November 5, 2004
Cottage: Living Room
Emily blinked. “Lucky’s not Cameron’s father?”
Looking somewhat horrified, Elizabeth shook her head. “God, no.”
“I think I need to sit down,” Emily said faintly. She sat on the bottom step and stared up at her friend. “It’s not Ric.”
“No,” Elizabeth shook her head.
“Not Zander. Not Lucky.” Emily searched for a possible substitute. Her face paled and she slowly stood. “Jason.”
Elizabeth bit her lip.
Emily whimpered. “My brother.”
Emily folded her arms across her chest and moved away from her best friend, letting that sink in. Jason Morgan, the brother she loved dearly. He was Cameron’s father. Elizabeth’s secret…lover? Were they still together? He’d bought this house for her.
Her brow furrowed. He had been distracted lately but she’d thought he’d been falling for Sam. Sam. Was Sam and her baby the reason Elizabeth did not fit? Had Jason put Sam above Elizabeth? Or was Elizabeth unhappy with that situation as a whole?
“He was engaged to Courtney when Cameron was conceived.” Emily stated this, did not ask but Elizabeth nodded. “It’s not in his nature to deceive.”
“No. It was–it was sudden,” Elizabeth admitted. “After your wedding to Zander, Jason and I were in the chapel. We thought you were going to die, Emily. We were consoling each other.” Her hands twisted together. “It had been so long since we connected. So long since I had been near him. All that bitterness, that anger. It was gone. It felt like it had been before. I kissed him.” She bit her lip and looked away, lost in the memory. “He kissed me back. We went to my grandmother’s house. She was out of town.”
“And after that?” Emily demanded.
“We spent the night together. I told myself we were just grieving in our own way,” Elizabeth said softly. “But it was more and we both knew it. But he had his obligations. To Courtney. To Sonny and Carly. He wasn’t free. He made his promises to her and I was still legally married to Ric.”
“But you were in the accident, how could the baby have survived?” Emily remembered.
“After the accident, when I was blind…Ric was always around and I didn’t want him at first. I could only remember Jason. I love him so much, Emily,” Elizabeth whispered. “Jason came to see me and he told me that when he’d heard about the accident, he’d been so worried–so upset. He’d come to the hospital to see how I was. He–it happened. I was at my studio then. It happened again and I just–I didn’t want to be without him. He felt the same way. We knew it would take some time to free ourselves. Ric wasn’t letting go easily and telling Courtney would be so painful.”
“You had an affair,” Emily realized.
“It didn’t last long. Only a few weeks. But I found out Courtney had set a date and I was devastated. He was supposed to have been working his way out of the relationship but she was still forging ahead. I–we argued. We said things–we’ve always argued badly.” Elizabeth hugged herself tightly. “And we ended it.”
“He married Courtney, and you married Ric.”
“When I found out I was pregnant, I was terrified. Cameron could have been Jason’s or Zander’s. But then the doctor told me I was due in late June and I was–I was relieved,” Elizabeth admitted. “Jason was married. I couldn’t bear the idea of having a married man’s child.”
“But the due date was wrong.”
“Yes, before I left, the doctor readjusted it and I was actually eight months along when I left. Jason was Cameron’s father. I didn’t–he was getting divorced then but I still didn’t know how to process that information. I left and when I came home, I told Jason immediately and for the first time in years, we talked. We really talked. He loves me, Emily. And I love him.”
“Then why aren’t you together?” Emily asked. “Why haven’t you told anyone?”
“Sonny, Carly and Sam.” Elizabeth sighed. “Jason knew his priorities needed readjustment. He knew that he had to make them understand he had his own life; that he needed to live it. He didn’t want to subject Cameron or me to them without that being clear.”
“So he’s asked you to keep it a secret?” Emily asked, aghast. “Like you were some mistress and Cameron was some illegitimate bastard to be ashamed of?”
“It’s not like that! Why does everyone immediately assume it is?” Elizabeth cried. “Steven all but accused me of being his whore.”
“Well perhaps Steven has a point. I love my brother, Elizabeth, but you never should have let him get away with this,” Emily said. “You should have put your foot down and told him that–”
“If I had given him an ultimatum, I would have lost him,” Elizabeth said fiercely. “And I would rather spend an evening with Carly than lose him again.”
“Better that than your self-respect,” Emily seethed.
“What do you call what you’ve done?” Elizabeth challenged. “You married Zander when you knew you loved Nikolas. You broke Zander’s heart, drove him to do dangerous things and he ended up dead. Nikolas was barely gone a few months before you almost moved on to his brother. You chose to help Connor when you knew he could turn Nikolas in. What right do you have to judge me?”
PCPD Municipal Building: Brianne Joyce’s Office
A knock on her open door jarred Brianne from her study of a law book. She glanced up to see Ric Lansing standing just inside her tiny office. “DA Lansing,” she murmured. She stood.
Ric waved. “Sit down. Just wanted to run over some details with you on the Sanchez case.” He sat in the chair in front of her desk and Brianne took her seat. “I just got off the phone with Commissioner Scorpio.”
Brianne tensed. “Mr. Lansing, if Mac Scorpio has taken issue with my handling of the case, he ought to take it up with me–”
“Brianne, call me Ric. And yes, he has taken issue with your handling of the case but I don’t agree with him. He’s a good cop, but you were correct in asking him to assign a separate officer. Brooke Lynn is the daughter of his friends, the best friend of his own daughters. He isn’t being objective.”
“I can understand why he would be reluctant to question Miss Ashton as to her relationship with the suspect,” Brianne remarked, “but I have to have all the facts even if I have to ask her myself.”
“Well, Sergeant Lucky Spencer has been assigned to the case. I’m a little concerned about his choice. Spencer has a history of crossing the line when it comes to his work. He’s protected his brother from the law quite a few times. Engaged in cover ups. He was recently demoted from Detective.”
“So why didn’t you argue the assignment?” Brianne questioned. Ric rose and stood behind the chair for a moment.
“Because I believe he’s a good cop. With the right influence, he could be a great one,” Ric admitted. “I just thought you should know his history. So you could keep an eye on him.”
“All right then,” Brianne said. “I’ll meet with him Monday morning.”
General Hospital: Sam McCall’s Room
“So how long?” Sonny asked quietly after Jason had sat on the other side of Sam’s hospital bed. “How long have you been seeing Elizabeth?”
Opting for the safe answer, he answered, “Since she came home from California.”
“Since July then.” Sonny leaned back and kept his dark eyes on Sam’s pale face. “Over four months you’ve kept it from us. Why?”
“Because she didn’t deserve the way she’d be treated,” Jason said after a moment. “By Carly. By Courtney.”
“By me,” Sonny said simply. He exhaled slowly. “It’s no secret how much I depend on you. And it’s not right. I got along pretty well before I knew you and when you were out of town. But since you came home that last time, that changed.” Sonny looked at him. “Why do you suppose that is?”
“I don’t know,” Jason answered honestly. “I suppose a lot of the time, I didn’t really think I had anything better to do.” He stood and moved towards the windows that looked over the hallway. “I know how that sounds considering I was married to your sister.”
“If you remember, I wasn’t in favor of that from the start,” Sonny remarked idly. He rolled his shoulders. “Partly because I didn’t want her in this life and also because of Elizabeth.”
Jason turned back to look at his old friend. “You never said it.”
“I didn’t see the point. You wouldn’t have admitted it.” Sonny sighed. “There are certain people who come into our lives, Jason. People who change us, who make us want to be better, to deserve them. And no matter how much we try to walk away from them, we will always love them.”
“You’re talking about Brenda,” Jason said quietly.
“She was the love of my life,” his best friend admitted freely. “I love Carly, but you can only have one person who’s the other half of your soul, Jason.” Sonny sighed, somewhat troubled. “And Brenda was mine.”
Bobbie’s Brownstone: Living Room
“When are we going home?” Michael demanded when his mother walked through the archway from the front hall. He tossed his Playstation paddle on the floor and stood, planting his fisted hands on his hips. “I’m tired of visiting Grandma.”
“Michael…” Carly sighed and sat on the sofa. She patted the tan cushion next to her. “Sit down.”
Her son cautiously climbed onto the couch and looked at her intently. “Did you mess up again? Is Daddy mad at you?”
Carly exhaled slowly. “I know that this last year has been tough on you. Your father and I separating last winter and now…now we’re separating again.”
Michael sighed. “For how long this time?” he asked, resigned.
“This time, it’s different.” Carly rubbed her temples. How to explain this to him? “Michael, I filed for divorce this morning.”
Michael blinked slowly. “What’s that?”
“It’s when two people who are married aren’t anymore. Now, your father doesn’t know about this yet. It’s not something we really discussed. But I filed this morning and I want you to know it won’t be like the last time with the court rooms and the judges. We’re not going to fight over you and Morgan.”
“What are you going to do?” Michael asked suspiciously.
“We’re going to share custody. I don’t know the details yet. You’ll probably spend the weeks with me, and the weekends with your father. You can see him whenever you want, though. I know how much you love each other and I would never want to take that away from either of you.”
“You really aren’t going to get back together this time, are you?” Michael asked quietly. He shifted on the cushion and stared at her intently.
“No. We’re not,” Carly answered.
His shoulders slumped and he looked away. After a long moment, he looked back at his mother. “Are we going to live with Grandma forever then?”
“For a while,” Carly nodded. “Eventually, we’ll find a place of our own. But for right now, this is where we’re going to live. Are you going to be okay with this?”
“I guess,” Michael said. “I wish we could still be together but I guess if I still get to see Dad a lot, it’ll be okay.”
Carly sighed in relief. “Okay. Okay, that’s good to hear. Thank you, Michael.”
General Hospital: Outside Brooke’s Room
Lucas stopped in front of Brooke’s room and hesitated. “Is a doctor in there?” he asked Ned who was sitting in a chair next to the door.
Ned sat up and cleared his throat. “Ah, no, no. Brooke was sleeping.” He rubbed his eyes and Lucas felt bad. He knew that Brooke’s father hadn’t really left the hospital since Tuesday night. Had probably not eaten, not had a change of clothes or done more than wash up in the bathrooms.
“She’s going home soon right?” Lucas asked. He sat in the chair next to Ned. He set the flowers he’d brought his girlfriend across his lap. “Monday.”
Ned nodded. “Yeah.” He scrubbed his hands over his face. “Monday. Look, you and the girls and Dillon, you’ve been really good to Brooke Lynn. I’m glad–I’m glad she’s got you guys for support. She’s gonna need it. The trial…” he shook his head. “I don’t know how she’s supposed to get through it all.”
“She will.” Lucas nodded. “She’s strong, Mr. Ashton. You and her mother have set really good examples for her and she’ll stand up. But she’ll always have us.” He hesitated. “So Diego’s going to trial.”
“Yeah.” Ned’s dark eyes began to smolder as he thought of his little girl having to face that scum in the courtroom. “It’s good thing he’s not out on bail.”
“Yeah,” Lucas muttered. “I hear that.”
General Hospital: Cafeteria
“Sonny,” Lois touched his arm as he stood at the coffee vending machine. Sonny turned to see his old friend standing there with sad eyes. “I heard about the baby. I’m so sorry.”
“I heard about Brooke,” Sonny said in return. He kissed her cheek and steered her towards an empty table. “I can’t begin to think of what you’re going through.”
Lois laughed bitterly and dropped into a chair. “It’s like walking through a fog,” she murmured. “I worked so hard to protect my Brookie from everything and now…the most terrifying thing you can imagine has happened.”
“How is Ned handling this?” Sonny asked.
“About as well as you can imagine. He hardly speaks to anyone except Brooke. He’s falling all over himself trying to give her everything she needs. And he’s talking about suing Social Services, Courtney…” Lois sighed heavily. “I know she’s your sister, Sonny, but she’s not fit to have a teenager under her roof.”
“No, no she’s not. I’ve been involved in my own thing lately,” Sonny said. “With Sam and Carly’s father…I wasn’t able to give her my opinion on that subject.”
“I doubt she would have been receptive to it,” Lois said with a faint smirk. “How is Sam?” she asked, changing the topic.
“Still unconscious. Jason’s sitting with her right now but I’m going to send him home when I go back up.” Sonny glanced into his coffee. “He’s seeing someone and I think she ought to know that I know about it now.”
“Jason, huh?” Lois smiled. “Well, if he’s not seeing Sam or your sister, then it’s the other brunette he spends all that time with.”
“What do you mean?” Sonny asked curiously.
“Elizabeth Webber, Audrey’s granddaughter. I’ve seen them around town. They make a nice couple.” Lois sipped her water. “Anyway, it’s going to be hard when Sam wakes up. I don’t envy you having to tell her.”
“Yeah.” Sonny exhaled slowly and sipped his coffee. “Yeah.”
“What do you think about Lorenzo Alcazar?” Lois asked after a moment of silence. “Truly.”
Sonny frowned. “Lois…”
“Just give me the benefit of the doubt,” Lois instructed. “What do you think about him?”
“He’s ruthless,” Sonny admitted. “It makes me glad I don’t go up against him in business because he’d be a challenging enemy and I don’t have the energy to deal with one of them right now. He’s single-minded. Very capable of focusing on something until he gets it.” His lips twisted into a grimacing smile. “Even if it’s my wife.”
Lois nodded. “So you respect him.”
Sonny tilted his head to the side and considered that. “I guess I do. You’re not thinking of becoming involved with him, are you?”
“It’s more than that,” Lois told him. She hesitated but eventually divulged Lorenzo’s confession to him. “And now I’m wondering if I can avoid holding the son’s sins against the father.”
Sonny sat back and digested this new information. “It must be tearing him up inside to know his flesh is capable of something like that.”
“He was going to bail him out of this, get the charges dropped,” Lois admitted. “But when he found out what they were, he decided not to help. That’s not a decision he could make lightly, is it?”
“I don’t know that any man would abandon his son without it weighing on him,” Sonny admitted. “It was decent of him to tell you the truth. To tell you before someone else did. You obviously mean something to him.”
Lois looked down at the table for a long moment before meeting his dark eyes. “Thank you. Thank you for saying that. I know you don’t like him but it means a lot that you would say that.”
“You mean a lot to me, too,” Sonny said. He reached across the table and squeezed her hand. “I truly am sorry for what you’re going through. You and Ned and most especially Brooke. If there is anything you need, please do not hesitate to call.”
“I won’t. Why don’t you go upstairs and relieve Jason so he can go home to his girl?” Lois suggested.
Elizabeth’s Cottage: Living Room
The words hung between them and finally Emily looked away. “You know I love you, Elizabeth. That I only want you to be happy.”
Elizabeth exhaled slowly and felt the tension drain from the room. “I know. And I hate this situation. I do. But it’s nearly over. And Jason loves Cameron.”
“I love my brother, too. And believe me, I am glad that he has this life waiting for him. I just–” Emily shook her head. “I just don’t feel like this can end well. You’ve been keeping such a large secret from everyone. You’ve been keeping part of yourself a secret. Are you sure you won’t come to resent Jason for it?”
Elizabeth sighed and sank back onto the couch. “I’m hoping it won’t come to that.”
Deciding a change in subject would be best, Emily crossed to the fireplace and turned to face her old friend. “You’ve heard about Brooke Lynn.”
Elizabeth raised her eyes and nodded. “Yes, I’m so sorry it happened but they’ve caught him. That will mean something to her in the long run.”
“She’ll go to trial. She’ll have to testify in front of him,” Emily continued. “Mac Scorpio suggested she speak to someone who has experience going through this. He suggested you.”
“What?” Elizabeth asked, surprised. “Me?”
“You’d know better what Brooke’s facing than any of us would,” Emily told her. “I wouldn’t want to dredge up…I just…she needs someone who will understand.”
“I’m not sure if I can be much help,” Elizabeth replied, “but I can go see her. If it’s okay with her parents.”
Emily nodded. “I told Ned I’d speak with you. Brooke goes home on Monday. If you could speak with her then. Before the ADA Ric assigned to the case interviews her.”
“Where’s she staying?” Elizabeth asked after a moment. “The Gatehouse?”
Emily nodded. “I’ll tell Ned and Lois to expect you.”
There was a knock on the door and it opened to reveal Jason, who stopped short at the sight of his sister. “Emily.”
“Jason. I’m surprised to see you here.” Emily bent down and started to put her magazines into her bag. She shifted the leather strap over her shoulder and pulled the wedding planner into her arms. “Has Sam woken yet?”
“No. Sonny’s sitting with her. I’ll be going to see her tomorrow,” Jason said. He hesitated, looked at Elizabeth who was staring at the ground. “Sonny wanted me to come and thank Elizabeth again for donating bone marrow to Kristina.”
Emily narrowed her eyes and looked to her best friend’s miserable countenance. “Well that was nice of Sonny.” She looked back at her brother. “I miss the days when you chose telling a truth over a lie. Because no matter how hard the truth can be to hear, the lies hurt the people you’re trying to protect.”
“I’m going to stop by the hospital and check on Ned. See if I can convince him to come home and at least eat something more than hospital food.” She kissed Elizabeth’s cheek. “Don’t forget about Monday.”
She stepped up to the landing and paused by her brother. “How can Sonny and Carly be more important than your own son?”
She left before Jason could formulate a reply. He turned to Elizabeth who was staring fixedly at the wall. “You told her.”
“She thought Lucky was Cameron’s father,” Elizabeth murmured. “I think she knew all along Zander wasn’t. The coloring–it’s not right.” She turned to look at Jason. “I couldn’t let her think Lucky was. She’d want to know why he wasn’t in our life. Why he wasn’t with his son.”
“I didn’t tell her you thought Sonny and Carly were more important. She came to that conclusion all on her own.” She rubbed her hands together and started for the kitchen. “I’m going to get some dinner. Are you staying?”
“Sonny knows,” Jason told her as he followed her down the short hallway into the kitchen. “I was talking to Sam about you and he overheard. He knows, at least, that we’re together.”
Elizabeth opened the fridge and removed some lunchmeat. She set it on the counter and looked back at him. “But not about Cameron.”
“No. I didn’t–I didn’t know how to tell him so soon after he’s lost his daughter. It didn’t seem fair and I don’t think he would have accepted it easily.”
Elizabeth closed her eyes. “So I take it you’ve solved things between you regarding Sam.”
“He accepts that we’re together. I’ll tell Carly the same thing and when they’re used to that–”
“No,” Elizabeth murmured. “I understand that telling Sonny now would be painful. That he might not want to hear it. But he’s going to have to deal with it one day. They both will.” She spun to face him, her expression irritated. “You’re concerned with Courtney.”
“I don’t want to hurt her,” Jason admitted.
“But it’s okay to hurt me.” Elizabeth arched an eyebrow. “Just how long do you expect I should wait for my son to have a father, Jason? You think that because Sonny and Carly know we’re together, that it’s okay no one knows about Cameron?”
“No, it’s not okay.” Jason muttered something under his breath. “Elizabeth, I don’t want to hurt anyone, least of all you. And that’s all I seem to be doing.”
“You had an affair with your ex-girlfriend while you were engaged to your best friend’s sister. You conceived a child with her, one you’ve been hiding for months. Your other best friend can’t stand the sight of me and I’ve never quite gotten along with your ex-wife. You’re going to have to hurt someone.”
“I just need time, time to make this all okay. I don’t want Courtney to hear it from someone else. She doesn’t deserve that.”
“Sonny doesn’t deserve to be hurt, Carly doesn’t deserve it and neither does Courtney. I guess that leaves me.” Elizabeth turned back around and started to make herself a sandwich. “Well, Jason, until you’re finished hurting me, I don’t want you in this house.”
He stared at her. “Elizabeth–”
“You may have bought it but you put my name on the deed to avoid questions. This is my house and I won’t have you in it anymore. I won’t be your escape from your life and I’m not subjecting my son to the crumbs of time you allot him.” She said these words calmly, with any sign of emotion. Her hands were trembling but he didn’t see that. “I love you, Jason, but I don’t deserve to be treated like a second-class whore.”
“God damn it, Elizabeth, that’s not what you are!” He raked his fingers through his hair. “Why do you let other people tell you how to feel?”
“They’re just pointing out what I’d tried to forget. That as far as the rest of the world is concerned, you’re probably still pining for your ex-wife. Or worse, for Sonny’s ex-mistress. No one would even guess you were supposed to be in love with me. That was I supposed to mean something to you.” Elizabeth hesitated and took a deep breath. “And you’re a fine one to talk about letting other people tell you how to feel. Why the hell are we keeping this a secret if not for the people in your life?” She slammed the top slice of bread on her sandwich.
“You said you understood. From the very beginning, you said you understood why we had to do this,” Jason said after a long moment. “Was that a lie?”
“I understood when I thought it would be a few weeks, a month at the most. But here we are into the fourth month with no real end in sight. Because what’s going to make you tell people about Cameron? If we’re together, people will assume you’re part of his life. And as he gets older, why–it will only be natural if he thinks you’re his father. Why should you ever have to say a damn word?”
She shoved the lunchmeat back into the fridge and still refused to look at him. “I know you love him, Jason. And I will never keep him from you. But right now, you can’t be bothered to tell people you’re his father and as far as I’m concerned, you aren’t.”
The blood drained from his face and he swallowed hard. “Elizabeth.”
“Until you’re ready to admit it, then you’re not his father,” Elizabeth continued ruthlessly. She knew how the words must hurt him because she of all people understood how much he loved their son. But Cameron was her son and she had to protect him at all costs. After a moment of silence, she went for the final blow. “As far as I’m concerned, we’re through as well. I can’t be with someone I can’t respect.”
He opened his mouth to argue, to say something–anything. He couldn’t find the words. He couldn’t begin to think how to fix this. He’d had this world in his hands. This woman whom he loved, who loved him. A son. A family who loved him above anything else. And he was losing it. He could feel it slipping away from him and he didn’t know how to hold it.
“I spent a long time pretending that I didn’t love you,” he said finally. “I’m not sure if you know but I’ve cared for you for a long time. Long before you were ready. I think if I hadn’t been afraid you’d be thinking of Lucky, I would have kissed you that night we danced at Kelly’s.”
She closed her eyes and gripped the side of the counter. She said nothing.
“You weren’t ready for that then and I don’t think I was either. And when Lucky came home, it just–I love you, Elizabeth. But I think I always knew I could never be with you.”
Something inside her began to crack and her lips trembled but still she said nothing.
“You deserve better than what I’ve given you. You always have. And Cameron deserves more than what I’ve been able to give to him. I want to make this right for you, for him. I’ll tell Sonny about Cameron. And Carly…Courtney. I don’t have the right to ask you for more, I know that. But Cameron is my son.”
This was going to be okay, she could feel it now. Jason would tell the truth and it was all going to be okay. Elizabeth opened her eyes; she could feel the chill seeping from her bones.
“Sam’s going to stay in the penthouse. So I’ll have to find another place to live,” Jason continued. “But once I have, I–I’ll want custody.”
Panic clogged her throat and her vision began to blur. “C-custody?” she stammered.
“Shared,” Jason said quickly. “I would never take him from you, Elizabeth. You have to believe that.”
It was she that couldn’t speak now. He wasn’t going to fight for them. She’d overplayed her hand, overestimated her worth to him. “Of course,” Elizabeth managed to say. “I should…I should see to him. You can let yourself out.”
She made it past him and up the stairs. She closed her bedroom door as quietly as possible before sinking to the floor in tears.