How many of you people out there
Been hurt in some kind of love affair
And how many times do you swear that you’ll never love again?
How many lonely, sleepless nights
How many lies, how many fights
And why would you want to put yourself through all that again
– Brand New Day, Sting
January 2, 2006
Spencer House: Front Porch
It was nearly ten minutes from the time Will rang the doorbell to the time the door swung open and a grim Luke Spencer stood in front of him. If not for the rustling and low voices inside, he might have thought no one was home.
“My wife and my daughter made me promise I can’t shoot you,” Luke informed the teen unhappily.
Will nodded. “I appreciate that, sir.”
Luke leaned down and lowered his voice. “But there are other ways to kill a man,” he growled.
“Dad!” Lulu yanked on his arm. “Stop it! You promised Mom you’d behave.”
“Within reason,” Luke grumbled. But he stepped back and Will entered, doing his best to keep out of striking distance.
Luke sat next to his wife on the sofa and Lulu gestured for Will to sit in the armchair. Once everyone was settled, though Luke almost put up a fight about Lulu perching on the arm of Will’s chair, Will cleared his throat. “Um, first, I just want to thank you and Mrs. Spencer for being supportive of Lulu before I was told. I know I didn’t make it easy for her to fill me in, so I just wanted to thank you.”
“She’s our daughter,” Luke said gruffly.
“Right.” He hesitated. “Um. So Lu and I have talked a lot about what we want to do. We talked for a long time yesterday and I think we’ve got a few plans in mind. Lu thought, and I agreed, that it’s something we should discuss with you.”
Lulu put a supportive hand on his shoulder, knowing that her father was not the easiest man to communicate with. “We agreed that neither one of us is going to drop out of school, obviously. We’re both six months from graduating and Will’s wanted to be a doctor his whole life. I think we can work together to make sure that doesn’t have to change.”
“Of course,” Laura said. “It would be counterproductive for you to drop out so close to completion and college is definitely something we want you two to consider, right?” She prodded her husband.
“Right, right,” Luke said hastily. “I never went but it did well for Laura here and I know there are doors that are open to Lucky that wouldn’t have been without college, regardless of his talent with electronics.” He stroked his chin. “But I guess what I’d like to get some answers for is the behavior you’ve exhibited over the last year.”
“You mean am I still drinking and will I end up like my father and uncle?” Will clarified. “I stopped drinking before Lu told me about the baby. I’m staying with my cousins because my mom and I are having issues. I’m seeing a counselor to keep me on the right track.”
“So what will you do about college next year?” Luke asked. “How will you manage to juggle the kid, a job and school?”
“Well, I’ve got a full scholarship to PCU,” Will said. “That was in place before my grades took a little nosedive but I talked to a college counselor and she seemed to think that as long as I keep a clean record for the second semester, I should be okay. She’s checking to find out if I can keep the scholarship but only go part time so that I can work full time as an orderly at GH. They’ve got great medical benefits.”
“Well…” Laura drew out slowly, “I certainly commend you for thinking that far in advance regarding health insurance. It’s all very expensive. Luke and I have discussed it and we have decided to pay for Lulu’s care, up to and including the birth. We also will not accept any repayment from either of you.”
Lulu blinked. “Mom, I told you I wanted to help—”
Luke held up a hand. “Now, gumdrop, your mother and I are in complete agreement. Kids are expensive and I don’t want you to have the added medical bills to stress you out. Life is hard enough without starting it with debts. We’re going to pay for it and I’d like it if you continued to live here, Lulu, for the foreseeable future.”
Will coughed. “I, ah, have enough saved for us to get an apartment,” he said. “It wouldn’t be anything grand—”
“I think what Will is trying to say is that he wants to be involved as much as possible,” Laura said, “and what Luke was supposed to say is that we’d like you to come stay here, Will. In Lucky’s room.”
“Where’s Lucky going?” Lulu asked, surprised. “Because I thought we were going to use the extra room for the baby—”
“I couldn’t ask you to—” Will said simultaneously.
“Lucky’s been staying above the club a lot and he decided that it was time for him to move out.” Luke looked at the boy that had impregnated his daughter. “I know you’re going through a tough time with your parents and we Spencers tend to stick together. I may not be thrilled with the situation you and my daughter have put yourselves in, but I’m going to do whatever I need to do to help you two out. Spencers take care of each other.”
General Hospital: Waiting Room
Elizabeth was curled up in one of the uncomfortable chairs, staring at a speck of dust across the floor. She didn’t register Jason exiting the elevator doors and didn’t notice him until he set a Styrofoam container on the table in front her.
“I thought you might be tired of hospital food,” he said when she focused on him. “I think Robin’s bringing you and Patrick a change of clothes later.”
“Oh.” She blinked and sat up. “Thanks.”
He took the seat next to her. “Have you been in to see your father yet?”
“No.” Elizabeth uncapped the iced tea and took a small sip. “I keep going to the doorway but I can’t go in. Patrick’s been in and out. He doesn’t stay long.” She set the iced tea back on the table and rubbed her eyes. “He says Dad’s mostly still out of it, from the drugs they give him.”
“Do you know anything else about the accident?” Jason asked. He removed his leather jacket and set it on the seat next to him.
“Commissioner Scorpio was here this morning,” Elizabeth murmured. She stared straight ahead. “He was finally able to release some more of the details. Dad’s blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. He took a turn too fast and ended up in the other lane. He struck the other car head on. A woman and her little—” Elizabeth closed her eyes, her voice broke. “Her little girl. They were coming home from a party.”
“The mother made it through surgery but she’s still in the ICU. But the little girl?” Elizabeth shook her head. “Died on the table.”
Jason exhaled slowly. “I…I’m sorry.”
“She was seven. Just seven years old. She didn’t deserve this end,” she said softly. “I sat in a hospital room like this just a year ago. My father swore that he had taken his last drink. He promised me that things were going to be different.” She looked at him then. “Nothing is different. My father is an alcoholic. My brother and I are only speaking because we have to but we’re further apart than we’ve ever been. I thought I put this family back together but…” She sucked in a breath. “It’s in pieces and now a little girl is…” Elizabeth broke then, tears spilling down her cheeks.
Jason shifted in the chair and drew her into his arms, holding her tight as her shoulders heaved. “What can I do?” he asked.
“There’s nothing,” she choked out. “Nothing is going to bring my mother back. Nothing is going to make my father stop drinking and nothing is going to turn back time so that little girl can grow up. Nothing is going to make this okay!”
Robert Scorpio appeared at the doorway of the waiting room, a morose Patrick just behind him. “I’m so sorry, Elizabeth,” he murmured.
At his voice, she jerked out of Jason’s arms and stood. She started to wipe her eyes frantically. “I’m okay. I am. I just…I’m fine.”
“Ellie…” Patrick pushed pass the police commissioner and took her hand. “Ellie, Commissioner Scorpio’s here to talk to us about Dad.”
“You mean he’s here to arrest him,” Elizabeth whispered. Jason put a hand on her shoulder.
“I wish there was something I could do,” Robert said. “But there isn’t any room to maneuver. I’m going to read him his rights and then place someone on the door. You can still visit him as much as you like, I wouldn’t prohibit that and due to his injuries, you’re going to want to get him an attorney to arrange bail and an arraignment as soon as possible.”
“What are you charging him with?” Patrick asked.
“Right now, vehicular manslaughter,” Robert said. “I’m sure the charges will be changed or reduced at some point, but the evidence…”
“Because Dad has a clear history of driving under the influence, has already been in an accident under these circumstances,” Elizabeth finished. “So basically, because he knew the consequences of getting into that car with alcohol in his blood, it proves negligence.”
“Essentially,” Robert confirmed. He hesitated. “I wish there was something I could do for you, Ellie.” He glanced at Patrick. “For the both of you. To ease this somehow.”
“No,” Elizabeth shook her head. “No, Commissioner, you have always been good to us and I appreciate everything you’ve tried to do but that little girl and her mother—they have to come first. Their family. Not ours.” She wrapped her arms around her torso. “Patrick and I can look out for ourselves.”
“Regardless.” Robert cleared his throat. “I’ll go place the officer now. Take care of yourselves.” He touched Elizabeth’s shoulder. “Let me know if I can do anything.”
He left the room and Patrick exhaled slowly. “I don’t really know who to call,” he admitted. “I don’t even know if I want to get involved.”
“He’s still our father,” Elizabeth replied. “We can’t just abandon him.”
“Why not?” Patrick demanded. “He abandoned us. He lied to us for a year, Ellie. He swore he was sober and that it was all behind him. Instead, he’s been drinking in secret. I went to his apartment yesterday and I tore it apart. I found liquor hidden in nearly every cabinet!”
“No, that can’t be true,” Elizabeth argued. “The other night was an aberration, I’m sure he stopped. We would have known, Patrick!”
“Wake up, Elizabeth!” Patrick shot back. “Our father never stopped drinking. He just got better at hiding it! Maybe you want to throw yourself into his defense and get him off the hook but I’m sick of this! I’m sick of everyone looking at me, wondering when I’m going to crack up and start drinking too!”
He threw his hands up and stalked out of the room. Elizabeth closed her eyes. “I’m not stupid, am I?” she asked softly. “I’m not naïve in hoping I can help my father?”
“I think you’re upset,” Jason said slowly. “And you’re not willing to accept the truth right now. I don’t think New Year’s Eve was an aberration, Elizabeth. I think Patrick’s right.”
“How could my father do this to us?” Elizabeth opened her eyes. “How could he look me in the eye every single day this last year and pretend to be sober when he was drinking in secret? How could he lie to me like that?”
Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room
“Why are you just sitting here?”
Brenda closed the door behind her and set her shopping bag on the desk. “Sonny?” she tried again. “You’re supposed to be at the warehouse.”
“I was thinking about Jason.”
Brenda sat on the sofa next to him and curled her leg up underneath her body. “Oh?”
“I was thinking that he’d regret quitting the job for Elizabeth,” Sonny continued, “or that he’d come to resent her, something she told me she worried about. I was coming to the conclusion that she was right when I remembered something.” He fastened his brooding eyes on her. “You gave up your modeling career for me.”
Brenda laughed. “And you’ve been sitting here, convincing yourself that I must resent you. You’re such a ninny.” She leaned forward and kissed the tip of his nose. “Sonny, I love you. I liked modeling but I’m not sorry I gave it up for you. It was the only decision I could make if I wanted to marry you. You never came right out and said anything, but I couldn’t remain in the media spotlight if I was going to marry you. It would focus too much attention on you.” She took his hand in hers. “You knew from the moment you met Jason there was someone in his life. You knew before he did just how essential she was to him.”
“That’s true,” Sonny agreed. “But I think he’s going to remember that he gave something up that he wanted and it will come between them later.”
“I don’t think so,” Brenda replied. “I think he made the only decision he could. He’s not like you, Sonny. He’s not fighting for the top spot, he just wanted to prove to himself that he was capable of something more than unpacking crates and parking cars. Someone who is at the top has more freedom. You wouldn’t have married me if you’d been in Jason’s position.”
“Probably not.” Sonny hesitated. “But—”
“You want him to regret it so he’ll come back.” She rolled her eyes. “Because you value his friendship and can’t imagine how you’ll be friends now because you don’t work together. Boys. You’re all so dumb.”
He frowned. “Hey—”
“Jason loves her, Sonny. And Elizabeth is the kind of girl you settle down with and have a family. He can’t ever do that and not drive himself crazy thinking about the kind of person he’d have to become to continue working for you. He made the only choice he could now so he wouldn’t have to make one later that he’d hate. And when you give up someone you love for something else that doesn’t really mean as much in the long run, you will come to hate the thing you left them for. He’d hate himself, someday, Sonny, for having to leave her and possibly a family. And I think you know that.”
“You may have a point,” he allowed. “But—”
“You can still be friends with him, Sonny,” Brenda sighed. “It just means you’re actually going to have to make an effort.”
General Hospital: Locker Room
Patrick was seated in front of his locker, his head bowed and his hands clenched together. Robin dropped the plastic bag with his change of clothes on the floor next to him and leaned against the bank of lockers. “Hey.”
He shrugged a shoulder. “Hey.”
“Uh oh.” Robin scuffed the tip of her shoe against the floor. “You and Ellie are at it again.”
“She wants to get a lawyer for my dad and fix everything. Typical.” He scoffed and got to his feet. “It’s not penetrating her thick skull that Dad’s been lying to us, that’s he been drinking the entire time he’s been telling her how to run her life. She’s not seeing that.”
“No,” she murmured. “She’s just seeing that her family is broken and she wants to put it back together. Patrick, she’s not ready to accept that Noah’s still drinking.”
“I’m not ready to accept it,” he muttered. “He was normal, Robin. As normal as he’d ever been growing up but you know, he always drank then. He was just…” he shrugged. “A social drinker.” He shook his head. “There were liquor bottles stashed in his closet. In his nightstand. In his bureau. Anywhere Ellie and I wouldn’t be likely to look at. And now…” he threw up his hands. “A little girl is dead and her mother is in the ICU. How can I convince myself to help?”
“How can you step back?” Robin said after moment. When he just looked at her, she sighed heavily. “You told me that after I was gone, after your father was shutting everyone out, Ellie kept the family together or tried to. You abandoned her then and you told me that you feel bad about it. How can you step back from her again? Forget helping your father. What about your sister?”
“Look, you want me to work on accepting Jason in her life, I can agree with that. But she wants to get Dad a lawyer and get him released—”
“Is that what she wants to do?” Robin interrupted. “Or did she just suggest getting a lawyer?”
He exhaled slowly. “Your father mentioned an arraignment and Ellie mentioned a lawyer. I didn’t stick around to hear much else.” He sat back on the bench and after a moment, Robin joined him. “I just don’t know if I have it in me to go through this again,” he admitted. “After you left and Jay…had his brains scrambled, I shut down and it was just easier not to get involved and to keep a distance from everyone and everything. Even after my father’s first accident and things started to get better, I didn’t get involved beyond ribbing Ellie about Jason. I just stepped back.”
“There’s nothing wrong with protecting yourself,” she told him. “We do what we have to keep it together but I’m afraid that if you and Ellie don’t stick to one another, neither one of you will come out of this without more damage. Jason can do all that he can, but he can’t replace you. You and Ellie were so close once. Why can’t you find a way to make that work again?”
“We were kids then.” He shook his head. “Nothing’s the same anymore.”
General Hospital: Nurse’s Station
“How are the insurance forms coming?” Emily asked, setting a chart next to Nadine. The nurse rolled her eyes.
“Tedious as ever.” Nadine glanced at the intern and hesitated. “You’re not wearing your ring.”
Emily glanced down at her hand. Nikolas had refused to take back the ring but she couldn’t bring herself to wear it. It sat in her jewelry box at home and after all this time, her finger felt bare without it. “We broke off the engagement,” she said quietly.
“Oh…I’m so sorry.” Nadine gathered her forms up. “You seemed like such a nice couple.” She smiled and stepped out of the station.
Emily sighed and turned away to find Nikolas stepping off the elevator. His eyes went directly to her hand and when he realized the ring was missing, he frowned. He came towards her. “Emily.”
“Nikolas, I’m really not up for this,” she sighed. “And besides, I’m working.”
“I didn’t realize how seriously you took the problems between our families,” Nikolas said. “I’m sorry, I didn’t pay enough attention—”
“It doesn’t matter,” she said, shaking head. “It’s done.” She reached for her next chart but Nikolas grabbed her hand to keep it in place.
“I’m not giving up without a fight,” he warned.
“Mr. Cassadine,” Epiphany said coldly, stepping up behind him. “I do not care how much money you donate to this hospital. You do not put your hands on a staff member.”
“Epiphany, it’s okay,” Emily said. She gently pulled her hand away. “Nikolas was just leaving.”
Nikolas reluctantly took a step backwards. “This isn’t over, Emily.”