First things first — I’m going to be using the Read More tag on the blog more often with the link above the cut, and then all the chatter below it. If you’re into my nonsense, you can keep reading, but if you’re not, the links and recent updates are a bit easier to find. Especially since I’m such rubbish at updating the Recent Updates page.
I understand that sometimes people don’t read my update blogs because they tend to be chatty, but please note that if I have repeatedly referred to having serious energy and creativity issues, I don’t exactly owe anyone an explanation why I don’t update Flash Fiction as scheduled. I know I usually log in to let you guys know an update won’t be coming, but I’ve also felt like that’s just annoying for all of us. A ton of you are signed up for update emails, and I hate doing posts when I have nothing to give to you. If you have my personal email, that is not an invitation to use it to ask for updates, even if you’re checking in on me.
This site and my Twitter feed are the places where you should check in with me, or my Patreon feed if you’re a Patreon.
I hope to be back updating this week, but I’m struggling hard in real life and I’m not going to post every single time I don’t plan to update, even if I have posted a schedule. I love this community a lot, but I think I’ve been very open about my issues with anxiety and stress so I hope you understand that even as much I want to be writing, sometimes I can’t.
I’ll see you when I see you.
Hello 🙂 Checking in again to let you know that I’ve pulled the plug on updating Flash Fiction during the week. I’ve been really struggling with my energy, and there’s a huge crash for me most afternoons which used to be my writing time. Now, I have the most energy in the morning which means I have to use that time wisely. I have things in real life that need to be done, especially in July with writing the curriculum. I’m not always feeling very creative, so sometimes I feel like I’ve used everything up in Flash Fiction and there’s nothing left over for Mad World.
Flash Fiction will be updated on Fridays and Sundays from now on. I’ll see you guys on Friday!
Hey, just popping in to let you know that I won’t be updating today. I have blood work scheduled for 8:30, and I’m fasting so I’ll be starving when it’s over, lol, so I probably won’t be able to get to it when I come back because I have other things to get done today.
I’ll be back tomorrow for Signs of Life!
Meanwhile, I’ve been working on the Facelift, and all 2003 stories have been organized chronologically on Alternate History and their story pages have been updated. 2002/2003 stories are pretty much half of everything I’ve written. Have you read them all?
Written in 61 minutes.
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
She was hallucinating. That was the only explanation for what Elizabeth had just heard.
If we were married, we couldn’t testify against each other.
“Can you—” She stepped back from him, desperately needing a bit of space. Her head was spinning and she couldn’t make sense of anything. He hadn’t really—
She made a little circle with her finger. “Can you repeat that?”
“I talked to Alexis,” Jason said, “and she said that the best way to handle this was to make sure you couldn’t be forced to testify against me — and to damage Carly’s credibility in court.”
“Does she have any credibility to start with?” Elizabeth asked doubtfully. “Can’t I just refuse—”
“You could,” he said slowly, “but if Carly walks into the PCPD and says she knows I was shot, that she knows it happened the same night Moreno went missing, and that you were hiding me in the studio, Taggert is going to take her over every single detail. He’s going to be looking for leverage.”
“And the fact that I brought you pain medication is something you think Carly might remember.”
“If they charge you—”
“Are they going to do that on Carly’s word?” she said doubtfully. “Carly’s spent time in a mental institution—”
“And if she were making this statement against anyone else, I’d agree with you. But this is the PCPD—”
“And they hate you. They’ll use anything.” On a shaky sigh, she rubbed her forehead. Well, she’d asked Jason for all their options. “I guess we can’t really make Carly disappear because that would probably solve a few problems.” When he grimaced, she added, “That was a joke. Mostly.”
“I told you, Elizabeth, this wasn’t something I was even going to suggest. It asks too much—”
“Of both of us,” she cut in. “Don’t pretend like this isn’t something that would just be on me. A week ago, we were just friends. We were just figuring out what this is, and now—”
Now, they were putting gasoline on their relationship and lighting the match. It was like skipping a year of dating—
“If either of us leaves Port Charles,” she murmured, “it would be harder to come back. If I left, Carly would still be harassing you about leaving town with her.”
“That would be my problem—”
“But it wouldn’t solve anything. Carly could still throw me under the bus—and worse, she might go after Bobbie without me here. I can’t let that happen, Jason. I went to Bobbie and asked for help. I didn’t do a good enough job of hiding my tracks. I led Carly right to you.” She wrinkled her nose. “And Nikolas. And my grandmother. Everyone knows about you being here because of them.”
“I could have let Sonny help me. Or moved to a safe house after a day or two. You saved my life, Elizabeth. I’m not going to let you get in trouble for doing it—”
“And I made the choice to do it. I came back to the boxcar because I knew you weren’t going to let Sonny help. You hadn’t gone to him in the first place for a reason.” She folded her arms. “If one of us leaves, it doesn’t solve anything. Does…does getting—” Oh, Gd, if she couldn’t say the word, how was she supposed to actually go through with it— “Does getting married help you with Sorel?”
Jason rubbed the back of his neck. “We need to get you off his radar. There’d be a certain level of protection if you—I mean—” He hesitated. “It’s not a guarantee, and things are up in the air. He’s trying to take over for Moreno, but not everyone agrees he should be the next guy in charge.”
“Right, but it wouldn’t hurt.” She chewed on her bottom lip. “Do you see another way out of this, Jason?”
“We could wait to see if Carly is bluffing—”
“But you said Alexis wanted to damage her credibility,” Elizabeth pointed out. “If we do it before she goes to the PCPD, that’s what makes it look like she’s just…you know, jealous or whatever. Doing it later makes it look like a cover-up.”
“I know.” He looked away, then shook his head. “No. If the goal is minimize the danger to everyone from Carly and Sorel, then this might be the best choice.”
“Okay. Then that—” She swallowed hard. “That settles it, right? Um, we’ll get married and then see what happens.”
Had she really said that out loud? Was this really her life?
“Are you sure?” He reached for her hands, drew her closer to him.
“I think so. I guess—I mean, it’s not like a lot of things would change, right? We’ve been mostly living together for the last six weeks,” she reminded him. “I was gonna stay here anyway. The PCPD and Carly already hate me. My family hates you. I mean, honestly, the only thing that changes is that it’ll take more paperwork to…” To walk away from each other but she did not want to bring that up right now.
“Yeah, I guess when you put it that way—” Jason looked down at her hands. He turned one of her palms over and traced the lines with the tips of her finger. “It doesn’t change what we talked about last night, Elizabeth. It’s just paperwork. Nothing between us has to change.”
She had a feeling that even he didn’t believe it when he said it, but she nodded. “I know. So, um, what’s next?”
“What’s next is that I tell Sonny and Alexis. Better to get it done as soon as we can,” he said. “We could to Vegas or something—”
“We could. Or, um, I think there’s only a twenty-four waiting period in New York. Emily told me that when she and Juan were separated last fall—”
“Yeah, she definitely thought if she and Juan got married, he’d get to stay in New York—she didn’t do it, but—” She cleared her throat. “We could get a license tomorrow. Has Carly asked you again about getting her out of town?”
“No.” He shook his head. “Why?”
“Because if she only asked you once, she’ll probably try one more time before she goes nuclear. We probably have a few days, I mean. And—and we don’t want this to look like a cover-up.”
“Right. That’s—” Jason nodded, a bit surprised. “That’s a good point.”
“So if we take a few days to do it here in Port Charles, it’ll give the PCPD one less thing to argue about.” Elizabeth smiled nervously at him. “You keep being surprised when I’m not an idiot. I don’t know whether to be insulted or—”
“No. It’s not that—I just—” Jason paused, clearly searching for the right words. “You understand all of this more than a lot of people who’ve been in this longer,” he said finally. “I know how smart you are, but your instincts for handling the cops, for last night—and this—I just didn’t expect it.”
“Oh.” Ridiculously pleased, her smile widened. “Well, I’m glad a lifetime of constantly getting into trouble has finally started to pay off.”
“I’m just happy to have you on my side.” He leaned down to brush his lips against hers. “I better go tell Sonny I’m staying in Port Charles.”
“Thank you,” she said as he drew back. “For trusting me enough to do this.”
Jason started towards the door, then turned back to her. “I didn’t want to go, Elizabeth. I just—I didn’t think I had a choice.”
She watched him leave, then sighed. No, maybe he hadn’t wanted to go but he’d certainly settled on that option easily. She’d talked him out of it, but she would have to remember that staying with her hadn’t been all that important to him either.
They might be signing some paperwork that made them a team, but Elizabeth wouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that it meant any more than that.
Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room
Sonny raised his brows when Jason strode in. “I thought you’d be spending tonight with Elizabeth,” he said. “Since you’re leaving in the morning—”
“It turns out,” Jason said, “there was another option. Do you know any judges that will waive the twenty-four hour waiting period for a marriage license?”
Quartermaine Mansion: Bathroom
Carly squeezed her eyes shut, avoiding the sight of the little plastic stick on the counter. It was going to be negative. It had to be negative.
There was no way in hell she’d be able to hide this from AJ. They hadn’t slept together in months, and while she was pretty sure she could seduce him, he’d be suspicious as hell if she popped up pregnant.
So she wasn’t pregnant. It was going to be negative.
She would just have to manifest it into reality. Negative, negative, negative—
Her watch beeped, and Carly opened her eyes to see the double lines.
Carly dragged her hands through her hair. Okay. Okay. She could handle this. She could do this. She’d make Jason get her out of town, and then she’d seduce him right away. As long as this kid came out looking like her and not Sonny Corinthos, she still had a prayer of this working.
She would just have to remind Jason just what was at stake. Clearly, he hadn’t taken her seriously so she’d have to make him.
If AJ found out she’d cheated, she’d lose everything.
January 2, 2000
Morgan Penthouse: Master Bedroom
Unlike the previous morning, Elizabeth woke up on her own side of the bed, curled up on her side with Jason next to her.
In the studio, once he’d started to feel better, he’d rarely slept and had always seemed to be awake before her.
But this morning, he was still asleep—stretched out on his stomach, his arms partially hidden by the pillow.
Would she feel more comfortable with all of this if their relationship was more than four days old? Or would it be worse? If they’d been together for months, and then were suddenly married. Would it feel like more pressure?
Maybe it would be easier if they were sleeping together. Wasn’t some of the tension Elizabeth felt inside of her? Being around Jason, knowing he cared for her and wanted to be with her—it was making it hard to concentrate sometimes. Her stomach always felt like it was on a roller coaster, and it could be difficult to breathe.
What if she never felt ready? What if she did try and the worst happened—what if he was on top of her and she was shoved back to that moment, of feeling the bitterly cold and hard dirt beneath her, the scrape of rock against her back and shoulders—
She swallowed a sob, turning over to bury her face in the pillow. God, would it ever go away? Would it ever fade into a dim memory?
Was she ever going to be able to be normal? Would this insanity with Jason be the only marriage she’d ever have? She’d never thought about kids but maybe she’d want to be a mother one day. What if she could never learn to like sex? Would she have to grit and
bear it so she could have a family?
What if sex always hurt and she always felt like she was being ripped apart—
She heard the rustling of sheets behind her, but Elizabeth kept her face in the pillow. Her breathing was shallow and fast—she’d walked herself right into a panic attack.
“Hey—” Jason touched her shoulder lightly.
She jerked into a sitting position, her lungs starting to burn. Elizabeth twisted, sliding her legs off the bed. “I’m okay,” she choked out. “I just—sometimes—” She squeezed her eyes shut. Count to ten. Count to ten.
You’re not in the park. It’s not happening. It’s not real. You’re safe.
The pressure finally eased and Elizabeth could finally take a full breath. Her cheeks were flaming when she turned to look at Jason, his face creased in worry. “Sometimes,” she said softly, her voice hoarse, “I get panic attacks. From nothing.”
“From nothing?” he echoed.
She scrubbed her hands over her face. “No, I guess not. I start to think too loud, and my brain goes in directions I don’t want it to. I usually stop it, but, um, I can’t always.” She forced a smile. “Sorry.”
“You don’t have to apologize. What can I do? Do I leave you alone? Can I help?”
Her eyes stung with tears. “Not really. Um, it’s just—it’s me. I have a lot of anxiety. I didn’t used to,” she remembered with regret. “I mean, not like this. I hated a lot about my life, but I was always able to roll with the punches. Most of the time. It’s just—I think there’s a part of me that’s always—” She faltered. “It’s always going to be locked in that night. I’ll always be in the bushes and I can’t get out.”
“But you did.”
Elizabeth met his eyes. “I know. But I told you the other night. I don’t know what’s going to trigger it. It’ll be something that makes sense — bumping into someone — or it’ll be me just laying in bed here, thinking about something else, and bam—it’s happening again.” She sighed. “I wasn’t kidding when I said I was damaged.”
He didn’t argue with her, not like he had the last time she’d said it to him. “Is this because of last night? Because of what we talked about—”
“Yes. And no. I don’t know.” She got to her feet. “I don’t really want to talk about it. I’m not changing my mind, so it doesn’t matter.”
“It does,” Jason said, “but we don’t have to talk about it.”
“No, we have a lot to do if we’re getting married tomorrow.” She managed to say it without stuttering over the words, but it still sounded insane to her ears.
Was she really marrying Jason Morgan in twenty-four hours?
Written in 50 minutes.
General Hospital: Hallway
Cameron had nearly made it to the service stairs before Emma snagged his elbow and made him stop. “Hey, Cam. Come on—”
“I just really want to be alone right now, okay?” Cameron said, jerking out of her grasp. When her pretty face crumpled with hurt, he hissed. “I’m sorry,” he muttered. “I just—I don’t know what you want from me, okay?”
“I don’t want anything, Cam, I just—” She bit her lip. “I want you to be okay. I shouldn’t have told you—”
“No, you shouldn’t have. I don’t want to know this. I don’t want to think about what my mom—” His chest felt six sizes too small. “I’ve seen this happen on TV, you know, and I can’t stop—”
“It was so long ago, Cam—”
“It doesn’t matter. I just keep seeing her in my head, crying. She cried all the time when Jake was gone, and now I—” He closed his eyes. “Just leave me alone.”
He shoved open the door to the stairwell, and this time, Emma didn’t follow.
General Hospital: Hub
Elizabeth knew even before Laura reached her why she was here. As her mother-in-law approached the counter, Elizabeth put up a hand. “Before you start, I’m fine.”
“I wasn’t—” Laura winced. “Okay, I was a little,” she admitted. “But I’ve been worried—”
“You and Patrick. And Robin. And Jason. I guess I should be relieved you’re really the only people left that know.” She felt a twist of grief for Emily and for the boy Lucky had been once. For her grandmother. Elizabeth turned back to the monitor and kept updating charts. “I freaked out yesterday. I know it upset everyone. It scared me. But once I got home, and I was with my boys, I remembered something very important.”
Elizabeth met Laura’s eyes. “That sixteen-year-old girl crawled out of the bushes a long time ago. I worked damn hard to put it behind me.”
“I know you did, Elizabeth, but—”
“I wasn’t prepared to see him. That’s all. I can handle this, Laura. I refuse to let him take over my life. Not again. Never again,” Elizabeth said, her teeth clenched. “For nearly a year, it consumed my every waking thought. I didn’t sleep. I couldn’t look at anyone in the eye. I saw the man who raped me in the face of every man I came into contact with. I couldn’t see a future for myself where I would be able to let anyone touch me.” Her breath hitched. “That’s not me anymore. I have three gorgeous, perfect boys who are a miracle. I have a husband who loves me. I have another baby to dream for. There is no room in my life for Tom Baker and what he put me through.”
“Okay.” Laura stepped back. “Then we’ll let that be the end of it. I love you, Elizabeth. Without you these last few years, without your family, I would have been lost.” She reached forward, squeezed Elizabeth’s hand. “If you need me, I’m here. I just wanted to make that clear.”
“I didn’t even get a chance to congratulate you on the baby,” Laura continued. “I’m so excited for you. Both of you. I hope you don’t mind if I cross my fingers for a girl.”
“A daughter would be nice,” Elizabeth admitted, “but I just want a healthy baby that Jason and I can enjoy together.” She paused. “I have to get back to work.”
PCPD: Commissioner’s Office
Jordan heard his voice before she saw the man, so by the time DEA Agent Marcus Taggert strode in, she was on her feet and ready. She’d already heard his angry message the night before.
“Before you say anything,” she began, “it’s really not my job to inform former PCPD officers of parole releases. The department did everything by the book on this Baker thing—”
“By the book?” Taggert demanded. “I called Laura Spencer. She said Elizabeth came face to face with the bastard—”
“He wasn’t convicted of a violent felony against her. We weren’t legally obligated to notify her,” Jordan continued. “Like it or not, Marcus, this is our system. If you’d been here, maybe if Mac had still been in charge—things would be different. There’s been a lot of turnover since you left.”
Taggert growled. “A violent rapist gets released—”
“He wasn’t convicted of rape, and—” Jordan reached for the file. “I know what the Webber statement says, but sure are you that Baker was the guy? I don’t see much of an investigation—”
“Are you telling me I screwed up her case? He confessed—”
“To a terrified, traumatized teenaged girl he was trying to keep under control,” Jordan said. “I called Mac after I looked at the file. He told you that eighteen years ago. No DNA, no case. He wasn’t convicted of this, Marcus. And without you here leading the charge, no one knew.”
Taggert exhaled slowly. “She was traumatized,” he remembered his voice quiet now. “Desperate. Came in over and over again with any scrap she could remember. I dragged her in for line ups, for questioning again—there was never anywhere to go with her case. I tried, Jordan—”
“I know. You followed the leads, but it was a stranger rape, and unfortunately, she did everything wrong—” She winced. “That seems like I’m judging her, I’m not. She did what she needed to for her own sanity. It just limited the investigation.”
“I know. She really beat herself up about that.” Taggert dropped into the seat, the rage extinguished. “I keep attacking everyone but the bastard who did this,” he muttered. “Portia nearly ripped me a new asshole—”
“Yeah, well if you call as often as you did when we worked together, she probably had a reason. No one wanted Elizabeth Morgan to be blindsided like this. I promise you.”
“He’s working at the hospital?” Taggert wanted to know. He straightened in the chair. “Who put him there? The parole officer?”
“I don’t know—”
“Because if he applied for that job on his own—Elizabeth isn’t someone who flies under the radar. I bet the whole town knows where she works,” he continued.
“He’d have to be suicidal to go after Elizabeth again. Marcus—she’s married to the number two guy in the Port Charles mafia. Morgan might look domesticated,” Jordan continued, “but he’s the suspect in three open homicide cases in the last five years.”
“Yeah, how close are you to making those cases?”
“They’re dead in the water,” Jordan muttered. “He’s good at what he does. All of them were low level operatives who were biting at the territory.” She pursed her lips. “I’m trying to get surveillance on him approved based on this Baker thing.”
“I don’t care if Baker is the scum of the Earth. He’s a citizen that I’ve sworn an oath to protect. He did his time. That’s the system,” she repeated to him. “You don’t have to like it, but we will sure as hell respect it. If Baker goes missing, I want eyes on Jason Morgan. I’m going to nail his ass to the wall.”
Taggert snorted as he rose to his feet. “And then you’ll take Corinthos down with him. Good luck, Jordan. Why the hell do you think I transferred out? I got tired of beating my head against a brick wall. Good luck with that.”
Morgan House: Kitchen
Cameron slunk into the back door a few hours later, stopping short when he saw his mother at the stove. “I thought you were at work.”
She smiled at him. “No. I had the early shift today, so I thought we’d heat up some pasta from last night—” Elizabeth tipped her head. “Your brothers are in the living room playing video games. As usual.”
“I’m fine.” He dropped the bookbag on the table and went to the fridge to get a can of pop.
“I saw Emma at the hospital,” Elizabeth continued as she took out a bag of rolls and started to prep garlic bread. “You didn’t volunteer?”
“I went, but I didn’t feel like it.” Cameron took a long sip of his drink. “Trina and Joss were arguing again.”
“Ah, the blue hair thing?”
“Yeah. I didn’t wanna listen.” He stared at the butcher block surface of the counter. “Mom.”
He’d asked her ages ago to stop calling him that, but today—today he couldn’t be irritated by it. “Mom,” he said again.
Elizabeth set down the shaker of garlic powder and focused on him. “Cameron, what’s wrong? I can tell something this—”
“Emma heard her parents talking.” He took a deep breath. “The other night. She told me—” His eyes burned and his throat felt too small to speak. “She told me you—you were—”
His mother’s face was pale. “She told you what happened to me. When I was a kid.”
“Yeah.” He sucked in the breath. “That you were raped.” He found the courage to meet his mother’s eyes. “She’s not lying, is she?”
“No. She’s not.” Elizabeth exhaled slowly. “When I was sixteen,” she began quietly, “I was walking in the park after dark. I sat on a bench, and a man grabbed me. He hurt me. For a long time, it was hard to be okay.”
“But you are now.”
“I am now. I worked very hard to be okay, Cam. Because I wanted my life to be my own again. I didn’t want to think about it anymore. So I got past it, and I had my boys. I built a life that has nothing to do with any of it.”
Cameron took that in, squinted at his mother. She was a good liar, but he could usually tell when she was pretending. She didn’t seem to be now. “Can I—can I ask you questions? I mean—”
“You can ask. I might not answer.”
He furrowed his brow. “Did they catch who did it?”
“They did, but there wasn’t enough evidence. He went to jail for something else.”
“Oh.” Well, at least he’d gone to jail. “Did—I mean, did you know Dad back then? Did he help?”
“Later, he was important. He helped me in other ways. But, no, at first it was just your grandma Audrey and—” She sighed. “Lucky. He became my best friend and took care of me.”
“You said he was different before the fire. He got hurt and his head was messed up.”
“Yeah, he was a very sweet boy who kept me sane for that first year,” Elizabeth remembered. “I loved him very much, and when I thought he was dead, I didn’t think I would survive it. I was just a little older than you. Then, I met your dad. Between the two of them, I knew I’d be okay.”
“What about my biological dad? The one that—” He gestured weakly.
“Zander? He came later. He was a friend for a while, but by that time, I had mostly put it in my past. Cameron, baby, I’m so sorry you found out this way. It’s part of my history, but it isn’t a story we need to tell.”
“I guess not. It’s just—you know, I see it on television and the movies, and it was just hard because I kept seeing you,” Cameron continued, “and I didn’t like thinking of you being hurt like that, you know?”
He felt better now, talking it through with his mother. “Thanks. For letting me ask questions.” Cameron paused. “But you’re really okay now? I mean, it doesn’t bother you anymore?”
Elizabeth opened her mouth, then closed it. “Most of the time, I don’t think about it. In fact, before this week, I couldn’t tell you the last time I had. Maybe sometimes when I thought about Lucky since he was part of it. I’d be lying to you, Cam, if I said it doesn’t bother me. I wish it didn’t happen. I wish it didn’t happen to anyone.”
“Is it like when we were missing Jake?” he wanted to know. “Because we have him back now and I love him but I also remember what it was like when he wasn’t here and we were really sad. And like before Dad came to live with us. I remember the unhappy stuff, and sometimes it makes me sad that Jake didn’t get to be with us all the time.” He hesitated. “But then I think maybe I’m a better brother because of it. Because I know how hard life was without Jake, and I don’t wanna be without my brothers.”
“Yeah, I think it’s something like that. I remember what it was like when it was still fresh and new—and sometimes that comes back and makes me unhappy. But I think I’m a better person for what I went through.” She smiled at him. “You’re an amazing brother, did you know that? And an even better son.”
“Well, I have a pretty good mom to help me do things right.” That terrible, aching feeling had dissipated. His mom really was okay. This terrible thing had happened to her—all the terrible things that had happened — and she’d come out being who she was. “I gotta go remind Jake and Aiden who rules at Call of Duty.”
“You do that,” Elizabeth said with a smile.
General Hospital: Locker Room
Tom carefully slid the combination lock out of the slot and opened it, glancing around to make sure he was still alone. Then he took out the wallet and rifled through the photos, hoping that the doctor was still old fashioned enough to carry them.
The first in his collection, he thought, as he lifted out a photograph that looked crisp and new. The pretty little girl who had run into his earlier that day beamed back at him—and what was this—
Tucked behind the pretty little girl was a photo of the girl’s father with Elizabeth. Tom smiled down at the woman the vibrant girl had grown into. She really was very lovely, but old now. With children.
No, he preferred a fresher prey to hunt. Still, knowing that his pretty girl was connected to his first love?
Well, wasn’t that sweet?