Samantha McCall knew panic. She knew what it was to taste it, to feel it in her bones, for it to choke at her throat and black out everything in sight. She knew panic, she knew desperation–she had been here before.
But it was keener this time, its edge sharper and dug more deeply into her flesh. She grabbed at the sides of his leather jacket, desperate to keep him from leaving her, from turning his back and walking away but at the same time, knowing it was inevitable.
“I can explain,” Sam assured him. “There’s an explanation and it’s a good one, you just–you–”
Jason Morgan reached up and pried her fingers from his jacket. He released the slender digits as though the very touch offended him, as if he’d touched scalding water. “I don’t have to do anything,” he said coldly. His stony gaze flickered around the dining room–to the eyes of those who pretended they weren’t watching, weren’t hanging on every single word. He looked to the sympathetic eyes of his best friend and the confused eyes of her son.
He never met Sam’s eyes.
“Don’t be at the penthouse after tonight,” Jason said. “I don’t care where you go, but I want you out.”
“Jason–” Sam reached for him but he was already slipping away from her. Stepping back, stepping towards the double doors of the diner. Walking away from her, from their future and their life together. He was walking away, turning his back and he’d never turn to her again unless she stopped him. “Jason, please–”
“You make me sick,” Carly Corinthos muttered. She stepped forward and grabbed Sam’s arm to keep her from running after him. “You’ve wrecked one marriage tonight and broke Jason’s heart. Aren’t you finished yet?”
Sam yanked her arm from Carly’s grasp. “You have room to speak,” she spat. “How many marriages have you destroyed? How many lives lay in your wake, how many hearts have you smashed?” She waved her arms at those standing around them. “How many of those people are in this room?”
Carly smirked. “Michael, go in the back with your grandfather.”
“Now!” Carly ordered. After Michael had huffed and stalked into the back room, Carly put a hand on her hip and pointed to a table in the back of the room where her mother was sitting with Noah Drake, his son and Robin Scorpio “I think there’s only two here tonight. There’s my mother–whose husband I seduced and there’s Robin. I seduced her boyfriend, ran her out of town and then tried to seduce her newboy toy.”
She paused and thought for a moment. “Jason–he just left–but I destroyed his life more than once. Sonny’s not here but I turned him into the Feds once.” She paused. “Well, twice, but the first time was an accident. We can’t forget AJ–I drugged him and then lied to him for months about the paternity of his son.” Carly arched an eyebrow. “If you were trying to make me feel guilty or ashamed, Sam, it didn’t work. You know why?”
She didn’t wait for an answer, only took another step closer to the brunette. “Because I have never tried to pretend that I am anything less than I who I am. I’m not the con artist who came to town, got pregnant and then decided I was the Virgin Freaking Mary. You’ve pretended that your shit doesn’t stink since the second you latched on to Jason but we both know who you are and where you come from.”
Carly leaned closer and put her lips next to Sam’s ear. “We’re the same, you and I. But you know what sets us apart? I accept myself. I know who I am and I don’t care. You’re ashamed to be in your own skin and you’re just going to keep destroying your life until you learn to accept that you came from trash and part of you will always be trash.”
She stepped back and yanked her coat from the back of the chair. “You know, Jason’s going to need comfort, someone who understands him and has never let him down.”
“And I suppose that’s you,” Sam said caustically.
“No.” Carly tilted her head to the side, her hair cascading over one shoulder. An unholy glimmer of amusement slid into her eyes. “But you know, Elizabeth and Jason have been friends for a very long time. And right now, she’s probably feeling as shell shocked and heartbroken as he is. It wouldn’t surprise me if the lovely Mrs. Spencer found him on her doorstep.” Her smile widened then. “You know, just to check on her.”
“You don’t even like Elizabeth,” Sam retorted.
“No, but I like her a hell of lot more than you right now.” With taking her eyes from Sam, Carly raised her voice. “Michael, we’re going.”
Michael, whom Mike hadn’t been able to keep from eavesdropping ran out from the back and looked at his mother questioning. “Mom, what’s seduced mean?”
“Adult word, I’ll tell you when you’re older.” Carly gripped his shoulder and led him from the diner.
Sam stood alone in the middle of the diner for another long moment, feeling the stares of all those present. Humiliation began to sink in. Her face flushed and her hands shook. But Sam did not run, she didn’t flee. She turned on her heel and stalked out of the diner, keeping her composure until she was out of the courtyard and in the parking lot. And then she sank to her knees and began to cry.
Inside, Jesse Beaudry sat back in his chair and grinned at his girlfriend. “Man, I love living here. That kind of stuff happens every week.” She scowled at him and kicked him under the table.
“That’s your partner that just cheated on his wife that that hussy,” Maxie Jones huffed. “You should go after him and kick his ass, aren’t you supposed to be his friend?”
“I don’t really think Lucky wants to see anyone right now–” Jesse began but the glare from her silenced him. “Okay, okay, I’m going.”
Robin tossed her napkin on the table and turned a fulminating glare at the man seated next to her. “Carly tried to seduce you, huh?” she demanded. “When?”
“I don’t think that’s really all that important,” Patrick Drake began carefully. “What’s important is that you should, ah–” he looked to his father for help but Noah just held up his hands as if to say you’re on your own, son. “I bet Liz could use an ear right now,” he said in a lame attempt to deflect attention from him.
“I’ll go check on her,” Bobbie practically leapt from her seat in an attempt to escape the situation. Robin glared again at Patrick before grabbing her purse and getting to her feet.
“This isn’t over,” she warned him before following the redhead out of the diner. Patrick slumped his chair and glared at his father.
“Thank you so much for all the help, you lousy bastard.”
Jason waited by her apartment door for nearly an hour before realizing that Elizabeth didn’t intend on returning. He put the word out on the streets that he was looking for her and even pried Max away from Sonny and ordered him to find her.
To concentrate on Elizabeth and her well-being focused him, kept him from remembering the slicing pain that had ripped through him when Elizabeth had barreled past his table, followed by her half-dressed husband and Sam, buttoning her shirt rapidly.
He hadn’t needed a second look, hadn’t needed to consider that the scene was anything but what it was. He’d let himself feel it, and then he’d shut down. It was easier to worry about Elizabeth, she was the one who had walked in, had found them, had had the betrayal shoved in her face.
It had happened this way once before for her, four years ago. She walked into a room–he wondered briefly it was the same room–to find Lucky with someone else. She’d fled the scene, had found him and he’d been there for her.
He wanted to be there for her again and maybe she’d be able to tell him how you lived with that image in your brain. Because somehow, this was worse than Sonny and Carly. He knew now that he hadn’t loved Carly, not really. But he’d loved Sam. Planned a life with her.
He wondered if Elizabeth could tell him how to forgive the unforgivable.
She’d walked the street of Port Charles for hours–Elizabeth had had every intention on going home and packing before picking Cameron up at Emily’s and then going to her grandmother’s. But every time she tried to turn her feet in that direction, they’d disobeyed and gone the opposite way.
She wasn’t yet ready to go home.
Footsteps bled out from the darkness behind her and Elizabeth whirled around, planting herself against the side of the business, still edgy from being at the fountain. “Who’s there?” she demanded shrilly.
A familiar figure came into view. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere,” he said.