Of all of the worst possible things Jason could have said at that moment, telling Ric the baby’s paternity was definitely at the top of the list.
Elizabeth could see the moment the truth sunk into Ric’s eyes. The bitter disappointment. And then the anger.
“You cheated on me?” he asked scathingly. He took a step towards her but Jason stepped in front of her.
“We are separated, Ric, I can screw whoever I want!” Elizabeth shot back. “I notice our marriage vows didn’t exactly stop you from committing various felonies.”
“He’s only going to hurt you, Elizabeth, he doesn’t care about anyone but Sonny.”
“Funny, I thought that was you,” she tossed back. “Get out. We’re closed.”
Jason grabbed Ric’s elbow and propelled him towards the door. With one swift move, Ric was thrown out and landed on his ass in the courtyard.
When Jason had shut and locked the front door, she slugged him in the arm. “What the hell is wrong with you?” she exploded.
He glared at her. “He was sitting here yelling at you and making demands and all you had to do was tell him the truth–”
“So he can go tell everyone what a home wrecking slut I am?” Elizabeth yelled. “Damn it, Jason, the first person he’s going to head for is Courtney.”
“He doesn’t know where she is and you’re not a slut or a home wrecker.” Jason dragged a hand through his hair. “Courtney and I were having a lot of problems. We were constantly fighting–”
“That’s no excuse. I wasn’t fighting with her and I knew you were engaged.” She put a hand on her hip and the other on her forehead. “God, how am I supposed to look people in the eye now? I was giving myself time–I wanted to tell people slowly, you know, but no, you obviously have no common sense!” she seethed. She smacked him in the arm again. “Ric is the worst person to have this kind of information.”
“Elizabeth, people were going to find out whether we tell them or Ric does,” Jason tried to assure her but she was already across the room, muttering.
“I have to call Emily–she’ll never forgive me for this, I swear. Oh, God and Lucky. And my grandmother–” she groaned. “God damn it, Jason.”
“I’m sorry,” he tried to apologize. “Maybe you should calm down a little. I don’t think stress–”
“Oh, don’t you tell me to calm down,” Elizabeth retorted. She snatched up the phone, glaring at him all the while. “Stupid jerk, getting all possessive.” She punched in a number and slapped the phone to her ear, still glaring at Jason. “Hey, Em? Call me when you get this message and do not, I repeat, do not talk to Ric. Just walk away when you see him, smack him, shoot him, I don’t care. Just don’t talk to him. I need to be the one to tell you, not him.”
She hung it up and started to dial another number but he took the phone from her grasp and hung it up. “Elizabeth, you’re overreacting.”
“Hardly,” she snorted. “Your sister happens to be friends with your wife or did you miss that? I just want to make sure the people in my life hear it from me and not my psychotic jealous husband, if that’s okay with you.” But she didn’t pick the phone up again.
“I’m not sure when I can tell Sonny,” Jason told her. “He’s getting together his defense and I don’t think this is something that I should…tell him right away.”
“Look, that…I understand that. I didn’t exactly expect you to run and tell anyone. It’s a little more tricky for you. I’ll just get a bad reputation, you might end up…” She broke off abruptly. “Anyway, I’ll just…I’ll tell Emily tomorrow and call my grandmother. That should take care of Ric’s targets.”
Fuming, Ric strode towards his apartment, his hands jammed in the pockets of his coat. He’d been making progress with her–he could sense it. That night at Jake’s, all of their subsequent meetings.
When the hell had she slept with Jason Morgan and more importantly, why?
Jason was married but it was common knowledge that Courtney was out of town and had been since Carly’s shooting. They hadn’t made a concentrated effort to find her because she hadn’t been a witness and she had no real testimony to offer.
But maybe it was time they found Sonny’s sister.
“And then I fell into the snow but Brian picked me up and then I fell again but we finally got the sled all the way up the big hill and man, Aunt Courtney, we went so fast, all the snow and the trees were passing by in a huge blur–”
Courtney was only half listening to Michael as he chattered on and on about his afternoon of sledding. She hadn’t heard him this excited in a long time. He hadn’t had a lot to be happy about what with the kidnapping and all of the problems Sonny and Carly had been having.
She knew he liked the little town and so did she but she was going to tell Jason and Carly she wanted to come home. The longer she spent away from Jason, the more she thought about their problems and she didn’t want to concentrate on that anymore.
She didn’t want to see Brian Beck and have him make her feel all these strange feelings. She was a married woman and it was just…it was the distance that was making her feel this way. She knew Jason’s life–knew the limitations, knew that there were things she didn’t like but couldn’t change. She knew all of this.
So why was it bothering her now?
“Aunt Courtney, can Brian come to dinner before we leave?” Michael asked. He tugged on her shirt sleeve. “Aunt Courtney?”
“Sorry, Michael, what did you say?” Courtney asked. She folded her legs underneath her and twisted on the couch.
“I asked if Brian could come to dinner before we leave. I told him we was leaving on Friday and that I’d really miss him but then he said we’d be back and then I told him we were moving back home.” Michael shook his head. “He seemed kind of sad about that so I invited him to dinner and he said it was okay as long as it was okay with you.” He bounced up and down. “So is it okay?”
“Sure,” Courtney replied. She tousled his hair. “Now don’t you think it’s a little late for you to be up big guy?”
Michael yawned. “I am tired. I wanna go sledding again.” His face fell. “I probably won’t be able to go anymore, huh?”
“There are hills in Port Charles,” Courtney told him. “Jason can take you.”
Michael wrinkled his nose. “Jason’s busy all the time now.”
“But he’ll make time for you,” Courtney promised. She stood and tugged him off the couch. “Come on, we’ll check on your brother and then you can help me lock up for the night.”
“Because I’m the man of the house right?” Michael asked as he followed his aunt up the stairs.
“Right,” Courtney replied, amused. “Did Jason tell you that when he called earlier?”
“Nope. Brian told me. He said that I’m the man of the house and I have to protect you and Morgan because that’s when men do. They protect the people they love.” Michael threw his arms around his aunt unexpectedly. “I love you, Aunt Courtney.”
Courtney wrapped her arms around her nephew. “I love you, too, Michael.”
November 18, 2003
— Port Charles County Jail —
Carly twisted her hands nervously as she waited for a guard to bring Sonny into the room to see her.
She hadn’t seen him since that night and even that it was a blur. She’d been in the coma for almost a week and as far as she knew, Sonny had been arrested the night of the shooting and he’d been here ever since.
Except for that one phone call, there’d been no contact between them. She felt that she was ready to see him though. She’d made good progress this week with Cameron. He’d been amused that her first emotions were her irritation towards Robin Scorpio and he’d encouraged to her to meet with Sonny.
And now, here she sat. She heard some shuffling feet and then Sonny sat in front of her, in prison blues, his hands handcuffed.
She took a deep breath. “Hey.”
“Hey.” Sonny shifted. “You look…you look good.”
“I wish I could say the same.” Carly pushed her hair behind her ear. “The boys are coming into town tomorrow. I haven’t…I haven’t seen Morgan yet so I’m looking forward to that.”
“How…Jason mentioned you were seeing someone about…how is that going?” Sonny asked, slightly uncomfortable.
“It’s…it’s going okay. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, a lot of talking about who I used to be, who I am now and who I want to be.”
“Has Alcazar been bothering you?” Sonny demanded, sitting up straight. “Every time I try to ask Jason, he brushes me off–”
“Lorenzo is not bothering me. I…he’s a friend, Sonny. And he’s been good to me. I won’t–I won’t apologize for that.” She pressed a hand to her chest. “Sonny, I can’t keep living my life with your rules. Yes, he was your enemy but you left the business and Lorenzo…he’s not pushing for it. Jason supports me.”
“What is he to you?” Sonny demanded. “Why do you defend him so much?”
“I fight for the people I care about,” Carly replied. “That’s Jason, that’s the boys, that’s Courtney, that’s you and yes, that’s Lorenzo.”
“I thought you didn’t feel a connection to anyone,” Sonny accused. “What? You just magically got it back?”
Carly exhaled forcefully. “Sonny, I don’t wanna do this with you. I just…I want to make this right for everyone but I’m beginning to think that’s impossible. I am trying so hard not to hurt you, or hurt Lorenzo but I’m the one who needs to matter here. So, I am through protecting everyone.”
“Don’t you want to work this out?” he demanded. “We have a family, Carly–”
“You abandoned us,” Carly said flatly. “I don’t need my emotions to remember that. We were supposed to be a family but that didn’t matter to you. What? Now that I might not love you anymore, you suddenly want it back? Don’t insult me, Sonny.”
She stood. “I hope you get the help you’re looking for, because it’s glaringly obvious that I can’t provide it.” She yanked her coat on. “You don’t get to have it both ways.”
“Wait, Carly–” Sonny rose. “Just–I’m sorry–”
She ignored it and made her escape. Once she was outside the visitor’s room, she leaned against the wall and took in a deep shaky breath.
Carly squeezed her eyes shut against the onslaught of tears. She’d wanted to touch him for a moment–to see if maybe it would bring something back. But the longer she was numb towards him, the more and more she was beginning to think she didn’t want to bring it back.
Emily shook her head. “I still can’t believe this, Elizabeth. This…it’s unreal.”
Elizabeth refilled Emily’s coffee and sighed. “You sure you’re not mad?”
Emily reached over and squeezed her hand. “You are my friend. Not Courtney. You are the one that I want to be okay with this. Am I disappointed in Jason? Yes. But I know part of him is happy to be having another child and I get to be happy for that part.”
“I just…I wish I knew what I was doing here. I’m waiting around for Jason to tell Courtney and part of me…I just feel so bad for her. I know it’s like to be the one who gets cheated on and it’s so much worse for her…I mean…they were engaged and now they’re married–”
“You know she can’t conceive right?” Emily asked, careful to keep her voice quiet. “Because of the miscarriage.”
“Yeah.” Elizabeth shifted uncomfortably. “Jason told me.”
“So…if she goes off on you, you might…just let her. She’s gonna be mad and she’s gonna pissed, but honey, she has a right to be, okay?”
“But I’m on your side and so will Nikolas and Lucky as soon as you tell them.”
“It’s not them I’m worried about. I haven’t…” Elizabeth hesitated. “I haven’t told my grandmother yet. I don’t know how. She’s going…she’s going to be really disappointed in me.”
“Aww, honey…” Emily sighed. “It’s going to be okay.”
“I somehow doubt that.”
Michael tugged on Brian’s hand and pulled him inside the house. Brian hesitated just inside, his eyes taking in the various suitcases and boxes scattered around the living room.
“I thought it was a visit,” he said to Courtney who entered the living room through the kitchen.
“We…I’m tired of being away from home,” Courtney said faintly. “You made me realize that I’ve been doing too much for my sister-in-law and not for myself. Thank you.”
“Not exactly the reaction I was hoping for,” Brian said. He looked at Michael. “You excited about going home, big guy?”
“Yeah, I miss my mommy and my uncle Jason but I’m gonna miss you. I wish you lived in Port Charles,” Michael pouted. He pulled Brian over to the television that still had his Xbox hooked up to it. “Come play with me.”
“You can always come back to visit,” Brian told him. “I’m gonna miss you too.” He took the paddle Michael was offering him but looked at Courtney. “Do you need any help with dinner?”
Courtney shook her head. “It’s about done. I’m just going to go make sure Morgan’s still asleep and then we can eat so…don’t get too involved with the game.”
She moved past them and started up the stairs.
The game screen was just loading when someone knocked on the door. “You set the options, I’ll get it,” Brian told Michael. He stood and set the paddle down before crossing to the door.
A well-dressed dark-haired man was standing on the doorstep. He frowned at Brian. “Who are you?”
“I think that’s my line,” Brian remarked. “Michael, do you know this man?”
Michael scrambled to his feet and bounded over to Brian’s side. He immediately stepped behind him. “That’s Ric,” he said in a tiny voice.
Not liking Michael’s reaction, Brian scowled. “What are you doing here?”
“I need to speak with Courtney,” Ric remarked. “I’m Ric Lansing. Who are you?”
“Lansing, huh?” Brian nodded, having come across that name in his research. “What do you want with her?”
“It’s about her husband,” Ric replied. “Could you just get her?”
Not taking his eyes off Ric, Brian called. “Courtney, you better get down here.”
A few moments later, Courtney came down the steps and joined Brian at the door, her eyes immediately going flat. “Michael, go upstairs now.”
“Go,” Courtney ordered. Michael reluctantly left the room and Ric waited until he heard a door shut upstairs.
“There’s something you need to know–”
“What the hell are you doing here and how did you find me?” Courtney demanded.
“Can I come in?” Ric asked.
She wouldn’t normally but Brian was here and reassured her. She stepped back. “Five minutes.”
“I had the pleasure of speaking with your husband Monday night,” Ric began. He slid his jacket off and folded it over his arm. “My wife was there as well.”
Courtney tensed at the idea, but took a deep breath. “They’re friends. Everyone knows that.”
“Friends don’t usually claim paternity of each other’s child either,” Ric said coolly.
Courtney blinked and swallowed hard. “What the hell does that mean?”
Ric snorted. “Do I really have to spell it out for you? It means that your wonderful loving and perfect husband slept with my wife and now she’s pregnant.”