Written in 22 minutes. No time for typos.
As Jason pulled the car into a parking spot at his apartment building, his cell phone rang. He looked at Cameron. “It’s Diane.” Because he thought Cameron had earned it, he put Diane on speaker phone.
“Hey, Diane. I just got back to town with Cameron. Max is behind me, maybe five minutes with Jake and Aiden.”
“Oh, good. Good.” His lawyer sounded slightly distracted. “I’m calling because I called in every single favor I’ve had with all the judges, including some of yours, and I’ve got Elizabeth an arraignment hearing at 8 AM.”
“That’s in an hour,” Jason said. Without looking at Cameron, he continued, “Which judge got the assignment?”
“Okay. I have some calls to make. Thanks.” Jason closed the phone, looked at Cameron. “You can stay for this next part,” he told Elizabeth’s son, “but I’m going to commit a felony.”
Cameron’s smile was thin, his eyes wry. “Yeah? Cool. I think I’ve commited more in the last twelve hours than one.” He sat back against the seat, putting a hand over his eyes. “Which is never something I thought I’d get to say to Jason Morgan.”
He had his mother’s gloomy sense of humor, Jason thought as he called the clerk’s office. “Jimmy? Tell Richardson we’re even if Webber goes home.” He waited a minute, then hung up.
“That’s it?” Cameron frowned. “That’s all it takes? He’ll know?”
“He’ll know,” Jason said. He got out of the car as Max pulled into the parking spot next to him. He went to the passenger’s side to get Jake and Aiden.
“They fell asleep about ten minutes ago,” Max told him. “You want some help getting them upstairs?”
“Yeah.” Jason tossed his keys to Cameron. “I’m on the third floor, Apartment C.” He unbelted Jake and lifted his son into his arms, a pang of regret that with his eleventh birthday behind him, he was already too big to carry.
Max took care of seven-year-old Aiden, and the five of them trudged towards the building.
Once Jake and Aiden were settled in Jake’s bunk bed, Max left and Cameron was alone with Jason again.
“How do you know he’ll do it?” Cameron asked as Jason brewed a pot of coffee. “What if he doesn’t?”
Jason thought about the judge who liked to hire escorts in groups of two and three, and the wife and children he had at home. “He will.”
“What if he doesn’t?” Cameron insisted. “I mean, we can’t stay here forever.” He swallowed hard. “I didn’t think about what happens next. Mom told me to go, so I went. But she confessed. They might not let her take it back. If she goes to jail—” He looked towards the bedroom. “What happens to us?”
Jason hesitated, because he didn’t know. “That’s not going to happen—” he started, but Cameron clearly wasn’t in the mood for that.
“I’m not stupid, Jason. Bad things happen all the time. You can’t fix everything. If you could, Franco wouldn’t be here in the first place.” Cameron winced. “I’m sorry. I didn’t—’
“You’re right.” Jason looked at him. “I don’t know what happens to the three of you if your mother isn’t here to take care of you.” He hesitated. “I know that before—before Jake’s accident, she left custody of the two of you to me. She wanted you two to stay together. That was before Aiden was born. Laura might have taken over as guardian.” His lips tightened. “Or someone else from the Spencer family.”
“Oh.” Cameron closed his mouth. “I guess you’d get Jake, then. And Aiden would go to Grandma Laura or something, like Spencer.”
“Your mother might have other plans now. It’s been a long time since she could depend on me.” Jason hesitated. “But she can now. So can you.” He gestured down the hallway. “You want to sleep? My room is down the hall or you can take the couch—”
“I can’t sleep. I want—I need to see my mother.” Cameron shook his head. “I know you said the judge will let her go, but—”
“But you need to see for sure. Understood.”
An hour later, Diane called again — Elizabeth had been released on bail. Jason had already arranged to pay for it. Within thirty minutes, Diane had brought Elizabeth to the apartment.
She didn’t look much better than when Jason had left her five hours earlier, but she was relieved to see Cameron. Mother and son rushed at each other, and with a start, Jason realized that Cameron now towered over his mother—
He’d grown up. Just like Jake. None of them were little boys he’d known once.
“I’m so sorry,” Elizabeth murmured. She took Cameron’s face in her hands. “I’m so sorry, Cam.”
“It’s okay, Mom.” Cameron’s voice broke, and he sounded for a moment like a small child again. “It’s okay. You’re okay. That’s all that matters.”
He hesitated. “Mom, Jason told me Franco had—that he’d been stabbed. I didn’t—I didn’t do that.”
“Stabbed.” Elizabeth frowned. She stepped back, looked at Diane and Jason. “What are you talking about? He—he fell and hit his head.”
“No one told her?” Jason asked Diane sharply.
“Told her? Why would? She confessed.” Diane planted her hands on her hips. “Are you—”
“I didn’t kill him,” Elizabeth said. “I—” She swayed slightly, then looked at Cameron. “Oh, God, you didn’t do it either. You didn’t—”
“But then how the hell did he die?”
Diane frowned, then strode forward. “Elizabeth—at any point before Cameron left the house, were you hit in the head?”
Elizabeth turned, looked at her with bewilderment. “What?”
Jason saw what Diane was looking at—at the slight blood trail at Elizabeth’s hairline. “You—” He touched her face. “You were bleeding earlier. I didn’t think to ask—”
Diane pinched her lips together. “Elizabeth—”
“I don’t—I was in the living room—and the boys were gone, and I was going—” She looked at Jason. “I was going to call you, but then I—” Her hands fluttered up to her head. “I fell. Didn’t I?”
“Aiden had already called 911, because the cops were at the house by the time I got there. You didn’t calle them. Neither did Jake or Cameron. It had to be Aiden—”
“Unless someone knocked Elizabeth out, stabbed Franco, and called the police themselves.”