Deleted Material: The Best Thing

These are two small scenes that ended up not making it into the final version, probably because I decided to make Sonny’s final break happen at the same time and cut the custody battle. I think some of the dialogue might have been used elsewhere. These are from Audrey’s funeral.

Queen of Angels Church

Elizabeth stepped up to the podium, looking out over the gathering of her grandmother’s nearest and dearest. “Audrey Hardy was the heart and soul of my family,” she began. “And the heart and soul at General Hospital. She and my grandfather worked together many years, side by side, saving lives, dedicated to making Port Charles and the world a better place. My grandmother had many setbacks in her life—a difficult marriage, separations from my grandfather, finding herself responsible for a set of teenage girls—” She managed a smile. “And of course, one of those girls was me, so I think we can sympathize with her.”

There was some gentle laughter as Elizabeth continued. “My grandmother was the epitome of grace under fire. She struggled with a heart condition this last year, but rather than slowing down, she welcomed me and my son into her home, opened her heart to my brother, to our friends in Port Charles, and encouraged me to fall in love just one more time when I thought I was over it. She wanted me to find someone I loved as much as she loved my grandfather, and as always, my grandmother was right.” She met Jason’s calm, steady eyes and took a deep breath.

“Do not stand at my grave and weep,” she began, looking at her notes. “I am not there, I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glint on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain. When you wake in the morning hush, I am the swift, uplifting rush of quiet birds in circling flight. I am the soft starlight—” Her voice cracked and she closed her eyes briefly, gripping the edges of the podium.

She opened her eyes and found Jason again. He’d leaned forward as if he’d been ready to stand. “I am the soft starlight at night,” Elizabeth managed to continue, sending him a reassuring smile. “Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there, I do not sleep. Do not stand at my grave and cry. I am not there. I did not die.”

She pick up her notes. “My grandmother may have left, but she will always be with me, and I am stronger for it.”

Queen of Angels

Jason sat down next to Elizabeth on the pew. “Almost everyone has left for the Brownstone,” he told her. “Bobbie and Felicia said they’d hold down the fort until you got there.”

The service had run a bit long—Elizabeth and Steven’s eulogies had been followed by several hospital co-workers, and then burial service would be held the next day.

Elizabeth nodded, her eyes on the casket surrounded by flowers. “She knew she didn’t have much time left,” she murmured. “So she made sure to tell me how much she loved me, how proud she and my grandfather were.” Tears stained her cheeks as she looked at him. “Do you know what she said to me? What her last words of wisdom were?”

Jason pulled her hand into his lap and twined their fingers together. “What?”

“That if you and I hold on to each other, to our children, we can make it through anything.” She bit her lip and looked forward again. “She knew that from experience, of course. Because she’d let go of my grandfather a few times before they got it right. I think of what she lived through in her life—she lost her parents early, she cared for soldiers and war orphans in Vietnam, she endured a devastating marriage to a man who physically abused her, who raped her…” Elizabeth exhaled slowly. “And she still had the courage to love one more time. To trust my grandfather would love and cherish her.”

He said nothing as she was quiet for a moment. “We didn’t always get along,” she continued. “It was hard for her to accept I had grown up long before my time. By the time I was eighteen, I knew more about the horrors of life than most people see in a lifetime. My rape, losing Lucky—” She looked at Jason. “You know when she disapproved back in the studio, it wasn’t about you.”

“I know,” he said quietly. “She was worried about you.” Because Elizabeth had seen her share of violence—she didn’t deserve more. “I liked your grandmother.”

“When I came home last year, do you think I must have known somewhere that she would be gone less than a year later?” Elizabeth asked.

“I think you saw Emily’s grief when she visited you in California,” Jason said, “and her sorrow that Grandmother would miss her wedding, her children. You didn’t want that regret.”

“Maybe. I still grieve for everything Gram is going to miss,” Elizabeth said. “Cam and Evie won’t really remember her, but she loved them both. And that matters. There are photos. I’ll make sure they know her. And Lila.” She smiled, looking down at her ring, knowing that someday soon, Lila’s own wedding ring would rest beside it. “Do you believe in heaven?”

“I’m not sure,” Jason admitted. “I want to. It…” he hesitated. “It helps sometimes to think my grandmother looking over us. Looking out for Emily. And that Sam can see Evie.”

“I wish she could see her daughter,” Elizabeth said. She closed her eyes and rested her head against his shoulder. “Just for a minute. So she can see how happy, how bright and beautiful she is. I hope if she is out there, she knows that she made the right choice in trusting you with her daughter.” Tears burned behind her eyes. “I can’t imagine the grief of not knowing Cameron. Of never having more than that one moment.”

He hadn’t thought about Sam much in the last few months, which seemed odd now since he saw her daughter every day. He could remember last winter, when he’d thought about nothing but Sam and her wishes for Evie, her desire to keep her daughter away from Sonny and Carly.

“Did Diane file the petition for adoption?” Elizabeth asked after another moment. “’You didn’t delay it because of my grandmother—”

“No. Diane filed it yesterday,” he said. “Sonny has to be notified. Even though he terminated his rights and never challenged my guardianship, New York law requires him to know about it.”

“Do you think he’ll challenge the adoption?” she murmured.

“Maybe,” Jason admitted. “Diane isn’t worried. He’s had a year to go after custody, and the fact that he’s been in contact with me the entire time weighs against him. If we have to, we can bring his mental health into it. I called Courtney and asked if she would testify in a possible hearing.”

“Will she?” Elizabeth asked. “I mean, you and I have seen some of the behavior, but our testimony would be self-serving. His own sister—”

“She’s also my ex-wife,” Jason reminded her, “but Courtney said she would. It’s better for Evie and the boys not to be around Sonny. Not until he’s stable. And that…that may never happen.”

“I know I said I wanted something traditional,” Elizabeth said softly, “but I want to get married. Soon. I don’t want wait.” She lifted her head.

“Elizabeth, if you want—”

“I wanted that kind of wedding when I thought my grandmother would be there to walk me down the aisle,” she interrupted, “and when we had a prayer of having Sonny be a part of it. That’s never going to happen now. I hate it, but it just isn’t—”

“We don’t have to decide this now.” He stood and pulled her up with him. “We don’t,” he repeated when she opened her mouth. “Steven will still be there for you. And I can ask Johnny or Max to stand up with me. I want you to have something special. You deserve that—”

She sighed. “I just—I’ve been reminded lately that life is short.” Elizabeth dipped her head and closed her eyes, resting for her forehead against the smooth material of his black suit jacket. “I’m tired, Jason. Would it be horrible if we skipped the Brownstone? Would Bobbie be upset? I just want to go home with you and be with my children. I want to shut out the world for a while.”

“I’ll call Steven and let him know not to expect us.” He reached into his pocket for his cell, even as he lead her away from the casket. Elizabeth glanced over her shoulder one last time before they walked out of the church.



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