This entry is part 4 of 41 in the Mad World: Liberty

But am I the only one
Who wonders still about your days?
Did you find your sense of peace? Lord, please

I hope you’ve forgiven me
Couldn’t see you drowning
Sacrificed your sanity
Stole my silver lining

Happy (In the End), Gabbie Hanna

Monday, February 9, 2004

 Lake House: Master Bedroom

Elizabeth had never been much of a morning person and relished the days when she could sleep until the sun was high in the sky. She wasn’t surprised to find the clock on the side table was past nine and that the other side of the bed was empty.

Jason was a morning person, and she considered it a fatal flaw in his character.

Elizabeth rubbed the sleep out of her eyes and pulled herself up, pressing a hand against her chest when her lungs felt tight. She breathed in, then breathed out. Did her counting exercises, and still—she couldn’t quite force out more than a series of shallow breaths.

“If I just get moving—” Elizabeth’s muscles felt heavy, and by the time she’d put her feet on the floor, she was nearly sweating from the exertion. She’d be better if she walked around the room a little, she reminded herself. It wasn’t the first morning she’d woken up like this, and she knew how to shake it off.

Bracing a hand on the side table, she got to her feet—then swayed slightly as her lungs began to burn and she couldn’t quite balance herself, the bulge of her belly throwing her off.

“It’s okay. I’m okay.” She caught the edge of the dresser with her other hand, waiting for the vertigo to pass. If she could just get to the end of the room and then back, she’d be better—

“Are you—” Jason’s question broke off as he scowled at her. “What are you doing? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing—” But the words had barely left her lips before Jason had scooped her off her feet and deposited her back on the bed. His back was turned then as he rummaged in the top dresser drawer for the two most hated items in Elizabeth’s luggage — the blood pressure cuff and the oxygen mask.

“I’m fine,” she said flatly, tipping her head away from him when he tried to fit the mask over her face. “I’m fine,” she repeated. And she was. The pressure on her lungs was already easing, just like it always did. “We don’t have to go through this every morning—” But he had that look on his face, so it was just easier to extend her arm so he could put on the cuff.

“I hate this,” she muttered, and didn’t even bother to hide the resentment in her eyes when she caught his gaze. “It’s my body, Jason, and I should get to decide if I want to start my morning by having my arm squeezed until I can’t feel anything—”

He ignored her, and that made her even more angry. She wasn’t a damn child! Why did everyone think she was trying to kill herself? “I’m fine,” she repeated.

Jason grimaced as he took in the reading. “They’re in the right range,” he said, loosening the cuff.

“I told you.” She lightly shoved him aside and pulled herself to her feet. “I wish you trusted me—”

“It’s not about trust—” Jason shook his head and returned the medical equipment to the drawer.

“Really? Then what is it?” She folded her arms. “One time. One time, I didn’t tell you everything Monica told me at a doctor’s appointment, and now every time you think there’s something wrong, I have to stop what I’m doing—” She broke off when he flinched. Tears stung the corner of her eyes. “And now I’m the bad guy, right? Because you’re just trying to take care of me and I’m being a bitch—”

“I know you’re frustrated,” he said, and that patient tone she usually adored made her want to set the entire house on fire.

“Oh, so not only can you tell me when I’m sick, you can tell me what I’m feeling?” The anger pounded in her veins like an adrenaline surge. She tugged on a robe and went past him, down the hallway towards the kitchen.


“I’m sick, Jason. Do you think I don’t know that?” She whirled around, hissing in frustration when her balance deserted her and she had to brace a hand on the wall. “No!” Elizabeth threw out of the other hand when he started forward, probably to drag her back to bed “I’m fine. I moved too fast, but there’s nothing wrong.”

“You’re pale,” he began, a muscle in his cheek beginning to twitch.

“I’m always pale,” she retorted. “And I’m hungry.” She attempted a deep breath, but couldn’t quite manage it. Still, she counted to ten. “I know you’re scared.” She met his eyes. “I’m scared, too. Okay? And I know you’re mad at me—”

“I’m not—”

“I’m too annoyed to find another word, so mad will do. I can’t do what you and Monica and Kelly and everyone want me to. I’m not going to apologize for it anymore. I’m taking care of myself, taking it easy, and I have done everything your mother has told me to do for the last six months—”

“I know you have—”

“I always feel like trash when I wake up,” Elizabeth said. “I always have to pull myself out of bed, and then I walk around, and I’m okay—”

“Until you’re not,” Jason cut in sharply, his eyes flashing. “You were fine that day in the house. I wanted you to call Monica, and you refused—”


“So it wasn’t just one time you ignored what Monica told you,” Jason continued. “You’re doing it right now—”

“That is not—” The tears slid down her cheeks, hot and angry. “I am not ignoring anything! I’m giving my child his best chance—” She pressed her hands to her face. Why couldn’t anyone understand? Why couldn’t they see this was the only way? How could she bring her precious son into this world and make him struggle for every breath? It was so damn selfish of everyone to expect her to just give up and not try to give Cameron as much time as she could.

“I’m not having this argument. It doesn’t change anything.” Jason shoved his hands into his pockets. “I won’t drag out the blood pressure cuff again,” he said. “Or the oxygen.”

Her lip trembled slightly but she bit down. He made it sound like he was doing her a favor, like she was some unruly child who was in the middle of a tantrum.

Elizabeth lifted her chin. “You think you’re the only person who gets to be scared?” she asked softly, and he frowned at her. “I’m sick. I know that. And I know that the condition I have could take my life. But I’m not the one who chose a life where the danger doesn’t go away with a surgery.”

His body tensed and he just stared at her, unblinking. “I’ve seen the scars, Jason,” she continued. “I’ve been part of the shootings, the bombs, and the explosions. I’ve patched up bruises, cleaned up blood, and watched you risk your life over and over again. Do you think it’s easy for me to let you walk out the door with everything that’s going on?”


“I don’t want to talk about this anymore.” She turned away and went into the kitchen. A few minutes later, she heard the front door slam.

Ward House: Living Room

“Kimi—” Justus stared at the mess his daughter had made in the living room, with toys and cushions strewn everywhere. “What is Mama going to say?”

Kimi screwed her face up into a thoughtful expression as she considered the disaster zone. “She be big mad.”

“Exactly.” Pleased she agreed, Justus nodded. “She will be.”

“You in big trouble.”

“Me?” Justus repeated, squinting. “I didn’t do this—”

Kimi shrugged. “You daddy, I’m the baby. You watch me.” She flashed him a grin and fluttered her eyelashes. “You in trouble.”

Justus considered this argument. “Okay, fair enough. But you’ll get yelled at, too.”

This hadn’t occurred to her, but it sank in now as Kimi’s eyes widened. “Oh, no. You and me big trouble.” She hurried over towards her toy box and threw open the top. “Help.”

The doorbell rang then, and Justus sighed. “You get started, baby. I’ll be back.”


Justus left his daughter and went to the foyer, then frowned when he peered through the windows. “Has hell frozen over?” he asked, pulling open the door to find Taggert on his front step.

“No,” the lieutenant muttered. “Can I come in for a minute?”

Intrigued, Justus stepped back. “Yeah, but I can’t stay long. Kimi and I gotta clean up before Mikki gets home.” He looked back into the living room. “Kimi, keep going, I’ll be there in a minute.”

“This won’t take along.” Taggert shoved his hands in his pockets. “Listen, this Sonny business landed on my desk because it’s domestic, not business.”

“Okay—Carly wasn’t pressing charges, so—”

“This time,” Taggert said, blocking Justus as the lawyer started to open the door. “I don’t care about Corinthos or Morgan. Don’t get this twisted. But Carly and her kids, Elizabeth, Bobbie—they’ve all been through too much—and every time Sonny does something like this, they all suffer.”

Justus turned back to the cop, irritated. “Why is that any of your business?”

“I made mistakes last summer,” Taggert said, “and I got tunnel vision. I could have done better by Carly. Maybe she didn’t have to spend all that time in that damn panic room. Maybe Lansing wouldn’t have been able to assault or nearly kill Elizabeth. I lost sight of why I was doing this job, Ward. I’m not going to do it again. I don’t give a rats ass what happens to Sonny, and if it were up to me, for what he did to Carly, I’d already have him in lockup. I know about December,” he added. “That he locked her in the bedroom. How can you still represent him knowing it?”

Justus grimaced, then looked back at the living room. At the center of his world, his precious baby girl. Then he looked back at Taggert. “Jason’s my cousin. Elizabeth is part of my family, too. And he needs someone to have his back. Right now, that means dealing with Sonny.”

Taggert hesitated. “Look, I came here because I want to spare Carly grief where I can, but as soon as that restraining order goes through, she loses the right to press charges. He violates it, I’m under orders to bring him in. And that makes things worse for everyone.”

Justus scrubbed his hands over his face. “Okay. Okay. Yeah, you’re right. The last thing we want is Sonny in lockup. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll do what I can.”  He opened the door. “Hey, about last year—”

Taggert turned. “What?”

“You weren’t the only one with tunnel vision. Who made mistakes,” Justus offered. “This is off the record, but that Zacchara connection — it threw us, too. And we missed things. It’s time we all let it go.”

“I can’t. I’m a better cop now for remembering it.” Taggert shifted his eyes past Justus, at the little girl who had come to the door and wrapped her arms around his leg. “Have a good day.”

“You, too,” Justus murmured, watching as the lieutenant retreated to his car. He looked down at Kimi. “Let’s go finish cleaning up, baby. Mama will be home soon.”

Seneca Lake

 Jason’s boots crunched over the icy snow as he walked towards the lake, heading for the pier that extended over the water. Though the temperature was below freezing, the lake’s strong currents had prevented it from freezing over.

Most of the time Jason was grateful he couldn’t feel the cold. He could make sure he was warm enough to survive because he could still freeze to death, but then he could be outside longer than most people. It was an asset in the life he’d chosen, the ability to outlast the patience and perseverance of everyone else.

But he wished for the cold now, for the numbness he knew would seep into his limps and make it harder to feel anything, to think.

He very much wanted to stop thinking.

I’m not the one who chose a life where the danger doesn’t go away with a surgery.

 …watched you risk your life over and over again…

 He shoved his hands into his pockets, exhaled a harsh breath, a puff of white air that lingered for a moment before dissipating. How could she even compare the two? It wasn’t the same. It wasn’t.

Except, he finally allowed himself to admit, it was.

He’d grown used to just reaching for her hand over the last six or seven months and checking her pulse. He made sure she took all her medication, even though she was capable of doing it. And he always made sure the oxygen masks and portable tank traveled with them, especially after Christmas.

And how many times had she not wanted it? How many times had she just sighed and let him take her pulse or shove the mask on her face to make him feel better?

Was this ball of fear, small and tight and unmovable inside, was this what she felt when he went out at night? When she knew he was taking risks and meeting with men who might want him dead? This neverending fear that if he didn’t pay attention, if he didn’t watch her like a hawk, she’d stop breathing in the middle of the night, and he’d lose her? Was this what she lived with?

Jason turned back to look at the house, nestled comfortably in a clearing of maple and evergreen trees. He’d insisted on a two week break from Port Charles, even though she’d repeatedly offered to cancel or go home early. And she’d given in because she wanted to make him happy. Because he’d made it about him. About what he needed.

He exhaled slowly, most of the anger and irritation burning away. He drew out the burner phone and pressed the speed dial.

“Hey, Jason. Everything okay?”

“Yeah.” Jason rubbed the side of his face. “I’m just checking in.”

“Business wise, things are going fine. Johnny’s doing about as good as we’d expect. The Star Lounge got raided again—”

Jason winced. “Tommy?”

“Handling it. I told him where you were, and he didn’t seem to expect Sonny this time. Cops didn’t find anything. I don’t know why they bother. Tommy knows how to cover his tracks better than anyone.” Justus paused. “Taggert stopped by my place this morning.”

“Taggert?” Jason echoed. “Why?”

“The PCPD is taking their reorganization very seriously,” Justus said with a sigh. “And any case that can’t be tied to organized crime isn’t going near Capelli. After that fight at the Brownstone, Felix didn’t press charges because Carly didn’t want it. But Taggert’s under orders — Sonny slips up again with Carly or anyone else on a domestic front, they’re hauling him in.”

“That’s the last thing we need.”

“Yeah, I know. I’m trying to tell him, but he’s not interested. Carly’s temporary restraining order is going to a hearing tomorrow. Sonny isn’t planning to go, which means they’ll grant it. That’s all the ammunition the PCPD needs.”

“Yeah.” Jason hesitated. “I know. Okay. Thanks. Is there anything else?”

“Well, Carly managed to convince Alexis to take her case. We got the notice when we were served with the restraining order.”

“Alexis?” Jason repeated. “I thought she left private practice—”

“She did. Which means she’s doing Carly a favor.”

He did not want to deal with that right now. Whatever Carly had done to get Alexis on her side—that was going to have to wait until Jason could talk to her in person. “Okay. Thanks.”

“How’s Elizabeth?”

“About the same.”

“Ah, well, give her my best. I’ll call you if we get any updates.”

“Thanks.” Jason slipped the phone back into his pocket and looked at the house again.

Brownstone: Kitchen

Carly set Morgan in his seat so that she could feed him while Alexis talked. “How is the petition shaping up?” she asked, swirling her spoon in the container of peaches.

Alexis slid on her glasses. “We’re still in the organization stage. I talked to Justus this morning about the hearing tomorrow. Sonny, at the moment, isn’t planning to contest the restraining order, so that will be granted for at least ninety days.”

Carly wrinkled her nose. “He won’t care about it—”

“No, probably not, but violating it gives us more ammunition. Now, I know you don’t want to go too far back into Sonny’s past or business—”

“It’s important to me that Jason is untouched by any of this. I’m not going to use anything about that—”

“No, and I think we’re actually fine without it. You have a strong, personal case for the divorce and for custody,” Alexis continued. “At least for now. We’ll talk about how you moved home to reconcile after Morgan was born—”

“Do I have to talk about why I left in the first place?” Carly asked. “Because—”

“No, I don’t think Justus will challenge it—Sonny might want him to, but Justus knows better. You were having issues after the kidnapping, you and Sonny clashed over how to handle the recovery. You came back, and Sonny basically kept you a prisoner in the penthouse.” Alexis pursed her lips. “Now, we might have an issue with corroboration unless Jason or Elizabeth will testify.”

Carly paused. “I—”

“Because according to you, they both knew you didn’t have a key to the access elevator,” Alexis reminded her. “And they were both there when Sonny locked you out. Will they give statements?”

Carly said nothing for a long moment, just fed Morgan, enjoying his smile at the sweet taste of the fruit. She wiped his mouth when some of it slid free. Would Jason help her? Would Elizabeth? She needed this to be free. She needed this to move on.

“I think Elizabeth will,” Carly said, finally. “And Jason—yes. Yes. I think they both will.” She faced Alexis. “Jason has supported Elizabeth and me every step of the way since the panic room. Anything we needed to be okay—which included Ric going to trial. Sonny is the one that fought it. And Elizabeth gave me her key. She gave me her guard.”

“All right. For what it’s worth, I think you’re right. I’ll talk to them when they get back, but we might not need it for the initial petition,” Alexis said. “You’ll have your testimony, and if Sonny contests it, we can use them. Justus and the guards were there, but—”

“But Justus can’t testify and represent Sonny, and I’d never put Max or Cody in the middle.”

“We also have Lucas and Felix as witnesses and victims to the break-in last week, and Bobbie and Luke to the scene at the wedding when Sonny tried to scare you into returning.” Alexis tapped a pen against the table. “Your divorce petition is in good shape, and I think we can prove enough instability to handle full custody though Justus might win supervised visitation.”

“I can feel a but coming,” Carly said dryly.

“The revocation of the adoption,” Alexis said. “That’s a big ask for the court. I don’t think we have enough. At least right now.”

“Okay.” Carly spooned up the last of the peaches. “What do we need?”

“We have the fact that Michael hasn’t been Sonny’s legal son for more than two out of his six years, and of those two years, he’s only spent one year under Sonny’s roof. That’s a point for us.” Alexis paused. “What we need is for Michael to meet with a child psychologist who can prepare an affidavit for the court that argues this is in his best interests.”

“I hate putting Michael through any of that,” Carly sighed, “but okay.”

“And I think we need to talk about the other biological parent.”

Carly set down the peaches and stared at her lawyer. “What?”

“As far as the court is aware, AJ Quartermaine surrendered his parental rights because he hadn’t been in Michael’s life for nearly two years at that point and he thought it was in the best interest of his son.” Alexis lifted a brow. “I think we both know that’s not why AJ signed those papers.”

Her stomach twisted as she stared down at the table. “No, it’s not.”

“If AJ were to join the petition to revoke the adoption and reinstate his parental rights, it would strengthen your case.”

“I—” Carly shook her head. “No. No, absolutely not.” Her heart pounded. “No.”

“Listen to me, Carly. I know it’s a risk—”

“If I let AJ back in, he’ll take Michael from me. And what stops him from telling the court what happened?” Her hands started to shake. “I didn’t know what Sonny was going to do until it was done, okay? I didn’t know he was going to hurt him or force it—”

“AJ has been living and working in New Orleans for most of the year,” Alexis continued. “He’s sober, and has been for two years. He’s stronger now than he’s ever been. Carly, you understand that it’s very possible he’s aware of what’s happening here. What Michael has been through.”

Carly closed her eyes. “Yes—”

“Michael has been through a very difficult time. Watching you be kidnapped, shuttled back and forth, scared of his father—if AJ were to petition for his rights back on his own, he’d likely win. And then he could sue for sole custody.”

Oh, God. She hadn’t even thought— Her eyes flew open. “Wait—”

“I’m not saying it’s going to happen. I’m telling you that AJ is a chess piece. He can be on our team or he can work against us for his gain. This is entirely up to you.”

“He’ll never agree to help me—”

“He might,” Alexis argued. “AJ would have a faster and smoother road to getting his rights back if you were on his side. And we would have a much easier time removing Sonny. If that’s really what you want—”

“I need—” Carly took a deep breath. “I need to think about this. I can’t just—I can’t just decide this on a whim, Alexis. If I let AJ in, it’s not something I can undo later. Not this time.”

“All right. We can save that argument for another day. We’ll get the petition together, and I’ll write it with the assumption that we’ll be able to get statements from Jason and Elizabeth at a later point.” Alexis waited. “Carly, you’re not the woman you were two years ago. Or even six months ago. AJ will see that.”

“No, he won’t.” Sick to her stomach, Carly swallowed hard. “And he has no reason to trust me. So I’ll think about it, but I don’t think I can do it.”

Lake House: Living Room

Elizabeth stirred from a light doze when she felt the cushions at the end of the sofa move. She opened her eyes to find Jason lifting her feet so he could sit.  He set her feet in his lap. “Hey,” she said softly. “You came back.”

“I should have told you I was going into town,” he told her. He offered a half smile. “I thought Cam might be craving pizza.”

Elizabeth pursed her lips and rested her hand on her belly, feeling the soft kick. “Pepperoni?”


“Mmm…he might be in the mood.” She swung her legs down and Jason helped her turn so she was sitting up. “About this morning—”

“I’m sorry—”

“I shouldn’t have—” Elizabeth said at the same time and sighed when he broke off. “I shouldn’t have said that. About your job and the risks. I didn’t mean to throw it in your face—”

“That’s not what you did—”

“It’s exactly what I did,” she insisted. “Look, the job—it’s what you do, and I knew who you were before we were even friends. I don’t get to pull it out as a cheap shot when I know you’re worried about me.”

“It wasn’t a cheap shot,” Jason said. He slid closer and part of her body unclenched when he put his arm around her shoulders and drew her against him. “You never say anything, and I guess I don’t think about how you feel when I go to work—”

“It’s not all the time—”

“But it’s sometimes,” he finished. “And when I get called in the middle of the night—” He hesitated. “You never say anything,” he repeated. “You’re right. What you’re going through, if we’re lucky, the surgery will correct it and we’ll be able to put this behind us. Mostly. What I do—it isn’t going to change.” And was likely going to get worse if Sonny didn’t step up again and take control.


“It’s not fair of me to keep reminding you of what happened last summer,” he continued over her protest. “I left you in that house to take care of Carly, and you nearly died.” He closed his eyes. “When I came back and you were laying on the floor—you were barely breathing and—” He held up her hand, tracing her palm with his fingertips. “You could barely hold my hand.”

“I don’t really remember,” Elizabeth admitted. “I remember pressing the button, hearing Carly screaming, and then it kind of fades in and out.” She laid a hand on his cheek. “I remember your voice. I remember thinking how much I just wanted you to say my name one more time. And then it just—” He took her hand from his face and pressed it against his lips. “It’s all gone until I woke up in the hospital and saw you.”

“I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and watch you breathe,” he forced out. “And I try not to leave you alone for long. Even with someone else. It was hell when you were living at the condo and I couldn’t be with you all the time to make sure—”

“I know. I know,” she repeated. “And I hate that we’re dealing with this—”

“I didn’t even realize how much I was pushing you,” he added. “You never complain. Not when I take your pulse every five minutes or I—” He exhaled harshly, looking away. “I didn’t even let you be in charge of your own medicine—”

“Jason, I didn’t complain about any of that because I didn’t care. It cost me nothing to let you take my pulse, and you dealing with the pills means I don’t have to. You have a better memory for that kind of thing. I knew it was helping you feel better,” Elizabeth said. “And after that first night with the oxygen tank, I wanted that.”

“But you were right earlier. You’ve never lied to me about your health. When you’re not feeling well, you tell me. You know your body. You didn’t need that this morning.”

“No, I didn’t. But I also know I’m stubborn. I could have just sucked it up—”

“I need to listen to you,” Jason said. “And I will. I promise. If you tell me you don’t need it, I won’t force it.”

“All right.” She laid her head on his shoulder. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

Kelly’s: Dining Room

“Thanks for the assist,” Lulu said to Dante as he stacked the last set of chairs inside the diner. “Penny’s having boyfriend troubles again.”

“No problem,” he muttered. He stooped down to pick up a newspaper that had partially slid underneath the jukebox. He stilled.

“What is it?” Lulu came up behind him and scowled. “Oh, man. Not that story again. The Sun is being even more bitchy about the lack of charges.” She took the paper from him. “At least the Herald is pretending to be objective. This headline makes it sound like Sonny was foaming at the mouth.”

“Not far off,” Dante said. “You about done? I’ll give you a ride home.”

“I still have to close down the kitchen—” Lulu tipped her head. “You okay? Lucky said he went to see Sonny, and I guess you went with him since you’re partners.”

“I hate these domestic cases,” Dante said, brushing past her and heading into the kitchen. “What do you need in here?”

“I just need to wipe down the stove and finish loading the dishwasher. Dante, can I make an observation?”

“Can I stop you?”

When she didn’t say anything, not even a smart remark in return, Dante turned back from the load of dishes he was sorting to stack in the dishwasher. “Lu—”

“I know I’m pushy and opinionated,” she said. “I usually say it’s part of my charm, but I say it because if I don’t, everyone else will. And they don’t say it nicely, you know?”

“I didn’t mean anything—”

“I know you didn’t.” She started to wipe down the stove. “Dillon hated it which is funny since it’s what he used to like about me. He always said I never took shit from anyone and he could always depend on me to tell him the truth.”

Dante hesitated, knowing that while Lulu had done the breaking up in that situation, it was still a sore subject even six weeks later. “Is that what went wrong? You never said.”

“It was part of it,” she admitted. “He was always complaining about his screenplays not getting any respect, and I might have pointed out some critiques he didn’t want to hear.” She bit her lip and looked back at him. “But actually, I think it was an excuse. You ever date anyone and it just fades away? Like there’s no reason for it, you just wake up one day and you like that person a little less? Or maybe the things you used to love are just annoying now?”

“Yeah, sure. Sometimes the spark goes out. Lu—”

“Dillon used to love how I stood up for myself and called him on things, but it was different after the election, I think. We all started softening towards Georgie, and he was still really angry with her.” Lulu tossed the used rag into the sink. “I mean, it makes sense. They were dating, and he felt like she didn’t have his back. But Georgie was just handling it the best she could. Her stepfather did this, like, massively terrible thing, and everyone expected her—and Maxie—to just hate him.”

“It was hard,” Dante admitted, “thinking about what Mac and Floyd did. Knowing it made it harder to catch Vinnie. If they’d run that DNA back then, maybe Vinnie wouldn’t have kept going.”

Maybe Brooke would still be here.

“Anyway, Maxie and all of us started inviting Georgie to stuff again. We realized we were just holding her accountable for how guilty we all felt about what happened to Brooke. But Dillon—I guess he can’t forgive her.” Lulu pursed her lips. “Anyway. That’s part of the reason we were arguing. The other was that the spark was gone, and we didn’t want to admit it. He was really pissed about you.”

Dante scowled as Lulu handed him the last tub full of dishes. “What about me?”

“I don’t know. You texted me a few times and he saw it. He knew we were friends.” She jerked a shoulder. “He figured there was something going on.”

“There wasn’t—” He winced. “I mean, you knew that. But—”

Lulu smiled at him. “It’s okay. You didn’t do anything wrong, and I’m glad we got to be friends. I don’t regret it.” She went in the pantry and Dante stared after her, confused. How the hell had they gotten on that topic in the first place? He didn’t want to be the reason Lulu had broken up with her boyfriend—

Did he?

“What was the thing?” he asked when she returned. He flicked on the dishwasher. “You said you wanted to make an observation.”

“Not if you’re going to be cranky with me about it.”

“I won’t.” When she still looked hesitant, he flattened his hand against his chest. “Scout’s Honor.”

“Okay. Maybe I’m imagining it, but I feel like you get weird when Sonny Corinthos comes up.”

The hit him like a bullet, and he flinched. He turned away, stared out at the window that opened up into the rest of the dining room. “You’re not imagining it,” he finally said. “But I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Okay. But, like, I know I seem stupid. And silly. But I’m a good listener, so if you change your mind—”

“I know who to come to.” He tipped his head. “Come on. Let me give you a ride home.”

Luke’s: Bar

“Caroline.” Luke stepped up to his niece, edging Claude out of the way. “You slumming at the competition?”

“Hey.” Carly attempted a smile. “Sorry, I know you’re closing up soon.”

“Which makes me wonder what brings my sister’s kid out at one in the morning.” Luke said. He set tumbler in front of him and poured himself whiskey. “You want some?”

“I shouldn’t. I’m driving.” Carly sighed. “I don’t even know why I’m here. I just didn’t want to go home after I was done at the club.”

“Have a drink, Caroline. I’ll get you home.” He nodded at Claude who headed over to the phone to call up one of Morgan’s guards. He handed her the whiskey and poured himself another glass. “What’s going on?”

“You’ve done terrible things, haven’t you?” Carly asked. “I mean, things that people shouldn’t forgive you for?”

“Hasn’t everyone?” Luke said easily. He arched a brow. “You being haunted by old ghosts or something? My ex doc bro-in-law come by?”

“No, but he’d be right to haunt me. He’s just someone else I chewed up and spit out.” Carly sipped the whiskey. “I’m not a good person, Uncle Luke. I never wanted to be. I didn’t care if I was a good or moral. I just wanted what I was owed.” She squeezed her eyes shut. “What I deserved. And I didn’t care who I hurt.”

“I remember.” Luke tipped his head. “We all go through selfish phases, niece. And no one gets out of this life without drawing some blood. You drew more than your fair share,” he granted, “but that don’t make you more evil than the next person.”

“After what I did to my mother, to Tony, to AJ, and Jason, and whoever else I can claim as a victim—” Carly smirked, then stared into her drink. “Mama forgave me. She shouldn’t have, but she did.”

“She loves you.”

“And I’m lucky. I know that. And Tony has mostly…I don’t know. We ignore each other, which is the best I could hope for. Lucas has kind of gotten past what I did which is another minor miracle.”

“And clearly, Morgan has moved on.”

“Yeah. Yeah. I guess I should be grateful to Elizabeth,” Carly admitted. “She kind of came around the time I was really drawing blood with Jason, and maybe she helped him deal with it faster. I didn’t feel all that happy about it at the time,” she admitted, “but you know, I can be now.”

“So that just leaves AJ.” Luke folded his arms on the bar. “Has Junior showed up or something?”

“No, but Alexis wants me to contact him. To help with revoking Michael’s adoption.” Carly’s eyes were wet as she met his eyes. “How can I ask him for help, Luke? How can I turn to this man that I’ve repeatedly hurt and humiliated and ask him to take my side? What right do I have?”

“Probably none.”

Carly nodded, taking another sip of whiskey. “I had a chance to make a life with him. He was kind to me when I didn’t deserve it, and he offered me the world. All he wanted was my loyalty and to be Michael’s father.” Her breath hitched. “Why couldn’t I take it? Why couldn’t I let myself be satisfied with that?”

Luke said nothing. Carly’s breath was shaky as she exhaled. “I knew Jason didn’t love me. Not enough. And I didn’t love him. I thought I did. But we didn’t trust each other, and love without trust isn’t real. I know that.”

“Did you know it then?” Luke asked gently. Surprised, she met his eyes. “You did terrible things, Carly. Everyone does. Are you sorry for it?”

“Yes. What I did to Mama and Tony—that was terrible—but what I did to AJ—” Carly closed her eyes. “It was evil. He thought we were friends, but friends don’t do what I did. He told me if he started drinking again, he’d leave Port Charles. So I used that. I made him think he was drinking. I took his sobriety from him, and I knew—I knew what it meant to him. And then I cheated on him repeatedly, humiliated him, and drove him to burn down that warehouse.”

Luke arched a brow but Carly was on a roll. “And Jason helped me out of my marriage. Helped me get Michael away from AJ when AJ—he was a good father. Michael loved him, but I didn’t care, I didn’t care—” She pressed her hands to her face. “And then I blamed him for falling, I said he pushed me, but I knew he didn’t, I always knew it—”


“I ruined his life, Luke. And I never once apologized for it. I never once admitted it was wrong. And I don’t know that I ever thought it was.”

“Do you now?”

“So what?” Carly demanded. “Does it matter that I know now? Why couldn’t I know it then and not do it?” She threw back the last of the whiskey, and Luke winced. “If I go ask that man for help to keep my son away from Sonny, he’ll just laugh in my face and then he’ll use it to take Michael away, and I’m not sure he’d be wrong after everything I’ve done.”

Luke nodded. “That’s possible. He could also decide that he can put it behind him for the sake of the kid. You won’t know if you don’t ask, Caroline.”

“I shouldn’t have had to be kidnapped and tormented to be a better person,” Carly said softly. “Sonny locked me in that room, and I finally understood what it meant to be betrayed by someone you loved. Sonny’s fear is to be locked up, and he did it to me. My biggest fear? Someone taking my baby from me. And to keep Michael to myself, I stole him from AJ. I had no right.”

“No, you didn’t, darlin’. You can’t change the past. Believe me, if it could be done, I’d have traveled back in time already. All you can do is face the future. AJ might not help you, kid. But maybe you still need to talk to him. Maybe you still need to lay this ghost to rest.”

Carly held his eyes for a long moment, then nodded. “Yeah. Yeah, you’re right. I think I have to. I’ll tell Alexis to set it up. God help us all.”

April 24, 2022

Update Link: Signs of Life – Part 31

News & Roundup

  • Mad World
    • Chapter 78 was posted. That’s three chapters so far.
    • I’ve scheduled chapters through May 26. Every Wednesday at 7 AM.
    • The hope is to have completed the edit so that we can bump from 1x a week to 2-3x a week by June.
  • Flash Fiction
    • I’m not going to promise weekly updates, only that they are my goal to be more regular.
    • Starting July 4, Flash Fiction will be getting a schedule overhaul.
    • Signs of Life will be completed in mid July.
    • Scars will return at that point.
  • Other
    • My new computer is scheduled to arrive in mid-May which makes me really happy.
    • It’ll be a desktop for the office which means my primary computer at the moment (a laptop) can be reformatted and be more mobile.
  •  Patreon
    • Weekly updates will be available later this afternoon.

This entry is part 31 of 41 in the Flash Fiction: Signs of Life


The car had barely come to a full stop before Jason had twisted, shoved the door open, and launched himself out of the car, reaching back in only for a second to wrap his arms around Elizabeth’s upper torso, already halfway out, and drag her the rest of the way.

And then they were flying. Legs pumping, hearts racing, the air rushing past them, with Jason’s hand tightly in hers, as he steered them down an alleyway, behind a row of buildings, then another alley—it felt like a twisted labyrinth and if he knew where they were, he didn’t stop to tell her.

She didn’t feel the ground beneath her stockinged feet at first, but then something sliced through, and she stumbled, her hand breaking from Jason’s. Elizabeth fell to her knees, swallowing the cry of pain.

Jason hissed, crouched down. “What is it?”

“Nothing—I’m fine—”

There was a shout, and he snapped his head up, focusing behind her.

“We need to go—” Elizabeth got to her feet, snatched his hand and they started to run again. She ignored the pain in her foot. Ignored the way the gravel and rocks bit into the tears in her stockings as they shredded into nothing more than irritants.

Jason took the lead again, turning down another alley, but this one butted up to Port Charles Park and she nearly wept from relief. Much of the park towards this side of town was covered in trees. They could get lost in the woods—

They started down a path, one that she vaguely recognized as twisting and turning through the west side of the park, leading out towards the business district. It would be crowded this time of night and maybe—

But then she didn’t think or speculate. The pain was sliding up her legs and it was getting harder to ignore, but she pushed past it. Jason would get her to safety. He would—

This time was it was Jason who stumbled, his foot caught on a tree root that had crept under the path. He went flying, his hand jerking out of her grasp, landing a few feet away, on his side.

She swallowed the cry that bubbled in her throat as she limped towards him, wincing at the blood on the side of his face. He’d hit his head—oh, God—there was crashing in the trees behind them in the distance. She had to—She had to get them off the path.

Grunting, Elizabeth pushed, rolling Jason’s unconscious form until there was a dip in the earth and it rolled on its own. She winced and rushed after it, relieved when he came to a rest a few feet below—just out of sight. Harsh, gasping sobs slipped out of her mouth as she frantically found some branches and leaves in the drifts of snow, hoping it would give them just enough cover. The crashing in the trees was closer now and she could hear voices and shouts, footsteps—

Elizabeth dropped down, flattening herself over Jason, burying her face in his chest and squeezing her eyes shut.

Please. Please. Please. Keep running. Don’t stop. Don’t see us. Please please please

The voices and footsteps ran past them, fading into the distance. But Elizabeth didn’t trust it. Didn’t believe they wouldn’t circle back.

She didn’t know how long she laid there, only that the pain in her feet was throbbing now, and snow had started fall again, the thick flakes all around them. The wind was picking up.

But the voices and footsteps hadn’t come back. Elizabeth raised herself up. They were alone. The woods around them were silent.

She looked at Jason, laying so still beneath her, but still breathing. “Jason.” She rolled off him, wincing at her feet. They could come later. Head wounds first— She knelt at his side, feeling the back of his head. The bleeding had stopped, so that was good—

“Jason—” She pressed her hands to his cheeks. “Please, please, open your eyes—”

He groaned first, but then his eyes opened, just a sliver. “Elizabeth—”

“Thank God. Thank God.” She lowered her brow to his. “You’re awake.”

He grunted, then shoved himself up, bringing her with him, looking around with confusion. “What—What happened—”

“You hit your—” The adrenaline was starting to fade and the fear and shock were setting in, her hands shaking as she tried to form words. “You hit your head. I—”

Jason exhaled slowly, then looked around again, more alert this time, taking in the pathway  nearly twenty feet away, slightly uphill. “We were being followed—”

“They went past. A while ago. I was—” She couldn’t say anything else. Couldn’t form the words. “They didn’t come back.”

Jason nodded, then took a deep breath. He dragged himself to his feet, lifting her up. She cried out as she put weight on her feet. She’d sat for too long— “Damn it,” he muttered. “We won’t get reception here,” he told her. “We have to move.”

“I know.”

He wrapped an arm around her waist and helped her limp back up to the path. “Your head,” Elizabeth said. “We need to get it looked at—”

“I’m fine. I just—” Jason twisted, looking at the path for the first time. He took out the phone in the inside pocket of his jacket. “One bar. Might be enough. We can go back the way we came, I think.” He crouched down, lifting one of her feet, trying to examine it in the inky darkness, nothing but the dim light of the cell phone to work with . “Damn it. How are you walking on this?”

“Think about it later,” Elizabeth suggested shakily, but clung to him tightly. He started to lift her into his arms, but she stopped him. “No, you can’t. You might have a concussion. I made it this far, okay? Let’s call Sonny and find somewhere to meet him.”

Jason was able to connect to Sonny long enough to give him a meeting place, then they limped back the way they came, dipping off the path at any strange sounds. No one came back, but that didn’t make either feel any safer.

Not until they left the path for a well-light street and the cafe Jason had given Sonny. There was a car parked in front, but he kept Elizabeth behind him until Sonny emerged from the passenger side, his face creased in worry.

“Jason hit his head, “Elizabeth blurted out as Sonny approached them. “We need a doctor—”

“I’m fine,” Jason repeated, turning to her. “You need—”

“You both look like hell. Richie will be waiting at the penthouse,” Sonny clipped out. He gestured for one of the guards to open the back door. “Let’s get the hell out of here.”

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

Elizabeth never made a sound as their doctor gently worked on her feet, but Jason held her hand tightly. The doctor had to cut the stockings away from her ankles, then gently peel the shreds out of the various cuts and gashes in her feet before he could even disinfect and treat them.

“If I had left my shoes on, I’d have broken my ankle before we got out of the first alley,” Elizabeth reminded him with gritted teeth. “It was the only way.”

The only way.

She was right about that, of course. Once they’d been trapped in a limo, ditching the shoes and running was the only option available.

But it shouldn’t have been.

“You’ll want to stay off the feet for a few days,” Richie advised as he wrapped Elizabeth’s foot in gauze, then a wrap to protect the bandages. “Maybe longer. I don’t think any of the cuts need stitches, but we need to keep our eye out.” He glanced at Jason. “How’s the head?”

“Feels like hell,” Jason bit out. “But I’m fine—”

“You could have a concussion,” Elizabeth argued, shifting away now that her injuries had been seen to. “You were out for a while—”

“I know the symptoms,” he told her gently, squeezing her hand. “We’ll keep an eye on it, but I’m okay for now.” He looked at Richie. “Right?”

“Yeah, you know the drill. Not your first knock out. Won’t be the last.” The doctor got to his feet. “I’m going to leave you what you need to take care of the feet,” he told Elizabeth. “Call me if any of it gets worse.”

“Thanks,” Sonny said as the doctor passed him. “Appreciate the quick service.”

“Appreciate the paycheck.” The doctor left, and Sonny turned back to them. “You should get some rest—”

“You need to tell me what the hell happened,” Jason interrupted. He’d not said anything in the car, not wanting any of the guards involved. He knew if he started talking, he might explode.

This was Sonny’s fault. Every cut, every gash, every bruise, every piece of Elizabeth damaged from tonight was his fault—

And Jason’s.

“We didn’t realize anything was wrong until you called,” Sonny said, chagrined. “I wasn’t supposed to leave for another twenty minutes. Sorel was at the No Name when I left. I contacted Vega—Sorel left just after I did. He must have found out somehow—maybe there’s a rat—”

“Maybe it was fucking obvious you were setting him up,” Jason retorted. “I told you, didn’t I? But you all had your own games you wanted to play. He wanted hostages of his own. You wouldn’t have known anything was wrong until the car didn’t come back for you, and by then it would have been too late. Sorel would have had us to bargain with.”

Sonny shoved his hands into the pockets of his trousers, dipping his head down. “I know—”

“What happened to Max?”

Elizabeth’s soft voice drew both of their attention and Jason’s breath caught at the reminder of the guard who was supposed to be in the car.

The man Jason hadn’t bothered to check for when they’d gotten into the limo. He’d been so eager to leave, to get Elizabeth away from the restaurant that he hadn’t bothered to verify the driver.

“They found him behind the No Name. He was shot. Not dead,” Sonny added in a rush when Elizabeth’s face paled. “He’s being seen to. I’m sorry—”

“Wait here,” Jason cut in again. He turned to Elizabeth. “You need to rest,” he told her softly, lifting her in his arms. “I’m going to take you upstairs.”

“Mmm…I want to take a hot bath.” Elizabeth wrapped her arms around his neck. “I promise, I won’t get my feet wet. I just—”

“I’ll take care of it.”

Once Elizabeth was settled, soaking in the bath she’d asked for, her feet carefully propped up to stay dry, Jason returned downstairs where Sonny was still standing.

“I never wanted her to get hurt,” Sonny said. “You know that, don’t you? Whatever’s wrong between us, you have to know—”

“There was always a possibility tonight would go wrong,” Jason interrupted. “You knew that, and you decided the risk was worth it. Sorel already made it clear he doesn’t care what happens to her. The only reason she didn’t die on New Year’s was a faulty wire.”

“We don’t know that he wanted her dead, Jason—”

“I’m not in the mood to be charitable. He put a live bomb in Elizabeth’s studio and then called her to make sure she knew she was going to die. And tonight, he tried to kidnap her. There’s no more games. No more rituals or traditions. You’re done using me.”

“I didn’t—” His face gray, Sonny swallowed hard. “That’s not what I wanted to do—”

“It’s all you’ve ever done. You call yourself my brother, my friend?” Jason demanded. “I’ve lied, cheated, and stolen for you. I’ve killed for you. And all I ever asked you to do was to respect me. To respect my choices.”


“And you don’t.  You used me to get back in good with Vega and everyone else because they’re still pissed you took off and left me in charge.”

“This is my fault, I know it—”

“I don’t give a damn about your martyr act,” Jason snapped. “This is your life, not mine. And I don’t want it anymore. I’m done.”

This entry is part 3 of 41 in the Mad World: Liberty

Seasons change and our love went cold
Feed the flame ’cause we can’t let go
Run away, but we’re running in circles
Run away, run away I dare you to do something
I’m waiting on you again
So I don’t take the blame
Run away, but we’re running in circles
Run away, run away, run away
Circles, Of Monsters and Men

Thursday, February 5, 2004

 Lake House: Front Porch

Though the air was cold enough to see his breath, Jason didn’t want to take the chance that the call would wake up Elizabeth.

Her good day on Tuesday had cost her — she’d woken yesterday feeling sluggish. Then this morning, she’d needed the oxygen tank between the bed and the sofa. He’d left her dozing to call his mother.

“The vitals are still in the normal range?” Monica wanted to know as Jason related Elizabeth’s condition. “The oxygen resolved the problems?”

“Yeah, but—”

“Jason, we talked about this. We knew there would be days where she felt like her old self, and then days when she would be too tired to move,” his mother reminded him patiently. “I’m sure it’s upsetting to see her struggling for energy, but as long as her blood pressure doesn’t drop and she doesn’t lose consciousness, there’s nothing the hospital or a doctor can do.”

“I know that. I just—” Needed to hear it again? Wanted a different answer? Jason didn’t really know why he’d called Monica —

Or maybe he did. So few people knew how severe Elizabeth’s condition was—he needed to talk to someone who understood what he was dealing with.

He curled his hand into a fist, resting it against the side of the house. “How do we know if it’s a crisis? I mean, when should I be taking her in—”

“If you’re looking for something other than blood pressure, Jason, I don’t have it for you. We’re going to do a full exam when you come back. If her oxygen levels drop, we’ll have to change treatment.” She paused. “She isn’t talking about moving up delivery, is she?”

“It’s a nonstarter,” Jason muttered. He wasn’t sure Elizabeth would change her mind even if her condition changed. As long as the baby was still healthy—he sighed. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have bothered you.”

“Of course, you should,” Monica said staunchly. “That’s what I’m here for. You did the right thing keeping her out of Port Charles. She can rest and relax. Of course, now you have more time to worry about her and the baby.”

“Cameron,” Jason corrected softly.

“What’s that?”

“Elizabeth—and I—we picked his name. Cameron Hardy Morgan.”

“Cameron Hardy,” she repeated. “That’s a good name. Steve and Audrey would be pleased.”

“Sonny didn’t come back to the hospital, did he?” Jason asked. “After Tuesday, I mean?”

“No, at least, he hasn’t come back to me. If he’s tried Bobbie or Justus again, I wouldn’t know.” She paused. “I’d suggest you not worry about that, but I know it won’t do any good.”

“No, it won’t.” He said goodbye to her, then peered through the window—Elizabeth was still resting, her eyes closed, so Jason made another call.

“Jason?” Carly’s voice was surprised, and a bit worried. “What’s up?”

“I wanted to check in with you—”

“Jason, I told you, I wanted you to enjoy your honeymoon. Please don’t worry about me—”

“I’m not—” Jason took a deep breath. “I just wanted to know if anything happened. After Tuesday. With the PCPD. Justus said he didn’t know anything—”

“Oh. Nothing yet. Lucky said he’d go over to talk to Sonny, but he said it might be a few days because it’s unofficial. I’m not pressing charges, but I still wanted a report so I can use it—” She hesitated. “I’m going to file for divorce, Jason.”

Jason closed his eyes and let his forehead rest against the house. He’d known this was coming—he’d expected it a long time ago. “Okay.”

“Please don’t worry,” she repeated. “You’ve spent too many years cleaning up after me. You have a family now. I have Mama here, and Uncle Luke is sticking his nose in—actually, there he is right now.” She paused. “I love you, Jason. You’re happy, right? You’re not letting what happened on Tuesday mess things up for you?”

“No,” Jason said finally. “Tuesday isn’t messing things up.”

“Good. I’ll see you when you come home. Have a great time and give Elizabeth my best.” The phone went dead, and Jason stared down at it.

Carly was going to file for divorce. Jason had known it was coming eventually, but he’d fooled himself into thinking he had more time. Sonny was going to completely lose it, Jason realized. Carly might be ready — but Justus and Bernie—the organization—could it withstand another confrontation with Sonny?


He blinked, looking back up to find Elizabeth in the doorway. “You shouldn’t be on your feet,” he said instantly. He shoved his phone in his pocket and strode forward.

“I’m feeling a bit better,” she promised but didn’t protest when he put an arm around her waist and steered her back towards the sofa. “You were on the phone. Everything okay back home?”

“Yeah. No news. I just wanted to check in while I had a minute.”

She stopped him just as he started to lift her legs onto the sofa. “I’m okay,” Elizabeth repeated. “I don’t feel out of breath, and I only feel a little bit tired. Probably from, you know—” She rested a hand on her belly. “I promise, Jason.”

“I know.” Jason sat down. “I’m sorry,” he said after a moment. “I just—”

“Can’t do anything about what’s going on in my lungs, so you’re going to try to fix everything outside of it. I know.” She reached for his hand. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

Brownstone: Living Room

Carly frowned when she entered the living room with Morgan perched on her hip. “Uncle Luke, what are you doing here?”

“He came over to check on the security,” Bobbie said. “I’ve been telling him that Jason was careful which guards he put on the house—”

“I know all that, Barbara Jean,” Luke cut in. “I know he picked guards that he thought were more loyal to him than Sonny, but that doesn’t mean a fresh eye can’t do you some good.”

“It’s not like he broke into the house,” Carly said, already exhausted by the conversation and people constantly checking in on her. It felt like she wasn’t capable of taking care of herself and her children on her own.

Then again, maybe they were right. Sonny hadn’t broken in, but she hadn’t really let him in either. And it certainly hadn’t been Carly who had made him leave— it had been her brother and his boyfriend. It hadn’t been Carly who had freed herself when Sonny had locked her up—that was Jason and Elizabeth.

Jason and her mother—and now Luke, Lucas, and Felix—were all running interference, protecting her. It had to stop.


“Mama—” Carly fastened Morgan into his swing and turned it on. “Ever since I left the penthouse, I’ve just been—” Shoving her head into the sand, hoping it would all go away. “I’ve been drifting,” she continued. “Waiting for something to happen. For Jason to get through to Sonny or for Sonny to figure things out on his own—” She turned to face her mother and Luke. “I can’t do it anymore. I can’t pretend this isn’t happening. I have to make a change.”

“All right,” Bobbie said slowly, trading an uneasy look with Luke. “What change are you thinking about?”

“Jason just called me,” Carly continued. “With everything he’s dealing with—and I know there are health problems with Elizabeth or the baby he’s not telling us yet—with all of that, he called me from his honeymoon because he doesn’t think I can do this on my own.”

“I’m sure that’s not true—”

“No one thinks that—”

Carly sliced her hand through the air, cutting Bobbie and Luke off mid-sentence. “I didn’t think so either, so I don’t blame him. And in his defense, Jason has been taking care of me for a very long time. You’ve been taking care of me, too, Mama. Now I got Lucas, who doesn’t even like me—” She took a deep breath. “I’m stronger than this. I’m better than this. Sonny could go get help tomorrow, and it wouldn’t change anything. I can’t go back. I’m a mother, and I have to start putting Michael and Morgan first. So I’m going to contact a lawyer and file for divorce.”

Luke lifted his brows as Bobbie bit her lip. “Are you sure you want to do start all of that with Jason out of town? What if Sonny gets wind of it?”

“This is the best time to do it,” Carly insisted. “He and Elizabeth are both out of firing range. Sonny can’t contact them. He can’t make this Jason’s problem, and neither can I. I don’t want you to worry about me. Either of you.”

“Well, that’s just impossible,” Bobbie declared, “but you’re making the right decision. Isn’t she, Luke?”

“Oh, yeah, no doubt about that.” Luke put his hands in his pockets and rocked back and forth on his heels, studying Carly. “Can I ask what kind of divorce you’re going for? He came here, spitting mad over the boys—”

“And I’m sure what I’m going to ask is not going to make things easier. I don’t want his money. I don’t need it. The clubs do fine, and I can make more money.” She paused. “But I’m asking for full custody of Morgan, and I’m going to revoke Michael’s adoption.”

Luke whistled low. “You’re playing with fire, Caroline—”

“I have repeatedly asked him to get help for his problems. Michael isn’t his biological son, and Sonny has really only been in his life for a few years.” Carly bit her lip. “I’m also hoping,” she admitted, “that doing this will shock Sonny. Taking the boys, refusing him access—it hasn’t gotten through to him. Taking Michael away—that’s the last card I have, Uncle Luke.” She looked at Bobbie. “Mama—”

“If you’re sure this is what you want to do,” Bobbie said, “then I’ll support you. Do you know who you’re going to contact?”

“Yeah, I do I just hope she’ll take my case.”

PCPD: Squad Room

“Am I reading this report right?” Detective Andy Capelli demanded as he approached Taggert’s desk. “You have Corinthos dead to rights on trespassing and assault? Why isn’t he in lock up?”

Lieutenant Marcus Taggert glanced up from his paperwork with a frown. “Why are you sniffing around my cases?” he retorted. He yanked the incident report from him. “How many times do we gotta do this—”

“How much is he paying you to sweep this under the rug?” Capelli shot back. “Everyone knows you’re Corinthos’s butt boy—”

“What did you just say to me?” Taggert demanded. “Listen, asshole—”

“Taggert, Capelli.”

The cold slice of the British accent from behind them had Taggert wincing. How many times was the commissioner going to catch him and Capelli going at it before one of them got written up?

He turned to face the irritated Anna Devane. “Anna—”

“You wanted proof Taggert was on Corinthos’ payroll, here it is.” Capelli snatched the report back and shoved it at Anna. “He’s covering up a felony—”

Anna didn’t bother to look at the report. “Detective Capelli, are you looking for another write-up?”


“I am aware of this report.” Anna smoothed out the paper and handed it to Taggert. “Bobbie Spencer is a close, personal friend of mine,” she continued, “and I’ve spoken to her about this incident. You can be assured that the decision not to arrest Sonny Corinthos did not come from Taggert. If I were you, I would get out of his face before he writes you up for insubordination. He’s still your ranking officer.”

Seething, Capelli stalked out of the squad room. Anna sighed and looked at Taggert. “You can’t give in to him—”

“I wasn’t even on this call,” Taggert muttered. “Spencer and Falconieri both said Carly and Felix DuBois declined to press charges. It’s a mistake,” he continued, “but it’s theirs to make.”

“I know that.” Anna folded her arms. “I thought Spencer was going to talk to Sonny about this. They apparently have history.”

“Yeah, Lucky said he’s having trouble getting in to see him, but it’s unofficial, Anna, so his hands are tied. He’s trying to pull some favors. If Carly doesn’t want charges from this, I’m not forcing her hand.”

Anna picked up the report, scanned over the details, her brow furrowed. “Do we know how long Jason Morgan is supposed to be out of town? Doesn’t he usually keep Sonny on a pretty tight leash?”

“He does,” Taggert said, “but—” he paused. “Something is going on here. I don’t know what it is, but Sonny’s out there, running wild, breaking into houses, and creating chaos — and Morgan still isn’t back. I thought he would be when he heard about the Brownstone.”

“Well, didn’t you and the mayor tell me you were hoping there was finally some daylight between Corinthos and Morgan?” Anna asked. “He was willing to inform on Lansing to Ned. Perhaps he’s weary of cleaning up after his boss.”

“Maybe.” Still, it troubled Taggert. He knew something was up with Elizabeth—had seen something in her expression the day he and Scott had gone to see her about the wedding invitation. “I think Bobbie told me it’d be another week.”

“Well, at least someone is getting a break from this. Taggert, I respect Carly and Felix’s right to make this decision, but I also have to think about the big picture. The next time Sonny Corinthos commits a crime, you arrest him and sort it out later. Is that understood?”

“You don’t have to tell me twice.”

Corinthos & Morgan Warehouse: Justus’s Office

Justus kissed his wife’s cheek as he accepted the bag of food she’d brought him. “I don’t like you coming down here,” he complained.

“You told me it was safe.” Tamika Ward just lifted a brow. “You said so when we moved here. Safe enough for you, safe enough for me.” She pointed at the desk. “I needed a break from the store.”

“Or a break from Portia,” he muttered as he took his seat and started to unpack the containers of food.

“Don’t start. You love my sister. She’s got Kimi with her, which is why we can have a minute to ourselves.” Tamika removed the container from her soup and twirled a spoon. “How are things around here since…well, since.”

Justus sighed. “Not great,” he admitted. “Morale’s in the gutter. Sonny barely shows up except to yell at people. Johnny’s doing what he can, but honestly — Jason should be here.”

“Jason has a right to his honeymoon—” She pursed her lips. “Then again, I was surprised when Emily said it was for two weeks. That feels like a long time with everything going on.”

“I know—” Justus tipped his head. “He did that for Elizabeth.”

“I’m surprised she suggested it. She seemed to know what was going on with Sonny—”

“No, she—” He paused, shifting. “She’s sick, Mikki. It’s pretty bad.” He wiped his mouth, feeling his stomach swirl with nerves and worry. Every time he thought about what Elizabeth was going through, he thought of his own family. How would he have handled things if Tamika’s health had been so fragile—if there was a chance their precious daughter wouldn’t make it?


“Last summer, she got these blood clots because of that asshole with the birth control,” he continued. “She ended up with this condition in her lungs — there was scar tissue in the blood vessels. They want her to deliver the baby early.”

Tamika stared at him. “Oh my God. How early?”

“If the doctors had their way, Jason said, this week or next. The kid would be in the NICU, probably with all kinds of complications. Elizabeth wants to wait as long as she can—”

“I’d do the same—”

“Right. But the longer she waits, the more stress it puts on her heart and lungs. Jason took her out of town to get her away from this circus. So, yeah, he should be here. He can’t. He made a choice between his family and this job. I’d make the same one.”

“Of course, you would, baby—”

“I’m just worried about what comes next. There’s another week before he gets back— and even when he does—what happens if Sonny lets loose on Elizabeth? He’s done it before, you know. Back in December. At the wedding—”


“I can’t see a way out of this that doesn’t make it worse,” he continued. “And I’m afraid Elizabeth or the baby will pay the price.”

Harborview Towers: Hallway

It had taken Lucky nearly two days and all the favors he could manage to get admitted to the penthouse floor. He wasn’t entirely sure how his father had done it, but maybe Luke still had some friends in the organization after all these years.

“What are we even going to say to him?” Dante demanded, following Lucky out of the elevator. “Don’t harass your wife? Do you think we’re the first to say it—”

“No, but at least we can say we tried everything,” Lucky replied, wishing he had left his cranky partner in the patrol car. “Hey, Max.”

“Hey, Lucky.” The guard shifted uncomfortably. “Listen, Francis said he owed your old man for—” he slid a glance to Dante “—for something, but maybe you tell Mr. C I had no choice.”

“I got you, Max. Thanks.”

The guard knocked on the door then opened it. “Mr. C—”

“What the hell do you want?” Sonny demanded, shoving himself off the sofa. “Who let cops past the front desk?” he shot at Max.

“I told them that you either talk to me now unofficially,” Lucky said easily, unruffled by Sonny’s volatility, “or we’ll come back with an arrest warrant.”

“On what grounds—”

“Trespassing and assault,” Lucky cut in. “Carly and Felix didn’t press charges because I said I’d come to talk you. You throw me out, that changes things.”

Sonny clenched his jaw. “So talk, then get out.”

“You’re going to be served in the next day or two with a temporary restraining order. You can’t go back to the Brownstone, Sonny, or you’ll be arrested.”

She should be arrested! How about that? I want to press charges against her!” Sonny said, striding towards them. Dante fell back a step, but Lucky didn’t.

“On what grounds?”

“Child endangerment! She refuses to let me protect the boys. I tried to keep her safe, but she didn’t want to listen—”

“I don’t think that’ll stand up in court,” Lucky said slowly, “but—”

Sonny grabbed him by the collar and dragged him forward. “You tell that bitch that if she doesn’t give me my kids—”

Lucky wrapped his hands around Sonny’s wrists and shoved him back. “I’m going to ignore that, okay? Stay away from Carly.” He jerked his head at Dante. “Let’s get out of here.”

“Don’t come back without a warrant!” Sonny called after them.

Lucky jabbed the button for the elevator and frowned at Dante. His partner looked pale and shaken — almost like he’d been the one that had been pushed around. “What’s up with you?”

“Nothing. Nothing. I just hate these domestic calls,” Dante muttered. “The guy always finds a way to blame the woman. It bites.”

“Yeah, okay.” Lucky wasn’t sure that was actually the issue, but he let it go. They had bigger problems to worry about because he didn’t think Sonny would take the restraining order seriously.

Port Charles Municipal Building: City Attorney’s Office

Carly folded her hands again and looked over at the secretary busy at her desk, trying to pretend Carly wasn’t there — which did not bode well for Carly getting through to the city attorney.

Alexis Davis was Carly’s only hope — one of the few women in Port Charles who would not only understand what Carly was going through but help get her to the other side. If only Alexis would let her through the door.

“How much longer?” Carly asked the other woman, who flashed her an absent smile.

“I don’t know. You know, Ms. Davis is very busy—”

Carly shifted uncomfortably. She didn’t want to force Alexis’s hand—she didn’t want this to feel like blackmail, but desperate times called for desperate measures. “Maybe it would help if you told her why I’m here,” she said. “I have some medical information for Kristina—about her father.”

The secretary peered at her curiously, then picked up the phone. “Can you let Ms. Davis know that Carly Corinthos is still here and says she has some information about Kristina’s father?” The woman’s eyes widened. “Ah, yes. I’ll send her right in.”

Carly nearly smiled but suppressed it. Some things would never change. She rose from the seat to head for the door, but it was yanked open before she reached it, and Alexis was there, glaring at her. “Get in here,” she hissed.

“Now that’s not very discreet,” Carly murmured as she passed Alexis and settled herself in the visitor’s chair. Alexis closed the door and rounded her desk, her jaw clenched.

“What do you want? Why are you here? How did you find out—”

“You know, I’m surprised you managed to keep the secret this long,” Carly said, forcing a casualness she didn’t really feel. “You’re not good at playing it cool. And you know how I found out.” She hesitated. “I never believed the story about Ned. Remember? I knew you were pregnant, and I told Sonny. He went to talk to you—”

“And I told him Kristina is Ned’s daughter—which she is—” Alexis paled. “You never—he didn’t—”

“Sonny believed you,” Carly assured her. “As far as I know, he still believes you. I doubt he’s thinking about Kristina right now anyway. He’s—he’s out of control. That’s why I came to you. Because I get it now. I get why you didn’t want Sonny to be involved—” She paused. “It wasn’t just the job.”

Alexis took a deep breath. “Carly, I don’t know what’s going on—”

“I’m filing for divorce,” Carly interrupted. “And I need custody of my kids. Sole custody. I’m not—” Her heart twisted. “If I win this, Alexis, if you win this case—it would help you do the same if the truth about Kristina came out.”

“Why would it?” Alexis returned to her desk, standing behind it as if it gave her some comfort or security. “No one would ever need to ask—”

“Because this is Port Charles, and the truth always comes out.”

“Carly, this is outside my practice right now—”

“You’re a good lawyer,” Carly darted in front of Alexis even as the other woman moved to the door as if to usher Carly out. “You got Jason visitation with Michael when that was a long shot, right?”

Alexis hesitated, curling her hand into a fist at her side. “Carly, I’m not in private practice right now. If I took your case, it would be suspicious—”

“I know, I know. I thought about that, and I just—” Carly spread her hands out at her side. “I don’t have an answer for you. I don’t know. I just—” She bit her lip. “You heard about the other day at the Brownstone.”

“Yes.” Alexis folded her arms. “But—”

“He’s out of control,” she repeated. “The other day, it was the Brownstone and forcing his way in, punching an innocent bystander. At the wedding, he and Jason nearly got into a fistfight—” She squeezed her eyes shut. “And last December, he had some sort of break and locked me in the bedroom.”

“He locked you—” Alexis took a step back. “In the bedroom.”

“He was suffocating me with security after Ric disappeared, and I tried to leave him. He locked me in that room, and I couldn’t get out. I begged him to get help, Alexis. I’ve tried everything, but it’s not working. I don’t know anyone else who would understand how much I need to protect my kids the way you would.”

“Carly, if you file this kind of case—it means you and Sonny in court, going after each other. You can’t take this back. You’ll be telling the world Sonny isn’t fit to be a father—”

“He isn’t. Not like this. He’s barely been around Morgan, and Michael is terrified of him.” Carly paused. “This isn’t blackmail, Alexis. If you turn me down, I’m not going to tell the world about Kristina.”

“What if I lose—”

“I’m trying to get my kids away from Sonny. Why would I ever put your daughter in danger? She won’t ever know Morgan,” Carly said, “but I know they’re family. I’m asking to you protect Kristina’s brother, and I promise you — I will protect Morgan’s sister.”

Alexis closed her eyes, took a deep breath. “All right. Let’s talk about what’s next.”

Lake House: Master Bedroom

“I just got off the phone with Justus,” Jason said that night as he came in and dumped the phone and his wallet onto the dresser. “Things are fine—”

“Are they, or is he just covering so he doesn’t worry you?” Elizabeth asked. She bit her lip. “Or are you trying not to worry me?”

“I wouldn’t—” Jason sat on the bed, then stared at the dresser, avoiding her eyes. “I told you Carly is filing for divorce, but that paperwork might not be ready right away—”

“These last few days have been great, and I’m glad we did this,” Elizabeth told him, “but I really think we should think about cutting the trip short—”


“Jason, staying here isn’t going to change the fact that things are going to get worse back home. Maybe the divorce won’t be filed right away, but didn’t you say Carly was going to get a restraining order? Won’t that complicate things? And—look, I don’t want to ask about the warehouse,” Elizabeth continued, and he jerked his head around to look at her. “And I’m not, but I can’t imagine things are great there with Sonny the way he is and you not there—”

“You don’t have to worry about any of that—”

“Telling me that doesn’t change the fact that I do worry. I don’t want to make things worse by staying away another week—”

“Staying here isn’t making things worse,” Jason said shortly. “I don’t want to talk about this anymore. You need more rest and less stress. I told you, if I thought we could get away with not going back until the baby was born, we’d be doing that.”

He got to his feet and went over to a drawer to drag out a pair of sweats. “You wanted to wait until the last possible minute to have the baby. I’m just trying to make that happen.”

And at that, she closed her mouth. They were both right—things at home were probably falling apart faster and harder than they would if Jason were there. But as long as she refused to deliver early, she was adding to Jason’s problems, making him dig in his heels even harder about staying away.

“Okay,” she said softly. “I’m sorry.”

He exhaled slowly. “I’m doing the best I can,” Jason said, his voice low and pained. “I need you to trust me.”

“I do.” She pushed aside the comforter and padded over to put a hand on his back, wincing at the tight muscles. She wished like hell she could make this better for him, but she wasn’t willing to give up hope that their little boy would be born healthy. She couldn’t stand the idea of him struggling for breath in the NICU when Elizabeth could give him a better chance.

“You know what I really want to do right now?” she asked, pasting a smile on her face. “I mean, I can’t do what I actually want to do,” she continued, relieved when Jason’s lips curved into a slight smile, “but I love when you read to me. It helps me fall asleep.” She took his hand in hers and led him back to the bed.

April 17, 2022

Hey! With it being Easter Sunday and the halfway point of my Spring Break, I have a bunch of things to do today so I’m pushing Flash Fiction until tomorrow. Same time, same place, different day. See you tomorrow and Happy Easter for those that celebrate!

This entry is part 2 of 41 in the Mad World: Liberty

Lost my mind thinking it through
The light inside has left me too
Now I know what empty is
I’ve had enough, had enough of this
I’m tired of barely holding on
To something that’s already gone
I’m tired of being the one who’s in this all alone
Had Enough, Lifehouse

Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Lake House: Living Room

Elizabeth set down a pair of books on the sofa, then lowered herself next to Jason. “We have work to do.”

Jason frowned at her, put aside his travel book. “We do?”

“The baby needs the name.” She picked up a book, Names Through the Ages. “We can start here. 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 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 that it had all kinds of old names—”


“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. 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 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 at 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.”

Corinthos & Morgan Warehouse: Bernie’s Office

Bernie Abrams set down the phone staring at the hunk of black plastic, his brows drawn together before looking across the desk at Justus Ward “This doesn’t make any sense.”

“What’s up? What did Frank want?”

“Lansing passed through Atlanta a few days ago, but it was under the radar. He only found out about it from one of his boys during an accounting thing.”

“Lansing in Atlanta.” Justus cleared his throat. “He was supposed to have been in Miami last week.”

“And Puerto Rico before that.” Bernie grimaced. “I don’t know about this. These sightings—they’ve felt wrong from the start.”

“No one ever sees him in person, except Puerto Rico. That one seemed legit,” Justus admitted, “but it’s never anyone directly, you know? Someone is always telling someone else—”

“I know we put the syndicate on the alert,” Bernie said slowly, “but all of the sightings have been internal. On our side. Didn’t Jason tell you that the PCPD had the international authorities on this?”

“Yeah. That’s the part that doesn’t feel right. The FBI, the WSB, and Interpol haven’t had so much as a whiff of Lansing since he disappeared, but our guys are seeing him left and right?” Justus shook his head. “This feels like a setup.”

“Setup or not—” Bernie craned his head to the door. “I think we can both agree that we don’t need to take this to Sonny. When Jason calls today, you pass it on to him, but I don’t trust this any more than I trusted Javier Ruiz in Miami. None of this smells right. Everyone owes a favor to someone else—”

“Yeah, wasn’t something between his family and Manhattan?” Justus asked. “Maybe—”

The door behind them crashed open, and Sonny stalked in. Behind him, a red-faced and irritated Cody Paul followed, with Max at his side. Cody, usually Elizabeth’s guard, had been temporarily reassigned to the warehouse while she was out of town, and he didn’t look happy about Sonny forcing his way in.

“Sonny.” Warily, Bernie got to his feet, as did Justus. “I wasn’t expecting you in the offices today.”

“I bet,” Sonny snarled. “How long have you known about Atlanta?”

Justus saw the flare of surprise in Bernie’s eyes before the older man shut it down, and Sonny sneered. “You trying to hide it from me like Puerto Rico and Miami?” he demanded. “This is my business! My organization!”

“No one is keeping anything from you,” Justus said, stepping in front of Bernie. “We literally just got off the phone with Frank. We’re just surprised that you know already—”

“Yeah, well, I heard it directly from the Babe,” Sonny sneered. “At least he knows who’s in charge around here—”

“The Babe?” Justus echoed. Anthony “the Babe” Pellacosta was as old school as they came,  part of a branch of the Gambino family, transported to the south. “The Babe doesn’t call anyone—”  And he’d never given Sonny or Jason the time of day before. Why the hell was he calling Sonny personally?

Sonny shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. The bastard is back in the country and clearly making his way back to New York.” He held out his hand. “Give me the damn number.”

Neither Justus nor Bernie needed to ask which number Sonny was demanding.

“I’m not going to do that,” Justus said. “I’ll call Jason, but there’s nothing he can do where he is—”

“That’s not your call to make—”

Jason made it my call,” Justus retorted, cutting Sonny off. “And if you don’t like it, take it up with him when he gets back. Bernie and I will send some guys down to Atlanta to look into it, but this is gonna be just like Venezuela and Puerto Rico. It’s going nowhere.”

“How the hell do you know that—”

“You don’t think it’s strange that someone is always mysteriously catching sight of Lansing without any damn proof?” Justus charged. “Either they’re screwing with us, or they’re trying to get you to give them favors—”

“What the hell do you know—”

“There’s nothing Jason can do here that we’re not already doing,” Bernie said, his tone softer, a bit more conciliatory. “We’ll send the guys. We’ll check over the security on the Towers and the Brownstone—”

“So you’re not giving me his number?” Sonny said to Justus, narrowing his eyes. “You’re going to disobey a direct order?”

“I don’t take orders from you, Sonny.”

Sonny looked like he clearly wanted to argue that, but then he huffed. “Fine. I’ll get it myself.” Then he stalked out, Max hurrying after him.

“I’m sorry,” Cody said. “I’m supposed to stop anyone coming in, but—”

“It’s fine. With Sonny, it’s better just to let him go. We’re not women he can push around,” Justus muttered. He reached for his phone. “Let me leave a voicemail for Jason and give him the heads up. He’ll let me know if there’s anything he wants handled.”

Kelly’s: Dining Room

Lucky Spencer couldn’t decide if finding his mother sitting at a table with his girlfriend was a good or bad thing. There were a lot of stories that he didn’t necessarily want Kelsey to hear from his mother.

His mother beamed when she saw him in the doorway. “Lucky! Come on over! I stopped in for some lunch, and I ran into Kelsey.”

Kelsey’s smile matched his mother’s. “She said she found some pictures of my dad from the old days.”

Kelsey’s father had died in a car accident when she was thirteen, and Lucky knew she’d been happy to learn that Oliver Joyce had once been friendly with Laura during her marriage to Scott Baldwin. In fact, Lucky had been surprised to learn that Luke had known him, too.

“After dinner a few months ago,” Laura said, “I just knew I had some things in the attic. I haven’t looked at some of that stuff in years.” She cleared her throat. “I brought over a lot of things when we first moved back to Port Charles,” she told Lucky. “Remember? Ruby had stored some of it for me.”

“Yeah. You went through it when Grandma came back,” Lucky said, which was a mild way to refer to Lesley Webber’s return from the dead after years of being hidden away by the Cassadines. “You found some things with her dad?”

“Photos from law school mostly. And, of course, Ollie was at the wedding.” Laura hesitated. “To Scott,” she added. “He was never much of a fan of Luke, though I can’t really blame him for that. He was such a cutie back then. You’ll have to come by the house, and I’ll give them to you.”

“Oh, but they’re your memories—”

“Lucky can scan them, can’t you?” Laura asked. “I’ll happily take the digital to save myself some space. I have those memories in my head, you should have the photos.” She squeezed Kelsey’s hand. “I wish Ollie and I hadn’t fallen out of touch after the divorce. He and your mother—they were happy?”

“To me, yeah. She couldn’t live here without him,” Kelsey continued, “and she’s never come back. It hurts too much, she says.” She shifted. “I went by our old house when I first moved here, and it brought back a lot of good memories. I think it might do her good to come back and be part of it.”

“Well,” Laura said, eying Lucky, who had a feeling he knew where this was going, “maybe she’ll have a good reason soon enough.”

Kelsey’s cheeks reddened, and she looked at Lucky, who quickly cleared his throat. “Let’s order,” he suggested. “I have to be back on duty in thirty.”

General Hospital: Nurse’s Station

“Oh, look at this one—” Bobbie sighed, pulling another picture out of the stack she’d had developed. “Look at how adorable Michael looks with Jason—”

“That’s one of my favorites,” Monica murmured. She didn’t really get to see Michael all that often, and the little boy barely knew her as his grandmother. But if Carly stayed away from Sonny—maybe Jason would see a way for her to be part of Michael’s life.

“Did you get one of Jason when Elizabeth started down the aisle?” Emily wanted to know. “I gave my camera to Lucky, but his thumb was in the way—”

“Lu grabbed a few—you can have one of my doubles.” Bobbie handed it to Emily. “It was such a beautiful wedding. You did a great job of planning it.”

“Well, it was Elizabeth’s vision. I just took care of the details. The food ended up being pretty good. Kelly’s should cater more often,” Emily said.

“It would have made Ruby proud to see her chili on the menu, but I wish I knew why Elizabeth did it at the last minute—” Bobbie caught the exchange of glances between mother and daughter. “Oh, is this related to those tests I’m not supposed to know about?”

“Worst kept secret,” Monica muttered. “Yes,” she admitted. “I’m sure it was. I think Elizabeth will fill everyone in when she and Jason get back. She just—”

“She wanted everyone to be happy at the wedding,” Emily added. “You know, concentrating on the good stuff. She didn’t want to leave you out, Bobbie, I practically forced it out of her—”

“I’m not mad,” Bobbie assured them. “I’m just worried. I’m glad Jason made time for a honeymoon, even if it is just a few hours away.”

Monica opened her mouth to respond, but the elevator doors slid open, and Sonny stalked out. She grimaced. “Here we go,” she muttered.

Bobbie quickly stowed the wedding photos. “Sonny—”

“I’m not here to argue, I’m not here to make trouble,” he said flatly. “I know Jason gave one of you his contact information. Give it to me, and I’ll go.”

Emily lifted her brows. “I thought Jason gave his number to Justus. Why didn’t you ask him for it?” She smirked when Sonny’s scowl deepened. “If Justus doesn’t think Jason needs to be called—” She shrugged, grabbed a chart, and sauntered off.

“Go to hell,” Monica said shortly and followed her daughter. Sonny’s eyes tracked after them before turning back to Bobbie.

“I need to talk to him—”

“I’m sure Justus will pass on anything he needs to know.” Bobbie picked up a chart of her own. “I don’t owe you anything, Sonny. You’ve traumatized my daughter and made her life a living hell for months. I’m not going to let you intrude on Jason and Elizabeth’s honeymoon.”

“Fine.” Sonny gritted his teeth, then went back to the elevators, jabbing the button. When he was gone, Bobbie sighed and pulled out her phone to leave a message for Justus just in case.

Brownstone: Living Room

“Hey, Michael—” Lucas sat next to his nephew and reached for his Playstation controller. “Felix and me are gonna play Silent Hill. You want to watch? You can help us with some of the puzzles.”

His seven-year-old nephew frowned, then put down his comic book. “Okay. Maybe I could try playing.”

When Lucas might have resisted because he’d been working on this game save for a good month, Felix elbowed him. Michael was a good kid in the middle of a nasty separation and divorce. Lucas knew all about that, didn’t he?

“Yeah, sure. We could try it.”

Lucas clicked through a few menus, and within a few minutes, they were all intently watching as his character walked through the dark, eerie streets of the video game world.

The doorbell rang, and Felix got up to go answer it. He looked through the peephole and winced. He turned to Lucas. “It’s Sonny.”

Michael flinched and curled up on the sofa, drawing his legs up under his chin and wrapping his arms around them. “Is he gonna try to make me go with him again?”

“No.” Lucas touched Michael’s shoulder. “Not a chance.” He ruffled Michael’s hair and got to his feet as Sonny pressed on the doorbell again, then started knocking. “Michael, do me a favor? Go find your mom, okay? Tell her your dad is here.”

Grateful to have a task, Michael rushed down the back hallway to his mother’s bedroom. Lucas took a deep breath and prepared to face his brother-in-law.

“Maybe we should wait,” Felix said, but Lucas shook his head and pulled open the door, angling himself so that Sonny would have to shove him out of the way to get through the door.

“What do you want, Sonny?” Lucas asked.

“Where’s my wife?” Sonny demanded. “My sons?”

“Does Carly know you’re coming?”

“I don’t need an appointment—” Sonny’s nostrils flared. “Who do you think you are?”

“Sonny, you need to call ahead—”

“I got this, Lucas,” Carly said quietly as she came up behind Lucas and Felix. She sent him a grateful look. “But thanks. Sonny, what do you want?”

“Lansing’s getting closer. They saw him in Atlanta a few days ago—he might already be here—”

“I have guards,” Carly said, even as her face leeched color. “We went over this at the wedding, Sonny. Jason checked the security on the Brownstone. Taggert lives upstairs, and Lucas and Felix have the apartment across the hall.”

Sonny glared past at her at Lucas and Felix, who hadn’t left the foyer. Lucas wasn’t particularly close to his sister, but she didn’t deserve to be left alone with a screaming maniac. “You think these two….” He wiggled his fingers. “You think they can take on Ric?”

Carly narrowed her eyes. “What, exactly, are you suggesting?” she demanded hotly. The knuckles her hand whitened as she clenched the door more tightly. “Is there some reason two men who are younger and stronger than Ric can’t kick his ass?”

“Wait, is he saying we can’t because we’re gay?” Felix hissed. “I—”

“—will stand down because he’s Sonny Corinthos,” Lucas muttered, tugging his boyfriend back.

“You know, I agree with Jason,” Carly said. “I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. This Atlanta thing is just like all the others, isn’t it? Some guy he doesn’t trust thinks he saw Ric — that’s been the story for six months, Sonny! I’m done! I am done letting Ric Lansing control my life! You either start accepting that or—”

“Or what?” Sonny retorted. He shoved the door back, and Carly jumped, startled by the sudden movement. “Where are the boys? I’m taking them with me now. You can do whatever the hell you want with your life, but my boys—”

“Get out, Sonny! Don’t make me call the police!” Carly shoved him back.

“Go ahead and try it! Those are my kids!” Sonny snarled. “Michael!” he called, raising his voice and starting for the foyer. Carly grabbed his arm and tried to drag him away—

Then Sonny shoved her away—Carly fell backward, hitting the column that separated the foyer from the living room. Her eyes were wide, her face even paler. Sonny didn’t even seem to notice—he just kept heading back towards the bedrooms—

“That’s it—” Lucas overtook Sonny before he could start throwing open doors. He shoved the mobster back. “Get out!”

You’re going to stop me?” Sonny snorted. “What are you going to do?”

“He’s going to kick your ass if you put your hands on Carly again,” Felix said. Sonny turned to lift his brows at the other man. “And when he’s done, I’m next. No one is going to shove a woman around in front of me—”

“Guys—” Carly said weakly. “It’s—”

“Do you know who I am?” Sonny demanded, dismissing Lucas and glaring at Felix. “Do you know what I could do to you?”

“You think you scare me?” Felix retorted. He smirked. “You’re not even the scariest asshole I’ve met this week. I’m a gay, Black man dating a white boy. What are you gonna do to me that the rest of the world hasn’t tried?”

“Sonny, I’m calling the police,” Carly said. She grabbed the landline on the end table. “This is your last chance—”

“I’m not leaving without my kids!” Sonny shoved Lucas out of the way and started down the hallway. “Michael! Morgan!”

“You’re not getting near those kids!” Lucas charged after him. Carly nearly dropped the phone, but Felix snapped at her to finish the call and followed.

Lucas grabbed Sonny’s arm before he could open the first door. He yanked and swung the older man until Sonny slammed into the wall. Lucas pushed him back towards the living room. A baby’s shrill cry came from the back bedrooms.

Sonny swung at Lucas, who sidestepped him, letting Sonny crash into another wall. When Sonny went for Lucas again, Felix grabbed his arm and shoved him back, but then Felix tripped as he was trying to get out of the way, and Sonny’s next fist landed on Felix’s jaw. Felix sprawled back, hit Lucas, and both men went tumbling to the floor.

“The police are on their way!” Carly cried as she tried to wade in. “Sonny—”

Sonny scowled at Lucas and Felix, who got back up again to block him. Then, he whirled around on Carly. “You’re going to get them killed! Why can’t you just listen to me!”

“Carly, get out of the way,” Lucas said. “Go back into the living room—”

“I’m leaving,” Sonny retorted. “You think I’m gonna let you have me arrested? You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” He glared at Carly and just waited. Maybe for Carly to say something back, to go at him—

Instead, she stared at him like she’d never seen him before. When she continued to say nothing, Lucas shoved past Sonny and planted himself in front of his sister.

“Get out before Michael has to see you being arrested. You’ll be lucky if I don’t press charges for trespassing. Or maybe Felix can press charges for assault. We can pick the crime—”

“I’m out of here!” Sonny shoved past them both. A few minutes later, they heard the door slam shut.

Carly just stood there, the cordless phone clutched in her hand. She stared straight ahead at nothing at all.

Lucas ignored her for a minute, going to check on his boyfriend. “You okay?” Lucas asked. He touched Felix’s jaw.

“Yeah, he’s got a weak left hook,” Felix muttered. “Look, go take care of your sister. I’ll check on the kids, get them calmed down.”

Lucas grimaced — he’d rather switch the roles, but he turned back to Carly, who had started to breathe again. She met his eyes. “I’m sorry,” she said softly. “I’m just….” She took a deep breath—

Then her shoulders started to tremble as she dropped the phone and pressed her hands to her face. “I’m sorry,” she continued to repeat. “I’m sorry.”

“Okay—” Lucas took her by the shoulders and steered her towards the living room. “Sit down—”

“I freeze sometimes,” Carly said finally. She wrapped her arms around herself. “I—since the—since the panic room—sometimes—” She looked at him. “I’m sorry. I keep messing things up.”

Lucas frowned — because this was not the woman he’d known most of his life. This was not the woman who had waltzed into his life and destroyed his parents’ marriage, driving his father over the edge.


“I’m okay.” Carly closed her eyes, took another deep breath. “I have to remember to breathe. I have to—”

“I’ll call my mom—”

They heard the police sirens outside. Carly winced. “Oh, God, what am I going to do?”

“We’ll deal with it,” Lucas told her. “Let’s just—” He got to his feet as Felix came out, cradling a calmed down Morgan, Michael trailing after him. “Hey.”

“Mommy, is Daddy gone?” Michael asked, his voice ragged from sobbing. “I don’t want to see him anymore.”

“He’s gone,” Lucas assured his nephew when Carly couldn’t answer. He took Morgan from Felix when the doorbell rang. “Go let them in.” He turned back to his sister, relieved to see color in her cheeks. Michael had crawled next to her on the sofa and burrowed into her side. “Carly,” he said, “do you want me to handle this?”

“I—” Carly bit her lip. “No.” She kissed Michael’s head. “No. But thank you. I—” She managed a thin smile for him. “I’m fortunate to have you. Both of you,” she told Felix as he returned to the living room, Lucky and Dante in tow. Carly stood up to greet them.

“Uh, hey,” Lucky said, his eyes sweeping the room. “What’s up?”

“Sonny came over,” Carly said, and Lucas frowned as he saw Dante flinch. “He forced his way inside even though I asked him to leave. Lucas and Felix tried to stop him, but he nearly got down the hallway to the kids.” She looked at Lucas. “Then—I don’t know—I was calling the police—”

“He took a swing at me, missed, and then the second time, he hit Felix. He left when he knew you guys were coming.”

Lucky exchanged a troubled look with his partner, grimacing and looking at the floor. “Okay, uh, do you—are you pressing charges?”

Felix looked at Lucas, who turned to Carly. “Do you want to press charges?” he asked her.

Carly looked down at Michael, who had also stood and was now clutching her waist. She ruffled his hair, then looked at Lucky. “It’s not that I want Sonny arrested,” she said after a long moment. “But I—I need a police report. For my lawyer. Can—” She shot Felix an apologetic look. “Unless—he hit you—”

“I’m not out to make this harder for you, Carly,” Felix told her. “Whatever you need.”

Carly scrubbed her hands over her face and then squared her shoulders. “I don’t want Sonny arrested. He wouldn’t—he wouldn’t do great in jail. Can we just—can I get a police report? And maybe, I don’t know—can someone talk to him?” She bit her lip. “I don’t know,” she repeated.

“We’ll write up an incident report,” Lucky said, frowning when Dante remained silent. “We’ll make it official, take all the statements. And I’ll go see him. I’ve known him forever. I’ll tell him you’re not pressing charges as long as he doesn’t come back.” He hesitated. “You might want to think about a restraining order.”

Carly smiled wanly. “Thank you.” She reached over to take Morgan from Lucas. “Let me know if you need anything else from me.”

She went down the hallway, followed by Michael.

“How bad was it really?” Lucky asked Lucas and Felix. “Was it—”

“Pretty bad. Sonny was trying to take the kids—he also shoved Carly, but I don’t think she’s registering that yet.” Lucas pressed his lips together, looked at Felix. “After the panic room last summer, Mom said she had some problems. Processing it all, I mean. And there was some other stuff before she came back here.”

“Sonny shoved her away from the door, then when she tried to stop him from going down the hall—” Felix shook his head. “You think a restraining order is going to help?”

“Will it stop him?” Lucky asked. “Probably not.” He looked at Dante. “What do you think?”

“What—” Dante blinked. “Oh. Yeah, well, no, most of the time, restraining orders are violated within twenty-four hours. But it makes it easier to arrest him. You can call the next time he shows up, and you won’t have to wait for him to commit assault or trespassing.” He cleared his throat. “I’ll, uh, go to the car and get the forms. To start their statements.”

Lucky looked after him frowning. Lucas raised his brows. “What’s his problem?”

“That’s a good question.”

Lake House: Bedroom

Elizabeth grinned as Jason walked in, his cell phone in hand. She spread out the baby name book in her lap. “I found it. The perfect name.”

“Yeah?” Jason climbed back into bed, stretching his legs out over the rumbled bedspread. “You sure?”

“Yep.” She hesitated, the smile dimming slightly as she took in his expression. “You checked the voicemails, didn’t you?”

“Yeah. Don’t worry about it right now. Tell me—”

“Jason.” She closed the book and set it aside. “What happened—”

“Nothing we can do from here,” Jason argued. “And I promised you—”

“You promised me that we’d have two weeks free from Sonny.” She leaned forward to kiss him. “And we’ve had a few days. Today was a good day, Jason. The first day in weeks I’ve felt like myself again.” She threaded her arms through his and leaned her head against his shoulder. “When was the last time we could spend the whole day in bed?”

“It’s been a while,” Jason admitted. He rested his hand on her knee, letting his fingertips drift up and down her thigh. “I’m glad you’re feeling better. And that’s because we’re keeping them out—”

“But the world is still turning. I won’t break, Jason, so tell me what’s going on.”

Jason nodded. “There was a call from Justus. Someone thinks they saw Lansing in Atlanta, but it’s not any different than the others. No proof. They’re going to send someone to look.”

“They don’t think it’s serious?” she asked, scrunching her nose. “But it’s the third one in the last month—”

“Yeah, but I don’t like the way they’re coming in,” he continued. “Bernie pointed out that the only people seeing Lansing are from our side. I don’t think much of law enforcement,” he admitted, “but they haven’t been able to pick up any trail. Not even once.”

“Okay. Well, if they’re not worried, and you’re not worried—” She paused, tilting her head. “Then why do you look like the world is still on fire? What else happened?”

“Bobbie and Monica both called,” Jason admitted. “Sonny found out about Atlanta, demanded my number. Justus refused to give it to him, so he went to the hospital. When Bobbie and Monica refused —”

“He went to the Brownstone,” Elizabeth murmured.

“Yeah.” Jason scrubbed a hand down his face. “He forced his way in, pushed Carly out of the way. Then he ended up in a physical fight with Lucas and his boyfriend because he was trying to get to the kids. The boyfriend ended up getting punched.”

Elizabeth closed her eyes. “Damn it.”

“Yeah, Carly called the police. She filled out a report but didn’t press the charges.” Jason exhaled slowly. “Bobbie says things are calmed down now, but Carly wants to call Kevin and schedule a session. And she wants Michael to talk to someone because he heard all of it.”

Elizabeth’s hand slid down to her belly where their son kicked firmly, her heart aching for the little boy that would always be a little bit Jason’s. “She hasn’t talked to Kevin in months.”

“Yeah, well, it’s a lot, Bobbie said.” He looked at her. “She’s okay—”

Elizabeth sat up and reached for the phone in his hand. He let her take it without a word. She pressed a speed dial then handed the phone to Jason. “You’ll feel better if you talk to her.”

Jason sighed but took the phone just as Carly answered, her voice a bit hesitant. “Hello?”

“It’s me,” Jason said, remembering that he was using a different phone and she wouldn’t have recognized the number.

“You aren’t supposed to be calling me,” Carly said, but Jason could hear the forced cheerfulness in her voice. “How’s the honeymoon?”

“Good,” Jason told her. “Uh, Elizabeth says hi.” He hesitated. “I listened to the messages—”

“Yeah, I figured you weren’t calling to chat.” Carly was quiet for a moment. “I’m okay,” she said. “I mean it. It was a bad day, but I was lucky. It turns out there are people I can rely on when you’re not around, and—well, you know, that wasn’t always true.”

“I know. But I just—I don’t know. I wanted to check on you for myself.” He looked at Elizabeth, and she smiled at him. He already looked a bit brighter. “Is there anything I can do?”

“I can handle it,” Carly told him. “The only thing I want you to do is to concentrate on your new wife, that baby she’s carrying, and having the time away from this you deserve. I’m glad that you weren’t home—that Elizabeth wasn’t across the hall.” She paused. “I’ll be okay. I promise.”

“I know.”

“I love you, Jase. Thanks for calling.” Carly hung up first, and Jason stared at the phone for a long moment.

“Everything okay?” Elizabeth asked.

“Yeah. Yeah.” He set the phone aside. “Thank you for making me call her—”

“She’s your best friend, and she’s been through hell. If it’s bad enough she’s reaching out to her therapist—” Elizabeth shook her head. “Then she needed to hear your voice. And you needed to hear hers.”

“Yeah.” He lifted his arm to put it around her shoulders so she could snuggle into his side. “So, before we talk about dinner, what were you saying about the perfect name?”

“Oh, I was thinking Cameron.” She beamed up at him. “Cameron Hardy Morgan. What do you think?”

“I think it sounds great.” He kissed her again. “You hungry?”

“Oh, yeah.” Elizabeth’s grin turned sly as he slid out of bed again. “We’ve worked up an appetite today.”

April 10, 2022

Update Link: Signs of Life – Part 30

Recent Updates: Mad World, Chapter 76 | Karma, Parts 1-4


  • Mad World, Book 4 kicked off. Thanks for the great initial reviews. You guys know I’ve put my heart and soul into this final installment, so I cannot wait for you to see what I have planned.
  • Karma was completely posted here at CG.
  • It’s April and Camp NaNoWriMo! I’m usually a bust at the April entry, but so far it’s been going great. I’ve completed three chapters and around 17k.
  • Getting back into the swing of things for April after a really rough March. Appreciate your patience as things were a bit all over the place.


  • Posted Early Access, Mad World Chapter 77 for Love and above Tiers.
  • Posted Crimson Discovery #14 for Obsessed and above tiers.
  • Posted Counting Stars, Chs 1-3 for Stalker tier.