Saturday, May 10, 2014
Quartermaine Mansions: Gardens
Monica stood in front of a crowd of those considered close friends and family and cleared her throat. “Thank you for joining us on this wonderful day and a special thanks to the weather for cooperating.”
Laughter rippled through the crowd as she continued. “I am blessed today to hold this double birthday celebration for two young boys I hold close to my heart. Today, Jake Webber turns seven and his older brother Cameron turns ten.” She hesitated. “Most of you know why we’re hosting the celebration here on the estate.”
She narrowed her eyes when she met Sam’s hostile gaze from where she stood next to her mother. “While I’ve often considered Elizabeth an honorary member of my family, after the loss of Jason two years ago, I learned she and Jason had a son together.” Monica set her hand on Jake’s shoulder. “It is my privilege to welcome Jake and his brothers to our larger extended family.”
Jake glanced up at her and grinned, his front tooth prominently missing. “Thanks for the ball pit, Grandma. It’s awesome.”
Monica laughed. “My pleasure.” She looked back at the crowd. “The Quartermaines have taken some hits over the last decade. We lost our heart and soul when Lila left us. And then in stunning short order, I lost Alan and Emily—” She exhaled slowly. “Then Edward, Jason and AJ.”
At her side, Tracy put a hand on her shoulder. “Monica—”
“But we’re not out,” Monica continued. “I have five beautiful grandsons thanks to my boys and their mothers for honoring their place in this family. I have nieces and nephews.” She eyed Tracy. “And a sister. I may have lost many, but I still have an army behind me.”
“I never thought I would ever see Grandma and Aunt Tracy standing side by side like that,” Michael whispered to Elizabeth. “My father would have keeled over from the sight.”
“Your aunt is a ruthless woman but she’s not a hard one.” Elizabeth swiped a tear as Monica hugged all three of her boys before releasing them to enjoy the ball pit. “As uncomfortable as I might be with having ELQ stock—stock she herself did not inherit—she’s made me feel extraordinarily welcome.”
“That may be due to the fact you wrapped a noose around Sam’s neck,” Michael said with half a grin as they made their way to the refreshment table where Starr and Lulu were deep in discussion over the Haunted Star, whose reopening two nights previous had been a smash hit.
“I know you have a different relationship with Sam than I do,” Elizabeth said as Michael handed her a glass of punch. “Are you angry with me?”
Michael hesitated. “No,” he said finally. He sipped his soda. “I’m angry that Jason left you in that position. I get why he didn’t have a chance to provide for Danny, but I really don’t understand why he didn’t leave Sam anything. They were married. He’d made choices.” He paused. “The more I learn about my uncle, the less I feel like I knew him.”
“He was a good man,” Elizabeth said. “He just—” She bit her lip and looked towards her son. Jake had been introduced to Danny a few days earlier and was inordinately pleased to have another younger brother.
Already, Danny and Aidan were following Cameron and Jake with hero worship in their eyes. She and Sam had not spoken—and the contract had not been signed so Elizabeth knew Sam was not pleased or going to capitulate easy.
Yet, something seemed to have thawed. Danny was here, even if Alexis had forced it. And he was toddling in a pack that included her boys, Spencer, Emma, Joss, and Morgan.
“If you can’t find the words to defend this,” Michael said, following her eyes. “That says it all doesn’t it?”
“Michael…” Elizabeth just shook her head. “I don’t know. Maybe it’s as simple as the fact that he didn’t feel like Jake’s father. Maybe he drifted back to Sam because he had cut us out of his heart and he was lonely. I don’t know. I know that he saved my life, that the love I had for him once meant the world to me. He gave me Jake. The contract I offered Sam was meant to preserve Danny’s inheritance. He didn’t know about him. He had the choice to provide for Sam and declined, but I know he would have wanted more for Danny.”
“And it does that. She can’t interfere in ELQ this way.” Michael shrugged. “Not that there’s much to interfere these days. Aunt Tracy is the CEO. I’m content to learn from her and Ned. I wish she and my father could have worked together, but I’ll change it in the future. ELQ won’t be the wedge that keeps the Quartermaines apart, it’ll be what keeps us together.”
“When I look at you, Michael,” Elizabeth said with a half-smile, “I see the best of all the people I loved. You have Emily’s kind heart, Jason’s penchant for looking after people, and from your father…your hope to do better. They would be so proud of you.”
Michael ducked his head and sighed. “I’d rather they were here, but I guess I’ll have to live with that.”
Across the gardens, Alexis turned away from Julian and tugged at Sam. “Stop glaring at Elizabeth. I told you I would talk to her—”
“What difference would it make?” Sam demanded. “I thought she and I had an agreement, but she just wants revenge for Jason picking me—”
Alexis closed her eyes. “She didn’t do much, Sam. You got money. You got the penthouse. Danny is looked after. I wasn’t wild about the ELQ stipulations or the fact Elizabeth wants to be the trustee for Danny, but we can negotiate those things—”
“I don’t want to negotiate,” Sam retorted. “I want what’s mine. Jason didn’t want her or her kid. Why do they get everything?”
“Sam.” Julian stepped forward. “Shut up.”
Alexis and Sam both blinked at his blunt remark. “Julian—”
“I’m sick of this,” Julian told Alexis. “All you do is complain about what Jason did or didn’t leave you. Suck it up. He left you nothing. That makes him the asshole and I’m sorry for that, Sam. I am. But how you deal with this says more about you than him. You tried to con Elizabeth into simply giving you Jason’s inheritance, but she played you back. Suck it up,” he repeated.
Alexis pursed her lips. He was right, but still. “I don’t know that—”
“She didn’t play me,” Sam cut in. “No one plays me—”
“No?” Julian arched a brow. “Seems to me you were played by this husband of yours. Promised he was over her and her kid, didn’t he? Clearly that wasn’t true. Whatever his reasons, Sam, he’s gone. Take the deal.”
“I don’t think she should simply take the deal—”
“Why not?” Julian challenged. “She gets enough money to live—if she’s smart about her investments, it’ll last her the rest of her life. She gets to keep her home. Her son gets a grandmother, a set of brothers. And her kid gets a ten percent stake in a successful conglomerate. I don’t get the problem.”
“The problem is that Elizabeth will have the control. She always had the control,” Sam spat. “Until the last time he left her, she was always in the background. I knew if she wanted him, he’d go to her. I thought he was mine—”
“But he wasn’t. And it seems like he was a bit of a dickhead to her, too. You think she’d take it out on your kid? You think she’ll be bad at being a trustee?”
Sam closed her eyes. “No. No, I don’t. She—” She swallowed hard. “She meant what she said when she wanted Danny to be in Jake’s life. And the second he found out he had a brother, Danny just lit up.” She threw her hand out where Jake and Emma were playing with Danny in the sandbox. “Look at him. His whole world has opened up.
“And I’m glad I changed my mind on that,” Sam told her parents. “I am. But when I think of Elizabeth being in charge of his trust, of basically being my landlord, it’s an eternal reminder that Jason didn’t love me. He didn’t trust me. He didn’t give a damn about me. I like his money, I won’t lie. But he promised to love me, and he lied. And I’ve spent the last two years trying to understand why he’d do that to me.”
She turned her devastated eyes on her mother, and Alexis winced. “You knew Jason. Dad didn’t. Tell me. Why would he do that to me? Didn’t he give a damn about me at all?”
“I—I don’t know.” Alexis bit her lip. “Once, I would have thought so. But the way he treated Elizabeth in the wake of Jake’s accident, the way he acted when you became pregnant—God, it was like someone flipped a switch inside him. He wasn’t the Jason I knew anymore, Sam.”
“Sam,” Julian said after a moment. “The lack isn’t in you. You loved him. That’s clear. Look, maybe you need to revisit this with your lawyers in the room. There’s got to be some give in this—”
“We can try to negotiate on the lease for the penthouse.” Alexis touched Sam’s shoulder. “Maybe if we agree to a custody agreement with Monica, something with a steep financial penalty, Elizabeth will relent on that. You know she’s only trying to protect Monica with that. She doesn’t want to evict you or Danny.”
“And it’s not like it’s crazy to ask you to consult with Ned and Michael on your ELQ votes,” Julian pointed out. “They know the business, you don’t. And you don’t want to spend your time on that, do you?”
“Elizabeth is probably looking to both of them for her votes as well,” Alexis added. “And I’m sure we can come to some agreement on the trustee account. Let’s just try to negotiate this—”
“I shouldn’t have to negotiate with her,” Sam said. “I just shouldn’t. It’s not right. He was my husband. We had a family. And now I have to beg her for what should be mine? It’s not right. I’m not signing anything, Mom. We’ll take this to court and I’ll take every penny from her bastards, too. She should have given me what was mine.”
She stalked off and disappeared into the gardens.
Alexis sighed. “Well, that went well—”
“She’s not wrong, Alexis.” Julian shrugged. “Not wild with how she’s gone about this, but she’s not wrong to have expected Jason Morgan to have provided for her.”
“I was surprised when she told me,” Alexis admitted. “It didn’t sound like him. I—” She paused. “I know how Jason felt about Elizabeth, so I’m not surprised he took care of her boys. But to not even leave Sam with a note as to what the hell he was thinking? I can’t imagine it. That’s not the man I knew.”
“She’ll lose in court, Alexis. There’s no law that says Jason had to leave her anything. And the court will never break Cameron and Jake’s trusts. Maybe Danny will walk away with some money, but she’ll never win a dime for herself.”
“Try telling her that.”
“Here you go.”
Felix glanced up at Elizabeth as she handed him a cupcake. “Thanks, babe. Take a seat by me.”
She joined him at his table. “You look lost in thought. What’s up?”
“Hey, sorry, I got sidetracked—” Sabrina hesitated when she stepped up to them, with cup and plate in her hand. “Elizabeth. I was hoping to catch you for a moment.” She sat down. “Felix—”
“Tell her and see if she’ll agree with you,” Felix said, almost snapping at her. “You’re a damn fool—”
“What’s going on with you two?” Elizabeth blinked. “You never fight.”
“I’m having surgery next week,” Sabrina told her. “I’m sorry to—this is such a happy occasion, and I’m sorry, but—”
“Is the baby okay?” Elizabeth asked, leaning forward. “Sabrina, is this—” She stopped and straightened. “Your headaches. They’re not just headaches.”
“No, I have an aneurysm.” Though that never seemed to get easier to say apparently. Sabrina licked her lips. “The size is borderline, so I saw a neurologist last week and he’s recommending surgery as soon as possible. Felix and Patrick are less than thrilled—”
“The risks—” Felix pressed a fist to his mouth. “AJ just died on the table, Sabrina. Died.”
“I know.” Sabrina’s chest was tight. “And I’m terrified, Felix.”
“Sabrina…” Elizabeth took her hand in hers, her eyes filled with concern, with sorrow. “I can’t—this isn’t right.”
“I waited three weeks to make sure my baby was at good stage.” Sabrina took a deep breath. “Felix, if the aneurysm bursts, they might not be able to save my son in time. But if I have this surgery, I have a good shot. I might be able to carry to term—”
“Damn it.” Felix rose to his feet. “I can’t…this isn’t how it’s supposed to be. We’re supposed to raise hell together at GH for decades. Three of us. The new Lucille, Audrey and Jessie. That’s supposed to be us. It can’t be that way if you’re not there.”
“Felix…” Elizabeth tugged on his arm. “Hey. I’m just as scared as you. But we have to do right by Sabrina right now, okay?”
“I’m sorry, Felix.” Sabrina closed her eyes, the tears sliding down her cheeks. “But my child—my little boy—he’s the priority. I have to give him his best chance. And this is it. I love you. I love you both. Promise me, if anything happens—”
“Uh uh.” Felix pressed his lips together. “Just don’t even talk right now—”
“You’ll look after my son. And Emma. And Patrick, of course.” She bit on her lip, because it was quivering. “Felix, what are my options? What would you have me do?”
“Go back in time,” Felix said instantly. “So this isn’t real. I don’t know. Something. Anything. Just don’t—AJ died with the best neurosurgeon available. You won’t have that—”
“Stop it,” Elizabeth ordered sharply. “Felix, just—don’t make this harder on her. Come on.”
“I’m sorry.” Felix bowed his head. “You’re just—you’re my family, Sabrina. You and Elizabeth. You’re my family. I’m terrified you’re messing with that. But yeah, I’ll look out for your kid, and for Emma.”
“I love you both so much.” Sabrina squeezed Elizabeth’s hand, and with her free one, reached over to touch Felix’s cheek. “You’re my family, too. And this is going to be fine. It has to be. I want to hold my son. I want to raise him, and I’m going to fight to do that.”
Port Charles Police Department: Commissioner’s Office
Anna settled behind her desk and eyed the man seated before her, his features schooled into the very picture of innocence.
She would wager Todd Manning had not been innocent since primary school.
“We haven’t seen you around much this past year, Todd.” She tapped her fingers idly at her desk.
Todd offered a smarmy grin. “Miss me, Commish?” He shrugged. “Decided to divide my time a bit more equally between Port Chuckles and Llanview. Jack and Sam are younger than Starr.” He leaned forward. “Sorry about Derek Wells. No idea he was a criminal mastermind masquerading as a publishing mogul.”
She rather doubted Todd had been completely in the dark in regards to Derek Wells’ true identity, but that wasn’t the point. “Starr is a lovely girl. Hard to believe she’s yours.”
“I blame her mother,” Todd responded. “She spent more time there.”
“She was in my office this week with her boyfriend—”
And at those words, Todd straightened. “Oh? She didn’t mention it—”
“Well, the conversation was about you.” Anna lifted her brows. “Your suggestion that Ava Jerome was involved in Connie Falconeri’s death last year.” She pursed her lips. “It’s an interesting one.”
“Well…” Todd shifted. “She and Michael are just so convinced AJ Quartermaine didn’t do it, I felt obligated to offer my own version of events. The kid thinks Ava offed his old man.”
“We’re looking into that possibility,” Anna demurred. “Do you have any other suggestions to offer regarding any other murders? Perhaps one a bit more contemporary.”
Todd laughed then, but he cleared his throat. “I’m barely around—you said so yourself—I can’t possibly—”
“You’re still quite close with Carly Jacks, aren’t you?” Anna leaned back. “We know she was the last person to speak with AJ Quartermaine before he died—”
“Yeah, they said that in the paper. Something about loving his kid or something.” He shifted in his seat. “So?”
“So, I was curious as to whether Carly discussed that moment with you. Or anything else she might know.” She tapped her chin. “Any thoughts on that?”
“I would think,” Todd said, drawing it out and offering another smile. Smarmy bastard. “I would think,” he repeated, “that Carly would be the best person to answer that question.”
“And we will be asking her again, but I thought we might give this a go.” He knew something, which meant Carly knew something. “Todd, you’re a selfish person.”
“This is true.” Todd nodded. “All right, Commish, here’s what I’ll tell you.” He leaned forward. “I like you. In another lifetime, you and I could have been something.” He grinned. “And in honor of what might have been, I’ll tell you this.” He paused, probably for dramatic effect. “You’re not wrong.”
“That Carly told you something?”
“Anything I know,” Todd said slowly, “is hearsay. And you know that. But if you were to press Carly on statements given by her ex-husbands, you’d find they’d meet the exception.”
Statements against penal interest. Dying declaration. Anna remained perfectly still, despite the jump in her abdomen. “Your friendship with Carly doesn’t rate much, apparently.”
“I don’t care about anything in this world beyond myself and my kids,” Todd told her. “So if Starr asks, you tell her I cooperated. I could use the credit.”
She rolled her eyes, but Todd Manning had already been dismissed in her mind. She was closing in Sonny Corinthos, and when they handed this case to the DA, it would be airtight.
Sonny Corinthos was living on borrowed time, and she thought he might be the only person left in Port Charles who believed differently
Quartermaine Mansion: Gardens
Laura approached Elizabeth with a hesitant smile as her former daughter-in-law moved away from Sabrina Santiago and Felix DuBois. Her eyes were red, her cheeks stained with tears.
“Elizabeth?” Laura put a hand on Elizabeth’s forearm. “Are you alright, my dear?”
“I—” Elizabeth blinked at her. “I—yes. I just—” She took a deep breath. “Just some bad news.” She cleared her throat. “Is everything okay?”
“I—” Laura wanted to ask, wanted this woman to confide in her as she had once when she’d been a vulnerable teenager, but she thought those days had passed. Instead, she flashed a different smile. “I was hoping we might discuss some ideas I had for the Nurse’s Ball. Lucy and I are attempting to finalize the first round of ideas to take to the performers.”
“Oh.” Elizabeth gestured towards an empty table. “Sure. Let’s—let’s take a seat.”
After they settled, Laura cleared her throat. “I know things are—they’re awkward—”
“They are. We’re not the people we used to be, and I know you’re not overly fond of the Spencer family at the moment—” Laura sighed when Elizabeth did not immediately jump to disabuse the notion. “I hope we can work on this so that one day, it’s not so awkward.”
“I want that, too.” Elizabeth reached over and squeezed Laura’s hands. “I want my boys to have all the love they deserve in the world. You’re part of that. So we’ll fumble our way through and it’ll be okay. The Nurse’s Ball. What do you have in mind?”
“Well Lucy loves the idea of opening with the hospital staff.” Laura smiled. “We’re working out the licensing fees for ‘Seasons of Love’ from Rent, and we’d hoped that you, Epiphany Johnson, Lucas, Patrick, Sabrina, and Felix would take point.”
Elizabeth smiled. “That’s a beautiful song with a gorgeous message.”
Pleased, Laura continued. “And we’ve talked to some of the young men at the PCPD — Dante, Sly, and Nathan in hopes of anchoring a cute second number. Spencer and Emma will also be taking part, and Carly has hesitantly pledged Morgan. I was hoping Cameron and Jake might be interested.”
“I’m sure they are. My grandfather loved the Nurse’s Ball. I like the idea of their continuing the tradition. What’s the number?”
“‘King of New York’ from Newsies.” Laura licked her lips. “You said Jake had been taking dance lessons because he liked the movie. Would—would he be comfortable?”
“In public?” Elizabeth pursed her lips. “Possibly. I can ask him. I’m sure it’ll be fine. I trust Lucy, and of course, you, to make sure they’re comfortable.”
“Oh, I’m so glad.” Laura squeezed her hand in response. “We’re asking Ned and his daughter Brooke to bring back ‘Power to Believe’. Lucy said it was missed last year, and with Ned living at home again, it simply makes sense. And Dillon will be closing out the show with a song.” Excited now, she continued. “And we have an idea for Gia Campbell to do something—we just have to find some other women, and something for Lulu.” She hesitated. “And I had….well, I had a cute idea for you.”
“I know, but it would be so much fun and I think you’d hit this out of the park. It’s from the Wicked soundtrack. I thought perhaps you…” Cheeks flushing, Laura bit her lip. “And Maxie Jones. If you can stand to be on the same stage.”
“Maxie?” Elizabeth repeated. She sat back. “I haven’t—she and I—” She pursed her lips. “Wicked? I think I know what you’re talking about. I’ll think about it.”
“Oh, that’s all I ask.” Laura smiled again. “You’ve made my day, Elizabeth. I’ve been struggling to put my life back together here in Port Charles. I haven’t lived here full time for more than a decade—”
“You are Laura Spencer,” Elizabeth interrupted. “As far as I’m concerned, you and Luke are Port Charles. You don’t have to make a place for yourself. It exists. You just have to dust it off.” She smiled, this time with genuine warmth and love. “You’re Laura-Goddamn-Spencer. You and Lucy are going to kick some Nurse’s Ball ass.”
Laura laughed. “That’s the plan.”
And maybe Elizabeth was right. She didn’t have to carve a new place in Port Charles—but maybe, just trim the edges from her old one.
She was Laura Spencer, after all. And she’d saved the world a few times. Shouldn’t that count for something?
Mac took a seat next to Patrick as the younger man nursed a beer—possibly his third of the day since Emma was staying at the Quartermaines that night for a massive slumber party.
“Looking a little peaked there, Patrick.”
Patrick eyed him but said nothing as he took another pull from his bottle.
“There’s a bit of news going around the party.” Mac leaned back, relaxing against the chair. “I hear Sabrina’s going in for surgery in a few weeks.”
“She’s been telling people today. I wanted her to wait.” Patrick’s voice was quiet. “It’s Jake’s day. I thought she should let it lie another day. Another week. Another goddamn month.”
“She could die on the table. The best neurosurgeon in the world can’t guarantee a successful surgery.” Patrick rubbed his eyes. “And I won’t be in the room. It’ll be some dillhole from New York City—”
“I know it’s scary,” Mac said. “And I know you and Sabrina have been through hell this last year.”
“I should have picked her,” Patrick said dully. “If I had been around, if I had seen her from the beginning, we could have seen the symptoms. I could have gotten her treatment before it required surgery—”
Mac let that slide by, since Patrick had picked his niece rather than Sabrina. Robin. That was something else Mac struggled to come to terms with.
You could lead your kids to water, but society frowned on drowning them in it.
He understood the guilt in Patrick’s words, and concentrated on that. “You can’t fix the world—”
“Nope.” Patrick took another pull. “Can’t make my wife stay with me. Can’t convince my ex-fiancée to value her life more than her baby’s. Can’t do much that’s useful.”
“Sabrina’s not built to value herself over her baby. And maybe she is thinking of herself. Maybe she is considering the guilt she would feel if something happened to her and she hadn’t given the baby the best chance for survival.” Mac leaned forward. “There are no guarantees in life, Patrick. You and I know this better than most. I never had children of my own, but I raised three beautiful girls.”
“Mac—” Patrick looked at him, anguished now at this reminder of not only Robin, but of Georgie.
Beloved, beautiful, everlasting Georgie.
“My girls did things I didn’t understand, but I loved them anyway. I couldn’t save Georgie. Of all my girls, she should have been the one to die warm in her bed of old age, surrounded by children and grandchildren. She didn’t take the risks my Maxie did or have a disease as Robin does. But life took her instead.”
“God. Mac.” Patrick leaned forward. “I know. I know.”
“We don’t get to pick and choose what we deserve,” Mac said, leaning in more closely. “I would trade my life in an instant for Georgie. For Maxie. For Robin. For Felicia. For Emma. For you.”
Patrick looked up at this, his eyes wary. “Mac—”
“You are not just my niece’s husband,” Mac told him, his voice a bit rough now. “I know you have a father of your own, but you’re mine now, too. So think about what you would sacrifice for your children. For Emma. And tell me you don’t understand why Sabrina is taking this choice.”
Patrick was quiet for a long moment before responding. “I know it’s insane to judge her for it. She has to have the surgery. Now or in the future. She has to have it. She’s choosing now because she’s terrified of losing our child if it bursts. I get it. I get it up here—” He tapped his head. “She’s making the logical decision for everyone. I just can’t—”
He looked at Mac. “I love my daughter. I love Emma. But I don’t want to raise another child by myself. I hate that Emma has been robbed of her mother. I don’t want my son to lose her either.”
“We’ll give Sabrina all the love and support we possibly can going into the surgery,” Mac told him. “And we’re going to plan for the best. But if the worst happens—” He swallowed and put a hand on Patrick’s shoulder. “If the worst happens, Patrick, the last thing you’ll be is alone. Remember that. You’re in this family, now. Scorpios look after one another.”
Patrick nodded, exhaling slowly. “I used to think Robin was the best thing that ever happened to me.” He looked to Mac. “I still do, but not because I let myself—I let myself be part of a relationship, that I let myself fall in love. You’re mine now, too, Mac. You don’t have to have biological kids to be a great father. What I know about being one? I learned it from you.”
There was nothing to say to that, so Mac put his arm around Patrick’s shoulders in a one-armed hug, and hoped they wouldn’t have to worry about any of this.