As you turn to your mind,
And your thoughts they rewind,
To old happenings and things that are done,
You can’t find what’s passed,
Make that happiness last,
Seeing from those eyes what you become,
What you become
– Haunt, Bastille
Friday, June 27, 2003
PCPD: Commissioner’s Office
Scott scowled and threw his hands up. “How can we be nowhere after a week?” he demanded. “Where the hell is she?”
“If we knew that, we’d have her,” Capelli growled. He jabbed his finger at Scott. “If your office could get me my damn warrants—”
“What the hell good is it going to do to search Corinthos and Morgan’s properties?” Scott dismissed it. “You have no probable cause and I’ll be shocked as hell if the judge says anything differently next week.” He looked at Mac. “If I have to take one more angry call from the fucking mayor and be told it’s an election year one more time—what the hell have your men been doing?”
Mac sighed. “We don’t have a lot of leads, Scott. You gotta give us a break—we had one eye witness—a six-year-old kid who was almost too terrified to even give a statement. He saw Ric. Great. We’ve investigated Lansing. We’ve had him under twenty-four-hour surveillance. He goes from his house to search out offices around town and then home again. What do you want me to do?”
Scott sat down on the sofa, put his head in his hands. “I can’t tell Bobbie that we can’t find her daughter. She’s already looking at us like we’re useless, and hell, maybe we are.”
“Hey,” Capelli said. “We’re trying our best—”
“If we hadn’t showed up last week, Corinthos and Morgan would have hung that piece of shit by his dick and they’d have found Carly in hours.” Disgusted with himself, he continued, “That’s where I am, people. I wish like hell our resident gangsters could have free rein because we can’t do shit.”
“We’re pursuing the Zacchara angle,” Capelli insisted. “It’s gotta be it. We know about the wife of someone he had blown up a few years ago. Corinthos’ wife goes missing, it’s gotta be a warning or something. If we had done what I wanted and gotten someone on the inside—”
“No one outside of the inner circle knows what’s going on. That wouldn’t have done us any good.” He looked at Mac. “The press is eating us alive because we haven’t given them any leads. I can’t believe Lansing’s name hasn’t leaked.”
“That’s because Corinthos threatened the papers,” Capelli said with a smirk. “I told you—they’re just waiting until they can get their hands on Lansing. And then we’ll get them all. Lansing for kidnapping, and Corinthos and Morgan for attempted murder—”
“I don’t give a rat’s ass about Corinthos and Morgan right now,” Scott snapped. “I care about the missing pregnant woman. I care about the mayor losing my number. I care about the voters who are threatening me with a recall election. They think we’ve been going after the grieving husband—you’ve hauled Corinthos and Morgan in for questioning more than any suspects—in fact, why the hell don’t I have any official police statements from Lansing and his wife?”
Mac raised his brows at his officer. “That is a good question. You should have called the paramedics and forced Elizabeth to go to the hospital. We could have gotten him on drugging her. Made him cool his heels in the cell.”
“She wouldn’t go to the hospital,” Capelli retorted. “And she’s in this up to her goddamn elbows. I can’t figure out what game she’s playing. Either she’s in on it with Lansing or she’s screwing Morgan on the side because I got Jason Morgan going to that house every day as soon as Lansing leaves.”
“She’s letting him in to search,” Scott said after a moment. He exhaled slowly. “It’s obvious, you idiot. Read your own report. She’s the one who granted permission for the search in the first place. She’s still there to give him access to Ric’s papers.” Scott gestured at him. “Mac, are all the officers on the case this goddamn stupid?”
“Hey. She’s helping, fine. But we’re not getting anywhere. Wouldn’t he have figured that out after the first day? They’re having some kind of affair.” Capelli narrowed his eyes. “We should leak that to the press.”
“What?” Scott repeated, his eyes wide. “Leak what? Are you fucking insane—”
“Yeah,” Capelli continued with a nod, liking his own train of thought. “They got history. Everyone knows he’s been screwing her since she was barely legal. We leak the affair to the press, Lansing flips out. If he’s working alone, then he kidnapped Carly to get back at Sonny over the kid they lost. He might make a mistake.”
“You are not telling the press that two innocent parties to this investigation are having an affair,” Scott snarled. “Especially to get a rise out of Ric. If you’re right, he might kill Carly.”
“Shit, she’s probably already dead. He probably killed her that night or turned her over to the Zaccharas who wouldn’t have let her live long.” Capelli shrugged. He looked to Mac who had remained silent throughout this exchange. “This is still my case, Mac. Is he going to tell me how to investigate?”
“I’m telling you that you’re not opening this department up for a lawsuit,” Scott seethed. “Get your men under control, Mac. And get some damn results. Lansing should be brought in for questioning.”
He stormed out of the office, leaving the two cops alone. Mac eyed his officer. “I don’t like it,” he said evenly.
“I’m not convinced she’s not involved,” Capelli repeated. “The only reason we think Lansing drugged her is because we know she was high when we were there. She lost a kid, Mac. You’re telling me that doesn’t screw with people? Maybe she and Lansing are both screwed up. Maybe she’s playing everyone. I don’t know. I haven’t pushed because Taggert thinks she’s this innocent kid—but I think she’s proved that she’s not. She’s married to Ric Lansing, we both know she’s been dating Jason Morgan, she was up to her eyeballs in all the Cassadine shit—”
Mac waved at him. “Leak it,” he murmured. “To the Sun. A small gossip item, speculation or something. Make sure it doesn’t come back to us.” He hesitated. “I’m serious, Capelli. Not a single breadcrumb because when it hits the papers—” He looked away. “Scott’s going to kill us if he finds out I allowed this.”
“Hey, I know what I’m doing. It’s time to shake this case up.”
Lansing House: Living Room
Bobbie stepped over the threshold and examined Elizabeth with a critical eye. In the week since Carly had been kidnapped, she thought the younger woman had probably lost even more weight, giving her eyes a sunken in look—the bones of her collarbone prominent beneath the cream-colored tank top she wore.
“No news,” Bobbie said with an irritated sigh. “I talked to Scott and he said they’re nowhere.” She started to pace. “I don’t understand how she can just vanish.” She pressed her fingers to her to her temples. “I keep thinking what if we have it all wrong?”
Elizabeth sighed and closed the door. Her eyes blurred a bit and she stumbled as she turned. Damn it. How much longer would she be dealing with this withdrawal? Monica had told her to expect dizziness, nausea, being short of breath, restlessness—
She felt like she was going to come out of her skin if something didn’t happen soon.
“I know.” She sat down gingerly on the sofa, rubbing her arms. “Jason has been in to search every single day. I feel like we’ve gone over this house a thousand times. Every piece of paper—but nothing. I mean, it has to be Ric. There has to be a clue here. The evidence doesn’t fit any other scenario, but—” Her head was pounding, her mouth was dry. “We put more cameras in, so maybe we’ll get something from that. Maybe it’s just—maybe it’s just the drugs or coming off of them—but I almost feel like she’s watching me. Like there’s something here.”
Bobbie closed her eyes. “I know. Michael saw Ric take her. He’s six, but he’s not stupid. He knew what Ric looked like. We know Ric drugged you. He mixed it with alcohol, so it was even more potent. He wouldn’t have done that if he wasn’t involved.”
“Maybe he didn’t bring her here,” Elizabeth said. “Maybe we were wrong about why he drugged me—maybe it was just so I wouldn’t notice he was gone.”
“I just can’t keep—” Bobbie scrubbed her hands over her face. “Everyone is looking at me with pity, like they think she’s already dead. Jason looks like a zombie, you’re on the brink of a medical disaster because you’re not eating and sleeping, and my daughter—” She stopped.
“I’m terrified that we’re wrong. That we’ve spent the last week searching for dead ends, but—” Elizabeth licked her lips. “Jason said that no one from the Zacchara family was in the area. And if it was—if it was business, wouldn’t they know? I mean…when I was kidnapped last year, Jason knew about it. He knew who it was. He accidentally—” Her cheeks flushed. “The guy keeping me died so he couldn’t tell Jason where I was. But—that’s how this is supposed to work. You don’t take someone for leverage if you don’t want to use the leverage.”
Bobbie frowned, folded her arms. “Jason has told you a lot, I see. More than he’s told me.”
“I—” She licked her lips again. They were so damn dry. “We keep going over and over everything. I think—I think he said Sonny is struggling, and I know from the papers that the PCPD is going after them. Jason said Sonny is working on keeping them out of jail, so Jason is looking for Carly. And I guess—I don’t think he’s keeping things from you, Bobbie.”
“No, no. I don’t think so either. I guess you’ve always known more about Jason’s business than you’ve let on.” She sighed, sat on the sofa. “I think about that Christmas a lot, you know. When I took care of Jason’s gunshot wound.”
“I try not to,” Elizabeth murmured. “I was so scared when I found him. And he was so damn stubborn. He didn’t want me to tell anyone, so I didn’t, but I didn’t know if I could really take care of him.”
“You did such a good job. I guess it just reminds me of Robin and Courtney.” Bobbie looked away. “Jason was shot before that—and Robin called 911, forced him to go to the hospital. And Courtney called the cops. Let them in to search the penthouse. Just—” She shook her head. “I don’t know what made me think of that winter in your studio.”
“Well, we’re working together—the three of us—for the first time since then,” Elizabeth pointed out with a half-smile. “And remembering how much of a pest Carly made herself. After that, she pretty much hated me.”
“Yeah, I guess that’s true.” Bobbie dipped her head. “I just want her back, Elizabeth. I don’t know if we’ve missed something. If we’re all just—if we’re all just going in circles, going over the same information again and again. I wish there was someone we could take this to but there’s not. There’s no one who gets it.”
“I know.” Elizabeth’s watch beeped, and she sighed as she reached for her purse. She dug around and pulled out her phone. “I have to check in with Jason.”
“He really meant every hour, huh?”
“Yeah…I fell asleep yesterday at the studio and missed a check in,” she murmured as she pressed the speed dial. “He called Cody within like…I don’t know, thirty seconds—Hey. Yeah, I’m fine. He’s not here. Office space again. He must be looking in every single building in the greater metropolitan area. Bobbie’s here—Okay. Yeah. Bye.” She closed the phone. “He’s at the penthouse with Justus. Sonny’s…having trouble so he had to take care of business today.” She put the phone back in her purse, careful to tuck it into her secret pocket. “I wish I could do more for him. He’s got all this weight on his shoulders.”
“I know.” Bobbie got to her feet. “I should go see if I can do something with Sonny. Carly would want me to look out for him. He must be out of his damn mind with worry.” Elizabeth followed her to the door, and the two embraced. “Take care of yourself and don’t forget to check in with Jason.”
“I won’t. I’m trying very hard not to be one more person he has to worry about.” Elizabeth sighed and closed the door behind her. She leaned back against it.
“Carly?” she called out. Again, a little more loudly. “I don’t know if you can hear me. I don’t know if you’re even here, but I don’t know. Just—don’t lose hope. Jason’s—he’s going to find you. I promise.”
Corinthos Penthouse: Upstairs Hallway
Irritated, Courtney strode towards the guest room where her brother had been holed up for the last few days. He’d refused to take any visitors—had sent Michael to stay with Bobbie as if he couldn’t be bothered with his own goddamn son—
He was being so selfish, so useless. Jason was never home, out until all hours of the night worrying about everyone but Courtney, and she was sick of Jason shouldering all of Sonny’s responsibilities.
She threw open the door. “Sonny—”
She couldn’t see her brother right away—the room was in shambled, the dark comforter twisted and pulled halfway across the bed—the desk chair broken and over turned.
In the corner, her brother sat, crossed legged. His eyes weren’t on Courtney but staring ahead. “You’re never going to forgive me,” he said to the empty space in front of him. “I didn’t want you to die, but you’re never going to stop punishing me—”
“Sonny—” Courtney’s voice trembled. Her brother was disheveled—he hadn’t shaved in days, his hair was in loose curls around his temples, his voice raspy, the dark eyes rimmed so deeply in red— “Sonny,” she repeated, trying to make herself louder.
“Courtney.” Sonny focused on her. He looked relieved to see her. He beckoned to her. “You can—you can tell her. Tell her I didn’t want to kill her. That it’s not Carly’s fault.”
“Tell who?” Courtney said, faintly. Oh, Christ, her brother had snapped.
“She’s right there.” Sonny pointed at the empty space. “Tell her, Lily. Tell her why you’re here.”
“She says it’s my fault, that I’m being punished, but it’s not fair to punish me.” He closed his eyes, shook his head. “Not fair to punish me.”
He reached for her, but Courtney had already fled out of the room and down the hall.
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Jason walked Justus out of the penthouse and started for the stairs to exchange the used clothes in his duffel bag for clean ones. He couldn’t bring himself to come back to this place and share a room with Courtney when he knew that one of the reasons Carly was still missing was because Courtney had tied all of their hands and called the police.
He couldn’t look at her, couldn’t understand how he had so badly misunderstood exactly who she was—why he had ever believed she understood his life better than other women who had been in it.
He was considering calling Diego, the guy trailing Ric, to find out how much longer Lansing might be gone. He hadn’t searched the house yet today, and not to search it made Jason feel like they were giving up.
Like they were just waiting to find Carly’s body—and that he was not going to deal with that. The only way this was going to end was finding Carly alive and healthy and getting Elizabeth away from Ric Lansing.
Milo, Max’s little brother, knocked on Jason’s door, intending to announce his visitor but Bobbie came in before he had a chance. “Jason. I’m glad I caught you.”
“Hey.” He hugged her briefly. “I thought you were with Elizabeth.”
“I was, but I wanted to come here to check on Sonny. She said he’s been struggling. I thought—I thought maybe he sent Michael to stay with me because of Lulu and Lucas—so Michael could have someone to distract him.” Bobbie braced her hands on Jason’s forearms. “But it’s worse than that.”
“He—he was doing okay at first,” Jason admitted. “But he stopped letting us in on Monday and I’ve been—I’ve been letting Justus and Bernie take care of business matters. I should be checking on him—”
“But you have a thousand things to worry about—” Bobbie exhaled sharply. “I need to have something to do, Jason. And we need to change tactics. We need to try something new.”
“I know.” Jason groaned as he turned and started to pace. “It’s been a week, and we’re nowhere. I thought Ric was looking for somewhere to move her—but there’s nothing. Elizabeth and I have torn that house apart, and my contacts at the PCPD tell me they don’t know anything either—”
He grimaced. “It’s Friday. I told Elizabeth I didn’t want her to stay another night in the house but she’s going to argue with me. And she’ll be right. I’ve missed something in the house. I must have, I just don’t know where.”
“If you missed it, we all did,” Bobbie reassured him. “Elizabeth and I were going over it, and everything keeps coming back to the house. It’s the only place that Ric spends any time. The only way this makes sense is if Ric didn’t do it—”
“He did it,” Jason said darkly. “Michael saw him—”
“I don’t doubt that, Jason. And Elizabeth said you’re pretty sure the Zaccharas aren’t involved.” She bit her lip. “Or am I not supposed to know that she knew that?”
“I can’t keep any of that straight anymore.” Jason dragged his hands through hair. “No, I guess I shouldn’t have told her, but it just came out. She’s the only one who gets it—and you, I mean—but—”
“She’s someone you trust, I get it.” Bobbie hesitated. “Where does any of this leave us, Jason? Where is Ric keeping my daughter?”
“There—she’s in the house. It’s the only thing that make sense. It’s the only place Ric goes every day. Unless—”
“Unless he killed her that first night. Unless she never stepped foot in the house.” Bobbie was pale but nodded. “I’m—I’m starting to allow that to be a theory. Maybe something went wrong and he—”
“I can’t let it be something I consider. Because she’s out there, and she’s counting on me, and Elizabeth is counting—” Jason broke off. “I just don’t know what to do next.”
The door shoved open, and Courtney ran in. “Jason, you have to—Sonny—he’s gone crazy!”
Jason blinked at his fiancée as Bobbie scowled. “What?” she demanded.
“He’s sitting upstairs and he’s talking to Lily like she’s there—” Courtney didn’t even finish her sentence before Bobbie and Jason rushed out—
And then Bobbie slammed the door shut behind her when Courtney tried to follow.
Corinthos Penthouse: Guest Bedroom
Jason stopped Bobbie before she could follow him. “Listen. There’s—Downstairs, in the room where I used to sleep when I lived here—there’s a first aid kit. It—” He swallowed hard. “There’s a sedative.”
Bobbie frowned. “A sedative? This isn’t the first time then—”
“It’s been a few years since it’s been this bad—and he’s never seen Lily,” Jason admitted. “I think he’s been drinking pretty steadily since Carly was kidnapped, and when he’s stressed—sometimes he has a breakdown and has hallucinations. We got a doctor to give us something to give him—I’ll do it, you just—”
“I don’t care about my license. I’ll go get the kit.” Bobbie went back down the hallway.
Jason walked into the room and found Sonny leaning against the wall on the far side of the room, his legs sprawled out in front of him. “Sonny?”
“I’m useless, aren’t I?” Sonny murmured, his eyes closed. “Lily told me that. It’s my fault, and I can’t even make it right.”
“Lily was a nice a woman who didn’t know you that well,” Jason said gently as he gingerly knelt down next to Sonny. “She never, not for one minute, would have blamed you.”
“She does. Can’t you hear her?” Sonny gestured to a space just behind Jason. “She blames me. Courtney does. I tried to blame her, tried to make it her fault, but it’s mine.”
“I’m the reason Ric didn’t have a mother, so that’s why he’s crazy. And it’s my fault my mother died. She tried to give me a father.” Sonny’s voice was monotone, almost eerily empty as he continued. “It’s my fault Lily died. It was supposed to be me.”
“It’s her father’s fault—”
“It’s my fault Ric came for Carly. Why she’s missing. He says I killed his baby.” Sonny opened his eyes. “Did I? I’ve killed babies before.”
“I don’t think—” Sonny’s voice was thick now with tears. “I like Elizabeth. I don’t think I would have pushed her. But maybe I did. I’m poison, Jason.”
“No, you’re not. You know Lily’s not here,” Jason said, swallowing a lump in his throat. “It’s just you saying these things. Because you’re scared. I’m scared, too.”
“Yeah?” Sonny focused on him. “Why?”
“Because it’s been a week,” Jason admitted. “And I don’t know if I’m right. I don’t know if Ric has her in that house. And if he doesn’t, Elizabeth will have put herself into danger for nothing. I’m scared she’s already gone, Sonny. Or that Ric is going to cut his losses and hurt Elizabeth—even kill her this time.” Jason exhaled slowly. “I don’t have all the answers, Sonny. I wish like hell I did.”
Sonny looked past him again. “She’s not there anymore,” he said quietly. “I guess maybe she never was.”
Behind him, Bobbie gently set down the first aid kit. “Hey, Sonny.”
“Bobbie.” Sonny focused on his mother-in-law. “I’m sorry. I love Carly. I never wanted this to happen. I’m so sorry.”
“I know you are,” Bobbie said gently. “Will you let me take care of you? Carly would want me to look after you.” She held out her hand, and together, they pulled Sonny to his feet.
Sonny bobbed and weaved, then laid on the bed. “I’m so tired,” he murmured. He laid his head against the pillow and didn’t even flinch as Bobble delivered the shot.
They waited until Sonny was sleep, and then went downstairs.
Bobbie closed her eyes. “I’m going to call Nikolas,” she told him. “Nikolas is a set of fresh eyes. He can look at this situation and maybe he won’t get stuck. He’ll want Liz out of the house as much as we do and maybe he’ll have some ideas. He’s the only person I can think of who might be able to help.”
She focused on Jason. “You need to send Courtney away.”
“What?” Jason looked at her, squinted. “Why—”
“Because you’re killing yourself to avoid her. Because you know you’re ending it. And she’s just a distraction. An obstacle. She probably made things worse with Sonny, and God knows if she might cooperate with the cops again. Every time I see her, I want to choke the life out of her, so I can’t imagine how you feel about her. Send her to the island with Michael. I’ll talk to Lucas and Lulu. They can go with her.”
Jason exhaled slowly. “I keep thinking I don’t understand how any of this happened,” he admitted. “How—how did I almost marry her, Bobbie? I don’t think I even like her very much.”
Bobbie managed a weak smile. “I’ve been married enough to know that sometimes…you do it because you don’t think there’s anything better out there. It’s never okay to settle, Jason. I’ve done that more than once in my life.”
He sighed. “Yeah, well, you’re right. Courtney can take care of Michael and I won’t have to worry about him. You call Nikolas, and I’ll make the arrangements.”
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
There was a suitcase by his door when Jason finally went back to his place. He stared down at it—less than a year ago, he had walked through this door and found another suitcase packed, left at his door by a different woman.
When Elizabeth had walked away—when he’d seen that suitcase and known that he avoided the penthouse for too long—that he had waited too long—a hole had opened inside of him—an ache in his chest that only spread when she’d looked at him with those angry, betrayed eyes.
Looking at another woman preparing to leave him—the fact that knowing Courtney was going—it was relief. This was over. She’d been a mistake—a wrong path—and now he’d have the chance to stop it. To end it before they both made this worse.
Courtney stopped at the bottom of the stairs, another suitcase in her hands. “I think it’s time we both stopped pretending you give a damn about me,” she said flatly. “You can’t say you love me, that you want to marry me, and treat me the way you have for the last week.”
“I—” Jason hesitated. “No. I care about you, but I knew even before Carly went missing that we were making a mistake.”
She swallowed hard, tears shining in her blue eyes. “I could feel you slipping away from me. As long as we were in crisis mode—as long as there was something else going on—we didn’t have to think about the fact that you didn’t love me. I don’t know why you lied to me—”
“I wanted to love you,” he admitted, painfully. “I thought—I thought you understood the way I had to live my life. You acted like you did—”
“I called the cops because my best friend was missing, and my nephew was devastated. I was afraid you and Sonny were going to kill Ric.” Courtney swallowed. “But you know…I guess I’ve ignored what you do. I put it into a box. I’m not like Elizabeth.”
Jason didn’t have the energy to have this conversation. Things had to get done. “I need you to go to the island,” he said, changing course. “I need—Michael needs to get away from this. Lulu and Lucas are going to go with you, but I need to know that he’s okay and somewhere safe.”
“You need me out of the way, too.” Courtney pursed her lips, exhaled slowly, and then nodded. “Yeah. Okay. It’s clear that everything I try to do here is just making it worse. You and Sonny hate me. And I guess bringing the cops in made a mess of things. I didn’t—I didn’t want that, Jason—”
“I know you were trying to help,” Jason cut in. “It just—it didn’t.”
“Yeah. Well, I guess I’ll finish packing. Let me know when I’m leaving.” She went back up the stairs, and he left, feeling dissatisfied with how that had gone.
He’d never meant to hurt Courtney, but by lying to himself, he’d lied to her, too. He didn’t recognize himself and couldn’t understand why it had taken so long to just admit the truth.
He couldn’t worry about Courtney anymore—he had to get the plane ready and let the people at the island know they were coming. Another thing to add to the list that only seemed to get longer every day.