Monday, April 21, 2014
Mercy Hospital: Kelly Lee’s Office
Patrick tapped his fingers restlessly against the arm of his chair, studiously avoiding the concerned eyes of the woman next to him. He had not lied when he’d told Maxie he was sure he had made the right choice returning to Robin and his marriage, but Maxie had a point.
Sabrina loved Port Charles, she loved Emma, and she worshiped the idea of family. In all the ways that should matter on paper, Sabrina should have been his choice. Had been his choice once. Before he had known Robin was an option.
And he was ashamed to know that had he known at the beginning Robin planned to walk away to save her ex-boyfriend, Patrick would have chosen Sabrina to save himself and Emma the pain of watching their family fall apart again. But that wouldn’t have been fair to Sabrina.
She deserved better.
“If you have somewhere else to be,” the woman in question said, and he was relieved to hear the edge in her voice. Finally, Saint Sabrina was going to crack.
And now the shame crawled up his throat. Patrick closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “No. No. I know…you scheduled this visit around me and I’m…sorry.”
The mother of his next child pursed her lips, but nodded. “It’s okay. You’re…dealing with a lot.” But the affection he was used to had vanished from her voice tone and her voice was oddly flat.
The door opened before either of them could say another word, and Patrick smiled without thinking at the pretty Asian who walked inside. Kelly Lee had been one of his favorite people once, and had stopped by when Robin was gone. They’d lost touch when she’d moved across town to remain at Mercy, but he was relieved to see a familiar face.
“Patrick!” Her smile was warm as she stepped forward. He stood and accepted her embrace. “I did a double take when I saw your name on the records.” She turned to Sabrina with her smile firmly in place. “Kelly Lee. I delivered Emma.”
“You’re still fondly remembered at GH,” Sabrina said. She rose to her feet. “And I can speak for several nurses that we hope you’ll be coming back.”
“Ah, well…” Kelly shrugged and stepped behind her desk. “We’ll see. It depends how badly Nikolas Cassadine wants me. I have demands.” She arched a slim eyebrow and glanced down at the chart. “You had an appointment with your previous physician last month and everything looks good, but you told the nurse on the phone that you had some concerns.”
Patrick furrowed his brow and looked at Sabrina. “What’s wrong?”
“I…” Sabrina cleared her throat and returned to her seat. “I’ve been having some migraines the last few weeks. I thought…” She glanced at Patrick, her cheeks flushed. “I’ve been under a lot of stress. So I thought…maybe it was related to pregnancy or something. But I spoke to Elizabeth, who didn’t seem to agree.”
“Well, Liz would know a thing or two about being pregnant under stressful conditions,” Kelly said, dryly. “Sudden onset of migraines could be related to stress, but it’s not likely related to pregnancy. What type of migraines? Functional ones, debilitating…?”
“They vary,” Sabrina murmured, her fingers twisting in her lap. He wanted to reach out, to take her hands in his own to soothe her, but he wondered if that would just complicate things. How much stress had he contributed? “Some days, I can put an ice pack on my eyes, but others….moving is difficult. There’s only so much medication I can take…”
“Do you have a history of migraines?” Kelly asked, uncapping her pen and flipping open the chart. “Or is this a new symptom?”
“I…ah…” Sabrina hesitated and shook her head. “No history. I’ve…usually been able to handle stress pretty well. My mother was sick for a long time, and I worked really hard in college. A lot happened last year…” She flicked her eyes at Patrick, and he was reminded of the horrible things Britt had done to her in order to keep them apart. “But I’m usually one to just…soldier through.”
“Well, I’d like to schedule you for a CAT scan,” Kelly said. “It may sound extreme, but as most of the migraine medications I would give you are off the table, I’d be happier knowing that’s all we have to deal with.”
“What…might it be?” Patrick said, his voice rough. But he knew. He knew what sudden onset migraines could indicate.
Hadn’t he just lost a patient to the same condition?
“Let’s…” Kelly hesitated. “Let’s not talk about what it might be until we know what it is. It might…just be migraines which we can control.” She reached for her calendar. “I’m more cautious than I used to be with possible high risk pregnancies. I missed Elizabeth’s condition—”
“Kelly, you did not—”
“I was her friend as well as her doctor and I knew she was pushing herself with stress,” Kelly cut off Patrick’s protest. “And well…Emma’s birth was more difficult…” She shrugged. “I don’t believe in wait and see. Let’s schedule this.”
ELQ: Conference Room
Ric took Tracy’s proffered hand and gingerly shook it. He had put this meeting off for several days, wondering if he wanted to be involved in the insanity of the Quartermaines but he had eventually decided that their shenanigans were safer than his brother’s or Julian Jerome’s. “Thanks for holding the job open.”
“Well.” Tracy lowered herself to her chair and gestured for him to take a seat as well. “We have some delicate issues to untangle. I’d rather wait a week to get the right representation.”
“Mm…” Ric murmured. “You mentioned it was regarding inheritance issues?”
“Part of it.” Tracy leaned back. “You may be aware that my father, at the time of his death, believed himself to be in control of all one hundred percent of ELQ stock. He split it among his grandchildren and his great grandchildren, with a little left over for my sister-in-law and…” her mouth twisted, “a devoted family servant.”
“I read about it in the papers when it occurred.” Ric folded his hands in his lap. “I am aware that the dynamics of the family have changed since Edward passed. Jason’s stock has remained active under Sam’s control, while AJ was discovered to be alive. And another great-grandchild has come forward.”
“Yes, well….that’s where it becomes slightly more complicated. We’ll return to Jason’s stock in a moment.” Tracy flipped open a folder. “We’ve been sorting through some old files from a past lawyer and this…came to light.” She slid a document across the table and Ric reached for it.
He arched an eyebrow as he skimmed the wording. “Alan Quartermaine’s will, dated January 2007, naming Michael Corinthos III and…” He glanced up at her. “The unborn child of Jason Morgan and Elizabeth Webber.”
“Yes. The version we had at the time left his ELQ stock to my father.” Tracy tapped her fingers. “Now, I could just bury this and let it go. We’re not legally bound to file it, but…” She sighed. “My brother’s wishes…matter to me. And I know that Monica is eager to have Michael and Jake feel a part of the family.” She paused. “She’s lost so much—all of her children. I have both my boys. I wanted…I want to do this for her, even though it’s going to make my life difficult.”
Ric nodded and set the document back on the desk. He had no illusions about this will. It was either the original will that Tracy had hid at the time or a cooked up version to suit her needs at the moment.
Either way, he approved of the sentiment behind the will.
Elizabeth’s son deserved everything Jason Morgan had denied him, including his Quartermaine heritage.
“So you need to untangle the legal ramifications of Alan’s will, because it decreases the amount of stock Edward could legally bequeath.” Ric nodded. “Shouldn’t be too difficult. The easiest way is to decrease the amount of shares the inheritors received until ten percent is available, but the best way to do that is going to take some time to decide. I’d have to look the shares.”
“I’m not too worried about that,” Tracy remarked. “I am, however, hoping you will be willing to take Sam McCall on in court over Jason’s share. Right now, as you know, he’s still technically alive, which means his legal next of kin controls his share.”
“And at the moment, Danny is his legal next of kin as his acknowledged son.” Ric nodded. “But that changes with Jake coming forward. Sam would have to cede control to Elizabeth—”
“Which might be enough, but it’s not.” Tracy leaned forward. “This next part is why you’re perfect for the job, Ric. I know you’ve been sniffing around Elizabeth since you’ve been home.”
Ric pressed his lips together. “That’s not really—”
“It leads me to believe you may care for her, that you want what’s best for her. She’ll never agree to do this on her own behalf.” Tracy huffed. “She’s too nice. But she’s been good to Monica. And…even to me. I know what Jason left her in the will, what he left to the boys. And I think Jason’s final wishes should carry the day.”
Ric hesitated. He wasn’t sure how he felt about this part, but Tracy had a point. Elizabeth deserved something for sticking by Jason Morgan for so long. “And those final wishes?”
“He left it all to Elizabeth.” Tracy’s smile was smug now. “He never updated his will after 2009, while he and Sam were apart. He left half to Elizabeth, and the rest he put into a trust controlled by her. The trust splits in half between Jake and Cameron.”
“Jake and…Cameron?” Ric said slowly. “Cam isn’t…”
“No. But Monica tells me there was a time when Jason intended to marry Elizabeth. I assume he grew close to Cameron, perhaps intended to adopt him.” Tracy lifted a shoulder. “It matters little to me. What does matter is who he did not leave his assets to.”
“Sam and Danny.” Ric was trying to be a better man, but to know that his former stepdaughter had been completely shut out was an added benefit to taking on this task. “So if Jason is declared dead…”
“She loses everything. Monica told Alexis last week that she was intending to file suit in court in order to declare Jason dead. She’s doing that on her own behalf, but I’d like you to join the suit on ELQ’s part.” Tracy placed her hands flat on the desk, leaning towards him. “I know that you are still close to your ex-wife. The other one. Can you go against her daughter like this?”
The daughter that had set out to seduce him and then cried victim while his life fell apart? He was trying to be a better man, but one last dose of revenge couldn’t hurt. Besides, the law was the law.
“I don’t think it’ll be a problem to see that everyone gets what they deserve.” Ric arched a brow. “After all, we should really honor Jason’s wishes, don’t you think?”
Port Charles Courthouse: Family Court Wing
Laura Spencer perched gingerly on the bench outside a court room, knowing that inside, her daughter was learning the outcome of her emergency petition.
Her flight from Paris had arrived late the previous evening, and Laura cursed the tests that had kept her from Lulu and Nikolas for nearly six months. “I should have been here,” she murmured.
“Mother,” Nikolas began.
“I know Lulu told me it was all right, that my health was more important, but I am tired of being a mother over a phone, through the computer.” She squared her shoulders. “I want to be more, do more. I want my life back. The way it was before I was sick.”
She saw Nikolas’s eyes warm with compassion, but she could see the pity. Poor crazy woman wants to turn the clock back a decade.
“I can’t ever be that woman again, I can’t get Lulu’s childhood back, her teen years. I can’t…make up for so much, but I can do better.” She looked at him. “I can be better. I haven’t been a good mother. Not to any one of my children.”
“It’s really all right—”
“It’s not,” Laura said, “but it will be.” She pressed her lips together. “I’m moving back into the Charles Street house with my mother, and I am going to be here. I didn’t get to raise you.” She allowed herself to brush her fingers against his cheek bone before withdrawing them, “and perhaps Lucky and Lulu don’t need me, but you’ve all given me grandchildren I wish to spoil. Will you let me be in Spencer’s life?”
“Of course.” Nikolas squeezed his hands around hers. “And I know Lulu will allow you to be in Ben’s. As for Elizabeth…” he hesitated. “She and I aren’t…seeing eye to eye right now, but—”
“I want her to know that I don’t…” Laura paused. “I don’t hold anything that happened against her. I know…it must have been…an awful situation. I know…” She glanced towards the door, wishing it would open, that Lulu and Dante would emerge with their son in their custody. “I know Lucky wasn’t exactly an exemplary husband and father, but I visited with her last fall and I think she’ll allow me to be part of Aidan’s life.”
“Not just Aidan.” Nikolas shook his head. “You can’t separate him from his brothers.” His eyes were dark. “To make them feel less because they have a different father.”
Her heart twisted, her chest felt heavy. “Did I do that to you?” she asked softly. “Make you feel as though you weren’t as good as my kids with Luke?” Of course she had. She left him behind for years, abandoned him to the Cassadines and raised a family with Luke. “Nikolas—”
“I know…you didn’t feel like you had a choice.” His expression was reassuring now. “But it doesn’t take away the…inadequacy I felt when I arrived in Port Charles to find you had this perfect family. Aidan does not know Lucky. He has no concept of Luke. Elizabeth and Lulu aren’t even close. I barely know him. Aidan does not have Lucky’s last name.”
“I know.” Laura looked away. “I talked to him—he flew over from Cork to see me in Paris, and I asked him about Aidan. About Port Charles. And he’s…just not ready.” She closed her eyes. “He’s turned into his father. Into the worst thing about Luke. When a situation is too much, he just leaves. I really thought Lucky would be different.”
“Maybe he still will be.”
But neither of them believed it. Laura looked in her middle child’s eyes and didn’t see the bright, beautiful boy she had raised. He had been a stranger the last few times she’d seen him.
“Elizabeth has a good heart, and I think…I forgot how much she meant to me. How she kept me together after we thought Lucky was gone, how I leaned on her when he came back and wasn’t the same boy.” Laura twisted her fingers together. “I shouldn’t have—”
“It was difficult for all of us, Mother—”
“So I’ll talk to her, and she’ll let me be part of her life. Of all the boys—” But Laura stopped talking when the doors to the courtroom opened, and Diane Miller stepped outside, a bright, nearly smug smile on her face.
And behind her, Lulu and Dante walked out, a beautiful infant was in her arms with his wide eyes taking in the surroundings.
Laura stood. “You won?”
“Temporary custody,” Dante declared, his eyes almost wild with excitement. “Pending the outcome of Britt’s bail hearing, but we’ve got our son.”
“Mom, I want you to meet our son.” Lulu held him out to her mother. “We’re thinking of renaming him, but we have to wait until we have permanent custody.”
Laura took her grandson in her arms, and smiled down at him. She had missed so much of her children’s lives, so much of her other grandchildren—but this beautiful little boy…he was the beginning of the next chapter.
She was going to rebuild her family and her life, whatever it took.
Warehouse: Conference Room
Sly Eckert stopped Nathan just before they were due to enter the room where Duke Lavery had agreed to meet with them—with his lawyer. “What’s the deal with this guy and the commissioner?”
“They’re dating.” Nathan shrugged. “Apparently, they were together before she found out he was working for Sonny Corinthos. How they manage it now…who knows?”
“This town.” Sly shook his head. “But she thinks he’s lying.”
“We all know he is. He hates Julian Jerome because of their past,” Nathan told him. “He figures Sonny is his best chance to bring Jerome down, so he joined forces with him. Sly, there’s no one in Port Charles that doesn’t know exactly what happened to AJ Quartermaine. We just have prove it.”
“Well.” Sly gestured toward the door. “Let’s start with the alibi.”
Inside, they were introduced to Duke Lavery and his lawyer, Vincent Maloney.
The lawyer leaned forward. “I’m not sure why we’re here again, Detective West. My client has already told his story to Commissioner Devane.”
“There are just a few details we’d like to clear up.” Sly removed his tablet from the inside of his jacket pocket and keyed up the recording application. “Do you mind if we record this?”
“Of course not.” Maloney glanced at his client. “As Mr. Lavery stated the day of the incident, he was working with Sonny Corinthos all day here at the warehouse. It’s as simple as that.”
“I’m sure it is.” Sly glanced at Nathan. “Detective West?”
“What were you working on?” Nathan asked. “Inventory? Vendors? Perhaps expanding beyond the one coffeehouse?” He arched an eyebrow. “Can we see the work you completed? Did you speak to anyone on the phone that might verify the story?”
Maloney looked at Duke and nodded. The older man sighed and leaned back in his chair. “I—We were discussing expansion. The Corinthos Coffeehouse on Van Ess Street is doing a brisk business. I suggested something closer to the waterfront, but Mr. Corinthos did not want to compete with Kelly’s since Shawn Butler was still managing it—”
“And the proof that these discussions took place on that day?” Sly interrupted. “If it was a meeting, then surely there were notes. Perhaps you even recorded it. Was no there no paperwork involved?”
“It was not that sort of meeting,” Duke responded, his teeth clenched.
“But it took all day,” Nathan pressed. “So surely, it wasn’t a short meeting. After all…” He glanced down at Anna’s notes. “You said you were here for nearly eight hours, from noon until oh…around eight pm. Just after AJ Quartermaine was shot. So if it didn’t require notes, then what sort of meeting was it?”
“I don’t know what this is about,” Maloney began. “My client has told you—”
“He claims to have been in an eight hour meeting with no paperwork or phone records to prove it.” Sly smirked. “You’re a lawyer. Ever heard of a meeting that didn’t kill some trees?”
Maloney hesitated. “Be that as it may—”
“Sonny Corinthos had a known grudge against the victim, and the only person giving him an alibi is you, Mr. Lavery.” Nathan shrugged. “I don’t get it. I’ve asked around. AJ gave you a real chance when you moved back last year. Gave you an upstanding job, stood by you. I don’t know what Sonny Corinthos has done for you lately—”
Duke winced. “I needed another job after AJ lost…” He hesitated. “It doesn’t matter.”
“Because I don’t think you’re getting the best of the bargain,” Sly took up the questioning. “You’re putting yourself out on the line to protect this man.” He paused. “This man who looked his son in the eye and promised not to hurt AJ Quartermaine. Stood by that son while AJ hovered at the brink of death. This man who wants you to lie to the woman you love. Where’s the honor in that? Do you hate Julian Jerome more than you love Anna Devane?”
“I don’t know what else we have to talk about,” Maloney said, but Sly saw the shadow in the other man’s eyes. This was the line of questioning they needed to pursue.
“You should think about what this is costing you.” Nathan nodded to Sly. “Is protecting Sonny Corinthos worth losing everything? Your woman? Your self-respect?”
“That’s enough, Detective.” Maloney shot to his feet.
“It’s not, but we’ll let Mr. Lavery be the judge of that.” Sly slapped down one of his cards. “You decide to grow a set of balls and do what’s right, you know how to get a hold of us.” He picked up his tablet and ended the session.
Outside, Sly shook his head. “He’s lying through his teeth.”
“But he’s going to crack.” Nathan’s smile was grim. “I just don’t know how the commissioner is going to take it. She’s getting beat up in the press over this, and I hate to see it.”
Metro Court Hotel: Todd’s Suite
Todd Manning was torn between relief and despair when he saw Carly Corinthos at his door that afternoon. Since their breakup the year before, and his initial trip to Llanview to care for his daughter Danielle after her drug overdose, their friendship had cooled, limited to running into one another during the brief periods he was in town.
But after seeing the Starr the week before, after knowing that Michael suspected his adopted father of AJ’s murder, after learning that Carly was acting oddly…he knew it was a matter of time before he was dragged in the middle of this.
“I am so relieved you’re back. I need someone objective.” Carly pushed past him and sauntered across the room—no, he corrected. Once, she might have sauntered but now her steps were hurried and her eyes were anxious. He leaned his head against the door and sighed. He had nearly given up regaining her trust, but maybe this might do it.
After all, how bad could it be?
Then again, remembering this was Carly he was dealing with, something sort of natural disaster was likely.
“Okay.” Todd closed the door and turned to her. “It’s nice to see you, too. My trip was great, my kids are good. Thanks so much for asking—”
“Oh.” Carly huffed and tilted her head back, her blond hair falling down her back, the muscles of her neck tight. “God. Why me?”
“Before you tell me whatever is you want to tell me—” Todd held up his hand. “I want you to think about it. I mean seriously. There are a thousand people in this town who are probably better equipped to handle this.” Handle you, but he kept that to himself because he didn’t really believe that. Not most of the time. He was just tired.
“They’re really not. Because they don’t get me.” She pressed a hand to her chest. “You do. If you think what I’m doing is wrong, then I’ll have to take you seriously. I know what other people would say—my mother, my son…” She closed her eyes. “Todd, I need you to tell me if I’m making a huge mistake.”
Because the look in her eye worried him, he nodded. “All right. Hit me.”
“Sonny killed AJ.”
Todd squared his shoulders, because, hell this was going to be a disaster. “Starr mentioned that it’s common knowledge—”
“And he confessed to me. So did AJ. Right before he died. He told me Sonny shot him.”
Shit. Shit, motherfucking shit. Why? Why him?
Todd glared at Carly. “Why the hell did you tell me that? I don’t want to know that.” He dragged a hand through his hair. “Son of a bitch, Carly. My daughter is head over heels for your son. She’s so upset about all of this, and now…” He waved his hand in the air. “Gah!” The exasperated sound burst from him. “Carly, don’t tell me you’re protecting Sonny.”
Her silence answered his question. “Carly.” He stepped towards her. “You’re kidding me. Why the hell—”
“Because that’s my default!” She threw up her hands. “After all these years, after everything I’ve been through with him, because of him, that’s where I end up. Worrying about Sonny. Protecting Sonny. Todd, he’s the father of my children—at least, Morgan. How do I turn Morgan’s father in for murder?”
He closed his mouth and took a deep breath. He didn’t particularly care about Sonny or Morgan, only so far as they were connected to Carly. He didn’t really give a damn about AJ, though the Quartermaine scion had never really bothered him.
But the one thing in this world that he did give a damn about was his daughter.
And Starr loved Michael.
“And what about Michael’s father?” Todd asked. “What about Michael? Carly, you know the answer to this. You know it because you feel guilty. You’re looking to me of all people to…absolve you of this sin, and I can’t. I can’t…” He lowered his head. “I won’t tell Starr that I know this because I care for you, but I can’t…I can’t help you with this.”
She closed her eyes. “You’re right. I know what I’m doing is wrong. That I’m choosing Morgan over Michael. Sonny over Michael. I haven’t seen my son in weeks because I can’t look him in the eye. Because he knows Sonny did this.”
“Carly.” He stepped towards her. “God knows I’m not much for doing the right thing. Most of the time I’m not even sure what that is. But you and I both have made mistakes with our kids. Terrible mistakes. You know what I did to Jack. How difficult our relationship has been since I came back. What I went through with Starr because of Johnny Zacchara and…” He swallowed. “What I did in the baby switch.”
Carly’s eyes frosted over briefly, but then her shoulders sagged. “I know. I know. I know I’m doing the wrong thing. I just don’t know how to fix it. I’ve kept it a secret for weeks.” She sat on the sofa and sighed. “I keep telling myself I’m going to be a better person. Why do I keep screwing it up?”
“I hear ya.” Todd sat next to her. “We’re selfish people, Carly. It’s hard to do the right thing because so often, it’s not the right thing for us. But you’re not a bad person, which is why this is weighing on you.”
She looked at him and sighed again. “God help us all when you’re the voice of reason.”
Cosmopolitan Hotel: Britt’s Room
Liesl Obrecht believed in setting a goal and doing what needed to be done in order to achieve it. To stick to it, even when the road ahead looked difficult, to overcome any possible obstacles.
But Liesl also believed in knowing one’s limits. Knowing when to cut and run.
That day had arrived.
“Liebling,” she murmured, watching as her daughter perched on the edge of her bed, her head in her hands. “I believe the time has come to leave Port Charles. You are perilously close to—”
“I can’t leave, Mother.” Britt’s head snapped up, and Liesl sighed. Of course, while Britt had her mother’s dedication, her deviousness, she also had her father’s one track mind.
Britt wanted her son.
At any cost.
“I am perusing my contacts, hoping that they will come through, Schatzi, but since I haven’t heard from them, I believe it’s not something they’re willing to help with.”
Victor Cassadine claimed to adore her, she mused bitterly, but like Cesar, if she could not help him, she was worthless. Good that she had left him, had refused to allow him in her life. Had cut all ties with him when she’d had the chance.
“Doesn’t matter.” Britt lurched to her feet and started to pace, her fingertips at her lips as she bit them. “These charges…they can’t stick. I gave birth to Ben. He’s my son. I didn’t kidnap anyone.”
No, not technically, Liesl thought, but Britta had violated the spirit of her relationship with the Falconeri couple, and she could not help but admire the innovation of the new district attorney. She loved her daughter, but enjoyed the cleverness of others.
Britt should have fled town weeks ago.
No one ever listened to Mutter.
“Britta,” Liesl said firmly. “I am making plans to leave Port Charles before I am also arrested as an accomplice. I suggest that you do the same while on bail—”
Their conversation was interrupted by a knock on Britt’s door. Britt strode forward and blanched when she saw Anna Devane, flanked by an unfamiliar Persian woman. “What?” she demanded.
“Ah.” Anna’s eyes warmed when her gaze fell on Liesl, who only narrowed her eyes. This was not good. “We thought we might find your mother here.” She looked at the other woman. “Detective Ahmadi, please place Dr. Liesl Obrecht under arrest for conspiracy to commit kidnapping.”
Liesl clenched her teeth and all but growled as the detective strode across the room.
If it was the last thing she ever did, she would erase Anna Devane from this world.
Floating Rib: Bar
“My life is a cesspool.” Maxie snorted. “No, that’s too much credit, like, there’s dirt in there, so there’s something. It’s a wasteland. I have nothing.”
Felicia looked helplessly at her husband before sitting across from her daughter. “Honey—”
Maxie held up her hand. “No job, no apartment, no friends, no prospects.” She ticked each of these things off her fingers as if they were a to-do list. “Face it, Mom, I’m a loser.”
“You are not a loser.” Felicia pursed her lips. “You just…we need to make some…” She leaned back. “Lists. That’s it.”
“Lists?” Maxie wrinkled her nose. “Seriously? I hated school.”
Mac leaned forward. “Maybe not on paper, but we need to talk about your priorities. You have a custody hearing coming up in June. That’s three months from now. You need a stable job by then. Your mother and I are happy to continue paying on the apartment until you have something.”
“Not happy,” Felicia corrected, “but willing. Not forever, Maxie.”
“I miss Kate.” Maxie closed her eyes. “Connie was okay, but Kate Howard—working there, being her assistant. It was everything I ever wanted.”
“I know.” Felicia reached across the table and squeezed her hand. “But let’s concentrate on the future. You have skills, Maxie. You have ideas.”
“I like to talk to people,” Maxie said, jerking a shoulder. “I like to judge them, though, ha, I should probably stop that. I like clothes.”
“What about the Sun?” Mac suggested, holding up that morning’s paper. “It’s not as serious as the Herald. Maybe they need someone in lifestyle or gossip. Or something.”
Felicia blinked, then beamed. “That’s a fantastic idea, Mac!”
“You want me to write for a newspaper?” Maxie asked, frowning. “Mac, come join me in this century—”
“I have my problems with Todd Manning and Julian Jerome, but they’re doing a decent job of keeping the Sun competitive. They’re a digital presence now—”
“Mom, Mac said digital presence,” Maxie whispered. “Is he okay?”
“Hey, I read.” Mac pointed a finger at his daughter. “Maxie.”
“No, no, you’re right. They have a pretty decent website and their app for the iPad is cool. I use it.” Maxie pursed her lips. “I could do that. I mean, I’d hate the writing, but maybe there’s something I can do after all.”
Greystone Manor: Living Room
Sonny pursed his lips and looked at the ceiling. “How long were the detectives there?” he asked, his voice almost deceptively quiet.
“Ah.” Max cleared his throat. “About a half hour. It wasn’t a long meeting, Boss. I don’t—” He swallowed. “I don’t think Duke said anything.”
But Max knew, like everyone else in Port Charles, it was only a matter of time before the hammer fell. Sonny had murdered AJ Quartermaine in Ava Jerome’s apartment. There were too many variables out of Sonny’s control.
Duke was the weak link—Carly could be counted on for a bit longer—but Duke Lavery was only holding firm due to his hatred of Julian Jerome, his belief Sonny would be the architect of Jerome’s downfall.
Max wondered how long Duke could hold on to that conviction in light of his relationship with Anna Devane and his former friendship with AJ.
Maybe, though it went against everything he had been raised to believe in, it was time to jump ship before Sonny dragged them all down with him.
Brownstone: Bobbie’s Apartment
Bobbie’s smile was bright as she welcomed Sly into her living room. “Sly! I was so surprised when you called.”
“Aunt Bobbie.” He hugged her lightly. “Yeah, I know—I moved to Buffalo for college a while back and stuck but I couldn’t…” He exhaled slowly. “I couldn’t face being back in Port Charles. Too many memories of Dad. Then of Lucky.”
“Hmm…” Bobbie sighed at the mention of her erstwhile nephew. “Have you spoken to him recently?”
“I called when he came home from being dead.” Sly wandered around the room, taking in the photos of the mantel. “He never called back, so no. He’s in Europe, isn’t he?”
“Yeah, Ireland, last I heard.” She pursed her lips. “What made you decide to come back?”
“I don’t know.” Sly picked up a photo of himself with BJ and Lucky shortly before her death. “Tired of Buffalo, maybe. Wanted a change. Nathan’s my new partner at the department—he mentioned you were renting apartments…?” He trailed off and shrugged lightly.
“Of course. I have two left, the entire third floor.” She flashed a smile. “I don’t rent to just anyone, you know, but I can make an exception for family.”
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Sam stepped off the bottom stair. “Danny’s finally in his bed. He’s a pain to put down for a nap right now.” She smiled at her mother as she reached for the bottle of water she had left on the end table. “Fights it like he’s at war.”
“I remember that age.” Alexis took a deep breath. “Sam. Monica came to see me.”
“God.” Sam rubbed her eyes. “I knew it. Elizabeth told me Monica is going to announce Jake’s paternity next month. I knew it was going to start all this bullshit again.”
“Sam, maybe it is time.” Alexis lifted her hands. “It’s been, what eighteen months since Jason died?” Her eyes were soft, compassionate.
Sam turned away. “Doesn’t make it easier.”
“You’re dating again—”
“I see John when he can get away from Philly. He was sent there, you know.” She dragged her hand through her hair. “It’s…it’s a distraction—”
“Which you would not allow yourself if you believed Jason was alive.” Alexis bit her lip. “I’ve been concerned about your situation. Should Monica prevail in court, I don’t know how Jason left things. We filed your divorce papers almost a month before he died. You were not legally married—”
“So you think I’ve put off declaring him dead because I like his money?” Sam bit out. She turned to face her mother. “Is that what you think of me?”
“I don’t know what to think, Sam.” Alexis sighed. “You refuse to declare him dead, refuse to have Danny go anywhere near Monica, and I’m sure you’ve not allowed Jake and Danny a relationship. I don’t know what you’re doing. Jason is gone, Sam, but you’re still acting as though he might walk through that door.”
“I don’t—” Sam closed her eyes. “I wish I could still believe that to be true. But if Jason were alive, he would have come home to me already. He loved me. He wanted to have a family with me and Danny. He didn’t know Danny was his son—”
“Then tell me. You know Jason to be dead—why don’t you allow me to help you tie up the legalities? Give you some security—”
She was going to have to tell her mother. God. “Because you’re right. Financially, I’m screwed if Jason is declared dead and his executor deals with his estate.”
Her mother was quiet for a moment. “He didn’t…Jason would not have left you without anything—”
“Jason…” Sam lowered herself into the armchair, wrapping her arms around herself. “He used to update his will every year. Not usually with major changes, but he reviewed it. To make sure that things were still fair. When Morgan was born, when he married Courtney, then divorced her—when we thought we were going to raise my daughter—”
“I remember.” Alexis sat on the sofa. “I was his lawyer once. He had a lot of money, and he didn’t want things to be like the Quartermaines. Jason was conscious of the fact his line of work could take him at any moment—”
“He updated it one last time in December 2008.” Sam closed her eyes. “I don’t know what it looked like before that, but he didn’t touch it again for four years.”
Alexis exhaled on a harsh breath. “You—you weren’t dating then—”
“No, he hated me. He blamed me for—” A tear slid down Sam’s face. “When Jake was kidnapped by the Russians, it wasn’t because of Jason. It was because Lucky and I were investigating. Jason still walked away to protect Elizabeth and the boys, but he made sure I knew it was my fault, too. And…of course—”
“There was what happened when Jake was kidnapped the first time,” Alexis murmured. “I know, Sam.”
“Well.” Sam’s voice was shaky. “I’m not surprised at that point, he cut me out of everything. I just—he never updated it. Never changed it.” She opened her eyes. “You were his lawyer for a while.”
“I was,” Alexis confirmed. “He didn’t live in Port Charles most of that time and when I went back to work for Sonny a few years ago, Jason stayed with Diane. But I knew the content of his will back then.”
“She was in it then, too, wasn’t she?” Sam focused on her mother. “Elizabeth.”
“Ah, I can’t—” Alexis sighed. “Yes. He wanted to make sure she would be okay when he moved out of town that first time. Money for college, money to take care of herself if she and her grandmother didn’t reconcile. So, all business holdings went to Sonny, but personal assets were split between Michael, Emily, Lila, and Elizabeth.”
“And he kept her in there.” Sam swiped at her eyes. “Even when she walked away from him. Diane talked to me a few weeks after Jason died—about the contents of his will as it stands. And she talked about how Elizabeth’s share had increased—”
Uncomfortable now, Alexis shifted. “Sam—”
“I mean, I don’t care that she’s in it. Jake was his son, and I know he loved her once. I get it. He wanted to make sure she was provided for, but—” Sam shook her head. “He came back to me. After everything, he came back to me. He married me. Why didn’t that mean anything?”
“You don’t know that it didn’t, sweetheart.” Alexis slid closer. “Maybe he had another copy of his will that he hadn’t given to Diane—”
“I asked her about that, and Diane said that he had reviewed the will once a year but never made any changes.” Sam pressed a hand to her eyes. “He reviewed it after our wedding, and then shortly before we found Danny.”
“Well, that explains why Danny isn’t there,” Alexis told her. “We thought he was dead—”
“Mom, I’m out of the will. He never put me back. I told myself it would be okay if he didn’t provide for Danny, because I would do it.” Sam leaned forward. “I would take care of him. But I can’t. Do you know what Jason did?”
“I have a bad feeling, yes.”
“He left a million each to Michael and Morgan. Not even a penny for Joss.” Sam swallowed hard. “Business assets went to Sonny. But after that? The estate is divided in half. One half goes to Elizabeth. The other is put into trust. For his children.”
“Diane told me he named specific children in this trust. Jake and Cameron.” A sob crawled up her throat. “Cameron. Because he was going to adopt him when he and Elizabeth were married. They were planning it for a while. He told Diane he loved Cameron, so he’d provide for him even after they broke up. God. Mom. The properties? The house on the island, this penthouse? His motorcycle? They go to Elizabeth. She owns my home.”
“I can’t—” Alexis shook her head. “Sam, I’m so sorry—”
“It’s not even about the money, though maybe it is a little.” Sam stood and crossed the mantel where the only photo of Jason and Danny sat. “Maybe I always knew he’d never love me like he loved her. As soon as she was out of a relationship, he always went back to her. But that last time—he chose me. He came back to me. How could that have not meant anything to him?”
“I don’t know.” She heard her mother rise. “I really don’t, sweetheart. And I’m sorry—”
“Sorry doesn’t fix this. I’ve been trying for the last year to get things together, to try to make a life for myself and Danny. But there’s not enough PI work to take care of him the way he deserves.” Sam turned, her eyes burning. “He’s Jason’s son, too. Why isn’t he entitled to everything Jake and Cam are? Why do they merit so much more?”
“Have you thought of discussing this with Elizabeth?”
“I almost did.” Sam sighed. “Because I know she’s—she’s a mother. And she’s always been the type of rip herself apart to do the right and fair thing. She came over here, because the paternity was going to be public. And she thought—” Her throat closed, so she had to force the words out. “She thought Danny should get to know Jake. His brother. Because Jake and Cam, they knew Jason. They have memories of him.”
“And you sent her packing. Because it’s one more thing Jason gave them he didn’t give Danny.”
“Partly.” Sam sighed. “I also—I told her things maybe I should have kept to myself. About Jason’s decisions in the last few years to keep the secret. He didn’t want anyone to know, Mom. He told her over and over again. Even after we got married and planned to have a family. He told me Jake didn’t feel like his son anymore—”
Alexis frowned. “That—that doesn’t sound like the Jason I knew. He loved Michael until the day he died, even though he wasn’t raising him as his own.”
“I didn’t—I didn’t understand it,” Sam admitted. “But I guess I just didn’t…poke at it too much because it served my purposes.” She looked at the floor. “I was horrible to Elizabeth, and not for the first time. Do you think she’d do my kid any favors?”
“Yeah, I do.” Alexis’s hand touched her shoulder, so Sam looked up. “Because Jason didn’t do right by either of you in the end, and that’s something you two can work with, isn’t it?”
He wanted to open his eyes.
Why couldn’t he open his eyes?
A voice floated through the haze. “Jason? Can you hear me?”
“R-robin?” he coughed. His head lolled to the side and a pinprick of light slid under his eyelids. Shit. He squeezed them shut.
What happened? What was the last thing he remembered?
Elizabeth. In the hospital. Stricken with the bio-toxin.
Was he sick, too? How did that happen?
“Jason?” Robin repeated. “I’ve dimmed the lights. Can you try opening your eyes again?”
This time, he could. His eyes opened. The room was shadowed—he could just make out Robin’s form nearby. “Elizabeth.”
“She’s—she’s okay, Jase.” Her fingers slid through his hair. “I need you to take a deep breath, okay? You’ve been out a while.”
“What’s going on?” His voice was so dry, so rusty. A straw slipped between his lips and he drank greedily.
His throat felt mildly better and he tried to focus on Robin. “Did…I get exposed to the bio-toxin?”
His head hurt and already he could feel the grey mists calling back to him. He was so tired. He hated being tired.”
“No,” Robin admitted. “No, you didn’t. You’ve been in a coma. Jason—”
“Elizabeth…” He forced his eyes open. “And the boys. They’re okay?”
When she didn’t answer, he forced his eyes open again. Focus. Had to focus. “Robin.”
“They’re all fine,” Robin said finally. “Jason—”
But he had already slid away again. He could now—his family was safe.
Robin watched Jason give in to his exhaustion and sighed. Telling him that it had been five years since his coma began—that the twin brother they had thought to be Franco had actually already been posing as him—
That Elizabeth was not the woman he’d left behind, but one that his twin had damaged nearly beyond repair—
She almost wished he would never wake up.
“How is our patient?” Victor murmured at her shoulder. “One of the guards informed me he had been awake.”
“He’s out of the coma,” Robin said flatly. This man had taken her from her family and driven her into this nightmare. “So his sleep is natural.”
Had stolen Jason’s life.
“He’ll be weak for several days, even weeks.” Robin adjusted Jason’s IV. “Whatever you have planned for him, I hope you’ll let him recover. Five years is nothing to sneeze out.”
“I’ve had him exercised.” Victor pursed his lips. “But you’re right. I must be patient. I’ve waited this long—it would not do to have Jason Morgan at less than full strength, would it?” A light smile touched his lips. “Not for what I have in mind.”