September 27, 2021

Update Link: One Simple Glimpse

This story has legit the strangest inspiration for a short I’ve ever written, lol. I wasn’t planning this at all, and I don’t have any of the site set up for it. It’s not in any of the story lists yet and I have to get ready for a doctor’s appointment. I’m off today for my TMJ appointment, and I was going to use the hour before I left to work on Karma. Then my brain did a thing while I was showering and now here we are.

Enjoy!

TW: pandemic

Inspiration

I was in the shower listening to the newest episode of Alright Mary, a RuPaul Drag Race recap show that was going over the premiere episode of Drag Race UK, Series 3. (Go with me here). They were talking about Choriza May, a queen who was talking about her experience in quarantine. One of the hosts — it might have been Johnny — was talking about how we have quarantine content, and that it will always be in the shows and media that did masks and talked about it.

I know that’s a strange piece of inspiration, but then my mind literally drifted to — how would Port Charles have handled quarantine? We saw some evidence of it in in 2006, but GH wisely did not tackle Covid-19, and once my mind had drifted, it kept going.

Timeline

This is set in April 2020 but it’s kind of out of GH time and space because I really wanted to focus on Elizabeth and not the rat in her life at the time. So Elizabeth is single, Jason and Sam are not together — she’s with Drew and not having any of the legal issues she was having at the time. Other than that, there isn’t much else needed.


Something med school did not cover
Someone’s daughter, someone’s mother
Holds your hand through plastic now
“Doc, I think she’s crashing out”
And some things you just can’t speak about
Only 20 minutes to sleep
But you dream of some epiphany
Just one single glimpse of relief
To make some sense of what you’ve seen


April 2020

The house was dark and quiet when she pulled in the driveway, and for a long moment, Elizabeth Webber sat in the driver’s seat, staring up at windows. They were all pulled shut and locked—they’d never been opened even after spring had broken over upstate New York. In fact, she couldn’t even remember if she’d turned off the central heating yet.

Finally, she switched off the ignition and shoved the door open. She was still on autopilot, still moving forward, functioning even though her brain seemed to have turned off. Her body felt strangely small and unclothed, shed of the heavy hospital gowns, masks, and shields that had been her uniform for nearly a month.

The world had felt normal only weeks ago, chugging along at a normal pace. She’d gone to work, taken care of her boys, passed her son off his to his father for his weekends, and enjoyed life with her friends.

Elizabeth stopped in front of the door, staring at the key in her hand, almost forgetting how to use it. When had she last been home?

Finally, she was at the door. She dropped her bag by the coat rack and tugged the mask off her face, wincing at the straps that dug into her ears. She hadn’t found the time to buy comfortable masks, and they were so limited at the hospital that she’d grabbed some pediatric ones.

Hospital staff was expected to be completely masked up from the time they went off duty until they reached home.

Not that this felt like home right now.

Elizabeth looked around blearily at the cold fireplace, the clean floors, and the tables. She missed her boys. She missed the sound of them, the sight of them, the evidence of their lives. Books and toys and clothes—

A sob crawled up her throat, but she forced it down. She had one more thing she needed to do before she could crawl into bed for the next twelve hours.

Elizabeth sat on the sofa and reached for the tablet charging on the table. She cradled it in her hands, then clicked contacts.

A moment later, FaceTime connected, and her youngest’s son face appeared on the screen, his smile bright. “Mommy! Mommy!”

“Hey, baby.” Elizabeth smiled in return. “Where are your brothers?”

“Right here.” Ten-year-old Aiden shifted so that he could reveal he had a brother on either side of him—thirteen-year-old Jake and sixteen-year-old Cameron. “We waited for you.”

“Sorry,” she said. “I got stuck at work a little longer.” The world felt lighter and heavier all at the same time. There were her precious babies, the family she’d sent away to keep safe as she worked to save others. They were okay. They were healthy, and they had each other.

“Work okay?” Cam asked, reaching to hold the tablet steady. “You looked tired, Mom.”

“I am, but it’s okay. I get to sleep for a few hours.” And maybe she’d eat. She remembered Patrick shoving a muffin in her face at some point that day. Had that been today? “How’s school?”

Jake grimaced. “I hate Zoom,” he muttered. “Half the kids don’t turn on the camera, and my teachers spend most of the time telling them to do it, and then before you know it, we’re done. Plus, they didn’t even show us how to do these stupid equations—”

“Your teachers are trying—”

“I know, Mom. They hate Zoom, too—”

“Miss Tait said that I got a star,” Aiden said, poking his head in. “She showed me! She made a star chart in her house, and we’re all on there! It’s like school only not because we don’t get recess which is stupid—but—”

“They’re still making us take our AP exams,” Cameron said bitterly. “We need to get this stupid software and set up on our computers—”

“I missed my ELA Zoom,” Jake interrupted. “I didn’t mean to, but the teacher was late, so I thought I didn’t have it, so I left, but then she emailed me. She’s really mad, Mom.”

Elizabeth’s head swam as she processed all of that, tried to think of something to say. To remind Jake to have more patience with teachers who were trying so very hard, and for Cameron to have some grace with the world even though it sounded insane testing was still happening—

“Hey—” another voice came from behind them. “One at a time. Your mom’s tired.” Jason Morgan, Jake’s father, came into view over the sofa. “I talked to Jake’s ELA teacher; it’s fine. She had internet issues and was three minutes late.”

Jake rolled his eyes. “In college—”

“You’re in eighth grade, not college,” Jason said simply. “And now you’ll remember to wait longer next time.”

“I know,” Jake muttered.

“It’s fifteen minutes in college,” Elizabeth said, but now she was smiling. Because, of course, her son had overreacted. He had her flair for the dramatic. “You should keep that in mind.”

“It’s fine about the test,” Cameron said. “Jason said he’d have Spinelli remote into the computer and make sure it was set up. The directions were confusing, but Spinelli loves that crap.”

“Oh, well, thank him for me.” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “I’m sorry. I know how much Zoom classes suck. No one likes them. And I’ll make sure I thank Miss Tait for the stars the next time I see her, Aiden.”

“Jason did that!” Aiden told her. “But she likes you better.”

“That’s because she’s dating a cop, and Dad works at the warehouse,” Jake told Aiden.

“What does that mean?” Aiden wanted to know.

“Nothing,” Jason cut off his son with a look. The blond teen just snickered. “Hey, go upstairs and play some video games. I need to talk to your mom. I’ll call you when we’re done.”

“He’s gonna tell her that he caught you Zooming with Emma,” Jake told Cameron, who scowled. Jake jumped up and dashed for the stairs, the oldest chasing him. Aiden, who never wanted to miss any action, followed.

Jason sat on the sofa, the tablet in his hands. “Sorry about that—”

“No, no—” Elizabeth rubbed the side of her cheek. “I’m sorry. I should have—I should have taken a hotel room or something—the three of them are a lot to have around the penthouse—”

“It’s okay. They keep it from being too quiet,” Jason told her. “I stopped by your place today and put more groceries in the fridge. And I turned off the central.”

“You didn’t have to—” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “Thank you for taking them. Laura’s putting out so many fires—all these stupid protests over the shutdown, and your mom hasn’t left the hospital. I tried to get her to come home with me, but she’s still trying to track down more respirators and protective equipment—” She closed her eyes, her mind drifting as she lost track of what she was saying.

“You need to get some sleep—”

“I do, but I don’t—” She looked at him. “You and the boys are the first people I haven’t seen that don’t work at the hospital or aren’t dying in days.”

He was quiet for a moment. “It’s bad, isn’t it? I’m keeping Jake and Aiden from the news, but Cameron knows.”

“Um, we lost four more today in my ward.” She stopped. “Do you remember Father Coates?”

“Yeah—” His face creased. “Oh.”

“Yeah. He couldn’t even—” Her eyes were so heavy. “We couldn’t even let in anyone for last rites, so I found the Bible, and I did it for him. I don’t know if I did it right. Do you think it’ll work?”

“I do,” he promised her. “God wouldn’t—”

“I’m not sure I believe in God anymore.” The tears came then, the hot rushing release that streamed down her cheeks. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I just had a bad day—” She put the tablet on the table and put her head in her hands.

“Elizabeth—”

“I’m fine. I should have—I should have gone home with Patrick and Robin, but they haven’t had a minute to be alone in weeks—they’ve been working in different wards and opposite shifts—” She picked the tablet back up and looked at him.

“I hate that you’re doing this alone.”

“There was no other choice. I couldn’t do my job and stay with the boys. I might have brought it to them. I know kids aren’t getting sick right now, but that’s because we shut down the schools. They’re not in the world, and God, you don’t see what this does to people—there are no visitors.” She closed her eyes. “Do you remember the quarantine before Jake was born?”

“Of course.”

“It was different. I don’t know why it felt different.”

“Because it was just us, and it was done to us. We could work for a cure, for a vaccine ourselves. And maybe Cameron was too young then to know what was going on.” He paused. “I get it. Because I could help then. I went out, and I found the damn vaccine. I can’t do anything but stay here and keep the boys in school and not murdering each other. It doesn’t feel like enough.”

“It’s everything to me. When this is over—and I have to believe the day will come when it is—I know that my boys are safe. It’s everything,” she repeated. “Are you sure they’re not in the way?”

“No. No,” he repeated. “Believe it or not, everything is shut down. I don’t know how long any of that will last, but hopefully, until this is over.” Jason hesitated. “Have they come out with any new guidelines about transmission? I mean—are they sure that you can’t just really shower and disinfect at the hospital, then come home—”

“They’re doing studies, but we don’t know anything. We don’t know how to treat it—we don’t know why some people get it and show no symptoms—” Elizabeth rubbed her eyes again. “I’m sorry,” she repeated. “Robin’s working on that her end, but we just don’t know enough yet.”

“When do you go into work tomorrow?” he asked. “I can bring the boys by. We’ll just be in the driveway. They need to see you.”

“Around nine. That would—” Elizabeth forced herself to smile. “That would be great. Don’t they have meetings—”

“I’ll email their teachers. They’ll understand. Miss Tait asked about you. Wanted you to know Aiden is doing great. Cameron’s English teacher said his essay he wrote last week was his best all year, and Jake—well, he hates everything about this, but we’re dealing with it.”

“I hate everything about this, too,” she muttered.

“He has your resilience,” Jason told her. “He hates it right now, but he’ll get through it.”

“Resilience, huh?” She laughed. “You used to call it stubbornness.”

“It can be both.” They were quiet for a long minute. “I’ll call the boys back down—”

“No, no.” Elizabeth shook her head. “Cameron will know I was crying, and they worry about me enough. I’ll see them tomorrow. That’s something to look forward to. Maybe I can open a window, and we can talk if you keep them near the sidewalk.” She grimaced. “I’m sorry. I didn’t even—how’s Danny handling all of this?”

“Okay. We’re FaceTiming as much as we can, but I haven’t seen him since this started.” Jason paused. “We’re basically quarantining here, so Sonny and Carly are talking about doing a pod with their kids, and it’d be good for the boys to see Joss and someone other than me. I’m hoping Sam will let Danny come over and be part of it.”

“That sounds good. Really.” She sighed. “Is Sam still mad?”

“No,” Jason said quickly, which meant that she was. Sam hadn’t been happy Jason had agreed to quarantine with Elizabeth’s boys, claiming they’d been exposed thanks to Elizabeth’s job and had decided Danny wouldn’t come to Jason’s for the shutdown. That had been a month ago, and Elizabeth had all but forgotten about it with everything going on at work.

“I’ll let you deal with that since I don’t care,” Elizabeth said without thinking. Then winced. “Sorry—”

“No, you have more important things to worry about. It’s fine. Even if I hadn’t take Aiden and Cam, Jake would be here, and she’d have the same argument. She’s just scared because of Danny and the cancer.”

“I know. I know. She should be more cautious. I would be, too.” That didn’t change the fact that Sam could and would use any opportunity to take a jab at Elizabeth and Jake, but that was a problem for another day. “I’m going to head up to bed. Tell the boys I love them, and I’ll see them tomorrow.”

“Okay. Eat something first,” he said as her finger hovered over the red button to end the call. “I left soup.”

And now Elizabeth’s laughter was genuine and full-throated. Tears slid down her cheeks again. “You’ve been waiting twenty years to say that.”

“Couldn’t resist.”

She ended the call and then went to heat up the soup.

September 26, 2021

I don’t like too much time to pass between posts, and since I didn’t end up doing Flash Fiction this weekend, I wanted to check in and let you know how things are going. My writing guru, Lani Diane Rich over at Chipperish, started a sprint community livestream on Saturdays. This was the first week, and I tuned in 10 AM to see how it would go. It’s been a really long time since I’ve been able to write for more than hour at a time thanks to the TMJ, but I was hopeful that a community sprint and the opportunity to work alongside someone who’s been so influential in my writing career might inspire me.

YOU GUYS.

Continue reading

From Chapter 76 (first chapter)

Lake House: Bedroom

Elizabeth sat on the edge of the bed to kick off her shoes, then looked down at her hands. At the wedding ring nestled next to the ruby engagement ring Jason had given her after the hearing in Syracuse back in December. It was just a simple plain gold band, similar to the wider one she’d slid on his finger the day before.

“You all right?”

She glanced up to find her husband walking into the room, setting the burner phone on the dresser. “Yeah, I was just looking at my ring.”

Jason hesitated. “It’s all right, isn’t it? Emily said—”

“It’s perfect.” She rose to her feet and crossed the room to him, sliding her arms around his waist. “I love that my engagement ring is what I see first.”

“Why?” Jason asked, his hands gently trailing up and down her back.

“Because, other than the leather jacket you got me that first Christmas,” she said, “that glass was the first present you ever gave me. And I—” She sighed, rested her head against his chest. “I broke it.”

“I know. You told me.” They stood there, swaying, nearly dancing to nothing more than the sound of their own breathing. “It’s all right.”

“It’s not. I knew you were telling the truth even when I told you were lying. You picked that ruby because I told you how sorry I was for not believing you. For breaking it.”

“I didn’t even buy that glass for you,” Jason reminded her. His cheek rested on top of her head—she could feel his breath rustling her hair. “I gave it to you because I had it and I thought you’d like it. You don’t have to feel sorry about breaking it. I never blamed you back then.”

“I loved that shade of crimson,” Elizabeth murmured. She held out her hand, wiggling her fingers so that the ruby caught the dim light in the room. “The way it caught in the light and sparkled. I remember the day you gave it to me. When we stood at the window.”

“I remember that, too.” He closed his hand over hers and brought it to his mouth. “I wanted to kiss you that day. You looked at me.”

“I wanted you to kiss me, too. Which scared the hell out of me,” she admitted. She drew back so that their eyes met. “So many times I wish you would have just done it, but now—I know why you didn’t, and it makes me love you more.”

“Yeah?” With his free hand, he tucked a piece of hair behind her ear, trailing his fingers down her jaw.

“It needed to be my decision, and I think you wanted it to be mine. You needed that from me, and I couldn’t do it. Not then. I wasn’t ready. You always found a way to put me first.”

“Not always.”

She shook her head. “We’re not going to do that, not tonight. I’m not even blaming myself for not being ready. I just wanted to tell you that I knew what you were doing, and that I love you for it.”

“I love you, too.” He dipped his head down to brush his mouth against hers. Her hand fisted in his shirt. “We should go to bed.”

“We should, but first—” Elizabeth kissed him again, nipping at his lips as she drew back, then smiled at him. “I want my wedding night.”


From Chapter 77

Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Lake House: Living Room

Elizabeth set down a pair of books on the sofa, then lowered herself down next to Jason. “Okay, if everything goes the way it’s supposed to, in about a month we’ll have a baby.”

Jason frowned at her, put aside his travel book. “Uh, yeah, that is the plan—”

“This baby will need a name.” She picked up a book, Names Through the Ages. “We can start here. I brought the books, you go find some paper and something to write with. I’ll tell you all the names I like, and then we can narrow it down there from there.”

Jason grinned, reached over to tug down the edge of the book so he could see her face. “We’re not seriously going to go through every page of this, are we?”

“Listen, it’s the middle of winter in upstate New York, we can’t go a lot of places, and I can only manage sex once a day,” Elizabeth told him with mock seriousness. “We can talk about baby names or you can have sex. But choose wisely.”

“Well—” He made a show of looking at the clock on the wall. “It’s only about nine in the morning. Seems a little early if I only get to have sex once.”

“That’s what I thought.” She opened the book again. “Now, the reason I made Emily get this book is because it had all kinds of old names—”

“Elizabeth—”

“This is the name our kid is going to have the rest of his life—” She pretended to glare at him. “If you tell me names don’t matter, we’re gonna have our first fight.”

“Well, I know how much you like your middle name,” Jason said, reaching for the other book. “We’re naming our first daughter after you. Imogen Morgan.”

“Don’t even joke about that—” Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “My parents just wanted to make sure Great-Grandma Imogen Martin wouldn’t leave them out of the will. They tried to suck up at the end.”

“Did it work?”

“Nope. Which does, in hindsight, make me happy. But don’t distract me. We’re not doing daughters yet.” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “Boys.”

“These are all fine—”

“Jason Morgan—”

“I mean, what’s the difference between Brian and Mark?” Jason asked.

“Brian was in a kid in my first grade class who tripped me. That’s why I have that scar on my knee.”

Jason nodded sagely. “Of course. That makes sense. Mark?”

“Sarah had a ridiculous crush on Marky Mark and I’d never be able to look our kid without thinking about it.” She snickered when Jason just stared at her with confusion. “Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch? Oh man, you know, you’re lucky to have that memory wiped. Anyway. Brian and Mark are out. So are…” She ran her fingers down a list. “Michael, Jeffrey, Alan, Edward—”

“Yeah, we only need one Edward,” Jason agreed.

“And it has to sound right with the rest of his name, okay? Because I have a middle name picked out.” She flipped a page. “Ooh, Scottish names.”

“What about…” He frowned. “Kevin—no. He was my doctor after the accident. And Carly’s.”

“See, that’s what I mean—”

“You did this to me,” he told her. “I never would have thought about it—”

“Right, until the day, we had baby Kevin in the park and ran into adult Kevin, and then he’d be like, whoa, weird, you named your kid after me—” Elizabeth shook her head. “Nope. I am not setting my son up for failure.”

“This seems more complicated than it needs to be.” Jason sighed, but now looked more closely at the book in front of him.

Elizabeth grinned at him, pleased. “This is why I love you.”

Jason looked at her, arching a brow. “Because I let you talk me into being ridiculous?”

“Yes.” She nodded. “Because you don’t mind when I talk circles around you, and drag you into my silliness—”

“I just like seeing you like this,” he said. He leaned forward and kissed her. “Happy.”

“Me, too.” She sighed against his lips and let the book fall to the ground. Jason wrapped his arm around her waist and lowered her onto her back. “You know, today is a good day,” she murmured. “Maybe we can manage it twice.”

“Well…” Jason raised his head to meet her eyes, still dancing with laughter. “You could just lay back and let me do all the work.”

“You have the best ideas.”

This is a story that will be exclusive to The Liason Haven when it’s released in December, but I’m working on the first draft now. Here are the unedited first two scenes. These are FIRST drafts! I might entirely rewrite them before publication.

Basic Setup: This takes place in December 1997. Jason’s story is mostly as it aired on the show. He and Robin broke up in August over his job (but she’d been in and out of the show for almost a year at that point). They attempted a reconciliation in October, but it failed. Sonny jilted Brenda at the altar in September, but Jason was the one who had to deal with it and Brenda has hated Jason since and really struggled with the humiliation. (FIND THESE WEDDING SCENES ON YOUTUBE THEY ARE EPIC).  Elizabeth is still Steve and Audrey’s granddaughter, but she grew up in PC, so she knows everyone. She went to Denver for college and returned for the nursing program where she had run ins with Carly.

Hopefully that helps!

Note:  This story is written in three parts. Each part is set to a different song as a song fiction. The soundtrack for Part 1 is the absolute BOP by Gabbie Hanna: Bad Karma. The other songs are also by Gabbie: Dandelion and Glass House. Check them out.


1
Skeletons in my closet
I got secrets that’ll shake you to your bones
Within twenty four hours of agreeing not to blow up Carly Roberts’ lie about being the father of her child, Jason Morgan was regretting ever letting the toxic blonde back into his life.

She’d come to him, crying hysterically, terrified that Tony Jones would drag her into court over paternity of her son, forcing her to reveal that Jason’s half-brother, AJ Quartermaine, was actually the father.

And AJ, Carly had tearfully informed Jason, had threatened to take the baby and cut her out of his life entirely. He was a Quartermaine with more money and power. With the entire town against her, Carly would lose her baby. She’d done so many terrible things, but surely she didn’t deserve this, did she?

Carly had lied to them both, claiming Jason was the father of the baby due in a few weeks, and she’d begged Jason to keep the secret. Just for a little while. He could help her disappear after the baby was born safely, couldn’t he? He could help her escape the Quartermaines, just like he had. Didn’t he understand how dangerous they were?

And Jason, who loathed every single Quartermaine for the way they used their power and money to crush others, had agreed. After all — it was just a few weeks. What was the worst that would happen? Carly would leave, and he could eventually reveal the truth to anyone who gave a damn.

The evening after letting Carly into his penthouse at Harborview Towers, Jason had gone to Luke’s, the club that he co-owned (thanks to his boss and partner dumping everything on him a few months ago on his way out of town) to run the numbers and look over the books.

He’d left the office and went into the bar, thinking he might grab a beer before heading over to Jake’s to play a game of pool and see if the sexy brunette he’d had his eye on might be interested in giving him a reason to avoid Carly while she was staying there.

Instead, Jason found Brenda Barrett sitting at the bar, her long legs crossed elegantly, a martini grasped between her fingers. She met Jason’s eyes, sipped her drink, and raised a slim eyebrow. Then smirked.

The hair on the back of Jason’s neck stood up. The supermodel hadn’t offered him an ounce of kindness since that terrible September day when she’d been waiting at the end of the aisle in her wedding gown, and had turned to him expecting to see her beloved fiance, Sonny Corinthos.

Instead, Jason had been forced to humiliate her in front of nearly the entire town, informing her that Sonny had jilted her. He hadn’t wanted that, but she’d refused to talk quietly. He’d tried to take care of her, but all the hatred she now felt for Sonny had found him as target.

To see her smiling at him now—

“I heard the most interesting news at the hospital today,” Brenda said. She set the martini glass down, then leaned forward, her brown eyes sparkling with mischievous malice. Her words might be neutral, her mouth was smiling, but the tone of her voice could have frozen lava.

Warily, Jason folded his arms, keeping his own expression blank. He said nothing.

“Bobbie was commiserating with one of the other nurses,” Brenda continued, “about how Tony was humiliating her all over again. Apparently, he broke up with that bitch Carly Roberts right in the hospital and they had a huge scene.” Her smirk deepened. “Do you know what they fought about?”

He said nothing.

She leaned forward. “I guess congratulations are in order.” She paused. “Daddy.”

He narrowed his eyes. There was something else here. She had an angle she was going to play—

“Of course, I immediately asked Bobbie if she was sure. She had to be mistaken, you see.” She tilted her head. “Because Carly is due in a few weeks. How could you be the father, Jason, when Carly got pregnant in April?”

His stomach dropped and now it was harder to maintain his blank expression. Because now he knew why Brenda looked so gleeful. Now he understood why she was here.

Brenda leaned back, sipped her martini. “Naturally, Robin was devastated.”

Jason closed his eyes. Robin.

They’d dated off and on for more than a year, and he’d loved her with every ounce of his soul. She’d forgiven him for Carly when they’d first started dating. She’d understood that he hadn’t meant to hurt her—that Carly was a mistake. An urge that he hadn’t learned how to control.

He could do that now, and Carly didn’t tempt him anymore. She’d taunted Robin one too many times, had been too clingy, refusing to accept that their brief affair was over. He loved Robin.

“Why would you do that?” he asked, roughly. “She’s in Paris. This has nothing to do with her.”

“Nothing?” Brenda repeated. “Did I miss something, Jason? Did I confuse the timeline? When did you and Robin break up? When she did finally get sick and tired of waiting for you to die? Was it August?’

It had actually been October when Jason had finally given up on Robin changing her mind about the path he’d chosen for himself, the path that Robin had inadvertently set him on when she’d sent him to Sonny to return money he’d found on the docks. He’d let go of that dream and was trying to build another.

“August,” Brenda repeated. “Which, according to my calendar, comes after April.” She finished the last of her martini, the popped the olive between her lips. “Did you really think no one would do the math, Jason? Did you think that you could get away with this? No one cares about you, Jason,” she reminded him. “But people love Robin.” She shrugged. “If it wasn’t me, it would have been Mac or Felicia.”

Jason exhaled slowly. “You think you did Robin a favor,” he told her quietly. “You think you were doing the right thing. But you hurt her to get back at me. I never meant to hurt you, Brenda.”

Her eyes glittered. “Don’t you dare—”

“I didn’t tell you to walk down the aisle before Sonny showed up. I tried to get you to leave the church. But you wouldn’t let me. What happened wasn’t something I did on purpose, Brenda, but you wanted to hurt Robin because you knew it’d hurt me.” He exhaled slowly. “Congratulations. That makes you just as selfish as the man who left you at the altar and made me pick up the pieces.”

He stalked out of the bar, digging his keys out of his jacket. He needed to get his mind off of this. He needed to stop thinking about Brenda and Robin and Carly and all the damage he’d left in his wake during the two short years since emerging from his coma without memories.

He headed for Jake’s, that game of pool, and hoped that Elizabeth would be there. He needed someone who would listen to him.

2

It ain’t worth all the drama
Might be easier if I just die alone

 Elizabeth Webber smirked as she counted out the twenties that Zander Smith had just slapped down on the pool table. “I don’t know why we do this every week,” she said, folding the bills in half and sliding them into the back pockets of her jeans.

Zander glared at her, snagging his beer from the edge of the table. “You’re just a goddamn shark. Pretending you barely played in college–”

“Is that how I described it?” Elizabeth asked the man slouched against the wall. “I thought I was pretty clear—”

“Your college team won nationals and you were MVP,” Johnny Zacchara replied with a jerk of a shoulder. “His fault for not asking for more details.”

“Ah, fuck you.” Sour, the man slunk off towards the bar to order another drink.

Elizabeth snorted, then started to chalk up her cue. “You wanna take me on?” she asked Johnny.

“Not even a little bit,” he said pleasantly. “You kicked my ass the first time. Unlike Smith, I don’t make the same mistake twice.”

“Spoilsport,” she muttered. Most of Jake’s regulars had played and lost to her at least once, and very few came for a second round. She’d been able to almost pay off her car hanging at the bar over the last year—

And the only man who’d ever given her a run for her money wasn’t here tonight. Not that she was mad about it. He had his hands full right now, and she wasn’t going to take that ride. Not after what she’d heard.

It was a shame, she thought wistfully, as she lined up a shot to break the table. She’d wanted to know how good his ass looked out of those jeans—

“Good, Morgan’s here to stop your reign of terror,” Johnny said. Surprised, she jerked up and missed her shot, the cue ball slapping uselessly against the felt walls of the table. She turned to the darkened hall that led to the entrance, wincing when the familiar form of Jason Morgan entered the bar.

“You’re just in time,” Johnny said to Jason, tossing a cue at him. “She’s already murdered the new guy and Smith was dumb enough to play her again.” He picked up his whiskey. “I need a refill. You want something?” he asked Jason.

“I’ll get it,” Jason told him, and Johnny nodded, sauntering off to the bar. Elizabeth wrinkled her nose as her sort of friend left her mostly alone with the man she was trying to avoid.

“I didn’t think I’d see you here tonight,” Elizabeth said, meeting his eyes briefly, then glancing away, sliding around him so he could line up his own shot. She’d play him, keep it light, and then send him on his way.

“It’s Friday,” Jason said, narrowing his eyes. “We always—” His fingers curled tightly around the stick. “What’s wrong?”

“What do you mean?” she asked. She hooked her thumbs in the belt loops of her jeans. “I just didn’t think you’d be here. You’ve got a lot on your mind.” When he took a step towards her, she stepped back and his eyes darkened. “Look—”

“You heard,” he said flatly and she flushed, her cheeks heating. “Who told you?”

“I work at the hospital, Jason,” Elizabeth said. She dragged a hand through her hair. “It’s everywhere.”

He stepped towards her again, but this time she held her ground, tilting her head up to meet his eyes, the light blue almost black in the shadows of the bar. Their bodies brushed against one another, and the shivers slid down her spine. They’d been doing the dance for a few weeks—since Thanksgiving—and if he was anyone other than Jason Morgan, newly minted leader of the Port Charles underground, she’d have jumped him the first time he gave her the green light.

But you didn’t hop into bed with the local godfather on a whim, even if it was just sex, so she’d bided her time, making sure he was worth the trouble.

And she was glad now she’d waited.

“Look, it’s nothing personal,” she managed, licking her lips. “It’s just I made a rule a long time ago that I was going to stay as far away from Carly Roberts as I could—”

“What does she have to do with this?” Jason demanded. “We’re not together—”

“She’s the mother of your child—”

He hissed, then looked up at the ceiling. “Goddamn it.”

“She’s a terrible person—”

“But I’m not her—”

“She’s living with you, isn’t she? That’s what Dr. Jones told Bobbie today,” she said. “Carly took her stuff and left. I mean, look, it’s great that you’re stepping up and all that, but you’re about to be connected to that viper for next eighteen years if not longer. There’s no way in hell I’m getting on that roller coaster—”

He gritted his teeth, tossed the pool cue on the table and wrapped his fingers around her wrist. “Come with me.”

“Hey, hands off—” She slapped at his chest and he released her immediately. “We flirted a few times, but you don’t get to drag me anywhere—”

“That’s not—” Jason took a deep breath, dipped his head. When he looked back up and met her gaze, he looked more his old self — like the sweet, sexy, frustrating guy she’d been flirting with all these nights, not the angry, irritated jackass who had clearly come to the bar to grab at her ass. “I need to talk to someone,” he said finally. “I was hoping you’d let me explain.”

She pursed her lips. “Okay,” Elizabeth finally said. Man, she hoped she didn’t regret this.

September 14, 2021

I haven’t been posting the videos here, but I have actually been keeping to the schedule I set out — three new videos, one a week. I posted the Site & Story Status, which you guys got. I also posted an FMT vlog and then yesterday, I put up a video about Crimson Glass’s history and some future plans.  I’m going to embed them here for you guys. On the Mad World front, I’ve been writing. I’ve actually written two new chapters in the last two days and it’s going really well! I’ll have some more info on Saturday. See you guys on Thursday for the Throwback post (which I forgot last week because I was tired lol.) Any thoughts for a story to feature? Or a genre you want to know if I’ve written?

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September 11, 2021

Just popping in real quick to let you guys know I won’t be updating flash fiction this weekend. The students came back on Wednesday, and I honestly just forgot how mentally and physically exhausting it is to teach, LOL. Your brain seriously just forgets that over the summer, for real. Probably the only way you go back, to be real.

The good news is that it’s really just my body getting used to the daily grind. I didn’t have to bring anything home all week, and I am completely ready to go for next week, so it really is a matter of getting used to it again.

This weekend, I just want to relax, do some things around the house, and not hurt my brain too much. Any writing I can get done, I want it to be with Karma and Mad World. We’ll be back next weekend for sure 🙂