Chapter Twelve

Port Charles Courthouse

“How does the defendant plead?” Judge Cooper asked.

Dara cleared her throat and stood. “Not guilty, Your Honor, by reason of mental defect.”

“Your Honor,” Scott Baldwin declared, lunging to his feet. “This is nothing more than a sympathy ploy by the defense–”

“It’s our right to offer the best defense under the law,” Dara retorted.

“That’s enough, Mr. Baldwin. The plea has been entered. I’m sure Mr. Baldwin would like to make arrangements to have Mr. Corinthos examined by a state psychiatrist.”

“You’re damn right,” Scott muttered.

“We’d also like to reopen the bail issue,” Dara said. “My client is willing to surrender his passport and his private jet as well as wear an ankle bracelet if you wish to assure the court he will not attempt to flee.”

“The passport will be fine. Bail is set at three million. Trial date is set for next Monday, December 1. All pre-trial issues must be taken care of at this time.” He smacked the gavel. “We’re adjourned.”

Carly breathed a sigh of relief. “Bail, thank God.”

“I’ll go pay it. Why don’t you head out of here before the media circus?” Jason advised. He stood. “I’ll stop by the house afterwards and you can tell me what you wanted to earlier.”

“Okay.” She kissed his cheek and left the room, ducking away from reporters rushing after her.

Jason checked his watch. He had three hours before the end of Elizabeth’s shift. He hoped that would be enough time to bail Sonny out, get him home, get to Carly’s and swing by the realtor to grab the listings he’d called about earlier.

And somewhere in there, he made a note to call Courtney and at least ask her how she was. He didn’t want to force himself on her but he was worried about her. Three days with no contact.

“How’s Courtney doing? She still got the kids out of town?” Sonny asked as Jason wrote a check to the court officer.

“No. Michael and Morgan are back with Carly. Courtney…” Jason hesitated, knowing this was neither the time or the place to tell his brother-in-law that he’d cheated on his then-fiancée and had gotten his ex pregnant.

“She’s still in Haye’s Landing,” Jason finished lamely.

Sonny frowned. “Why?”

Ric, who was conversing with Scott about which psychiatrist to line up, overheard this and couldn’t help but jump in. “Because she found out her husband is a lying son of a bitch.”

“Shut up,” Jason said lowly with a glare. “Just go back over to where you came from and stay the hell out of this.”

“Since my wife is the one you screwed, I think I have a right to let my brother know what you did,” Ric said with a smirk.

Sonny leveled a glare at his enforcer. “What does Elizabeth have to…” the words sunk in. “You slept with her.”

“Sonny, we can talk about this later.”

“This isn’t a conversation to be having near the press,” Dara hissed. She put a hand on Sonny’s arm but he shook it off.

“You cheated on my sister.”

Some of the loitering reporters heard Sonny’s raised voice and tuned in, anxious for anything to add to the temporary insanity story.

“Oh, he did more than that,” Ric supplied helpfully. “Go on, Jason, give him the good news.”

“This is between me and Jason,” Sonny growled at him. “Get the hell away from me.”

Feeling that he’d done his good deed for the day, he smiled charmingly at the press and exited the courtroom.

“Elizabeth is pregnant,” Jason confirmed reluctantly. “Courtney knows and that’s why she left me.”

Sonny made a move as if to lunge for Jason but Dara quickly stepped in front of him, knowing that any act of violence would have his parole revoked immediately.

“You can not have this conversation here,” she hissed. She looked at the bailiff. “Is Mr. Corinthos free to go?”

“Yes, the bail has been paid.”

As soon as the handcuffs were off Sonny’s hands, he stalked towards the courtroom doors, barraged by reporters yelling questions. Why was he pleading insanity? Why had he shot his wife? Would he be seeking retaliation against Jason?

And other reporters had already left to write their secondary story of the day–how enforcer Jason Morgan had impregnated the estranged wife of the assistant district attorney.

Kelly’s

Emily rushed inside the diner and went to the counter, immediately switching on the TV. “Elizabeth, you have to see this.”

Elizabeth set the coffee pot down and frowned. “What?”

“Just watch.” Emily turned the volume up.

While Jason Morgan was paying Mr. Corinthos’s bail,” the reporter began, “a short fight broke out between the business partners. Apparently, it was over some information the assistant district attorney, Richard Lansing, provided to his half-brother about the nature of Jason Morgan’s relationship with Mr. Lansing’s estranged wife. Mr. Morgan has been married to the sister of the defendant for less than two months while Mr. Lansing has been separated from his wife, Elizabeth, since the middle of the summer. It looked as though the fight might come to blows but Mr. Corinthos was quickly restrained by his attorney. Just the first exciting day of what will undoubtedly be the most sensational trial Port Charles has seen since Laura Spencer’s trial. Mrs. Spencer was accused of…”

Emily switched off the television and looked at her friend’s pale face. “Honey, listen, it’s not as bad as it sounds. It doesn’t look like they know about the baby.”

“Oh my God!” Elizabeth cried. “My grandmother!” She yanked her apron off. “Penny, cover for me. I need to go catch my grandmother before she watches the news.”

“I’ll drive you,” Emily volunteered, dashing after her.

Carly’s House

“I just saw the news report,” Carly said, switching off the television as Jason came in.

“Yeah, so did everyone else and I can’t get a hold of Elizabeth to warn her,” Jason sighed. He sat down. “That’s not the way I wanted to tell Sonny.”

“He’ll calm down,” Carly said. “What I wouldn’t do to get my hands on Ric…”

“What did you want to talk to me about?” Jason asked.

Carly hesitated. “It’s about Sonny. And Lorenzo. And me.” She stood and started to pace. “You know that I got my feelings for Sonny back and I always assumed that the feelings for Lorenzo would go away when that happened.”

“They didn’t,” Jason stated flatly. “Okay.”

“And…they’re stronger,'” Carly told him softly. “Very strong. I care about him, Jason. A great deal. And…my marriage to Sonny is over.”

“You want to be with Lorenzo?” Jason asked, resigned.

“Maybe,” Carly hedged. “I still want to be on my own. I have an appointment with Cameron in a little bit and I want to continue with those meetings. I need to get my life under control before I even think about another relationship.” She sat down. “But Lorenzo is in my life. His niece is staying with me while he’s away this week. I want…you both in my life. Please tell me I can have it.”

“I don’t always agree with your decisions,” Jason told her. “But if this is what you need and what will make you happy…then it’s okay with me. Just do me one favor.”

“Anything,” Carly said immediately.

“Don’t make Elizabeth’s life any more difficult than it has to be,” Jason said. “I know how you can get and she’s already dealing with so much because of Ric and now she’s got to deal with the rest of the town.”

“Lay off the brunette, got it.”

He stood. “I gotta go. I have to pick up some apartment listings for her.”

“Did she agree to let you pay for the place?” Carly asked. “Or is she still being stubborn?”

“We’re getting there,” Jason replied. “She’s very independent. It’s hard to convince her to accept help.”

“Maybe I should give her some tips on how to do it,” Carly joked. “It’s one of my strong points.” She glanced at the clock. “I need to get to the hospital if I’m going to get home by the time school lets out.”

“Okay, I’ll see you later then.” He kissed her cheek and headed out of the house.

Port Charles High School: Cafeteria

Sage saw Georgie Jones sitting with her sister and Dillon a few tables from the door. She took a deep breath and squared her shoulders before marching over to them.

“What do you want?” Georgie demanded scornfully.

“To apologize,” Sage said. She was careful to keep her eyes on Georgie, not even glancing in Dillon’s direction. “I was a bitch.”

Georgie blinked. “Okay.”

“I didn’t think we were staying long so I saw a cute guy and went after him. If I’d known I was moving here, I might have thought twice,” Sage continued.

“Might have?” Maxie echoed with a trace of amusement.

“Do you want me to lie and say I wouldn’t have dreamed of it?” Sage asked.

“Okay. You’ve apologized. Is that it?” Georgie asked shortly.

“No. You can have Dillon. He was just a little distraction for me.” Sage shrugged. “Sorry about the confusion. I was bored, he was cute. It happens.”

Dillon scowled. “I’m sitting right here.”

“Quiet,” Georgie told him. “This is between me and the slut.”

“I’m not a slut because I kissed a cute guy, okay? Grow up, little girl. Sluts sleep around.”

“And who says you don’t?”

“I say.” She tossed her hair over her shoulder. “I don’t care if you believe me or to. But I’m just telling you like it is. Dillon, I’m sorry for forcing myself on you,” she told him sarcastically. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go and eat lunch now.”

“Good riddance,” Georgie muttered as Sage stalked off.

At an empty table, Sage dumped her lunch tray and book bag and sat down, irritated by the whole conversation and the entire day.

And most of all, irritated by Lucas Jones. Little twit presumed to know her. Okay, so yeah, she’d treated his little cousin like dirt. But obviously he had the wrong impression of her. She wasn’t a slut–she was a virgin for Christ’s sake.

“Look, stay away from my cousins.”

She glanced up to see an angry Lucas with his hands on his waist. “Oh, look, if it isn’t the little boy scout,” she said, scathingly. “Will you please just go away?”

“No one wants you here,” Lucas continued. “Why don’t you go back to your little private tutors?”

Tears pricked her eyes unexpectedly and she looked away. No one ever wanted her around. Her mother had abandoned her years ago, her father never wanted her around and she’d had to beg her uncle to let her stay in Port Charles.

She cleared her throat and glared at the teen, not bothering to hide the hurt in her eyes. “Why don’t you go back to your silly little cousins?” she shot back.

Troubled by the pain in her eyes, Lucas swallowed hard and walked back to the other table.

This was a mistake, Sage decided. A very big one. As soon as she got home, she was going to tell Carly so.

General Hospital: Nurse’s Station

“Can you page Audrey Hardy?” Elizabeth asked desperately.

Amy Vining nodded and glanced at Elizabeth out of the corner of her eye. “I saw the news,” she told them. “Audrey seemed a little upset.”

Elizabeth’s face fell. “She saw it?”

“Yes, I did.”

Elizabeth and Emily turned to see Audrey standing behind them, an unreadable expression on her face.

“Gram, I can explain everything,” Elizabeth said hurriedly. “The news…they’re making too much of this.”

“Oh…and what part do they have right?” Audrey asked.

“Grams…” Elizabeth was almost in tears. “Please…it’s not a relationship. It’s just…that’s not what it is. We’re not having some torrid affair.”

“I suppose it’s different because you’re in love,” Audrey said, her lips set in a disapproving line.

“Mrs. Hardy, if you could only hear Elizabeth out,” Emily pleaded.

“Gram, it was just…it was once–it was a mistake,” she added, hurriedly. “But I swear…and…” she hesitated. “I’m pregnant.”

Audrey closed her eyes. “Oh, Elizabeth,” she sighed. “How could you do this to yourself?”

“Mrs. Hardy, it’s not like she planned this,” Emily defended.

“I wanted to tell you, Gram, but I just…I didn’t know how. This wasn’t it. This wasn’t the plan.”

“I can’t…how are you going to afford this, Elizabeth?” Audrey sighed. “What? Will you become Jason’s mistress? A kept woman?”

“No…” Tears slipped down her cheeks. “Gram…”

“I need some time,” Audrey told her. “Just…I need some time.” She grabbed some folders from Amy and walked away.

Elizabeth’s lower lip trembled and Emily put an arm around her. “Come on, honey,” she said softly. “Let’s go back to Wyndemere.”

Morgan Penthouse

“Okay…I’ll pick up the listings in about a half hour and we can arrange some viewings,” Jason said. He hung up the phone and dialed Kelly’s. He frowned when Penny told him that Elizabeth had seen the news and gone to the hospital to tell her grandmother with Emily.

He left a message on Emily’s cell phone to give him a call.

The door slid open and Courtney entered.

“Courtney,” Jason said surprised. He hung up the phone and moved towards her but she held her hands up.

“I…” she took a deep breath. “When Ric told me about it…I told him it wasn’t possible. That you wouldn’t do that to me.”

He swallowed hard and looked away. “Courtney–”

“But part of me knew. Part of me knew even before you confirmed it.” She crossed her arms and looked away. “You were a rebound relationship for me. Because I was desperate to erase the hurt and forget the pain. And I was a rebound for you. It’s time we stop dancing around that fact.”

“You were not a rebound,” Jason argued.

“Yes…yes, I was. You do not spend three years pining for a woman who breaks your heart and then two months later…suddenly be over her. It doesn’t work like that.” Courtney bit her lip and sighed. “But I fell in love with you and I know that you love me. But it wasn’t ever going to work.”

“That’s not true,” Jason protested. “Courtney–”

“I have spent the last year proving to you…proving to Sonny…proving to myself that I could handle this life. But I realize…I shouldn’t have had to prove it. You can either handle it or you can’t,” Courtney told him. “And it’s taken me a long time to realize that I can’t. I don’t like the guards and the restrictive way of living. I…it’s suffocating.”

He hesitated. “What…what are you telling me?”

“I know that you love me. I never doubted that. But what I’ve also never doubted is that you love her, too,” Courtney told him. “You love her in a way that you could never love me.”

“I…” Jason hesitated. “Look, it was one time. It didn’t happen before then and it hasn’t happened since.”

“But it wasn’t a mistake was it? Maybe it was an accident…but a mistake is something you would take back…that if you could go back in time, you wouldn’t do it.” She sighed and looked away. “I told myself…that I wasn’t going to make this okay for you. And I’m doing it anyway.”

She squared her shoulders. “Whether or not we shouldn’t have stayed together, gotten married or whatever…you made a promise to me. We might not have been married when you slept with her, but you had a responsibility to me. To either tell me or not do it at all.”

“I wanted to tell you,” Jason said. “But we were having problems and then Sonny and Carly were…everything happened so fast.”

“Maybe.” Courtney sighed. “I thought…I thought maybe I could be okay with this. We could find some way to deal with this. But I can’t. Every time you’re with her, I’ll wonder. Every time I see you with your child, I’ll know it’s something I can never give you.”

“That doesn’t matter to me–”

“Just stop,” Courtney said. She held a hand up and shook her head. “Just stop. I don’t like who I am when I’m with you and if I stay in this marriage…I’ll end up hating myself. I won’t do that. I can’t do that.”

She took a deep breath. “I want a divorce.”

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