Notes: This is an episode tag to 13 August 2018 after Cameron has been hauled into the PCPD for shoplifting where Elizabeth was already bailing out Franco for pulling a fire alarm. Jason gotten Carly out of Ferncliffe, helped Robert with Anna, and is now going to back to actually living his own damn life.. *ahem* Anyway.
It’s a bit of an awkward ending because I could probably do more with this but I don’t have the time.
Webber Home: Living Room
Elizabeth Webber glanced at her watch and then at the door with an irritated sigh. Cameron was going to really push this, wasn’t he? He knew he was supposed to come home right after work—that he was grounded until she was done being pissed at him, but here he was—two minutes late. He’d asked to stay late at the camp today to help set up something for the next day, and she’d agreed. Had she been mistaken?
She cleared her throat and leaned over her youngest son’s shoulder to peer at his iPad where he was, as always, watching some nonsensical video on YouTube where someone else played video games. God, what ever happened to just playing the games yourself? She’d spent a fortune on consoles—what more did these boys want—
Elizabeth exhaled slowly, closed her eyes, and caught herself.
She sounded her mother. Or at least like Elizabeth remembered her mother sounding. She hadn’t seen Carolyn Webber in twenty years. More than, Elizabeth realized as she did the math in her head. She’d moved to Port Charles at the age of sixteen in 1997. So…yeah, twenty-one years.
The front door swung open and Cameron stopped in, a black book bag hitched over his shoulder, his purple Lila’s Kids t-shirt and a pair of shorts. He flashed her a look, irritation simmering in those blue eyes. He closed the door behind him and lifted his chin.
Waiting for her to flip out on being late.
Oh, God, this was definitely her kid. No doubt about it. And for the first time in her entire life, there was a smidgen of sympathy for her parents.
And because she knew exactly what he was waiting for, Elizabeth bit back the angry retort and merely lifted a brow. “How was work?”
Cameron glared at her and then stormed past her, his sneakers thudding on each and every step until his door slammed shut.
“He’s so dramatic,” Aiden Spencer declared with a roll of his eyes. “Someone should tell him that the Oscars don’t nominate anyone this early.”
She ruffled his chestnut brown hair and sighed. “I guess I should go talk to him. When Jake gets back from baseball practice, let me know. We’ll figure out something for dinner.”
Elizabeth climbed the stairs, careful to keep her steps quiet. When she stood in front of her son’s door, she knocked.
“Go away,” Cameron’s sullen voice drifted through the wood. “I’m back in my cell. I have constitutional rights. I get to remain silent.”
“Wow, one arrest and you already know your Miranda Rights. I’m impressed.”
Cameron yanked the door open and scowled—his permanent facial expression since his grounding the week before. “Well, you were there bailing Franco out. Again. So, I guess you know them, too.”
Fair point, but Elizabeth wasn’t going to let him see that. “Actually, I heard them for the first time when I was arrested.”
Her son hesitated because now she’d gotten his attention, but he didn’t want to admit it. Finally, curiosity won out—because he was her kid—and sighed. “Why were you arrested?”
“Which time?” Elizabeth asked. “You think you’re the first Webber to be rebellious and scowling? Please. I invented it.”
Cameron huffed and slunk away to throw himself on his bed. But he left his door open which Elizabeth took as an invitation.
“Franco thinks you’re acting out because you don’t get enough attention at home,” she said, perching on the edge of his bed. Cameron sat up and crossed his legs. “I know that’s why I started to be a pain in the ass. I tried, you know, to be the kind of kid my parents wanted. I tried to do well in school like Steven and Sarah, but…” She shrugged. “It was boring, and we never did anything I wanted.”
“I like school,” Cameron said in a mutter.
“The first time I was hauled into a police station, I was your age,” Elizabeth admitted. She tilted her head at him. “I should have remembered that. It wasn’t for shoplifting but for smoking. I was hanging out in the park and smoking with a bunch of older kids.”
“You smoked?” Cameron asked with a skeptical eye. “You hate that crap.”
“I do. But I thought it would make my parents look at me. So, I did it. I stole money to get my cigarettes, I used my lunch money—I was kind of at the point that any attention would be better than just being none. I always felt like…the one that didn’t fit with the rest of the family.”
He hesitated, then asked, “Is that why we don’t talk to your parents? I’ve never met them.”
“They always made excuses why they couldn’t visit me,” Elizabeth said. “And eventually, I stopped asking. My mother had been offered this amazing opportunity, but then she found out she was pregnant with me and had to give it up. They couldn’t travel when she was pregnant.” She shrugged. “I guess I always wondered if they decided I hadn’t been worth the sacrifice.”
Cameron frowned, shook his head. “That’s not fair. It’s not your fault.”
“Yeah, I know, but it took some time for me to realize that. It’s hard when you realize you weren’t planned, and that maybe, all things considered, your parents wouldn’t have had you. And you know it’s true because they took the first opportunity to leave you behind.” Her chest felt tight and Elizabeth looked away, her eyes starting to burn.
“I wasn’t planned, was I?”
“What?” Elizabeth looked back at him, startled. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, I don’t know a lot about my biological dad, but it’s not like you decided to have a kid with him.” Cameron bit his lip. “Did you have to make sacrifices for me?”
She studied him for a long moment, then decided to be honest with him. “Yeah. I had to grow up. Get a real job. Stop making bad choices. I’m not so sure I nailed that last part, but I went into the nursing program because I knew I could get really good benefits and a decent salary.” She waited a moment. “You weren’t planned, no, Cameron.” She managed a small smile. “None of my boys were planned.”
Cameron cleared his throat. “Are you…are you sorry?”
“Not for a single day,” Elizabeth told him. “Everything else about my life may go to tell, but you boys are everything to me. And I guess…I wonder if maybe I haven’t shown you that. Do you feel like you’re not—that I’m doing enough?”
“I don’t know. I guess…” Cameron looked away and shrugged. “I wanted those earbuds. I knew we couldn’t afford them, but…Jake has a pair.”
“And so does Aiden.”
“Oh.” Elizabeth furrowed her brows. “I didn’t buy them—”
“They were Christmas gifts. When Grandma Laura bought Aiden that iPad…it came with those earbuds. And so did Jake’s. He got it from Drew and Sam.”
And there was no one to buy expensive gifts like that for Cameron. He wasn’t Drew’s nephew, Jason’s son, Laura’s grandson. Neither Elizabeth nor Audrey could afford expensive gifts like that.
“I didn’t realize that, I’m sorry.” And how did she fix this? “Cam—”
“It’s…I don’t know. A couple of times I know that someone was going to adopt me. Lucky was supposed to, but he didn’t. And he only calls Aiden now.” Cameron picked at a loose thread on the bedspread. “And Drew was going to adopt me before he—got those memories back. I don’t know if Jason wanted to when you guys were dating, but—”
“Do you want Franco—”
“No.” Cameron’s eyes flashed. “No. He’s not my father.”
Okay, something was clearly happening here. “I thought you liked Franco,” she said softly. “At the wedding—”
“The one where he stood you up? Humiliated you?” Cameron shook his head. “No, I don’t want him to adopt me. He’s not my father. I don’t want him to be. He’s part of the reason you never have time for me or Aiden.” And reluctantly, he added, “And I guess Jake. But I get it about Jake. He was gone, and we thought he was dead. That really—that was awful. And I know it’s been hard on him since he came home. I’m glad he’s doing better. I am.”
Elizabeth took a deep breath. “Okay.” She closed her eyes. “Okay. I’m still not happy about the shop lifting. I used to get in a lot of trouble, Cam. And I made my life miserable trying to get people to see me. I lied, I cheated, and yeah, I stole. I hated it when Gram found out. She would just look at me with this expression, and I can—I can hear her now. ‘Oh, Elizabeth’, she’d say, and sigh. The only thing worse than not getting any attention was hearing disappointment.”
“Yeah, I know that look. I—” Cameron paused. “I’m sorry I said we were too poor, Mom. I know how hard you’ve always worked. I know you’re always working a double shift to pay for something extra. I just…I wish you—” He stopped. “I wish you had someone to help.”
“I—” She stopped, because she’d been about to say Franco helped. But did he? His income was erratic, and his art therapy was a volunteer program. They’d never really…gotten into a habit paying for things together. She still…paid for everything. Including the bail from the day before.
She hadn’t thought about it before. And neither Lucky nor Jason paid her child support. She’d never wanted it, but—wouldn’t it be nice to just…not always scrimp and save? To stretch every penny?
“I wish I did, too,” Elizabeth admitted. “Cam, I don’t expect you to tell me everything in your head. I get that you need to keep things to yourself. I don’t want to be that kind of parent, but—I am here. And I love you. So…let’s just…you’ve been grounded a week. Let’s leave it at that. If you want something—and I mean, you really want something, come to me. Don’t think we can’t work something out.”
“Thanks, Mom.” He hesitated. “You never made me feel like I was a sacrifice. I just—I wondered, that’s all. I know you love me.”
She ruffed his hair as she left, and then went to her bedroom where she locked the door, sat on her own bed, and cried, muffling the sobs with her pillow.
Elm St. Pier
When Elizabeth had lived in an apartment around the corner from the pier, she had always taken five minutes for herself on her way home from the hospital, sat on the bench, and just looked out over the lake.
It had given her time to decompress from a difficult shift or another argument with Lucky—and it had been something that helped her keep her sanity during those difficult times.
Once she’d moved to Lexington Avenue, into a nicer residential neighborhood, the pier had no longer been on her way home, and she’d had two children by then so even five minutes was difficult to spare. Any free moment had been spent with first Jason, and then with Nikolas.
What terrible decisions she’d made, and God, the damage she’d done to her boys. How many men had she brought into Cameron’s life? How many times had her little boy built up the hope of having a father only for it to come crashing back down?
Knowing that her boys would be at camp for another half hour, Elizabeth decided to take five minutes and go sit in the pier—even though it was completely out of her way.
She sat on the bench, wrapped her arms around her torso, and closed her eyes, letting the fresh water scene of the lake and the sounds of the dock workers nearby drift in and out of her mind
Elizabeth heard the steps as they approached the pier—she hadn’t thought about the pier being so close to the wharf where the Corinthos-Morgan warehouse stood. It had been so long since she’d had to think about that—
Jason hesitantly approached, and she felt a half smile form on her face. How many times had they found one another here over the years? And then the smile faded. Because that friendship was gone. She’d killed it—first with lying about Danny and putting him in danger from Heather Webber—and then trying time and time again to create peace between Jason and Franco.
“Hey,” she said after a long moment.
“Hey.” As if also remembering the past, Jason followed their old pattern and sat at the other end of the bench, slightly turned towards her. “I haven’t seen you here in a while.”
“I was just thinking about that,” she murmured. “I came down here all the time when I lived in the apartment. I can pretty much admit to myself now that I was usually hoping to run into you.” She managed an actual smile this time. “It’s nice to see you coming up those steps. Coming from work. I didn’t—” Elizabeth shook her head. “I’m not sure I’ve even told you how—God, how happy I am that you’re here. That Drew wasn’t you.”
“I thought you wanted Drew to be me.” Jason frowned. “Isn’t that—”
“I told myself a lot of things that summer. I was already half in love with Drew when Nikolas told me the truth, and actually, the fact that Drew was supposed to be you was a huge blow. Because I knew he’d leave if he found out the truth. Of course, I made sure he’d leave when I lied to him. I just…you know how messed up I was after Jake’s accident. I did a lot of things I’m not proud of.” She met his eyes, and she knew they were both thinking of the lie she’d told about Danny.
“I never held it against you. I knew—losing Jake broke me, and I wasn’t even really in his life.” Jason stared out over the lake. “But he came home.”
“He did. And I guess…lying to Drew, putting off the inevitable…was my way to making sure Jake got to keep him in his life. Or is that me rationalizing it again? I do that a lot. Explain and defend things that can’t be defended.”
“Are you all right?” Jason asked. She looked at him and her breath caught—because there it was. That concerned you’re my friend and I care what happens look. God, she didn’t even know how much she’d missed it until this moment.
“I don’t know,” she said slowly. “I’ve tried hard to be a good mother. I know I’m better than my mother was. But you know…there have been times that my choices that I tell myself I’m making for my boys—they’re actually for me. And they backfire. A lot.” She exhaled slowly. “I told myself that lying to you about Jake all those years ago—that was to protect you and Sam. To protect Lucky. But I was really protecting myself and Jake. I was afraid you wouldn’t—that you wouldn’t love him. That he’d be a mistake.”
“And it’s stupid because of course that was never going to happen. I know you even walked away from him because you thought it was best.” She swiped at her eyes. “I tried to get back together with Lucky, so they’d have someone, but that was a disaster—a disaster I caused. And then you know, I got Jake hit by the car in the first place by not paying attention—”
“Hey—” His voice was sharp, but she couldn’t stop.
“I did okay for a while. I put them first for a few years. But lying about Drew—lying to keep him because I was so tired of being left alone—that destroyed my life. And it destroyed my boys. Because I lost everyone. Only my grandmother stood by me. But they lost people, too. It took a long time for Drew to even be able to look at me—” She squeezed her eyes shut. “And that’s why Franco happened. Because I was lonely. And tired. And I just wanted someone to stay. He didn’t have anywhere else to go.”
“Elizabeth, what happened?” Jason asked. She felt him slide a bit closer. “I’ve seen the boys since I’ve been home. I know how well you’ve raised them.”
“Well, while I was at the PCPD bailing Franco out for doing something stupid as usual, I also got to pick Cameron up because he’d been hauled in for shoplifting.” Elizabeth sighed, her breath shaky as she exhaled. “And it was a pair of earbuds he hadn’t asked me for because he knew we couldn’t afford them. I thought—I thought it was just that. It was something he wanted. I could live with that. I was a stupid kid, you know? I shoplifted cigarettes. I stole. I cheated. I just—I thought I had to stick with him, try to be patient.”
“It wasn’t just the earbuds?” Jason asked softly.
“Aiden and Jake have them.” Elizabeth looked at him, tears sliding down her cheeks. “Because they have people in their lives who can afford them. Drew bought them for Jake at Christmas, and Laura bought them for Aiden. But Cam only has me. And I can’t afford to spend almost two hundred dollars on something like that when you can buy a cheaper pair for thirty—” She bit her lip. “He only has me. And I’m not enough.”
“Did Cameron say that?”
“No. But he didn’t have to. He doesn’t want a father. Made it very clear if Franco wanted to adopt him after we got married—he’d refuse. And he’s old enough to have a say.” She sighed. “He hates him. And somehow, I missed that. I can’t marry someone my kids hate. But I don’t know how I didn’t see—was I just ignoring the signs?”
“Even if you were, you’re not now. You can’t fix the past, Elizabeth. You know that.”
“Yeah.” Her phone rang, and Elizabeth pulled it from her purse, grimacing when she saw Franco’s name on the lock screen. She sighed, answered it. “Yeah?”
“Hey. Listen, I’m at the PCPD and—”
With a growl, Elizabeth hurled the phone out over the dock and she and Jason watched it as it slipped beneath the muddy water.
“Do you feel better?” Jason asked after a moment.
“Actually,” Elizabeth said slowly, “yeah, I do.” She hitched her bag over her shoulder and got to her feet. He followed suit. “Thanks.”
“I didn’t do anything.”
“You listened, and it’s been…it’s been a while.” She hesitated. “I mean it, Jason. When I saw you coming up those stairs, part of me—maybe that’s why I stopped coming down here. Because I knew you wouldn’t be here.” Elizabeth bit her lip, and then went with her instinct. She stepped towards him and hugged him tight, wrapping her arms around his neck. He slid his arms around her waist and hugged her back. “I’m glad you’re home.”
Port Charles Park: Lila’s Kids
Cameron was walking towards the parking lot, laughing with Joss Jacks. Behind them tagged a motley crew of their relatives—Jake and Aiden, and then Avery and Danny a bit further away. Cameron slowed when he saw his mother standing next to her car.
“Hey,” Cameron said with some hesitation. “Joss’s guards usually drop us off.”
“I know. I thought we’d grab some dinner on the way home.” She straightened. “Hey, Joss. You guys are welcome to join us.”
“Thanks, Ms. Webber, but Dad gets nervous when Avery doesn’t get home before dark, and I have to meet Oscar.”
“Mom, can Danny come with us?” Jake asked. “Today was his first day at camp, and it would be cool to be with all my brothers.”
Danny flashed his sweet smile and brown eyes at Elizabeth. “Jake said I get to have Cam and Aiden, too. Can I come?”
Elizabeth hesitated, because this was Sam’s kid, and she wasn’t sure how Sam would take that, but—he was also Jason’s son, and she knew what he’d say.
“Sure. Is Joss supposed to drop you at home? I’ll call your mom—”
“Oh, no,” Joss said and waved as a familiar dark SUV pulled into the lot. “It’s Jason’s week with Danny.”
Jason stepped out of his car and Danny ran at him. Jason lifted his son in the air and settled him at his waist as he approached the group. “Hey, Dad, guess what?” Danny told him. “I went on a water slide, and Jake showed me how to paint—look at my hands—” He spread his hands out for his father, which were covered in various paint colors.
“Sounds like you had a good first day.”
“Cam said this camp is named for my great-grandma who I never ever met, but he said she was really cool. Did you meet her, Cam?” Danny asked, twisting until Jason set him back on his feet. “Was she really awesome, Dad?”
“I never met her, but Aunt Emily used to tell me stories about her,” Cameron offered.
“I have an Aunt Emily, too. But she went away to Heaven before I met her. Mom said she was really nice even when she shouldn’t be and would have loved me. She was Dad’s sister.” Danny looked back at his father. “Cam has an Aunt Emily, too.”
“It’s the same Aunt Emily,” Elizabeth said. “She as my best friend in the whole world. We were like sisters.” Her chest tightened. Emily had been gone for so long—but God, it felt like just yesterday sometimes.
“Oh, okay.” Danny’s eyes grew wide. “Wait, if we have the same aunt, that really does make us family.” Danny slipped his hand into Cameron’s. “So you and Aiden are really my brothers, then.”
Elizabeth bit her lip, looked at Jason, who had a half smile. “Jake told Danny—”
“It’s cool,” Cameron said, with a shrug, “Hey, little guy, you know we’re not really related—”
“Not by blood,” Jason interjected. “But that’s not always what makes a family, right?” He looked at Elizabeth. “You and Emily didn’t need blood, and neither did Emily and me. And—she was adopted, did you know that?”
Cameron frowned, shook his head. “No, I didn’t—”
“My parents adopted her when she was a little younger than you, after her mom died,” Jason told them. “And after a while, it was like she’d always been there.”
“You’re never too old to find a family,” Elizabeth murmured, putting an arm around Jake—only because she knew Cameron would never allow it. So, she smiled at him instead.
“Good. It’s settled,” Danny said. He looked at Joss. “You can go. I’m going to have dinner with my brothers and my dad.”
“Sure. See you guys tomorrow.” Joss took Avery’s hand, gave Cameron a look which he returned and then crossed the parking lot where Milo Giambetti was waiting.
“I was going to grab dinner with the boys,” Elizabeth said after a moment. “You and Danny are invited, too.” She was not going to cry over the thought that Cameron had been basically adopted by Danny while they stood there. She would not cry.
“Sounds good. I have more room in the SUV if you want. We can drop you guys back off after.”
“Oh, yeah, we’d get all smushed in yours, Mom.” Jake said, nodding at her five-year-old Honda Civic that fit four on a good day. “Let’s go.”
“How about some ribs at Eli’s?” Jason suggested as the group made their way to the car. “I haven’t had any since I got home.”
“Well, then that’s reason enough. Come on guys,” Elizabeth said, pulling open one of the back doors. “Let’s go get some dinner.”