Written in 58 minutes. Would have taken less, but I stopped to double check some of the details around Franco’s brain tumor.
Kelly’s: Dining Room
Elizabeth smiled and kissed Griffin Munro on the cheek as he lightly embraced her. “I’m so glad you were available for lunch today! I was afraid you’d be spending your day off with Ava.”
Griffin grimaced as they took their seats and he reached for the menu. “Ah, well, that’s probably not going to happen.”
“Oh?” Elizabeth arched a brow. “Are things okay?” She didn’t particularly like Ava Jerome, not after her scheming at ELQ had resulted in AJ Quatermaine’s last spiral in alcohol and tragedy. And of course, her final role in his murder. But Griffin liked her, and she was sort of Franco’s friend for some reason.
“I—” Griffin shook his head. “I really tried. You know? I tried to be the better man. To not make a big deal about it, but…every time I saw Julian Jerome, I remembered that I’ll never know my father. And that it’s his fault.” He held up a hand as if to ward off whatever Elizabeth might say next. “And sure, he says he was forced. But I don’t care.”
“I wasn’t going to stick up for him.” Elizabeth hesitated. “I just—you knew Ava’s brother was Julian before you got involved—”
“He was supposed to be in prison for the rest of his life. I could deal with from afar, but…we spent Christmas with him, and I just—” Griffin sat back in his chair. “I can’t do it. I tried. But I don’t know how to get past it. And I’m just hurting Ava by putting her in the middle. But I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I walked away from the priesthood for her—”
“No, hey…” Elizabeth leaned forward. “We talked about this when you made the final decision. Yeah, Ava was the factor, but…she wasn’t the reason. Or if she was, then she shouldn’t have been. Take it from me—the second you make one person your reason for changing your entire life, for changing who you are—it’ll never work.” She bit her lip. “You know about my ex-husband, Lucky Spencer and his drug addiction? He found out I was pregnant with Jake—he thought Jake was his biological child. And Jake was the reason he said he got clean. I was terrified what would happen if he found out Jake wasn’t his.”
“Did he relapse when he found out?” Griffin asked.
“No. But I made a lot of choices based on my fear. In my head, Jake was the reason Lucky was clean. And…well, there were other reasons, but I asked Jason to give Jake up. It was selfish of me to expect that of him. We never really recovered from that. And I’m still paying for that now.” She hesitated. “Was Ava the reason you left the priesthood, Griffin?”
“I guess….” Griffin shook his head. “No. She wasn’t my first relationship with a woman. And she wasn’t the reason I doubted myself. I just…I care about her, Elizabeth. But how do I get past when her brother did?”
“I don’t know,” she admitted.
“How did you get past what Franco did? I mean,” Griffin said when Elizabeth blinked at him. “He kidnapped your son, didn’t he? How…can you tell me how you can forgive something like that?”
“I—” Elizabeth hesitated. “The brain tumor, you know? He’s a different person now.”
Griffin shook his head. “I don’t understand. I thought his brain tumor was pressing on his prefrontal cortex in the frontal lobe.”
Elizabeth furrowed his brow. “I can’t…I don’t remember what Patrick said it was. But Diane Miller argued it in court, and Patrick supported the conclusion he wasn’t responsible—”
“I don’t know what happened then,” Griffin said, “but I’ve read Franco’s chart. His tumor was in the prefrontal cortex. That’s the impulse center. It deals with your reasoning and planning. Emotions. It doesn’t create a new personality. It generally amps up what already exists.”
“I mean, sometimes tumors on the frontal lobe cause personality changes,” Griffin continued, “but it’s usually not that stark, like before the tumor, you’re Mr. Rogers, and afterwards, you’re Ted Bundy. It doesn’t usually create a violent schizophrenic sociopath without some sort of underlying cause—”
She could feel her heart pounding in her ears. Elizabeth stared at him. “I—I don’t understand.” She swallowed. “What are you saying to me?”
“I really shouldn’t—” Griffin grimaced. “I wasn’t his doctor. I just…I know what I saw from the charts. Maybe Patrick could say differently—”
“Griffin—” Elizabeth shook her head. “You’re right. You—you weren’t here. And Diane got the charges dismissed, so there must have been medical evidence.” She reached for the menu, her hand trembling slightly. “Let’s…let order—”
“I’m sorry, Elizabeth. I shouldn’t have brought it up—”
“He is a different man,” Elizabeth said, but this time, in her head, she could almost hear the desperation in her tone. “He is. You don’t know him the way I do—”
“No, I get it. He shows you one side of him. And another side to the rest of the world. He just always…struck me as arrogant. Dismissive—”
“No, he feels remorse for what he did—” Elizabeth closed her mouth. Closed her eyes. “You know what? I can’t—I can’t have lunch right now.” She’d lost her appetite.
“Elizabeth, I’m sorry—” Griffin got to his feet as she did as well. “I really didn’t have any right—”
“No, you didn’t. You weren’t his doctor. You weren’t the judge. You weren’t there.” Neither were you, a sinister voice whispered in her ear. She hadn’t paid attention to any of the details—it hadn’t mattered to her at the time.
She’d been preoccupied with AJ’s case and worrying about him. About Michael. And worried what would happen if Franco was released. But Diane had stood up for Franco, and Patrick was supposed to have signed some sort of documentation.
Carly of all people had believed in him after everything Michael had gone through.
Griffin was wrong.
He had to be wrong.
Jason’s Apartment: Living Room
Carly Corinthos folded her arms and stared at the new sofa critically. “I don’t know if I like it after all.”
Jason sighed and leaned against the wall. “It’s a couch, Carly. I really don’t care what it looks like as long as it’s comfortable—”
“No, it has to be right.” She shook her head. “I did okay with the bedrooms, I think. I just…” Carly sighed, looked around the apartment. “It’s so hard to think of you somewhere other than the penthouse, you know? That was home. If Sam was going to abandon you like the cold-hearted bitch I always knew she was—”
Jason closed his eyes and just let Carly rant. It had become clear that Carly’s New Year’s scheme had failed—backfired really as Sam had kissed him, and then looked at him with those dark eyes he’d loved so much…
They’d been filled with regret. Bitterness. Guilt.
That spark hadn’t been there for either of them, and whether Sam had gone home to tell Drew or not, Jason didn’t know and didn’t care. He was moving on with his life.
And Carly had accepted it for the most part. It just meant that she’d stopped pushing him towards Sam and was now back to treating Sam like trash. He didn’t care for that either—but at least it meant she left Sam alone to get on with her life.
“When is Elizabeth going to let you have Jake overnight?” Carly demanded. “She didn’t seem all that interested in giving me anything to make his room feel like his—”
“We’re taking that slow,” Jason said with another sigh. He really didn’t want Carly to bad mouth Sam to him, but he really wasn’t up for another tantrum about Elizabeth.
He had no idea what Carly’s problem was with Elizabeth, and had never understood her animosity towards Jake’s mother.
“Slow?” Carly snorted. “You mean you’re dragging your feet. You know, that’s your problem, Jase. You’ve been letting that waif drive the bus when it comes to Jake for the kid’s entire life. I mean, she lied to you about being Jake’s father, and you still let Lucky raise him—”
“It was safer,” Jason said, but the words felt hollow. “And you’re the one who lied to me about Lucky. Elizabeth just didn’t correct you.”
Not after Jason had gone and told her it was for the best. She’d thought she was doing them all a favor.
“Oh, sure, blame me.” Carly rolled her eyes. “Look, I think you should sue her for custody rights. She’s letting your kid live with that insane bastard—”
“No court in the world is going to give me custody,” Jason said dryly. “And that’s the last thing I would ever do. Elizabeth raised Jake. She raised him after I walked away. I—You were going to let Franco around Joss.”
“Oh, God. Do not remind me,” Carly muttered as she stalked across the room to look at the sofa from another angle. “And thank God he called it off. I almost married him—”
“He called it off?” Jason repeated. “I thought—”
“Oh—” Carly blinked at him. “Hell. He, ah, well—I cheated on him with Sonny, you know? But I was gonna go through with the wedding. I felt like I had to because—” She grimaced. “You know…that AJ was alive.”
“Yeah, Monica said something about it, but she didn’t want to go into the details. Just that he died a few years ago—” Jason stopped. “Carly. What did you do?”
“I didn’t do anything,” Carly said with a huff. “Everyone thought AJ killed Connie, you know? It was obvious. Michael didn’t beleive it, but he’s a soft touch. You know AJ came back and tricked Michael into giving him a chance—”
“Get to the point, Carly.”
“Well, Sonny thought AJ killed Connie,” Carly said flatly. “And he walked in on AJ confronting Ava…because it turned out Ava actually killed Connie. And—”
“Sonny killed him.”
“Not…right away…” Carly twisted her hands together. “See, I’m not…I’m not proud of either of us, you know? We were wrong. But AJ…didn’t die. He made it to the hospital. And God, Michael was so upset—” She looked away. Her voice faltered. “And AJ…he told me before he died that it was Sonny. But I didn’t tell anyone. I lied to Michael for months. And I do feel awful about it. You know, I mean, I had my problems with AJ, I guess. But—he was better for a while. Before Ava Jerome screwed him out of ELQ by lying about Kiki’s paternity—he like the guy I knew all those years ago—and Michael got into ELQ because of AJ.”
“Carly…” Jason just stared at her. He swallowed hard. “You lied to Michael for months about what happened to AJ? And Franco knew?”
“That’s why I had to marry him.” Carly nodded resolutely. “Because if I left him, he’d tell Michael. Except…he had secretly taped me and Sonny together, and Sonny admitted it, and God, it was awful. I wish like hell you had been here. I mean, Drew was—but he was Jake Doe, and we didn’t really know him yet. Michael and Sonny were estranged for months. Everything almost fell apart.”
Jason rubbed his face. “Christ, Carly.”
“I know, I know. But we got it back. Michael and Sonny patched things up—” Carly closed her mouth. “Anyway, Franco kind of went crazy. He showed the tape at the wedding. Humilated me in front of everyone. Destroyed Michael. Even if he’s not the same kind of crazy he was before the tumor…” She shook her head. “God help Elizabeth if she ever pisses him off. Because he’s still not right.”