June 30, 2020

Your Update Link: Desperate Measures, Part 7

Other Links: Crimson Glass Survey | Ebooks

Hello! I’m continuing my work on the Crimson Glass site, and I’ve relaunched the Ebooks page with the updated links for the ebooks I’ve published in June as well as organizing the older books.  There’s still more design I work I want to do, but it’s far enough along that I can give it to you.

One of the suggestions I received in the survey asked me to talk about the benefits of ebooks so I added a section for that as well. There are some instructions for using Calibre, the Nook, and the Kindle for the books but these are external links at the moment. I’ll be working on writing my own with screencaps or maybe even a video.  Honestly, the biggest benefit to using the books I’ve published is having offline access. One of my regrets is not saving enough of my older favorites and just trusting they’d always be online. For a while, Crimson Glass was offline and my stories were inaccessible.

The other reason I like making ebooks is that I’m treating myself like a traditional writer. Writing fanfiction, particularly of the length and (in my opinion) quality that I do, is a second career for me. I even make a little money from it. So making ebooks allows me to feel like a real writer and it treats you guys like a traditional audience. I love the idea that some people might have my books on their ereaders stored with other more traditional authors. My stories will always be available with the chapter by chapter posting, but as I move to releasing them in full at once, I want you guys to have the ability to read on planes, in bed, and away from your computers or iPads.

I hope that explains why I’ve been putting energy into ebooks. I always wanted to do this kind of scale with them and have them available, but until I started using Scrivener to format them, it was a lot harder to do.

In other news, I’ll be publishing the Site & Story Status post and video tomorrow. Camp NaNoWriMo kicks off tomorrow, and I’m really excited to finish Mad World this month. I’ll see you guys tomorrow!

This entry is part 7 of 20 in the series Flash Fiction: Desperate Measures

Written in 21  minutes. No time for typos or edits.


Elizabeth put up her hands and took a deep breath. “I need—I need to slow down. I need—” She looked at Jason. “I need to sit down,” she admitted.

The last ten hours of her life had been the worst of her life—from being woke in the dead of the night, fighting for her life and sanity—for her children—terrified that her choices had led to one of her son having to live with killing someone—

Only to learn that everything she thought had been happening was a lie.

She closed her eyes, took another breath. Her boys were safe. That was all that mattered in the end.

She felt a hand at her elbow as Jason gently steered her towards the sofa and guided her to sit down. “Just…” Jason hesitated. “Relax,” he said, but the way he said the word suggested he knew exactly how insane that sounded. “Let’s just all take a second and regroup, okay?”

“Is there coffee?” Diane asked, the lines in her face more prominent than usual. She’d been up all night, Elizabeth remembered, helping her. “I think we’re going to need it.”

Jason sat next to her, and Cameron took the other side. She looked at him again, at her little boy who looked so grown up—there was something in his eyes that said he wasn’t the boy he’d been yesterday. He’d grown up over night, and she was all too aware how something could destroy everything you thought about yourself.

She’d never wanted that for her boys—but this was her fault.

“Let me get you something to eat,” Jason told her. “You should rest, sleep—” He took her hand in his, wrapping her smaller fingers in his own. “We can deal with this when you’re stronger.”

“No, no, I won’t be able to sleep until we—” Elizabeth exhaled slowly. She looked at Cameron again. “Does he know what happened?”

“He knows everything I know,” Cameron told his mother. “You—you said I could trust him—”

“Of course,” Elizabeth assured him. She turned to her son, facing him fully. “There aren’t a lot of people I would say that about, but Jason will always be one of them.” Her smile was thin. “But I know I don’t have a lot of credibility right now—”

“Mom—no, don’t—” Cameron shook his head. “You’re not the only one who thought he was different. We all did.”

Diane returned with two cups of coffee, one for herself and one for Elizabeth. She arched a brow at Jason. “My empathy only goes so far,” she murmured. “Now, let’s—let’s take a minute and start from the beginning. Now that you know you don’t have to protect Cameron.”

She opened her notepad. “According to Detective Chase, they received a 911 call at 1:05 AM. What time did Jake call you?” she asked Jason.

“1:13 PM,” Jason answered. “But the line went dead after I picked it up.”

“His phone fell while we were getting in the car,” Cameron told his mother. “Remember? You told him there was no time—that you’d call Jason when you got inside. So we went in.”

“The cops arrived on scene at 1:20 PM,” Diane continued. “That’s seven minutes.” She tipped her head. “They were delayed due to traffic on Quartz Lane and overnight construction. I don’t have the transcript of the call yet or the recording—”

“I thought Aiden called, but that timing wouldn’t match,” Cameron admitted. “Jake told me they were tied up, and that Aiden’s knots were looser so he got them both free. “I got home aa little before one.”

“It all happened so fast,” Elizabeth murmured. “I don’t understand. Who called 911?”

“We’ll know when we get the information. But I need to know what happened after the boys left,” Diane said. “What was the plan?”

“I didn’t know the cops were coming,” Elizabeth admitted. “I, u—” She looked at Jason. “I was going to call you. I thought—” She blanched.

“You were going to ask Jason to get rid of the body,” Cameron said as Elizabeth looked at him, her eyes burning with tears. “It’s okay, Mom. You don’t have to protect me anymore.”

And there was something about that statement that quietly shattered her. The tears slid down her cheek again, and she couldn’t stop them. Diane shifted, uncomfortably as Elizabeth struggled to get herself under control again. She was just so tired of everything.

“You didn’t call me,” Jason said, drawing her attention after a long moment. “Why? What happened?” he repeated Diane’s question.

“I went inside, and then—” Elizabeth hesitated. “I fell—” She touched the back of her neck, at the base of her skull. “Or something hit me. I don’t know.” She closed her eyes. Forced herself back into that terror—

Running inside, her skin like ice, rushing for her phone, trying to dial—then blinding, white light—pain—

She looked at her knees, left bare by her cotton shorts. They were scabbed, the blood having dried. “I fell,” she repeated. “Something hit me—and I fell on the ground.”

Jason took her leg in his and she shivered at his touch, her fingers warmer than her cool skin. “These are scrapes from being dragged,” he told her and she didn’t question how he’d know something like that. “Someone hit you and dragged you. Where did you wake up?”

“The next thing I remember is the living room—I was standing there, and there was an officer shoving his flashlight in my face, asking me if I was high, and who killed Franco. I didn’t even think—I didn’t know—I just said it was me.”

“And Franco was dead in the kitchen. You left him upstairs, on the bedroom floor while you got the boys out of the house,” Diane said. “And while you were outside with them, Franco came down stairs, someone called 911, hit you in the head, and killed him.”

“But—but maybe it was me,” Elizabeth insisted. “Maybe—”

“Someone dragged you across the floor—you must have scraped your knees on something—and Franco was stabbed to death. Someone was with Franco last night,” Jason insisted. “He wasn’t alone.”

“Someone waited while he tried to—” Elizabeth pressed her fist to her mouth, then lurched off the sofa and ran to the bathroom, barely reaching it before she vomited.

June 29, 2020

Your Update Link: An Everlasting Love, Part 7

Other Links: Crimson Glass Survey | Production Schedule

Thank you so much for those of you who have responded so far to the survey! I’ve had a lot of great feedback, and I’m already starting to implement them. This morning, I rewrote the introduction to the site so that it features a list of links to find stories as well as more update information. Let me know if you think this helps!

I’m also working on redesigning the Ebook page so that it’s updated and more helpful. That should be done for tomorrow’s Flash Fiction update.

I updated the Production Schedule with the rest of 2020’s novel schedule. Flash Fiction does not feature on this page. The schedule also has a Google Calendar for you to look at if you want. I’m still working on the Calendar.

This entry is part 7 of 16 in the series Flash Fiction: An Everlasting Love

Written in 21  minutes. No time for rereading.


Elizabeth forced a smile at her surly son as he threw himself on the sofa in their parlor, burrowing his face in one of the pillows. “I’m sorry, Cam,” she murmured, sitting beside him and rubbing his back. “I know how much you love going into town, but I have a meeting and it’s easier if you stay home.”

“Don’t wanna stay home,” Cameron’s muffled words were laced with bitterness and insult.

“I bet that Mrs. Baldwin will sneak you some cookies,” Elizabeth said as she flashed a more genuine smile at their housekeeper, Gail Baldwin. She’d been with Elizabeth’s family since she was a small girl and was the closest thing to a grandparent Cameron would likely know.

Cameron turned his face slightly to look at her suspiciously. “How many cookies?”

“Oh, as many as you like,” Gail said with a laugh as the music of Ireland danced in her voice. “Come with me to the kitchen and let your mam take care of her boring business.”

Cameron slid of the sofa and bounced across the room to take Gail’s hand. Elizabeth sent Gail a grateful look as she crossed to the closet and drew out her hat and driving gloves. “I’ll be back before sunset,” she promised them.

The drive into town gave Elizabeth time to think and plan her strategy. It was important that this meeting went the way she wanted it to, but when it came to Ric Lansing, one always had to be six steps ahead.

And unfortunately, Ric always seemed to have a backup scheme to derail even Elizabeth’s best escape plans. If this didn’t work, she’d need to pull up stakes and leave Diamond Springs. Leave behind her grandparents’ ranch and everything they’d ever worked for.

Once more, she cursed her father and hoped he was roasting in hell for what he’d done to her.

She drove past the jail, keeping her eyes straight. She didn’t want to catch even the slightest glimpse of Jason Morgan today. Or any day coming. She wanted to pretend he didn’t exist for as long as she could.

She wondered if things really would have been different if Felicia Jones hadn’t stolen her letters and kept Jason’s from her. Would Jason have come home? Would he have received her pleas?

She was relieved to have the letters in her possession — she’d checked all of them and they’d remained unsealed—all the letters she’d sent over two years — and then one single letter she’d sent in desperation six months after the last.

She steered her cart and horse toward the livery stables to store them while she was in town, and started across the street to the bank. She stopped to look at the outside, at the name of Lansing etched into the sign.

Of course if Jason had received her letters, if he’d come home—Ric would have just found a reason to destroy him like he had anyone else Elizabeth had turned to over the years.

When she stepped inside the bank, she found her tormentor smiling at her. “Right on time, Bethie—”

“That has never been my name and you do not have my permission to address me so formally,” Elizabeth snapped. She drew off her riding gloves and tucked them into her reticule. “Now, I believe you have some paperwork for me to examine.”

Ric’s smile faded as his eyes narrowed. “You haven’t come to your senses yet, I see. Well, then, come to my office—”

She followed him into the smaller room and took a seat—but she jerked out of the chair when he started to close the door. “Don’t you dare,” Elizabeth snapped. “You leave the door open! I will not have you ruin my good name.”

Ric pursed his lips. “Fine. I had thought to give us some privacy, but have it your way.” He took his seat and slid paperwork across the desk. “As I said, here is the mortgage your father took out on the Lazy W. Payments were made on time until his death two years ago, and you now owe me all the back payments, including interest.”

Elizabeth didn’t look down at the paperwork. “Is that contract any more real than the one you gave Alexander? Or Peter?” Her lips pressed together. “Or my husband?”

Ric raised a brow, then leaned back. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Bethie. This is why you need someone at your side to take care of you. You just can’t do it alone—”

“If I remember correctly, you also presented my husband with a mortgage contract.” Her fingers clenched in her lap. “And when he could not pay what you said he owed, you took him to court. You took our home.”

“Well, he should not have done business if he couldn’t pay the price.” Ric’s smile was almost feral. “Cameron should have known better.”

“You mean I should have known better,” she murmured softly. “The moment I accepted Cameron’s proposal, you were going to do to him what you’d done to anyone I’d ever thought about marrying.”

“I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about—”

“I always wondered what you’d done to Jason,” Elizabeth said. “When I didn’t receive any word from him—I assumed you were right. That his grandmother was right. But now I know. You, my father, and Lila Quartermaine were in this together—”

Ric tipped his head. “I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Of course, Lila never would have worked with you if she’d known my father was involved, but she never cared for me.” Elizabeth looked away. “I will never marry you. You can take everything I have, but I promise you—”

“Well, if the Lazy W isn’t enough to convince you—” Ric slid another piece of paper across the table. “This might do it.”

Elizabeth frowned as she picked up the paper, her heart pounding as she recognized her own writing—but this wasn’t hers. She hadn’t written this.

“You forged a letter from me—to you—” Her blood iced over. “Claiming that I was pregnant with your child—”

“If you decline to marry me this time, Bethie, I will take what is mine. I’ll have my son.”

“He’s not—” White spots danced in her eyes. “He’s not—”

“Who do you think the courts will believe? You? After the trail of destruction you left? Or me?” Ric raised his brows. “What will it be?”

June 28, 2020

This entry is part 2 of 16 in the series Flash Fiction: Darkest Before the Dawn

Written in 21   minutes. No time for typos.


Elizabeth’s sons returned from Disney World two days after the authorities assured them that the poison in the water had, indeed, been eliminated. She’d refused to let them return until she was confident—and even so, she’d asked Jason and Patrick to drag in gallons of water to use in their food and for baths.

It might be a while before she completely trusted the water system again. Patrick didn’t balk at helping, and Elizabeth also sent Jason to help Patrick with water for his house. The two of them even delivered water to Carly’s place.

No one was taking any chances.

“It would be nice if we could stop having this insane level of drama for like eight seconds,” Elizabeth muttered to her brother, Steven, as he joined her at the nurse’s station to grab some charts. “Aren’t you exhausted?”

“Constantly,” he agreed. But he grinned. “But it’s never boring.”

“I could do with boring.” She wrinkled her nose and frowned when she saw Brad Cooper, the lab tech she’d asked to run the maternity test several days earlier. “Hey, Brad. What are you doing up here?”

“Oh, well…” Brad slid a glance at Steven. “Just delivering some test results.”

“Hand delivering?” Steven smirked. “Brad, I told you. The lab is safe. ELQ donated enough money to keep all the positions secure for another year.” He scribbled something in a chart. “Don’t know what made Tracy get all generous, but let’s hope that it doesn’t go away.”

“I know, right? She was always worse than Edward.” Elizabeth looked at Brad. “Are those the results for Patrick? I can take them to him.” She put her hand out and Brad hesitated. She frowned, wondering if he was worried he’d get in trouble or something.

She’d told him the test was completely on the level — Patrick had agreed to run the test for her and ordered them. Jason was getting billed. All Brad had to do was run the test but maybe he was still a bit jumpy after nearly getting laid off.

Steven looked at Brad, then at his sister. “Uh, do I have to know something? Or should I go?”

“It’s fine,” Brad said finally. “Sorry, I just—Patrick told me these results were important, so—” He set the envelope in Elizabeth’s hands. “I just want to do it right.”

“Elizabeth here is Patrick’s right-hand man,” Steven assured Brad. “And you’re not getting fired for giving results to a nurse.”

“Right, right.” Brad made a hasty exit, skipping the elevators and taking the service stairs. Elizabeth stared after him, frowning in complete bewilderment.

“Oh, man, he’s weird,” Steven murmured. “Where did we find him?”

“I don’t know. Ask the lab director. She hired him. Maybe he really just was nervous—I mean, I know you’re an idiot, but other people might respect you.” Elizabeth shot her brother a smirk, and he flicked her nose.

“Quiet, Bits. What’s the test? What’s so important?”

Elizabeth shrugged. “Just a test Patrick wanted done. One of his VIPs, I think. That’s why I handled it.”

“Right. Keep your secrets. Just don’t get me sued,” Steven told her. He picked up his chart and headed down the hallway.

Elizabeth rolled her eyes and turned back to her monitor, slipping the envelope into her scrubs pocket. “One time, and he acts like I’m a walking lawsuit,” she muttered.

When she’d finished marking up her patient charts, she headed for the break room so she could text Jason and tell him to head over on her break. She wasn’t really in a hurry to give him these results, but she knew he wanted them quickly.

Elizabeth had listened to the reasons Jason thought Victor Delgado might be Danny McCall, and was reluctant to admit he might be right. Victor and Danny had been born on the same night, around the same time — without doctors. Todd Manning had been lurking in the area, as had Heather Webber. If you threw in the fact that Victor had an genetic illness that she knew some Cassadines had also inherited—

It was just—she knew that the friendship she and Jason had enjoyed over the last few months, the quiet talks, the spontaneous dinners with her and boys—it would all end. Because if Victor was Danny, Jason would rush off to bring him home to Sam, and she’d be grateful. They’d reunite and that would be that.

Not that she wanted Jason back, but she also didn’t want to lose him again in her life. Without Jake to tie them together…

Elizabeth sighed and sent Jason the text message, telling him her break was in an hour and she’d meet him on the roof.

It didn’t make her a bad person if she didn’t necessarily think it was fair that Sam got her child back while Elizabeth’s would never come home again. Particularly Sam, a woman Elizabeth loathed with every fiber of her being.

But she was also a grieving mother, so if she could relieve another mother’s mind—

Jason responded to let her know he’d seen her then, and she got back to work.

_____

Jason found Elizabeth on the roof, looking out over the city—where she’d been a week ago when the rain had finally poured down on the city, ending a recent drought and bringing some symbolic relief to end of the poisoned water crisis.

“Hey.”

She turned and flashed him a smile—one he returned automatically. It was rare to see Elizabeth smile these days when she wasn’t with her boys. When they’d lost Jake the year before, a melancholy sadness had settled inside of her—even he could see she wasn’t the same.

He understood — he hadn’t even been a true part of Jake’s life, but the loss of their son had cut him deeply. He didn’t know how either of them would ever really get past it.

“Hey,” she greeted. She slid an envelope out of her pocket and handed it to him. “Here are the results.”

Jason frowned as he took the sealed envelope. “You didn’t look at them?”

“No, I figured you’d want to do that.” Elizabeth’s smile dimmed slightly. “I just—I was thinking about how much—” She exhaled slowly. “How jealous I am of Sam, and she doesn’t even know it. I’d give anything to be holding a set of results like that—to just…” She looked away. “To just have hope our little boy was out there.”

Instead of lying in a coffin in the cemetery, a headstone with dates indicating just how little life their son had enjoyed.

He didn’t have the words to comfort her, so Jason opened the results and looked at the paper. He exhaled slowly and then looked up to find her studying her.

“Well?” Elizabeth asked.

“I was wrong,” he said. He carefully folded the results and placed them back in the envelope. “Victor—it’s not him.”

“Oh.” A little breath rushed out, and Elizabeth bit her lip. “I guess—I don’t know. I wasn’t expecting that.”

“Me either.” He’d wanted to be absolved of this guilt, the sin of what he’d done to Sam and how it had destroyed everything. But it wasn’t going to happen. “I’m glad I never told her.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Elizabeth cleared her throat. “I should get back to work.”

She started past him, but he grabbed her elbow and drew her back. “Hey,” he said, “why don’t I come over tonight? I’ll bring some pizza or something.”

“Yeah.” Elizabeth smiled, her face brightening slightly. “The boys would like that. Thanks. I’ll see you then.”

Your Update Link: Darkest Before The Dawn, Part 2

Other Links: Crimson Glass Survey | Bittersweet sub-site

Happy Sunday! I worked late last night and finished the preliminary version of the Bittersweet sub-site. The layout is a bit different than either Mad World or For the Broken Girl, so let me know you if you have any suggestions or issues accessing parts of it. I still have some content to work on — I’ve been having weird website errors and upload issuse so it just took longer to get the theme ready.

Five years ago, I asked my readers to give me some feedback on the website — about a year after I opened it up as a WordPress Archive, I wanted to see how everyone was using it and to get some ideas. I got some great feedback from that survey — I added the Recent Updates and Alphabetical List of All Stories pages. It also helped me de-clutter the sidebar I had at the time.

So five years later (wow!), I’m looking to get some more ideas. So for the next week, I’ll be linking the survey in all my updates. It should take no more than 4 minutes and it’s anonymous so be completely honest!  I’ve got a few anniversaries coming up — this July is the 18th anniversary of my first Liason story, Deserving (lost to the wilds), and September 19, 2002 is the 18th birthday of my original fanfiction website, In A Perfect World. Crimson Glass proper opened in April 2004, but I don’t celebrate that because I just moved it from one home to the other.

Since I turned 36 year this year, the 18th anniversary of these things means that for literally HALF my life, I’ve been writing Liason fanfiction. I want to make this a special year 🙂

June 27, 2020

Your Update Link: Whatever It Takes, Part 6

I’m working on the Bittersweet sub-site but I’ve run into a very strange problem. I test all my new themes on a different WordPress installation, but every time I try to upload it, the site stops working. I’ve put in a Support ticket, so hopefully that will take care of it, but for now — that’s been put on hold.

I’ll be back tomorrow with another flash fiction update 🙂

This entry is part 6 of 16 in the series Flash Fiction: Whatever It Takes

Written in 20  minutes. No time for edits.


Jason and Ric had hated each other almost from the moment Jason had started to work for Sonny, and the situation had only worsened when Elizabeth had filed for divorce after a short, disastrous two months only to marry Jason six months later. While Ric worked for Sonny out of familial loyalty and because Sonny had promised their mother he’d look after his little brother — Jason had risen to his place in Sonny’s organization through actual loyalty and merit.

Elizabeth hadn’t intended to get in the middle of all of that, but neither had she really paid attention. Maybe she should have, she thought the next morning as she walked out of her former home and crossed the hallway to Sonny’s penthouse.

She smiled at Max Giambetti, the long time guard for Sonny. “Hey.”

“Mrs. Morgan.” Max straightened. “Uh—I didn’t realize you were still here—” He looked at the door, then back at her. “Mr. C isn’t taking visitors—”

“I know, I understand. I was hoping Ric might talk to me.” She fluttered her lashes slightly because she knew Max was easily flustered by women. “Does he know I’m here?”

“Uh…maybe. I don’t know. I should check.”

Max knocked lightly on the door. “Go away,” Ric barked, his voice muffled by the heavy oak door.

“Mr. Lansing—”

“Say Elizabeth is here,” she told him quickly. “Or my maiden name. Or something.”

“Right—Uh, Miss Webber is here—”

The door was yanked open even before Max could finish his sentence. Her former husband was disheveled, his dress shirt unbuttoned to his collar, his usually sleek hair tumbling over his eyes. “Elizabeth.”

“Hey. I was hoping you might agree to see me. I know Sonny isn’t up for visitors.” She folded her arms. “But I wanted to check on you guys.”

“Uh…yeah. Okay.” Ric dragged his hands through his hair and stepped away from the door. Elizabeth stepped inside, but left the door slightly ajar. “I didn’t—I didn’t think you’d come back from Boston.”

“Well, Carly and I never had problems with each other,” Elizabeth said. “But I haven’t heard from my brother in a few days.” She took a deep breath. “With the next couple of weeks—it’s just not a time when Steven would be out of touch with me, you know?”

Ric blinked at her. “The next couple—” He nodded. “Right. Right. Uh, I’m sorry. I think I lost—it’s been a rough couple of days.”

“I’ll bet. Is Michael here?” Elizabeth asked.

“No, he’s with Bobbie—uh, Sonny thought that would be—” Ric shook his head, cleared his throat. “I’m sorry. I really wasn’t expecting you. I haven’t seen you since you moved.”

“Well, other than Steven, I don’t really have a lot of good memories in Port Charles,” Elizabeth murmured. “And since my divorce will be finalized soon…” She let that dangle, hoping that would make Ric give her a bit more information.

If he had anything to give.

“Justus said something about that. It’s been tough here. You’re not the only one Jason abandoned,” Ric said tightly, his eyes flashing. “I told you he would disappoint you, didn’t I?”

“You did,” Elizabeth said carefully. “It’s hard to say if things would have been different—” She sighed. “I suppose I’m not meant to be a mother.”

“Don’t—” Ric reached out to her, but Elizabeth couldn’t fight the old habit—she stepped back. His hand curled into a fist between them as he nodded. “I’m sorry. I forgot. I’m sorry,” he repeated. “You still haven’t forgiven me.”

“No,” Elizabeth said. And suddenly, the air was heavy and she couldn’t force a full breath. Being around him—remembering those final devastating weeks. “I shouldn’t have said anything. I’m sorry. Look, I really just came by to check on Sonny. I know he and Carly had their problems, but I’m sure he’s taking this badly. And I was hoping you’d heard from my brother.”

“No. I haven’t,” Ric said flatly. “And Sonny’s fine. I’ll have some of the men look around for Steven. Are you at the hotel?”

“No,” Elizabeth admitted. “I’m across the hall—”

“Jason’s staying across the hall. He got back yesterday.” His eyes flashed. “I thought you said your divorce was nearly final—”

“It is. But there’s no point in wasting money when I can stay in a guest room. There are still a few things I need to pack anyway.” Elizabeth folded her arms. “Let me know if Sonny needs anything.”

She turned and left the penthouse, barely giving Max a second glance as she hurried back to the other penthouse where Jason and Justus were waiting.

She closed the door behind her and leaned back against it, her heart pounding. Jason and Justus both shot to her feet.

“What is it?” Jason demanded as Justus crossed the room to her. “What did he do?”

“Nothing.” Elizabeth exhaled. “Except lie to me. Everything he said was a lie.” She stepped away from the door. “He knows something about Steven. He claimed not to know I was in town or staying over here. And—” She swallowed hard. “He claimed he didn’t know it’s been almost a year.”

Jason frowned. “How does that—”

“Because he still sends me flowers every May, Jason, that’s why. For the last three years, he’s sent me flowers to remind me that his mistress shoved me down a flight of stairs and I miscarried my first child. You’re telling me he doesn’t remember that my second child died in July?” Elizabeth demanded harshly.

Jason pressed his lips together and looked away. “So why would he lie?”

“To make her think he’s forgotten her,” Justus said. “That he hasn’t been thinking about her. He knew Steven was missing. And he knew you were here. Max told him yesterday. Max tells him every time someone comes to the Towers.”

“So he’s lying about something. About my brother, about me, I don’t know. Take your pick.” Elizabeth exhaled slowly. “You said Sonny ordered the bomb and Carly picked it up,” she said softly. “What if they were both framed?”

Jason shook his head, looked at her. “What? Why?”

“Sonny never does the work directly. You told me that,” she reminded him.

Justus inhaled sharply. “Ric could have done it in his name. Tommy wouldn’t have thought anything of it.”

“He ordered it in May, didn’t he?” Elizabeth pressed Jason. “That’s when your guy started working on it. Ric came back from a business trip and he’d been for months. I wasn’t showing when he left—”

“But you were when he came back.” Jason fisted his hands at his side. “I never thought—I never thought he’d go after you—”

Elizabeth smiled thinly. “I should have. It wouldn’t even be the first time.”

June 26, 2020

Your Update Links: An Everlasting Love, Part 6 and Desperate Measures, Part 6

With this update, we’re caught up to where I would have been if I hadn’t taken Monday off. I’ll be back to my usual one a day schedule for the foreseeable future. The newest series, Darkest Before the Dawn, might see some extra updates on random days because I can easily fit another 20 minutes in around 8-9 once I get my routine really set.  Remember to follow me on Twitter to find out when I start my timer — it’s generally in the morning!

I’m working on the Bittersweet sub-site. I’ve worked on the images, the layout, and ebook. All that’s left is getting the theme up and running and getting the pieces of the site organized. That should be done on Saturday or Sunday. After that, I’ll be taking a week off to just look at the site and doing some minor housekeeping things. After that, I’ll be overhauling The Best Thing, then A Few Words.

I’m also doing an open call for Patreon benefit suggestions. If you’re not currently a Patreon supporter, is there something that might change your mind? This post is open to the public, so if you have any thoughts or suggestions let me know.

Mad World is coming along well — I hit 47k yesterday and finished Chapter 8. We’re really getting out of the setup part of the story, the hardest part to write, and I’m about to launch into the huge stories so I’m hopefully that next week is our week to start churning out a chapter a day. That’s another reason I’m taking the week off from structured website work to make sure I give myself the time in the afternoon.

This entry is part 6 of 20 in the series Flash Fiction: Desperate Measures

Written in  22   minutes. No time for typos.


 

As Jason pulled the car into a parking spot at his apartment building, his cell phone rang. He looked at Cameron. “It’s Diane.” Because he thought Cameron had earned it, he put Diane on speaker phone.

“Hey, Diane. I just got back to town with Cameron. Max is behind me, maybe five minutes with Jake and Aiden.”

“Oh, good. Good.” His lawyer sounded slightly distracted. “I’m calling because I called in every single favor I’ve had with all the judges, including some of yours, and I’ve got Elizabeth an arraignment hearing at 8 AM.”

“That’s in an hour,” Jason said. Without looking at Cameron, he continued, “Which judge got the assignment?”

“Richardson.”

“Okay. I have some calls to make. Thanks.” Jason closed the phone, looked at Cameron. “You can stay for this next part,” he told Elizabeth’s son, “but I’m going to commit a felony.”

Cameron’s smile was thin, his eyes wry. “Yeah? Cool. I think I’ve commited more in the last twelve hours than one.” He sat back against the seat, putting a hand over his eyes. “Which is never something I thought I’d get to say to Jason Morgan.”

He had his mother’s gloomy sense of humor, Jason thought as he called the clerk’s office. “Jimmy? Tell Richardson we’re even if Webber goes home.” He waited a minute, then hung up.

“That’s it?” Cameron frowned. “That’s all it takes? He’ll know?”

“He’ll know,” Jason said. He got out of the car as Max pulled into the parking spot next to him. He went to the passenger’s side to get Jake and Aiden.

“They fell asleep about ten minutes ago,” Max told him. “You want some help getting them upstairs?”

“Yeah.” Jason tossed his keys to Cameron. “I’m on the third floor, Apartment C.” He unbelted Jake and lifted his son into his arms, a pang of regret that with his eleventh birthday behind him, he was already too big to carry.

Max took care of seven-year-old Aiden, and the five of them trudged towards the building.

Once Jake and Aiden were settled in Jake’s bunk bed, Max left and Cameron was alone with Jason again.

“How do you know he’ll do it?” Cameron asked as Jason brewed a pot of coffee. “What if he doesn’t?”

Jason thought about the judge who liked to hire escorts in groups of two and three, and the wife and children he had at home. “He will.”

“What if he doesn’t?” Cameron insisted. “I mean, we can’t stay here forever.” He swallowed hard. “I didn’t think about what happens next. Mom told me to go, so I went. But she confessed. They might not let her take it back. If she goes to jail—” He looked towards the bedroom. “What happens to us?”

Jason hesitated, because he didn’t know. “That’s not going to happen—” he started, but Cameron clearly wasn’t in the mood for that.

“I’m not stupid, Jason. Bad things happen all the time. You can’t fix everything. If you could, Franco wouldn’t be here in the first place.” Cameron winced. “I’m sorry. I didn’t—’

“You’re right.” Jason looked at him. “I don’t know what happens to the three of you if your mother isn’t here to take care of you.” He hesitated. “I know that before—before Jake’s accident, she left custody of the two of you to me. She wanted you two to stay together. That was before Aiden was born. Laura might have taken over as guardian.” His lips tightened. “Or someone else from the Spencer family.”

“Oh.” Cameron closed his mouth. “I guess you’d get Jake, then. And Aiden would go to Grandma Laura or something, like Spencer.”

“Your mother might have other plans now. It’s been a long time since she could depend on me.” Jason hesitated. “But she can now. So can you.” He gestured down the hallway. “You want to sleep? My room is down the hall or you can take the couch—”

“I can’t sleep. I want—I need to see my mother.” Cameron shook his head. “I know you said the judge will let her go, but—”

“But you need to see for sure. Understood.”

An hour later, Diane called again — Elizabeth had been released on bail. Jason had already arranged to pay for it. Within thirty minutes, Diane had brought Elizabeth to the apartment.

She didn’t look much better than when Jason had left her five hours earlier, but she was relieved to see Cameron. Mother and son rushed at each other, and with a start, Jason realized that Cameron now towered over his mother—

He’d grown up. Just like Jake. None of them were little boys he’d known once.

“I’m so sorry,” Elizabeth murmured. She took Cameron’s face in her hands. “I’m so sorry, Cam.”

“It’s okay, Mom.” Cameron’s voice broke, and he sounded for a moment like a small child again. “It’s okay. You’re okay. That’s all that matters.”

He hesitated. “Mom, Jason told me Franco had—that he’d been stabbed. I didn’t—I didn’t do that.”

“Stabbed.” Elizabeth frowned. She stepped back, looked at Diane and Jason. “What are you talking about? He—he fell and hit his head.”

“No one told her?” Jason asked Diane sharply.

“Told her? Why would? She confessed.” Diane planted her hands on her hips. “Are you—”

“I didn’t kill him,” Elizabeth said. “I—” She swayed slightly, then looked at Cameron. “Oh, God, you didn’t do it either. You didn’t—”

“But then how the hell did he die?”

Diane frowned, then strode forward. “Elizabeth—at any point before Cameron left the house, were you hit in the head?”

Elizabeth turned, looked at her with bewilderment. “What?”

Jason saw what Diane was looking at—at the slight blood trail at Elizabeth’s hairline. “You—” He touched her face. “You were bleeding earlier. I didn’t think to ask—”

Diane pinched her lips together. “Elizabeth—”

“I don’t—I was in the living room—and the boys were gone, and I was going—” She looked at Jason. “I was going to call you, but then I—” Her hands fluttered up to her head. “I fell. Didn’t I?”

“Aiden had already called 911, because the cops were at the house by the time I got there. You didn’t calle them. Neither did Jake or Cameron. It had to be Aiden—”

“Unless someone knocked Elizabeth out, stabbed Franco, and called the police themselves.”