Thursday, April 24, 2014
Webber Home: Living Room
Shortly after Elizabeth had walked Jake and Cam to the bus stop at the corner and said hello to Patrick and Emma as he did the same, she opened her front door to Sam Morgan.
She pressed her lips together. “Sam.”
“Hey.” Sam slid her hands into the back pockets of her jeans. “I’m sure I’m the last person you want to see at your door.”
“Not the very last,” Elizabeth said. “Britt Westbourne. Helena Cassadine. My mother. But, no, you’re not far from the bottom the list.” She sighed and stepped back. “Come in.”
“Thanks. I, ah, know, I’ve been rotten to you.” Sam stepped down from the landing into the living room proper. “I thought…we should talk about what happened the last time we saw each other.”
“When I wanted to Jake and Danny to know each other and you decided to tell me Jason didn’t love Jake when he died?” Elizabeth arched a brow. “Doesn’t that say it all?”
“No, I mean…” Sam exhaled slowly. “I didn’t—I didn’t handle that well.” She gestured towards the dining table. “Can we…can we sit?”
“All right.” Elizabeth waited until they were both sitting before she said anything else. “Have you reconsidered letting Monica’s petition go through?”
“I…I wanted to talk about how we can make that happen.” Sam bit her lip. “This is going to sound like it’s about money, and it is a bit. Because I have been with Jason off and on for the better part of a decade and I haven’t…really had to know what it’s like to be without it in a long time.”
“Okay,” Elizabeth said slowly. “I get it. You have a lifestyle you like. It’s good for your son.” She tilted her head. “Sam, do you know something about Jason’s will that would take that away?”
Sam looked at her hands, loosely clasped on the table. “Ah. About three weeks after Jason died, before I was really ready to admit that they weren’t going to find him…Diane came by to talk about the legalities. She said that the police had called off the search and had filed it as a murder.” She closed her eyes. “But without a body, we’d have to go to the courts to petition for a legal declaration. It would be a shorter process than when people usually disappear, because we knew Jason had gone into the water with a gunshot—”
“You don’t have to explain it—” Elizabeth’s chest was tight, just thinking of how Jason had died. Alone, cold, bleeding. In the water. “Monica…and Tracy have talked about it.”
“Right.” Sam was quiet for a moment. “But Diane wanted to give me extra time to deal with the estate. With the way the will was written because things would have to change.” She focused her dark eyes on Elizabeth. “Jason reviewed his will every year, did you know that?”
“Ah.” Elizabeth frowned. “Yeah. I mean, I vaguely remember him saying that. I knew he had planned to leave something to Jake the next time he talked to Diane about things, shortly after he was born.” She leaned back against her chair. “Sam—”
“He reviewed it every year,” Sam repeated. “But he stopped changing it in 2008. In December.”
Elizabeth blinked. “But that was—that was six years ago—”
“I know. And it was right after Jake was kidnapped that second time.” Sam sighed. “And after Jason informed Lucky and I that while it was dangerous for him to be around Jake, this kidnapping was our faults as well. And I knew that. We investigated the Russians when we weren’t in any position to do so, we talked you into leaving behind the security Jason had set up—” Her mouth twisted. “We thought we knew better.”
“And I listened, Sam. So it’s not worth discussing that now.” Elizabeth leaned forward. “Sam, are you telling me that Jason—that he left you nothing?”
“Nothing.” Sam nodded. “And you know, I told myself at first it didn’t matter. Because I had grown up with nothing, and I don’t know, if not for Danny, maybe I wouldn’t care so much. I want that to be true, but I don’t know. I like not having to worry about where my next paycheck is coming from, how I’ll pay for food—”
“Sam, you don’t—” Elizabeth held up a hand. “You don’t have to explain any of that to me, okay? I get it. I’ve been there. Security is a good thing and it’s hard to give up. But it’s not just you.” She licked her lips. “Sam, what does his will say?”
The other woman’s eyes were miserable as she answered. “You’re the executor of his estate, no surprise there. All business assets—his partnership with Sonny is dissolved, his shares in Corinthos & Morgan go to Sonny, anything tied to his job goes to Sonny. He left some money for Michael and Morgan. And the rest he divided in half.” She paused. “Half of it goes to you, and the other half is in a trust that you control—divided between Jake and Cameron.”
Elizabeth’s hands fisted in her lap as her head spun. Jason had cut Sam out of his estate and left the bulk of it to her and her children. How could—Why had he done that?
“That doesn’t—” She licked her lips. “Diane must be mistaken. He would have left something to Carly, to Joss. A-and why did he leave so much to Cameron—”
“Diane said he reviewed it just before we found out Danny was alive, and he made no changes.” Sam’s mouth was flat and her tone sour. “You own the home on the island, his motorcycle—the penthouse.”
Her head ached. God. How could he do this to her? “Sam—I don’t understand—”
“Diane told me that by the time the trust comes to fruition, Jake and Cam will each inherit about eight million dollars.” Sam rose to her feet. “But Danny gets nothing. He created the trust for his children, but because he named specific children, it can’t be extended—”
“Wait, wait—” Elizabeth also stood. “Sam, just—” She put her hands up to stop the flow of words. “We—I just don’t understand. You—he married you. He was planning a family—”
“I know that.” Tears spilled down Sam’s cheeks. “Don’t you think I’ve been asking myself all this time why he’d do this to me? It’s not even the money. It’s the thought that he didn’t give a damn what would happen to me if he died, but you and yours were at the forefront—”
“I know Jason had changed—” Elizabeth pressed a fist to her chest, aching with betrayal, with confusion. How could he have run from Jake, from their future, and yet do this? “But this—this is insanity, Sam. I can’t do this to you, to Danny—”
“Diane said I could fight it in court, that eventually Danny would be eligible for more, but it would take time and money I don’t have—” She closed her eyes. “And it would mean dragging all this through town so the world could know how little Jason gave a damn—”
“Hey.” Elizabeth stepped forward and touched Sam’s shoulder. “It is not going to go that far, Sam. I told you. Danny is Jake’s brother. I would never do that to him. He deserves more.”
“Oh, God.” Sam pressed the heel of her hand to her brow. “Elizabeth.”
“Let’s sit down. We’ll figure out how to make this work, okay?” Elizabeth drew Sam back to the table. “Let’s…Diane said the trust was inviolable as it’s written? The only way to break it would be through the courts?”
“Yeah.” Sam shuddered as she sat back down. “And it’s not a guarantee—”
“Then we’ll set up a trust with the money Jason left me.” Elizabeth tried to offer a reassuring smile. “You—you can have it. I’ll sign it over to you—and you can set up a trust for Danny—”
“I can’t—” Sam blinked. “All of it? You—would do that?”
“I don’t want Jason’s money. I never did. I certainly don’t want it now. As it is, I’m stuck voting Jake’s proxy. I told Tracy and Monica I would give it to Michael, but Tracy almost keeled over at that—” Elizabeth shook her head. “Anyway. I don’t want it, Sam. You were his wife at the end. Danny was the son he wanted to raise. You should have it.”
“I—” Sam licked her lips. “Elizabeth, I can’t—” She took a deep breath. “No, let’s…I want to be fair in this. Let’s, um…” She reached for a notepad Elizabeth kept on the table. “Let’s set up a trust for Danny equal to Jake and Cameron. That’s—that’s fair, right?”
“Okay….” Elizabeth leaned back. “Sam—”
“And—Jason has ten percent of ELQ stock, five of which is split between Jake and Cam, so we can split the other five—”
“No, let’s—” Elizabeth pursed her lips. “An older will of Alan’s has surfaced, one which divided his ten percent between Michael and Jake. So Jake already has the five from Edward and five from Alan. Jason’s division of the estate gives him 12.5 total.” She rubbed her forehead. “Danny has the five from Edward, right?”
“Right.” Sam studied her. “And Cam has the 2.5 from Jason.”
“Then Danny should have the five percent. It’ll bring him to ten percent, which—it isn’t the same as Jake, but it’s close. I don’t want him to think he wasn valued less.”
“I—okay.” Sam made a note. “And then you and I should split what’s left. Diane said it’s around twelve million—”
“No.” Elizabeth shook her head. “I don’t want it, Sam—”
“I talked about this with my mother.” Sam sighed, setting the pen down. “And I couldn’t believe that you’d do this for Danny after everything I had done to you, after what Jason put you through, but she—she told me that we had some good common ground. Our children are brothers, and—and you were right. Danny should have access to all the memories of Jason I can give him. Maybe Jason wasn’t fair to either of us in the end, but we both loved him.” She paused. “He wanted to make sure you had what you needed. You can take it and put it into an account for Aidan. He doesn’t seem to have anyone raining money on him.”
Elizabeth hesitated. “I—” God. Wasn’t that the truth? Maybe she and Sam could cling to what their boys had in common.
Jason, for all his flaws and ways he had failed her, had been the love of her life. She should honor what they had once been to one another.
“All right. You’re right. We’ll split what’s left over and I’ll put it in trust for Aidan.” She bit her lips. “As for the property—”
“I thought—if I kept the penthouse, you could have the place on the island.” Sam eyed her. “But maybe you don’t want that since it’s—well, it’s so close to Sonny—”
“You get the penthouse and whatever else we decide, Sam.” Elizabeth lifted a shoulder. Once she had thought the penthouse might be her home, but it was Sam’s. It was Danny’s. “Maybe we can sell the island house to Carly or something. I don’t want to do business with Sonny.”
“Neither do I,” Sam murmured. “And I think we should keep the motorcycle. Make sure it stays in good condition, so the boys can have it later. It’ll be something they could have of their father.”
“I think that’s a good idea,” Elizabeth replied. “I’m glad we talked about this, Sam. I hope you…I hope you let Danny know all of his family—maybe by coming to the party Monica is having for Jake.”
“I will.” Sam set the pencil down. “I’ll talk to Monica myself.”
Elizabeth wrinkled her nose. “I should probably tell Tracy what we decided. She wanted me to sue you on Jake’s behalf for his share of Jason’s estate—and his ELQ stock—as the legal next of kin. She really doesn’t like you, so this is going to annoy her.”
“Which you know, is reason enough to do it, in my opinion,” Sam replied, and after a beat, they both started to laugh.
Metro Court: Manning & Wells Publishing
Maxie straightened her jacket before stepping up to Julian Jerome’s assistant.
Who sat at her old desk.
In front of Kate’s former office.
“I have an appointment to see Mr. Jerome,” Maxie said. Though she wasn’t sure why she was even bothering. She had no qualifications. Who was going to hire her to do anything?
She was never going to get a job that made her as happy as being Kate Howard’s assistant.
“He’ll be with you in a moment.” The assistant barely glanced up from his computer, and she frowned.
“You didn’t even ask my name.”
The assistant who looked to be about her age looked up now, his green eyes flashing with annoyance. “He’s only got one appointment at nine—”
“He?” Maxie arched a brow. “Oh, honey, you must be new. First of all, you are the first impression someone has when they meet with Mr. Jerome—which is how you address him. You look the appointment in the eye. You have no idea who I am, I might not be the nine o’clock. I might be some random crazy off the street. Honestly.” She huffed. “The standards have gone down a great deal since I ran this office—”
“Ah, Maxie.” Julian’s door opened, and the man in question stood on the threshold. “I thought I heard your voice.”
Maxie pursed her lips. She had only briefly met Julian Jerome the previous summer when she had worked as Connie’s assistant. “Mr. Jerome.”
“Mr. Jerome.” The assistant shot to his feet. “I was just telling her—”
“I have a name.” Maxie rolled her eyes. “You’re really not good at this.”
The assistant shot her another frustrated look. “I was saying to Ms. Jones,” he repeated through clenched teeth, “that you would be with her in a moment.”
“Hmm…” Julian slid his hands into the pockets of his charcoal trousers. “You’ll have to forgive Ryan, Maxie. The temp agency sent him over earlier this week. We’re still seeing if it’s going to work.”
Ryan’s face paled. “Mr. Jerome—”
Maxie chewed on her lips. “It’s not a big deal,” she interrupted. “I mean, it took me ages to learn office etiquette when I started under Kate—”
“I don’t need your help—”
“Maxie, why don’t you join me?” Julian gestured for her to step inside. “Ryan? Last chance.”
Shoot. Somehow getting his assistant fired did not seem like an auspicious start to this new venture. Maxie stepped into the office. “Really, Mr. Jerome—”
Julian closed the door and waved his hand at the seat in front of his desk. “A little fear never hurt anyone. He’s good with the clerical stuff, not so much with the office politics.”
Maxie started towards the chair, but stopped. The office had been redecorated in darker colors since Connie’s murder, but…
“I’m sorry, Maxie. Should we have met in the conference room?”
Julian’s tone was surprisingly gentle and she turned to see him, his dark eyes brimming with compassion. “What? Oh. No. I just—I haven’t been back since…” she swallowed. “I didn’t work for Connie long. I know that sounds insane, but I worked for Kate longer—”
“I know.” Julian gestured again and this time Maxie sat. “Despite what many believe, I’ve been in publishing a long time. Kate did well with Crimson, and I know you were her right-hand. You and Lulu Falconeri.”
What amazing days those had been—working in this office side by side with her best friend. Living the dream. Maxie nodded as Julian rounded his desk and took his own seat.
“We had a great time,” Maxie said. “Thank you for meeting with me today.”
“I was curious,” Julian admitted. “Alexis is good friends with your stepfather and asked me to, but as I said, I’m familiar with your work at Crimson. I put a bid in on the magazine before Todd Manning bought it. Are you hear about that? Looking to work with the new editor? It’s based out of New York now.”
“Oh.” Maxie blinked. “I hadn’t realized you relaunched it—”
“We’re in the process,” Julian confirmed. “As a digital presence only—magazines are losing ground, I’m sure you know. Like newspapers and books. It’s why Todd Manning and I merged last year—I’m more experienced in that area.” He leaned back in his chair. “Did you have something else in mind?”
“Well,” she said slowly, realizing for the first time Julian was taking her seriously and that she would likely walk out of this room with some sort of employment. “I suppose you know that the last year has been difficult. I need a stable job so that when my custody hearing comes up in June, I have a prayer of seeing my daughter.”
“I remember Alexis working on the case.” Julian shifted. “It was difficult for her—”
Maxie pursed her lips. “I’m sure it was. Anyway. I was hoping to find something at the Sun. The lifestyle or entertainment section.” She clasped her hands in her lap. “I know I might seem flighty and a bit fickle, but I work hard and—”
He held up a hand. “You don’t have to prove yourself to me, Maxie. I’m aware that you often put Crimson out when Kate was indisposed—that you oversaw photo shoots and approved editorial content. It was a lot of responsibility for someone with so little experience, and you stepped up.” He steepled his hands and peered at her. “I’m going to hire you, Maxie, because I don’t want you going to my competitors. I’m just not sure where we can put you that best suits you.”
Maxie blinked. “I—that seems too easy—I didn’t go to college—”
“Doesn’t matter much to me,” Juliann said. He picked up a pen and tapped it against the desk blotter. “Hm. I’ve been considering an old-fashioned advice column, but something a bit more fresh. A bit more—” He paused. “Shall we say, snarky?”
“Advice?” Maxie snorted. “I am the last person who should do that—”
“I’d want it to be anonymous,” Julian continued as if she hadn’t voiced a protest. “So maybe two advice columns and a fashion column a week? The Nurse’s Ball is coming up in a few weeks. You could also cover that.”
“I…” Maxie hesitated. “You’re serious. You want me to do an advice column.”
“I think you’d be a natural at it.” He leaned forward. “You think because you’ve made some serious mistakes, you’d be bad at it?” When she just looked away, he continued. “I find that it’s easier to know the right thing to do for other people than yourself.
Wasn’t that the truth? “Well, if you think it’d be a good idea…” Maxie nodded. “I want to do something interesting with my life. Maybe if I help other people, I’ll stop screwing up so much.”
Cassadine Lab: Jason’s Room
Robin reluctantly took the cup of water from Jason and set it on the table next to his bed, his question hanging between them.
“Robin?” Jason pressed. “This isn’t General Hospital.”
“No.” She reached for the makeshift chart she had put together to monitor his progress in the three days since had awoken. He had drifted in and out of consciousness at first, and she had been able to dodge his questions.
But he was alert today, and she knew she would have to decide what to tell him.
Jason shifted in the bed and she sighed, knowing he was frustrated with his level of fatigue. “Robin,” he said again. “Where are we?”
“Jason…” She perched the edge of his bed. “What’s the last thing you remember?”
His brow furrowed as he considered this. “Ah. I was at the hospital, visiting…” He coughed, because once he had become more alert, he had stopped asking about Elizabeth.
Robin sighed again. “You were visiting Elizabeth. Jason, I’ve known about Jake since—” She pursed her lips. “Well, honestly, since she testified for you in the Alcazar trial—when Ric asked her. It seemed so obvious to me, I’m not sure why anyone thought differently.” She hesitated. “Anyway. Is that the last thing?”
“I…” Jason paused. “Yeah. I was taking the stairs, and I thought I saw someone who looked like Emily…” He shook his head. “I don’t remember anything after that.”
Rebecca Shaw. Robin frowned, hoping that woman had nothing to do with this. “Okay.”
“Robin, why are you asking about that?” Jason asked. “How long was I out?”
“I don’t think we should—” Robin looked away. “You’re still recovering, Jason, and I worry that you’re not strong enough, but…” She rose to her feet. “Maybe it’s better if you know what’s going on. I’d hate you to find out from someone else.”
Jason scowled. “Damn it, Robin—”
“Today is April 24.” Robin hesitated. “2014. It’s been five years since the biotoxin fiasco, since the hospital burned down in the fire caused during it all.”
His eyes were wide and his fists clenched his lap. “Five years? What the hell happened to me?”
“To be honest,” Robin said slowly, “I’m not sure. No one—” She closed her eyes. “God. There’s so much you don’t know. Jason, no one knew you were gone. Not for three years.”
“How—” He swallowed hard. “How can that be possible? Did…did they think I just left?”
“No.” Robin twisted her fingers together. “Um, to explain it, I guess I should mention that when you were born, you had a twin brother that Heather Webber claimed to have sold. She told Sam it was Robert Frank, this insane artist who turned out to be a serial killer, but that was a lie to screw with Sam—”
“What the hell, Robin—”
“I don’t know a lot, but apparently even though Franco wasn’t your twin, you did have a brother. And Victor sent him to Port Charles to pose as you.”
Jason just stared at her, his face set in a familiar blank expression. “You’re telling me that I’ve been in a coma for five years, but no one knew I was gone because some guy who looked like me was there.”
“He didn’t just—” Robin swallowed. “Jason, he knew things. He’d been well-prepped. I don’t know the details, I don’t know why it worked—why his medical scans matched yours. I don’t know all the answers—I just…Victor said his name was Preston St. James, but that might have been a lie. I just know that no one suspected anything.”
“You said…” Jason swallowed. “No one knew for three years. But if it’s been five—”
“In October 2012, Victor must have decided whatever he was doing wasn’t working.” Robin stepped closer. “So he had Cesar Faison shoot you in the back and throw you off the pier. I don’t know all the details because Jerry Jacks had faked my death earlier that year—”
Jason held up a hand. “I just…” He squeezed his hand shut, his fist hanging in the hair. “I need a minute.”
“I’m sorry, I know this sounds insane—” She pressed a hand to her head. “I’ve been trying to understand it since I got here a few weeks ago. I knew I was coming to help you, but I didn’t know—”
“Okay.” Jason exhaled slowly. “Okay. There’s…” He stopped. “When can I get out of this bed? What does this Victor Cassadine have planned?”
“I don’t know,” Robin admitted. “But you should be able to move around again soon. You’ve always healed fast, so hopefully—”
Jason interrupted her again. “You said it’s been five years. What’s going on at home? Are Elizabeth and the boys really okay, Robin?”
“God, don’t—” Robin pressed her lips together. “They’re fine, I promise, Jason.”
“Did she—” He stopped and looked away. “She’s okay, you said.”
“She has another boy,” she admitted softly. “A three-year-old son, Aidan. I saw them when I was home in January. They’re all fantastic, I promise you, Jason. Jake takes such good care of his brothers and his mother.”
He just stared at her. “Elizabeth married again?” he asked. “I thought—that’s good, I mean. That she didn’t wait.”
But the bleakness in his eyes broke her heart. How much worse it was going to get for Jason to learn of the psychological damage his imposter had wreaked on Jason’s makeshift family.
“She’s not married,” Robin said softly. “She…Aidan is Lucky’s child, but as far as I know, Lucky left for Europe shortly after Aidan was born and hasn’t come home.” She tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. “Jason, she’s okay. She has good friends—Patrick looks out for her, I promise you.”
“Okay.” Jason was quiet again. “I have questions,” he admitted, “but I can’t do anything from this bed. I have to concentrate on getting strong again and figuring out how to get home. The rest is going to wait.”
Michael’s Apartment: Living Room
Michael pulled open his door and his face tensed for a moment before smoothing out.
That her son looked at her with such dread in his expression…
Carly knew she couldn’t live with herself if it ever turned to hatred, and if she kept this secret, it would.
“Mom.” He stepped back, gesturing for her to cross the threshold. “What brings you here?”
“I, ah, wasn’t sure if you’d be home—I thought you might be at ELQ.” Carly saw Starr step in from the kitchen, two bowls in her hand. “Starr.”
“Carly.” Starr set the bowls down next to sandwiches. “Michael stopped in for lunch. We’re both so busy with ELQ and the Haunted Star, we try to make room for lunch at home once a week.”
“Oh.” Carly blinked. It was such a normal, balanced thing to do. “I—I’m—this is a bad time—”
“It’s just tomato soup and some grilled chicken sandwiches,” Starr said when Michael didn’t correct his mother. “”Sit down, and I’ll make you some, too.” She tossed a look at Michael before stepping back into the kitchen.
“Michael,” Carly began, “I can go—”
“It’s fine.” Michael pulled out a chair. “Sit. You’re here for a reason.”
“Right.” Carly sat and sighed when Starr set down a bowl and plate down in front of her. “This is really nice of you, Starr.”
“I don’t know how to cook much, but we do all right. Michael’s a bit better than me.” Starr and Michael both took their seats and the only sounds for several moments were eating.
Carly set her spoon down. “You’ve been going through so much,” she told Michael. “And I haven’t been able—there’s not much I can do to make it go away.”
“I’m an adult now, Mom,” Michael said with an air of exhaustion as he pushed his own plate away. “That’s not your job anymore.”
“I wasn’t much good at it when it was my job,” Carly murmured. “I’m a selfish person,” she continued. “Very selfish, which makes doing the right thing so much harder—by the time I’ve figured it out, it’s too late to do it because it will always make my life worse.”
“My father has a similar problem,” Starr offered. “It’s his way of excusing the worst of his sins.”
Recognizing the rebuke, Carly nodded. “It’s a self-serving one, too. Because, again, I’m selfish.” She looked at Michael. “So even though the time has passed for the right thing, let me do it anyway. First, because I just—I want to address it. Elizabeth told me you know about Jason and Jake.”
“I do.” Michael leaned back in his chair. “They told me shortly after AJ’s funeral. Monica plans to make it public by throwing Jake a party in the Quartermaine gardens for his birthday. Jake asked for it to be a joint party with Cameron, since their birthdays fall a week apart.”
“He’s a considerate little boy.” Carly twisted her fingers in her lap. “I’m sorry if finding out hurt you. Elizabeth said you were made aware of most of the details. I—I wasn’t sure why it was necessary—”
“You mean knowing your part in it?” Michael offered. “That you assumed something and told Sonny, who proceed to inform Elizabeth it was for the best. Yeah. It came up. Sonny is the one who made it worse by making Elizabeth feel like Jake would be a burden to Jason, an obstacle in his life. But Jason is the one who agreed in the long run. He knew by the time Jake was born.” His eyes burned into hers. “He got to make the choice to be a father or step away.”
Carly exhaled slowly. “And AJ didn’t. I know. I—” She tilted her head to the ceiling. “I can’t go back and change things, Michael. I can’t take those decisions back. I was a different person then—”
“Then let’s talk about now,” Michael cut in. “Why are you here, Mom?”
“Because I’ve done something I can’t live with forever.” She looked in his eyes. “If AJ had known he was going to die, I know his last words would be for you. He loved you, and he was so proud of who you turned out to be, despite everything you grew up with.”
“But that’s not what he said.”
“No.” Carly didn’t let her gaze waver. “He told me Sonny had shot him.”
Michael closed his eyes and looked away, the muscles in his face bunching. He said nothing, just shook his head.
“Why didn’t you say so from the start?” Starr asked quietly. “Why did you allow Michael to believe otherwise for nearly a month?”
“I was…” Carly hesitated. “I was horrified. I confronted Sonny immediately, but he—he convinced me that it would do more harm than good to turn him in. You would lose him as well. Morgan would lose his father, as would Dante and Kristina. I thought—it was tragedy compounding tragedy. I let him convince me.”
“And it’s not as though you gave a damn about AJ,” Michael said, roughly. “You probably thought he deserved what he got.”
“No.” Carly leaned forward. “No. Before all that craziness with Lauren last summer, before he lost ELQ, AJ was doing better. I could see it. He was handling things, he was doing well. He had you, and God, now I wonder if he had had a son like you all along, if he would have been a different man.” She pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes. “I’ve spent the last three weeks thinking of all the reasons why AJ deserves to be gone—and I can’t make one stick.”
Starr leaned over to put a hand on Michael’s forearm. “You said Sonny admitted it as well.”
“Yes.” She pressed her lips together. “Sonny told me that he arrived at Ava’s to find AJ’s hands around her neck. When Sonny pointed the gun at him, AJ stepped back and put his hands up.”
“He must…he was so convinced Connie died that way,” Starr murmured. “So he shot him anyway.”
“Ava’s a witness.” Some of the tension left Michael’s shoulder. “Does—Did Sonny know why AJ went after Ava?”
“No, and he isn’t worried much about it. No one likes Ava anyway.” Carly bit her lip. “Michael—”
“My father suggested maybe Ava killed Connie.”
At that, Michael and Carly both looked at Starr. “What?” Michael demanded. “Why didn’t you say anything?”
“It was just last week,” Starr said. “And I didn’t know if maybe it was worth bringing up. We had nothing to go on—”
“Connie might have discovered Julian’s identity,” Carly said. “Ava would have killed for that.”
Michael held up a hand. “We’ll—we’ll talk to Anna about it.” He looked at his mother. “Because you’ll make a statement, won’t you?”
“I—” Carly sighed. “I don’t know. I mean, is there a point? Isn’t what I know hearsay?”
“No.” Starr lifted an eyebrow. “Sonny’s confession to you is a statement against penal interest—he has no reason to lie and admit the crime. And AJ’s is a dying utterance. Also, no reason to lie. You need to tell Anna.”
“Otherwise, why even bother to tell me?” Michael demanded. “I thought you were going to do the right thing.”
“The right thing for me is not to lie to you,” Carly said, rising to her feet. “Telling you the truth and then turning in Sonny to the cops? That’s different. I can’t—I can’t be the reason Morgan’s father goes to jail. Don’t ask that of me, Michael.”
“If you don’t tell Anna, I will. And then she’ll come after you for obstruction—” Michael began heatedly. He lunged to his feet. “Mom—”
“Wait, everyone just—” Starr stepped between them. “Michael, just take a deep breath. And try to see it from your mother’s point of view. It’s not easy to turn someone you love in, even if it’s the right thing. I know that—I’ve covered for my own father so many times, and you know you’ve covered for Sonny before.”
Michael exhaled slowly. “But—”
“And Carly—” Starr turned her attention to her. “You have to see this from Michael’s perspective. It’s not just the betrayal of Sonny’s word. It’s what losing AJ has done to Monica. I know what it’s like to bury a child—”
“Starr—” Michael put a hand on her shoulder. “Don’t—don’t do this to yourself—”
Her voice broke. “I buried my little girl when she was only three. Monica has buried four children, two of which she lays direct blame at Sonny’s door. You know she’s not wrong to see Jason as partially Sonny’s fault. If you were Monica and Michael, would you want to see the man who destroyed your family walk away?”
Carly closed her eyes. “I just need—” She shook her head. She had always known what the outcome of today would be. “I just a bit of time to get used to the idea, okay?” She looked at Michael. “I have to live with myself after it’s all said and done.”
“You don’t get to pretend you’ve done the right thing because you’ve told me what I already knew,” Michael shot back. “Sonny murdered my father in cold blood. You raised me to think my own father was a monster and you drove AJ to the point where he faked my death and kidnapped me just so he could have a chance to be in my life. You’ve already proved to the world that when it comes to AJ Quartermaine, your notion of the right god damned thing is what’s best for you.”
“Until Sonny Corinthos is behind bars,” Michael told her, “until I have justice for my father, there’s nothing more that you and I could say to one another.”
General Hospital: Board Room
Nikolas strode to the head of the long conference table and set down a packet of papers. “Welcome to the first meeting of General Hospital’s new board of directors.”
He looked at the faces around them. After buying out the hospital, he decided the only way to prevent General Hospital from continuing down a destructive path was to put people in charge of its destiny he could trust. Members of Port Charles’s prominent families—people who felt loyal to the hospital.
“I want to thank you all for coming on board.” He took his seat. “It means a lot to me that you care about General Hospital as much as I do.”
“I’m still not entirely sure why I’m here,” Felicia offered from halfway down the table. She smiled nervously. “I mean, Audrey’s husband basically founded the place, Tracy and Ned are Quartermaines, and Alexis has been the hospital’s lawyer before—”
“Maxie had her heart transplant here,” Nikolas interrupted. “I know you’ve worked on the fundraisers and other functions the hospital has sponsored since. And Tony Jones was a dedicated member of staff. I wanted someone to represent his family. Bobbie and Lucas both work here.”
“Well, I hope our first task is to put Liesl Obrecht in the unemployment line,” Tracy snapped. “And put Monica back where she belongs—”
Nikolas raised a hand to ward a further rant. “Tracy. We’ll get to the chief of staff momentarily. I wanted to take a vote on hiring Lucy Coe and Laura Spencer for the Nurse’s Ball this year. I’ve set up a foundation to ensure the Nurse’s Ball continues its good work in raising awareness for AIDS and HIV. Lucy has planned it for years, and she and my mother have decided to open a business together. She’s presented a plan for the ball—its in your packet—”
“I have no objections to allowing Lucy to continue planning the event,” Ned interrupted. “She’s experienced and adapts relatively well to challenges. Laura will provide a good balance. I think I speak for everyone when I say it barely needs a vote.”
“I want Obrecht out of here,” Tracy snapped.
“Tracy.” Audrey Hardy leaned forward. “As much as I dislike Liesl Obrecht—and I do—we must be very careful to avoid a potential lawsuit. If she decides to sue us for wrongful termination, I do not want it to come back as though her dismissal was a persona vendetta to get your sister-in-law back in the position.”
“Though you being Monica’s champion is hysterical and I want to continue watching it,” Alexis put in.
“I don’t think we’ll have that problem,” Nikolas said. “I asked Monica if she’d be interested, but she’s satisfied now with her position as head of cardiology. She says she wants to dedicate her time to her grandchildren.”
“Oh.” Tracy furrowed her brow. “Well, then. I hadn’t heard about that. Fine. Who do we put in her place?”
“First, let’s make it clear that Liesl Obrecht is being dismissed because she is currently facing charges for kidnapping, not because we don’t like her.” Nikolas straightened. “All in favor of terminating her contract due to the morality clause?”
Every hand in the room shot up. “No opposition. I recommend we place Patrick Drake as interim chief. He’s been with the hospital for nearly nine years and serves now as the Chief of Surgery. We’ll reassess his ability in sixty days, where we will either offer the job permanently or set up a committee to interview new candidates.”
When that motion was approved as well, Nikolas sat back with a smile. Some of members of the Cassadines might have taken their revenge on Britt and Liesl through murder and mayhem, but he had been raised by Stefan.
And in Stefan’s earlier days, he would have agreed that revenge was best served cold.
Dante & Lulu’s Loft
Laura watched as her daughter fussed over the small children arranged on a blanket in front of the coffee table. Aidan was happily playing with a musical piano while Ben chewed on the ear of a stuffed rabbit.
“I was in tears last night,” Lulu confessed as she joined her mother on the sofa. “We had put everything into storage after…” She pressed her lips together. “After Connie. So we didn’t have anything ready for him and I didn’t want to pull it out ahead of time in case we didn’t have—”
“Lulu…” Laura pressed a hand to her daughter’s forearm. “Ben looks happy and settled. Babies don’t need nearly as much as we give them. He has his rabbit, he’s fed, changed and has a comfortable place to sleep. The rest can wait.”
“Right.” Lulu closed her eyes. “He’s my son, Mom. I can’t—I can’t make myself believe it. And that it’s temporary—if Britt gets the charges dropped—”
“We’ll fight her with everything we have.” Laura focused on her grandchildren. “We have more resources than Britt—”
Lulu huffed. “You don’t know her mother very well. Liesl Obrecht managed to get herself appointed chief of staff—”
“I’m talking about the legal system,” Laura said. “You practically grew up with the Quartermaines. Tracy was your stepmother, partially raised you. You’re telling me she wouldn’t pull strings for you?”
And if she resented the other woman for being present when Laura could not be, well that was petty and better kept to herself.
“Not to mention the fact your brother loves you more than anything. Not that I condone corruption, but Nikolas could buy and sell most judges many times over.” Laura touched Lulu’s hands. “But none of that is going to matter. Because I believe in Dante and the police department, sweetheart. They’re going to make Britt pay for what she did it you.”
“I just can’t believe it’s not enough for him to be my biological son,” Lulu spat. “I never agreed to give her permission—”
“And that’s why you’d prevail in a custody hearing. It’s not as though Britt was some stranger who appropriated your eggs. She was your doctor and damn well should have known better.” Laura rose to her feet, restless now. “We’re going to make sure Ben stays with you. This family is too fragmented, I’m not putting up with it anymore.”
“Mom—” Lulu also stood. “I know how hard you’ve worked on your recovery and I’m glad you’re able to be home for now—”
“I’m home for good.” Laura turned to face her daughter. “I’ve opened the house on Charles Street. Mom and I are going to live there. I’m going to enjoy my grandchildren. All of them. Aidan, Ben. Spencer. And Cameron and Jake, if Elizabeth will allow it.”
“I believe you,” Lulu murmured.
“And I’m going to open the spa with Lucy,” Laura continued, on a roll. “We’re going to plan the Nurse’s Ball together and we’re going to be a success. I’m taking my life back, and Lulu, my life includes you getting everything you deserve. So when I tell you not to worry about retaining custody of your son, I want you to believe me.” She paused, meeting her daughter’s eyes, so like her own.
“Do you?” she pressed.
“Mom, I believe you,” Lulu said. “And whatever I can do make us a family again, I’ll do.” She stepped forward and slid her arms around her mother. “I love you so much.”
Mercy Hospital: Kelly’s Office
Kelly lowered herself into a seat across from Sabrina. “Patrick couldn’t make it?” she asked.
“No.” Sabrina twisted her hands in her lap. “He wanted to, but he was called into surgery at the last minute and I didn’t think we should postpone the results.”
“No.” Kelly leaned back. “Sabrina, you have an aneurysm in your brain.” She rose to pull some brain scans and pin them to a light board. She gestured, but Sabrina was no longer listening.
She closed her eyes. “I don’t—I don’t care about anything else, Kelly. What’s next? What’s the treatment?” She pressed a hand to her abdomen her son kicked back in response. “I have to protect him.”
“I understand.” Kelly took her seat again. “The aneurysm is of a borderline size. If it were just a bit smaller, I’d say we relax and keep an eye on it. If it were bigger, I’d be more comfortable recommending surgery. But it’s on the line. If it starts to bleed, Sabrina—”
“I know the risks,” Sabrina murmured. “What do you think I should do?”
“I think you should talk to the best neurosurgeon in the state,” Kelly said gently. “And then have Patrick recommend someone else. I’m not qualified to give you advice—”
“Everyone is going to have an opinion about this,” Sabrina broke in, “regardless of medical qualifications. I’m just…I’m…you know Patrick. You know everyone I know. I was so comfortable coming to you—”
“And I’ll continue to oversee your pregnancy,” Kelly told her. “I like you, Sabrina. I was prepared not to because of Robin, but you’re lovely and I hate all of this.” She sighed. “I’ll be moving back to GH in a week or so—Nikolas offered me too much money to stay away, so I’ll be able to monitor your condition closely.”
“You should know my priority is my child.” Sabrina pressed her hand to her belly again. “I’m twenty-six weeks. If I were to—” She closed her eyes. “If the aneurysm ruptures, even if there was an emergency C-section, the baby might not survive.”
“I know.” Kelly hesitated. “I’d consider surgery, either embolization or outright clipping. We’ll need more scans to verify which one would work best. But any surgery risks rupture on the table. You might bleed out—”
“Which means I should wait as long as possible to have the surgery,” Sabrina murmured. “At least a month—”
“Maybe as long as three weeks,” Kelly hedged. “Again, I’m not qualified to advise you one way or the other. You could manage to finish the pregnancy, deliver by C-section and be okay—”
“But I might not.” Sabrina nodded. “Okay. Okay. Well I can’t make any decisions right now.” She rubbed her head. “I need—I need Felix, my roommate. And I should tell Patrick. He’ll know who to recommend—” She opened her eyes. “Thank you, Kelly. I appreciate you giving me an opinion.”
“I just wish I had better news.”
“I’ve learned not to expect better,” Sabrina said with a wry smile as she gathered her purse. “It’s easier that way.”