August 28, 2016

Sorry for not posting this last night — I posted on Facebook that yesterday was a weird day in which I caught up on all the sleep I’ve been skipping. I literally slept off and on for about sixteen hours. Oy.

Anyway, I wrote this tonight, and if I can figure out a way to continue this, I will. I’ve been playing around with some historical fiction stories, so happy to come up with something. Flash Fiction #3: Illusions of Truth I don’t like the title, but, eh.

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This entry is part 1 of 5 in the Flash Fiction 60: A King's Command

Remember — no time for editing or spellcheck 😛

“Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.” – Jane Austen

The command from King James had come like a thunder cloud.

Jason, one of the king’s favored warriors and leader of the illustrious Clan Morgan, would wed the Lowland daughter of a minor chieftain who lived so close to the cursed border that he might as well be a Sassanech.

There would be no explanation for the command, no context for why James commanded it be so—and there would be no questioning. Men did not question their king and keep their head. Their family’s holdings.

Jason’s family had fought for the Bruce a century previous and remained closely allied with the royal family—had fought against the usurper Balliol. He was loyal.

He stood in the chapel before the priest, his infamous stoical nature all that kept him from raging at his king and a world in which he could be the supreme leader of his own people and not in charge of his own destiny.

A Lowlands wench would hardly survive the first winter in the Highlands, and yet he would have to breed that weakness into his sons. After all he had sacrificed and worked for—

She appeared on her father’s arm at the end of the chapel, a pretty delicate girl in a gown of blue with her with chestnut hair bound up under a gold circlet.

And she looked terrified. No doubt she had had her Lowland mind filled with stories of Highland chiefs and their rough way of life. Of Jason’s deeds in battle, which might as well appear savage to her.

“Here.” Her father—whose name Jason had not asked for—took her arm and thrust her away. The girl—Elizabeth—stumbled slightly, and Jason caught her. He eyed the father with suspicion. He seemed to happy to be rid of the girl—what could be wrong with her?

“If we may?” the priest said with a light cough.

Jason caught the eye of his king who narrowed his eyes. Whatever the reason for the commanded marriage—there was little Jason could do now. She would be his wife.

When it came time for her to give her vows, she was quiet for a moment, but her hands squeezed his and her eyes found his. They were blue—as deep and dark as the loch near his home.

“Lass,” he prompted, when she said nothing. “You must swear your oath.”

“Aye,” she said, her voice low and even. She cast a look at the priest before looking back at Jason. “Aye, I will.” She seemed more assured, as if—as if in that moment their eyes had met—he had reassured her. Her grasp on his hands eased until they just lay in his, palm to palm.

“Laird?” the priest prompted.

“Aye,” Jason said, and she smiled. A genuine smile—at odds with the fear that he had seen when she had entered the chapel. What had changed? If she was not afraid of him, then…

His shoulders tensed as he saw her father, murmuring at the king. Aye. Something was amiss here if the lass felt more at ease with a man she had known for minutes than her own family.

He would discovery what treachery was afoot.

Inside the chambers lent to them for the occasion of the wedding, the former Elizabeth Webber laced her fingers together tightly and closed her eyes. Remembering the flash she had received when she had looked into the eyes of her new husband.

He was a kind man, she told herself. Gruff. Stubborn. But kind. And if she was a good wife to him, he would be a good husband to her. She had seen them, sitting by a fire—her heavy with child, he carving the cradle where their child would sleep. They had been content. Serene.

She knew the flashes did not always come true—that they were often just a window into the possibilities. He might be killed in battle, she might be lost to disease.

But it would be better than what had come before.

If she never told him about who she was. What she was. Then she would be safe.

She just had to keep her secret.

There was a light knock on the door, and then her husband was standing there. She rose from her chair, and they both stared at each other for a long moment.

“I am…nervous,” she admitted. She looked towards the bed. “I know what we must do. That you must—that we must show the sheets tomorrow—”

“I—” Jason, her husband, hesitated. And she could feel his own nerves, his own desire to protect her—but to—she tilted her head. She did not quite recognize that second emotion, but it seemed heated.

“I will not hurt you,” he said finally. He reached for her hand. “I will never hurt you, Elizabeth. I promise that.”

It was not the truth, of course. She saw it when she took his hand. But his intent was pure, and that shone through. He would never intend to hurt her—he would never lock her away, never withhold food or human companionship.

But no one could promise a life free of hurt. And the decency she saw in him—

There was no way to know if it would last. If he would accept her secret. Her curse had a way of turning even the innocent and pure against her.

“I trust you,” Elizabeth said, finally. As much as she could ever trust. “And I will be a good wife. You will never regret this day, my lord.”

“My name is Jason,” he said, drawing her close and dipping his head to kiss her. She did not know quite what he wanted from her, but his lips were smooth and warm, and she felt a tingle in her chest, warmth spreading to her fingertips.

“Aye, Jason,” she said when he raised his head, her breath a bit short. He dipped his head again—but she cried out.

Pain flashed in her chest—like heavy metal cutting into her skin. Elizabeth stumbled to the side, falling to her knees, clutching her hands to her chest. There was no dagger. No weapon.


It was not her pain she had felt, not her death she envisioned.

But her husband’s.

She looked at him, tears spilling down her cheeks. He would die, at the hands of someone he trusted.

“Elizabeth—” He knelt next to her. “What is it?”

She could tell him. It was unlikely that he would believe her–he might have their marriage annulled and cast her out. And still he would die.

Elizabeth closed her eyes, and tried to bring back that first image. Of the family they might create. It was still there—still possible.

She had to keep it from him, return to his home, and find a way protect him—and her secret.

August 24, 2016

I added Bittersweet, Chapter Three a little early — tomorrow I’m working a long shift and going out with friends afterwards. I was afraid I would forget, and I wanted to make sure it got posted at all four locations on time. Enjoy 🙂

Oh, and my brand-new nephew was born today 🙂 8.1 pounds, 20 inches. He’s gorgeous 🙂

This entry is part 3 of 35 in the Bittersweet

Well, you can say what you want
But it won’t change my mind
I’ll feel the same
About you
And you can tell me your reasons
But it won’t change my feelings
I’ll feel the same
About you

Say What You Want, Texas

Saturday, April 20, 2002

AJ and Courtney’s Apartment: Living Room

The last person AJ expected to see when he answered his door on a Saturday morning was his erstwhile younger brother.

But there Jason stood at his threshold, dressed in his characteristic jeans, t-shirt, and leather jacket. His expression was flat and without emotion, as always.

AJ sighed and stepped back. “Do you want to come in and yell at me, or do you want to do it from the hall?” he asked.

Jason hesitated a moment, then stepped into the room, standing by their small sofa. “I came to tell you I don’t want you to bother Elizabeth anymore. She doesn’t have anything to do with it.”

AJ shut the door. He hadn’t expected this particular complaint, but maybe he ought not to be surprised. He’d known there was a connection of some sort, a friendship between Jason and Elizabeth—he just hadn’t thought about it when he’d gone to see her. “I disagree. She lives with Michael, she takes him to school sometimes. She’s friends with my wife, with my sister. Elizabeth, whether you like it or not, is involved.”

“She isn’t going to be the one making the decisions about Michael.” Jason’s expression or stance didn’t change, but he drew in a breath and released it before continuing, his fists tight at his sides. “So leave her alone.”

Again, I have to disagree. When I file for custody, she’ll likely be called as a character witness.” AJ folded his arms. “She’s friends with my wife—she can testify that Courtney would be an amazing stepmother, she knows the family, she knows I’m sober—”

“For now,” Jason retorted. “But how long is that going to last?”

And coming from Jason of all people, this was something AJ couldn’t easily refute. He, more than anyone else, had a reason to doubt AJ’s sobriety—had seen the damage that could be done. Had been a victim of it. “I go to AA meetings twice a week,” he told his brother quietly. “And sometimes, when I’m frustrated, when I get angry, I go again. There have been weeks when I’ve gone just those two times, and others when it’s been seven days.”

Jason didn’t respond to that. Maybe he didn’t have an answer.

“I’m an alcoholic, Jason. I’m always going to be one,” AJ continued. “I can’t ever change the things I did to hurt the people that mattered. After the accident—I didn’t just hurt you, you know. I devastated my entire family. They’ll never look at me the same way. If I had been sober the night Carly fell down the steps, maybe it would have been different. I didn’t push her, but that doesn’t make me any less responsible.”

Some of the tension left Jason’s shoulders, but still his expression remained stoic. “You think it changes anything? Now that you’ve admitted what you are?”

It did for AJ, but maybe Jason would always seem him as that screw up. “Is Michael what changed between us?” he asked quietly. “After the accident, you didn’t really give a damn about me. You hated that the family covered for me, you thought I was pretty useless, but you didn’t hate me. You do now.”

Jason looked away and swallowed, his Adam’s Apple bobbing lightly. “This isn’t about what happened before—”

“Isn’t it?” AJ demanded. “You protected Carly before Michael was born because you didn’t give a damn either way. But after—when Carly was gone, and you were forced to be his father—he became someone else to protect. You started to wonder if he’d be next person in the car?”

Jason pressed his lips together, took another deep breath. “I didn’t come here for this—I just want you leave Elizabeth out of it—”

“What I did to you, what I did to my family—I’ll have to live with it for the rest of my life, but I have to forgive myself, Jason. Even if no one else ever can, I have to,” AJ retorted. “Because it’s the only way I’ll have a reason to stay sober. I love my son. And I have a right to be his father. I’m not going after him right now because he’s just lost his mother, and Bobbie’s devastated. But don’t mistake my compassion for anything else. When the time is right, I’m going after him, and I’ll use whatever tools at my disposal to win. Including Elizabeth.”

Jason’s snapping blue eyes met his, lit with anger. “And the only way you’ll step near Michael is over my dead body,” he said, his tone ice cold. He stepped towards his brother. “You’ve destroyed everything you’ve ever touched.”

He yanked the door open and stalked out. AJ silently closed it behind him, wishing like hell he could hate Jason for keeping his son from him.

But Jason wasn’t wrong. As much as AJ loathed the idea, Jason loved Michael like his own, and he was protecting him. Jason might be the only person in Michael’s life who had ever put him first and kept him there.

AJ hadn’t, but would going forward. He was sober, he was married to a wonderful woman—he had his life back, and now he wanted to share it with his son.

General Hospital: Nurse’s Station

Bobbie made a note in the scheduled rotation for the pediatric ward, grateful that Audrey Hardy’s retirement at the end of December and her subsequent promotion to the head of the nursing program at the hospital allowed Bobbie to sink her mind into work and not think about what was going on in her life.

Her grandson was at home with Lucas, still bewildered and lost over his mother’s absence. Michael might be able to understand the concept that some people die—that they went away and didn’t return, but he couldn’t apply it to Carly. Mommies didn’t die, Michael had told her. They couldn’t.

So, Lucas was attempting to keep Michael busy through a combination of video games and sugar until either Bobbie or Elizabeth could pick him up. They were going to reintroduce Jason slowly to him—he’d been out of Michael’s life for almost four years, and Jason didn’t want to upset Michael any more than he already had been.

Her life often felt like she was juggling chainsaws—if she took her eye off of one, if she allowed herself to be distracted—one might fall and slice off a limb.

“Aunt Bobbie!”

Bobbie glanced at the grating tones of her nephew, instantly feeling annoyed at herself for hating his voice. This was Lucky, their miracle returned them.

Except she had trouble reminding herself of that. The young man in front of her wore Lucky’s face, spoke with an older version of his voice—but Lucky hadn’t come home. Not in any way that truly mattered. And she could never quite forgive him for what he’d done to Lucas, even though he’d been under Helena’s brainwashing.

“Lucky.” Bobbie pulled over a chart and scrawled her signature at the bottom. “I hope you’re not ill.”

“What?” He blinked. “Oh, no. I’m here to treat you to lunch—”

“I’m quite busy, Lucky. I’ve missed a few days.” Bobbie met his eyes evenly. “And you’ve barely spoken to me since Elizabeth moved in—” And nothing more than a perfunctory visit when the police had declared Carly dead.

“There’s no point in holding that against you, Aunt Bobbie. Not now. Elizabeth made her choice. Her loss.” Lucky folded his arms, leaning on the counter of the nurse’s station. “We’re worried about you, Aunt Bobbie. Losing Carly and all.”

To her knowledge, Lucky had never shown much more concern or even awareness that Carly was part of the Spencer family, so she knew there had to be an ulterior motive for this conversation. “Lucky, why don’t you skip the buildup and get to the point?”

“Dad and I wondered if maybe you were up to the fight you’re going to have wage against the Quartermaines to keep Michael,” Lucky admitted. “After losing Carly, after everything you’ve been through, why put yourself through it?”

“There haven’t been any decisions made regarding Michael’s custody,” Bobbie said coolly, “and your father likely doesn’t care.” She arched a brow. “Interesting that you’ve suggested this after Jason came home.” God, Spencer men. Idiots.

Lucky scowled. “I don’t give a damn about him. He has nothing to do with this—”

“Elizabeth is close to Michael. She looks after him, she picks him up occasionally. Any proximity she has to Michael puts her in closer contact with Jason.” Bobbie leaned forward. “You need to let this go, Lucky.”

“I don’t give a damn about either of them,” Lucky all but growled. “She can screw whoever she wants. She walked away from me—”

“Because you didn’t love her anymore. Because you were going to marry her out of obligation. I’m proud of her for making that choice, for taking the hard road.” Bobbie gathered her charts. “I don’t know what happened to you while you were with Helena, Lucky, but you need to do some deep, hard thinking about who you want to be. Because the Lucky I buried would never treat her like this.”

“Well, maybe that’s the problem,” he said flatly. “You all think I should be that Lucky. No one gives a damn about what I’ve gone through—”

“You’re alive, aren’t you?” Bobbie snapped. “That’s more than either of my daughters can say.  Thanks for your concern, Lucky, but I’m content with the situation as it is.”

After her nephew had stormed away, she heard a throat clearing behind her. She turned to find her ex-husband standing there. “Don’t start, Tony.”

“He’s not wrong, Bobbie,” Tony Jones remarked as he scribbled signatures on a stack of charts. Not bothering to raise his head to meet her eyes. “The Quartermaines are going to fight tooth and nail for their grandson. It’s a losing battle.”

She pursed her lips and took a deep breath. She and Tony had managed to find a balance between them—a common ground to raise their son. But Tony was part of the reason any of this was happening. If not for his affair—

“I know it’s difficult to lose Carly,” Tony said, this time looking at her. There was warmth in his eyes now—a deep sadness as they both remembered the other child they had shared once. “To a car accident of all things. Bobbie, I am sorry for your loss. But—”

“Michael’s custody will work itself out,” Bobbie said, turning back to her own work. To the mundanity of schedules and charts. “Thanks for your concern, Tony, but I can handle it.”

Corinthos Warehouse: Conference Room

“I understand what you’re telling me, Nico.” Sonny passed him a snifter of brandy. “But I don’t know if I’m ready to give Zander Smith so much responsibility.”

“And I think you’re letting personal problems get in the way of profit,” Nico replied, his expression pinched and arms crossed. “You don’t care for him personally, I get it. Had a few rough run-ins—”

“He kidnapped Jason Morgan’s sister and took her on the run. Held a gun to her head—”

“And then she dated him,” Nico cut in, throwing his hands up in the air. “You can’t hold that against him—”

“Look, Nico, I’m not saying no. I’m not saying never. I’m just saying not right now. He’s worked for us less than a year—”

“He’s worked with some of my guys for nearly three. He has a head for this, Sonny, I promise you that—”

“He’s worked for me for a year,” Sonny clarified, hardening his tone. “That’s not long enough for me to trust him. I know you want to expand into Vegas. You want to beef up Atlantic City, I get all of that. But I want to be sure. It’s not worth it to me to pick the wrong guy so we can make a bit more money.”

Nico scowled at him. “You don’t trust my judgment?”

“Nico, why you pushing me on this?” Sonny demanded. “I told you—I’m not ready to give Zander Smith that kind of power. He’s a hothead who already flipped on one of his bosses because it was convenient for him. Until I’m convinced his loyalty is to me and not himself, he doesn’t move an inch.”

Nico set the brandy down with a clunk. “You’re costing us money. Every day I have to worry about two-bit bookies and mom and pop gambling parlors here, we’re not raking in the real money in Vegas—”

“And that’s the way it’ll be. That’s it, Nico. Don’t push me on this. I let you take over my clubs when you came on board. You told me you trusted my judgment, that you wanted to work with me because you were tired of supporting the wrong guy. I gave you a chance. I didn’t have to keep you in power or give you even more access.”

Nico raised his brows. “And I didn’t have to throw my support to you, bring you my resources. You want to wait on expansion until you feel all warm and cozy about my guy? Fine.”

No way Sonny was going to promote anyone in Nico’s crew until he was satisfied that they weren’t working with Mickey Roscoe. The general peace and quiet of the last year was fragile, but Sonny wanted to preserve it.  Thank God Jason was home—he’d be objective and settle things once and for all.

Kelly’s: Dining Room

Courtney filled Elizabeth’s coffee mug for the second time that day. “How long does it take to do the books anyway?” she asked.

“When you hate math as much as I do?” Elizabeth murmured, frowning at the invoice for coffee beans. Sonny should really be giving them a better discount. “Forever. At least two more cups of coffee.”

“Glad I’m not the manager.” Courtney disappeared out the front door to serve some of the straggling breakfast diners in the courtyard. With school still in session, the dining room itself was mostly deserted, leaving Elizabeth in blissful silence for a change.

She had been happy to give Bobbie a hand with managing Kelly’s—it had given her something to fill her mind when she’d turned her back on Lucky in December, and she’d been grateful to do something nice for Bobbie after she’d likely given Gia and Elizabeth a huge break on rent for their apartment.

But days like this—when she had to make the numbers even out, had to figure out exactly why they went through so many cartons of eggs when their orders didn’t always match—

It gave her a slight headache.

“Earning your keep for a change?”

Elizabeth looked up, scowling. She hadn’t heard Zander trudge down the steps, much less sit down at her table. He’d moved into her old room after she’d departed, and she preferred to keep their interactions limited to the rent payments he paid her each week.

Emily had dumped him—best decision she’d ever made—so as far as Elizabeth was concerned, her relationship with the bastard had ended there.

“Zander, if you want something to eat, Courtney’s serving in the courtyard.”

He shrugged and reached for the coffee Elizabeth hadn’t yet touched. “I’m good, thanks.”

She set the pencil down. “Is there something you want?”

Zander dumped a spoonful of sugar in the mug and stirred. “Just wishing someone would take a machine gun to your boyfriend.”

Elizabeth blinked, leaning back. “Is Lucky bothering you?” Not that it was about Lucky, but she wanted him to say it. To put his cards on the table.

“I’m not talking about Spencer.” Zander lifted the mug to his lips, his dark eyes meeting her eyes. “I’m talking about the other one.”

“Jason—” Elizabeth bit off the denial regarding her relationship with him. Zander was in a mood, and she wasn’t going to add any fuel to whatever dumbass fire was lighting up his butt. “I would have thought since you and Emily aren’t together anymore, he’d barely notice your existence.”

“Oh, you mean like everyone else?” he retorted. “No. He’s fine with rolling back in here like he owns the place and ruining everything I’ve worked for.”

Elizabeth bit back a nasty remark about Zander working for anything and took a deep breath. “I’m sorry to hear that, Zander. I know you like your job with Sonny.”

He scowled at her. “Don’t do that. You don’t give a shit about me.”

Jackass. She rolled her eyes. “Fine. I don’t particularly, no,” Elizabeth admitted. “But if you’re sitting down and harassing me in hopes that I’ll pass it on to Jason, so you can start a fight with him…” She closed her accounting book and stood. “You’re out of luck. I’m not an errand girl. You have a problem with Jason, take it up with him.”

“He should watch his back.” Zander lifted his chin. “People liked things the way it was. He’s just gonna make a mess for himself.”

She rolled her eyes and picked up the books, moving towards the counter. “Again, this is none of my business.” Elizabeth arched a brow. “Unless you’re threatening me personally, Zander. And I can’t think that’s the case.”

“Why? So you can tell Jason that and have me dumped in the harbor by sundown?” he retorted.

It was starting to sound like a worthwhile plan, but she just sighed and poured herself another cup of coffee. “Zander, you and I don’t have a problem. We weren’t particularly close when you were dating Emily, we’ve barely spoken since you broke up. If it means you’ll leave me the hell alone, I’ll be happy to tell Jason you’re annoying me.”

Anything to get him out of her face.

The door to Kelly’s swung open then, as Jason held the door open for Courtney lugging a tub of dirty dishes. She stopped when she saw Zander with Elizabeth at the counter. “Oh. Hey.”

“Jason, Zander has something he’d like to share with you,” Elizabeth said with a bright smile. Why did he always seem to show up on the tail end of conversations with men he hated? Was she a goddamn drama magnet?

Jason scowled at the sight of his sister’s ex-boyfriend, as if he hadn’t really been expecting him to still be around. Maybe he’d hoped someone would have shot him in the last year or so. Certainly, Elizabeth wouldn’t have minded.

“Go to hell,” Zander muttered. He shoved away from the counter and stalked out through the kitchen door.

“Was he bothering you?” Jason demanded as Courtney followed Zander’s path into the kitchen. He closed the distance between the door and the counter in seconds. “Elizabeth—”

“He’s a mosquito, Jason. Annoying, but hardly dangerous.” She shrugged and opened the books again. “He wanted to annoy me enough to pass it on to you. I guess you’re cramping his style or something. I don’t know. I’m not getting involved.”

And didn’t it feel like she’d said that about a hundred times in the last few days? Maybe if she said it enough, it would be true.

She just wanted to live her life—to go class, go to work, have fun with some friends—and just be Elizabeth Webber. She was finally figuring out who that was supposed to be, and she didn’t appreciate people mucking it up.

“I don’t want you involved,” he muttered, taking a seat. “I didn’t want Emily involved with him either, but not like she listened.”

“She did eventually,” Elizabeth offered with no small amount of sympathy. She’d never quite cared for the drug dealer turned ally, particularly after he’d drugged her at that rave and had kidnapped her best friend with a gun to her head, holding her hostage.

“Yeah, but not soon enough. I’m stuck with him.”

She flipped his mug and filled his coffee cup. “He asked to rent my room when I moved out in January. In retrospect, I should have refused, but…” She laughed to herself as she picked up her pencil to attack the books again. “I know Lucky hates him more than anyone except you, and it seemed like a good way to stick it to him.”

Jason offered her half a smile, but she could see him hesitating. Almost as if he wanted to ask her something. And because there was no point in pretending this conversation wouldn’t happen eventually. Better to get it over with before he heard another version from someone else. She arched a brow. “Or didn’t Sonny mention that the breakup was pretty bad?”

“He didn’t really elaborate,” he admitted, taking a sip. “Just that you called off the wedding and moved out.” Of course, he wouldn’t ask specifics. Why make it easy for her?

“Well.” Elizabeth reluctantly set down her pencil. It was necessary to tell him this—to make sure Jason understood that she had a new life now. One she’d worked hard for and didn’t plan to give up for anyone. “I mean, it was already a disaster. You saw it. You were the only one who did, but I was miserable and too stubborn to admit it. I mean, who turns their back on a miracle?” She sighed. “Long story short, I was already regretting saying yes, but I thought it would get better. You know, love isn’t always easy, yada, yada.”

Jason waited a beat, frowning when she didn’t continue. “So, what tipped the scale?” he asked. “Sonny said you got to the altar, then walked away.”

“Well, first, I found out that the last time Helena did her brainwashing, she actually…I don’t know, erased Lucky’s feelings toward me.” She bit her lip, deciding to gloss over the worst of it. “He wasn’t in love with me anymore. Gia overheard Nikolas and Lucky talking about it and immediately came to tell me. I was already halfway out the window—I was standing there in a wedding dress I hated, about to marry someone I wasn’t even sure I liked anymore—” She shrugged. “Gia’s thing was the icing on the cake. I only walked down the aisle so no one would ever doubt that it was my choice to end things.”

He just stared at her for a long moment. “She erased his feelings for you?” he asked.

“Yeah. I guess. So he said. Anyway.” Elizabeth wiggled her shoulders. “I don’t want really to talk about it anymore. I feel like I’ve spent the last three years talking about Lucky Spencer. It’s over. I lived it, and I’m done with it.”

He waited a moment, then tipped his head toward her accounting books. “You need some help with that?”

“Oh, thank God.” She shoved the whole mess at him. “Free coffee for life if you can figure out how I screwed this up.”

August 19, 2016

I forgot to update the main page a few days ago, so here’s a bit of round-up with two updates and some general news.

First and foremost, Bittersweet is back on the schedule. Chapter Two was posted on Thursday morning, and Chapter Three will be posted next Thursday. Thursdays are my pick for updates because it fits my future schedule best at the moment. That might change.

Second, I posted the next flash fiction, Flash Fiction #2: Anger Management, a bit early. It’s not a continuation of last week. I’m not even sure it’s good, but it was fun to write and the whole point of the Flash Fiction is to get me to loosen up and stop putting so much pressure on myself.

Writing has been hard this year. Writing The Best Thing in 2014 and 2015 was very difficult, time consuming, and basically soul consuming. And it’s literally the best thing I’ve ever written. And I feel that like every time I write, I have to match or do better than TBT. And that’s an insane standard that no one is setting for me but me. So I’m hoping Flash Fiction will shake me out of it.

And on that note, Damaged is postponed again. It’s not a decision I’m happy with, but it’s just not coming together for me, and I don’t know why. I have so many good ideas, and I can see the scenes in my head, but actually sitting down to write them has been really difficult. I had some luck last week, and wrote a few scenes that felt really good, so maybe I’ll still have a breakthrough. But until I get into writing stride, it’s insane to keep promising you’ll get Season Three any time soon. You’ll know when I know.

The Fall 2016 semester starts September 6. I have classes four nights a week, and then on Friday and Saturdays, I’ll be continuing the tutoring job I started this summer. And during the weekdays, I’ll still be subbing 1-3 days a week. It’s going to be a crazy schedule. Plus, I have my usual stuff: friends, my family — which is getting bigger next week because my sister-in-law is due to have a C-section–my second nephew, James, will be joining his sister Mackenzie, and his cousins Olivia, Isla, and Nolan.

And sometimes….I’m gonna wanna sleep.

That’s not to say I won’t find any time to write. I still want to do NaNoWriMo. You guys haven’t seen most of the efforts from last year yet, but I did get a huge chunk of Bittersweet done, and I want to find a way to prioritize it. But I really don’t want to promise anything.

Someone asked what kind of research I was doing — I’m working on a seminar paper exploring the political appointments made to the Dominican Republic during the administration of Woodrow Wilson, under Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan. There were accusations of corruption, graft, and incompetence–it’s been fun but super time-consuming, as you might imagine, ha.

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the Flash Fiction: 60 Minutes or Less

This has not been spellchecked or edited 😛 And this is not a continuation of last week’s prompt. Remember to leave prompts in the comments so I don’t have to spend my time finding my own 😉

Prompt: “You’re lucky I’m tired because if I was fully awake I would have already shoved you off this roof.”

Elizabeth Webber clenched her fists around the steering wheel of the minivan as she heard Maxie Jones blow another goddamn bubble. Pop! Snap!

She was going to murder them all.

She would pull this godforsaken rental vehicle over, force these morons out onto the side of the road and then she would beat them to death. Bury them somewhere in the endless desert that served as the only landscape she’d seen in three days.

She hated people. She hated these people. Who the hell decided it would be a good idea to pile themselves into one car and go cross country?

“Turn on 90s on 9!” Maxiechirped from the back of the van, where she and her boyfriend Nathan had spent most of the trip cuddling and being generally the worst people alive.

“Kiss my ass,” Elizabeth muttered, slapping Patrick Drake’s hand as he reached out to obey Maxie’s dictate. “You do it, and you’ll be out the window.”

“Hey.” Patrick slapped her hand back and changed the station—to Today’s Hits! which might be more mildly annoying than Maxie’s suggestion. If she had to listen to that damned Bieber song one more time—

“Just because you got dumped, Elizabeth,” Maxie began, with as much sympathy as she could muster—

“I did not get dumped,” Elizabeth said, her teeth clenched. “I dumped him. I am the dumper.”

“Well, he was screwing someone else,” Patrick added helpfully. “So I mean, in that sense—”

“If you finish thought, Patrick Michael Drake, I will set you on fire and let the coyotes eat your remains.”

“Are you guys bothering Elizabeth again?” Robin Scorpio said, with a yawn. How Patrick’s girlfriend and Maxie’s cousin managed to sleep through the incessant yacking—

“I’m not bothering. I’m simply saying she’s been taking her bad mood out on us for the last two thousand miles,” Maxie said. “And it’s not cool. This is our summer road trip, too.”

“Speaking of road trips,” Patrick murmured, squinting at the GPS. “There’s a town coming up at the next exit. Last one for about an hour. We could stop there for the night.”

Maybe it was near an airport. She’d fly back to Port Charles, make sure that lying slime bag was out of her life and find new friends—new friends without annoying relatives.

“Sounds good. I’m getting tired of the car,” Robin said. “And I’m sure Elizabeth wants a break from driving.”

“She’s so diplomatic,” Maxie giggled to her boyfriend. “We all want a break from Elizabeth’s driving.”

“One more crack about my driving and I’m steering this van into on-coming traffic,” Elizabeth snapped.

“Yeah…” Patrick twisted in his seat to look at the couple in the back. “She’ll do it, too, so shut up, Maxie.”

“We should have flown,” the blonde pouted, but mercifully—she stopped talking.

The sixth seat in the car was empty—having been meant for the son of a bitch she’d found bouncing on one of his co-workers the day they were supposed to leave. Elizabeth had thought a road trip to California would get her mind off it all.

Until she remembered she was going with two other couples, and while Patrick and Robin were being kind enough to keep their PDAs to a minimum, Maxie could give two shits.

She’d never liked that girl.

After they’d checked into a hotel, the four of them had disappeared to find a diner, while Elizabeth decided a night in with some pizza would be great.

Until the delivery guy brought her ham and pineapple pizza and then blinked at her when told it was the wrong order.

He’d vaguely said something about coming back, but she had her doubts.

And now, standing in front of the ice machine and finding it out of order…

“You know, if I ever needed proof that God was a man and not on my side,” she muttered, “this trip—this is it.”

She gave it one last mighty kick, turned, and smacked right into a broad chest. “Oof—watch where you’re going!” Elizabeth began, stepping back and tilting her head up—and blinking.

“I could say the same about you,” the gorgeous blond man in a pair of blue jeans and a gray uniformed shirt proclaiming his name to be Jason. It hung unbottoned over a dark blue t-shirt.

“Sorry about this machine,” he continued, setting a tool box down. “Owners don’t want to replace it.”

“Oh. Well….” Elizabeth bit her lip, “sorry about kicking it.”

He just shrugged. “It’s not gonna get any more broken.” He—Jason—unscrewed something, and the machine split into two as he opened it. “Did it make you feel better?”

“For a second,” she admitted. “And then…” She looked down the walkway toward the parking lot where the minivan had been parked before the others had left for dinner. “What city am I in, anyway?”

“McLean, Texas,” Jason replied. “I guess we’re not your destination.” He squinted at the machine. “Can you hand me that flash light?”

“What?” She blinked, then handed it to him. “Oh. No, not really. Patrick—my best friend’s boyfriend—he wanted to do a road trip along Route 66 this summer. We’ve been planning it for months.” She looked away, where the lights of the road could still be dimly seen. “I’m ruining it for them.”

“Can you give me that racket wrench?”

She handed it to him. “I’m not a bad friend. Not normally. But at the last minute, Robin wanted to bring her cousin and her boyfriend, and Maxie drives me up the wall. She’s always talking and never has anything to say.”

“So why didn’t you say no?”

His head was all but inside the machine now, his voice muffled as he did—something—to the gears inside.

“Because she’s my best friend. And Maxie’s parents are divorcing—” Elizabeth hesitated. She’d let herself forget that—her own irritation and anger had swallowed everything.

“Can you give me the socket wrench?”

She did so. “Right before we left—I broke up with my boyfriend. He was supposed to come, too.”

“At least it wasn’t a nonrefundable trip.” Jason pulled back, looking at her, his blue eyes with a bit of wicked amusement. “Or you know, after you’d put deposits on caterers. And hotels. You know how difficult it is to get out of those contracts?”

“Guess I hadn’t thought about it that way. The only thing I had to cover was his part of the rental for the van.” She tilted her head. “You speaking from experience?”

Jason shrugged as he reached for a rag to deal with his greasy hands. “My sister. Asshole stood her up two weeks before the wedding. He’s lucky my dad didn’t have a shotgun handy.”

“I’m probably better off. It’s not like we were dating that long,” Elizabeth admitted as she watched Jason close the ice machine back up. “But I should have backed out of the trip.”

“Maybe.” Jason took the bucket she’d had in one of her hands and shoved it under the dispenser. He punched the button with a closed fist. A cascade of ice chips slid into the red plastic. “There you go,” he said, handing her the bucket. ‘

Their hands brushed as she accepted it. His skin was rough, calloused. Elizabeth bit her lip and tilted her head. “You like ham and pineapple pizza?”

“Is that where my order went?” Jason said, grinning. “I guess Bobbie Mack got confused with two orders. You mind sharing?”

“Not even a little.”

August 18, 2016

This entry is part 2 of 35 in the Bittersweet

Last time I talked to you
You were lonely and out of place
You were looking down on me
Lost out in space
We laid underneath the stars
Strung out and feeling brave
I watched the red orange glow
I watched you float away

Somewhere Out There, Our Lady Peace

Friday, April 19, 2002

Brownstone: Living Room

The room didn’t look any different than the last time Jason had been here—the same comfortable pieces of beige furniture, the first fresh flowers of spring, the photos of Bobbie’s family on the mantel.

There were a few signs that an active five-year-old boy resided here: a set of crayons and coloring book on the table. A small activity table set near the television.

Jason stood in the middle of the room, feeling awkward. Out of place. His chest was two sizes too tight to hold his lungs. Carly’s mother—Bobbie Spencer—sat on the sofa, looking pale, a bit lost and faded.

It would take some time for the courts to deal with the legalities—it would be a few weeks before a funeral service could be held. Though there would be no body to put to rest, Carly would have a marking stone a few paces from BJ, the adopted daughter Bobbie had buried eight years earlier.

“I’m just not sure what to do,” Bobbie murmured. “She’s only been in my life for, what, six years? And barely four as my daughter…” She closed her eyes. “What do I do, Jason? How do I raise that little boy?”

“The same way you raised Lucas and BJ.” Jason took a seat next to her, almost perching on the edge of the sofa. “Bobbie, I don’t know what Carly wrote in her will—”

“She’ll have left everything to Michael, in a trust. Alexis wrote a will for her after they settled the divorce.” Bobbie’s eyes met his, some warmth in them. “You and I are the executors, but guardianship—she’s left that to you.”

Which didn’t surprise him at all, but it was a terrifying prospect nonetheless. “I don’t intend to change his living arrangements,” Jason told her. “I know he’s been with you the better part of the year. The last time I spoke to Carly, she said Michael was doing well in kindergarten, that he loved being here.”

“It’s been a good year,” Bobbie murmured. “The divorce was difficult on them both. Sonny managed to get AJ to terminate his rights, but I think they were right to stop the adoption. If Carly was ever going to have a life away from Sonny, a chance—” She stopped, her eyes closing again. “But she won’t now. It’s over.”


“I’m okay.” She took a deep breath. “I know the coming months are going to be difficult. I’ve had some guarded conversations with Alan at the hospital, Edward stopped by to offer his condolences—Elizabeth stopped him from speaking to Michael.”

Jason put that information aside for the moment. “I’m surprised they haven’t filed anything yet. It’s been almost a week—”

“Lila convinced them to give me space. She sent a lovely note of condolence.” Bobbie patted his hand. “I don’t know how long she’ll be able to hold them off, so you should be prepared.” She hesitated. “Elizabeth is close to AJ’s new wife, Courtney. She might be able to give you a better idea as to whether AJ intends to follow his grandmother’s dictate.”

Jason wasn’t entirely sure he was ready to see Elizabeth, not this soon. He knew that something had happened on New Year’s Eve—that rather than marrying Lucky as planned, she’d left him at the altar and moved into the Brownstone with Bobbie. But he’d never pressed Sonny for details. Whatever he might have shared with her was over. She’d made her choice.

A reluctant choice, he knew. One made out of obligation and loyalty, not love. But a choice nonetheless.

But Bobbie was had a point—Elizabeth might be able to give him some insight into AJ’s plans, and that was worth taking the risk of seeing her again.

“Is she at work?”

Bobbie frowned and looked at her watch. “Yes, I’m almost sure. She had some morning classes, but she’s working the lunch and dinner shift at Kelly’s today.” She rose to her feet. “I don’t know what I would have done if Elizabeth hadn’t moved in a few months ago with Gia. She was here that morning when we found out. She stayed with Michael until Lucas brought me home from the station.”

“She’s always been reliable,” was all Jason could offer. “If you need anything, Bobbie—”

“I know where to find you.” Her smile was wobbly and faded almost as soon as it appeared, but it had been there. “Thank you for coming home, Jason. We needed you.”

Kelly’s: Courtyard

Elizabeth grimaced when she saw AJ Quartermaine step through the arch connecting the courtyard to the parking lot. Courtney wasn’t working today, and it was past the usual lunch shift for dock workers—

Which meant AJ likely had a purpose for coming here that didn’t include a burger and fries.

“AJ,” she murmured as she stacked several dishes into her tub. “You’re a bit late for lunch.”

“I have a guy covering for me. I was hoping to catch you after the lunch rush.” He gestured toward the table she was cleaning off. “Do you have a minute?”

Against her better judgment, Elizabeth sat, resting the tub of dirty dishes in her lap. “AJ, I really don’t want to talk about Michael—”

“I know, and I don’t want you to feel like you’re in the middle. I just—” AJ sat and raked his fingers through his dirty blonde hair. “Look, I know how good you are to him, how much you mean to Bobbie. I just—I wanted to know if you’d heard from Jason.”

Elizabeth raised her brows, her heart beating fast at the name. She knew Jason would be arriving any day now—his travel plans hadn’t been stable, Sonny said. “Sonny talked to him. He’s coming home. He wasn’t sure when.”

AJ nodded. “That’s what I figured. Look, I just—I wanted to make sure you knew that I don’t intend—I’m not going to be like my father or my grandfather. I don’t see Carly’s—” A grimace passed over his face. “I don’t see Carly’s death as an opportunity to get my son back.”

Elizabeth tilted her head to the side, not trusting him. “That doesn’t mean you’re not going to use it. AJ, I know Courtney loves you, but in your own way, you’re as ruthless as any of the other members of your family. You want your son.”

He scowled. “Does that make me the villain then?” AJ demanded. “I never got the chance to screw up. I had him for exactly one year and he was fine—”

“I’m not involved in any of that,” Elizabeth cut in, but she could admit he had a point. Jason and Carly had had their reasons, but AJ had never had a choice in the matter. She even suspected some blackmail or other illegalities had been in play when he’d unexpectedly terminated his parental rights last fall.

“I know, I’m sorry.” AJ drew back and took a deep breath. “Look, Elizabeth, I know how much your friendship has meant to Courtney. You’ve gone out of your way to make her feel at home here. She loves you.”

At the mention of his wife, Elizabeth bit her lip. “And I love her, too. She came into my life when I needed someone new, and I’ve been happy to extend friendship to her. Honestly, AJ, the fact that you had the good sense to fall for her is the reason…” That she didn’t think AJ was a complete waste of space, but that didn’t mean she trusted him.

“I get it. I do. I just…yeah, I want my son. I don’t think that makes me a bad person. But I don’t want to make anything more difficult for Bobbie or Michael. They need time, they need space. I’ve told my family that. I can’t control them, I can’t be sure they won’t file a suit on their own. My grandmother is doing what she can to hold them off—”

“But it’s like holding back a freight train,” Elizabeth sighed. “What do you want from me, AJ? Is this just a friendly warning?”

“I don’t want to bother Bobbie right now. I thought if you could pass the message for me—”

“Some things never change.”

They both looked up at the interruption, the tone familiar and annoyed. Elizabeth rose, blinking in surprise as Jason stepped away from the shadow of the arch which had hid him from their view. “Jason? When—”

“Jason, I—” AJ began.

“You’re still getting someone else to do your dirty work.” Jason folded his arms, his stance tense.  “You think you’re a good guy because you’re not going to drag a grieving mother into court the minute she buries her daughter?”

“Jason,” Elizabeth began. “AJ was just—” But his scathing glance cut off her words in mid-sentence. He didn’t often look at her in anger, and she wasn’t sure she appreciated it now. What the hell did he even know about this situation?

“I was just telling Elizabeth that I’m going to do what I can to keep Grandfather out of this,” AJ said, waving a hand at Elizabeth as if to tell her he would fight this battle. “But make no mistake, Jason. You’re not going to keep me from my son. Not this time.”

AJ looked at Elizabeth, apology in his eyes. “I’ll see you around.”

When he was gone, Elizabeth turned to Jason, scowling. “Was that necessary? How long were you standing there?”

“Long enough to hear him try to con you,” Jason retorted. “Don’t you know better by now? AJ is always playing an angle—”

“I’m not an idiot,” she shot back. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and reminded herself that this feud between the brothers was bitter, long-lived, and had nothing to do with her. That Jason had likely been traveling for days, was dealing with the death of a close friend, with acquiring the guardianship of a little boy he loved more than life. “I don’t want to fight with you, Jason.”

His features smoothed out a bit and he dipped his head. “I’m sorry. I just—”

“See red when the topics of AJ and Michael come up, yeah. That’s not news to me.” She reached for the tub of dishes and perched it on her hip. “When did you get in? Sonny wasn’t sure—”

“This morning. I stopped at Jake’s to get a room.” Jason held the door open for her, then followed her inside. The diner was relatively deserted—their main fare at Kelly’s were the dock workers and high school students. A couple sat in the back, nursing some milkshakes and a college student was pouring over a biology textbook with a large mug of coffee at his side.

She dumped the dishes behind the counter and nodded to Don. “You can take your break. I’m all done in the courtyard for now.” To Jason, Elizabeth said, “Did you want some coffee? Something to eat?”

“Ah, sure.” Jason sat on the stool, his elbows on the counter. “I saw Bobbie. She looks…all right, I guess.”

“Because she can keep busy.” Elizabeth set the mug of black coffee in front of him. “She’s planning the services, signing papers for the trust Carly set up. Fielding calls from reporters, dealing with the cops—”

Jason frowned. “The cops? Wasn’t it ruled an accident?”

“It’s still ongoing, according to Mac and Taggart. I mean, I can’t see how it would be anything other than accident. Sonny told Bobbie there’s nothing to worry about, but you know the PCPD and the newspapers—”

“Yeah.” Jason scrubbed his hands over his face. “Yeah, I know.” He hesitated. “AJ. Earlier—”

“Let’s…” Elizabeth took a deep breath. Better to set the boundary lines now. “If AJ says something to me, I’m comfortable passing it along, even without him saying so. We’re not friends, and I’ve never pretended otherwise.  But Courtney is my friend, and unless she gives me the okay—”

Jason held up a hand. “I get it. I have no problem with that—”

“AJ didn’t really say anything more to me than you than you overheard. He’s planning to give Bobbie some space, I guess wait for Michael to, I don’t know, adjust to not having Carly, but—”

“He’ll be filing for custody.” Jason exhaled slowly. “Yeah, I guess that’s not much of a surprise. I guess he thinks he’s being the hero for giving Bobbie five seconds to mourn her daughter.”

“By Quartermaine standards?” Elizabeth arched her brow. “Considering I’ve already had to chase your grandfather and father away from the Brownstone more than once?”

At his scowl, she rolled her eyes. “Look, you don’t have to be friends with them, but you’re about to go in front of a judge to argue why you need to keep Michael with you. The fact you are, technically, his biological uncle, is going to be a point in your favor—”

“They’re not my family,” Jason said darkly.

“Jason—” She sighed. “No one is asking you have Thanksgiving with them, but if you walk into that court room and talk about how they’re not your family, you’re going to look petty. Immature. I can’t imagine it’ll reflect well on you.”

He was quiet for a moment, before grimacing and shaking his head. “If I go into a court room with AJ on the other side—”

“Hey…” Elizabeth reached across the counter to touch his hand, hesitant at first. This wasn’t part of the plan, but she couldn’t stand that look on his face. “Look, don’t worry. You’ll have Alexis on your side—”

“I lost before—”

“Because—” She bit her lip. “Because Carly was in the picture then. And she and AJ—”

“Were a united front.” He nodded. “Okay, I get it. I just—Michael’s been through so much.”

“I’m confident, that between you and Bobbie, you’ll do right by Michael.” Their eyes met. Held. After a long moment, she released his hand and stepped back, feeling her cheeks warm. “I wanted to say how sorry I was about Carly. She was doing so good these last few months. You would have been proud.”

“She sounded good the last time we spoke.” He finished his coffee. “I need to stop in to see Sonny.” He reached into his wallet and dropped a twenty next to the coffee mug. “I’m sorry,” he said again. “I didn’t—I don’t want to fight with you.”

“It’s fine.” She paused. “I don’t want to fight with you either, Jason.” And because she needed to say it—for both their sakes, she continued, “I want us to be friends.”

He looked at her, tilting his head slightly in that way she’d always loved, then nodded as if he’d heard the words she’d left unspoken. “So do I. I’ll see you around, Elizabeth.”

When he gone, she picked up his empty mug and tucked the twenty into her apron. She managed a smile as Penny Reyes arrived for her shift.

“Hey, Liz!” the pretty Filipino girl said with a bright smile to match the vibrancy of the new pink streaks in her dark hair. “Sorry, I’m late but I was at the salon.”

“No problem, Penny. We’re dead, anyway. I like the hair.”

“Thanks—hey, was that Jason Morgan I saw leaving?” Penny tied her apron around her trim waist. “He looks even sexier than the last time I saw him. Some men age like fine wine, and man—” She wiggled her eyebrows. “Didn’t you used to date him?”

“Not exactly,” Elizabeth murmured. She often forgot that most of the town believed she and Jason had had a brief affair during that winter in her studio when he’d been shot.

“If I were you, I would get me a piece of that.” Penny picked up the carafe of coffee and moved to refill the biology student’s cup.

“Well, you’re not me.” Elizabeth reached under the counter for the receipts from the morning shift and headed to the back table to update the books.

Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room

This was not the way he’d hoped his old friend would finally return home.

Sonny offered Jason a bourbon—an offer that was often extended, but rarely accepted. Today, however, Jason took the tumbler. “Is there any chance this wasn’t an accident?” Jason demanded.

Sonny sighed and, bourbon in his hand, crossed to the window. Though the building’s name boasted of its view of the harbor, Sonny had chosen to live in the penthouse that overlooked downtown Port Charles.

From his vantage, he could see the park, the ritzy neighborhood that held wealthy families like the Quartermaines—he could see General Hospital, the way the Port Charles Hotel still towered over most of the skyline—though some of newer apartment buildings and office buildings were starting to compete.

Port Charles had been changing, growing for more than a decade. Sonny had encouraged it, invested in it. The larger the city was, the less time the police had to focus on him.

Now he wondered if it had grown too large to control. He’d merged his territory with the swath of town Sorel and Moreno had controlled, folding their men into his, taking over some of the piers and holding companies they had utilized. There were pieces he didn’t know as well, areas he hadn’t been personally involved in.

But Jason was home now. He could take a breath. He could depend on Jason.

He turned back to Jason. “Accident investigators didn’t find any evidence,” Sonny said finally. “Bobbie hounded Scott Baldwin and Mac Scorpio. She refused to give up, even when the Coast Guard had declared it impossible. An expert from the state agency finished up his own look yesterday.” He sighed. “Our source got it to us. Carly was taking the corners too fast, she didn’t brake in time—”

“But you looked into it anyway, didn’t you? Anyone could have messed with her brakes,” Jason said. “Sonny—”

“Without her car to look at, to confirm…” Sonny tilted his head back. “Yeah, I wondered. I have our guys looking into Mickey Roscoe. He’s the only holdout from the merger. Seems to think he can take me down. He doesn’t have the backup. There’s nothing to be gained from taking out Carly. It’d be suicide for him.”

“Right, but—”

“I thought about the Quartermaines,” Sonny cut in. He turned back to meet Jason’s eyes. “After I…convinced AJ to terminate his parental rights, he was livid. He…convinced my sister to run away with him, told me that if I didn’t make sure he got his son back, he’d…” He chuckled. “He’d marry her.”

Jason exhaled slowly. “Not much for revenge, I guess. He’s not a…” He waited a beat. “That’s probably as villainous as he could get. I can’t see him—or anyone else in the family—going after Carly. It might get an obstacle out of the way, but Alan and Monica—they’re close to Bobbie. And as ruthless as the old man is—”

“Outright murder isn’t their style. I mean, I’m not saying they wouldn’t ever arrange an accident—I’ve heard some stories about them—particularly Alan—that would turn your hair white. I’m saying I can’t pin this on them.”

“So, an accident,” Jason said after a moment. He tossed back the rest of the liquor, grimacing.

“We’ll keep our eyes and ears open, Jase.” He hesitated, looking down into his glass. “Carly was a fighter. I can’t stand to think—” He stopped. Neither of them needed the image of Carly’s death in their heads.

They were both quiet for a long moment, remembering the woman that had changed both their lives so drastically.

Sonny cleared his throat. “I imagine you’ll be sticking around.” He settled himself at the dining table, feeling exhausted down to his bones. “With Michael involved—”

“AJ already made his intentions clear.” Jason joined him, his hands clenched in fists as they rested on top of the table. “I found him pleading his case to Elizabeth at Kelly’s. He’ll give Bobbie some time, but he’s going after him.”

Sonny pursed his lips. “Yeah, I can see where he’d think she would be his best bet. God knows, she’s too nice for her own good. Probably hoping she’ll put in a good word with Bobbie.” He eyed his friend. “Or you.”

“She knows better,” Jason muttered. He looked away. “She’s still living at the Brownstone?”

“Did you think she would be back with Spencer by now?” Sonny asked. When Jason didn’t answer, he continued, “Yeah. Lucky’s not too fond of his aunt—maybe if Elizabeth had been stuck at Kelly’s, she might have drifted back. But Bobbie gave her and Gia a place to stay and as far as I know, a clean break from all of that.”

“She looked better than the last time I saw her,” was all Jason offered. “I got a room at Jake’s for now. But I’m sticking until Michael’s custody is settled. Probably longer.”

“Yeah, the Quartermaines will still be hassling Bobbie for visitation until Michael’s children are in college,” Sonny muttered. He considered a moment. “I’ve been expanding certain areas of the business. Considering some legitimate options here in Port Charles, looking into beefing up the Atlantic City casino. Maybe even going into Las Vegas with one of the guys out there.”

Jason hesitated. “You might be stretching yourself a bit thin, Sonny.”

“Not if I have the right guys in place,” he replied. “I’m concerned that some of the men I inherited from Sorel and Moreno aren’t exactly…game players. Dominic Savarolli, do you remember him?”

“Yeah, didn’t you two come up together with Frank Smith?” Jason squinted. “He ran numbers for Frank, then Moreno. He stuck with Sorel until he didn’t have a choice. You don’t trust Nico?”

“I’m concerned because he’s pushing the expansion,” Sonny clarified. “And he’s been pretty vocal. Maybe you look into Nico and his crew. That’s where most of Sorel’s men are. Johnny and Tommy didn’t want them, and you know Francis prefers to hire his own guys to train.”  He shrugged. “If I expand, and maybe you don’t want to stick around Port Charles, you can always go deal with things out west.”

“Yeah, maybe.” Jason handed him back the tumbler. “I’ll give Benny a call and get some background. Thanks, Sonny.”

Brownstone: Kitchen

Bobbie set a cup of tea in front of her…well, in front of the only daughter she had left. Elizabeth had come into her life as a terrified victim, someone her nephew wanted to look out for. To protect. And for the love of her nephew, Bobbie had stepped in to provide support. That special, sweet boy was gone, but Elizabeth…

Elizabeth had remained, claiming her own spot in Bobbie’s heart, to the point she had faced down that same irate nephew after the disastrous wedding. And now, with the loss of Carly, she was clinging to this makeshift family she’d constructed in the Brownstone with Lucas, Michael, and Elizabeth.

“Did Jason stop by Kelly’s?” Bobbie asked, casually, as she took a seat next to Elizabeth with her own cup of tea. “I meant to call you.”

Elizabeth offered a half smile. “No, you didn’t.”

“No, I didn’t want to warn you,” she admitted. “I thought it might be more awkward if you were expecting him. You haven’t said much about the fight you had last year, but I know it’s pained you. I hope you and Jason can work it out.”

“Nothing to work out,” the brunette responded. “We’re friends. That’s it. He’s worried about you and Michael, and it didn’t help that he got to Kelly’s at the same time AJ was telling me he was going to give you some space before he filed for custody.”

Bobbie closed her eyes. “Oh, those boys. They never do anything the easy way. I’m sure Jason was livid.”

“It certainly wasn’t the best reunion they could have had.” Elizabeth hesitated. “I know it’s none of my business, but I don’t think keeping AJ out of Michael’s life is going to be as easy as it’s been in the past. When AJ asks for custody, I think a court might seriously consider him.”

“So do I,” Bobbie sighed. “He’s been sober for the better part of a year. He has a good, stable, and steady job. His wife works, and we both know Courtney is lovely. She’d be a wonderful stepmother. When you add in the fact that technically AJ voluntarily surrendered his parental rights—at least as far as the court is concerned—”

“Would it be so bad?” Elizabeth asked. “I mean, look, I wasn’t around when Carly was pregnant, when she was keeping Michael from AJ. I don’t know what she went through then. I only know AJ through Emily and Courtney, and to be honest, while I’ve always seen the destructive behavior, I’ve never—”

“You’ve never seen AJ as the villain my daughter painted him to be.” Bobbie leaned back in her chair. “I loved Carly, I did. I saw myself in her, which is why I think I was able to look past the worst of her behavior. She was so…terrified of being rejected first, of being hurt—”

“So she put up a wall,” Elizabeth cut in. “A brittle facade that looked indestructible to others, but when it came right down to it, was easily shattered.” She stared down into her tea, her an empty expression in her eyes, but Bobbie knew better.

She sighed, tilting her head toward this young woman who, God help her, reminded her so much of herself. “Elizabeth…”

“Why did Carly work so hard to keep Michael away from AJ?” Elizabeth asked. Her eyes were warm now, as if the brief moment hadn’t happened.  But they would have to come back to this—Elizabeth wasn’t ready to talk, and Bobbie wasn’t one to push.

“Carly,” Bobbie continued, “was not concerned in the slightest about AJ or his drinking when she was pregnant. She just knew…she saw what we all saw—Tony was hanging by a thread then. He’d lost BJ, he’d let himself be seduced by a younger woman. He’d talked himself into a life with her, this baby was his second chance. And I think Carly wanted the stability Tony offered. The idea of a family.”

“And AJ was an obstacle to that family.”

“He was. So, she schemed to keep him from learning the truth, but then he…he threatened to take her to court. To demand a paternity test. And Carly panicked because she thought the Quartermaines would take her baby. She went to Jason, who was struggling after the accident in his own way. He promised to protect her and the baby from his family, because he saw them as ruthless and amoral. This was never about AJ.”

“But it is now,” Elizabeth said. “After Carly lost her son—” She hesitated. “I never believed he pushed her, you know? I can see them arguing, I know he was drunk at the time, but still—”

“I think Carly made herself believe he pushed her, because then she didn’t have to blame herself. I think she lost her balance and fell. It’s a twisted, horrible situation, Elizabeth, and I’m not sure anyone will be happy with the outcome.”

“Is anyone ever?” Elizabeth lifted her brows, her expression a mixture of wry humor and resignation. “You know, I’m here if you and Michael need anything.”

“I know.” Bobbie leaned over to squeeze her hand. “And I’m so grateful to have you.”

August 13, 2016

It’s the inaugural flash fiction prompt weekend 🙂 It was actually kind of fun just to type for about fifty minutes without worrying about tone, dialogue, or how it would all fit together in the larger picture. I found a website with some prompts and picked out a fun one.  You can respond with prompts for next week — if you want the story I wrote about in Week 1 to continue, you might want to come up with one to inspire that. 🙂

I wasn’t sure if I’d get it out this week. I thought I just had a sore neck from sleeping wrong, but it turned out I had a pinched nerve and needed x-rays to see if I had any bulging discs. I swear, my life sometimes. Some muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory pills later, I’m feeling much better. So I’m glad got this done tonight.

This series is exclusive to Crimson Glass.

Flash Fiction #1: Crash Into Me

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the Flash Fiction: 60 Minutes or Less

Prompt: “A ragtag team of misfits end up in her library looking for clues to a cache of stolen jewels.”

Elizabeth Webber picked up a pencil and twirled it in her hands. When she fumbled and dropped it, the tap! as it hit the wooden counter of the checkout desk echoed in the silent room.

It was nine o’clock in the evening and there wasn’t a soul to be found in the Lila Quartermaine Library at Port Charles University—no one studied this late save for exam period, and that was still a month away.

Nope, she had been stuck with the deadly Spring Break death week, and endless, boring nights stretched in front of her.

She left the pencil where she found it and returned to her sketch pad, glaring at the stark white page. How would she finish her project if she couldn’t come with a single subject to draw? “Use your experience!” she muttered as she reached for her charcoal. “Draw what you know. Asshole.”

Why had she taken the drawing class? Why was she still wasting her time chasing an empty dream when she should be concentrating on her doctoral degree in art history? Her grandmother’s voice had been that horrible mixture of annoyance, irritation, and fondness. Oh, Lizzie. What shall we do with you?

“If I ever figure it out, Gram,” she murmured as she stared at the charcoal clutched in her fingers, “you’ll be the first to know.”

She started to just scribble some shadows, an outline of the window to her left starting to emerge and lost herself in the work. No one had to see the drawing—no one ever had to set eyes on it. It was just enough to put the charcoal to paper.

The slight click drew her attention several minutes later. Elizabeth blinked, raised her head. Looked around. The room remained empty—the doors to the three connecting hallways and larger collections remained closed.

She set the charcoal down, rubbing her thumb and index finger together to smooth away the black dust as she stood, moving towards the counter and her cell phone. It was Mac’s job to deal with the security, not hers. His job to keep her safe and secure. Even if she had to force him away from his Netflix marathon of Parenthood.

There was another slight click, this time louder and from above. Just as Elizabeth raised her head to look at the skylight dome, the glass shattered and dark shapes catapulted through it, dropping right on top of her.

She screamed, scrambling away from the large lump of someone that had fallen on her. She pushed and shoved until she got her foot free. As she tried to get to her feet, she was tackled again, a hand slapping over her mouth.

“What the fuck, man! You were supposed to clear the library!”

“I did!”

Elizabeth bit down hard on the finger cover her mouth. The guy hissed, but it didn’t move. She struggled, and he let her sit up, but kept an arm clenched around her shoulders, the other at her mouth.

The second voice had been familiar, and she scowled as she recognized the dark brown eyes beneath black ski mask. Mac Scorpio, their security guard. Damn it.  And there was no sound of the alarm ringing.

“Let me go!” She twisted and struggled, but the grip was iron tight and impossible to dislodge.

“Lizzie?” Mac drew off his mask, his expression filled with dismay. “You’re supposed to be in the Bahamas!”

She hissed and bit down again. Her captor hissed again, and removed his hand. “You know her?” he demanded of the security guard, his voice deep and irritated.

And familiar.

“What are you gonna do to her?” a third voice asked plaintively, younger than the first two. “She knows who you are, Mac.”

“I’m not gonna hurt her,” Mac said to him, disgusted. “It’s Lizzie.”

“What are you doing?” Elizabeth demanded, struggling to her feet as soon as her captor released her. She thrust her hands up to the shattered glass dome. “And what’s with the entrance? You’re the goddamn security guard, Scorpio. You could have just walked in.”

“I slipped,” the younger man said with a sigh. “And fell through. Mac and J—” He coughed. “They got tangled up.”

Mac stood and winced at the dome. “I cut the security wires. We got about ten minutes before anyone notices. Let’s just get this over with—”

“What ‘re we gonna do with her?” the youngest asked. “She’ll call the cops man—”

Elizabeth slowly stepped away from the trio, pursing her lips and narrowing her eyes as she did so. She was twenty feet from the nearest exit, but maybe—

“You’ll never make it,” her captor said dryly. He looked at Mac. “You screwed up. You fix it.”


“My name is Elizabeth,” she managed through clenched teeth. If they were going to kill her, she would be damned if she went out with that god awful name. She didn’t even look like a Lizzie. “Look, let’s not be hasty? If you leave, I won’t—”

“We’re looking for the Quartermaine diamond,” Mac said, with a sigh. He dragged a hand through his hair. “It’s here. In the library.”

“The Quartermaine—” Elizabeth blinked, her pulse racing “The six hundred carat…” She shook her head. “It’s a myth. A legend. No one’s even seen it in the last two centuries. Why would it be here?”

“I told you Elizabeth is an expert on the Quartermaine collection,” Mac told the man standing at her side. “She can help us find it—”

She narrowed her eyes. “Even if I said yes—” And everything in her screamed YES!!!  “Even if I said yes,” she began again, trying to keep her voice from quivering with excitement. “It wouldn’t matter. You’d have to cut it up in order to fence it, and there’s no way in hell I’m letting you dismantle the eleventh largest diamond in the world.”

“Eleventh?” her captor repeated, his husky voice laced with amusement. “You sure about that?”

“It’s one hundred and twenty-six carats smaller than the Jonker,” Elizabeth said coolly. She glared at the man, his eyes blue behind his mask. “It was once the fifth largest in the world until the diamond mines in Africa started throwing out larger ones. It was dug out of a Brazilian mine in 1687 and bought by the Duke of Morgan for his new wife in 1700. It remained in the Quartermaine family until 1776, when it vanished from the family collection.”

“She’s a doctoral student in art history with a specialization in gemology,” Mac said with a touch of pride. “She helped me pick out a good ring for Felicia.”

“Felicia,” Elizabeth said, with some disgust, “is going to skin you alive, Mac, if you get caught. And you’re gonna get caught. How are you going to fence the Quartermaine diamond?”

“Don’t have to,” the youngest said, proudly. “We get to sell it whole—”

Elizabeth snorted. “The Quartermaines—”

“Are you in or out?” her captor asked, irritated.

“Do I have a choice?” she demanded.

He tugged off his ski mask, revealing a chiseled set of cheekbones and disheveled short blonde hair in wild spikes. Her breath hitched—because she knew that face. “We’re going to find that diamond,” Jason Quartermaine said, “because it’s my goddamn inheritance and my grandfather stole it from me.”

He was going kill Mac Scorpio. He was going to peel his skin from his bones and flay him alive.  The son of a bitch had one freaking job—one!—and he couldn’t make sure that the night clerk was tucked away somewhere where they wouldn’t run into her.

Instead, the pretty brunette with the smart mouth and flashing blue eyes had been right dead center in their search zone.

“Why didn’t you tell me the night clerk was Elizabeth Webber?” he demanded of his partner as the third member of their trio drew off his own mask, shoving it into his back pocket. He hadn’t wanted to include Michael, but his nephew had threatened to follow them.

“I thought you knew where the diamond was,” the security guard replied with a furrowed brow. “What do you care?”

Elizabeth Webber, his sister’s childhood best friend. His grandmother had told him she was writing her dissertation on the Quartermaine collection, but Jason hadn’t really thought she’d be familiar with the diamond.

“I said I thought my grandfather hid it in the library,” Jason said, his teeth clenched. “I should have asked her instead of hiring you. She could have written a damn chapter about it for her paper.”

“Why did you have to break in?” Elizabeth demanded, drawing his attention back to her. “You’re Jason Quartermaine. Your family built this library. There are, like, three buildings named for you people. You make one phone call and they’d hand the library over to you.”

“I guess she hasn’t kept up with the family gossip,” Michael said with a bit of false cheer. “Grandfather hates Jason. And—”

“I’m not Jason Quartermaine anymore,” Jason muttered. “Where the hell have you been?”

Elizabeth hesitated, regret flashing in her eyes. “I moved to London for school after Emily—” She looked away. “Your grandmother just said you weren’t at home anymore.”

“If we could do the reunion and catch up later,” Mac said, “the security company is going to notice the system is offline—”

“This is a real crack plan you’ve come up with.” Elizabeth rolled her eyes and started towards the desk. She drew up short, her eyes widening with fear as Jason stepped in front of her.

“Where are you going?” he demanded. “Are you calling the police?” He had to keep her quiet. Damn it. If Mac had just told him about her—if he’d asked his grandmother more about her—

“I’m calling the security company,” Elizabeth said slowly. “To tell them that something fell through the dome, and that some thing’s wrong with the system. Mac, you should probably get back to your station to call them, too. You two—” She eyes their dark clothing. “Maybe you should change.”

Michael tossed a duffel at Jason. “We got our street clothes—”

“You can be here…consulting with me about something. You’ll figure out that before they get here.” She lightly stepped around him to reach for the phone. “You can handle that, can’t you?”

Jason hesitated, looked at her as she hit a speed dial. “Does that mean you’ll help me?”

She met his eyes as she put the receiver to her ear. “Find a diamond that no one has seen in two hundred years? A find that could make my career and finally finish my dissertation? You should have come to me first instead of breaking in.”

“Why didn’t we come to her first?” Michael asked as he followed his uncle towards the stacks where they began to swiftly change into the clothes from the bag. “Seems easier than buying off the guard.”

“I had my reasons,” Jason muttered as he dragged on his jeans. “Get rid of the gear and go find some books. You’re a student here, you can make it work.”

“She knew Aunt Emily?” Michael asked, tucking his polo shirt into his slacks. “Why didn’t she recognize your voice like she knew Mac?”

Jason rubbed the back of his neck. “Because it’s been fifteen years. And…”

“Wait…” Michael frowned. “Elizabeth Webber,” he repeated. “Wasn’t she in the car—”

“Yeah.” Jason cleared his throat. “The night your aunt died, my brains got scrambled, and—”

“—my father walked out away without a scratch.”

August 12, 2016

So I’ve been having trouble getting myself going with writing. I’ll have a good day, but then I’ll have like three bad days in a row. I think it’s mostly I’m putting too much pressure on myself because everything I’m writing is part of a larger story. I used to have so much fun when we did Flash Fiction nights at The Canvas all those years ago.

So I think that’s what I need. I need to start forcing myself to write every week with a timed prompt that’s separate from anything else that’s going on. For now I’ll be doing Saturday or Sundays. Once the school year starts, and I’m back to work full time and doing my classes again, that may or may not change.

So I’ll scour the ‘net for some prompts. You guys can comment with some. And I’ll post between 7-8 PM EST on Saturday