You think that you are strong but you are weak
It takes more strength to cry admit defeat
I have truth on my side
You only have deceit
You’ll see, somehow, someday
– You’ll See, Madonna
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Elizabeth’s Apartment: Hallway
Elizabeth stepped through the door that separated the stairway from the hallway of her apartment and scowled. Ric Lansing was leaning against her door with a stupid smirk on his face.
God, she couldn’t wait until next week when he learned she wasn’t the weak and vulnerable girl he’d preyed on all those years ago. She was going to wipe the floor with him.
“Elizabeth, I was hoping you’d be back soon.”
“This is harassment, Ric, and my lawyer isn’t going to like that,” she said, fishing her keys from her purse, making sure the paperwork for her Dominican divorce was safely stowed inside and out of sight.
“I just…wanted to check in.” Ric straightened. “You hired a lawyer?”
“Not yet, but I will. Do you have a purpose here, Ric? Or should I call the police?”
“You think Mac Scorpio is going to protect you from me? He blames you for his daughter’s transgressions.” He sniffed. “Misplaced to be sure, but it serves me well enough for now.”
“Well, then maybe I’d call Jason,” Elizabeth retorted. When Ric’s smirk deepened, she snorted. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you? You want me to go running to Jason to protect me?”
“Didn’t you?” Ric asked. “You went to Robin and Patrick’s last night. You think I won’t find a call to Jason from Robin’s phone?” He lifted an eyebrow.
“I think you have no probable cause to search Robin’s phone and if you tried, her parents would break your arms,” Elizabeth responded sweetly. “And thanks, Ric, for letting me know you’re tailing me.”
He hesitated, his face dropping a bit. Score one for her. “Where were you just now? Your car was outside in the parking lot.” He narrowed his eyes. “Did you borrow a car?”
“I walked to Eli’s for some lunch.” She tilted her head toward the door. “Robin and Patrick are inside now watching my son. And that’s the last time I’ll voluntarily tell you my whereabouts, Ric. Stay away from me.”
“You have six days, Elizabeth. Your freedom or Jason’s. You’d better make the right choice.”
Elizabeth pushed open the door and then found great pleasure in slamming it shut in his face.
Patrick rose from the sofa. “Was that Lansing? Was he waiting for you?”
“Down, Patrick.” Robin stepped through the threshold. “How did it go?”
Elizabeth held a finger, turned and opened the door to find Ric still there. “You keep standing there, Ric, I’m going straight to Alexis to tell her how you spent the blackout.”
He pressed his lips together. “Why do you know about that? Did Jason tell you?”
“Maybe Sam and I are besties,” she said. “Stay away from me, Ric. I don’t need Jason to make your life a living hell.” She leaned forward. “Alexis is a Cassadine. Her family makes you look positively normal, so if you want her to know your newest dirty secret—”
“I’m going.” He glared at her. “This isn’t over.”
“I didn’t think so,” Elizabeth murmured, watching her ex-husband stalk down the hallway toward the stairwell. Satisfied he was really gone, she closed the door. “So, I confirmed he had me followed last night, so thank God I switched cars.”
“I put in a call to my mother,” Robin said. “She’s having my phone records wiped for the time you used it.” She lifted her chin. “That scum isn’t going to know what you’re planning until it hits him in the face.”
“Does someone want to tell me what’s going on?” Patrick complained. “I mean, I’m all for showing Lansing up, but I’d like to be in on it.”
“I…” Elizabeth sighed. “So Ric started this investigation and had me suspended because he wanted leverage.”
“He wants to use you against Jason.” Robin sat down, a mug of coffee in her hands. “Oh, Cam’s playing in the bedroom, by the way. Patrick brought over the race cars.”
“Just a loaner,” Patrick said. “For like a week. I want them back in mint condition.”
“Hush.” Robin waved a hand. “How does he plan to use you?”
“He wants me to testify against Jason in a grand jury hearing.” Elizabeth took a seat on the sofa and removed her bag from her shoulder.
“Oh, hell, I see where this is going,” Robin sighed. “So, you’re going to protect Jason—”
“And Diane is filing a motion to have Ric pulled from any case dealing with me,” Elizabeth replied.
“For the Port Charles newbies,” Patrick said, raising a hand. “How exactly are you protecting Jason from your testimony—” He closed his mouth. “Oh. Hell. Liz. Babe. We can find another way.”
“How are you going to deal with the Lucky situation?” Robin asked, ignoring Patrick’s outburst.
Elizabeth pulled the papers from her bag. “Diane drew up the papers I need to file in the Dominican Republic. Lucky has to agree to let me file there in order to have the divorce recognized in New York.”
“How are you going to swing that?” Patrick asked. “Because this is one part of the nonsense I’m okay with.”
“I’m going to use the same thing he’s used on me for years. Guilt.” Elizabeth pulled out her cell phone. “I’m going to tell Nikolas what’s going on, and then tell him the best way to make me look innocent is if I walk away from Lucky, that they’re using our continued relationship as evidence of my involvement.”
Patrick whistled. “And you’re not going to mention that you intend to go through with the divorce. He’ll think you’re just filing for divorce and maybe you guys will stop it before it goes into effect and the charges are gone.”
“Lucky can draw whatever conclusions he wants to,” Elizabeth said. “They searched my home and found one last stash. In the cookie jar. My son lives in this apartment. He could have found them.” She closed her eyes. “Whatever loyalty I had left vanished in that moment. Cameron is more important.”
“No, no, I like this. It’s ice cold, just what he deserves.” Patrick clasped his hands. “So how long do you and Jason have to stay married?”
“That’s difficult to say,” Elizabeth admitted. “It’s…pretty open-ended at this point. We can’t get divorced as soon as Ric drops the grand jury proceedings because they can challenge the privilege.”
“You’d probably have to wait at least a year,” Robin said. “Because a ton of marriages fail in the first year—” She stopped. “Sorry.”
“Yeah, I’m living proof. One and done.” She leaned back. “I’m not going to think about that right now.” She took a deep breath. “I just…I have to get my paperwork done tomorrow because I’m leaving for the DR on Monday. I’ll be divorced Tuesday morning, and married that evening.” She rubbed her eyes. “Oh, man, put me on Maury now.”
“Well, whatever you need from us,” Robin said. “Cam can stay with us—”
“He can?” Patrick repeated. “I don’t know about that—”
“Actually, I’m going to have him stay with my grandmother. I’m going to tell her I need a few days to sort through my options regarding these charges and my marriage. I don’t want anyone else to know about this until Jason and I come back on Thursday. I don’t even plan to tell Emily or Nikolas, because they might stop Lucky from signing the papers.” She hesitated. “But, Robin, there is something maybe you could do for me.”
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Elizabeth pushed through the doors of Kelly’s, a cup of coffee in her hand stopping when Emily jumped up from one of the tables. “Emily.”
“You’ve been dodging my phone calls,” Emily said, folding her arms. “Elizabeth—”
“I’m just…dealing with some things.” Elizabeth furrowed her brow and looked around. “How did you know I’d be here—” She stopped. “Nikolas told you.”
“He said you two were going to Promises in order to get Lucky sign some divorce paperwork.” Emily stepped forward. “Elizabeth, I thought you were going to give Lucky a chance to clean himself up—”
Not this again. It always came back to this. “I have to do what’s right for me and Cameron, Emily.” She pressed her lips together. “You know about my suspension, what they suspect me of doing. Being connected to Lucky looks bad. I have to do what’s right—”
“I can talk to my parents—try to get the board to reinstate you,” Emily began.
Elizabeth shook her head. “They won’t. Not until the charges go away. I’ve talked to a lawyer, Emily, and she agrees this is the best thing—”
“You talked to Diane, you mean.” Emily pursed her lips. “Which means you went to Jason. Instead of talking to me or Nikolas, you went to my brother.”
Elizabeth sighed and looked away. Any thought of confiding in Emily was off the table. “I wanted to get in to Diane immediately. She’s a good lawyer, and I knew that since Jason has her on retainer, she’d call him back faster than she’d call me. I’m just trying to get this part of my life over with.”
“Jason has a lot on his plate, Elizabeth.” Emily tucked her hair behind her ears. “I mean, I know he’ll do what he can to help you, but he’s still dealing with Sonny’s illness and the breakup with Sam.”
“And I’m not dealing with anything?” Elizabeth retorted. “I’m pregnant, my husband screwed a teenager and his drug addiction lost me my job and might cost my freedom. I’m supposed to sit back and not pull strings with Jason because he broke up with his girlfriend five months ago? And don’t pull that bull with Sonny on me. He’s been on the road to recovery since August.”
Emily sighed. “I’m not saying it’s not difficult, Elizabeth, and I hate that it’s happening, but it’s just…Lucky’s in a bad place—”
“Oh, my God, I’m not listening to this anymore.” Elizabeth started past her, but turned at the entrance to the court yard. “You know, I get it. Lucky was your childhood best friend and Jason’s your brother. I’ve known for years I rate below both of them—”
“When I was drowning inside all those years ago during the modeling and the brainwashing, you kept telling me to stick it out. That Lucky would be himself again one day.” Elizabeth huffed. “It’s always about Lucky with you. Well, I’m tired of sacrificing myself on the altar of Lucky Spencer. Where the hell has it gotten me? Cops searched my home, I’ve got a police tail on me, I’m a month late on my rent because Lucky drained what was left of our money for the rehab.” She stepped towards him. “I’m pregnant, Emily. I have a son. At what point does it get to be a little about me?”
“I’m sorry,” Emily began but Elizabeth walked away, finally accepting that best friend was a label they’d put on their relationship years ago.
It no longer qualified.
Promises Rehab: Lucky’s Room
“Are you sure about this?” Nikolas asked as they waited for Lucky to return from a session. “I’m sure Diane can get these charges dismissed.”
Elizabeth sighed, feeling so drained by the day which wasn’t even half over. She still had to pack Cameron up for the four days he’d be with her grandmother, drop him off with her grandmother tonight and then pack for herself.
And somehow come to term with the fact that in three days, she’d exchange one husband for another.
“I have to do what’s right for my son at the moment, Nikolas. I don’t want Ric to be able to point to our marriage as a reason to believe I’d steal those pills.” Elizabeth held up the paperwork. “I just need to Lucky to sign this paper not to contest the divorce. If he’s really sorry for what he put me through, he’ll do it.”
“I know what he did with Maxie was wrong—”
“God.” Elizabeth tilted her head back. “It’s not even really about Maxie.” She looked away, thinking of how her life had changed since walking in on them in Kelly’s that night.
How far away it all seemed. No, the affair had simply been the last straw. She’d been clinging to the wreckage of her marriage for months—maybe since the moment Lucky had been injured and Jason had been the one to save her. The accusations of an affair with Patrick had been humiliating, but thank God Lucky hadn’t seen the truth.
She’d settled a year ago with her marriage and this summer had just opened her eyes to what her life could have been like if she’d made different choices once.
“I’m just…I’m tired, Nikolas. Please, be my friend and just help me talk Lucky into this.” She hesitated. “It’s better for him, too.”
“Better that the mother of his child wants to run away from him as fast as possible?” Nikolas said without heat. His eyes met hers. “Elizabeth, did he ever—that night when I found you on the floor—he never put his hands on you other than that?”
“What? No.” Elizabeth shook her head. “No, Nikolas. I would never have stayed. I—” She bit her lip. “But that was definitely the last straw. I’ve been…planning this for several weeks. I just…didn’t pull the trigger.” She sighed. “Maybe I was waiting until our anniversary so at least one of my marriages could make it that far.”
“I get it, Elizabeth. I know Emily still thinks you should hold out, but you’re right. You’ve got your kids to worry about.” Nikolas shrugged. “And even if he gets clean, he’ll always be a drug addict.”
She closed her eyes, the tears burning against her eyelids. “God, Nikolas. Thank you. You’re the only one who’s friends with us both to even consider me.”
“Hey, I tried to kill you once,” Nikolas murmured. “That makes us family.”
She laughed and wiped her eyes as Lucky pushed open the door. It was the first time she’d come into contact with him since he’d left for the rehab, since the second time she’d taken a hard fall and telling him and Jason about the baby.
He looked tired, his hair unruly like he’d been running his fingers through it. But his eyes were clear. “Elizabeth, Nikolas. They said you were waiting for me.”
“How’s it going here?” Nikolas asked, as Elizabeth shuffled some paperwork.
“Ah, it’s going.” Lucky eyed her. “I didn’t think you’d come—”
“The police are investigating me for stealing drugs in order to feed your habit,” Elizabeth cut in, coldly. “I’ve been suspended pending the outcome, but Ric has already informed me I’ll be charged by the end of the week.” She narrowed her eyes. “They found one last stash of Oxy you kept in my son’s cookie jar and were able to trace it to the hospital.”
Lucky’s shoulders slumped. “God, Elizabeth—I’ll sign an affidavit, testify, anything. I’ll tell them it was Maxie—”
“And ruin her life more than you already have?” she shot back. “I’ve got my beef with Maxie, but she was a young, vulnerable girl who’d just watched her boyfriend murdered in front of her. I’ve been there, thinking you have nothing to live for.” She shrugged. “I’d rather you keep her out of it. I’ve consulted a lawyer who recommended I file for divorce.”
“Divorce.” Lucky swallowed. “But we’re having a child—”
That fact remained to be seen, but Elizabeth tapped the paperwork on the desk. “I’ve brought the papers she drew up for an uncontested divorce. I need these charges to go away fast. I need my job, Lucky. I need those paychecks or I’m going to lose the apartment—”
“Elizabeth, you know I’d help—”
Elizabeth held up a hand to cut Nikolas’s offer in mid-stream. “You say you’re sorry. Well, I need you to prove it. You’ve almost shot me, you’ve thrown me to the ground, you’ve taken drugs, hid them in the home we shared with my son, and you screwed a teenager in our bed. You owe me this.”
He swallowed again, his hands trembling. “I want to make it up to you, Elizabeth. Please. Just give me a chance—”
She held out a pen. “This will be the start, Lucky. If you ever loved me, you’ll do this for me.”
Lucky looked at his brother. “You’re here with her…does that mean you think I should do this?”
“I—” Nikolas hesitated, clearly uncomfortable with being in the middle of this. “Lucky, you’ve put her through a lot. If this can help her get her job back and keep the DA at bay—you should do this.”
Lucky slowly reached for the pen and sighed. “I guess you’re right.” He cleared his throat. “Just…tell me where to sign.”
Elizabeth held back a sigh of relief as Lucky initialed and scrawled his signature on several pages where Diane had put flags without noticing it was paper work for the Dominican Republic. If he had noticed, she would have come with something but it was better than it had stayed under the radar.
Lucky slid the papers across the desk to her. “I’m sorry you’re dealing with this, Elizabeth. I’ll testify. Just tell your lawyer that.”
“I’m confident I’ll be exonerated,” Elizabeth said, putting the papers back in her bag. “After all, I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Greystone Manor: Living Room
Sonny set down a phone receiver as Jason entered that afternoon. “Hey. I pulled some strings to get Elizabeth a court hearing in Santo Domingo on Monday morning at ten-thirty, and I’ve got things set on the island—” He stopped. “You okay?”
“Uh, yeah.” Jason rubbed the back of his neck. “I just heard from Robin. Elizabeth convinced Lucky to sign the paperwork, so we’re good to go in the DR tomorrow.”
“I figured she’d be able to do it.” Sonny reached for another piece of paper. “Why is Robin getting in touch with you? I thought you gave Elizabeth a burner cell.”
“Yeah, but she’s still nervous about Ric. Robin said he was waiting for her when she got home from talking to me yesterday.” He exhaled slowly. “Let it slip he’d had a tail on her the night before.”
“Does he know she’s come to you?” Sonny asked, leaning against the table. “Should we move the time table up?”
“No.” Jason shook his head. “No, she needs—she needs time to get Cameron settled with her grandmother tonight. We’ll leave early tomorrow so she can file with the courthouse by noon.”
Sonny hesitated. “It’s happening pretty fast, isn’t it?” he asked quietly. “Five minutes ago, you were just waiting to find out if you were going to be a father, and now you’re looking at spending at least the next year as a husband.”
Jason lowered himself on the sofa. “I tried to talk to her out of it. Make her understand I could make the charges go away.” He rubbed his chin. “She threatened to lie in front a grand jury if Ric called her anyway.”
“You know, Jason.” Sonny said, crossing to the armchair and taking a seat. “It’s not the end of the world to accept help. Elizabeth wanted to help.”
“It just…” Jason shook his head. “I don’t know.”
“You want to say it doesn’t feel right,” Sonny said, “except those aren’t the right words.” He leaned forward. “Have the two of you discussed what this could mean? Particularly if you turn out to be the father of that child? You’d be in Cameron’s life as his stepfather, in your child’s life every single day for a while. Could you let that go?”
“It doesn’t matter what I want.” Jason looked straight ahead. He couldn’t think about the day to day of being married to Elizabeth, of having a family.
It never worked out for long.
Sonny cleared his throat. “Have you, maybe, considered not…making this…a simple marriage of convenience?”
Jason whipped his head around to face his partner. “What—what do you mean?”
“It’s not like you’re strangers,” Sonny said. “Or even bitter acquaintances. You two have a…bit of a past. Possibly a future. I know you care for each other. Have you discussed what kind of marriage this will be?”
“It’ll be whatever Elizabeth wants it to be,” Jason muttered, wanting a change of conversation immediately. “You said things were ready on the island?”
“I’ve arranged for the license, for a justice of the peace, you know—all the details. Robin called me—said Elizabeth asked her to be a witness at the wedding.”
Wedding. License. This…was really happening. He was going to marry Elizabeth on Tuesday evening. In forty-eight hours. “I’m glad Robin’s helping out. She—she said that her mother is having her cell phone calls wiped in case Ric figures out Elizabeth borrowed it.”
“I always liked that girl.” Sonny leaned forward. “So I know we’re letting the rest of the town find out about the marriage in Friday’s newspaper, but have you thought about…warning certain people?”
Jason blinked and looked away. “No. Elizabeth told Patrick and Robin, and I trust them to keep quiet for her sake. This works best if we move fast. Too many people know and the secret gets out.”
“You don’t think Sam is going to be interested in this news?” Sonny asked. “It’s only been five months—”
“A lot’s happened in those five months.” Jason shook his head. “I know I don’t have the right to be angry about Ric, but—”
“Why not?” Sonny asked. He lifted a shoulder. “Look, maybe she wants to excuse what she did and blame my brother for it. He’s not innocent, but Jason, she probably planned it for weeks.”
Jason rose to his feet. “Sonny—”
“Sam’s a con artist. Retired, maybe. But a con artist at heart.” Sonny crossed to his mini bar. “No accident that she latched on to you. Read you like a book. You like babies, like saving damsels in distress—”
“Sonny,” Jason began.
“—then she twisted herself all around to be the kind of woman you’d keep around. Tough, smart. Ruthless. Someone who’d follow you through the door. And you walked away from that. She blamed her mother. So, she tried to take away what her mother valued most—her stable family life.”
Jason exhaled slowly. “No. Sonny, she’s not like that. She wanted to hurt herself—”
“You know what I’m saying is true, because it’s why you’re twisted up about it.” Sonny gestured at him with the tumbler of bourbon in his hand. “Elizabeth used to be married to Ric, but that didn’t stop you from sleeping with her. She slept with Zander a few times, too. You couldn’t stand him. You don’t hold that against her.” He lifted a brow. “It’s because you know Sam wanted to kill two birds with one stone—to destroy her mother and destroy you. Sleeping with Ric did it.” He tilted his head. “And she ran right over to tell you, didn’t she?”
She had. The very next morning. Something sour burned in the back of his throat, because there was something to it. If Sam had just wanted to hurt herself, she could have slept with anyone else, but she’d chosen Ric Lansing.
“It doesn’t matter. I’m not warning her. She’s…unpredictable,” Jason admitted. “She’s gone after Elizabeth more than once because I told her about that night. I don’t trust her not to go to Ric to punish Elizabeth.”
“And that says it all, doesn’t it?” Sonny murmured as he sipped his drink.