Thursday, April 10, 2014
ELQ: Tracy’s Office
Ned lowered himself into the chair across from Tracy and flipped open his leather folder. “I have some news for you.”
His mother leaned forward, her dark eyes bright with hope. “Sam McCall has mysteriously disappeared, taking her offspring with her?”
Ned raised an eyebrow, and reminded himself that his mother’s single-mindedness was an asset most of the time, except when it was focused on torturing Jason’s ex-wife. “No, but it’s related to that.”
Tracy huffed and leaned back. “It’s never the news I want to hear.”
“I spoke to Dillon regarding Alan’s will.”
“Dillon?” She wrinkled her nose. “I suppose he was annoyed on Sam’s behalf—”
“He’s more Quartermaine than you think.” Ned uncapped his pen and tapped it against his legal pad. “He suggested that we…revise Alan’s will to reflect the situation at the time, and have Alan leave his stock to his grandchildren.”
Tracy shook her head. “That wouldn’t get us much, it would just include—” She hesitated. “The situation at the time?” she repeated.
“Precisely. At Alan’s death, he had Michael and he had Jake. Elizabeth’s paternity test was in her file at the hospital. I’ve contacted…” Ned coughed lightly. “A source at the hospital, who confirmed that it performed in October 2006 and lists Jason as the father.”
“Which means Alan had almost four months to find it.” Tracy pursed her lips. “What about the rest of the will? With the cash assets?”
“Too complicated to untangle,” Ned said. “The stocks are more straightforward. We do need to have someone help us legally decrease Grandfather’s stock and sort the situation out with his will. He believed himself to be in possession of all one hundred percent and divided it accordingly.”
“Good point.” Tracy raised her mug of coffee to her lips and sipped. “We’ll have to look at his previous will, but there’s no telling how that’ll screw us up.”
“So, now that we’ve decided how to…correct your miscalculations,” Ned continued, “let’s take a look at the proxy situation.”
“Proxies.” Tracy said the word almost as if it left poison in her mouth. “How are you dealing with AJ’s proxies?”
“Well, Michael is handling that,” Ned remarked, “as it’s part of AJ’s will.” He hesitated. “Do we know about AJ’s will?”
“I don’t have the specifics, only that Michael is the executor. I suppose Michael is the main beneficiary,” Tracy sighed. “Why is this so complicated?”
“It’s only complicated because you don’t want anyone you don’t like having a say,” he explained, patiently. “As it stood at the time of AJ’s death, he held the proxy for Skye, Lila Rae, and Maya. I hold Brooke Lynn’s. Sam holds Jason and Danny’s proxy, and Elizabeth will have Jake’s once the paperwork is finished.”
“That’s not as bad as I had thought,” Tracy admitted. “But I think I convinced Monica to have Jason declared legally dead. It’s unlikely we’ll be able to get a judge to backtrack the date of death, so…” A smug smile spread across her face. “We’ll dispose of Jason’s stocks the way he intended.”
Ned faltered at this. “What don’t I know, Mother?”
“Only that, in death, Jason Morgan has made me more proud than he ever did alive.” She leaned forward. “But I doubt Sam is going to go down without a fight.”
“Unlikely, since she’s not stepped towards declaring him dead before this.” Ned tapped his pen again. “What do you propose?”
“ELQ needs a good lawyer,” Tracy announced. “We need someone ruthless and determined to help us wrest control of Jason and Danny’s proxy from that street urchin.”
Ned raised his eyebrows. “So you want someone who’s not particularly concerned with the spirit or the letter of the law, but with exploiting all possible loop holes.” He nodded. “Sounds right. I hear Ric Lansing is in town.”
PCPD: Conference Room
Anna walked into the room to find Gia already seated with Dante and Nathan. “I’d like everyone to meet the two newest detectives in the department.” Anna set down the folders and gestured to the pair standing behind her. “Sly Eckert and Parisa Ahmadi.”
There were murmurs of greetings as the two detectives in question sat at the other side of the conference room. Anna took a seat at the head of the table. “So, Dante, Nathan, you both knew I was planning on hiring two new detectives to bolster the creation of a major crimes unit.”
“And to give me some help since Dante’s related to all the criminals,” Nathan said with half grin as he threw his partner a look. Dante scowled at him, and tossed a crumbled ball of paper at him.
“Well, Dante, like it or not, you’ve been forced to work on cases that you ought not to have with the way we’ve been left short-handed.” Anna opened a file and slipped open her glasses. “Detective Eckert comes to us from Buffalo, where he served for five years while Detective Ahmadi is from Queens.” She cleared throat. “I’m shuffling assignments. Dante, I’d like you to work with Parisa, to give her an introduction to the town.”
Dante looked over at the Persian woman who nodded. “Not a problem. We can bond over the Yankees.”
Parisa Ahmadi snorted. “Please. I would not be caught dead wearing those pinstripes.”
Dante narrowed his eyes. “The Mets?” he asked, and Nathan glared at him, as they were his favorite team.
“Worse.” Parisa smiled sweetly. “The Phillies.”
Before a blood bath could break out, Anna cleared her throat. “Well, as fascinating as I’m sure that’ll be for you two, that leaves you and Sly, Nathan. He grew up in PC, you’ve spent a few months here. I thought it work for the best.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Sly nodded. “I’m looking forward to getting to know the old stomping grounds. What’s the first assignment?”
“Well,” Anna looked at Gia. “We may be able to wrap up one of our on-going projects if Ms. Campbell has good news for us.”
Gia grimaced. “Gia, please. I want us to work together.” She crossed her legs and leaned back in her chair. “I filed charges against Britt Westbourne for kidnapping in the second degree this morning.”
Dante grinned and leaned forward, his eyes intent. “Will it stick? Can we pick her up?”
“Well, Sly and Nathan will be picking her up,” Gia murmured. “Best to keep it clean. I’ve had a meeting with the judge assigned to the case who is willing to allow the charges go to a preliminary hearing. I believe we’ll be all right, but for the time being, when she’s picked up, Social Services will take custody of Ben.”
Anna frowned. “Can’t we arrange to have Dante and Lulu be given temporary custody?”
“I contacted your lawyer,” Gia told Dante, “and Diane has a copy of the arrest warrant. She’s already in family court, but I didn’t want Britt Westbourne to have too much notice. I’m sure they’ll give you emergency custody, but he may be with Social Services for a few hours.”
“It’s fine.” Dante nodded. He exhaled slowly. “It’s more than we hoped for.”
“Once Britt is in custody, we still have AJ Quartermaine’s murder to attend to.” Anna closed one file and flipped open the next. “Now, it goes without saying that this is a priority.” She glanced at Dante. “I don’t intend for you not to work on this case, but you can’t deal with Sonny’s part in it. Nathan and Sly will be primary on it, as they have no connections.”
“Understood.” Dante looked at his former partner. “And I’ll stay completely out of your way. I want my brother Michael to have justice.”
“So, I’d like for Nathan and Sly to take on Sonny’s alibi,” Anna continued, ignoring the fact that Duke was the alibi in question. “If we can crack that, we have a prayer of seeing Sonny sweat. Dante, I would like you and Parisa to tackle the Ava Jerome angle. Check her alibi in New York. You both have connections there, make them work for us. Once we break the alibis, we can move forward. I want to know why AJ was shot in her apartment.”
“But first,” Gia said with a smile, “I think Nathan and Sly should go bring in our kidnapper, don’t you?”
Dillon entered the courtyard and just stopped for a moment, letting the memories sweep over him.
Georgie had been gone for just over six years. She’d been gone longer than he had been in love with her, longer than he had lived in Port Charles.
And still, the stab in the heart at thinking of her death—of the way she had been ripped from this world—was as fresh as the day he had sat at the counter inside and learned the devastating news from Lulu.
He smiled when he saw Maxie seated at an outside table, a little girl with long dark hair at her side, sipping a milkshake. “Hey, Maxie.”
“Dillon.” The blonde raised her eyes to him and smiled brightly, which had not always been her first reaction to him. They weren’t close, but their love for Georgie tied them together. “Hey! Join us. Have you met Emma?”
“Nope.” He lowered himself into a chair and smiled at the little girl. “Patrick and Robin’s kid, yeah?”
“Yup. But my mommy lives in Africa now,” Emma sighed. She cast dark eyes at her honorary aunt. “Can’t you call her, Maxie? You’re really good at yelling at her.”
“I would if I had her number,” Maxie muttered. She sipped her iced tea. “What brings you to Kelly’s, Dillon?”
“Ah…” He hesitated. “Meeting Lulu for lunch actually.”
Maxie’s mouth formed a small oh. “Um. I guess Emma and I should make ourselves scarce or something. I mean, Lulu likes Emma, but I’m…trying not to put myself in her sphere right now. You know, like you said, I shouldn’t contact her until this stuff with Ben is resolved—”
“I said you shouldn’t go out of your way to see her,” Dillon said. “Does she know you’re home?”
“I’m not sure if it reached her through the grapevine. I thought maybe I should just…tell her that much, so she can yell at me or do whatever she needs to do. I can’t fix it unless I see her, but then I thought it would—”
“Breathe, Maxie.” Dillon held up a hand. He reached into his pocket and withdrew his phone. Pulling up Lulu’s messages, he typed in one of his own. Hey, just an fyi. Maxie at Kelly’s with Emma. We can hit somewhere else. “I sent her a text.”
She exhaled slowly. “Right. I want to make this better, Dillon, but I know I can’t worry about how to make myself feel better. If Lulu doesn’t want to know me anymore, then….” She pressed her lips together. “Well, I’ll have to change her mind eventually, because we’re supposed to be BFFs and hey, I was going to give her my daughter. I never get any credit for that part—”
Dillon just stared at her and she flushed. “Right because no credit is due. Swear, Dillon, I’m working on that selfish streak.”
His phone beeped and he looked down. Meet you at Eli’s in twenty?
“I’m going meet her somewhere else. Listen, Maxie,” he said as he stood. “You’ve done a lot of dumb stuff in your life people have overlooked, particularly Lulu and even me sometimes. We do that because we love you, but we do it too because we loved Georgie and she’d want it that way. We’re what’s left. Give Lulu space and time but promise me you’ve learned from this.”
“Absolutely. No more getting accidentally pregnant and pretending it’s someone else’s kid.” She pursed her lips. “I should have learned that the time I pretended to be pregnant with Lucky’s kid.”
Emma frowned. “Why did you do that?”
“You know,” Maxie mused, “I really can’t remember. I thought he was such a catch, but you know, you look back and think…what a dumb thing that was to do.”
“First step to recovery, Maxie, is admitting you have a problem.” He glanced at through the windows of the restaurant and sighed. “The pay phone is gone.”
Maxie twisted to look and nodded. “Huh. So it is. I can’t remember the last time I noticed it. So?”
“I was using the pay phone when I met Georgie,” he said softly. “I think she’d told you and Lucas that she had a date. You were coming in, so she panicked, grabbed me and kissed me.”
“Oh.” Maxie smiled. “I remember. I didn’t buy it, but you played along.” She sighed. “You were so amazing to her, Dillon. She had such a short life, but you know, she knew more love and kindness than some people get in a lifetime. I will never forget that.”
“She showed me the same,” Dillon replied. He cast one more wistful look at the empty space where the phone had been before leaving the courtyard to meet Lulu. He passed Bobbie Spencer as he walked towards the parking lot and nodded hello.
Bobbie sat across from Felicia Scorpio-Jones with a smile. “Hey, why aren’t we outside with Maxie and Emma?” she asked, setting her bag on the floor next to her. “I would have thought you’d two be inseparable right now.”
“Well, I was for the first few days.” Felicia crossed her arms on the table, and leaned forward. “But you know, she’s got to stand on her own two feet. Mac and I agreed to pay for her apartment until she has a new job.”
“Any idea what she’s planning to do?” Bobbie asked, smiling up at their waitress. “I’ll have the chili and an iced tea, thanks.”
“Same,” Felicia said. Once the waitress had walked away, she sighed. “No. And there’s not much call for her particular talents with Kate—Connie, I mean…Maxie had her best job with Connie. I’d like her to go back to school, but Mac tells me it’s just not her thing.”
“Mmm…and the one semester she finished at PCU did not go well.” Bobbie shifted. “Well, she’ll find something, Felicia. Maxie’s too stubborn to stay down for long.”
“I know.” Felicia leaned back, letting her hands fall from the table. “I just worry Mac and I are going to smother her. She’s all we have left, with Robin in Africa and Georgie…” Her blue eyes darkened, and Bobbie’s heart broke for her friend. “God, Bobbie. I know it’s been just over six years, but…”
“It only fades in intensity,” Bobbie murmured. “BJ…she would have been twenty-eight. Just three years older than Maxie. She would have a career, maybe some kids.” She forced a bright smile on her face. “But she lives on in Maxie.”
Felicia nodded. “And Maxie knows that. I think…it weighs on her sometimes. That she feels as if she’s let you and Tony down, and especially BJ. She thinks she has to live for Georgie and BJ and it makes her…try too hard.”
“She’ll find her way.” Bobbie reached across the table. “I…I’m sure of it. But sometimes I wonder if she and Carly are related.”
Felicia laughed lightly as the waitress returned with their orders. “What has your girl done now?”
“Nothing that I can prove but…” Bobbie pursed her lips as she stirred some sugar into her tea. “There’s…an air around her since AJ died. I’d like to think it’s because she’s reconsidering her choices, watching what Michael is going through, and swearing to do better by Morgan and Joss, but you know, it’s Carly.”
“So she’s probably up to something.” Felicia blew on a spoonful of chili and ate it. She sighed. “All these years later, and nothing makes me more nostalgic than Ruby’s chili.”
“Thank God she passed down the recipe.” Bobbie sipped her tea. “Shawn Butler sold Kelly’s back to me a few weeks ago, did I tell you? After TJ moved to Chicago, he didn’t have the heart for this place anymore. He’s still manager though, for now.”
“Good. It broke my heart when I found out Luke sold it. A Spencer belongs at Kelly’s, even if there’s a manager behind the counter.” Felicia nodded. “Why do you say for now with Shawn?”
“I’m not sure,” Bobbie admitted. “But he works for Sonny, and you know…I’m just not sure how much longer Port Charles is going to put up with him.” Her face tightened. “If he did kill AJ, if he did that to Monica and to Michael, I don’t care if he is Morgan’s father. He’s not the man I thought he was.”
“He was never the man people thought he was,” Felicia said, firmly. “But he was charming and he had a nice set of dimples. I just think…it’s starting to wear off. The blinders are gone. Jason’s not around to curb his worst habits, I’m not surprised it’s starting to unravel.”
“I just hope he takes Julian Jerome with him,” Bobbie muttered. “I raised Lucas. Tony and me. And now he wants to prance in like DNA makes a family. I won’t have it, Felicia. I look at how Michael is suffering with being the son of a mobster, and I just…can’t see putting my baby through it.”
“Your baby,” Felicia said delicately, “is a grown man. With a job. He rents an apartment from you. It’s not the same thing as living with you. He’ll make his own decisions.”
“I know, but…” Bobbie leaned back and looked at the ceiling, as if searching for the right way to go on. “I just…want to wrap him in cotton. I love Carly, but she’s a roller coaster. Lucas is normal. I’d like to keep him that way.”
“Normal.” Felicia pursed her lips. “What’s that like? My girls…that was never something people accused them of being.”
Elm Street Pier
Elizabeth stopped hesitantly at the top of the stairs, spying Ric at the end of the pier, staring out over the harbor. He had not bothered her much since the engagement party when she had sent him packing, but she wasn’t sure where they stood now.
She had so few actual…friends in this world, people who she could honestly say cared about her, could she afford to turn someone down?
Could she afford to take the risk that Ric Lansing wasn’t working an angle?
She forced a smile on her face and started down the stairs. He turned at the sound of her footsteps.
“I was hoping to run into you eventually,” Ric said, his hands in the pockets of his casual khakis. “But I didn’t think you wanted me to contact you—”
“I didn’t say that,” Elizabeth said, straightening the strap of her purse over her shoulder. “I just…don’t want…” She hesitated. “The night of the engagement party—”
“I came on too strong,” Ric interrupted. He offered a sheepish smile, one she knew all too well. “I just…I reverted to my old ways a little. I saw an opportunity and I…”
“Tried to exploit it.” Elizabeth nodded. “I know. I’m almost glad you did, because once…” She sighed and looked out over the harbor towards Spoon Island. “I might have let you.”
He followed her gaze. “Is that…how it started with Nikolas?” he asked softly. “A vulnerable moment?”
“It was a choice I would not make again,” Elizabeth said slowly. “I…was dealing with a few things…reeling from some…” She stopped and remembered learning that Jason had left town with Sam to find Michael and Kristina. “Decisions. I was falling into old habits.”
“Going back to Lucky,” Ric said.
“Like I always did,” she murmured. “I couldn’t seem to stop myself from drifting back. I told myself it was for the boys. That he was clean, that maybe we could be happy again. I always tell myself that.”
“Like the first time you were married.” He shifted closer to her. “I remember you were happy then, and I was happy for you.”
She cut her eyes towards him. She could almost believe that. “We were,” Elizabeth admitted, “but I was settling then. Settling for a shadow of what we’d been once. I wanted it to be like when we were teenagers, but it never has been. Not with anyone.” She cleared her throat. “Anyway. It doesn’t really matter anymore why I married him back then.”
“Fair enough. So you decided to torpedo your relationship with Lucky once and for all. Having an affair with Jason wasn’t enough. You had to shatter that connection.” Ric’s lips curved into a half smile. “Sounds like you did it.”
“I did.” Elizabeth focused on him, because in those words, Ric had crystallized everything she had never admitted. Having an affair with Nikolas had broken her relationship with Lucky beyond repair. There had never been a question of the two of them being together again after that. “But my sons suffered.”
“Ah, they’re not missing much. When Lucky was around, he was a piss poor father to Cam and Jake and you know that.” He jerked a shoulder. “What makes you think it would be different with Aidan?”
Because Aidan was Lucky’s biological son, Elizabeth almost said, but she didn’t. Not because Jake’s paternity was still an important secret, but because she should have known better. Lucky hadn’t been much of a father even when he’d believed Jake to be his.
“I don’t know,” Elizabeth said after a moment. She hesitated. “You remember when you asked me on the stand if Jason was Jake’s father?”
“And you lied to me?” Ric said, arching his eyebrow. “Which anyone with eyes could see,” he continued when she just blinked at him. “I suspected it then, but when I came home and saw Jake in the flesh…he’s Jason all over again.”
“Well, it’s not going to be a secret much longer,” Elizabeth said. “I hope I won’t be in any legal trouble.”
“Unlikely,” Ric said. He paused. “I had a call from Ned Ashton today. He’d like me to come on board at ELQ to help him untangle some inheritance issues. I guess that’s related to Jake.”
“So I’ve been told. He’s apparently entitled to some portion, as Edward’s great-grandson. I didn’t know that when Monica asked me to come forward. I don’t care what anyone else thinks.” Elizabeth huffed and looked away.
“Which means someone does think that.” Ric dipped his head and tried to get her to look at him. “Who?”
“I went to Sam,” Elizabeth admitted, still boiling. “I thought…Jake and Danny are brothers. They even look alike. I…Jake has some memories of Jason. He knows…Lucky isn’t his father. I told him last year after Jason died, and I took Jake to see Monica. Jake knows Jason was his biological father. I thought Sam might want…Danny to know Jake, to have some of his memories.”
“You mean, something you might do under the same circumstances.” Ric rocked back and forth on his heels. “Sam…has never operated under that code—”
Her eyes burned with the memory of Sam’s words, and she no longer cared that she was speaking to Ric. “I just…I wanted Jake to have that connection, because it’s my fault Jason didn’t love him anymore. I kept him from Jake when I was pregnant, when he was first born. I didn’t fight Jason hard enough about the danger—I-I couldn’t convince him—”
“Just…” Ric stepped forward and pressed two fingers over her lips. “That’s just…stupid. You have got to stop blaming yourself. First of all, it’s a little bit my fault because I went after Jason and used the paternity information against him, which led to him being gone when you got the results. And yes, it’s a little bit your fault for not telling him, but you did own up.”
“And then asked him to let Lucky raise him.” Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “Not a shining moment, but I was so…I could tell he was happy about him, at least…I thought so, but I could also see he was worried about Sam. About that…and I just…what if Jake became a burden to him? An obstacle with Sam?” She huffed. “And maybe I was selfish, because I didn’t want Jason to be with me because I was pregnant—”
“So what?” Ric cut in. “So you asked. Did you force him to say yes? That’s one year of Jake’s life. He was how old when Jason died?”
Elizabeth pressed her lips together and looked away. “Five and a half.”
“That’s four years Jason denied his own son. Four years he told you no. For me, that outweighs the one year. This is how you get yourself into trouble, Elizabeth. You take on things that are not your responsibility.”
“Ric—” Elizabeth sighed and rolled her eyes.
“You decided it was your job to save me from my hatred for Sonny, from my problems. You should have walked away from me long before you did. Why do you think it’s your job to save useless, stupid men who can’t stand on their own without you?”
“Like you?” she scoffed, her throat tight. “Ric—”
“Like me,” he confirmed. “And Zander, Lucky and Jason. You always look for the most damaged person you can find and try to save them. You were doing it with Nikolas before the party. He couldn’t help himself, so you were determined to do it for him.”
“I…” She closed her mouth and just stared at him. “That’s not…” She sighed. “This is a strange way to flirt with me.”
“I did that once.” The look in his eyes was so intent, so serious and sober, that she almost couldn’t look away.
“I charmed you. I bamboozled you because you were vulnerable after breaking up with Jason. I exploited an opportunity and then made you feel like I was too damaged to live without you. I’m not interested in doing that again. If…you decide I’m worth the risk, it’ll be because you looked at all the evidence.”
Elizabeth blinked and stepped back. “Ric, I really…I mean, I’m…” Flustered, she cleared her throat. “I’m flattered—”
“But you’re not interested.” He nodded. “That’s fine. If you want to be friends, I can live with that.” He gestured towards the stairs. “How about a coffee at Kelly’s?”
“Um.” Elizabeth stepped around him. “I can’t. I have a shift at the hospital. But…” She turned back. “Thank you. I…know what you’re saying about Jason…and the rest of it is true. I just…I have to believe it. Good…good luck with ELQ.”
She hurried away, discomforted by the experience of having confided in her ex-husband, and feeling better for it.
Davis & Miller: Alexis’s Office
Alexis glanced up when her secretary opened the door and Monica walked through. “Monica? You’re my two o’clock?” She leaned back in her chair and set down her pen. “You didn’t have to make an appointment—”
Monica lowered herself into the chair in front of Alexis’s broad oak desk. “I wanted to keep this civil, and I thought if I came to your place of business, I might have a better chance.”
“Ah.” Alexis sighed and pressed her forefinger and thumb to her temple. “It’s about Sam.”
“You’d better inform your daughter, Alexis,” Monica said, “that I intend to have Jason declared dead. I’ve waited out of respect, but she’s not his legal next of kin, so I have every right.”
“Well.” She blinked. “That’s…quite an opening sally. Monica, I have tried to convince her otherwise, but she’s just…not ready to let go.”
“Horseshit,” the other woman said flatly. “She’s been seeing John McBain for months, when she can meet up with him. And she hardly mourned him. I deserve a chance to put my son to rest. Sam was not his wife at the time of his death, she has no legal right—”
“I know that.” Alexis rose from her desk and started to pace. “You think that since the rumors started flying again about Jake that I haven’t known Tracy would push on this? Jake is Jason’s next of kin as his oldest son, but Elizabeth would never sue to get to Jason’s money.” She huffed. “It’s unlikely Jason even left her anything anyway—”
“Jake was Jason’s son.” Monica also stood. “However he chose to deal with that in life, he would have seen him provided for. But no, Elizabeth won’t stand up for her child. It’s going to be hard enough when it comes out Jake is entitled to a portion of Edward’s inheritance. She won’t have anyone accusing her of doing this for the money. This isn’t about the will, Alexis. My son has been dead for over a year, and we have no closure—”
“I gave Sam space hoping it would mean I would get to know my grandson,” Jason’s mother snarled. “And your daughter kept me from him. I have Michael and Jake, but I want to know Danny.”
“So those are your terms?” Alexis retorted. “Typical Quartermaine. Exploiting one family member to get access to another—”
Monica slammed her hand down on the table. “To hell with you, Alexis Davis. I’m filing to have Jason declared legally dead so I can lay him to rest next to his grandmother. So his sons can have a place to visit him. So I can mourn him. My children are dead, Alexis. All of them. All four. And I have to deal with that in any way I see fit—”
And just like that, the anger slid from Alexis’s body. Monica had had four children. Now she had none. “I have talked to her, Monica, but I’ll try again. If she knows you and Tracy are going to court over it, it might be easier—” She hesitated. “And about Danny—”
“I spent years hoping to get to know Michael,” Monica cut in. “But finally, he was old enough and he came to me. I don’t know if I have the same luxury of time when it comes to Danny, but I can’t make Sam do what’s right. I don’t think anyone can.”
She stalked from the room, while Alexis sat back in her chair.
Being a mother was exhausting, even when two of them were out of state.
Metro Court Hotel: Restaurant
Todd Manning stood as Starr crossed the restaurant and embraced him. “I’m so glad you’re back, Dad!”
“Me too. Three months is too long.” He squeezed her once more before releasing her and taking his seat. “Dani sends her love. Jack and Sam want to know why you can’t be bothered to come see them. Langston was in town, and told me that she’s reconsidering your best friend card.”
Starr wrinkled her nose and reached for her menu. “I meant to go back at Christmas, but things were…just insane here, you know? And then they got worse when AJ was shot.” She sighed.
“Yeah, I read it in the news.” Todd sipped his wine. “How is the boy wonder dealing with that? Do they know who shot him yet?”
“Michael’s holding his own,” Starr sighed. “But everyone is pretty sure Sonny Corinthos did it. They just can’t prove it.” She glanced up as the waitress approached them. They placed the orders. “It’s so horrible, Dad.” She bit her lip. “I remember when Victor switched Hope and Chloe, because we thought it was you. And I remember forgiving you for it, somehow.”
“But it was not me,” Todd pointed out. “Let’s keep that in focus—”
“But I thought it was. And don’t act innocent, you switched Victor and Danny.” Starr narrowed her eyes. “Anyway. What I thought my father had done to me was so awful but I could understand how Victor justified it in his head, but I think….if Sonny did this, it’s so much worse. He promised Michael he wouldn’t hurt AJ.”
“He’s a gangster. What do promises even mean to him?” Todd demanded, relieved to be off the topic of baby switches. “Michael is better off, and he knows it.”
“Still. He feels guilty. They thought someone was trying to kill AJ, but Michael was sure it wasn’t Sonny. If he hadn’t been…desperate to believe his father, he might have warned AJ to be on his guard.” She huffed. “At least, that’s what he thinks. AJ was at Ava Jerome’s apartment for some reason.”
“Ava Jerome.” Todd nodded. “She’s the sister to the man who’s managing my resources here while I pop back to Llanview. Huh. Maybe she killed Connie Falconeri and AJ found out.”
Starr blinked at him. “What?”
“Well, I thought I hired Derek Wells to manage the newspaper and my other interests, but I hired Julian Jerome. Connie was a smart chick. Maybe she found out and Ava tried to protect her brother’s identity.” He shrugged. “Her initials are AJ, aren’t they?”
“They…are.” Starr leaned back in her chair. “Dad.” She shook her head. “Sometimes, you can be absolutely brilliant.”
“People always say that like it’s a surprise.”
General Hospital: Nurse’s Station
Felix glanced up as Elizabeth stepped into the hub, a stack of charts in her hand. “Hey. Long time no see.”
The brunette sighed and set the charts next to him on the counter. “I know. I’ve been stuck on the morning shifts for the last few weeks, and…” She jerked a shoulder. “With what’s going on with the Quartermaines…”
“I hear that. I wonder how long before Sonny Corinthos is hauled in.” Felix flipped the tip of his pen against the stack of insurance forms. “Have…you seen Sabrina today?”
“Not for a few days. I wanted to check in on Patrick since all this insanity about Britt came out.” Elizabeth hesitated and looked at him. “Is she…are they okay?”
“Oh, I doubt the Britch nonsense has even registered for Dr. Drake, and Sabrina just finds it amusing mostly.” Felix leaned his hip against the edge of the counter. “But you know, I am worried about him since Robin left. And Sabrina’s trying to take it all in stride, but you know…”
“It’s been a bad few months.” She nodded. “I feel so bad about not being there for her more when Robin came home in the middle…” She bit her lip. “Sabrina’s my friend, too, but I was just…” She sighed. “Blown away. And then things just…”
“Girl, you have got to stop taking on the weight of the world.” He reached over and squeezed her shoulder. “Honestly, the only one I worry about as much as Sabrina is you.”
Elizabeth blinked at him, her mouth dropping. “Me? Why would you…?”
“Honey, where does one start?” Felix held a hand up, ticking things off on his fingers “One, Nikolas Cassadine treats you like a leper when all you did was a favor. So what if you enjoyed it a little? Hell, I would have done so much worse. Confetti and balloons would have been involved. Second, your ex-boyfriend is murdered by the town’s local gangster, who you used to have personal close ties with, and three, your slimy ex is in town, trying to get some. You make Sabrina’s life look almost normal.”
“What’s that about my life?” Sabrina set a binder on the counter. “Hey, Liz.”
“Hey. Felix was just reminding me how sad my life has been lately.” She flicked him in the shoulder. “Thanks.”
“Someone has to look out for my two favorite ladies,” Felix sniffed. “Y’all won’t do it for yourselves, that much is clear. With my sister living back in North Carolina with our parents, where she ought to be, I can return my concentrate on you two.” He frowned, taking in Sabrina’s lack of color. “You’re not looking so good.”
“A headache,” she murmured, pressing a finger to her temple. She looked at Elizabeth. “What did you do for the migraines during pregnancy?”
“Ah.” Elizabeth stepped forward, her eyes dark with concern. “It was never…an issue. I didn’t…I didn’t have too many of the horrible symptoms. I never…” She bit her lip. “Do you have a new doctor yet? Since Britt is gone?”
“I’m switching to Kelly Lee’s service. She’s working at Mercy, but—”
“Oh, you’re going to adore her. Kelly handled Jake’s delivery. Saved our lives, I’m sure.” Elizabeth reached out and squeezed her hand. “We lost a lot of great staff after the fire in 2009, you know. Kelly Lee, Lainey Winters, Nadine Crowell. They never made the move back when GH reopened. But seriously, you cannot do better than Kelly. You should tell her about the migraines.”
“Actually, I heard Nikolas Cassadine is trying to poach the reserves at Mercy.” Felix leaned in between them. “He’s taking the shortages at the hospital very seriously. I hear Kelly Lee is at the top of his list.”
“That would make my life easier. But I’ll tell her about the headaches.” Sabrina sighed. “If I can ever get an appointment Patrick will go to—”
“Stop—” Elizabeth held out a hand. “Take it from someone who ended up going through three of these. Fathers are great. When they want to be there. I delivered Cam alone, I struggled through most of Jake’s pregnancy alone, only to almost die because I was alone in my house. And Aidan…” She hesitated. “Well, that went well mostly because everything else around him was so insane. Sabrina, you cannot worry about Patrick. You have to worry about you. And your baby. Do what I never did. Put you first. Go call Kelly now.”
Sabrina pressed her lips together and nodded. “You’re right.” She cast her eyes at Felix, who just raised his eyebrows. “And maybe I should…stop looking for Patrick to deal with this better. It’s not about him. He had a bad—” She sighed. “And I’m making excuses. If you could cover me for a few minutes, I’ll call Kelly now.” She disappeared down the hall towards the locker room.
Felix wrinkled his nose. “What is it about you that makes Sabrina takes the advice I’ve been shelling out for weeks?” he demanded.
Elizabeth smirked. “Boobs and a uterus, Felix. You just cannot compete.”
Cosmopolitan Hotel: Britt’s Room
Something inside Britt had known this day was coming, and still…she had not fled Port Charles.
Her mother had told her she would take care of everything, that Britt had not committed any real crimes. Liesl Obrecht had promised Britt she could keep her son and somehow they would escape all of this and leave, as soon as Britt was awarded custody.
But when she pulled open her hotel door, as Ben screamed in the background because he wasn’t used to their new surroundings, she realized she had never really expected to keep him.
Anna Devane stood there, with two men flanking her side. “Britt Westbourne, you are under arrest for the kidnapping of Benjamin Victor Westbourne.” She motioned to Nathan West, standing next to her. “Detective West, can you please cuff her?”
“Wait…” Britt stepped back. “Wait, I can’t…I didn’t kidnap him.” Her eyes burned, because this was true. This, of all her lies, this part was true. “Please. I…I am his mother. I gave birth to him—”
“I’ll allow our DA to explain the particulars.” Anna stepped into the room, and for the first time Britt saw the woman standing behind the group. “Dr. Westbourne—”
“No, no, you cannot kidnap your own child.” Her finger was shaking as she stabbed it towards the detectives. Nathan removed the cuffs from his belt and took that hand, twisting it around behind her back. “I carried him for nine months. I…love him. Please. I…I’m sorry. I’ll do anything, just—”
“Harriet King is here from Social Services.” The other detective, the one she had never met before, spoke up. “She’ll be taking custody of your…” He hesitated. “Of the child.”
“No. No…my mother…” Britt twisted her head around, expecting her mother to come in behind them. “My mother—”
“Has already been fired as chief of staff,” Anna remarked. She stepped closer. “Your reign of terror is over in this town, Dr. Westbourne. You and your mother. I don’t know how she got a pardon or blackmailed the hospital board, but that’s all over now. I can see that you know it. Nikolas Cassadine has made sure of it.”
And she knew it. She knew that Nikolas had engineered the end of her career, the end of her mother’s. All the warmth, the love and compassion he had felt for her once, she had killed it.
With every lie, with every half-truth…she had destroyed it.
Britt took a deep breath. Nikolas was gone, but this was not over. She had not kidnapped Ben. Her mother would see this taken care of. She had promised. And she was going to trust her mother for once.
Because Liesl would take care of it just to spite Anna Devane, and it was enough for her.
As long as she had her son.
“Let’s get this over with,” she snapped, straightening her shoulders and tossing her hair back. “And when I am released, I’ll sue you and your department for this. I didn’t kidnap anyone.”
Port Charles Park
“Time for a break,” Michael declared as he collapsed on a bench, his baseball mitt in his hand. Jake snickered and sat next to him, while they watched Cameron and Morgan continue to play catch. He eyed Jake. “You’ve got a good arm.”
“I’m going pro,” the blond almost seven-year-old declared. “I’m going to play for the Phillies one day just like Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. I’m gonna make lots of money so my mom doesn’t have to work and then I’m buying her a house in Italy.”
Michael blinked. “What?”
“Mom likes Italy. She always looks at pictures and stuff, and my real dad was supposed to take her once. She told me.” Jake paused, gulping down his water. “You knew my real dad, my mom told me so.”
“Yeah.” He cleared his throat. “I did.” He shifted. “Do you remember him?”
“Yeah. I guess.” Jake narrowed his eyes and looked away, toward his brother. In that moment, the focused look of concentration on his face reminded Michael so fiercely of his beloved uncle. “He used to come around sometimes. He brought Cam a motorcycle and I got a toy car. And I saw him a couple of times in the park. But I didn’t know was my dad until last year.”
“I didn’t know until last week,” Michael said. “What did you think about it?”
Jake frowned. “I don’t know. I mean, it’s weird. But none of us really have dads. Cam’s died before he was born and Aidan’s dad lives in Europe. I never thought about it. Cam remembers him more, I think. And he remembers Lucky being our dad. I don’t.” He shrugged. “Don’t need a dad really. I do fine. Cam and I take care of Mom.”
Michael nodded, thinking that the right dad would make all the difference but like Jake, he didn’t really know who that would have been. “I know what you mean. I have a little brother and sister but our dads aren’t in the picture anymore. Mine…was your father’s brother.”
“Which makes us cousins, Mom told me.” Jake eyed him. “What was my real dad like? Other than toys. Did…would he have been a good dad?”
Michael closed his eyes, and nodded. “He would have been the best dad. He was so good to me and my brother, Jake. I know…if he could have, he would have been great with you.” He hoped he was doing this right.
“Maybe, but he only died last year,” Jake said. “I was here. Aidan’s dad was long gone. But my dad was never there. He never came to see me in the hospital when I was sick.” He paused. “I don’t think he did. Mom tells me it’s…complicated. Which a word grown-ups use when they know the truth and don’t want to tell you.”
“It probably was complicated.” Michael shifted. “And I can’t answer that. I’m sure…there were reasons.” Reasons Michael would never understand. When he had kids, he was going to hold them tight and never let go. “Jake—”
“Mom says it’s not because he didn’t love me. She knows he loved me,” Jake told him. “But I think she tells herself that. Because Aidan’s dad barely knows him. He’s three, you know and I don’t remember his dad coming home once. He doesn’t call, he doesn’t write. So it’s not like with Cam. His dad never had a chance to be in his life. Me and Aidan? Our dads didn’t want us.” He shrugged again, clearly wanting Michael to believe this fact did not bother him.
“I—” Michael’s throat closed, and he wished like hell he had known the truth while his uncle was alive so he could have…done something about this. No child should believe this.
It couldn’t be true that Jason hadn’t want Jake. It couldn’t.
“I don’t know about that, and since he’s gone, we really can’t answer that, can we?” Michael hesitated. “But I know about you. And Grandma Monica knows about you. My dad’s gone now, too, and I barely had a chance to know him. You and I are family, Jake.”
“What about Cam and Aidan?” Jake said. “You’re not related to them.”
“Sure I am.” Michael reached out and knocked Jake’s shoulder lightly. “They’re your brothers, aren’t they? Makes them my family, too. Whatever happened in the past, Jake, doesn’t have to matter.”
“I guess. As long as Cam and Aidan count, too,” Jake said. “I gotta take care of them.”
Michael wanted to laugh, because Jake was the middle brother but he didn’t act like it. Because Jason had been the younger brother with AJ, younger than Sonny. But he had always taken care of them.
Jake was his father’s son, and Michael knew that Starr was right. Through Jake, the best parts of Jason Morgan would continue to live on.
And everything else would fade away.
She should have known better.
When Victor Cassadine showed up on her doorstep, promising her the opportunity to save an old friend, to restore him to his family and friends, Robin should have known the catch would be something more than reviving Helena and Stavros, but she’d been blinded by the opportunity to bring Jason home.
All the people back home that she loved, that needed him. Elizabeth was her best friend—she wanted Jason to come to his senses about Jake, to be in his life. For Danny, Jason’s other son. For Monica, who had had so much senseless loss in her life. For Sonny, who was spiraling out of control without Jason by his side. For Michael, the little boy she’d raised briefly and still had a fondness for.
Jason, who had once been filled with so much good in his heart, so as to outweigh some of the worst of his actual deeds, had deserved a second chance to correct the mistakes Robin thought he’d made.
So she had devastated her family and left them to come here and bring Jason home, willing to pay any price to do so.
Only to discover that reviving Jason had been the point the entire time. That the Jason who had been in Port Charles for three years was someone else. An impostor. A twin brother no one knew existed.
Which meant the family Robin had hoped to return him to did not exist. Jason had only one biological son, a little boy who another man had rejected repeatedly, killing any of the love Jake’s mother had once held for Jake’s father.
How could she bring Jason back to tell him what Preston St .James had done to Jason’s life?
How could she not bring him back to fix this mess and reclaim his son?
Robin made a note in a pad and looked over at the still form lying in the hospital bed. “If it’s the last thing I do, Jason, I’m making sure you get home to people who love you so you can figure out what the hell is going on.”