This entry is part 16 of 27 in the series Flash Fiction: A King's Command

Written in 60 minutes.


I can see the future.

The words hung in the air between them for a long moment as Jason stared at his wife, waiting for her to explain what that meant because it couldn’t—

She didn’t really mean—

Her eyes dropped to her lap where her fists were clenched. “You don’t believe me,” Elizabeth said softly.

“I—” Jason stopped, then slowly walked towards her, then sat in the chair cross from her, on the other side of the hearth, trying to gather his thoughts. This was the secret she’d been clinging to so tightly since the day they had met, and he knew the implications of such an ability if true.

Anyone—especially a woman—who claimed to be able to see the future—would be treated by most of the world as either a liar or possessed by evil. If the wrong person heard Elizabeth make this claim, she’d be taken up for a witch.

“You saw the regent being poisoned?” Jason said. “How—how does that—” He shook his head. “I’m sorry. I don’t understand. Does it—do you see it in your head or—”

She raised her eyes to meet his, then squinted at him. “Are you asking me how it works?”

“Aye. I’ve never—the nightmare,” he said suddenly. “Was that a nightmare or did you—”

“I wanted it to be a nightmare,” Elizabeth admitted, her voice soft. “Sometimes they come in my sleep, and I really—I saw nothing more than my hands stained with your blood.”

“But that didn’t happen.”

“No, but it could have.” She swiped a hand under her eye to dash away a tear. “Johnny and Francis—they nearly died. And if one of those men—” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “They almost never happen that way. Not since I was a child. I wasn’t ready for it.”

“Does Albany know about this?” Jason asked, his shoulders tensing. If the duke knew her secret, would he keep it?”

“I think—” Elizabeth’s lips tightened. “I think it’s possible he knew all along. My father isn’t an important man. He doesn’t command armies or warriors. The invitation to court was a surprise, and he would have left me at home if he could. The messengers told my father they were expecting all three of his children.”

“Your brother and sister weren’t there that day,” Jason remembered. “If you were being presented at court—”

“Another message came that morning—Albany wanted to speak with my father and his youngest daughter. Father very nearly brought Sarah, but Steven wouldn’t let him.” Elizabeth tugged at the cuff of her dress. “We went to court, and there weren’t many people in the room. Just the duke and some of his men. I made my curtsy but when I started to stand, he reached for my hand to help me up.”

“And you need to touch someone to see the vision for them.” Jason rose to his feet and paced over to the window.

“Aye. It flashed in my head—the cup sitting behind him on the table. I saw someone putting poison in it—and then I saw the duke drinking it, then falling down—he was in terrible agony,” she whispered, her voice trembling.

Jason turned, a terrible thought occurring to him. “Did you feel it? Is that something else that happens?”

“Aye. It’s part of the reason I couldn’t keep quiet. I—it hurt, and I fell to the ground—and I begged him not to drink the wine—I thought—” She closed her eyes, then rubbed her throat. “He just stared at me, then told my father to take my hand and follow him. We went to that room—and he spilled the wine on the ground. One of his soldiers brought a cage with a rat—the rat—it was—” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “I was terrified and my father was furious. I was sure that he would accuse me of having something to do with it. Father was trying to drag me away, but the duke—he just—he just thanked me and said that I should have a reward for saving his life.”

“It sounds as if he set it up, but how could he know for sure that you’d receive a vision of him falling ill from the poison and not of him planning it?” Jason asked, furrowing his brow. “Wouldn’t that be just as likely?”

“I don’t—” She twisted in her chair. “I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking about any of that. I just—I wanted to find a way to keep my father from being angry. I had no way—I didn’t know—he sent one of his men away, and then you were there—it happened so fast. It wasn’t until later, until after the attack in the woods—”

Jason nodded, almost absently, his mind whirring with the implications of Elizabeth’s story and the idea that the duke knew her secret. Had he sent the men? Why even allow Elizabeth to leave court? Why command a marriage with a Highlander who lived far away?

“I should have told you sooner,” she said softly, drawing his attention, “but I knew—I knew you might not—” Elizabeth rose to her feet and crossed over to him. “I knew you might not set me aside, but I was sure you would not want children from me.”

Jason frowned at that. “Why—is it inherited? Did your mother—”

“I don’t know. She never said, and she tried to keep it from my father,” Elizabeth added. “I—I had a vision of my mother’s death, but she’d told me it was important not to tell anyone—even her—anything I saw, so I just prayed that it wouldn’t happen. After she died, I was—I made a mistake in front of my father. That was when he decided Sarah and I should never marry. He could bear for my curse to be known—”

“My only worry,” Jason told her, “is that I would not be able to protect you if the wrong person found out. We would have to be careful with any daughters—or sons—” he added. He took her hand in his. “Is that why my aunt sent for me? Is that why you’re telling me today?”

“Yes.” Elizabeth’s cheeks heated as she met his eyes. “Barbara thinks it will be sometime next winter, perhaps the early spring.” She bit her lip. “Women die in childbed—”

“You won’t,” Jason said flatly as if he had any control over something like that. He knew she was right—his own mother had died giving birth to his sister.

“But I could, and I can not bear the thought of leaving you unprepared if the babe inherited my curse—”

“It’s not a curse,” Jason cut in. “Only weak men who fear what they don’t understand say things like that.” He paused. “I’m holding your hand now. Should I—”

“Oh. I only—” She stared at their joined hands. “‘Tis like my brother, Steven. I had flashes with him when I was a child, but he was—he was always affectionate. He was the only person who would—I think, after a time, I don’t—it’s not as—I haven’t had more than a flash since we came to Braegarie.”

“But you have had them,” Jason pressed. “I’m sorry,” he said when she looked away. “Should I not ask—”

“No, no. It’s—” Elizabeth bit her lip, then their eyes met again. “The day we wed, you took my hand for the first time. I didn’t have a flash of anything specific, only that you would be kind to me. That I could be safe.”

He remembered now how her expression had changed, her tension had dissipated. “It’s not only the future then? Is that how you knew about my argument with Emily?”

“I—” Elizabeth frowned, shook her head. “I don’t remember.”

“Our last night in Perth, you told me that I never break a promise. No matter what my sister said.”

“Oh.” Her eyes widened. “I don’t remember that.” Then her cheeks flushed. “Unless—sometimes when I’m tired or falling asleep, I—sometimes I can see inside your—I’m so sorry. It hasn’t happened very much. I need to be very relaxed—”

“And you haven’t felt very relaxed,” Jason answered. Visions, reading minds, reading personalities—he exhaled slowly. If Elizabeth had ever learned how to control this—no one wonder someone had wanted to steal her away and keep her.

“I’m so sorry—”

“Don’t—” He shook his head, then brought the palm of her hand to his mouth and kissed it. “Don’t apologize. Not for this. I am glad you’ve told me. I am even more pleased that we’re going to have to have a child. I would be grateful for any flash you might have that you and the babe will be healthy and safe.”

Her lower lip quivered. “You’re not angry with me? Not disgusted? I could be burned at the stake—”

“They would have to kill me first,” Jason promised her, but he saw that his oath had done nothing to calm her. “Elizabeth, my only worry is keeping you and our child safe. Now that I know, we can work together to do so. You wanted children, didn’t you?”

“Aye. And I—” Finally, what looked like a mixture of relief and joy slid into her eyes. “I did see something by the loch. The day you asked me to come here and be your wife. I saw this room.”

“This room?” Jason repeated.

“Aye. We were sitting by the fire as we do so often. I was with carrying a child, but you—you were holding our son. I think our first babe will be a boy. Or if there’s a daughter, I didn’t see her—”

“But you saw yourself surviving childbirth—” And a second child? Jason drew her close, resting his forehead against hers, suddenly overwhelmed with the knowledge that he would have sons and, hopefully, daughters with his wife. He’d wanted it—but now he had the same image in his own mind—

“I didn’t know until I woke here and saw the hearth if it was just my own dream or the future. I—I very much want it to be our future.” She framed his face with her hands. “You have made me feel safe. And happy. I want to give that to you.”

“You do,” he promised her. He kissed her fingers, then her mouth, then—just before he lifted her in his arms—he stopped. “Are you feeling all right? I should—should you be laying down? Aunt Tracy said you were ill—”

“Dizzy for a moment,” Elizabeth told him, “but I’m fine. I am better than fine,” she declared, then rose on her toes to kiss him. “And if you have a bit of time—”

“I have more than just a bit—” He picked her up and carried her to the bed to show her just how much he loved her—even if he hadn’t found a way to say the words yet.

Secrets did not last long in the Morgan clan, and by the time Jason led Elizabeth down to supper a few hours later, it seemed as if everyone knew.

Still, Jason proudly stood and made an official announcement. The birth of a child to the laird was a celebration, particularly the first born. There were toasts and cheers, and many began to trade wagers on whether there would be a lad or a lass in seven months time.

Elizabeth beamed as his aunt drew her into a conversation about traditions and the right way to bring up a Highlander which gave Jason the chance to lean over to Francis with a low conversation.

“After supper, in the solar,” he muttered to his second in command. “Bring Johnny.”

“Aye.”

He wasn’t sure how much of Elizabeth’s secret he could tell them—he didn’t want to tell them anything but if he was going to keep his family safe, he needed to know what the duke knew.

Later, Elizabeth went to sit in front of the large hearth in the hall with his aunt to continue their conversation. Jason knew that Tracy was overjoyed at the thought of children—she’d wanted Jason to marry for some time—and would keep his wife occupied for a while.

“‘Tis good news,” Johnny told Jason as he closed the door and turned to his men. “Elizabeth looks very happy.”

“She is. But I cannot forget the attack. Francis, when you went to Edinburgh, you found nothing that would give us their identity.”

“Aye, and as I told you, her family was settling into court. I didn’t see any evidence that her father was planning to leave until the elder girl had married.” Francis frowned. “We’ve been over this. Did something happen?”

Jason hesitated. “I’ve learned what service Elizabeth performed for the regent,” he said slowly. “I knew two months ago, but there’s another part of it. I cannot tell you all, but she saved Albany’s life. I think it’s possible that Albany set her up to do so — that he lured her father to court in order to test Elizabeth. I don’t know if she failed or passed, but he commanded her marriage and then did not do anything to stop me from taking her out of the capital almost immediately.”

“She saved his life?” Johnny repeated. “That’s the dark secret?”

“I’m guessing it’s the how that we’re not to know,” Francis said. He nodded. “All right. What do you want us to do?”

“I don’t know,” Jason admitted. “It’s possible the threat it is over, that Albany’s curiosity has been sated, but I cannot forget that someone sent men here to kidnap Elizabeth and bring her back alive. If they were willing to wait long enough to set that ambush, might they wait a year for me to take her into Perth? Or if Albany was behind this—will he command me to bring her to court?”

“Well, with the babe, you can put off any travel,” Johnny pointed out. “No one is going to blink if you refuse to drag your wife across Scotland while she’s expecting.”

“I suppose it just matters how patient who ever set up that ambush is,” Francis said. “And you can’t tell us more than this?”

“No.”

“Well, at least the lass finally told you,” Johnny muttered. “What do you want us to do?”

“Milo is assigned to Elizabeth, but he’s still young. I’d like you to take over her protection. Just until the babe is born,” he added when Johnny grimaced.

“Aye. I’d rather you give me a job where I can crack some heads, but I’ll settle for protecting the next Morgan.”

“And me?” Francis asked.

“Albany knew something about Elizabeth and her family. If the Webbers are still in Edinburgh, then you can go to Annan and see if there’s something to know. Some connection between Albany and the father or just anything.” Jason shook his head. “I don’t know how to protect her, but I know that I can’t sit here and hope it’s over. I have to find a way to know for sure.”

“We’ll do whatever we can to keep her—and the babe safe,” Francis promised. “Right, Johnny?”

“Yeah, yeah. But when there’s someone to hit, let me in on it. I didn’t even get to fight the last time,” the man muttered as he headed for the door. “It’s embarrassing.”

First, thanks for understanding about last night’s postponement. As the day wore on, I actually started to feel worse, and was worried I was legit getting sick. Since I haven’t really been in contact with my students this last year, I haven’t really been getting sick either so I was completely out of meds. I did some storm shopping this morning, and grabbed some sinus meds. I’m already feeling better after one dose. I didn’t go grocery shopping last week and realized I literally had not gone outside in more then ten days. With the weather being so cold right now, I’ve been cooped up in my office working most of the time, and I think the air in my house just started to bug my sinuses.

I’m pretty sure at this point (at 10 AM) that I’ll be able to update tonight, but if that changes, I’ll let you know.

Second, and the reason I’m posting this morning is to give you some news about Fool Me Twice and that February 23 date.  I really, really wanted the entire story to be done by then so I could put it out of my head, take a week off, and then dig into Broken Girl. However, you guys already know that January was a bad month for me, and it didn’t really start to turn around for me until the last two weeks. I wasn’t ever able to really make up for those first two weeks and a half weeks of editing time lost. I should be at least halfway through the story by now, but I’m still on Chapter 12.  Yesterday, I started to feel like I was rushing edits so I could get them done and that’s not what I want to do.

There’s just no way to have 38 chapters fully edited and cleaned up to my standards by February 23.

So I have two options — I could postpone FMT entirely for about a month OR I could split it into two big updates. I thought about putting this to a vote, but I know you guys and I figured you’d rather read something sooner rather than nothing and waiting a whole extra month.  Plus, this is only the second time I would have released a book at once, so it’s not like you guys are used to this schedule anyway.

That’s my news — I’ll be publishing the first 20 chapters of Fool Me Twice on February 23, then the final 18 on March 23. This gives me time to do two full round of edits which the story needs to be smoothed out and preserve continuity.  I talked it over with Ang, and we both agree that Chapter 20 is a good place to leave you guys for a month and for me, it also feels realistic. I can get the next nine chapters done by the end of this week and I have two weeks for the second round of edits. Just making the decision makes me feel better.

Fool Me Twice is the last novel that was on the old production schedule where I really didn’t leave myself enough time for certain parts of the project, so I’m pretty sure this is the last time we’ll have this schedule crunch. I just want to give you guys the best product I possibly can and this book is REALLY important to me. It’s ambitious and rewrites a time period on GH that a lot of people didn’t watch or didn’t enjoy, so I want to do it right.

I’ll see you guys tonight!

January 30, 2021

Hey, just a quick note — I’m skipping tonight’s update. Not Knowing When will be back next week. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this here on the blog or if I’ve only complained on Twitter. Until this week, I literally had a thousand things that were stressful than this, LOL, but now we’ve cleared out the worst irritations.

In early December, I started having this weird muffled whooshing in my right ear. I went to urgent care, they gave me Prednisone until I went to my primary doctor which wasn’t until January. He told me it’s Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (which I can barely spell), and gave me *another* round of Prednisone. I finished my last dose on Thursday and, uh, the problem is back again. And it’s worse today and messing with my attention. It’s been all I can do to get some editing done, and even that hasn’t really been good. I’m calling the doctor on Monday.

I’m gonna try to get the rest of my editing done, then going to lay down because that seems to help. I’ll keep you guys in the loop. Should be feeling better tomorrow, I hope, but we’re also having a snow storm so who knows.

January 29, 2021

Your Update Link: A King’s Command, Part 15

This weekend, we start the double updates of a King’s Command and Not Knowing When returns from hiatus. I think that A King’s Command should be done by the end of February — that would give us about 10 mor parts. After that, Signs of Life comes back from hiatus, and it’ll be nice for most of the Flash Fiction to be done. Once all of them are done, I’ll start Part 3 of Collect Your Regrets.

That story needed three parts because Tania originally asked for a rewrite of an Elizabeth storyline that took place before Steve’s Jason came back, so I either had to change the timeline of that story, keep Billy’s Jason, or fold the twins into the story. I honestly didn’t know the best way forward. Then I thought — well, I’ll set it at a different time period when Jason is still there–then Jake is still dead. Heh. So we got Part 1 reuniting Liason in 2012, Part 2 bringing back Jake, and then Part 3 — you might think we’re picking up on the Cassadines shenanigans, but we’re actually going to fast-forward to 2016.  I’m not sure what it looks like yet.

I finally updated my Recent Updates page and archived the 2020 updates. I actually do want to go back one day and complete archived pages for 2017-2014 because I think it’s fun for me to go back and see the growth of the site. But that’s a minor project far away in the future.

I had a pretty good week this week — the plumber ghosted me once again on Monday, but my BIL put me in touch with some guys who came out on Tuesday, and it’s been glorious not worrying about that. I also had great week at work, finishing up one cycle and prepping for the next. Just finally feel like some things have turned a corner. I’m editing Fool Me Twice, and that’s taking a bit of time for me to get into the groove. I’m not sure I really understand my editing process yet — every time I write, I learn more about how I work. I’ve managed to crack the Discovery and first draft process, but editing continues to be a crapshoot.

I won’t miss my Feb 23 deadline, I’m just not taking the twists and turns I thought I would. I’ll have some more on this on Sunday after a full weekend of sitting down with the project and figuring out where we are. Patreon supporters are going to be getting updates this week — Obsessed Tiers get new chapters as I edit, Adored Tier get weekly updates, and on Sunday, the Devoted Tier gets their first January reward — all 11 (hopefully more by then) chapters edited posted. Check out the support page for more information.  Those are still not the completed versions of the story, mind of you. But there is more new content.

I finished the ebook cover for FMT Book 1, I’m attaching it below. I’m not super sold on it, but it’ll do for now.  I’ll see you tomorrow for the return of Not Knowing When!

This entry is part 15 of 27 in the series Flash Fiction: A King's Command

Written in 60 minutes.


By the time Jason reached the hall of the keep where tables were being arranged for the warriors and members of the household to eat supper, he knew he had made a mistake. He should have found another way to ask Elizabeth about the secret she’d been keeping from him since the day of their marriage—the mysterious service she’d done for the regent of Scotland that had brought them together.

He stalked across the hall to the fire where Johnny and Francis were standing with other members of the clan. “Francis.”

The blond turned and raised brows. “Jason—”

“I want you to go to Edinburgh,” Jason told him after drawing him aside. “The men in the forest wore no colors that I recognized, but they were hired there. You have their descriptions?”

“Aye,” Francis grimly. “What Max and his men could manage when they returned to the clearing.” Some of the men had been torn apart by wolves that infested the forest.

“Good. Travel light and fast. I want to know if there are more threats.” If Elizabeth wouldn’t give him the information he needed to protect her, he’d have to find it from somewhere else. “And…make inquiries about her family. Her father.”

“Aye. I’ll see that it’s done.”

By the time he sat down to supper, scowling at the chair next to his at the lead table where his wife was supposed to sit. It had been empty since his mother had died in childbed after the birth of his sister—not even his aunt had taken up the space.

She’d been at the keep for a week and most of the clan had yet to see her. It wasn’t the start he’d wanted for her, knowing how nervous she’d been about being an outsider—

“Well, ’tis about time,” his aunt said flatly. Jason frowned, turned to the woman on the other side of him. “People were wondering if she was ever going to descend from her tower.”

“I don’t care for your tone,” Jason retorted before her words registered and he spun his head back towards the hall where the stairs climbed to the upper stairs.

Elizabeth was slowly closing the distance between it and table, her arm around through the arm of one of the men he’d left at his door. Jason got to his feet, irritation licking at the back of his throat. If any one should escort her to dinner—

He strode towards her, but was careful to keep his tone gentle as he approached Elizabeth and Milo, younger brother to Max. “I would have brought you downstairs,” he told her.

She met his eyes, and he was surprised to see that she hadn’t closed herself off to him. He’d been sure—but she looked the same as she had before he’d been an idiot in their bedchamber earlier that day.

“I know, but I didn’t want to bother you, and—” She glanced at Milo. “I thought I should get to know Milo since you’ve assigned him as my escort.”

“Aye, well—” Jason looked at the younger man gruffly. “You can go to supper. I’ll take my wife to the table.”

“Aye, Laird.” Milo headed over to one of the other tables.

“Are you sure you’re up to this?” Jason asked, putting an arm around her waist, fighting the urge to lift her into his arms and put her back upstairs where nothing could hurt her.

“I tried to tell you earlier,” Eliabeth said. She winced slightly as she sat down in the chair at the table. “That I thought I was ready. I’m still tired, and there are quite a few places that are bruised from the fall,” she continued, “but I don’t want to be…I don’t want to be locked away.”

“I never meant—” Jason exhaled slowly. He sat next to her, glared at a few of his men who were staring at his wife. They immediately returned their attention to their meals. “I didn’t mean for you to be—”

“When we spoke earlier,” she said slowly, “I found myself transported back in time. A few weeks ago, to that inn in Edinburgh.” She met his eyes. “When you dragged me down the street, put me in a room, and demanded me to break my oath without so much as a second thought.”

“I—”

“We are not those people anymore, are we?” she asked her voice soft, careful not to carry to anyone else though he could tell eyes were still on them. “I wish that I felt ready to tell you what you want to know. What I know you deserve to know. I just…” She stopped as one of the serving women set a bowl of mutton stew down in front of her. When they were very nearly alone again, she tried again, “I can’t bring myself to do it.”

That displeased him, but he forced himself not to show it. “I have to know—”

“I know.” Their eyes met again, and held this time. “I’m asking for time.”

“How am I to protect you—”

“I can tell you that I saved the regent’s life,” Elizabeth said. She bit her lip. “I can’t imagine how anyone might know it or want revenge on me for doing so, but that’s all I did. I just—I can’t tell you how.”

He exhaled, then leaned back in his chair, looking away from his wife. He traded a look with Johnny at the other end of the table. It did not surprise Jason that someone wanted the Duke of Albany dead. Another regent to the king would have to be selected, and someone was always looking for more power. Elizabeth having thwarted the ambitions of a man willing to do murder would explain why someone might come after her.

But to lay an ambush that required weeks? And they’d said they were taking her with them—she’d been ordered to be delivered to someone alive and healthy.

“You will not tell me how you did this?” Jason asked, looking back to his wife. “Is that the source of this secret? Of your worry?”

“Yes.”

He could live with that. He knew that she’d stepped in the middle of who ever wanted to wield the power of a king. How she’d done that was not material to anyone else but her, and if she wasn’t ready to deliver that secret—

“I’m sorry. I understand if you still don’t trust me—”

“If the regent did not want anyone to know there had been an attempt on his life, then it follows he would have wanted you not to say anything.” Jason nodded. “Thank you.”

“You—you’re satisfied with—” She blinked. “I cannot believe—”

“I am not happy that you still don’t trust me with whatever you’re holding on to,” Jason told her, “but neither can I say that it is something that I need to know. I told you. Your secrets are your own as long as they do not threaten this clan.” He paused. “Will your secret put you at risk further?”

“Living here at Braegarie, I would hope not. But I also did not think there would be any danger once we left Edinburgh,” she admitted. “I cannot promise it.” She bit her lip. “I would understand if you wanted to find a way to set me aside. I hear it can be done here in the Highlands—”

“No,” Jason said, more harshly than he’d meant to—but he couldn’t imagine sending her away. Where would she go? A convent? Back to her father? “No,” he repeated, more gently. “I told you weeks ago. I am satisifed with this marriage. That has not changed.”

“It—” Her eyes were wide now. “It hasn’t?”

“No. You will keep your secrets, and when you are ready, you will give them to me, and I will keep them for you.” He nodded. “I see no reason anything else has to change. You’re safe here at Braegarie.”

“I was not—” She smiled tremulously. “I thought you would be angrier.”

“I should have been more understanding earlier,” he said. “I ask your forgiveness. You’re right. I wasn’t speaking to the woman I’d come to know since we left that inn, and you deserve better than that from me.” He hesitantly placed his hand over hers as it rested on the table. “If you will forgive me, I will forgive you, and we will put this behind us.”

“Aye.” Her eyes damp with tears, she nodded. “I’d like that.”

To Elizabeth’s surprise, not only did they put the entire incident behind them, but for weeks after she went to supper with the clan for the first time, Jason never brought up the secret they both knew she was keeping.

She couldn’t bring herself to tell him about the visions—there were times when she thought he might accept it—but always, something held her tongue. As as long she followed the most important advice she’d learned from her mother—Elizabeth could even forget for long periods of time. She occasionally had flashes when she and Jason were together, but they were brief and gave her little information.

As she recovered from her fall fully, she devoted herself to becoming the best wife she could, to make sure Jason never regretted taking a chance on her even though she’d given him little reason to trust her.

His aunt had been a difficult nut to crack, but Elizabeth had perservered, insisting that that she only wanted to make sure that Braegarie was handed down to her sons and daughters in the excellent condition that Tracy had maintained.

Tracy was suscipetible to flatterty, and decided that her nephew’s Low Lander wife needed training if she was going to be a Highland woman. Elizabeth had hoped to make a few friends, but as the laird’s wife, it was difficult to build a friendship with one of the women who worked in the keep or in the village.

But she was friendly with the maids that served in the hall, and Tracy told her that were would be festivals where she could meeet other women in her station—

And the best part of Elizabeth’s new life was not just the home she was building or the acceptance she hadn’t dared to hope for—no, the best part of her lif was her husband.

She knew she was desperately in love with him, and hoped he couldn’t see it. It would be humiliating if he knew just how much of her time and energy she spent devising ways to make his life better, to keep him happy, to never make him regret for a single moment that he’d let her stay. He had never promised to love her, but he was kind, he was affectionate, and he made her feel cared for.

She’d never been so happy.

Until the day near midsummer, when she followed Tracy into the storage rooms of the keep to look over the stores for the coming months. It was never too early to plan for the snowfalls that would prevent hunting, Tracy had told her.

Elizabeth was dutifuly taking that information to heart when a wave of dizziness swept over her, and she reached out a head to brace herself on one of the wooden shelves fastened to the wall.

“My lady?” the cook said. Tracy grimaced as she turned back.

“What not?”

“I’m—” Elizabeth took a deep breath, waiting for the spell to pass, then pressed her other hand to her middle. “I’m sorry. I just—felt a bit—” She cleared her throat. “I’m listening.”

Tracy pursed her lips, then strode forward to take Elizabeth by the chin. She tilted Elizabeth’s head to one side, then the other, peering into her pupils. “Go lay down. I’ll send Barbara to you.”

Elizabeth shook her head. “I’m all right—”

“Do you think that I would tell you to go lay down if I thought you could keep going?” Tracy demanded. “Do you think I have time to worry about you? We have to finish this inventory, and now I have to stop to think about this. Go upstairs, and I’ll send Barbara to you,” she repeated.

And because Elizabeth completely believed her husband’s aunt would never allow Elizabeth to shirk her duties, she obeyed this time. What had Tracy seen that worried her? She was fine, wasn’t she? Most of the time, she felt better than ever—

Of course, she was more tired than usual, she admitted when the pretty redheaded healer joined her in Elizzabeth’s bedchamber. And aye, she’d been dizzy—and sometimes she was ill in the morning—

“Have I bled?” Elizabeth asked. “No, but—” Her mouth closed. “Oh.”

“Aye, ’tis good news,” Barbara declared. “Such a young bride! You will have many sons. You should tell the laid you’re carrying. He’ll be very happy.”

“I suppose I’ve been so busy,” she murmured, “I haven’t thought of it, but—” She pressed a hand to her middle again. A child. Oh, she’d wanted children.

“My lady? Should I send for the laird—”

“No, no. I wish—I’m feeling a bit tired,” Elizabeth admitted. “I will tell him before supper. I promise. Thank you, Barbara.”

When the healer had left, Elizabeth went to sit by the fireplace, though one hadn’t been laid that day and wouldn’t until the sun set later that night.

She’d spent the last two months happier than she’d ever been in her life, and there had been times when she’d prayed for a child because only that would make it perfect.

But now she realized that it wasn’t perfect. She couldn’t bring a child into this world—not while Jason didn’t know what she was.

What if they had a daughter? Her vision by the loch could have been a dream—or maybe their daughter had been elsewhere. And what if they had a daughter one day? What if the visions fell on a son?

Tracy had not promised not to tell Jason anything, and because she suspected what she did—she sent for her nephew immediately.

Jason hurried up to the bedchamber, irritated that his aunt would tell him nothing more than his wife was ill and required him. When he shoved open the door, he found his wife sitting quietly by the fireplace, staring into the ashes of the hearth.

Alarmed, he closed the door. “Elizabeth?”

She looked at him, then sighed. “Do you remember the day I said goodbye to Steven in Edinburgh? What he told me?”

“Aye,” Jason said with a frown. “He said to remember what your mother told you.” He paused. “That you should be invisible and quiet.”

“I didn’t tell you the most important piece of that advice,” Elizabeth said. She closed her eyes. “I should remember to not to touch anyone—but if I did, then I must stay quiet and be invisible.”

“Not to—” Jason shook his head, mystified. “Elizabeth—”

“Because sometimes when I touch someone—I can see the future.” She met his eyes. “And that’s how I knew regent was going to be poisoned.”

January 28, 2021

Occasionally, I get behind in updating Recent Updates and only add text updates, not links.
All Flash Fiction can be found on the Flash Fiction page.


November 20, 2020 Flash Fiction: A Shot in the Dark, Part 12
November 18, 2020 Flash Fiction: A King’s Command, Part 11
November 17, 2020 Flash Fiction: A Shot in the Dark, Part 11
November 14, 2020 Flash Fiction: Not Knowing When, Part 9
November 8, 2020 Flash Fiction: A Shot in the Dark, Part 10
November 7, 2020 Flash Fiction: A King’s Command
November 1, 2020 Flash Fiction: A Shot in the Dark, Part 9

October 30, 2020 Flash Fiction: A King’s Command – Part 8
October 26, 2020 Flash Fiction: Not Knowing When: Part 8
October 25, 2020 Flash Fiction: A Shot in the Dark, Part 8
October 24, 2020 Flash Fiction: Signs of Life, Part 5
October 23, 2020 Flash Fiction: A King’s Command, Part 8
October 20, 2020 Flash Fiction: Not Knowing When, Part 7
October 18, 2020 Flash Fiction: A Shot in the Dark, Part 7
October 17, 2020 Flash Fiction: Signs of Life, Part 4
October 16, 2020 Flash Fiction: A King’s Command, Part 7
October 9, 2020 Flash Fiction: A King’s Command, Part 6
October 7, 2020 Flash Fiction: A Shot in the Dark, Part 6
October 6, 2020 Mad World, Book 3 Released
October 5, 2020 Flash Fiction: Not Knowing When, Part 6
October 4, 2020 Flash Fiction: A Shot in the Dark, Part 5
October 3, 2020 Flash Fiction: Signs of Life, Part 3
October 1, 2020 Flash Fiction: A King’s Command, Part 5

September 28, 2020 Flash Fiction: Not Knowing When, Part 5
September 26, 2020 Flash Fiction: Signs of Life, Part 2
September 25, 2020 Flash Fiction: A King’s Command, Part 4
September 24, 2020 Added Revised Full Short Story: The Ghost in the Girl
September 23, 2020 Flash Fiction: A Shot in the Dark, Part 4
September 22, 2020 Added Mad World, Chapter 51
September 21, 2020 Flash Fiction: Not Knowing When, Part 4
September 20, 2020 Flash Fiction: The Ghost in the Girl, Part 3
September 19, 2020 Flash Fiction: Signs of Life, Part 1
September 18, 2020 Flash Fiction: A King’s Command, Part 3
September 16, 2020 Flash Fiction: A Shot in the Dark, Part 3
September 14, 2020 Flash Fiction: Not Knowing When, Part 3
September 13, 2020 Flash Fiction: The Ghost in the Girl, Part 2
September 11, 2020 Flash Fiction: A King’s Command, Part 2
September 9, 2020 Flash Fiction: A Shot in the Dark, Part 2
September 7, 2020 Flash Fiction: Not Knowing When, Part 2
September 6, 2020 Flash Fiction: The Ghost in the Girl, Part 1
September 4, 2020 Flash Fiction: A King’s Command, Part 1
September 2, 2020 Flash Fiction: A Shot in the Dark, Part 1

August 31, 2020 CG Flash Fiction: Not Knowing When, Part 1
August 23, 2020 Added If Wishes Came True: Ruining Everything
August 20, 2020 CG Flash Fiction: Desperate Measures, Part 20
August 19, 2020 CG Flash Fiction: Darkest Before the Dawn, Part 16
August 18, 2020 CG Flash Fiction: Desperate Measures, Part 19
August 17, 2020 CG Flash Fiction: Darkest Before the Dawn, Part 15
August 15, 2020 CG Flash Fiction: Darkest Before the Dawn, Part 14 | Organized If Wishes Came True
August 14, 2020 Added If Wishes Came True: All My What Ifs
August 13, 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Darkest Before the Dawn, Part 13 | Added If Wishes Came True: Would Things Be Different
August 12, 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Whatever It Takes, Part 16 (completed)
August 11, 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Desperate Measures, Part 17
August 10, 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Darkest Before the Dawn, Part 12 | Added This Is Me Trying
August 8, 2020 Added: Strong Enough (Ficlet / Alternate History) | CG Flash Fiction – Whatever It Takes – Part 15
August 7, 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Desperate Measures, Part 16
August 6, 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Darkest Before the Dawn, Part 11
August 5, 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Whatever It Takes, Part 15
August 4, 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Desperate Measures, Part 15
August 3, 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Darkest Before the Dawn, Part 10
August 1, 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Whatever It Takes, Part 13

31 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction: Desperate Measures, Part 14
30 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Darkest Before the Dawn, Part 9
29 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – An Everlasting Love, Part 16 (completed)
28 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – An Everlasting Love, Part 15
27 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – An Everlasting Love, Part 14
21 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Desperate Measures, Part 13
20 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – An Everlasting Love, Part 13
19 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Darkest Before the Dawn, Part 8
18 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Whatever It Takes, Part 12
17 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Desperate Measures, Part 12
16 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – An Everlasting Love, Part 12 | CG Flash Fiction, Darkest Before Dawn, Part 7
15 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Desperate Measures, Part 11 | Whatever It Takes, Part 11
13 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – An Everlasting Love, Part 11
11 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Whatever It Takes, Part 10 | Darkest Before the Dawn, Part 6
10 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – An Everlasting Love, Part 10 | Desperate Measures, Part 10
08 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Whatever It Takes, Part 9
07 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Desperate Measures, Part 9 | Darkest Before the Dawn, Part 5
06 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – An Everlasting Love, Part 9
05 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Darkest Before the Dawn, Part 4
04 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Whatever It Takes, Part 8
03 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Desperate Measures, Part 8
02 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – An Everlasting Love, Part 8 |  Darkest Before the Dawn, Part 3
01 July 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Whatever It Takes, Part 7 | Site & Story Status

30 June 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Desperate Measures, Part 7
29 June 2020 CG Flash Fiction – An Everlasting Love, Part 7
28 June 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Darkest Before the Dawn, Part 2
27 June 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Whatever It Takes, Part 6
26 June 2020 CG Flash Fiction – An Everlasting Love, Part 6 | Desperate Measures, Part 6
25 June 2020 Whatever It Takes, Part 5 | Darkest Before the Dawn, Part 1
24 June 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Desperate Measures, Part 5 | Excerpt, Mad World Chapter 4
23 June 2020 CG Flash Fiction – An Everlasting Love, Part 5
20 June 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Whatever It Takes, Part 4
19 June 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Desperate Measures, Part 4
18 June 2020 CG Flash Fiction – An Everlasting Love, Part 4
17 June 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Whatever It Takes, Part 3
16 June 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Desperate Measures, Part 3 | Released Mad World, Book 1 ebook
15 June 2020 CG Flash Fiction – An Everlasting Love, Part 3 | Released For the Broken Girl, Book 1 ebook
13 June 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Whatever It Takes, Part 2
12 June 2020 For the Broken Girl, Chapters 17-32
11 June 2020 CG Flash Fiction – Desperate Measures, Part 2
10 June 2020 For the Broken Girl, Chapter 16
09 June 2020 CG Flash Fiction – An Everlasting Love, Part 2
08 June 2020
For the Broken Girl, Chapter 15
06 June 2020
CG Flash Fiction, Whatever It Takes – Part 1
05 June 2020
For the Broken Girl, Chapter 14
04 June 2020
CG Flash Fiction – Desperate Measures, Part 1
03 June 2020
For the Broken Girl, Chapter 13 | CG Flash Fiction – An Everlasting Love, Part 1
01 June 2020
For the Broken Girl, Chapter 12

 


29 May 2020: Added For the Broken Girl, Chapter 11
27 May 2020: Added For the Broken Girl, Chapter 10
25 May 2020: Added For the Broken Girl, Chapter 9
22 May 2020: Added For the Broken Girl, Chapter 8
20 May 2020: Added For the Broken Girl, Chapter 7
18 May 2020: Added For the Broken Girl, Chapter 6
15 May 2020: Added For the Broken Girl, Chapter 5
13 May 2020: Added For the Broken Girl, Chapter 4
11 May 2020: Added For the Broken Girl, Chapter 3
8 May 2020: Added For the Broken Girl, Chapter 2
6 May 2020: Added For the Broken Girl, Chapter 1
4 May 2020: Added For the Broken Girl, Prologue


1 January 2020: Completed The Next Best Thing, Part 4


January 24, 2021

Your Update Link: A Shot in the Dark – Part 18

Not a lot to report today. I spent this morning working on Fool Me Twice. After adding two brand new chapters and 10k, I had to look ahead to the next cluster of chapters to see how many much reworking they’d need to fit the new material, then I wrote the next flashback. I started working on the Fool Me Twice ebook cover, but I’m not much of a graphic designer and I hate everything, LOL, so I’ll try again tomorrow.

I’m looking forward to this week because I should be able to stop working outside of my contracted hours (well, at least by 3:30) and actually relax at night. Hopefully. I even prepped all of my meals — even the lunches. If the plumber would ever show up and take care of my pipes, this would be a good day.

This ended up being the last part of A Shot in the Dark, so I’ll be back next week with A King’s Command on Friday & Sunday and Not Knowing When on Saturday.

This entry is part 18 of 18 in the series Flash Fiction: Shot in the Dark

Written in 62 minutes. No time for spell check.


Mykonos, Greece

“Our theory is now that one of the Cassadines blew up the island to make their escape.” Robert grimaced as he cast his gaze over the crowd of WSB agents and researchers scouring the remains of the estate—there were construction crews removing piles of stone, hoping to excavate the tunnels beneath the foundation.

“When we looked at the distance between the cottage and where the bombs were set,” Elizabeth said, folding her arms, “Jason and I just don’t think Nikolas could have made it all the way here and detonated them. And if they’d been remote—”

“He would have escaped with you guys,” Robin said, kicking a loose piece of stone out of her way. “They’ve got a point, Dad. It’s a mile between them, and Nikolas wasn’t much of a runner.”

“No, his idea of playing sports was polo or fencing. Jason doesn’t think he’d be able to make that distance in less than twelve minutes.” Elizabeth looked at Jason. “Right?”

“I don’t know how that changes what we’re looking for,” Jason told Robert, “but if the Cassadines blew the place up—”

“Then there’s probably not much here to find. Or whatever is here doesn’t give us much of puzzle.” Robert put his hands at his waist, his scowl deepening. “Can I just tell you how much I hate the bloody Cassadines?” He looked to Laura. “Why didn’t we blow up the whole family when we had the chance?”

“Well, in our defense, we didn’t know Helena was part of Mikko’s schemes,” Laura said, “and the sons were mostly playboys. We thought they were like Tony, and you saw how dumb he ended up being—”

“Didn’t Tony end up getting himself frozen to death?” Elizabeth said.

“That’s what I’m saying—”

“If we could—” Robert pressed his lips together. “No sign of any messages in the cottage?” he asked her.

“No, just some of Jake’s things. I was hoping we could box them up and take them with us,” Elizabeth said. “He’s doing okay so far, but it’s early and he’s just—he’s excited by the changes. I want him to have some familiar things.”

“Yeah, yeah, we’ve swept the place, so take what you want.” Robert paused. “I’m sorry. It looks like this was a wasted trip.” He turned away to take a phone call.

“Maybe not,” Laura said. “Didn’t Jake say that his nanny brought him to the gardens to meet with Nikolas?” she asked Jason and Elizabeth.

“You think he’d leave something there?” Elizabeth asked doubtfully.

“If the cottage was worth checking,” Jason said, “then it wouldn’t hurt to try everything.” They glanced over as Robert muttered a curse under his breath, then shoved his phone back in his pocket.

“We’ve got a problem in Ukraine—” He dragged a hand over his eyes, digging the heel of his hand into his brow. “Luke apparently found one of our missing Cassadines, and used that one to get to the bitch herself.”

“Wait, what?” Elizabeth demanded. “Luke found Helena? Which one of the Cassadines—”

“Robert—”

“Dad—”

“Luke was apparently in contact with Stefan Cassadine during this whole operation—”

“I knew he wasn’t telling us everything—”

“What the hell—”

“Does he have Helena?” Jason said flatly, interrupting everyone else’s anger and exclamations. “When do we leave?”

“He has her. She’s dead.”

Elizabeth stared at the older man, then shook her head. “No, no I don’t believe that—” Not that easy. It couldn’t be that easy—could it—

“He wants me to come get her body. Seems like he doesn’t trust anyone else but me to dispose of her probably,” Robert said.

“Well, the last three times we killed Helena, she just came back,” Laura retorted. “And it was definitely Luke’s turn the last time to get rid of the body. But she’s dead? How? When?”

“Last night. He shot her in the head. She’s dead, Laura.”

“Why didn’t he tell us?” Elizabeth fisted her hands at her side. “He knew we wanted her—” She closed her eyes.

“You wanted to find her to kill her,” Robin reminded her gently. “And that’s done now. That’s good, right? Helena was the one that was putting you and the boys in danger, wasn’t she?”

“Yes, but—” Elizabeth looked at Jason, and knew he understood. It wasn’t enough that Helena was dead.

She’d wanted to be the one to do it.

“Robin, would you run this operation while I head to Ukraine? I want to get my hands on that body and make sure it’s really her,” Robert said. “And if you’d like, I can truss up Spencer and drag him back here you so can scream at him.”

“It’s not worth it,” Laura muttered. “He’d just tell us he was doing us a favor. That would be like Luke,” she said to Elizabeth. “He should have killed her when we learned what she’d done to Lucky, but no, now he has to do it when it’s not even—” She took a deep breath. “You know what, Robert? Bring my ex-husband to me. We need to have some words.”

“I need to get out of here,” Elizabeth muttered. She spun on her heel and stalked off towards the gardens. Jason glowered at Robert—as if any of this was his fault—then followed her because there was no way in hell he was going to let her walk around Cassadine Island alone.

“Laura, at the end of the day—”

“At the end of the day, I wanted to rip her eyes out and shove them down her throat so she’d choke on them. Now I don’t even get to be in the room to watch her breath her last.” Laura took a deep breath. “I’ll have to find a way to be okay with that, but I will never forgive Luke for doing this. For any of this.”

They found the garden bench that Jake had described but Elizabeth didn’t know what she’d expected to find. She sat down, trying to picture her son sitting here with Nikolas —asking to go home.

“I’m sorry,” Jason said. “I know this isn’t how we wanted this to end.”

“We could still go after Mikkos and Valentin,” Elizabeth murmured, “but it’s not the same. They didn’t take Jake from me. They haven’t haunted me most of my life. They’re not even the ones that went after Laura or Lucky. They’re not the Cassadines I want to see rotting in hell.” She paused. “I mean, I’m sure they deserve it—but going after them personally when the WSB can handle it—”

She tilted her head back to look at the sky, at sun sinking beneath the horizon. “Helena took my son from me and made me live in hell for two years. And Nikolas found out the truth at some point. Luke—and Lucky—knew for months. And no one told us. No one told Laura or me. And now Luke just went—” She sighed. “I don’t have anywhere to put all of this anger. I just want to scream at him, but Laura’s right. He’ll have worked this out in his head that he was sparing us.”

“Maybe he has a point,” Jason said slowly. She frowned at him. “I wanted her blood, too. I wanted revenge. And I agree with you. Something about this feels different knowing she’s off the table. It doesn’t feel the same. I also—” He paused. “I’ve taken lives. You know that. My hands aren’t clean.”

“Neither are mine—”

Jason shook his head. “You shot a man going after Jake, and you made a mistake at the hospital,” he added. “It’s not the same. I’ve—” He paused. “I’ve killed for Sonny.”

She blinked at him. He’d never spoken about his job so plainly to her before. “I know that—”

“It stays with you,” he told her. “Helena might have deserved it—and I think you might have been okay with living with it, but part of me is glad you don’t have to.” He paused. “I know that’s selfish, and it doesn’t make what Luke did right—but I think he was trying to protect you.”

“Maybe you’re right. Maybe in a few months I’ll even be glad—but right now, I just feel angry—” She gripped the edge of the bench, then frowned as her fingers slid over something. “What’s this—”

Elizabeth reached under the bench and pulled out a picture. She ran her finger over it — it was a picture of her and Jake from just before the accident. Her precious baby was alive and home with his brothers, learning to play video games and get into trouble—he’d go back to school and he’d grow up and get to all the things she dreamed about—

She turned it over, then sucked in a sharp breath. “Nikolas.”

“What is it?” Jason slid closer to look over her shoulder. “Is it from him?”

“If you’re reading this, then something has gone wrong. I’m sorry. I should have told you, but I wanted to bring him back to you myself. I wanted to save him. I wanted you to forgive me.

I can’t come home until I’ve fixed this. Until they’re all gone. I have to make sure this never touches our children again. Take care of Spencer for me. Tell him I love him.

I kept this photo for Jake to always remind him that you were out there, waiting for him to come home. I leave it to you to remember what matters. I know you. You’ll want revenge, and you deserve it.

But you also deserve a life away from this. Go home to Jake and love him. Be happy.

Love, Nikolas”

Elizabeth hissed. “That infuriating piece—” She nearly crumbled up the photograph. “How many men today are going to tell me what I deserve? What I should feel? How I should live my life?” She launched herself off the bench, the photo falling to the ground. She whirled around on Jason. “Even you. You’re happier knowing that I’m not going to have Helena on my conscience—”

“That’s not what I said—”

“I would have burned her alive, buried the ashes, and danced on her grave,” Elizabeth shot back. “And I would have gone to sleep happy about it—better for having done it! Because I would have made sure my boys were safe—and you, Nikolas, Luke—” She growled. “You all think I’m some sort of fragile hothouse flower that can’t do both!”

“Again, not what I said,” Jason said, but since the other two men she was ready to set on fire weren’t there, he let it go.

“The nerve of telling me that I should give up revenge so I can go home and love my son! Have a life away from this! I can do both! I would have done both!”

“I know that—”

“He had no right—none of them—” Her chest started to heave as it all set in—as it crashed in who she was screaming at. Her sobs were ragged as she sank to the ground. She stared at the photo in her hands. “Two years, she had him. Two years, and I never knew—and I thought—I thought if I could just make it over—if I could be the one to make the world safe from her—maybe I could forgive myself.”

Jason exhaled slowly, then slid off the bench, crossing over to sit next to her on the ground. “I know. Because that’s what I wanted.”

Elizabeth closed her eyes, rested her head against his shoulder. “The accident—it was my fault—”

“Elizabeth—”

“And Helena coming after him—that was my fault. She must have thought he was Lucky’s son. That was my lie, Jason. I put Jake in her cross-hairs by lying about who he was—”

“No—”

“And then for two years, she had him here, and we can only pray he’ll be okay after all of that—and I just—I thought if I stopped it—” She squeezed her eyes shut. “But now I think nothing is going to take that away. Even if I’d killed her—if you’d killed her—it’s never going to make those years go away.”

“No, it won’t.” He kissed her forehead, then reached for the photo. “You did what you thought was best for Jake. We both did. And we were wrong. We have a chance to make it right. I thought—” He paused. “Last fall, I thought I was just getting a second chance to love you. To have a family. I never dreamed I’d get another chance with my son.”

“I want to go home. I want to be with our boys. I need to be with them.”

“Me, too.” Jason got to his feet, then pulled her up. “Remind me not to piss you off,” he said as they started back to the house and he put an arm around her shoulder. “You’re scarier than you used to be.”

Elizabeth smirked, snaking an arm around his waist, leaning into his embrace. “Damn right.”

When their voices faded, and he knew they were gone, Nikolas stepped out the shadows, his face twisted in a grimace. “That wasn’t the way I wanted that to go,” he muttered. “But at least she’s going home.” He looked at the man standing next to him. “Did you have to stab her?”

“I didn’t hit anything vital,” Lucky muttered. “She only almost died because she refused to stay home. And I got my ass kicked, you know! Morgan almost killed me this time!”

Nikolas rolled his eyes. “Come on, we need to go meet up with your dad and my uncle. We’ve got work to do.”

Laura was elated to receive news that her son was alive, but was as irritated by Nikolas’s note as Elizabeth was.

“I’m beginning to think it’s not just Spencer men who need to be set on fire,” was all she’d say before stomping off to go talk to Robin.

Jason and Elizabeth took the first boat to the mainland and were on their way home to Port Charles by the time the sun dipped below the horizon.

She was done hunting Cassadines.

Jason called ahead to Greystone to ask if Sonny would bring the boys to the house, and when his SUV pulled into the driveway the next day, Sonny’s car was parked at the curb.

“I am going to sleep for a week,” Elizabeth said. She closed her eyes, resting her head against the headrest. “But when I get up, I’m going to remember that my baby is home, my boys are together, my best friend is alive, and—” She twisted her head to look at him. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

“You know I had my doubts about all of this,” she said softly. “When you moved in, you didn’t want to do that. You wanted to get married.”

“I wanted you,” he said with a shake of his head. “And you wanted time.”

“Time.” Elizabeth sighed. “You know, before all this started, I told Laura I was scared we were together now because of what happened before. We were in love before. We felt guilty about Jake. We were lonely…”

“And now?”

“Now I know I just was too scared to trust that we’d get it right. We never have before,” she continued, “and every time, it hurt so much more. I think if we messed it up this time—” Elizabeth paused. “But we’re not going to.”

“It’s not my plan,” Jason said. “But I’m not proposing anymore,” he added. “When you’re ready, you’ll tell me.”

“And if I never am?”

“Then we’re just going to live together forever, raise the boys, have grandchildren—” He shrugged. “And we’ll need more paperwork to file taxes.”

Elizaeth laughed. “Okay. Fair enough.” She pushed her door open and stepped out of the SUV. She could hear laughter and voices inside—the beautiful new voice of Jake mixed with Cameron and Aiden—and she could hear Morgan and Joss, too.

Jason frowned when she didn’t move. “Elizabeth?”

“I don’t want a big wedding,” she said, meeting his eyes. “And I want it soon.”

“Waiting time is three days,” Jason said slowly, walking towards her. His arms encircled her waist as he dipped his down to kiss her. “You want to get married on Friday?”

“I thought you said you weren’t proposing anymore,” she teased.

“Hey, this time, you proposed to me,” he said. Elizabeth laughed, then took his hand and they went inside to be with their boys. There was laughs, and hugs, and kisses—and when Elizabeth told them all about Friday—

Sonny grinned, Joss demanded to be a flower girl—and Cameron hugged her hard while Jake cheered, and Aiden smiled.

Elizabeth met Jason’s eyes over Cameron’s head and smiled at him. This was better than revenge, she decided. She’d been given a second chance, and she wasn’t going to waste it on hatred and bitterness, but on loving her boys, her future husband, and her friends.

But she still hoped Helena Cassadine was roasting in hell.

 

THE END FOR NOW

January 23, 2021

Your Update Link: A King’s Command 14

I think we’ll be wrapping up A Shot in the Dark tomorrow night. I was able to get what I wanted done in last night’s part, and we’re just about at the end of the narrative with the Jake return story which was the point of this part in the Collect Your Regrets universe. We won’t entirely finish with the Cassadines just yet — this series has one more part which is the story Tania asked for in the first place, but I’m not opposed to revisiting the Cassadines in another part of the series. We’ll see how Sunday’s entry goes.

Next weekend, A King’s Command moves to double updates on Friday & Sunday. Saturday’s update will either be the final part of A Shot in the Dark or the return of Not Knowing When.

Today, I wrote two brand new chapters for Fool Me Twice. It was supposed to be one, but I realized as I writing that it was going to be around 9k (ended up being even longer at 12k) and that’s WAY too long for one chapter. That’s why Flash Fiction is late — I finished the new Chapter 8 at 6:55 and I just–needed a break, LOL.

In housekeeping news, I’ve made some changes to the Production Schedule for 2021 & 2022. Nothing crazy — just some adjustments to release dates and projects. I realized, looking over my original dates, that I hadn’t really built in a lot of breaks between projects, and taking those few weeks at the end of December just made my life so easier. If a few things in January had gone differently in my personal life, I’d be really happy.

The biggest change is that I’m not starting Broken Girl’s first draft until March. I’m editing Fool Me Twice in February, and releasing on February 23. I’ll be working on that really up until release day, so BG won’t be getting my focus anyway. Better to push it off, give me time to finish soundtracking and then have a week between release of FMT and BG alpha draft. I’ll be writing Book 2 on March & April, editing in May and June, then releasing June 15.

Then I go into production on Mad World 4, writing the alpha draft in July & August, the beta in September, then releasing October 19. I’m actually going to work on Books 2 & 3 of Fool Me Twice at the same time. I’ll do discovery for both, then write the alpha for both and edit them separately. You’ll get those in February 2022 & June 2022. And the final release of 2022 is Book 1 in my Hand Me Down series, Feels Like Home, a future fic that is set in 2024, but picks up the show in 2008.

I gave myself two weeks between each of those projects as vacation time — which I realized I hadn’t done this year. I went from one project to the next. If I want to start early, that’s fine, but I also have the space to say no.

I also worked more on the Facelift. All the 2002 stories are good to go on Alternate History. They’ve been moved over and their Inspiration & Timeline information has been edited to hopefully give you more context for when the story takes place. All the stories have a Featured Banner — you might have noticed that some of the stories are now 150×150 and not 125×125. I’m not going back to change the older ones, but I like the bigger size for creativity issues.

The only thing I’m not doing right now is working on the banners for all the stories. Those take a bit longer and will be easier once my screencap collection is done, which I’m not touching until the summer.