August 31, 2020

Your Update Link: Not Knowing When, Part 1

HELLO! Happy Monday! Welcome back to Flash Fiction pn its new day and time. I am SOOOO excited to get started because I spent a lot of this weekend working out some details for the flash fiction series, and I am just ridiculously happy to be back. I missed this!  Today’s entry kicks off a revisit of 2002 and the post-penthouse disaster of that fall. All recap details are included in the first part. You might notice that this update is longer — to compensate for not updating twice a week, I’m writing in two 25 minute sprints starting at 7 PM on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays — although Sunday won’t be as late as 7.  I won’t be able to carve out time every day, but I can probably manage an hour a few times a week.

I thought I might be out of work in September because both my districts are on remote for the first month (and possibly longer) but I found out today there’s a possibility I can snag a long-term permanent position in my district. I won’t know any details until tomorrow, but obviously if I get a long-term job, it’s going to mess with my schedule. School starts in my district tomorrow, so I’ll be playing massive amounts of catch up. I’ll let you guys know when I know more.

I’ve been super busy since I came back from my break last week. I’ve been working really hard on revision plans for Flash Fiction, planning the new round of stories (you guys are going to LOVE Sunday’s update), and I’ve been back to working on Mad World and Fool Me Twice. ALSO! I’ve been knocking items out on my Facelift. I’ve been crazy productive and happy about it 🙂 The biggest update was that I finally finished writing and formatting all the copy for the Alternate History page. Now — I just need to move those stories over!

OH! And the most important thing — I relaunched my soaps blog, Crimson Suds, with a daily snarky recap that’s short and takes me like 10 minutes to put together as well as a longer weekly commentary column.

I won’t have my usual Site & Story status video up tomorrow — that’s been delayed until the weekend, so I’ll save the details until then. I’ll see you guys on Wednesday!

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Flash Fiction: Not Knowing When

This story is set in 2002, beginning in late October. Elizabeth left the penthouse on October 8, the blonde who shall not be named kissed Jason on the 19 (around that date), and five days later, Jason married Brenda in Vegas. While Jason was juggling the blonde and Brenda, Elizabeth was hanging out with Lucky, dressing in leather, and springing Luke from a chain gang in the South. It was a strange time (but fun! It was great to see Elizabeth on a caper). In any case, this story keeps Elizabeth in Port Charles and begins after the blonde attacked Jason with her lips. (I’m sorry, I’m feeling salty.)

Written in 51 minutes. Had time to run a basic spellcheck, but didn’t read for typos.


October 2002

Kelly’s: Kitchen

Elizabeth Webber often wondered who she’d murdered in a previous life to deserve the existence she was currently living.

In fact, to deserve this specific moment — Elizabeth Imogene Webber must have been a vicious serial killer.

“I’m really sorry,” Courtney Quartermaine said with a wrinkle of her nose and a flash of sympathy in her baby blue eyes. She set down the tub of dirty dishes on the counter in the kitchen of Kelly’s. “It just happened.”

She’d decided that while closing the diner where they both worked and cleaning things up in the back, that it was time she opened her heart and was honest with Elizabeth. After all — Courtney didn’t want things to be awkward.

Elizabeth narrowed her eyes, turned away from the sink, and studied the other waitress, a woman she’d considered a friend. Not a close friend — but Courtney had been more than an acquaintance. A friendly face.

“Explain it to me again,” Elizabeth said coolly. She folded her arms, leaned against the counter. “Like I’m a five-year-old.”

Courtney winced. “I really—I think I covered it. I know you’re upset because you thought you were dating him—”

“Thought?” Elizabeth repeated, with a lift of her brows. Oh, man, was this chick lucky that the butcher block full of knives was across the kitchen. “I thought I was dating him? Yeah, you’re going to need to start at the beginning.”

Courtney bit her lip. “It was just—all that time we spent together, you know? I mean, you know how sweet he is—”

Might be worth making a leap for one of those knives after all.

“And with this stalking thing going on, I really needed to feel safe. Jason makes me feel safe—”

“So does a golden retriever,” Elizabeth bit out, even as she heard her own feelings, her own thoughts echoed back at her. “He was guarding you. Because Sonny wanted him to. You’re married.”

“I know. And that’s why it’s wrong. And why I really didn’t intend for anything to happen—”

Against her better judgment, Elizabeth’s heart began to beat faster, her pulse throbbing in her wrist. “But it did.”

“A few days ago. That’s why I had to tell you. Because I know you were upset after everything that happened,” Courtney said, widening her eyes. “But you have to see now — it’s obvious that Jason was just being nice—”

“Being nice to who?” Elizabeth asked, her voice flat. If Courtney had known her for long, she’d have heard the sound of a woman who was not in the damn mood.

“To you,” Courtney continued. “I mean, you were dating Zander for a while and he hated Zander, so maybe Jason just didn’t want to hurt your feelings. I mean, you know how much he hates hurting people.”

“No, tell me more how Jason Morgan hates to hurt people.” Elizabeth fluttered her lashes. “I’m dying to hear your analysis of the man who works for your brother and that you’ve known for ten minutes. This is fascinating.”

Courtney scowled. “I’m trying to be nice—”

“You’re not very good at it,” Elizabeth retorted, even as Courtney’s words sunk in. She had been sort of seeing Zander for a hot minute in early August, and she did know how much that had hurt Jason.

She’d thought they were past it. She’d thought he’d forgiven her—not that she needed to be forgiven as they weren’t dating.

But—had they been dating at all? Or was Courtney right? Was it all in her head?

“What happened a few days ago?” Elizabeth asked with a sigh. Might as well rip off the bandage and let the air hit the wound.

“He kissed me,” Courtney confessed, her voice small and a bit ashamed. “I don’t know what to do. I love my husband—”

“I am not the one—” Elizabeth put a hand up in front her, then curled it into a fist. “He kissed you. A few days ago,” she repeated.

“Yes.”

“Okay.” Elizabeth nodded. “Okay. Well, that’s—that’s just—” She cleared her throat. “Listen. Thank you. For telling me. Good luck with your marriage and your affair. I’ll finish cleaning up. Go home.”

“Oh, no, Elizabeth, let me—”

“Go home, Courtney,” Elizabeth snapped. She whirled around, a box cutter in her hand. “Or I swear to God, I am going to hold you down and cut your fucking blonde hair off!”

Courtney actually squealed, jumped back, hitting the counter in the kitchen. “Elizabeth—”

Elizabeth made a jabbing motion with the knife, and Courtney rushed out of the kitchen, barely stopping to grab her coat and purse before slamming the door behind her, the little bell above it jangling.

“I wonder if I would have done it,” Elizabeth muttered. She tossed the knife aside, put both hands on the counter, then closed her eyes.

He’d kissed her.

Logically, it shouldn’t hurt this way. It absolutely shouldn’t. Elizabeth had walked out of the penthouse, tossing some cruel and angry words at him in her wake—then shut him down the one time he’d come after to talk.

Elizabeth had needed more than twenty-four hours, but instead of just telling him like a grown up that she needed a minute, she’d lashed out and slashed at him.

“Okay. Okay.” She dragged her hands through her hair, took a deep breath. “Okay,” she repeated. “This is—this is good. This is good. I needed this. I needed to know. And now I know. He’s moving on.”

Elizabeth finished stacking the last of the dishes in the dishwasher, shoving it from her mind, desperate to stop thinking about it. To stop wondering exactly when she’d ruined everything — when she’d slept with Zander? When she’d asked him not to hurt Zander?

When she’d left the penthouse? Here, the next day, at Kelly’s?

When had Jason stopped caring—

And when had he started caring about Courtney—

Elizabeth exhaled slowly, looked around the diner. The tables were clear, the chairs neatly stacked. She was done. It was time to go home.

Home to an empty studio with crappy heating.

“You know,” Elizabeth said to no one at all—just a crazy idiot standing in the middle of an empty diner. “It would be nice just once to lose out to anyone other than a fucking blonde. Another dumb blonde.”

She dragged on her coat, looped her purse over her shoulder and left the diner, clocking the door behind her.

“A fucking blonde,” she muttered as she started towards the waterfront. The air was cold, but Elizabeth didn’t want to go home just yet. Maybe a walk on the docks would clear her mind.

Maybe she hadn’t been just a serial killer in a previous life, Elizabeth thought idly as she stepped down towards Elm Street Pier. Maybe she’d killed bunnies or something. Or puppies.

Yeah, a puppy killer definitely deserved her life.

Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room

Sonny Corinthos stifled a yawn as he snatched up the phone ringing off the hook in the living room. “Damn it, who the hell—What?” he demanded.

“Sonny—” His wife, Carly, rubbed her eyes from the stairs, as she stepped off the landing. “Tell them to call in the morning—”

Sonny cupped his hand over the phone for a minute, scowling at her. “Go upstairs, Carly. I need to handle this.”

Carly scowled, but he waited until he heard her stomping back up the stairs—then waited for the door to slam.

Sonny turned his attention back to the phone, took a deep breath. “Can you repeat that one more time, Francis? Who the hell is going to Vegas?”

Port Charles Airport: Hangar B

Jason Morgan did not believe in karma. Carly did—Carly believed in all kinds of spiritual crazy stuff. She’d always wanted to read him horoscope — apparently, Jason was a Virgo, whatever the hell that was.

And karma was Carly’s current favorite belief. “You get what you put into the world, Jase,” she’d told him a few months ago just after she’d married Sonny for what was probably the third time—but it might have been the fourth.

It was hard to tell sometimes.

If Carly was right—if you got what you put into the world—

Then Jason was getting exactly what he deserved.

“How much longer do we have to wait?” the brunette at his side snapped as she shifted from one foot to another. “I’m tired, and I just want this over with.”

“I told you. We have to wait until the pilot files the flight plan,” Jason said blandly. He rubbed the back of his neck, and looked towards the private jet. “You getting cold feet?”

Brenda Barrett snorted. “No. That’s not me. I don’t get cold feet. That’s you and your boss.” She folded her arms. “It’s freezing.”

“Then go inside.”

“Hey! You’re supposed to care about my well-being—”

“Not until the paperwork is signed,” he muttered.

“Look, if you’re having second thoughts,” Brenda said with huff, “then have them here. Before we get on a plane and haul our asses to Vegas—”

“I’m not—” Jason shook his head. He was way past second thoughts and onto fifth thoughts. “I’m trying to retrace my steps to figure out how exactly I ended up here. At midnight. With you.”

Brenda pursed her lips. “Well, it started with me coming to your penthouse and threatening to break up Sonny and Carly’s marriage—you really need to work on your priorities by the way. You’re sacrificing your happiness so Carly can be happy. I mean—don’t you have a life?”

“I used to,” Jason said. He rubbed the side of his face. He thought he had. But there wasn’t anything left for him. Not after the last few weeks. After the last few days. He’d just been minding his own business, standing in the rain, and then Courtney had just—

He had tried to be very nice about the whole thing—and she’d left immediately afterwards. Jason had gone to Sonny, told him very nicely that he had other things that needed to be done and Courtney needed an actual guard.

Sonny had looked at him suspiciously, but had agreed. And then Jason had found Brenda in his penthouse. Sitting on his sofa, looking at the yellow knitted blanket Elizabeth had left behind.

What was the point of worrying about his future? The only woman he was interested in wanted to set him on fire, and maybe if he weren’t single, Courtney Quartermaine would stay away from him. And Carly would be happy.

An unhappy Carly was a destroyer of worlds, which Jason knew all too well. No, this was for the best.

“Jason, I’m serious.” Brenda’s tone had shifted to something less bitchy, and more quiet. “You don’t remember this, but we were friends before your accident. And we were almost friends before you—” She cleared her throat and looked away.

Before he’d humiliated her at the altar for Sonny. “Brenda—”

“Do not do this if you’re having second thoughts. I wouldn’t really mess up Sonny’s marriage. Not on purpose,” she added. “I just—” Her voice sounded tight. “I don’t want to be alone when it gets bad. And I know Robin would take care of me. Or the Quartermaines. But they love me. I don’t want them to have to make decisions. I know why this is a good idea for me. But I need to know I’m not hurting you.”

Jason hesitated, looked away, towards the doorway of the hangar—towards the flickering lights of downtown Port Charles, where the waterfront lay beyond it. He wondered where Elizabeth was right now. Was she at her studio? Closing Kelly’s? Was she painting?

“Jason?”

Wherever she was, she’d left him. Again. And this time, Jason hadn’t seen any hint that she’d change her mind.

“You’re not hurting me, Brenda. And I want to help you,” Jason told her. Because that much, at least, wasn’t a lie. “Let me go check on the flight plan. See how much longer it’ll be.”

Pier 52

At some point, Elizabeth lost track of where she was walking — she’d only meant to walk along Elm Street Pier where it merged onto Bannister’s Wharf, but then she’d looked up and realized—

“Pier 52,” she muttered. The Corinthos-Morgan warehouse loomed at the end of the pier, construction cranes scattered around the parking lot as they worked to rebuild after the explosion in August.

Elizabeth idly touched her arm where a faint scar still rested. She’d thought of that night as a turning point. Standing outside the burning building, watching Jason and Zander fight—Zander with a gun—

The sound of the shot—the searing pain in her arm—

The way Jason had looked at her—asked her about Italy—she’d thought for a minute that she hadn’t broken everything between them.

But maybe Courtney was right. Maybe Elizabeth had finally burnt the final bridge with Zander, and Jason was just too kind to tell her. Had ignored her all those weeks in the penthouse, hoping she’d get the message.

No. No, that wasn’t fair. She sighed, and started to turn back, intending to head back up the pier, to Elm Street, and to her studio. It was stupid to be wandering out here this late in the dark, after midnight—

“What the hell were you thinking?”

The angry voices startled Elizabeth out of her maudlin wallowing, and she turned — but the voice wasn’t talking to her. Footsteps were getting closer, and without thinking, Elizabeth ducked behind a a pallet stacked with boxes and metal barrels.

“You had one job!” a man snarled—Elizabeth frowned—she knew that voice. Why did she know that voice?

“You were to keep your eyes on my property, and now she’s gone!”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Alcazar—”

Oh….fuck. Elizabeth closed her eyes. Walked right into a scene between Luis Alcazar and a flunky.

What was worse than a puppy killer? Because surely—

A gunshot echoed in the night, and Elizabeth heard a thud and a cry — Then another shot—this one sounded closer — and the man’s cry stopped abruptly.

Elizabeth shoved a fist in her mouth, choking back the sound that wanted to leap from her throat. Oh, damn, damn, damn —

She started to inch backwards — she knew a back way to the waterfront, one that would take longer — but was hidden —

Just as Elizabeth was a few feet from safety, from freedom — she tripped over a nail jutting out from a board and hit the ground with a crash, her arm slapping against a building on the way down.

“Who’s there?” Alcazar demanded. “Who is that? Morgan?”

Elizabeth didn’t stop, didn’t even think. She leapt to her feet, turned, and ran for the shorter route to safety—even as Alcazar shot after her, bullets hitting the corrugated metal just inches from her head.

She only had one thought. One person who she knew she could trust.

She ran up the pier, up to Elm Street, then instead of taking the turn towards her studio, she turned towards the large building a few blocks away.

To Jason.

August 28, 2020

Well, after more than 60 people voted (SERIOUSLY YOU GUYS), it’s very clear what story you guys want first. Nearly 70% of voters want Desperate Measures as the first revised flash fic. Thank you so much for voting! Because the votes were so overwhelming, I’ll set up another poll later to see which flash fiction gets revised second (because…um 43 people are getting their first choice, LOL).  I was worried my little Western romance wasn’t going to get any love, so thanks for those 7 people.

I don’t have a timeline just yet as to when I’ll have Desperate Measures completed. I’m still working on a new writing schedule for next month which I’m hoping to get sorted out this weekend. Thanks again to everyone who voted. I freaking love you guys 😉

The other piece of news I wanted to share is an adjustment to Flash Fiction. Up until now, I’ve set my timer for 20 minutes then posted what was done at the end of it. That worked when I was updating daily this summer which meant we still moved through the story at a good pace. I do not want to commit to updating daily in the fall. While I’m likely not going back to work in September, I should be back to work by October and I would never be able to keep that pace up.

However, I also don’t want to be writing all of these series FOREVER, lol, so I decided that the best way forward would be to lengthen the time I write each day. So what does this mean?

I’ll be doing Flash Fiction on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in evenings, starting at 7. At 7, I’ll use my Pomodoro timer which is how I write my novels. I write in 25 minute sprints with five minute breaks. I’ll complete 2 Pomodoros between 7 and 8, and then post what’s completed at 8 PM. The parts will be longer and will make up for not posting twice a week for each story. On Sundays, the time of the Flash Fiction might move around a bit, but will likely be around noon and will be 2 Pomodoros.

In other news, I’ve been chipping away at the CG Facelift. I worked on some pages in Mad World that needed to updated, including a more detailed Timeline & Setting page that hopefully does a better job of recapping the situation in 2003. I also started to chip away at the screencap and video organization by capping the last of my Liason DVDs. Once all my DVDs are screencapped, I’ll start sorting and cleaning them up. Ultimately, I want to put them online as a good source for graphic makers. But we’re probably a year away from that.

August 27, 2020

Hello! I said in my livestream yesterday I might be checking in with a poll before I came back officially on Monday, so here I am! I’ve spent the last three days working on outlines and plans to revise my first three completed Flash Fiction series, and I’m here to ask you guys which one do you want me to write first.

All of the series will be largely rewritten (with the exception of Desperate Measures — some of that dialogue will still work) so that I can expand and flesh them out. All three will be substantially longer (40 to 80k). Here are the revised synopses for the projects.

An Everlasting Love

Alternate Universe. Set in California, 1870s.

Their families settled Diamond Springs before the Gold Rush turned it into a boom town, but Jason Morgan and Elizabeth Webber were born into different worlds. She’s the beloved granddaughter of town patriarch Steve Hardy and he’s the illegitimate grandson recognized by the powerful Quartermaine family, but not fully part of them. Jason leaves Elizabeth behind in town to make money working on the railroads, promising he’ll come back for her.

Letters are exchanged and promises are kept, but Elizabeth’s father pressures her into marrying another man — Ric Lansing, the local powerful banker who seems obsessed with her. Elizabeth refuses — until news from Jason’s grandmother causes her to lose faith. She won’t marry Ric, but accepts another proposal. It seems her dreams of romance are behind her for good.

Five years later, Jason finally returns to town as the sheriff, prepared to care for his grandmother in her final years. Jason and Elizabeth realizes that someone has been lying to both of them, and finding their way back to one another might cost them their lives.

Whatever It Takes

Alternate Universe.

Jason Morgan met Elizabeth Webber when she saved his life, alongside her brother Steven, the local mob doctor. He left town to recuperate away from the eyes of the police, and by the time he returns, she’s dating Ric Lansing, his boss’s smug brother. Jason and Elizabeth are drawn to each other, and after some twists and turns, they’re finally together and planning their future. But Ric doesn’t let go so easily

Just before the birth of their first child, Jason and Elizabeth are injured in an explosion that leads to the death of their daughter. Elizabeth sinks into depression as Jason nearly kills himself searching for vengeance, finding enemies around every corner. One night, Jason disappears, and Elizabeth has to force herself out of the darkness to go after her husband to drag him back to her. Will their quest for revenge cost them more than just their marriage?

Desperate Measures

Alternate History.

Set Summer 2018. Angry and disappointed in Franco Baldwin’s constant lies, Elizabeth Webber breaks their engagement and moves her three boys to a new home, eager for a new start.

Standing behind her in support are new found twin brothers, Jason Morgan and Drew Cain, who still struggle to separate their identities and their relationships with the sons Jason created but Drew raised. Jason’s closer to Jake, and Drew is closer to Danny, but their mother has left town, struggling to deal with the return of Danny’s cancer.

But Elizabeth’s first night in her new home ends in a bloody attack. A phone call in the middle of the night finds Jason desperately trying to clear Elizabeth’s name of murder and searching her missing children. The mistakes and regrets of Jason and Elizabeth’s past are coming back to haunt them, and this time, walking away won’t stop it.

 

This poll will be open for 24 hours.

Which Revised Flash Fiction First?

  • Desperate Measures (69%, 43 Votes)
  • Whatever It Takes (19%, 12 Votes)
  • An Everlasting Love (11%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 62

Loading ... Loading ...

August 26, 2020

Once a week or so, I do a livestream for my Patreon supporters. Today, since I’ve been so MIA since I finished flash fiction, I wanted to post the link for all my readers. It’s short notice (my livestreams always are) so if you’re around at 12 PM EST, head over. It’s usually pretty quiet since it’s my lazy way of posting writing updates, lol, but I’d love if anyone wanted to have questions or chat.  I’d schedule these more regularly with more notice if anyone wants them.

ETA: If you miss the livestream, the link will still be here for you watch it but will not be available elsewhere on the channel. It’s set to unlisted, so you can only see it if you have the link.

August 24, 2020

Update Link: Flash Fiction

In Case You Missed It: Ruining Everything (If Wishes Came True Part 5)

Happy Monday! As promised, I’m here to preview your Flash Fiction series when the feature returns next Monday on August 31. I’ll be updating each story once a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, typically in the evenings.

Mondays: Not Knowing When

Set in 2002. After learning that Jason helped Sonny fake his death, then lied to her, Elizabeth walks out on him and a future together. But before long, she finds herself drawn back into his world when she sees something she shouldn’t and has no choice but to trust him.

Wednesdays: A Shot in the Dark

Sam has been reunited with her son, Danny, and Jason and Elizabeth are starting a new chapter in their lives together, putting the past and the tragic loss of their son behind him. Then Lucky comes home with startling news that changes everything.

Friday: A King’s Command

A Flash Fiction Alternate Universe. Set in Medieval Scotland. When Jason Morgan, one of the Highland’s fiercest lairds is commanded to marry the daughter of a Lowland clan, he reluctantly obeys and brings Elizabeth back to his keep, surprised and intrigued by her kindness and beauty. But she’s keeping a dark secret that threatens their future. 

Sunday: 2001

At the moment, Sunday’s series is a bit loose. I’m intending to just do a series of scene rewrites or episode tags set in 2001, but I also know who I am as a person and I’m sure once I start playing in this time period, I might come up with a few ideas that need fleshing out. I’ll let you know as soon as I know.

I’m excited to write all of these series, but particularly to tackle 2001 and 2002. This is a time period that I haven’t revisited in nearly 18 years. I wrote a lot of 2002 fanfiction at the time, but once Courtney and Ric came along, I set more stories in 2003 and re-visited the fall a lot less. When I wrote Bittersweet, I rewrote all of Jason’s return, instead of starting partially through it. As for 2001, I wrote one single story set in 2001 but it wasn’t that great, lol, and it’s not available anywhere to read. So those two series are going to be A LOT of fun.

For A Shot in the Dark, I know how many of you guys wanted to continue following Jason and Elizabeth after Darkest Before the Dawn and the revelation of Jake being alive. That was always going be posted, but I’m glad I have a lot of interest. And A King’s Command is a revisit of one of my earliest Flash Fiction series and one of the most frequent requests to bring back.

I think this is the only update I’ll be making for a few days — but you never know know with me. I’ve been feeling a bit burnt out the last few days, and my migraines and TMJ are back since I’m not sleeping well. Hoping to get that sorted out at the doctor’s today 🙂

August 23, 2020

Your Update Link: Ruining Everything (If Wishes Came True, Part 5)

Hello! I hope you guys are having a great weekend. I’ve done nothing for almost four days, lol, but this afternoon, I decided to finish some restructuring work for If Wishes Came True, my strange 2020 episode tag series, then got inspired to add to it. I meant this series to be deleted scenes, but the show took a nose dive in quality last week and, well, I couldn’t abandon Jason and Elizabeth without at least trying. This continues to be just short stories that I’ll update when I can.

I also updated the Production Schedule with Mad World’s new dates. Book 3 will be released on the site October 6, then Book 4 on December 8. Fool Me Twice has been pushed to March. This is mostly to make up for the fact that I didn’t give myself enough of a break between writing the first draft of Books 3 and 4 before going into revisions so my brain forced a break on me. Now I know — it doesn’t matter how long a first draft takes — I need a minimum of seven full days before I can throw myself into revisions. Otherwise, my brain will revolt.

I’ll update tomorrow with the new schedule for Flash Fiction.  New series return August 31 on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. I’ll see you tomorrow!

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Wishes Came True

Who knows, if I never showed up what could’ve been
There goes the loudest woman this town has ever seen
I had a marvelous time ruining everything
I had a marvelous time
Ruining everything


August 24, 2020

Miller & Associates: Waiting Room

Elizabeth checked her watch, then wrinkled her nose, and took a seat. She only had about two hours before she was supposed to clock in for a night shift, and she really hoped this wouldn’t take long.

She should have just signed the paperwork to revoke the power of attorney three weeks earlier when she’d had the chance outside Jason’s hospital room. But it really wasn’t her fault — if Carly hadn’t acted like an insane person, Elizabeth wouldn’t have had the impulse to irritate her.

Then again, Jason had obviously felt the same way about his best friend since he hadn’t signed his paperwork either. When he’d called her to set up today’s appointment, he’d admitted that Carly thought he’d been joking and had signed the revocation, so for now—their secret was still safe.

Elizabeth looked up when the double doors to Diane’s office opened, and Jason stepped inside. He scanned the waiting room, looking for her, then came over to sit next to her. “Hey. Thanks for meeting me today.”

“No problem.” She winced, looking at the scar on the side of his head. “How are you feeling?”

“Tired,” Jason admitted. He leaned back. “Uh, I heard about the scholarship Nikolas set up for you. I mean, in your name. That’s—that’s really great.”

“Oh.” Elizabeth sighed. “Yeah, I thought so.” She stared at her chipped nail polish. “I’m sure it’ll help a lot of people.” She looked up at him. “Diane’s receptionist said she’s running a little late.”

“That’s—fine—” Jason squinted, tipped his head. “You don’t look happy about the scholarship—”

“It’s nothing—” Elizabeth did not want to discuss her marriage problems with Jason — she was not in the mood for another round of I told you so. Not today. Her attention was grabbed by something on the television—a banner spreading across the bottom of a newscast. “What—”

Jason’s phone began to ring, and Elizabeth’s beeped with a notification. Jason frowned, pulled it out as Elizabeth looked at the media alert—

“Oh my God—” Elizabeth met Jason’s stunned eyes—it was clear from the shrieking on the other end of the line that someone had just delivered the news that she’d seen on her phone—

NEW ELQ CEO FIRES QUARTERMAINE FAMILY

Michael and Ned were both out of a job—Elizabeth’s eyes bulged as she brought up the news reports, and Jason went over to the corner to listen to Carly on the other line. Apparently, Valentin hadn’t just fired Michael and Ned—he’d begun raiding ELQ subsidiaries and had already sold off a quarter of the company’s holdings —

“I’m listening, Carly,” Jason snapped, and Elizabeth looked up at his worried expression. “I—I know—I’m—what?” he demanded, his tone sharp and irritated. “How—that’s not—Damn it—Okay. Okay. I don’t know what—” He squeezed his eyes shut, rubbed the back of his neck. “How is that possible?” he bit out. “That house belongs to Monica, not the company—”

Elizabeth shot to her feet but stayed silent.

“Okay,” Jason repeated. “Carly—there’s nothing I can—I’m actually waiting to talk to Diane right now—what?” he demanded. “No. Tell Michael—tell Michael not to—let me talk to Diane. Okay.” He shoved the phone in his pocket, met her eyes. “Valentin seized the mansion.”

“The mansion,” Elizabeth repeated. “But—but—”

“And Valentin doesn’t just control fifty percent of the company—he owns Danny and Scout’s shares.” Jason’s scowl deepened. “The proxy Sam gave him—the paperwork—”

“Oh, no—” Elizabeth closed her eyes.

“She didn’t read it. She sold the shares to him—” Jason’s face twisted, and he looked down at the phone again. It was ringing—even from here, she could see Sam’s name flashing. “According to Michael, Valentin has already started dismantling ELQ—”

Elizabeth swallowed hard as Jason sat back down, put his head in his hands. He tossed his phone next to him. “He must have known the Quartermaines would get the company back,” she said softly. “I bet if you look into the companies he’s selling to—”

“He probably owns them,” Jason muttered. “Yeah. By the end of the week, ELQ will be bankrupt, Michael and Monica will be homeless, and there won’t be anything left but the trust funds. Unless he figures out how to raid them, too.”

Elizabeth cleared her throat. “There has to be a way to stop him, isn’t there? I mean—you’re—we’re shareholders. Don’t we have some kind of rights? ELQ means so much to Michael—and—”

Diane rushed out of her office. “Oh, thank God, you’re here—” The lawyer gestured for them to come inside. “I just saw the media alert—this—how is this possible?”

Jason went into Diane’s office, and without thinking, Elizabeth grabbed the phone he left behind—the notifications screen filled with missed calls from Carly, Sam, Sonny, and Michael.

“How can we stop this?” Jason bit out as Elizabeth handed him the phone. “Michael and Ned still control fifty percent—Valentin doesn’t have the majority—”

“He doesn’t—unless he found another shareholder to sell him something—” Diane looked at Elizabeth. “You didn’t—”

“No, of course not. Michael has Jake’s proxy,” Elizabeth said, defensively. “I’d never sell Jake’s inheritance—” Then she winced as Jason’s expression turned thunderous. “You know, I should go—we can do this POA thing some other time—”

“No—” Jason shook his head. “No, I’m sorry—I’m not mad at you. I’m just—” He scrubbed his hand down his face. “I should have—” Then his hand dropped to his side as he looked at Diane. “Diane, when we were going through all the paperwork when I came back—I don’t remember signing anything from ELQ getting my shares back from Drew’s legal control.”

“You—” Diane pursed her lips. “Oh. Oh, God.” She went to the doorway. “Janet! Janet—”

She disappeared in her lobby as Elizabeth blinked, looked at Jason. “Wait—If you didn’t get your shares back legally from Drew—I don’t understand—haven’t you been voting them—”

“No, I signed them over to Michael—but—” Jason shook his head. “But if they weren’t mine—”

“Then Scout didn’t inherit just Drew’s ten percent, but—”

Diane came back in with a thick folder, started to shove her way through the paperwork. “I know we drew it up,” she muttered. “There was so much to do with all of that—the divorce, the finances—I can’t believe we would have—” She ripped a contract out of the file—then her face paled.

“Valentin must have looked over the paperwork more closely and realized he owned sixty—” Jason sat down in a desk in front of the chair. “How is that—How did we not—”

“Everyone thought it had been signed and filed,” Elizabeth murmured. “So you all acted that way. Even Drew. But—”

“But it got clipped to the custody papers that weren’t signed,” Diane said. “Sam—she’d originally asked you to terminate your rights to Danny—”

Elizabeth’s eyes widened, and she looked at Jason. “What—”

“But she backed down—” Jason cleared his throat. “Diane—”

“I—I can challenge it in court,” Diane said slowly. “I can do that. You legally inherited ten percent of the company when Edward died. You weren’t declared dead until after he passed away. The ELQ shares have been a mess ever since.”

“Diane, how soon can you challenge this?” Elizabeth asked. “I mean—what if the other shareholders—can I do anything? Jake only has five percent, but that has to mean something—”

“By the time we get an injunction, Valentin will have stripped the company of any value,” Jason muttered. “Damn it, Diane.”

“I didn’t—” Diane sat down heavily behind the desk. “I’m sorry,” she said faintly. “I’ll put together a lawsuit. On behalf of any shareholders who want to fight Valentin—we might be able to get a civil injunction—Elizabeth—” She looked at her. “I mean, you’re right. He has a duty to protect the company—and I can file for Jason’s shares, but—”

“It’s a long shot.” Elizabeth looked at Jason with sorrow. “I’m so sorry, Jason. For Monica and Michael. This must be breaking their hearts.”

“Yeah.” Jason picked up his phone as it rang again. He pressed the green button and put it to his ear. “What, Sam?” he bit out. “Yeah, obviously you didn’t read the paperwork. You needed to sit next to me while I was unconscious for twelve hours, so you sold out my family without reading the fine—” He scowled, then pressed the red button, hanging up the phone.

Extremely uncomfortable with her front-row seat, Elizabeth shifted her weight from one foot to the other. “Um, I should go,” she repeated. She reached for the door.

“I’ll go with you,” Jason said. “Diane, file the injunction anyway. We might not be able to save everything, but it’s our best shot.”

“Yeah, file on Jake’s behalf, too,” Elizabeth said, watching Jason warily. “I’m sure Michael will want to as well.”

“I’ll get started. Jason, I’m so sorry—”

“I keep hearing that,” Jason bit out. “But my mother’s being thrown out of the house, my nephew is out of a job—my kids are being screwed over—” He scrubbed a hand over his face. “Come on,” he told Elizabeth. “I need some air.”

They were out on the sidewalk before Elizabeth winced. “We didn’t sign the revocation papers again,” she told him as they walked towards the parking lot.

Jason sighed, looked back. “Damn it—” He met her eyes. “I’m sorry. This keeps—”

“It’s fine. Let’s just—let’s just do it another day. This is more important. I’m so sorry about all of this, Jason—”

“What do you have to be sorry about? You didn’t do anything.” Jason stopped next to his bike. “The ELQ paperwork—I never thought about it back then,” he admitted. “I don’t know if I even knew how big it was in Michael’s life. Not then.”

“Jason, you were going through a lot,” Elizabeth assured him, putting a hand on his arm. “And you should have been able to depend on Diane to handle that. And the ELQ lawyers should have seen the problem. That’s what we pay them for—”

“Twelve hours,” Jason said slowly. “That’s how long I was unconscious. She signed away everything so she could sit next to me for twelve hours.”

“You know Sam never meant for any of this to happen,” Elizabeth said, weakly. “She was just—” Desperate.

“And I was dealing with that. I forgave her for that. Just like I—” Jason took a deep breath. “I know she was desperate. But she had time to talk it through, didn’t she? She talked to you.”

“And I could have said something to Michael or Ned. Or even you,” she told him. “But I didn’t—”

“They were clipped to those custody papers,” Jason said quietly. “If she hadn’t wanted me to terminate my rights to Danny, those papers wouldn’t exist.”

Elizabeth wrinkled her nose. “Well, yeah, and if you didn’t answer your phone all of the time, you might not have gone off the pier in 2012. Don’t blame Sam for things that aren’t related to this—”

“Twelve hours. Michael and Monica have lost everything so that she could—” Jason clenched his hand into a fist, then swung at the brick wall his bike was parked next to. She grabbed his fist in both hands, stopping him.

“You’re angry,” Elizabeth said. “You have every right to be angry. But being angry isn’t going to solve this. Okay? Let’s give Diane a chance to fix this. She’s never let you down before. Except—well, except that one time,” she added when he glared her. “Hey—not the bad guy here. Not this time anyway.”

“I’m sorry,” he said again. His face relaxed—slightly. “You’re just—I don’t care about the money. I have enough. I just—”

“I get it, Jason. Michael loves ELQ. And Monica loves that house. Alan gave it to her. Emily grew up there. Lila’s gardens—I get it, Jason. But breaking your hand on a brick wall isn’t going to change anything.”

“No.” Jason leaned against the wall. He met her eyes, and she released his hand, satisfied he wasn’t going to lose it again. “No. It won’t.”

“And the Quartermaines have been down before. Didn’t we just talk about that?” she reminded. “When you were a kid—you don’t remember this, but they lived above Kelly’s. I remember Gram visiting with Lila there one summer when I was staying there. Lila saved the company back then. And Jax nearly took the company before.  AJ embezzled most of the operating cash. The Feds froze the assets, and Nikolas actually managed to wrest control for a while.” When Jason frowned, she sighed. “You were dead for those last two.”

“Right.”

“Michael has a long-line of ruthless people in his blood—and I’m talking about Carly here.And he has your patience and eye for detail. You’ll go meet with him, you’ll sort this out, and when he gets ELQ back—which he will—you’ll do whatever he needs to make it strong again.”

“You’re right.” Jason nodded, and he looked less angry than he’d been before. He straightened. “You’re right,” he repeated. “Michael will be okay.” He sighed. “I’m sorry about the power of attorney paperwork. I know you need to get that done before—” His face tightened, and he looked away.

“You know,” Elizabeth said slowly, “it’s for the best. I think—if you don’t mind—we’ll let it sit. I—” She bit her lip. “It’s not important,” she said when he frowned at her. “Call Michael—”

“Elizabeth.” Jason narrowed his eyes at her. “Are you having problems with Franco? Because you know—”

“I know. And if I need him to disappear, I know who to call.” She glanced at her watch. “An hour before she had to be at work. “It’s not that serious. It’s just—you know, you make one mistake ten years ago, and somehow it makes you chronically unfaithful,” she bit out.

Jason raised his browns as his mouth tightened. “Who the hell—”

“Ava Jerome,” Elizabeth said, wishing she’d never said anything. “No one else even remembers it, which means either my oldest friend or my husband is saying that about me—” Her chest tightened because she hadn’t let herself say that out loud. “And I’m not sure which one of those is worse—”

“Elizabeth—”

“It’s fine—no, it’s fine—” She said as he stepped towards her. “It’s not important—”

“The hell it’s not. No one has any right to talk about you like that—you weren’t even married when all of that happened—you and Lucky were barely back together—”

“Funny,” Elizabeth managed as tears stung her eyes. “You’re the only one who remembers that.” She pressed the heel of her hand to her eyes. “I’m fine,” she repeated. “I’m just tired. The last time I was married to someone who was convinced I was having an affair, it was to cover his own infidelity. Remember?”

“Yeah.” Jason exhaled slowly. “Lucky.”

“He screamed at me for months about Patrick, and he was the one having an affair—” She looked away. “And then a year later, he was sure you and I—but it was just to cover his affair with Sam. At least—” She sighed. “At least he wasn’t wrong then. But it’s just—it’s bringing back bad memories.”

“I’m sorry, Elizabeth.” He put an arm around her shoulder, and she let him hug her for just a minute before drawing back. “What can I do?”

“Nothing,” she said with a shake of her head. “Really. Just—if you don’t mind—let’s keep the POA the way it is now. If we end up needing it, well—I trust you.” She took a deep breath. “I need to get to work. Call me if I can help with ELQ, okay? Let Michael know I’m in his corner.”

“Yeah, I know. Thanks. And you—you call me if anything happens with Franco. Or Nikolas,” Jason said she started towards her car. “I’m in the mood to punch someone. I don’t care who.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

August 20, 2020

Your Update Link: Desperate Measures – Part 20

Happy Thursday! I have to admit — this week has been a struggle for me, mostly because I’m staying up late for the DNC (last night was amazing) and then I’m sleeping in way past my normal comfort zone. I’m used to getting up between 6-7, not I can’t quite roll out of bed until closer to 8:30 because I’m going to sleep until 1:30. It’s rough, LOL. I’m not as young as I used to be. In college — I used to go to Philly for pub quiz from 8-11, then come home to do German homework until 2:30, then get up for a 9;30 German class.  There is no way I could live that schedule now.

Today, as stated, is the last day of Daily Flash Fiction. I just want to say how much I have adored this feature this summer. It gave structure to all of my days and really helped the muse keep in shape for writing in the afternoon. I had a huge collection of people coming back every day for updates and replying — you guys are the reason that I do this so every reply, every view keeps me going. I had an absolute blast writing all four othese incredibly different stories. They were messy, insane, and sometimes — they were even good. I can’t wait to get into revisions and make them mainstream.

I’m developing my Fall schedule — and I’ve settled on a posting schedule for Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Mon/Wed/Frid will be the typical series you’ve come to expect while Sunday will be a special rewrite series. I’ll get into all the details next week because Friday’s series is still be voted on by my Patreon supporters. That poll is available to all tiers.

As I wrote yesterday, I completed the epic Facelift checklist. It’s…extensive, LOL. But while I initially felt overwhelmed yesterday, I actually feel good about it today. I can’t wait to get back to this project now. It’s also been linked in the Currently Working so you can check it out if you want.  I’ll let you know if I complete anything major.

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

Written in 25 minutes. No time for typos. Took a little extra time to end it well.


Elizabeth knocked lightly on the door to Cameron’s bedroom and smiled at him. “Hey. You almost done packing?”

“Yeah, just a few more things.” Cameron looked around the room with a grimace. “I didn’t really finish unpacking,” he admitted.

“I know, I’m sorry.” She sat on his bed. “I know we’ve moved a lot this last year, but—”

“It’s okay, Mom.” Cameron sat next to her. “You feeling okay? Should you be moving around so much?” He drew his brows together. “You’ve only been out of the hospital for—”

“Three weeks. I just a have a slight twing in my side and I still get tired a lot.” Elizabeth bit her lip. “You don’t have to come today. You can relax here with the boys. Make sure they’re packed—”

“Grandma Laura has that covered,” Cameron said with a shake of his head. “I want to go. I mean—” He got to his feet and went over to his bureau to check the drawers again. “I guess I want to make sure she’s really going away.

“You found out a lot about Sam that day, Cam. And a lot about Jason and Drew. I know you’ve struggled with it—”

“Look, I get it—Jason’s a big part of your life, and I guess you’ll always feel guilty about Drew. But we don’t need them.” Cameron turned her, his blue eyes fierce. He lifted his chin. “I can take care of us. I can take care of you—” His voice cracked on the final word.

“I know you can. And it’s not about that. Did you know that I lied to Jason about being Jake’s father?” Elizabeth rose. “That I asked him the day he buried his father to keep lying? That after Emily died, we continued the lie?”

Cameron exhaled slowly. “No, I didn’t know that. Why—”

“Because I am not perfect, Cameron. I’ve made terrible mistakes. And so have Jason and Drew.” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “And so has Sam. We’ve all paid for them with a little bit of our sanity and souls. But I don’t want that for you. Yes, Jason forgave the woman who kidnapped Jake. But I entered into a relationship with a serial killer who kidnapped Aiden. Why do my sins matter less?”

“Because you’re my mother.” Cameron looked away. “Jason never blinked when he found out it was Sam,” he admitted. “And maybe you were right. Maybe we could trust him. I just—” He met his mother’s eyes. “Are you really okay with her not going to jail?”

“She’s sick, Cam. And heartbroken. I can’t forgive her for what she put us through, but I can move on and let her get the help she needs. She’ll go to Ferncliffe, get treatment, and maybe one day come home to her kids.”

“It doesn’t seem fair. After everything we went through—you nearly died, Mom—”

“But I didn’t.” Elizabeth framed his face. “I love you, you know. My brave little boy. All grown up.”

“I love you, too. And I’m glad we’re going home.”

“Me, too. I’ll meet you downstairs when it’s time to go.”

——

Jason stood up from the bench in the hallway when he saw Elizabeth and Cameron step off the elevator. “I wasn’t sure if you were going to come,” he said, surprised and a little relieved when Cameron met his eyes.

It was the first time Cam had looked at him since Elizabeth had been released from the hospital. “Sorry. We got carried away. The moving truck will be at the house tomorrow, and I wanted to make sure everything was ready,” Elizabeth said. She looked at Cameron. “I’m sure Joss and Trina are already inside if you want to get a seat.”

Cameron eyed them both suspiciously, then sent Jason a dark look before walking away, into the courtroom.

“Everything okay with the paperwork? Diane said—”

“Diane said you pulled in every favor and some of Sonny’s to get us into the house this quickly.” Elizabeth folded her arms, offered him a smile. “Thank you. The boys are excited to be going home. So am I. And Diane said there’s already been an offer on the place I’m at now, so I’ll be able to pay you back.”

When Jason opened her mouth, she shook her head. “Don’t argue. It’s important to me.” She looked to the court room. “Have you talked to Drew yet?”

“No. He’s been in the back with Sam, her lawyer, and the doctor assigned to her. Elizabeth—”

“I don’t want any more apologies. It’s over. And we’ve all made mistakes. Let’s just—let’s just get this over with. I want to get back to my life.”

She went into the courtroom, and Jason followed her, unsure where that left them or their friendship.

The hearing was little more than a formality. The court appointed doctor had found Sam incompetent to stand trials on charges of murder and attempted murder. She had a glassy-eyed look and swayed slightly as the judge committed her to Ferncliffe until a doctor found her competent.

Sam never looked behind her—not even at Drew. And when the hearing was over, she was led out of the room.

Cameron exhaled. “I think I expected something more,” he admitted.

“Well, it’s Port Charles,” Trina Robinson said, patting his shoulder. “There might still be a bomb.”

“Oh, that is not funny,” Joss muttered as she followed the pair into the hallway. “Neither of you have ever been blown up. I have—”

“She’s going to need therapy one day, isn’t she?” Carly asked Jason and Elizabeth idly, then went after her daughter.

“Speaking of therapy,” Drew said dryly as he approached them. “Do you think Cam should—”

“Kevin’s already met with him a few times,” Elizabeth assured him. “Nothing formal. Just check-ins, really.” She took a deep breath. “Thank you. Both of you.” She said, looking at Jason. “For helping Cameron and I out of trouble. I know he’d say it was your fault, but we both know that it’s not the simple.”

“I’m sorry, Elizabeth. I wish I could have done more—”

Elizabeth shook her head at Drew. “No. I don’t want to dwell on it. Me and the boys—we’re going home. And that’s all I need.” She flashed a smile at both of them then walked after her son.

“She’s doing that thing again,” Drew muttered. “Lying right to my damn face like I can’t tell.”

Jason cast him a dark look, knowing that Drew was dipping into Jason’s memories of Elizabeth for that. “I know that. You worry about getting Sam committed. I’ll take care of Elizabeth and the boys.”

“Well, that would be a first,” Drew retorted, then walked away.

The next day, Elizabeth stepped out on the porch of the house on Lexington Avenue, then turned to look across the street where Patrick and Robin had once lived. She could hear the boys arguing inside over what to order for dinner for their first night in their new home—

Then Jason’s deep voice telling them they were getting pizza, and to knock it off. She smiled briefly, hearing the door open. She turned to him. “They argue over everything.”

“Yeah, I know. I think Jake does it on purpose just to get Cam mad.” Jason stepped up next to her. “He gets that from you.”

“Oh, sure.” Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “Because you don’t rile anyone up for fun. I’ve seen you with Carly.”

Jason winced. “Point taken.” He hesitated. “Are you okay?” he asked quietly. She looked at him, thought about lying, then shrugged looking back out over the street — the street that Jake had nearly on twice, but also the street where they’d learned to ride their bikes and play street hockey.

Where they gone trick or treating—the street where they’d hugged Emily goodbye for the last time—

“No,” Elizabeth said finally. She smiled at him. “But I’m going to be. I’m home. It’s a start.”