to stay for a little while, but…things happened and after Cameron was born, I decided to stay on.” She sipped her hot chocolate. “I sold a few paintings while I was there, and I’m…supposed to have a show in New York after the new year.”

His smile was more genuine now, and he straightened. “That’s really great. I-I’m happy for you.”

“I was really just going to come home for the holidays, but when I stepped off the plane…” She sighed and looked out over the grey winter waters of the harbor. “My grandmother, she looked…old. Tired. I…hadn’t seen it before, but I guess I was thinking about Lila, and how…” She hesitated. “Should I not mention that either?”

He leaned back against the bench, his shoulders still slumped. “Emily said you came home for a few days for the funeral.”

“Yeah…I…really loved Lila,” she murmured. “She was always so wonderful to me, and she meant so much to this town, to…” She wrinkled her nose. “To your family,” she finally said, because there was no way to separate the two sometimes. “I…saw you there. I was going to say something, but you were with…”

“Sam.” Jason nodded. “Yeah. I saw you, too…” He glanced at her. “With Ric.”

“Yeah.” She stared at the plastic top of her hot chocolate. “His last ditch effort to get me to call off the divorce. Didn’t work, obviously. He’s married to Alexis now, so I guess he’s relieved I didn’t…take him up on that offer.”

“I’d forgotten about that…” Jason said, almost more to himself. “I think it was the same night that…” He trailed off.

“This is so awkward,” Elizabeth said after a long moment. “I don’t know what to say to you. Should…I say congratulations on your daughter, I’m sorry for your loss?” She huffed. “It’s just…there aren’t words, but I feel like I should say something.”

“It’s all right.” He removed his hand from his pocket and rubbed the edge of his eyebrow. “Not much to say, really. Sam…died. And now I have a daughter.”

“Emily said you named her Evangeline.” Elizabeth said. “Or more accurately, she said you didn’t know what to name her, so Emily suggested Evangeline Grace and you said fine.”

He nodded. “Yeah. She calls her Evie, so I do now, too. It sounds…” He was quiet for a long moment. “It sounds awful, but I couldn’t name her. Because…it wasn’t supposed to be my job.”

She frowned, but let that go. “Well, it’s not like you thought you’d be doing it alone, Jason.” She shifted again on the bench. “I don’t…know what you’re going through, not exactly, but I guess I…I remember what it’s like to plan a life around someone who just…goes away.” Her sigh was a soft one now. “And never comes back.”

Jason frowned. “Lucky did come back.”

“Not really.” Elizabeth shook her head. “That’s…not the point, anyway. I just…I remember feeling like I couldn’t do everyday things, especially not the things we’d planned to do together. We were supposed to go to New York so I could go to art school.My acceptance came in after…the fire.” She exhaled slowly. “I didn’t go. Because it was something I was supposed to do with Lucky. So…it doesn’t sound awful, Jason, that you found it difficult to name her when it was something you were supposed to do with her mother.”

“Yeah.” His eyes were distant now, looking out over the water. “Yeah, that…makes sense, I guess. Sam never…settled on anything. We talked about Lila, but Sam wanted to wait until she was born. To pick a name that suited her.”

Her heart ached for him. “I’m so…sorry that you lost her, Jason. You guys were creating a family, and to lose someone you love at a moment like that—”

“I—” He started to cut in, but stopped, looking slightly bewildered. “I mean, yeah, I guess we were going to be a family, but I wasn’t…” He shook his head. “Never mind.”

Elizabeth paused. “Jason?” she said softly. “Is…something wrong? I mean, other…than the obvious. You looked…so sad standing there. Did something happen today?”

“No. I just…” He tilted his head back, the muscles of his neck tense. “I don’t know the right answers anymore. What I’m supposed to tell you.”

She drew her brows together. “Jason—” She broke off. “There are no right or wrong answers. There’s just…how you feel. You don’t have to tell me anything, you know. We’re not close, anymore. I realized that when Emily called me, and I found out your daughter’s birth and name from her. I-I didn’t even know you were having a child until your grandmothe’rs funeral. And I realized that we only know each other through Em, now but—”

“That’s not true.” He met her eyes. “I mean, no, I guess we’re not close, but…” He stopped, clearly struggling with something. “I just don’t want to lie to you.”

And the niggling thought in the back of Elizabeth’s mind—the memory of knowing that Sam McCall had been seeing Sonny Corinthos before Elizabeth left town, that at the time Evie would have been conceived, Jason was still married to Courtney—came clear. She’d thought the timeline was odd when she came home in July, but it was so clearly true. Sam was living with Jason, she was at his grandmother’s funeral.

“Then don’t,” she said softly. “You know that anything you ever said to me would go no further, if that’s what you wanted. Just because we haven’t been…friends the way we were once, it doesn’t change anything for me. I will always care about you, Jason, and I hope you feel the same about me. If you can’t talk to me, then talk to Emily or…I don’t know, Sonny or Carly.”

And she saw the way his face tensed at their names, and she knew that the couple was causing the pain she saw in his eyes. The grief she’d attributed to losing Sam was meant for Sonny and Carly.

“I changed the paternity test results,” Jason said so quietly that she almost didn’t hear them. “I didn’t…really think it through. I wanted to protect Michael and Morgan—Carly said she’d walk out if the baby was Sonny’s. She’d take the boys, and it would start all over again.” He closed his eyes. “They were dragging Michael into court, making him choose which parent to live with, and he was so angry, so upset—he told the judge he wanted to live with me. People didn’t fight around me.”

“So you wanted the world to think it was your child so Carly would stay and not disrupt the boys’ lives.” And it made a sad sort of sense to her—since he’d returned home two years earlier, his entire existence had been predicated on cleaning up after Sonny and Carly.

“Yeah.” He cleared his throat. “Sam…hated it. She loved Sonny, you know. I mean, right up until a few months before Evie was born, she thought he’d change her mind. So she went along with it, hoping that if Sonny saw me planning to raise their child, he’d…wake up. But Sam…didn’t realize…”

“That Sonny would always choose Carly.” The wind whipped past her face, a tendril flying into her eyes. She pushed it back behind her ear. “And you fell in love with the baby.”

“I…yeah.” Some of the tension bled away, and his face relaxed. “I saw her grow and felt her kicking. Sonny did get annoyed by it, but he didn’t leave Carly. He just…” Jason shook his head. “He had another affair with Sam. While Carly was across the hall, he’d take Sam to an apartment in the building. It went on almost a month.”

“What happened when Sam realized nothing changed?”

“He told her that she could take the baby and go away, maybe to the island or Puerto Rico. He’d never have to tell Carly about her, and they could be a family that way.”

“Like a dirty little secret,” Elizabeth murmured. “She and her child weren’t enough for him to acknowledge publicly. She could be his mistress, though.”

“Sam was…” Jason looked at her. “I don’t know how much you knew about Sam, but she…was a con artist. She made Sonny think she was okay with it. And she wanted him to sign some paperwork, so that the baby would be taken care of. Instead…she made him sign a termination of parental rights.”

Elizabeth couldn’t help the smile that stretched across her face. “I think I would have liked her.”

“Yeah.” Jason was smiling , too. “She never took crap from anyone, except Sonny. So she did that, and then…” He hesitated. “After she gave birth, she was bleeding. They…they couldn’t stop it, so she begged me…” His voice was slightly hoarse now. “She begged me not to let Sonny and Carly take her baby. They would forget all about Sam, and her daughter would never know her mother.”

“So you agreed,” she murmured. She slid closer on the bench to him. “And you’ve been raising her since Sam died. Which can’t be helping things with Sonny.”

“No. He was angry, but Carly still doesn’t know the truth, so as long as he doesn’t want her to know…” With a short breath of air, he sighed. “He keeps calling in the middle of the night for me to take care of things, and lately, he calls in the middle of the day. I haven’t been able to hire anyone to help me, so I have to take Evie to Carly in the middle of the night. By the time I get back, she’s crying. She’s not sleeping right either.”

He scrubbed his hands over his face. “I-I don’t know why I told you all of that. I haven’t…told Emily. She just…she knows I’m not sleeping. She’s with Evie now.”

“You and I have always had a habit of telling each other things we don’t tell anyone else,” Elizabeth said with a soft smile. “I guess that’s one thing that hasn’t changed.”

“No.” He looked at her, and she liked to think some of the pain had dissipated, that he didn’t look as haunted. “So you’re coming back to Port Charles.”

“Yep.” Elizabeth offered a smile. “Already back. I have to fly out after Christmas to tie up some loose ends, but I’m back. Cam and I are staying with my grandmother for now until I find something with good lighting.” She wrinkled her nose. “Would you believe they condemned my studio?”

They both looked at her old building, a sagging mess that hunched over the pier. “I can’t believe they waited this long.”

“Brat.” She punched him lightly in the shoulder. “I loved that place. It was the first time I felt independent, like I could be strong on my own.” Elizabeth looked back at him. “I know things are hard right now, so if there’s anything I can do…even if it’s just a baby-sitter in the middle of the day when you don’t want to leave Evie with Sonny or Carly, give me a call. My cell is still the same.”

“I’ll do that,” he said.

“I should go,” she said after a moment. “My gram is watching Cam, and I don’t want to leave her with him too long.” She stood and adjusted the strap of her bag over her shoulder. “Jason…” When he met her eyes, she offered him a smile. “Congratulations on your daughter. I’m sure she’s beautiful.”