I have a tale to tell
Sometimes it gets so hard to hide it well
I was not ready for the fall
Too blind to see the writing on the wall
– Live to Tell, Madonna
December 26, 2006
General Hospital: Lab
Robin hummed as she slid another slide under her microscope and made some notes. Doing this kind of mindless work was good for her. It kept her mind from wandering … to other places.
But that ability was starting to fade. She could only go five or ten minutes now without focusing on the steps she was going to have to take in the next few days. The things she would say, the people she would say them to and how they would react.
She had until the end of the year to tell her father, to tell Ellie.
To tell Patrick.
Her mother was flying in for the New Year’s parties and Robin knew she couldn’t put it off much longer.
The door to the lab slapped open and Patrick stalked in. He ignored the other lab techs who gave him dirty looks and stomped back towards Robin’s work station.
“You know, this is a place of serious work,” Robin said as he sat on the adjoining stool. “You can’t barge in here like it’s a bar.”
“Save it, I’m not in the mood.”
“Mmm…well if your mood has anything to do with the incredibly pissed off Drake sister I had lunch with this afternoon, than I’d say it was well deserved.” Robin glanced at him. “But she wouldn’t tell me what happened.”
“She’s being unreasonable,” he muttered.
Sighing, Robin shoved her work back and slid around to face him head on. “Patrick, when we slept together for the first time, did you rush out to tell your sister?”
“What?” Patrick asked, surprised. “Of course not.”
“Then what makes you think that it is any of your business who Ellie sleeps with?” Robin asked. “Or who she dates?”
“I don’t—” Patrick huffed. “You just don’t understand. She’s my sister. My little sister—”
“She’s only eight minutes younger,” Robin reminded him. “You have to stop treating her like she’s a child or you’re going to push her away.”
“If she would stop making dumb decisions…”
“Where is the guy who barely forty-eight hours ago was telling me about how much he’d wronged his sister, how strong she was and how she kept your family together. You don’t give Ellie enough credit, Patrick and it has to stop.” Robin put her hand on his thigh. “She talks about him, you know. She’s filled to the brim with Jason stories.”
“I bet,” Patrick grumbled. “It’s all she can ever talk about.”
“Because he was there when your father dropped out on you two, when you stopped being there for her. When I was gone. Jason was her rock. He let her vent, he let her scream, cry or just talk until she lost her voice. Whatever she needed, whatever she wanted, he gave it to her and he never once asked her for something back.”
“Yeah, well…” Patrick shrugged. “Now he is.”
“Maybe.” Robin tipped her head to the side. “But maybe she wants something too. Patrick, forget his job. Forget what he does and who he works for. Isn’t he exactly who you’d want for her?”
“No,” Patrick shook his head. “No. You know what guy I want for my sister? Jason Quartermaine.”
Robin sat back. “What?”
“My best friend. That’s who I wanted for her. And that’s who I would have got for her.” Patrick shook his head. “Jay liked her. He’d always liked her, but she’d been dating Lucky since birth practically so he just had to wait around. And then she was free, but we were both so busy with college. He figured he had plenty of time.” The corner of his mouth curved up into a half-smile. “It was perfect, you know? Or it would have been. Mom and Dad all over again. Nurse and doctor. He would have given her the world, but then his brother had to scramble his brains.”
“You can’t keep thinking that,” Robin said softly. “You can’t keep looking at Jason Morgan and seeing Jay Quartermaine. It’s just not fair to anyone. To Jason, to you and especially not Ellie if this is the reason why you’re against him.”
“Why did he have to wake up and be someone else?” Patrick said quietly.
“Wasn’t losing you and my mother enough? Did I have to get my best friend taken away too?” He slid off the stool. “Maybe you’re right. Maybe I need to give them a break. I don’t know. But you know what’s not going to happen? I’m not going to forget who he is now or who he works for. Because no matter how good he is to my sister, he’s a criminal and he’s just going to break her heart.”
Robin watched him leave a lot more calmly than he’d entered. She’d come home to make things right, to make amends. She was beginning to think that was not going to happen.
Spencer House: Living Room
“Oh, Lulu…” Laura sighed and gathered her daughter back her into her arms.
“How could you ever think you couldn’t tell me that?”
“Because it’s such a huge mistake,” Lulu cried. “It’s not like going to Minnesota or even like stowing away on Sonny Corinthos’ jet to Puerto Rico. It’s a major life thing that should only happen when you’re ready, and you know I’ve been handling this like my usual stupid self. I asked Dillon to say he was the dad because Dad would have killed Will, but then I realized that it just meant Dad would kill Dillon instead and that hardly seemed fair and if Dad was going to kill Dillon, it ought to be for something that he had actually done.”
“Hey, hey, shhh,” Laura smoothed her hand over Lulu’s hair. “It’s all right. We can deal with this. This is something we can handle.”
“But it’s not a ‘we’, it’s a ‘me’ because Will is a just spiraling down into his own hell and I can’t pull back him out. I tried and I tried but it didn’t work—”
“Will is just a lost soul and if there’s something the Spencer family can handle, it’s taking in a lost soul.” Laura framed her daughter’s face in her hands. “But whatever you choose, however you deal with this, whether it is adoption, keeping the baby or even…abortion, I will support and love you no matter what.”
“You’re not—you’re not disappointed?” Lulu asked, warily. “Why aren’t you mad?”
“I’m a little sad,” her mother admitted. “I wish that it could have happened when you were in love, and when you were old enough and ready, but I’m not disappointed in you. This is not something you get to be disappointed about. If you keep this child, then we will love him or her and we will support you. So do not think you have to do anything because you don’t have back up, okay?”
“I don’t know what I want to do. I keep thinking that I should give her up for adoption because there’s no way I can take care of a baby, but then I think I won’t be able to after carrying her, so of course I’ll keep her, and then I remember I’m barely seventeen with no future whatsoever so what can I offer a baby?”
“This is not a decision you have to make overnight,” Laura told her. “If you want to talk to Will, if you want your father to weigh in, then we can do that.”
“Should I tell Will?” Lulu wondered. “He’ll hate me. He’ll think I trapped him and it’s true, but I didn’t mean it. Mom, I can’t spend my life with an angry drunk. I mean, he didn’t start drinking like this until I dumped him, but you know all Drakes are drunks, it’s just like something that goes together. Drunk Destructive Drakes, everyone knows it—”
“Lulu, you have to stop,” Laura said firmly. “You have to stop and take a breath or you’re going to lose it. Just relax.”
“Mom, I’m so scared,” Lulu whispered. “I’m scared I’m going to make the wrong decision and I won’t be able to take it back.”
“I know, baby. It’s part of being a parent.” Laura leaned forward and kissed Lulu’s forehead. “From now on, everything you do affects someone else and that is the most terrifying concept on this Earth—to know that their life is completely in your hands for the next eighteen years.” She smiled through her own tears. “But, Lu, if that’s what you choose to do, I can promise you that being a mother is also a wonderful gift so don’t be too scared. The good outweighs the bad.”
Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room
“I was pleased with the meeting,” Sonny told Jason, who was trying to his best not to hurry a look at the clock on Sonny’s desk. It was drawing dangerously close to nine o’clock and he didn’t want to be late to pick up Elizabeth.
He was looking forward to seeing her again, knowing he’d be able to touch her and kiss her—all the things he’d been thinking about for months. He didn’t know how they’d managed to get to this point or where they were going but he’d like to find out.
He forced his thoughts from Elizabeth. Concentrate on business, he told himself. Don’t get distracted. “I didn’t think he was lying when he agreed to the new terms,” Jason replied. “But…” he hesitated.
“But what?” Sonny asked.
“His son, Manny. I wonder about him. He seems eager to take over for his father,” Jason said. “A little too eager. He talked a lot, interrupted his father and didn’t seem to agree with the deal.”
“I noticed that,” Sonny replied. “There’s no way to broach the subject with Hector. He would be insulted and it would lead to problems we don’t need, but we can’t ignore it either. You should keep an eye on Manny.”
Jason blinked. This was not a courier job nor was it a request for an opinion. This was an actual assignment and an important one. Manny Ruiz was a potential threat to Sonny and this was a huge leap of faith.
He nodded. “When should I start?” he asked, but he knew the answer. Immediately and it would last indefinitely.
However, Sonny had not ignored Jason’s secret glances at the time, nor had he overlooked the younger man’s general state of distraction since he’d walked in the door. “It’ll keep until tomorrow. You’ll need to tell Elizabeth you might be out of touch for a while so she doesn’t worry.”
Jason frowned. “What?”
“Women,” Sonny began patiently, “do not appreciate when their men disappear with no word. They worry. And when you turn up safe and sound, their worry turns into anger and you’re left with a very ticked off female. It’s best to avoid that altogether. I didn’t have anyone tell me that when I met Brenda so I found that out all on my own.” He grinned. “I thought I’d spare you.”
“But I can’t tell her what I’m doing,” Jason replied, “so why bother saying anything?”
“Elizabeth does not strike me as a stupid woman. She knows that working for me is not exactly carting coffee beans around. If what you have with her has a prayer of lasting, you have to establish boundaries and procedures now. You can’t tell her what you’re doing, but you can tell her that you’ll be out of touch, that if she needs you, she can call me and that if anything happens to you, I’ll make sure she’s informed.”
Jason shook his head. “I don’t want to scare her—”
“Jason, what I’m asking you to do is not necessarily dangerous,” Sonny told him. “But there are no guarantees in this life. The next thing I ask you to do might be a lot more risky. It’s likely you’ll get injured at some point or another. You wouldn’t want to disappear on her and let her worry would you?”
He paused. “There’s time, Jason, to back out. You can go back to being a courier, or even to just working at the warehouse. I won’t think badly of you and we’ll still be friends. I’d respect that decision, if you wanted to have a safe life. But this is a limited time offer. Once you’re in this life, leaving is not usually an option and anyone you care about has to be able to accept that, to understand the rules and be able to work with you. I think Elizabeth is capable of that, so the real question is are you still interested in this life?”
Jason hesitated. “I don’t think that’s a decision I can make by myself,” he admitted. “I want to work for you, Sonny, in any capacity that you ask of me. But things with Elizabeth have changed and I don’t really know what’s going to happen with that, but she’s important to me. If she can’t…if it’s not something she wants to sign up for, then I have to respect it and go back to the warehouse.”
Sonny nodded. “I can accept that. You know, I saw this coming months ago. The first time you mentioned her to me, I could see how important she was to you and I knew she’d be the deal breaker.”
“I’ll talk to Elizabeth tonight,” Jason said. “I can give you an answer tomorrow.”
“That’s fine, and hey, there are no hard feelings if you go back to your old job,” Sonny assured him. “I consider you a friend, regardless of your employment.”
“I appreciate that.” Jason stood. “I should pick her up; she’s probably waiting for me.”
General Hospital: Elevator
Elizabeth smiled when the doors slid open and she joined Lucky in the elevator. “Hey, what brings you here?”
“Oh, just updating the hospital’s security mainframe,” Lucky replied. He pushed the button for the parking garage. “You off work?”
“Just finished my shift.” She tied her scarf around her neck. “Sorry about breakfast this morning, I just wasn’t in any mood to deal with the Neanderthal any further. I had Epiphany assign me to the maternity ward to avoid him.”
“Hey, he’s your brother. I got a sister who does things that I probably don’t want to know about and things I do know about that drive me crazy. You just want to protect your family.” Lucky shrugged.
“I get that, believe me, but he’s got to let me grow up in his head. I just don’t get why he’s so against Jason. It can’t be the fact that he works for Sonny,” Elizabeth said. “I mean, I can see that’s why he’s worried, but the anger I see in him…” she sighed. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”
The elevator doors slid open and they stepped out. “Look, El, I can’t say what’s up his butt,” Lucky told her. “All I know is that he’s got something going on in his head and it’s not about you, at least not completely, but you’re the only out he’s got right now so it’s probably some misplaced stuff.”
“Maybe,” Elizabeth agreed. “You think it’s about Robin being home? Stirring up old things with my parents?”
“Could be,” Lucky nodded. “Could be he’s just got a stick in his butt. I don’t know, but take it easy on the guy. It’s hard to be a brother, no matter how old the sister is. All we want to do is lock them in a room to protect them and apparently, the courts frown on that.” He heard a motorcycle engine roar and looked up to see Jason rounding the corner. “Look, Ellie, just give him some time. He already feels like an ass.” He kissed her cheek and wandered off towards his car.
Jason pulled to a stop. “Hey, sorry I’m a little late.” He took her hand and drew her closer. “You weren’t waiting long, were you?”
“Nope, shift ran over a few minutes.” She leaned down to kiss him. “Mmm, your lips are cold.”
“Yeah, it’s little cold for a ride.” He hesitated. “We have to talk about a few things, so do you want to just head somewhere for some food?”
Elizabeth hesitated and thought of the clothes she’d stuffed into her purse. “Let’s go back to your room. We can order pizza or something.”
He stared at her for a long moment before nodding. “Sounds good, hop on.”
Scorpio House: Living Room
Her father was still awake when Robin came home around ten. She found him on the sofa, reading over a few case files and sipping bourbon. “Crime never sleeps, huh, Dad?” she asked, smiling as she dropped her bag on the end table by the door and curled up next to him on the couch.
Robert smiled and drew his daughter under his arm so her head rested on his shoulder. “Unfortunately not. There’s been a rash of vandalism in the waterfront business district. Kids today have nothing better to do.”
“Even if they did, some would still be committing the crimes,” Robin sighed. She peered up at her father. “Dad, I think we have to talk.”
Robert nodded and closed his reports. He took his glasses off and set them both on the coffee table. Robin pulled away and turned to face him on the couch, tucking her leg underneath her body. “Are you finally going to tell me what’s been on your mind since you came home?”
“You always could tell,” Robin smiled wistfully. “I didn’t just come home because my grant fell through,” she admitted. “It was too close to Christmas and I just…I couldn’t deal with Paris anymore.” She stared at her hands for a long moment. “Shortly after I moved to Paris, I met someone.”
“Oh?” Robert cocked an eyebrow. “You never mentioned this.”
“No. I was just…” Robin paused. “I was drained from all the drama and I needed to excise all the Port Charles things from my head. That’s why I didn’t keep in touch for a while, why I did nothing more than write. I just needed a break and I found something in Stone.”
“Lucky was in Paris for a few weeks and he’d met Stone somewhere, I don’t remember where now. He introduced us and that was pretty much it. There was this connection that I hadn’t felt with anyone since Patrick.” Robin stopped. “I was looking for that connection again. I missed being part of a relationship, being part of a team. Everything with Stone was so easy, so simple. We fell in love and it was like everything was meant to be. He asked me to marry him, Dad.”
“I don’t suppose your story ends with—he’s coming to Port Charles next week for the wedding?” Robert prompted.
Robin smiled, “No. I said yes and we started making plans, I started to think about coming home to tell you in person.” She bit her lip. “So I could tell Patrick face to face. I didn’t want him to hear about it from someone else.”
“What stopped the magic?” her father asked quietly.
“Stone got sick,” Her voice faltered and a tear slid down her cheek. “He got really sick and I finally forced him to go to the hospital. He’d been sick off and on all year with this bad cold and I guess it was finally too much.” Her throat felt tight, she wasn’t sure she could get the rest of this out. “He had AIDS.”
Whatever Robert thought Robin had been about to say, this was clearly not what he had expected. “Oh, God, Robin…” He reached out and took her hand, terrified he now knew what was coming next. “Sweetheart…”
“It was advanced, he’d had it for years and he just…didn’t know. He hated doctors, never really had the money for it anyway so I guess a cold here and there didn’t matter to him. But once he got the diagnosis, we knew I had to get tested.” Robin stopped then, wanting desperately to go back in time and not have started this conversation.
“Tell me it was negative, baby,” Robert sat forward and looked at her urgently. “Even if it’s a lie.”
“Daddy…” Robin wiped at the tears streaming down her cheeks. “I did lie. To Stone. He was dying and if he knew I was sick too…I couldn’t let him take that to the grave. So I lied. I told him I was negative and he died last Christmas thinking that. Or maybe he knew the truth and didn’t tell me. I don’t know anymore.”
She saw her father’s stricken and terrified expression. “I’m not dying,” she hurried to assure him. “I mean, I’m sick, but I was lucky. I only have HIV and I was able to get on a cocktail that has kept me relatively healthy. As long as it continues to work, there’s no reason I shouldn’t live another fifty years.”
“Robin—” Robert shook his head, unable to absorb this information. “I can’t—how could you keep this from me? From your mother?”
“Because it all happened so fast. Stone and I were together for such a short time before we found out he was sick.” Robin sighed. “The only reason we even stopped using protection was because we were going to get married and I wanted to start a family. I wanted to have a baby as soon as possible.” She shook her head. “His health weakened from the drugs, they tried all kinds of treatments but nothing took. It wore on him until he just couldn’t do it anymore.”
“I should have been there for you,” Robert said. He stood and stalked to the fireplace. He spun around and jabbed a finger at her. “I should have just hopped on a plane and gone out there. I knew something was wrong, your emails were just…not the same and there were all those gaps of time. For God’s sakes, Robin, how could you go through this and not once pick up the bloody telephone?” he demanded.
“I didn’t know how,” Robin whispered. “I hadn’t told you about Stone, so I couldn’t figure out how to do that and tell you in the next breath that he was sick. And then before I knew it, I found out I was sick too and that he was going to die. It was all so fast.”
“What about since then?” he continued. “It’s been a year!”
“I know!” Robin stood and crossed her arms. “But I needed air to breathe; I needed to adjust to the fact that not only was my fiancé gone, but that I was sick, that the person wasting away on that bed could be me one day.” She stopped and took a deep breath. “I needed to come to terms with it and when I was ready, I started to make arrangements to come home. I knew I couldn’t put any of this off any longer.” Her composure started to crumble and the tears began to fall again. “Please don’t be angry, Daddy. I can’t stand it.”
He crossed the room to her and drew her into a tight hug. “I am so angry at a world that could do this to you, to this young man you seemed to love so much, but I am not angry at you. I could never be angry with you for doing what you felt was necessary for you.” He kissed the top of her head. “I’m just so scared for you, Robin. I’m scared for what this could all mean.”
“I know,” Robin replied, burrowing into her father’s embrace. “I am, too. I have to ask you to please keep this under wraps for now.” She broke away. “I need some time to tell the people that matter the most. Ellie, Mom…Patrick. Lucky already knows, he was Stone’s friend. But there are some people who need to hear this from me. I need to tell Uncle Mac and the girls.”
“Anything you want, darling,” Robert tightened his hold, afraid she’d disappear when he wasn’t looking.
Jake’s: Jason’s Room
Jason unlocked the door and pushed it open so that Elizabeth could enter first. He was nervous about the conversation they would have to have and he wasn’t sure if she would agree to the new terms of their relationship.
He’d meant what he said to Sonny—Elizabeth’s reaction would seal his decision. She was the deal breaker. If she wasn’t okay with his moving up in the organization, taking on a position of power, he would go back to the warehouse. She was more important than anything he could do for Sonny.
Elizabeth set her bag on the floor and started to unbutton her coat. “You would not believe the day I had,” she told him, unwinding her scarf and tucking into the pocket of the pea coat. She pulled the coat off and tossed it on the chair. “No, you know what? I’m not going to talk about it.” She took the rubber band from her pony tail and shook her hair out. “What did you want to talk about?”
Jason held out a hand and when she took it, he drew her close to him. “I don’t exactly know what you are to me,” he admitted, “but I know that I want to be around you all the time, that I like when you smile and even better, I like when I can make you smile.”
She grinned. “I think I like this so far.”
They sat in the chair close to the door, her on his lap. “Sonny and I had a conversation today,” he said and stopped.
Elizabeth wrapped her arm around the back of his neck, her fingers playing with the ends of his hair at his nape. “Sounds serious,” she said. His somber mood since picking her up was making sense now and the first feelings of anxiety started to spread. “Is everything okay?”
“I hope so,” Jason hesitated. “I’m trying to think of how to say this without saying too much,” he told her. “Sonny asked me to do something that would kind of indicate where I stand in his company,” he said slowly. “And it would be a decision that you can’t take back in a few months or even years, not without a lot of trouble. Are you following me?”
“Yes,” Elizabeth said. She pulled her legs up so her knees were almost tucked under her cheek. “Is what he asked you to do a crime?” she asked. She bit her lip. “Or is that too much to ask? I’m not sure of the limits.”
“No, not necessarily,” Jason answered. “I think it if was, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.” He rested his forehead against hers. “I don’t know all the limits either. Which is something else Sonny wanted to me to talk to you about.”
“Does he not want us to see each other as more than friends?” she asked.
“No, no. He likes you, he does. But he wants to be sure that there are things you can handle. Like this thing he wants me to do…” Jason paused. “It involves me not being to talk to you, contact you or see you for a while. I’m not sure how long. And I can’t tell you why.”
“Would this happen a lot?” Elizabeth asked.
“It might. I don’t know yet.” Jason took her hand and laced it with his. “I told Sonny that I had to make sure it was okay with you. That I didn’t want to agree to do this and find out you didn’t want to sign up for this kind of…relationship.”
“Jason…” Elizabeth shook her head. “I don’t want you to make that kind of decision based on me. This is your life; you can’t let me control things. Isn’t that why you left the Quartermaines?”
“I left because they wanted to control my life, make my decisions. They never once asked my opinion about anything. I want this to be okay with you,” he told her. “My job is just a job; it’s just something I do. I can do something else. But I can’t…I can’t find another you.”
“God, just when I think you’ve made me speechless for the last time, you find a way to say something else that just completely blows me away.” She leaned forward and kissed him softly. “Whatever you choose to do, I’m here. If you want to work for Sonny in this capacity, then you do that. I just want you to be as honest as you can with me. If you need to do something and can’t tell me, say that. Don’t just disappear and not tell me. I wouldn’t be able to handle that.”
“I can do that,” Jason nodded. “And if you need to contact me for any reason, Sonny can always get in touch with me, okay?”
Satisfied that he had straightened everything out, Jason gestured towards the bureau where his cell phone was. “Are you hungry? Do you want to order a pizza?”
“No, I ate at the hospital. Are you hungry?”
He frowned. “I thought you wanted to come back here and grab dinner.”
“Not exactly,” Elizabeth hesitated. She glanced down and concentrated on the collar of his shirt. “I came here to spend the night.” She glanced up at him. “Is that okay?”
Jason swallowed. “Yeah,” he answered. “That’s just…fine.” They stared at each for a long moment before he seemed to get his wits about him. He kissed her hard, shifting his grip so that when he stood, she was cradled in his arms. “Are you sure?”
“You have no idea.”