Since Damaged has been delayed indefinitely (though I really don’t want it to be any later than January), I thought I’d give you something to hold you over.
Here is a collection of excerpts from the first episode. Some of this may stay in, some of it may be cut. But it could give you an idea of where I’m going.
None of this has been really edited or spell checked, so excuse any errors.
From Episode 301, “Disarray”
Elizabeth pressed a kiss to her grandmother’s cheek, then slid across the table from her. “I’m so glad we were able to get together this morning,” she said with a smile. “I feel like we only see each other when the boys come over.”
“Or that perhaps,” Audrey Hardy began with a raised eyebrow and thin smile, “you have been avoiding me, darling.”
In the last year, Lauren had drifted from him, from Ava—though he had to admit mother and daughter had never been particularly close. Ava had always craved power and fame—more and more wealth. Lauren had always shied away from such things—she’d spent many weekends with Julian in his office in New York, looking at books he’d rejected or listening in on editorial meetings.
He hadn’t thought to have contact with his own biological son, Lucas—hadn’t known of Sam’s existence. Lauren had been his family—the best reason for seeking out Ava and staying in touch. He hadn’t thought of the lie then—how she might feel betrayed when she discovered her family friend “Uncle Derek” was in truth, her biological Uncle Julian.
Couple that with the lies about her father, the publicity of the ELQ voting fraud she had unwittingly taken part in—
Lauren wasn’t much interested in being part of the Jerome family these days.
“I’m looking forward to working with you this summer,” Julian said, hoping to draw her into one of their comfortable conversations about journalism and the state of the media. Publishing had been part of his cover, but he’d fallen in love with it.
Lauren eyed him, her bright blue eyes guarded. “What, your real kids don’t give a damn?”
Elizabeth turned to look at him, this face that she had known for so long—had loved nearly half her life. “When you came home—you were worried that I was—that it would be like before. That it would be like Lucky. That I twist myself to be with you because I thought it was what I was supposed to do.”
Jason exhaled slowly, hesitation creeping into his eyes. “Elizabeth—”
“And you’re right. That’s exactly what I did with Lucky.” She tilted her head, wondering how she could say this without hurting him. And knowing it might not be avoidable. “I was…grateful to have a second chance with him that every time that little voice of doubt whispered in my ear, I ignored it. When I was unhappy, when I was doing things just to make Lucky happy—I didn’t say anything to him. I wasn’t honest. I didn’t want to be a model. I didn’t want to get married.” Her voice broke. “I didn’t want to sacrifice my life to save his.”
“I never told him. And maybe if I had—maybe if I had told him about Jake, or been honest with him after that summer that no matter how hard he tried, I was never going to love him as much as I did that night in the church when we were sixteen.” She swiped at her eyes. “And it’s happening again. I can feel it.”
“You’re not happy,” Jason said flatly, the hand he had been stretching towards fell to his side.
“You’re not happy,” Elizabeth corrected. “You’re going through the motions. Every morning, you wake up with the boys. We get them together for breakfast, we divide them up. You’re closer to the baseball field on the way to the coffee house, so you get Cam and Jake, I take Aiden to Laura’s—we go to work. We come home. We have dinner. You listen to every word the boys say, you take it all in. And you’re amazing with them—you’re an amazing father, and I love you so much for the way you listen to them, the way you make them feel important—how you never, not for one moment, make Cam or Aiden feel like they’re different from Jake, that you love them any differently—”
“But you’re not talking to me,” she cut him off with a slash of her hand. “You’re not being honest with me.”
And much later in the season:
“And yet…AJ agreed to give you an uncontested divorce and full custody.” Gia stepped towards her, still tapping that damn pencil. “Why?”
“Because he’d set fire to the warehouse that Sonny and Jason own. Jason…promised that if he gave me the divorce and custody, the evidence would disappear. AJ agreed.”
“And then…” Gia picked up a folder and drew out a set of papers, neatly stapled together. “Later that year, AJ surrendered his paternal rights. That was lucky for you.”
And everything in Carly went cold.
“The thing is…” Lauren interrupted softly, her stomach pitching a bit at the pain in his life, the uncertainty. “When Sam told me, I just—I wanted you to be there with me. Figuring it out. Helping me decide what to do next. A-and, well…I wonder if maybe this—” She sighed. “If whatever happened when I was born—if it was something Ava might have killed to keep secret.”
Michael exhaled slowly. “Her motive for killing Connie.”
“Yeah. So it concerns you. Or it might.” She waited a moment. “So we should talk to this cop. To—” But she couldn’t force out the words my uncle.
“I’ll give Dante a call. He can set it up for us.” Michael leaned forward, resting his forehead against Lauren’s. “Thank you.”
“For bringing you more drama and another problem to fix?”
“For trusting me. For just…for knowing me. For giving a damn.”
I am so excited by the things I have planned, but I want it to be right when it finally gets posted. This is just a piece of everything else, some scenes I had written. I hope you guys enjoy the sneak preview.