Note: This is a short ensemble story, told in the style of the movie Love Actually, in which there are lots of interconnected characters and stories. The people of Port Charles are ridiculously involved in each other’s lives, and I wanted to try and write something that represented all that.
This is my first time writing half these characters — Morgan, Nathan, this version of Lucas, Dante, Olivia, etc. It also features Jake/Elizabeth as he is on the screen at the moment.
It’s a sort of follow up to my short story, Other People’s Truths, and it saves me from having to write a sequel.
I wrote it in the style of the show with five segments. Nothing on the show happened after Thursday, December 18, 2014’s episode. I don’t know the paternity of Baby Jerome, nor do I know her name. I haven’t watched the show yet, so she’s Morgan’s daughter in this story because I can’t stand the thought otherwise. Ric hasn’t been released yet, etc.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
Next year all our troubles will be out of sight
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
The Metro Court: Ballroom
If there was an ounce of tinsel left in the entire state, Olivia Falconeri couldn’t imagine where because it felt like the ballroom had vomited that particular decoration in streams of red, gold, silver, and green.
Christmas was good thing, she told herself as she stood next to her partner, Carly Corinthos-Jacks, and greeted the various guests.
“Ugh.” Carly wrinkled her nose and muttered under her breath Elizabeth Webber and Jake—what the hell was the man calling himself anyway?—walked past.
Olivia raised a brow. “I thought you and Elizabeth were past all that,” she said as she turned her back slightly to avoid making eye contact with Ned Ashton whose dark eyes swept his way as he entered behind Monica Quartermaine and her date. Of course Alexis Davis was on his arm.
Story of her damn life.
“We are,” Carly said, her eyes trained on her son Morgan as he walked in with her mother Bobbie Jones and brother Lucas, Kiki Jerome just behind them. “Just…something about seeing her with Jake bothers me.”
Olivia snorted. “Why, you want to sleep with him too?” she muttered.
“What?” Carly demanded. “No. I just…” She gestured to where Jake and Elizabeth were standing with Sabrina Santiago and Felix DuBois. “I’m sure he can do better.”
Olivia rolled her eyes. “Whatever,” she muttered. She saw Alexis wave at her and, pretending not to notice, Olivia turned away.
Fifteen feet away, Alexis frowned and tugged on Ned’s tuxedo sleeve. He turned from a conversation with Monica and frowned. “What?” he asked. “What’s wrong?”
“Olivia.” Alexis gestured towards the front of the room where Carly and Olivia were standing. “She just…looked away. She has a problem with me, doesn’t she?” She frowned. “No. It’s not with me. It’s about me.” She whacked his sleeve. “She likes you.”
“We’re in junior high again?” Ned asked dryly, stepping out of reach of Alexis’s next hit. “Of course she likes me. We’re friends.”
“Don’t you pretend I don’t know what I’m talking about, Ned Ashton. She wants to date you and I’m in her way.” When Ned just swallowed and looked away, she nodded. “Well, I can’t fault her taste.”
But Ned’s words were caught off when Sam Morgan stepped up to them. “Mom, you look great,” she said, embracing her. “I love that green on you.”
“Thanks. You look good yourself.” Alexis waved at Patrick Drake and his daughter, Emma, standing a few feet away. “I see you’ve decided to forgive Patrick.”
“We’re…” Sam turned slightly to offer the doctor a smile. “We’re working on it. I actually—” She cast an apologetic smile at Ned. “I’m sorry to interrupt. I just wanted to know if you’d seen Julian since he made bail.”
Ned scowled, but Alexis ignored that. “No, I haven’t.”
“Oh, okay.” Sam shrugged and returned to Patrick’s side.
“She hasn’t seen him?” Patrick asked her, reaching for her hand. Sam tensed, but forced herself to relax. She was going to learn to trust him again. If Jason had forgiven her for lying about Robin’s supposed death, she could find it in herself to forgive Patrick.
His heart had been in the right place.
“No.” Sam sighed. “I don’t even know what I’d say to him if I saw him right now. To know he was working with Faison…the man who killed Jason—” She shook her head. “I just don’t know what to do with that.”
“Did he know?” Emma asked in her bright voice. “Did your dad know that awful man hurt your husband?”
“Emma,” Patrick began.
“It’s okay. It’s a good question.” Sam smiled at Emma. “No, I don’t think he did, but I guess I just want confirmation of that.”
“Hey, there’s Cameron,” Patrick said, changing the subject and gesturing across the room. “Do you want to say hello to him and his mother?”
Sam winced, seeing Elizabeth on the arm of Jake Doe. “Ah, that’s probably not a good idea. For me to go, I mean.” She touched Emma’s shoulder. “I’m sure Cameron would love to see you.”
“Can I go, Daddy?” Emma asked. When Patrick nodded, she bounced on her feet and darted into the crowd.
Patrick eyed Sam. “What’s your issue with Elizabeth and Jake?”
Emma rounded a doctor from the hospital and stopped by Cameron. “Cameron! Hi!”
Elizabeth grinned and leaned down to kiss her son’s friend on the cheek. “You look fantastic, Emma!”
“Thanks.” Emma smiled shyly. “Hi, Mr. Doe.”
“I have to get a new last name,” Jake said, with a wince.
“Mom, can me and Emma go say hi to Spencer?” Cameron asked, his eyes lit up with an unholy glee that Elizabeth recognized all too well.
She sighed. “Yeah, but try really hard not to gloat too much. It tends to backfire with Cassadines.” The last part was directed at Cameron’s back as he and Emma disappeared into the crowd.
“That sounds like a good story,” Jake said, drawing her attention back to him. She rolled her eyes.
“Oh, God, more like a nightmare, but that’s not important.” She frowned. “How long do you think it’s going to take Sabrina and Felix with the drinks?”
“In this crowd?” he shifted, and tugged at the knot of his dark green tie. “You know, I don’t know much about who I used to be, but I don’t think I liked dressing up much.”
Elizabeth laughed and straightened his suit jacket, her fingers lingering on his lapel. “You look nice, though. I figured you’d clean up good.”
His mouth spread into a sheepish grin. “It’s just nice to finally wear clothes I bought for myself, thanks to Michael Quartermaine and the job working on his construction crew. And I’ll earn the advance he gave me.”
“I’m sure you will,” Elizabeth said, smiling back, but she looked away. Because now Jake had a job. Soon he’d move out to his own place. And he’d start making friends that weren’t her.
And that was fine. Mostly.
Spencer groaned when he saw Cameron and Emma approaching him. “Great. The townie.” He winced when Nikolas slapped the back of his head. “Hey!”
“Do not call Cameron a townie, or I swear I will buy the house across the street and make you live there,” he threatened. “Then who will be the townie? He’s your cousin.”
“Hardly,” Spencer responded with a dramatic roll of his eyes. “Aidan is my cousin. Cameron’s the baggage that comes with him—”
“I’m not having another Spencer and Cassadine feud on my watch,” Nikolas told him. “And his mother counts.”
“Whatever.” Spencer frowned.
“Hey, Uncle Nikolas,” Cameron said with his usual bright smile. “We were wondering if Spencer could come with us to go see Joss. We wanted to get milkshakes and Olivia said there was a kid’s table.”
Spencer huffed. “I’m on house arrest,” he told them. “Since I tried to run away and Great-Grandmother showed up.”
“You can go as long as you don’t leave the room or plot any world takeovers,” Nikolas told him, then watching as his son lit up and disappeared with Cameron and Emma.
“Why is my wonderful brother standing all alone over here?” a voice from behind him said. He turned to find his sister, Lulu Falconeri. “You should be the life of the party.”
“I have never been the life of the party,” Nikolas replied, hugging her. “Where’s your husband? Why has he let you loose on the world?”
“He’s with Nathan, having a pity party.” Lulu eyed a spot across the room where Dante Falconeri and Nathan West were sitting at a table, talking. “So, I hear Helena didn’t die again.”
“Yeah.” Nikolas shuddered. “I had a brief run in with her last week. She’s up to something Lulu. God only knows what it is this time. I don’t understand why she’s not dead.”
“My dad always thought it had something to do with a Faustian pact,” Lulu replied. She jabbed him in the chest. “You have not been by to see your nephew lately.”
“I haven’t seen either of my nephews lately,” Nikolas admitted. “It’s all I can do to keep Spencer in line. I’ll stop by tomorrow, I promise.”
When she returned to her table, Nathan was still talking about Maxie. “I shouldn’t have promised her I’d get her Georgie by Christmas,” he admitted as Lulu sat down.
“It does seem like a hasty choice,” Dante remarked. “Especially since you know, there’s nothing you could do.”
“I really thought Alexis could help.” Nathan leaned back in his chair. “I was so desperate I asked my mother to help.”
Dante choked on his beer. “Wait, what?”
“You asked Liesl Obrecht for help?” Lulu repeated. “Oh, hell.”
“I know.” Nathan scrubbed his hands over his face. “Clearly, I was desperate. I just…” He looked at them. “I want what you two have.” His eyes moved across the room, and Lulu twisted in her chair to see Maxie Jones with her cousin Lucas. “I wish I could ask her to dance.”
“You should probably stop staring at him.” Lucas patted Maxie’s arm. “Walters is here somewhere.”
“Oh, screw Walters,” she muttered. “I hope he falls off a cliff.”
“Hey,” Lucas put his arm around. “Maybe he’ll piss off a Cassadine. You know, I could probably call my father.”
Maxie let out a startled laugh. “Did you just offer to set me up with the mob? Lucas.” She pressed a hand to his forehead. “What is wrong with you?”
“I hope Michael shows up,” Bobbie said, stepping up to them. “But I don’t think he will. Not with Carly, Morgan, and Kiki here.”
“Yeah.” Lucas switched his attention to his mother. “How does it feel to be a great-grandmother now that Morgan is officially a father?”
“Oh…that’s not even remotely funny.” Bobbie bumped him with her hip. “That makes you a great-uncle.”
“Well, I have always been a great uncle.” Lucas grinned. “Nothing new there.”
“Hey, now that Morgan is the babydaddy, does he get to name her?” Maxie asked.
Bobbie nodded. “And they just signed the papers yesterday. They only waited so long to make sure Ava wouldn’t throw a hissy fit.”
“Well, what did they name her?” she demanded.
“It still feels weird,” Morgan Corinthos told Kiki. He held out his phone to look at another photo of his daughter. “She’s not the baby anymore or the girl, or just my daughter. She’s got a name now.”
“You don’t have to remind me,” Kiki replied. “I spent three hours going through the books with you.”
“I wanted something just right,” Morgan said. “Sophia Grace. I like it.”
“Do you think Michael will be here tonight?” Kiki asked. She stretched up on her toes and peered over the crowd. “I haven’t seen him since Diane served him with the injunction.”
“I’m not sure I want to see the jackass,” Morgan muttered. “Imagine throwing his brother and niece out at Christmas. He’s more like Dad than he’ll ever admit.”
“I just…wish we could have found some other way to resolve it,” Kiki said. “We were wrong, Morgan—”
“That doesn’t make him any less of an ass,” Morgan muttered. “Serves him right. If he wants to evict me, he’s going to have to come to court next month and look me in the face in front of a judge. It’s the only way he’s really going to get it—” He stopped when a familiar blond stepped through the door way. “Kiki.”
“Oh…he’s here.” Kiki twisted her fingers together. “Oh, oh, what now? Do you think he’ll talk to us? Maybe we shouldn’t go near him. What do we do?”
“I’m standing my ground.” Morgan set his face. “Look, maybe I lied, but it’s not like I wasn’t dealing with my own crap. Michael’s just like Mom. Everything’s about him.”
“Oh, God, Morgan, do not ever use that reasoning with him.” Kiki whacked his arm. “You chose your trouble when you crawled into bed with my mother. It’s not like Michael asked for this.”
“Christ. You’ll defend him until you’re blue in the face.” Morgan narrowed his eyes. “Wait, where did Michael go?”
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the yule tide gay
From now on all our troubles will be miles away
Elizabeth smiled when she saw Michael heading her way. “Hey! Twice in one week,” she said, as he stepped up to them and kissed her cheek. “And don’t you look handsome in your tux.”
“Thanks.” Michael turned to Jake. “It’s good to see you again.” He offered his hand. “How’s the Courtland Street project coming?”
“In the two days since I started?” Jake asked with an arched brow. But he shook Michael’s hand. “Good, I guess. I haven’t cut off my hand yet, and it turns out I can mix some pretty mean cement.”
“Are the boys excited for Christmas?” Michael asked Elizabeth who nodded.
“Beyond. Cameron decided to give Aidan his old Chuggin’ Charlie train,” she told Michael. “It’s eight years old this year and looking pretty dingy, but it’s Aidan’s favorite thing to play with.” Her smile faded slightly. Jake had loved it, too. “All my boys love motorcycles, trains, and cars. Anything that moves.”
“Must be the time they spent with my uncle.” Michael hesitated. “Ah, you should know I talked to my mom about what we discussed—that I know that she lied to me about my name. I didn’t get very far because we just started arguing about Sonny, but eventually she’s going to come back to find out what I was talking about.”
Elizabeth wrinkled her nose. “Oh, hell. I wondered what the dirty look was about.”
“I didn’t mention you specifically,” Michael clarified. “But never underestimate my mother’s ability to find someone else to blame.” He kissed her cheek again. “I have someone I have to apologize to.”
As Michael disappeared into the crowd, Elizabeth sighed. “Great. I knew I shouldn’t have said anything. Carly and I were getting along so well.”
Jake frowned. “What’s your deal with Carly? Do you guys have some sort of history?”
“Oh, just the same history I have with most of the women who knew Jason,” Elizabeth murmured. “He doesn’t even have to be alive apparently.” She pursed her lips. “Sorry, I know he…I know Jason comes up an awful lot.”
“It’s cool.” Jake tilted his head. “It doesn’t really bother me much. Did you say your son has a Chuggin’ Charlie?”
“Yeah, why?” Elizabeth raised her eyebrows. “Do you remember what is?”
“I…” He shook his head. “No. I don’t think so. It just…sounds familiar.”
Michael frowned when he saw the way Morgan had angled himself in front of Kiki as he approached the two of them near the bar.
“Morgan, Kiki.” He cleared his throat. “I—I heard you found out that the baby is yours.” Michael shifted. “I’m glad.”
“Yeah, so glad you’re throwing us out on the street—” Morgan began, but winced when Kiki elbowed him in the back. “What? It’s not a lie.”
“It’s Christmas, Morgan. Stop being yourself for five seconds.” Kiki stepped from behind him and offered Michael a hesitant smile. “We named her Sophia.”
“I heard that, too.” Michael bit his lip. “I’m dropping the eviction,” he told them. “It’s…not important why. I just wanted you to know that before I ask to speak with Kiki alone.”
Morgan lifted his chin. “Not if you’re going to be an ass.”
“Morgan, go away,” Kiki ordered. “I can handle myself.”
“Yeah, but I’ll be right over there.” Morgan gestured towards Bobbie, Lucas, Maxie, and Carly. “So, you know, if she even looks upset—”
“I promise to behave,” Michael said, irritated. “Go away, Morgan.”
“Whatever. Dillhole,” his brother muttered under his breath.
“For the last time, Carly,” Maxie said as Morgan stepped up next to her. “I don’t hear from Spinelli all that often. We’re not allowed much contact.”
“I see my mother is making friends again,” Morgan said.
“I’m trying to be friendly,” Carly said, exasperated. “Fine. Lucas, where’s Brad tonight?”
“Working.” Lucas’s one word answer just made his sister narrow her eyes. “Should I elaborate on that so you can practice this friendly thing more?”
“All right, all right.” Bobbie waved her hand between her children. “To your corners.” She looked to Morgan. “This would be a great time to hear all about my new grand-baby. I want to see pictures.”
“Well,” Morgan reached for his phone with a grin. “You should have seen her smile today.”
With the crowd firmly focused on Morgan and his strange love child, Maxie slipped away towards the terrace.
She wished she hadn’t allowed her parents to convince her to come tonight. What if being here, just in the vicinity of Nathan would get her in further trouble?
And of course, there he was. On the terrace, leaning against the wall that overlooked the city. Her life sucked.
“I’ll go back in,” she said when he just looked at her. “I mean…you were here first—”
“Maxie.” He held up a hand. “Just—I wanted to apologize. I know I said I would make sure you saw your daughter tomorrow, but—”
“You were just being a good friend.” Maxie wrapped her arms around her waist. “I know that. But it’s my fault. I didn’t take Judge Walters serious. I…I really care about you, Nathan, but I can’t—I can’t be selfish.”
“I know,” Nathan replied. “I want you to be with your daughter. I hope Alexis’s appeal works—”
“You guys had better scram!” Lulu burst through the terrace doors. “Monica and Walters are headed over to this side of the ballroom. If they see you coming in together—”
Maxie squeaked and grabbed Nathan’s hand. “There’s a service entrance towards the hotel kitchens. I remember from when I worked here.” They disappeared around the corner.
“Hey, they stopped at the bar,” Dante said, joining Lulu on the terrace. “Where did Nathan and Maxie go?”
“Through the service entrance,” Lulu replied. “It opens into a hallway that links the ballroom and the kitchen.” She scowled, planting her hands on her hips. “This is ridiculous! Hasn’t Maxie been through enough this year?”
She narrowed her eyes when she saw the way Dante was smirking at her. “What? Why are you smiling?”
“Because considering all the reasons Maxie is in this particular mess with her daughter,” Dante said, drawing Lulu into an embrace. “It’s pretty sweet of you to be worried about her like this.”
“Oh.” Lulu frowned. “Well, yeah, what happened was pretty awful, but in the scheme of Maxie shenanigans? It’s not nearly as bad as the time she faked her pregnancy by my brother.” She sighed. “Maxie…you know she’s complicated. She tries so hard to be more than just herself. She has a lot to live up to.”
“What? Her parents?” Dante tilted his head. “Why do you say that?”
“Not her parents,” Lulu said, “but her cousin. And her sister. BJ and Georgie died when they were super young—you know Maxie has BJ’s heart, and she went through a really bad time after Georgie. I think she feels like people look at her and think…the wrong sister died.”
“It’s tough,” Dante agreed.
“It’s not just it’s tough, but it’s this impossible standard,” Lulu explained. “To always feel like you have make up for them not being here. To live for them instead of just yourself. She tries too hard to do the right. Way too hard. Which is how you get her rationalizing that giving us her biological child made sense.”
“It was a pretty huge sacrifice she tried to make,” Dante murmured. “And now that we have Rocco, I can’t imagine how she even did it for five minutes.”
“Because Maxie is much more than people give her credit for,” Lulu murmured.
Nathan promised to wait in the hallway for ten minutes before reentering the ballroom, so when Maxie stepped over the threshold, she was alone.
“Maxie!” Alexis rushed up to her. “I’ve been looking for you!”
“Oh, God.” Maxie sighed and smiled at Ned who looked annoyed. “What now? Did Walters put me under arrest or something?”
“No, I just got a text from the clerk’s office.” Alexis grinned. “You’ve been granted an appeal next Tuesday.”
“An—” Maxie swallowed. “An appeal?” She fisted her hands. “What—what does that mean?”
“It means you may not have your daughter for Christmas,” her lawyer told her. “But I might be able to swing New Year’s. There’s no way another judge is going to uphold Walters.”
“Oh my God!” Maxie squealed. In her joy, she embraced Ned and Alexis. “I have to find my parents!”
“It’s nice to finally give good news,” Alexis said, watching as Maxie disappeared into the crowd.
“Don’t think I’ve forgotten our conversation,” Ned said. “I want to know how long I’m going to have to deal with the specter of Julian Jerome between us.”
Alexis blinked and looked at him. “I—Ned, I never pretended he and I…that it wasn’t…that I didn’t love him.”
“You…” Ned nodded. “You are absolutely correct.”
“My mother looks upset,” Sam said. “I should go check on her—” But Patrick put a hand on her elbow. “What?”
“You’re not getting out of this so lightly. I want to know what’s wrong with you and Elizabeth?” he asked. “I thought you were past all the stuff from before. That you’d buried the hatchet.”
“We did,” Sam admitted. “When Jason died. There just…didn’t seem to be a point to any of it.” She eyed Jake and Elizabeth across the room. “If Jason were here, he’d be just as worried.”
“Worried about what?” Patrick frowned. “I’m not thrilled about her getting close to Jake, but he seems all right. Mostly. I mean…” He shrugged. “Things were fine at Thanksgiving, weren’t they?”
“Have either of you seen Spencer?” Nikolas asked, joining them. “He, Cameron, and Emma went to find Joss almost a half hour ago and I haven’t seen them.”
“Hell,” Patrick frowned. “That’s not good.”
Metro Court: Hotel Kitchens
“I want answers, and I want them now.” Olivia planted her hands on her hips and tapped her foot.
Joss nudged Spencer. “This was your idea, you fix it.” And then Cameron shoved him forward.
“Traitors,” the Cassadine scion hissed at the trio who just flashed innocent smiles at them. Ha. Like she’d believe that for a second. She wasn’t born yesterday. “Ms. Falconeri, you look lovely this evening.”
“Oh, that’s not going to help anything,” Joss groaned. “You are not nearly as charming as you think you are.” She bumped Spencer aside. “Listen, Liv. This is my mom’s hotel, which means I can go anywhere I want to go.”
“Yeah!” Spencer nodded. “How did you find us anyway?”
“We’re going to get in so much trouble,” Emma told Cameron.
“That’s it. You’re all going back to your parents.” Olivia pointed towards the door. “March.”
Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more
Metro Court Hotel: Ballroom
“Sam, I want to know what the problem is,” Patrick repeated and Sam looked around hoping for another interruption. She did not think this was the time and place to reveal her suspicion that one of Patrick’s favorite people might be falling for a sociopathic criminal.
“Why does Olivia have Emma and the other kids?” Sam said, her eyes brightening. “They look…”
“Guilty,” Patrick finished, as Olivia and the brood reached them. “Emma Grace.”
“It wasn’t my idea,” Emma said. “I swear.”
“Yeah, it was all Spencer!” Joss said.
“You suck,” Spencer snarled, jabbing her in the side. “You were supposed to blame Cameron—”
“I found them in the hotel kitchens near one of our large freezers,” Olivia said, putting a hand on Cameron’s head to keep him from lunging at Spencer. “So this one belongs to you.”
“Daddy, I was just—” Emma began.
“Not using your judgment,” Patrick said. “You can’t always blame Spencer—” he continued as Olivia dragged Spencer and Cameron by their arms towards Elizabeth. Joss followed a sullen glare.
“Oh, that does not look good,” Felix murmured, and Elizabeth turned to see her son and nephew heading her way. “I wonder what they did now.”
Elizabeth sighed when Olivia released Cameron’s arm. “What did you do?”
“Spencer was trying to set me up,” Cameron complained. “He wanted me to get Emma in trouble!”
“Hey, Joss blamed me, that doesn’t mean it was actually my fault.” Spencer scowled. “Why does everyone always assume I’m guilty?”
“Because you usually are.” Olivia sighed as she hauled Spencer and Joss across the room.
“Mom, I promise—” Cameron said.
“Don’t start, Cameron. I’ve told you not to get caught up in Spencer’s schemes, but you never listen.” She tugged on his suit jacket. “Now you have to hang out with your mother.”
“It could be worse,” Jake told him when Cameron scowled. “You could be stuck at home with your brother.”
“That’s true,” the boy admitted. “Aidan’s with Rocco and Grandma Lesley,” he reported to Felix and Sabrina. “They’re just babies. I wish Jake were still here. Two is always better than one.”
Elizabeth’s hand slid from Cameron’s shoulder and her face paled. She swallowed hard. “Cameron—”
“Sabrina!” Felix said almost a bit too loudly as Jake put a hand on Elizabeth’s shoulder to steady her. “Tell us about the job Michael offered you.”
“Oh.” Sabrina nodded. “Yeah. He’s opening the clinic in AJ’s memory, and he wants me to be the head nurse, but I just don’t know. I mean, it’s kind of him to overlook what happened at GH, but…” She shrugged.
“He seems like a good kid,” Jake said. “It’s a shame what happened with his father, but his mom doesn’t seem so bad.”
Felix snorted while Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “Wait until you’ve been here longer than ten minutes, Jake. You’ll learn.”
Olivia stopped by Carly, Lucas, Morgan, and Bobbie. “I found your kid in the kitchens.”
“Mom, would you please explain to the help that we own this hotel and therefore I can go wherever I want,” Joss said, stamping her foot and throwing Olivia a dirty look.
“The help?” Olivia repeated. “You are lucky you’re not my kid.” And with that, she disappeared dragging Spencer along with her.
“Jocelyn Jane Jacks,” Carly began.
“That is a seriously horrible name,” Lucas murmured to Morgan who snorted.
“We’ve got to do something about this sense of entitlement,” Bobbie said, shaking her head. “Joss, you know very well Olivia shares ownership in this hotel.”
“Only because my father gave it to her cousin,” Joss said, with an exaggerated roll of her eyes. “Right, Mom? That’s what you said last week—”
“Carly—” Bobbie sighed.
“Oh, suddenly this is my fault?” Carly demanded. “I’m going to go find someone who doesn’t think I’m a horrible person.” She took Joss’s arm and left the group.
“You know, I love my mother,” Morgan said after a moment, “but I’m thinking in this room, that’s a difficult thing to do.” He leaned around. “Oh, hell, she’s making a beeline for Michael and Kiki.”
“So, what did you want to talk to me about?” Kiki asked after a moment of silence. “Because if it’s about the injunction—”
“No.” Michael shook his head. “No. It was getting that notice a few days ago that made me realize how insane this all is.” He sighed. “I don’t want to be this person, Kiki. I try to tell myself I’m not going to say something, that I’m just going to stop it—and then…I don’t know. I step outside of myself.”
“You’ve been dealing with so much,” Kiki began.
“No, don’t excuse me.” He held up a hand. “I’m not going to get caught up in my anger. I talked to someone who made me realize it’s not what my father would have wanted.” He looked away. “Every time I turn around, I learn how much my mother has kept from me. How much she continues to lie.”
“I’m so sorry that I lied to you, Michael.” Kiki stepped towards him. “I’d take it back if I could. I just…I want to be there for you.”
“You decided to tell me the truth in the end,” Michael told her. “Not as soon as I’d want, but you could have kept lying. There was no reason to tell me the truth. But you decided to come clean, and you know, that’s something I’m thinking about. You told me even though you knew how angry I would be.”
“I don’t want to be another person who lies to you.” Kiki chewed on her bottom lip. “I don’t want you to be as angry with me as you are with your mother—but I promise you, there’s nothing else I’m keeping from you.”
“Which is definitely not something I can say about my mother,” Michael muttered. “I just found out she lied to me about my name. She told me Jason named me for Sonny. That he named me Michael Corinthos. And it was just another lie to serve her purpose.” He paused. “He named me Michael Morgan. Because everyone believed he was my father.”
“What?” Kiki’s eyes were wide.
“Who the hell told you that?” Carly hissed from behind them. Michael turned to find his mother standing, Joss standing next to her with her jaw dropped.
“Finally!” Olivia said, spotting Nikolas near the dessert buffet. “Nikolas, I have someone you’ve been looking for—”
But she stopped abruptly as she realized Spencer’s father was standing next to Ned and Alexis. She stopped in her tracks. “Ah.”
“Spencer…” Nikolas narrowed his eyes. “What did you do now?”
“Technically, I didn’t do anything,” Spencer told him. “I may have planned to do something, but the lovely Ms. Falconeri foiled my plot, so when you think about it—”
“I think—” Olivia swallowed and looked away from Ned. “There was something about framing Cameron Webber, but I’m not sure I got that right. I’ll leave you to it.”
She spun on her heel and headed for the terrace.
“Olivia, wait!” Ned called, following her.
Nikolas frowned and looked back at his aunt. “What is that about?”
“It appears,” Alexis said, slowly, “that Ned is fed up because I haven’t quite managed to put Julian in my past.”
“Aren’t we all?” he replied dryly.
“Hey!” Alexis jabbed a finger at him. “You, of all people, do not get to judge my bad taste in romantic partners.” And with that, she walked in the opposite direction.
“Women,” Spencer said with a sympathetic shake of his head. “What are you gonna do?”
“Dante, Lulu!” Maxie halted when she saw that the duo were standing with Nathan. “Oh. Um.”
“I’ll go.” Nathan reached for his drink on the table.
“Wait, I think I don’t have to worry about it anymore.” Maxie grinned. “Alexis got me an appeal! I just know another judge is going to take care of this!”
“Maxie, that’s fantastic!” Lulu squealed and embraced her best friend. “Dante, did you hear that?”
“Because I’m standing right here, yes.” But he was smiling and clapped Nathan on the back. “Do you think your mother helped?”
“Your mother?” Maxie asked. “Oh, God, you asked Obrecht for help?”
“Well,” Nathan began.
“Ms. Jones.” Judge David Walters’ deep voice boomed from behind the group. “I see that you still aren’t taking me seriously.”
“Oh, my God!” Maxie groaned as she turned to face her worst nightmare. “What, did you plant GPS on my ass?”
“Young lady,” Walters began but apparently it was all Lulu could take.
“What is wrong with you?” Lulu demanded. “It’s Christmas for Christ’s sake. She’s my best friend, and Nathan is Dante’s partner. They’re supposed to be rude to one another and pretend they never knew one another? What is your problem anyway?”
“What’s going on here?” Monica asked, stepping up next to them. “Lulu—”
“Monica, how could you date someone like this?” Lulu asked.
“Lulu,” Maxie said, her eyes wide. “I don’t think this is necessary—”
“I mean, do you even know the crap he’s putting Maxie through?” Lulu ignored her and stepped right up to Monica. “C’mon, you of all people must know how horrible it is to be separated from your children.”
Monica paled, while Dante groaned. “Lulu, knock it off—”
“I think you’d better tell me what’s going on. Right now.” Monica turned her attention to her date. “You’re the judge on Maxie’s case?”
Metro Court Hotel: Hallway
Oh, hell. If she kept hauling ass to her office, she might be able to close the door. Surely, he wouldn’t just barge right in.
But she didn’t quite trust that, so she turned abruptly and Ned nearly ran right into her. “What?” she demanded.
“Uh.” Ned swallowed, backing up a bit. “I wanted to talk to you.”
She lifted her chin. “So talk.”
“Ah.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Listen. I-I was wrong before. About you. And me. And Alexis.”
“Well, that clears it all up.” Olivia folded her arms. “I’m busy here, Ned—”
“There’s no second chance with Alexis for me.” He stepped closer to her. “I want to take you to dinner—”
“You mean you finally wised up to the fact she was using you to forget about Julian Jerome?” Olivia cut in. “That you’re her second choice? Well, news flash, Ned. I don’t want to be yours.”
And she walked away. Fast. Because if she thought about it, she might jump him and that would be hell on her new sense of self-esteem.
Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
Metro Court Hotel: Ballroom
Cursing under his breath, Ned returned to the ballroom only to find his aunt arguing with her date for the evening. As Ned drew closer, he overheard the words Maxie, bastard, son of a bitch—
“Is everything all right?” he asked, stepping up to the group which included Dante, Lulu, and Maxie, all of whom looked upset. “Monica?”
“David is the judge on Maxie’s custody case,” Monica said, her cheeks flushed with anger. “Who took away her daughter—”
“Monica, this really isn’t something I can talk about with you,” the judge said, with his hand up as if ward off an attack. “It’s unethical—”
“Oh, because cornering Maxie on a date with Nathan here at the hotel was so ethical!” Lulu spat. “You just don’t like that he lied to you!”
“Where’s Alexis?” Ned asked Dante.
“Nathan went to find her,” Olivia’s son responded. He eyed Ned with a suspicious eye. “Where’s my mother?”
“Monica,” David began again.
“You cannot keep this woman from her child because you don’t like her boyfriend,” Monica snapped. “And Lulu tells me you used our lunch together at the hospital as evidence as against her—”
“Nathan’s a good man and a good cop who just got shot in the line of duty,” Lulu cut in. “You know, Maxie, we should have thought of this before—let’s take it to the press!”
“The press?” Maxie repeated. Her eyes narrowed. “Yeah. Let’s talk to the newspapers. My lawyer knows Julian Jerome—”
Ned sighed and rolled his eyes. Fantastic.
“—and he runs the local paper. And I bet I can find someone who’d listen to me. Just wait until they find out how you’re maligning poor Nathan—”
“Let’s not be hasty,” David said with a patronizing smile. “Perhaps some consideration is order—”
“Ned, can you help me find my lawyer?” Maxie asked with a dazzling smile. “I think Alexis needs to get Julian on the phone.”
“I told the two of you to be careful,” Alexis sighed as she and Nathan moved towards the scene in the front of the room. “Seriously. I got an appeal, not a miracle—”
But Maxie broke through the crowd before they could reach their goal. “Alexis! Nathan!” She was nearly bouncing in excitement. “Monica totally freaked out on Judge Walters and then Lulu threatened him with the press—”
“Because Nathan is an upstanding member of society,” Alexis said. “Did it work?”
“He vacated the ruling!” Maxie threw her arms around Nathan. “We can date. And Spinelli can bring Georgie to me!”
Nathan lifted her off her feet and spun her in a circle. “That’s fantastic!”
“Oh, I’m so glad, Maxie.” Alexis offered her temporary client a brief hug.
“I want to tell my parents!” Maxie took Nathan’s arm and dragged him away. He offered a wave before a crowd enveloped him.
“Hey, Aunt Alexis.”
Alexis looked down at the small voice next to her and narrowed her eyes. “Where’d you tie up your father?”
“I’m small, it’s easy to duck under people,” Spencer offered with a grin. “How come you’re alone again?”
She huffed. “That’s a damn good question.”
“I’m alone, too,” Spencer said. “Because Emma prefers Cameron. I don’t get it. Is it a Cassadine’s fate to die alone? Maybe we expect too much. That’s where I went wrong with Emma, I think.”
“And now I’m getting advice from a ten-year-old.” Alexis pressed a hand to her temple.
“Have you seen Spencer?”
Elizabeth turned and rolled her eyes. “Nikolas, when are you putting that kid on a leash?”
“As soon as I find him this time, we’re going home.” Nikolas looked down at Cameron. “Do you know where he is?”
“Joss has shown him a lot of places to hide in the hotel,” Cameron reported. “Can I help Uncle Nikolas, Mom?”
Elizabeth sighed. “All right, but Nikolas, try not to lose my kid as well.” She grinned because they both knew she was teasing, but he scowled anyway.
He disappeared into the crowd, her son in tow.
“Spencer seems like handful,” Jake said from beside her. “Isn’t that the second time Nikolas has stopped by looking for him?”
“He’s a bit mischievous,” Elizabeth allowed with a half-smile. “I think it comes from the amount of moving around he’s done, and sometimes, suffering from a bit of a too much time with nannies. His mother died when he was born, and Nikolas’s fiancée was murdered later. It was a rough few years. For all of us.” She sighed and looked away.
“You were close with his fiancée?” Jake asked.
“Best friends.” She pursed her lips. “Emily was more of a sister to me than my own. It’s been eight years since she died, but God, it still feels like yesterday.” She rolled her shoulders. “I’m sorry. I feel like I’m always bringing up people I’ve lost.”
“It’s fine.” Jake wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “I’m just sorry you’ve had so much loss.”
“Elizabeth!” Bobbie stepped up to them, and squeezed her hand. “So, Carly and Michael just had a bit of a fight.”
“Oh, hell.” Elizabeth saw Carly’s blond head waving towards them from halfway across the room. “Michael dimed me out.”
“Well, I love my daughter, but I think she’s had this moment coming for a very long time.” Bobbie flashed a smile at Jake. “Hello, you must be Jake. My grandson has mentioned you.”
“Oh…” Elizabeth put a hand on Jake’s sleeve. “Jake, this is Bobbie Spencer, one of my favorite people in the world even if she is Carly’s mother. Bobbie, this is Jake Doe. He’s staying with me.”
“It’s nice to meet you.” Bobbie shook Jake’s head.
“I think we need to change locations,” Elizabeth said. “Maybe find Dante and Lulu?” she suggested.
“Oh, but before that…” Bobbie gestured towards the space above their heads. “Bad luck to ignore the mistletoe!”
“I’m sorry for my mother’s interruption,” Michael said, his eyes looking past Kiki to where his mother was making a determined beeline for Elizabeth. Joss had escaped during the confrontation, so God only knew where his sister had ended up.
“Should you go ahead her off before she finds Elizabeth?” Kiki asked, half-turning to follow Michael’s eyes.
“Elizabeth can take care of herself. She’s got a lot of history with my mother.” Michael looked back at her. “Kiki—”
“You forgive me,” she interrupted. “And I don’t hold anything against you. Does that mean…” She licked her lips. “Can we just…be together again? I love you—”
“I love you, too.” Michael brushed his fingers against her cheek. “But this last year—you lied to me more than once. And I’ve hurt you. Not just…with the way I spoke to you. But there was Rosalie—”
“Michael, none of that matters—”
“In this moment, maybe not,” he allowed. “But tomorrow? The day after that? I don’t want to pretend we haven’t done damage to this.”
“And I don’t think we should throw it away.” Kiki stepped closer to him. “Trust has to be earned, I get it. But Michael, I love you enough to try.”
“Looks like that’s starting to work out,” Lucas murmured to Morgan as they both watched Kiki and Michael talk in hushed tones. “Is that okay with you?”
“Look, my family is screwed up enough. My mother used to date your father, but you’re also my uncle. I was once married to my daughter’s sister, and my brother dates her.” Morgan glanced at Lucas. “Kiki and me? We had fun. But it’s over now. She’s good for Mikey.” He glanced down at his phone whose new wallpaper was his little girl. “I’m going to go home and concentrate on my daughter.”
“And I’m going to go try to save the world from my sister,” Lucas said.
Dante found his mother talking to a server near the bar. “Hey, Ma! Did you hear Maxie’s good news?”
“It’s been going through the room since the fight was pretty loud.” Olivia embraced her son. “Your first Christmas with your boy! I remember when you were that young.” She sighed and ruffled his hair slightly.
“You okay, Ma?” He touched her shoulder. “This…this has been a rough year.”
“But this is going to be a better year.” She leaned her chin on his shoulder to look up at him. “You and Lulu are better than ever. Maxie has her life together, her daughter will be back. I have a fantastic job. It’d be easy to dwell on the things I don’t have—” She shook her head. “But I have so much.”
“Come over with me and Lulu. We’re toasting to Nathan and Maxie—”
“No, no…” Olivia kissed his cheek. “You go be with your friends. I have a lot to do tonight.”
As Dante disappeared into the crowd on the left, Ned emerged from the right. She pressed her lips together and turned away.
“Olivia, you’re not going to get away from me that easily,” he said. He took her by the elbow and gently turned her back. “I’m not satisfied with how we left things.”
“Crap, my father found me.” Spencer sighed as he saw his father and Cameron pass Felix and Sabrina and make a beeline for him.
“Well, it was bound to happen,” Patrick said.
“We’re going home,” Nikolas announced. “Sam, Patrick. I hope he’s not bothering you.”
“No, I saw him heading towards the door with Joss,” Sam said, “so I corralled him until you passed by. I had a feeling you were on the hunt of my young cousin.”
“Farewell, my lady.” Spencer bowed with a flourish to Emma as his father dragged him away. Cameron scowled after him.
She rolled her eyes. “Emma, do me a favor? Can you walk Cam back to his mother?”
“Sure!” Emma chirped.
When they were gone, Sam looked to Patrick. “Fine. I think Jake held me hostage. And I told Elizabeth, and she laughed in my face.”
Lucas caught his sister’s elbow just before Carly was able to reach Jake, Elizabeth, and Bobbie. “Walk with me, sister dear.”
“You know, you never used to be this bossy,” Carly said as he steered her into the hallway by the elevators. “What’s your problem?”
“You’re going after Elizabeth because she told Michael about Jason pretending to be his father,” Lucas said. “Seriously.”
Carly scowled. “How do you even know?”
“This is a small town with an even smaller ball room.” Lucas stepped towards his sister. “I don’t know exactly what Elizabeth told him, but knowing her, she probably sugar coated it.”
“Ha! You all defend her.” But Carly folded her arms and looked away. “She didn’t know the worst of it anyway.”
“Michael was smart to go to her, because she’s been around forever and knows everyone. Carly, you were a horrible person.”
“That’s not…” Carly looked down. “I know that, but why does Michael have to know it too?” Her eyes were damp when she met his. “I was horrible, Lucas. But I’m not that person now—”
“No, but you’d also rather pretend it never happened. You didn’t want Michael to learn from someone else that Jason named him Michael Morgan?” Lucas arched a brow. “Then you shouldn’t have lied. Again.”
“I just…He changed his name.” Carly sucked in a breath. “He threw away all the plans I had for him—”
“And he’s making his own. Look, I should hate you.”
Carly bit her lip. “I guess.”
“My mother should hate you. Instead, we made you part of our family.” He touched her shoulder. “I had another sister once. I had BJ. And the only way my mother ever really recovered from losing her was finding you. You weren’t a replacement, but you filled part of her heart.”
“It was hard to let go of what happened to my father,” Lucas continued. “But I managed it. Because most of the time, I know you’re a better person now. But you have got to stop white-washing it. Michael has a right to know about his own life. He had a right to know AJ, the way I have a relationship of sorts with my father.”
“Lucas—” Carly tried again.
“Michael is never going to forgive you if you don’t own your mistakes and stop lying to him.”
Here we are as in olden days
Carly blinked and sighed. “So going after Elizabeth for just doing what I wouldn’t….” She pursed her lips. “Not a good idea huh?”
“Probably not going to help your case with Michael, no,” Lucas said.
“Then I’ll take your advice this time.” She kissed him on the cheek. “Thanks for being a good brother.”
As she disappeared back into the ballroom, the elevator door opened and Brad Cooper stepped out. He grinned. “Lucas!”
“Hey!” Lucas kissed him. “You broke free of Obrecht early?”
“Yeah, let’s go have some fun.”
As Lucas and Brad stepped inside, Nikolas all but dragged his son towards the bank of elevators.
“Why do you have always to push me?” Nikolas asked, jabbing the down button.
“Because it’s fun,” Spencer admitted. “It could be worse.”
“I fail to see how,” his father responded.
“Well, I could be Uncle Luke. Or Grandfather Stavros or Great-Grandmother Helena. Or hey, even like Uncle Sonny.” Spencer beamed. “Those are all worse.”
Nikolas paused to look at him as the elevator opened. “When you put it that way, a smart-ass is better than all those options. You’re still grounded.”
Happy golden days of yore
“Sam—” Patrick blinked. “You think Jake—” He stepped away, in the direction where she knew Jake and Elizabeth were standing. “Sam—”
“Hey, I have no proof…” Sam caught his arm. “And I made a mistake telling him and Elizabeth I suspected him. So don’t make it worse. Let’s just…play it cool.”
“Fine, but if he hurts one hair on her head—” Patrick began.
“He’ll pay for it.” Sam frowned and looked around. “Have you seen my mother lately?”
Metro Court Hotel: Lobby
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Alexis stepped out of the elevator and stopped in her tracks when she saw Julian Jerome standing in front of her. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m coming to see you.” He tilted his head and offered a smile. “Where are you going?”
Maybe we expect too much.
And maybe the ten-year-old had a point. “I’m coming to see you.”
Julian grinned as he reached for her hand to draw her close. “What about Ned?”
“He found someone better.”
Metro Court Hotel: Ballroom
Gather near to us once more
“Ned, I really don’t think this is a good idea—” Olivia began. “I told you, I don’t want to be your backup plan—”
“It’s scary, isn’t it?” Ned stepped closer to her, so close she could smell that delicious aftershave that made her head feel a bit lighter. “Starting something new. Particularly when you really care about someone and you don’t want to lose the friendship you have—”
“Yes, well…” Olivia twisted her fingers. “That’s…why I said no to you, but—”
“It can be tempting to stick with what you know. To take a familiar path.” He grinned. “But you know what? I think I want to try the road less traveled.”
Olivia sighed. She wasn’t a martyr after all. “Dinner. But I make no promises.”
Through the years we all will be together
“If he hurts my mother…” Dante began as he watched his mother smile up at Ned Ashton.
Lulu patted his hand. “Ned is fantastic and he’ll be the best thing that’s happened to her since she hit town.” She glanced across their table at their companions. “It’s been a good night for all of us.”
“I think she has my smile,” Maxie said, showing Nathan another photo Spinelli had sent to her on her phone. “Did I show you this one yet?”
“Three or four times.” He grinned. “But I’m more than happy to see them again. I can’t wait to meet Georgie.”
“I can’t wait either.” Maxie sighed, her eyes shining. “I’m finally going to get it right, Nathan. And everyone’s going to be so proud of me.”
“They already are,” Nathan said. He leaned forward to brush his lips against hers. “This is going to be a great year.”
If the fates allow
Michael sighed when he saw his mother coming back towards her. “I’m not in the mood for another go around,” he began, tucking Kiki behind him slightly.
“I know.” Carly sighed. “I just wanted to apologize for earlier. And for lying. Again. I hate that Elizabeth told you, but…” She shrugged and looked away. “It’s not like she lied. So if you have questions, I promise to tell you the truth.”
He eyed her, and she rolled her eyes. “And you can double check the facts with Elizabeth or something.”
“This doesn’t change anything,” Michael told her. “I think I’m better off without you in my life—”
“Michael,” Kiki murmured. “Don’t—”
“But I don’t want to fight every time I see you either.” He sighed. “So let’s declare a cease fire.”
She frowned, but nodded. “I’ll take it.”
Carly turned and caught Jake and Elizabeth across the room. Something about that just set her teeth to clenching, but she was not going to say anything.
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
“I’ll go distract Carly.” Bobbie patted Elizabeth’s shoulder and moved away.
Jake glanced up at the spring of greenery over their head. “So. Mistletoe.”
“Hmm…” Elizabeth bit her lip. “So.”
He grinned. “I think I’ve had enough bad luck to last me a while, so…” He brushed her hair behind her ear and leaned down.
His lips brushed hers, and then he stepped back with a frown. She tilted her head and narrowed her eyes a bit. “What?”
“It’s just…” He looked down for a moment then back, up. “It was like—”
“Deja vu?” she suggested. “I know what you mean.”
Jake rolled his shoulders, then grinned again. “Hey, maybe we knew each other in a past life.”
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now