With the completion of a Jason/Carly scene, I officially crossed the 50,000 word threshold for winning CampNaNoWrimo. I logged six chapters, and one scene from the seventh chapter as work I’ll be keeping and moving forward with. That’s about 30,000 words. Another 10,000 words for a draft I didn’t keep, maybe 10,000 for outlining and plotting out the new draft. The way NaNoWriMo works is that you have to write 50,000 words even if you’re not going to keep everything you wrote. I literally cannot remember the last time I wrote that much in one month.
I still have the rest of today and three full days so I’d like to write another 20,000 words to officially make it 50,000 words kept for Mad World, but we’ll see how it goes. As a celebration, I am posting two versions of a Jason/Elizabeth scene from the discarded draft. I had originally envisioned Mad World as taking place in 2004 in the wake of Sam’s pregnancy, Kristina’s paternity, and Cameron’s birth, but I’ve now moved it back year to place it in the context of the panic room storyline, keeping many of the same elements.
I’ll keep you guys posted for how it continues to go, moving forward into August. Make sure you’re following me on Twitter @crimsonglass, #crimsonglass for specifically CG related tweets.
Neither of these have been edited for spelling or content. I actually like some of the stuff about my second version, so don’t be surprised if some of that shows up again in another story.
In this first version, like the original draft of Mad World, Jason and Elizabeth are keeping the secret of their affair and Cameron’s paternity.
Cottage: Living Room
Elizabeth sipped her tea and savored the image of Jason seated opposite her on the sofa and feeding Cameron his first bottle of the day. Mornings like this had been so rare since she’d brought Cameron home in June.
Since she’d told Jason the truth of what she had realized in California.
“I guess we should turn our phones on,” Elizabeth said after catching sight of the clock on the mantel. “It’s already eight.” She stood and crossed to the fireplace where two cell phone sat next to the clock—where they always sat silent when Jason was at the cottage. It was the only way to carve this time out for one another, for time with Cameron.
“I want to tell Sonny,” Jason said after Elizabeth set his phone on the table next to him. “I can—if I tell him, it’ll be easier to get away.” He met her eyes. “And Sam is getting close to delivery—”
“Yeah.” She sighed, still not sure about that wrinkle. Jason had already claimed paternity of Sam’s child by the time Elizabeth returned from Napa Valley—it had almost deterred her from coming clean, but it remained an unspoken issue on the table between them. “Yeah, I don’t want Sam to go into labor and not be able to reach you.” She pressed power and frowned as the screen lit up. “That’s…” she swallowed. “That’s a lot of missed calls.”
Jason set the empty bottle next to his phone and leaned over, cradling Cameron to his shoulder to burp as he did so. “That’s Emily—”
Elizabeth reached for his phone and switched it on as well—”None from Emily for you,” she said with a relief. “Just the usual barage from Sonny, Carly, and Sam.” She returned her attention to her phone. “Lucky and Nikolas. They’re new. And Bobbie and Grams—” She tilted her head to the side. “That’s weird.”
“Call Emily,” Jason told her, and when she looked at him. “I know. You’d break one of the rules, but if Lucky and Nikolas are calling too—”
“All right.” She hit the speed dial and offered a smile. Not making or taking phone calls when they were together had been one of the foundational blocks of their relationship, but he was right. Something wasn’t quite right.
“Oh, thank God, Liz—” Emily sighed, and Elizabet could hear the worry, the tears in her voice. “We’ve been trying to get through to you all night, and I just—” Her voice wavered. “You’re not staying with your grandmother. Why didn’t I know that?”
“I—” Elizabeth hesitated. Most people assumed she lived with her grandmother as she had when she first had come home. The cottage—it had only been two month since they’d moved in and its existence remained a precious secret. If no one knew where to find her, no one could show up and take Jason away from her.
“Something—I mean, I don’t know if I should—Lucky thought we should tell you in case you heard it somewhere else first—”
“What happened?” Elizabeth pressed. “What’s wrong, Em?”
“My cousin Brooke—she was on her way back to her dorm last night from Kelly’s, and—Liz, she cut through the park.”
The park. Oh, God. “Emily—”
“It was right where—the same place—”
Elizabeth closed her eyes—and just for a moment, she could feel the bitter cold snow beneath her back, the heavy weight of the man on top of her— “Is she okay? Oh, God, Emily—”
“She’s…she was hurt pretty badly. It was different—he beat her, he took her clothes—” Emily’s voice broke. “We don’t know anything yet, but it was the same place, and Lucky was just—he was worried.”
“Yeah.” She looked at Jason who had put Cameron into his playpen and was looking at her in concern. “Where are you?”
“The hospital, with Ned and Lois. Dillon went to be with Brooke’s friends. He—he found her, Liz. Like…Lucky found you.”
Oh that poor sweet ridiculous boy. “I’ll come to the hospital. To see what I can do. Em, I’m so sorry—”
They talked for a few moments more before Elizabeth set her phone aside. “Brooke Ashton was raped and beaten last night,” she told Jason, whose steady gaze kept her voice from breaking. “In the park. By the fountain where I was raped.”
Jason exhaled slowly, his fingers clenched into a fist for a moment before they relaxed again. “Do they know anything yet?”
“Brooke’s in the hospital. Em said she wasn’t awake…Lucky wanted to make sure I found out from friends before I saw it on the news.” She folded her arms across her chest, almost hugging herself. “I shouldn’t—I mean, it’s not happening to me. It’s over. Tom’s in jail. It’s not about me, but—” She closed her eyes. “For just a minute, Jason—”
He sat beside her and pulled her close as she let the tears fall. “Just for a second,” she continued, “it was me.”
In this second version, rather than have Jason and Elizabeth still keeping their affair a secret, it’s the set in the aftermath of everyone finding out.
Elizabeth Webber eyed her fiance carefully as she swirled their son’s peaches in a small bowl. Cameron had already refused the first few spoonfuls back at her, but if she waited him out, the six-month-old infant would likely succumb to hunger.
Across the table, Jason Morgan was sipping his coffee and reading a newspaper. Like he had nearly every morning since he had moved in with her the month before.
“What’s on your agenda today?” she asked after another moment. She went in with another try with the peaches, but Cameron’s tiny lips remained screwed shut.
Jason blinked at her and set the newspaper down on the table. “Paperwork at the warehouse.”
Elizabeth pressed her lips together and looked down at the bowl. Paperwork at the warehouse. Again.
She’d come home in July with Cameron and the news that their brief affair the year before made Jason the little boy’s biological father due to a mix up with due dates. Jason had been happy, they’d resolved their differences, and for a while, they had kept the news a secret. Courtney was obviously a factor, and Jason had been trying to extricate himself from Sonny and Carly’s latest divorce.
He’d told Sonny the truth six weeks earlier and since then, Jason had been out in the cold. Sonny had been incensed about Jason’s affair, about the lies, and—though Elizabeth disliked admitting it—the fact that Jason had declined to step in and help Sonny deal with the Sam situation.
He’d stopped calling Jason to handle anything that wasn’t related to the coffee warehouse in which Jason had always run the day to day business. While Elizabeth was relieved he wasn’t in much danger—he was bored. Dissatisfied.
And teetering on unhappiness.
But neither would say anything about it.
“I don’t think the peaches are going over well,” Jason said after a long moment. He met her eyes briefly, then looked away. “The mashed bananas from last night were more his taste.”
“Hmm…” Elizabeth sighed and set the peaches aside. “Maybe.” She hesitated, wanting to say something, anything, but there weren’t words. None of this was her fault, and she knew Jason didn’t blame her.
That didn’t mean it wouldn’t be a problem for them.
Her cell phone rang and she answered it without checking the caller ID, just relieved to have an escape from this conversation. “Hello?”
“Liz. Hey. Have you looked at the news today?”
Elizabeth frowned. “Em? No, Jason—” she hesitated, stumbling a bit over Jason’s name—Emily had been another less than thrilled spectator. “Jason still has it.” She looked at him. “The newspaper.”
“Oh. I—” He exhaled slowly, turned the front page. “I didn’t really look at it—” He blinked and slowly slid the section over to her.
“Em, what’s going on—?” Her breath caught at a small headline. Local Girl Sexually Assaulted in Port Charles Park. “Oh. I didn’t—”
“It was my cousin.” Emily’s voice wavered. “Brooke. Ned’s daughter. She was walking home from Kelly’s, and she cut through the park. It was…it was at the fountain. By the bench.”
The edges of her vision dimmed and Elizabeth closed her eyes. “Oh.”
“I’m sorry, I just—I didn’t know what they were going to print, and right now Brooke’s name isn’t in the papers, but she’s a Quartermaine and you know how it is with the media. It’s just…that spot. I thought they might put it on the news—”
“Yeah, I am—”
Cameron started to cry, frustrated that he hadn’t eaten and then Jason was out of his seat, picking up their son and taking him away, his eyes concerned.
“Um, is she…” God, what a stupid question. Is she okay? She’d never be okay again.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Jason take out the container of mashed bananas and set it on the counter so it could reach room temperature. He tossed one of the bottles she kept stocked with breast milk into the bottle warmer, gently rocking Cameron back and forth.
“She’s still in the hospital,” Emily continued, hearing the question Elizabeth couldn’t ask. “She had a concussion, and she’s just…” Her voice broke. “She’s not okay. I mean, that’s such a stupid thing to say. Of course she’s not okay—”
“Em…” Elizabeth struggled to think through the cobwebs. She wasn’t fifteen years old anymore, and this wasn’t happening to her. This was Emily and Emily’s family. “God, I’m so sorry.”
“I hate to ask you, I know it’s probably the last thing you need, but if you could…when she’s up to it, maybe—” Emily huffed. “If you could talk to her.”
“Of course,” Elizabeth managed. “I have—I have to go. Cam’s in the middle of breakfast.” She hung up, the cell phone falling to the table with a clatter.
“Elizabeth—” Jason began.
“I just need—” She shoved her chair back and rushed to the bathroom, the bile rising in her throat almost faster than her legs could move. She slammed the door behind her, and sank onto her knees in front of the toilet.
It was long time before she fell back against the wall, her knees drawn up to her chest. God, oh, God. She hadn’t thought about this in months. In more than a year. Not since the previous summer. Since the horror of her marriage to Ric.
God. Why did it have to come back to her like this? It had happened ages ago. Another lifetime ago.
She wasn’t sure how long she sat there on the floor of their cramped bathroom before Jason gently knocked. “Elizabeth?”
“I’m okay,” she managed, but even she could hear the waver in her voice, and she couldn’t blame him when he knocked again. “I’m…” Elizabeth forced herself to get to her feet, and tug open the door. “I’m okay.”
He just looked at her, those blue eyes filled with worry and compassion. “I saw the story. I don’t know what Emily was saying, but I just…” He brushed her hair out of her face. “What do you need?”
Tears stung her eyes, and she turned away from his touch. “I just…it’s Brooke Ashton. Ned’s daughter. On her way home from work. At the bench where it happened to me. Emily was worried someone would put it on the news, and I would just see it—” She stepped back, turned away, pressing her hands to her mouth. “I’m okay. I just—I just needed a minute.”
“Don’t—” He took her by the shoulders and turned her back towards him. “Look, you don’t have to tell me what’s in your head. But don’t hide it from me.”
“It’s not happening to me—” Her voice broke and she couldn’t continue. “But just for a minute, oh, God, it’s like it is. I was right back there, in that park. I could feel—”
She shook her head, stepping back again. “I really…I am okay. I just—” Elizabeth scrubbed her hands over her face. “I need to brush my teeth, um, wash my face. Is Cameron—”
“He finished his bananas and he’s in the playpen.” Jason hesitated. “Look, I don’t need to go into work. There’s—” He swallowed and looked away. “There’s nothing for me to do anyway. Not really. Let’s do something with Cameron.”
And because he was trying, and she wanted to take both their minds off everything that was going wrong, Elizabeth nodded. “Yeah, that sounds good. Let me get cleaned up.”
“Okay.” He raised his hand as if to touch her again, but let it fall to his side. “I’ll get Cam ready.” He waited another moment, as if he might have something else to say, but then left.
Elizabeth dragged in a shaky breath and turned to look at herself in the mirror. She looked pale, even pasty, and her eyes were too big.
She’d seen that look before—too often—after her rape.
This wasn’t going to happen to her. It wasn’t going to take her life. Not ever again.