Chapter One

July 17, 2004

These clouds around you break your fall
As you came crashing to the ground

Dillon hesitantly held out a glass of water to his grandfather. “Monica says you should drink something.”

Edward didn’t move, didn’t look up at him and certainly did not take the glass. He simply sat on the couch and stared into space and Dillon decided he’d much rather Edward be starting in on his hair.

Brooke Lynn Ashton pulled him away from the couch. “Can’t people just leave him alone?” she asked, irritated. “His wife of like a hundred years has died. Do you think a glass of water is gonna change that?”

“Well—no,” Dillon stopped and glared at her. “Hey, you knew Grandmother for all of five seconds, okay? I knew her for a year and this is killing me. She was the first person to welcome me to the family. She smiled every damn time she saw me and never once started in on my hair, my girlfriend, or my future. Do you know how rare a person like that is in this family?”

“I know—”

“So stop trying to act superior,” Dillon muttered. He shoved the glass into her hand and stalked away. She glared after him.

Did you learn anything at all?
You climb back up to come back down

Felicia Jones sipped her glass of wine and touched her daughter’s shoulder. “This just feels so wrong to be at her funeral,” she murmured.

“I know,” Maxie sighed. “I mean, I know everyone dies sooner or later but I guess—I figure there are some people who just don’t deserve it. Who deserve to get to keep on living and I always thought Mrs. Quartermaine would be around.”

Amy Vining joined them. “This is the first time I’ve been to this place without the family getting into some loud and crazy argument,” she remarked. She shook her head. “Doesn’t seem right.” She looked to Felicia and Maxie. “Hey, did you see Audrey Hardy rushing out of here with Emily Quartermaine and Lucky Spencer?”

“No, is she all right?” Felicia asked curiously.

“Audrey’s great-grandson is ill,” Amy told them. “And you know what else? Elizabeth was with Jason Morgan when she find out.” Amy wriggled her eyebrows. “You think they’re together again?”

“She’s married,” Maxie said, before remembering that she lived in Port Charles and that marriage didn’t always count.

“To Ric Lansing,” Amy rolled her eyes. “Besides, everyone knows that Jason Morgan has had a thing for her for ages.”

He was married, too,” Maxie said, exasperated but her mother was firmly intrigued with this conversation and she wondered when everyone had lost their morals.

“To Courtney Matthews, his boss’s sister. And have you seen her in a tank top? What man is attracted to that?” Amy said with a wicked look in her eyes.

“Oh, I don’t know. Jason, AJ, Brian Beck, Jax,” Maxie began to tick off Courtney’s men on one hand.

“And anyway, Elizabeth just brought a new baby into town that was conceived while she and Ric were apart. Blonde hair, blue eyes,” Amy murmured with a knowing look.

Elizabeth has blue eyes and her sister has blonde hair,” Maxie said in frustration. Why did people want to spread mindless gossip?

“Really?” Felicia asked, her eyes wide. “You know, I always thought they made a good couple.”

“Oh, I quit.” Maxie threw up her hands and walked away.

Everybody knows your name
But they don’t know who you are

Alexis Davis entered the study at Wyndemere, hesitating just inside the doorway. Nikolas was standing in front of the fireplace, staring into the flames. “I’m not sure what to call you,” she said after a moment.

He turned and looked at her and Alexis wondered if she’d ever get used to idea of seeing nothing in his eyes. “I’m not sure,” he said after a moment. “I thought I was Connor Bishop but apparently I’m Nikolas Cassadine. Who am I supposed to be?”

“I suppose that’s up to you,” Alexis remarked. She lifted Kristina into her arms. “I wanted you to meet Kristina. She’s my daughter.”

The curly-brown haired imp struggled in her mother’s arms and reached for him. “Nik-was,” she said, clearly pleased to see him.

Nikolas came forward and set his shot glass on the desk. “She knows me.”

“You’re her cousin,” Alexis said. She bit her lip. “You were her cousin. Nikolas—” she closed her eyes and he saw the struggle inside of her. She wanted to be in his life but didn’t want to push.

He touched Alexis’s shoulder. “Nikolas will do. It seems simpler.”

She nodded. “I don’t want you to be who used you to be if that’s not what you want. I just—you were very important to me. My last piece of family. I don’t want to lose that.”

“Then we’re in agreement.” Nikolas nodded. “You are my aunt and Kristina is my cousin. She’s just a child and I don’t want to confuse her.” He took Kristina from Alexis and smiled at her. “Hey there.”

“Nik-was,” Kristina hugged him. “Where you be?”

“I’ve been lost,” he told her. “But I think I’m home now.”

But to them it’s just the same
Yeah you’re just another name

Elizabeth clutched Jason’s arm as the doctor drew near. “I don’t care if you lie,” she whispered. “Just promise me he’ll be okay.”

Thankfully, the doctor was in front of them before Jason had to make such a promise. “Mrs. Webber? We think Cameron has roseola.”

She didn’t correct the name but just blinked. “What is that?”

“It’s a common childhood illness. High fever, some fatigue, runny nose, irritability—usually signs of it. Cameron’s running the high fever and he’s starting to develop the rash.”

“Common,” Elizabeth repeated. “He’s going to be okay, though right?” she asked fearfully, her grip on Jason’s maroon shirt tightening.

“We want to keep him in the hospital to keep an eye on the fever and I’d like to draw some blood from you and your husband to be on the safe side but—”

Elizabeth released Jason and stepped away, startled. “I don’t have a husband. J-Jason’s just a friend.”

“Oh.” The doctor frowned. “Well, that’s fine then. In case Cameron needs blood, we’d just like to draw some blood from you and Cameron’s father. He’s B, you know and that’s rather rare.”

“Well…I’m O,” Elizabeth replied. “I don’t know—Zander was Cameron’s father and he died earlier this year. I don’t know his blood type but I guess that doesn’t matter.”

“That’s too bad then,” the doctor remarked regrettably. “Since the baby’s other parent would have had to been B or AB—they’re both somewhat rare.”

“I’m AB,” Jason spoke up. Elizabeth glanced up at him, a little surprised and the doctor smiled then. “I could give blood.”

“Well, that’s great then.”

The doctor had just led Jason away when the elevators slid open and Audrey, Emily and Lucky spilled out.

“Where’s Cameron?” Emily asked as Audrey put an arm around her granddaughter.

“He’s in with the doctors. Zander, Emily…what was his blood type?” Elizabeth asked.

“What?” Emily frowned. “He was O. Why?”

She said fame will bring you down
At least that’s what she used to say

“The whole world has gone insane,” Maxie said, disgusted as she joined Dillon and Georgie at the buffet table. “Vows mean nothing. Promises mean nothing. Why don’t people just walk around naked?”

Dillon raised his eyebrows, clearly interested in this thread of conversation. “I’m very intrigued by this plan and I’d like to help you develop it some more.”

Georgie smacked him before looking at her sister. “What’s wrong?”

“Amy Vining just—” Maxie bit her lip. “She’s just saying these things and talking about how Elizabeth Webber’s baby might be Jason’s and how they were having an affair and they were both married, for Christ’s sake. And it just reminded me of Mom with Luke when she was married to Mac. I just hate it. Why can’t people just make promises and keep them?”

“Because the generation before us had clearly too much too drink,” Brooke Lynn sniped joining them. She downed her soda. “Look at my parents. My dad’s been married—how many times now? And my mom’s never gotten over him. They’re divorced and I don’t think either of them knows why so they just blame it on the family.” She snorted. “Bunch of pansies.”

“If I get married, I’m never going to cheat,” Georgie said definitively. “I think it’s horrible. Especially if you have kids.”

“It’s bad even if you don’t,” Brooke Lynn argued. She let out a long frustrated breath. “How many times have Alan and Monica been divorced?”

“I think they’ve lost count,” Maxie remarked. “Not to mention Bobbie’s string of marriages, my mother’s and I think even AJ’s been married more than once.”

“Twice. Both were mistakes if you ask me,” Dillon shrugged. “Wasn’t here personally but anyone who marries Carly Corinthos or Courtney Matthews is asking for misery.”

The four teens studied the adults around them with open disapproval. It was a strange day in Port Charles when a bunch of kids were more mature than their parents.

Then they handed her another crown
She said it would never be this way

“So tell me more about you,” Nikolas asked. “You’re a lawyer. Are you married? Where’s Kristina’s father?”

Alexis sighed heavily and sat on the couch, watching Kristina try and braid Nikolas’s short dark hair without much success. “I’m not married though I have been once. Almost twice. Kristina’s father is Sonny Corinthos but he doesn’t know that and he never will.”

“Fair enough.” Nikolas looked at her. “Who did you almost marry?”

“Ned Ashton, Emily’s cousin. I loved him—part of me always will but it just wasn’t right for me.” Alexis leaned back and tilted her head to the ceiling. “I was married to Jax but that was somewhat of a mistake. He’s a great friend, lousy husband.”

“Was I married before being engaged to Emily?” Nikolas asked curiously.

“Yes. To Lydia Karenin for her family’s money. But you divorced and she left town with AJ Quartermaine. Before Lydia, you were engaged to Gia Campbell but broke it off when you grew apart.”

“I seem to have a long history of engagements. Why do you think that is?”

“You have a large and generous heart, Nikolas. That part of you has never changed.”

“I’ve heard a lot about who I used to be and part of me wishes that it could come back. That I could love Emily again and be Lucky’s brother and your nephew like I was before.”

“And the rest of you?”

“The rest of me doesn’t mind that I was Connor Bishop for a while and lived a simple life in a house in the woods with Mary,” Nikolas murmured.

Everybody knows your name
But they don’t know who you are

“No, that can’t be,” Elizabeth shook her head. “Zander’s got to be B or AB, Emily. Are you sure?”

“I’m sure,” Emily touched her shoulder. “We had to have blood tests to get married.” She looked at Lucky in worry. “Why doesn’t Mrs. Hardy go check on Cameron and we’ll get you something to eat?”

“No, no, see, Cameron is B. I’m O. Zander and I can’t both be O,” Elizabeth said urgently. Her eyes filled with tears. “Do you understand what I’m saying, Emily?”

“I think so. You don’t think that’s your baby?” Emily asked.

“I don’t think Cameron was Zander’s son,” Elizabeth whispered. Something flashed in her head then. Just a vision of her lying on a bed underneath someone and then Jason’s voice echoed in her head. “I’m AB.”

And then she fainted.

But to them it’s just the same
Yeah you’re just another name
La da da da da just another name

Mary slid the last of Connor’s clothes into a cardboard box and taped it shut. And by Connor, she meant the husband she’d lost in Iraq. It was time to say goodbye to him and to Nikolas.

She had lost them both but her heart was still beating. It was dented but still beating and this time, she would figure out how to survive on her own.

She had circulated her resumes to the local schools and was hoping to get a job before fall. She’d taught before and was eager to start a new life.

Without Nikolas.

She dumped the box on the porch and turned to go back inside to call the Salvation Army to come and pick up Connor’s things.

But Lorenzo Alcazar stood in her way. “Hello, Mary.”

Yesterday she was a little girl
Pretending she was queen

“You ever look at the people you’re related to and think…’This cannot be my life’?” Maxie asked Brooke Lynn. “Because I look at my mother over there gossiping with Amy Vining and God help me, I don’t get it.”

The other teen snorted. “Are you kidding? Look at my mother. I’ve been there, I’ve bought and ripped the T-shirt.”

“Hey, I’ve got Tracy,” Dillon reminded them. But the humor left his voice when he saw his mother sitting next to his grandfather, both of them silent and not looking at the other. “That’s the scariest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Georgie wound her arm through her boyfriend’s and rested her chin on his shoulder. “The pain is too fresh, Dillon. Give them a chance to recover.”

“What if they don’t?” He couldn’t keep the fear from bleeding through. “Grandfather’s heart hasn’t been very good lately. And I can’t believe I’m saying this—but what if they don’t start talking to each other? Arguing?”

“They will,” Maxie said firmly. “That’s how they operate. That’s what makes them a family.”

“I’m beginning to think it was Grandmother who did that,” Brooke Lynn remarked.

Didn’t know it’d change the world
Didn’t know what this should mean

Lucky caught Elizabeth before she hit the ground and moved her to the couch. Audrey went to get her granddaughter some water.

“Jesus, what the hell is going on around here?” Emily muttered as she cradled Elizabeth’s head in her lap. “Go find the doctor that’s treating Cam and get some blood tests done to be sure that’s the same baby Elizabeth gave birth to.”

“And if it he is?” Lucky asked. “You saw her face. Who could his father be?”

A sickening ball of dread began to form in Emily’s stomach. “She said that Zander had to be B or AB to be Cam’s father.”

“Right.”

Emily met Lucky’s eyes. “Jason’s AB.”

“What’s going on?” her brother asked from behind them, a little alarmed. “What’s wrong with Elizabeth?”

Emily shook her head and turned to face her brother. “Zander’s blood was Type O, Jase. Not B or AB. Do you understand what that means?”

Jason hesitated and came closer to the couch. “Someone made a mistake.”

“Yeah.” Emily watched Elizabeth’s face as her friend began to stir. “Someone sure did.”

Which mask will you wear today?
How about the one with the pretty smile

Sam started to pace when Jason hadn’t returned. She was worried that he was friends with the wife of one of most vile men in town. Surely Jason should have seen the conflict of interest in knowing Elizabeth Lansing. She’d left her husband but hadn’t divorced him. That had to mean something?

She twisted her fingers together and had just made up her mind to go to the hospital when the door swung open and her worst nightmare scowled at her.

“Where’s Jason?” Carly Corinthos demanded shrilly.

Sam looked at the ceiling and prayed for the strength not to smack the bony blonde into the next millennium. “He’s at the hospital with Elizabeth Webber.”

“He’s what?” Carly asked. “What the hell is he doing with that little twit?” she asked, pure loathing in her voice

Sam frowned. “I didn’t think it was possible but I do believe you hate her more than you hate me.”

To you it’s just another day
In a life you haven’t lived in quite awhile
Everybody knows your name
But they don’t know who you are

“What do you want?” Mary asked a little apprehensively. She stepped back.

“I heard about Nikolas. That he discovered the truth and has left you. I wanted to extend my sympathies.”

“Uh huh,” Mary said warily. “Well now he’s gone. You’ve got no reason to be here.”

“That’s where you’re mistake, Mary.” Lorenzo smiled then and a strange chill went down her spine. “I’m not finished with you yet.”

But to them it’s just a game
And I think it’s gone too far

“Mrs. Hardy.”

Audrey was about to rejoin her granddaughter and her friends when Dr. Chris Ramsey caught her arm. “Yes, Dr. Ramsey?”

“I’m treating your great-grandson,” Chris began. “And your granddaughter told me that her blood type was O and when she told me who was the father was, I pulled Zander’s records.”

“And?” Audrey asked impatiently.

“Mrs. Hardy, Zander Smith was Type O. There’s no way he’s the father of that baby,” Chris told her.

Everybody knows your name
But they don’t know who you are

“I wonder what gossip she’s spreading now,” Maxie said almost hatefully as she looked at Amy, speaking with Felicia and Bobbie. “That maybe Cameron Webber is the love child of Elizabeth Webber and Sonny Corinthos.”

Dillon perked up. “Now there’s a scenario worth looking…” he trailed off when Maxie threw him a look filled with loathing. “Right then. Horrible thing gossip is. Never agreed with it.”

“No, I bet Amy’s trying to figure out if Cameron’s Elizabeth’s baby at all,” Georgie conspired. “I bet she’s saying that it’s some strange woman’s who Elizabeth came across last fall and the whole pregnancy was faked.”

Brooke Lynn looked at Georgie skeptically. “She wouldn’t.”

“Oh, she so would,” Georgie nodded. “Amy never gets anything right. When Dillon came to town last year, she told anyone who would listen that another one of Alan’s illegitimate kids had come home.”

“Oh, ew. It’s bad enough Tracy’s my mother,” Dillon wrinkled his nose.

“That’s my point. She’s got to be stopped or pretty soon the whole town is going to believe Jason’s the father of that baby,” Maxie remarked. “And that’s not fair to Elizabeth. Or to Jason. And you know how Carly Corinthos and her sister-in-law will take this rumor.”

“I fear for the poor brunette already,” Dillon said grimly. He paused and leveled a suspicious glare on his girlfriend’s sister. “Wait. What do you mean she’s got to be stopped?”

Maxie sent him a charming smile and he shook his head. “Uh, uh. The last time I tried to help someone, I ended up trying to catch the butterflies in a South American jail.”

“Really?” Brooke Lynn asked with some curiosity. “I think that’s a story I’d like to hear.”

“Come on, Dillon,” Maxie asked with bright eyes. “It’s for the greater good.”

“No.”

Georgie stood on her toes and whispered something into his ear. “Yeah?” he asked, intrigued. “Can you do that with whipped cream and a feather?” He sighed heavily. “All right, but no planes, no guns, no fish and no dressing me up like a girl.”

You’ve got the most familiar face
But you’re just another name

Elizabeth opened her eyes and sat up a moment later. “What happened?”

“You fainted.” Emily swept Elizabeth’s hair out of her face. “Are you okay? What happened?”

Elizabeth looked at Jason for a long moment before looking at her best friend. “Nothing. Nothing at all.”

La da da da da just another name
La da da da da just another name

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Comments

  • I am so glad I did a last minute check on my updates. This is terrific! A little rough reading through the comments made at the Q’s post-funeral reception, but I am looking forward to more.

    According to kcke2pen on November 9, 2014