October 30, 2022

I honestly feel cursed.

On the three day weekend, I got nailed with a nasty head cold that lingered for over a week, and then I lost my voice. I thought it was due to cheering during the postseason games while being sick, but of course not, nope. Over the last week, I started to feel worse, and it was harder to get out of bed.  I have strep throat. Naturally.

Ever since that weekend when I first got sick, it’s been a struggle to get back on track. My brain just can’t quite concentrate on the writing for long periods of time. I’ve written a bit, but not much and most of what I write, I have to delete and restart. Feels like most of October has been a loss.

I don’t know if it’s because I never really get a lot of recovery time when I’m sick during the school year. I remember working in my office job with a cold and managing just fine, but teaching — man.  I’d go home each day feeling worse than at the start of the day. It felt like running in place and never getting anywhere.

Not to mention, my TMJ doctor took me off the meds that were working, put me on new ones that do not work, and I’ve been playing phone tag with the office for the follow-up appointment, so the headaches are back.

I quit.

Anyway, it’s obvious that Counting Stars won’t be out next week. I’m taking some time to give myself a break today. I slept until 9:00 AM, and I’m gonna do the mountain of laundry that’s stacked up. I’m going to write. I’m just not going to promise anything for a week or two until I’m feeling better.

October 22, 2022

Link: Spotlight

In case you missed it, last week I launched a new feature where I’ll pick a short story and a longer story each month to revisit. I’ll do a few chapters at a time (sort of like a repost). I meant to update last night on Friday, but Taylor Swift launched her newest album (and I AM OBSESSED) and the Phillies were winning NLCS Game 3 (TWO MORE WINS TO THE WORLD SERIES!)

October’s story is The Witness.  I’ll be back tomorrow with a Flash Fiction update (I may or may not write it early, since the Phillies are playing at 2 and there’s no guarantee I’m not sobbing or freaking out because we either clinch or we don’t).

Novel: The Witness (Set in 2006, Written in 2006-07)

I chose The Witness as my first spotlight story for a few reasons. One, it’s shorter than a lot of my other stories so it fits nicely to begin mid-month; two, it’s just a fun story. It was my first foray into playing with the Cassadine/Spencer feud and it has a lot of ensemble characters. If I were writing this story today, it’d probably be twice as long with a more definitive ending, but I just had so much fun writing and returning to this story.

  • October 14: PrologueChapter 5: The premise for this story was a challenge at The Canvas where writers received a title and had to write a story around that. I didn’t plan any piece of The Witness, so the fact that I ended up actually making this worked is an accident. I honestly couldn’t tell you why I decided to go with this idea. Honestly, the final line in the prologue might be one of my favorite cliff hangers.
  • October 21: Chapter 6 Chapter 10: These are the chapters where I definitely leaned into plot twist after plot twist. Paternity secrets, shootings, back from the dead, blood feuds. I was having so much fun with this story, which I hope it shows off. I would never ever write this story like this today, but it still holds up pretty well. My favorite line is definitely the last one of Chapter 10 — it’s a one-liner I shamelessly stole from a 1998 episode.
  • October 28: Chapter 11 – Epilogue

October 16, 2022

Update Link: Watch Me Burn – Part 11

Beginning to think I’d never get this one back! Hope everyone’s weekend is as good as mine. My Phillies clinched an NLDS series win over the Braves in an absolutely gorgeously played game with great at bats, stellar pitching, and all the excitement you want in the postseason. There’s no baseball quite like October baseball. They’re four wins away from the World Series! I don’t talk a lot my baseball obsession because, well, there hasn’t been much to write home about for a long time. It’s also been bittersweet since my grandmother passed in 2018. We watched the games together — this is my first post season without her.

Whether we get to the World Series or not, the dopamine rush of the last few weeks has been absolutely required to get myself back together. I definitely feel like I’ve been in a fog since August, not really on my game. Sometimes you just need the adrenaline rush and memories of better times to get through it.

I’ll see you guys later this week!

This entry is part 11 of 56 in the Flash Fiction: Watch Me Burn

Written in 55 minutes. Last scene inspired by Hope Floats. If you know, you know.

Kelly’s: Dining Room

“Georgie? Hey, Georgie—”

Georgie snapped back to attention when something pinched her. She looked away from her phone and the missed call from an unknown number to her irritated sister who had been the source of the pinch — and to her former stepfather with his concerned expression. “Sorry.” She slid the cell phone back into her purse. “Just a missed call.”

“Sorry if we’re interrupting your busy schedule,” Maxie said coolly. “Mac is trying to force back into school—”

“I’m not trying to force you—” Mac set the fork down and scowled at her. “I’m not trying to force you into anything. All I did was gently suggest that you might want to rethink not registering this fall—”

“I’m doing just fine at the hotel.” Maxie sat back in her chair. “I was just wasting time and money. Not everyone needs college. Coop didn’t—”

“You planning to enlist?”

Maxie pursed her lips. “Couldn’t if I even wanted to. Heart transplants can’t—”

Georgie rolled her eyes as Mac immediately started to back track. Never failed, she thought. As soon as Max scored any points, Maxie did something to bring the pity back to herself.

She felt her purse vibrate, but didn’t reach for the phone. It would just  be another missed call. Another hangup. Now wasn’t the time to tell Mac about the flowers or the calls. Not when Maxie had his full irritation and attention.

She’d do it tomorrow. Probably.

Wyndemere: Study

Nikolas sifted through a stack of contracts on his desk, hesitating when he realized that some of the files belonged to Lucky. There were folders with the names of witnesses and some medical reports—

And one name that troubled him.

Manny Ruiz.

Nikolas picked it up, glanced at the partially ajar door, then down at the file. He opened it—but the mystery wasn’t resolved. It was filled with newspaper clippings from the previous summer, detailing the psycho’s death and the medal of honor Lucky had received — along with the copy of the official police report.

Why would Lucky being looking into Manny as part of his divorce case?

He was still musing over when he heard the footsteps in the hallway. He nearly put the file down, hid it beneath the others but he couldn’t. He’d given Lucky a blank check for his divorce lawyer, and maybe that didn’t give him a right to know what was  going on, but it certainly entitled Nikolas to ask.

Lucky stepped inside. “Sorry — I forgot to grab some of this after I met with the lawyer today.” He stopped halfway across the study when he realized what Nikolas was holding. “What are you doing?”

“Looking at what my money is funding,” Nikolas said dryly. “Why do you have a file about Manny Ruiz? Is that supposed to make you look better in court? Is it a reputation thing?”

“Could be.” Lucky shoved his hands into his pockets. “I’m trying to keep this from going to court, okay? So don’t worry about the money—”

“The only way this stays out of a court is if you drop the demands for Jake.” Nikolas set the file down. “Is that what you’re doing?”

“No.” Lucky stalked over to the desk, gathered them into a pile. “It’s none of your business—”

“If it’s just about reputation, then you wouldn’t be so secretive. Lucky, I don’t want to get any nasty surprises—you know if you don’t put me on a witness stand, Elizabeth will. When it comes to the drugs—”

“I told you—” Lucky’s gaze was nearly malevolent. “Fine. I’m making sure that Jason drops the paternity suit. Otherwise, the whole world is going to find out that Jason murdered Manny Ruiz and used me to cover it up. He’ll be back on trial for murder—”

“What the hell—” Nikolas’s eyes were wide. “What are you talking about?”

“I didn’t—I didn’t kill him. Jason shoved him over the roof. And Elizabeth had to know about it. So unless he drops the suit, I’m going to make sure everyone knows what he did, and that she was part of it.”

Nikolas simply stared at him until Lucky’s face flushed. “You’re attempting to frame her as his accomplice because you think he won’t take the chance Elizabeth might end up in real trouble—”

“He won’t let her lose the boys. You know that—”

“I don’t—” Nikolas dragged his hands over his face, then sat down in the seat. “I don’t know what you’re thinking,” he said, nearly dazed. “I’ve known from the start this was a disaster. That you were making a mistake, but I wanted you to feel like you’d tried everything. I didn’t want you to feel like a failure—”

“You didn’t want me to end up back on the pills,” Lucky bit out nastily. “Yeah, I know what you think I’m capable of—”

“You’re going to lose. Because no, Jason probably isn’t going to let Elizabeth risk losing the boys. But this won’t be won in a court of law. If he thinks there’s a chance they’ll lose, he’ll pick up a phone and he’ll get whatever judge he needs to rule the way he wants.”


“And I’m not going to make the same call.” Nikolas met his brother’s angry eyes. “I won’t. You’ve got a right to be angry. To be furious what what she did and how she lied. But I’ve told you from the beginning that going after custody of Jake—tying it to Cameron—it’s a mistake—”

“This is going to work,” Lucky told Nikolas flatly. “Elizabeth doesn’t think I’m serious about walking away from Cameron. She will when we file. And then she’ll have to decide what kind of mother she’ll be.”

Lake House: Living Room

“I’m not particularly proud,” Alexis said as she skimmed a copy of the paperwork that Lucky’s lawyer had given Diane. “But I wouldn’t do it any differently.”

“So there’s truth to what Lucky is saying.” Diane paced the small living room, her jaw clenched. “You and Jason—”

“Jason was never part of any of this.” Alexis rose. “It happened so fast, Diane. And I wasn’t on that roof. I know that Manny went over the edge and he died from the fall. And I know that Jason nearly bled out from a ruptured artery in his heart. He was still in surgery when the preliminary report came back.” She set the paperwork down. “Lucky was running around telling everyone he’d killed Manny, that he’d shot him. And Manny was covered in blood. If Lucky is trying to make it sound like he had to be convinced he was the real hero—” She snorted, folded her arms. “I know a decent amount of hospital staff who’d say differently.”

“Why did you bury this?” Diane tipped her head. “It seems like a case of self-defense—”

“There were members of the PCPD who would have done anything to get to Jason. He’d just saved my daughter’s life. He had nearly died to do it. And—” Alexis paused. “I felt guilty, I suppose. He’d broken up with Sam because I’d convinced him to do it. He only did what had to be done, Diane.”

“But the official autopsy report?”

“The official autopsy and the police report support Lucky Spencer’s version of events.” Alexis gestured at the paperwork on her coffee table. “And before you ask, Elizabeth had nothing to do with any of it. She was Jason’s nurse. She rushed after him and found him bleeding to death out front of the hospital. She got him into surgery. She was still scrubbed in when I made the decision. The only cover up was mine.”  She lifted her chin. “I’ll testify to that if I have to.”

“You could lose your license—”

“Maybe. I have prosecutorial discretion—or I did. I made the decision it was a self-defense case and said nothing to correct the final versions of events. You said Lucky’s trying to use this against Elizabeth in the custody battle?”

“He’s trying to scare Jason away from filing the paternity suit.” Diane sneered. “I’m going to wipe the floor with this little twerp.”

Port Charles Park

“I wanna swing, Mommy!” Cameron dashed towards the swingset, trying to haul himself up into the seat. Elizabeth followed and lifted him to sit properly, glancing back at the picnic table where Jason was sitting, Jake in his lap.

“Mommy! Mommy! Go zoom in the sky!” Cameron kicked his legs and she turned her attention back to him, quickly going behind the little boy so that Jake was in her sight. She knew Jason would take care of him—that there was no where safer for their son than in Jason’s arms—

But they were back in the park, and Elizabeth would never shake the feeling that nothing good would ever happen here. A hundred yards away stood a fountain where her world had been shattered a life time ago.

And just beyond those trees was the area she’d been sitting when her child had vanished.


“Sorry.” Elizabeth forced a smile on her face and began to push Cameron, her shoulders easing a bit as the little boy squealed and giggled, demanding that she push him higher and higher—

When her arms had grown sore, Cameron eagerly agreed to head over to the sandbox and was happily digging holes. Elizabeth sat next to Jason, sliding her fingers over the soft, silky blond hair of the infant who kicked and giggled, his arms waving.

“We don’t have to stay much longer,” Jason told her. “I know you don’t like having them both in the park—”

“It’s okay. It will be okay,” she corrected. “I’m not alone today. If Cameron needs me, you’re here. Jake’s not alone.” She nodded at the sandbox. “He’s always loved the park. He likes getting dirty and playing on the swings.”

Jason opened his mouth to say something—what, she’d never know. Because the bushes rustled and a pair came around the corner, stopping dead when they reached the little park.

Lucky and Lulu.

Elizabeth felt Jason tense next to her, Lucky’s eyes hot and irritated as he took in the scene at the picnic table, with Jake in Jason’s arms. Lulu touched his sleeve and looked at them both with worry.

Cameron was singing to himself when he must have felt something in the air change. He looked up, then his eyes lit up. “Daddy!” He leapt to his feet and climbed out of the sandbox.

All of this was worth it, Elizabeth reminded herself. Cameron loved Lucky. The only father he knew—

And then Lucky stepped back, putting his hands up, palms facing out. “Not today, Cameron.”

“Lucky?” Lulu asked, her brows drawn together. “What—”

“Daddy—” Cameron took another step, but Lucky moved back. “Daddy, what are you doing—”

Elizabeth’s breath caught as her little boy stood only few feet from Lucky, frozen. She rose. Beside her, Jason also got to his feet and put Jake into the stroller.  “Lucky—”

“Daddy, I miss you—” Cameron must have decided he didn’t understand or to ignore Lucky because he made a quick dash and wrapped his arms around Lucky’s leg, burying his face in the jeans. “Daddy—”

“I’m sorry—” Lucky pried the little boy off his leg and picked him up—but didn’t hold him close, didn’t cuddle him. Hug him. He might have been carrying a sack of potatoes—it wasn’t the way he’d held Cameron any day of his life—

Elizabeth took a step forward, helpless as Cameron started to cry, his little arms just dangling at his side as Lucky set him on his feet. “Daddy!” he sobbed and threw himself at Lucky’s legs again. “I’ll be good, I’ll be good!

And again, Lucky pried him off but this time he strode over to the picnic table and dumped Cameron into Elizabeth’s arms. “I can’t. Ask your mother why,” he said shortly and turned around and left.

Jason took a few steps forward, his eyes flashing with fury as Elizabeth’s brain absolutely flicked off.

Lulu stared after him with shocked eyes, then rushed to follow. “Lucky!”

“Daddy!” Cameron sobbed. He started to kick and scream, trying to climb down from his mother’s arms. “Daddy, wait!”

Elizabeth just held him more tightly, his tiny body shaking as he continued to sob for the only father he’d ever known. She finally looked at Jason as tears slid down her cheek, burning her skin.

“Daddy! Daddy, don’t go! I’ll be good!”

October 14, 2022

October Spotlight: Everytime & The Witness, Prologue – Chapter 5

Happy Friday! I write to you from my sofa as I watch my beloved Phillies in Game 3 of the NLDS. This week definitely got away from me — on Sunday, I woke up with a vicious head cold that lingered well into the middle of the week, putting me behind in literally everything (after I just got caught up, boo!).  AND RHYS HOSKINS JUST HIT A 3 RUN HOME RUN! LET’S GOOOOO!!!!

*coughs* anyway.


….i’m gonna come back and do this during a commercial.

Okay, I’m back. We’re in awesome shape. 6-0 and Aaron Nola is pitching like a champ. Let me get through this 😛

Flash Fiction Change

We’re cutting Friday night out of the schedule for a few weeks because I’m struggling to maintain it. I’m also cutting The Last Time out of Flash Fiction. The last few parts have felt really stilted, and I think it’s not a story that’s doing well as a Flash Fiction series anymore. I’m going to finish it in my off time, edit the first few parts and then post it.

Watch Me Burn WILL return this Sunday if I have to set myself on fire.

When Fridays return in November, I’ll be bringing back Invisible Strings.  I have two four day weekends in November which starts that run into December. I’ll be finishing up the second 7th & 8th grade rotation of 30 days and the 4th rotation of 6th graders which means (with any luck) I’ll be in a good swing of things.


I had a reader make a suggestion that I “repost” my older stories, mostly because they (and I) were surprised when neither of the sequels (Burn in Heaven and Malice) didn’t have much of an audience because the OG stories are pretty old at this point. Since it’s Crimson Glass’s 20th anniversary, I thought it might be a good idea to find a way to both revisit older stories and talk about writing them and give you guys something to read for the first time or revisit on days when I don’t post.

Right now, they’ll be on Fridays, but once Flash Fiction comes back, I’ll put it on Wednesdays, I think. Or maybe Saturdays. We’ll consider it. First up are too older stories from my early 20s — check them out on the new Spotlight page.

October 7, 2022

Update Link: The Last Time, Scenes 34-36

Ugh, this week. My doctor changed my medicine, and wanted me to take two days off to clear the old script out of my system, so now everything hurts like hell. But I get to start the new meds tonight, so should be feeling better this weekend — and I have Monday off, so definitely yay for that.

I made some decent headway last week into being ready for this week, and I’m glad you guys enjoyed the chapters from Counting Stars’ beta draft. I’m digging into that this weekend, and with any luck, I’ll be finishing up sometime on Monday. A little off schedule, but that’s no worry. I’d love to have the whole thing completely done before I start posting, but as long as the beta changes are made, I’m pretty happy. I might still have it completely proof read and scheduled before November 7 — there’s a four day weekend the first weekend of November that should make a difference.

I really wanted to have started drafting Kismet by now, but my energy just hasn’t been there. That’s another project I’m planning to spend some time with this weekend.

I should be good to go to bring back Watch Me Burn on Sunday. I’m looking forward to getting back into that. See you then!

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the The Last Time

Written in 55 minutes.

This is the last time I say it’s been you all along

Elizabeth’s energy was flagging by the time Jason pulled up to the curb at her grandmother’s. She was relieved to see that her car, which she’d driven to the church, was parked in the driveway just as Jason had promised.

“I should have brought you home earlier,” Jason said with a wince as he helped her out of the car and steadied her over a leftover patch of ice on the sidewalk. He kept a hand at the small of her back as they walked towards the house.

“I’m fine,” she promised. “Nothing a good night’s sleep won’t take care of—”

“But Kelly said—”

“Light bed rest,” Elizabeth finished. She stopped at the door and smiled at him. “She didn’t want me working doubles. I’m off the schedule, and Epiphany is putting me on paperwork when I go back next week.”

“I’m sorry. I know you’ve got it handled. You can take care of yourself—”

“But you worry,” she finished. She touched his forearm and their eyes met. “I wanted to be there today. For you and Emily. I’m glad I could be.”

“Me, too.” He opened his mouth, then hesitated for a moment. “Monica—you heard her invite me to the will reading. Um—would you—I mean—”

“I’ll go with you,” Elizabeth agreed almost instantly, even though her own conscience was twinging at her. Was it really a good idea to spend so much time with Jason? To be at his side as he grieved his father? They were friends, and she wanted to keep the easy, almost effortless connection they’d shared today—it reminded her of the early days of their relationship, when they’d been able to talk about anything and everything under the sun. But it also made her want more. To wish she’d said yes even no had been the better answer.

But Jason had always—always— been there for her, even when it hadn’t been easy. She wouldn’t turn away now just to make it easier for herself.

“I have an appointment with Kelly,” Elizabeth said. “Next week,” she added. “It’s the third trimester check-in—um, I thought you might want to go.”

“Of course,” Jason said immediately, and she was happy to see some of the lingering grief easing from his expression at the thought of the baby. His eyes dropped to her belly, peeking through the folds of the coat she’d left unbuttoned after leaving the Quartermaines. The baby shifted, and Elizabeth reached for his hand so he could feel the kick. Jason smiled, his hand warm against her body. “What does that feel like?” he wanted to know.

“You’ve been kicked in the ribs, haven’t you?” she said dryly, and his smile deepened into a grin.

“Just three more months,” he murmured. His hand fell away, and they stared at one another for another moment before Elizabeth finally cleared her throat and reached into her purse for her keys.

“I should get inside,” she said. “I’ll see you later.”

“See you later.”

This is the last time I let you in my door

The lawyer had no sooner closed his mouth then Tracy had turned to Jason with a scowl etched into her already permanently sour features. “At least you broke up with the gold digger,” she snipped.

Monica narrowed her eyes and opened her mouth, but Tracy had already looked at her next victim, the quietly weeping Skye Chandler-Quartermaine. “And you! You’re not part of this family!” She got to her feet. “How dare he leave anything to you—”

“Tracy,” Edward said gruffly, struggling to his feet. “Don’t start—”

“ELQ should stay in the family,” Tracy cut in sharply. “I told you years ago—”

“Those shares were Alan’s to distribute as he pleased,” Monica retorted. “You have no right—”

Emily leaned back in her chair as the fight continued, rolling her eyes. “Dad had to know he was going to make Tracy’s head explode,” she said dryly to Jason, and to Elizabeth. Jason grimaced. While he’d come around on most of the Quartermaines, he’d had limited exposure to Tracy. And didn’t care for her.

“It was lovely of Alan to leave something to his grandchildren,” Elizabeth said, squeezing Emily’s hand. “I’m just sorry there’s not a way to change it for you—”

“It’s fine. I have my own shares for whatever kids I have,” Emily said. “But it’s great that your baby gets to have something from Dad, isn’t it?” she asked Jason.

“Uh, yeah. I guess.” He was still reeling from the rest of the bequest — Alan had left large trust funds for all four of  his children — and the lawyer had corrected himself — that the trusts had been adjusted after AJ’s death two years earlier. Which meant that Alan had never taken Jason out of his will. Jason didn’t need the money — but his father hadn’t really given up on him. Not all the way. “I don’t need the money, so I’ll give it to you—”

“No, Dad wanted you to have it—” Emily stopped as Skye stormed out of the room with Tracy hot on her heels. Ned and Edward reluctantly followed, but Monica stayed behind, her eyes still hot with irritation.

“That woman,” Monica muttered before looking at Jason and Emily. “I’m sorry for that.”

“There’s no apologizing for Tracy,” Emily said. She rose to her feet. “She is what she is. I almost feel sorry for her. She’s so obsessed with ELQ, she can’t even see how much she’s losing.”

“Maybe you should give Skye some of your shares,” Elizabeth suggested with a wicked grin, and Emily’s eyes sparkled with mischief.

“Don’t tempt me.”

In the car, Jason was still unsure how he felt about an inheritance from Alan, from a father he didn’t know. He waited until Elizabeth had fastened her seatbelt and flexed his fingers around the steering wheel. “I’m going to put the money in a trust,” Jason said suddenly. “For the kids.”

“The kids?” Elizabeth echoed.

“Mine. The baby.” Jason paused. “And Cameron.” And any other children in the future, but he didn’t say that. “I don’t need it. And—” And he wondered if Alan would have been a good grandfather. If it would have been a bridge between them—  “And I don’t want them to ever worry about anything.”

“You don’t have to do that,” Elizabeth told him softly. “I don’t expect you to—”

“I know. But I want to.” He turned the key in the ignition, resolute. “So I’ll call Diane and get it done.”

This is the last time, I won’t hurt you anymore

Cameron bounced out of his grandmother’s lap and made a beeline for his mother as Jason held the door open for her. He wrapped his arms around her leg. “Mommy, Mommy, I missed you. You bring home my new brother? Where is he?”

“Not here yet,” Elizabeth said, wishing she could scoop him up in her arms—she could have done that even a few weeks ago, but over the last few days, her energy had dropped to almost nothing. Her bones felt as if they’d been replaced by sludge and she was trying to swim through it.

Jason closed the door behind her and put a hand at her waist. “Let’s sit down,” he told Cameron. “So you can sit with Mommy.”

“Okay.” Cameron grinned at him, then went back to his grandmother who had risen, worry in her eyes.

“Is everything all right, darling?” Audrey asked as she took Cameron’s hand and gently steered him away until Jason had helped Elizabeth take a seat.

“Nothing. Just a bit tired—” Elizabeth caught Jason’s eye, and sighed. “I’m a little anemic,” she admitted. “Kelly’s running some tests, but it just means I’m more tired. And I’m taking early maternity leave.” She wrinkled her nose at that. “Epiphany and Bobbie put their heads together, I think, and decided that even paperwork would be too much.”

Audrey didn’t argue with that idea, and Elizabeth knew her grandmother was thinking of the arguments they’d had about her double shifts and pushing so hard last fall — Elizabeth hadn’t known what else to do. She’d needed the money — and the distraction.

“The good news is that we had another ultrasound and this time the baby had turned enough to see—” Elizabeth pressed her hand to her belly. “Cameron was right. It’s a boy.”

“Oh!” Audrey’s worry shifted into delight. “How lovely.”

“Yay! I get a brother! No icky girls.” Cameron made a retching noise, and Elizabeth smiled.

“I think a little girl would have been nice,” Audrey told him. “You’d be an excellent big brother. But we’re quite happy with a healthy baby at the end of the day. So more bed rest?”

“Still light,” Elizabeth said, with a nod. “But yeah. I’m sure it’s nothing serious. I’ll do some more vitamins, she might have me check in overnight to get some iron supplements.” She grimaced. “I should go lay down.”

She held out her hand for Jason to help her up, but he decided not to bother with any of that. Instead, he put her arm around his neck and lifted her up. “Jason, I’m way too heavy—”

“Not even close to what I bench press,” he said, his breathing not even changing. “No stairs,” he reminded her.

She decided not to argue and laid her head against his shoulder. She was asleep before they even reached the top of the stairs.

October 2, 2022

Update Link: Counting Stars – Chapter 2

I’m glad you guys liked the first chapter! I’m really happy with how this book worked out (and even more excited about the edits I’m still making). I really pushed myself in some areas, and it’s definitely a new territory for me in GH canon. I’ve only written Signs of Life, which didn’t really touch on a lot of characters. This is your second preview chapter to replace a Flash Fiction update!

While it definitely sucked to spend so much of this weekend doing work, I’m glad I did it. I learned how to write units in my school’s lesson planners, which means I just have to click one button to update lesson plans every rotation instead of rewriting them every single week. It’s going to save me so much time and energy. Plus, I finished writing my second unit yesterday, and I’m going to be doing a lot of prep today to get ready for this week (I have to create teaching slides and Google Classroom posts). I also got all my papers graded yesterday.

Next weekend is a three day weekend, and the prep work I’ve put it this weekend will mean I can spend most of the next weekend writing — and finish the beta draft of Counting Stars. I’m hopefully carving out some time this afternoon/evening to finish a chapter of Stars, and then begin working on Kismet, which is the new project for this fall.

As always, I appreciate all the support and patience! I Flash Fiction will be back as scheduled next week and we’ll be in good shape to maintain the schedule going forward. September is always a wild month, and I guess I should be happy that I kept as much of my schedule as I did.

See you on Friday night!

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the Previews: Counting Stars

Reminder: This is a beta chapter. It’s been edited for typos, but some may still exist. This is not the final edit.

Chapter 2

Don’t speak
I know just what you’re saying
So please stop explaining
Don’t tell me ’cause it hurts
Don’t speak
I know what you’re thinkin’
I don’t need your reasons
Don’t tell me ’cause it hurts

Don’t Speak, No Doubt

Tuesday, January 11, 2000

Elm St. Pier

“Let me—” Sorel clawed at Jason’s hand, but the words were choked out. He couldn’t breathe. Elizabeth looked around frantically. Oh, God, what if someone saw Jason—he’d just been trying to help—would they believe Sorel had threatened her? Had he really? Technically?

“What happened to Moreno,” Jason said, his voice quiet but firm and very nearly terrifying, “will happen to you. If you speak to her again, if you even look in her direction—there will be no negotiations. I will find you, and I will end you—”

Her eyes bulged at that, but Sorel nodded rapidly, and Jason released him. Sorel clambered to his feet, and rushed up the steps and around the corner, Jason waiting until he was gone before he whirled around, his eyes still angry, his chest heaving.

“Are you okay?” he demanded.

“I—” Elizabeth swallowed hard. The entire exchange had taken maybe a minute, and she couldn’t quite catch her breath. “I—yes—”

“Why the hell were you talking to him?”

Her mouth dropped open and she took a step back. “Excuse me?” Her shock was fading, and fury was rapidly seeping in. “What did you just say to me?”

“He was responsible for the bomb, Elizabeth! You should have walked away! This isn’t a game—”

“Did it look like I could walk away?” she snapped and he closed his mouth. “He grabbed me, Jason, okay? I’m sorry we can’t all be that quick on our feet. I didn’t know if I could get away or if there was someone waiting—” Her voice faltered. A game. He’d accused her — Tears stung her eyes and she couldn’t force another word out. How many ways did he have to show her how little he thought of her?

He exhaled slowly. “I’m sorry, I—”

“I’m not an idiot, and I know this isn’t a game. I’m the one that found you in the snow and tore apart my entire life to keep your secret—”

“I know—” Jason dragged his hands through his hair, then scrubbed him across his face. “I know,” he repeated and now he sounded like himself again. “I’m sorry,” he said again, meeting her gaze. “I was—when I saw you—and his hands on you—I just—I reacted. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. Any of it.”

She folded her arms tightly, dropped her eyes to the gray, weathered planks of the pier. “He approached me,” Elizabeth said. “I was just standing here, minding my own business. I didn’t talk to him—”


“What’s the point of all of this? I thought you said if we didn’t see each other—” A scalding tear slid down her cheek, and she closed her eyes. God, she didn’t have the energy for this today. Or any day. “I care about you. I don’t know why I have to pretend like I don’t.”

“I’m not asking you to—”

Her eyes flew open and she scowled at him, angrily swiping at her years. “Of course you are! Or maybe it’s different for you. Maybe you can decide not to be friends with someone and you can just stop caring about them—” Maybe he never had—maybe it had always been in her mind—

“You know I’m staying away because I do care,” Jason cut in sharply, taking a step towards her. He reached out, lifted her chin so their eyes met. “It would be easier if I didn’t.”

“It’s not working,” Elizabeth said. “He still knows who I am. And after this, I don’t think he’s going to believe that I don’t matter.” Her eyes searched his. “So the only thing that’s changed is I don’t get to see you.” She licked her lips. “Do you miss me?”

His hand dropped to his side. “Elizabeth—”

“Do you?” she demanded, desperate for something. For some indication that she mattered to someone

“Yes.” The word was barely audible, barely more than the escape of breath from his lips but she could hear it and it was like a rush of cool water. “Yes,” he repeated, a bit more strongly. “But it’ll never stop. There will always be another Sorel—”

“I miss you, too,” Elizabeth told him and he closed his mouth. “And I think it should be my risk to take.”

He swallowed hard, looked away, then nodded. “You’re right,” he murmured. He took a deep breath. “It’s your choice. I just—” His hand hovered over her shoulder, the tips of his fingers just barely brushing her hair. “I just don’t want to see you hurt.”

“There’s a lot of ways a person can be hurt, Jason,” she replied. “I don’t want to pretend anymore. Or live a lie. Please don’t ask me to.”

“All right.” He nodded. There was another roll of thunder, and Jason looked out of the water, taking in the same storm clouds she’d seen earlier. “That’ll be here in a few hours,” he said. “And if the forecast is right, it’ll be a few days before the weather clears again.” He tipped his head towards the stairs. “Why don’t we take a ride while we can?”

Elizabeth beamed, all of the misery and despair dissipated like the sun had broken through the clouds. “Can I drive?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Oh come on—” She pouted as she followed him up the stairs. “Just for a few blocks.”



Quartermaine Estate: Nursery

Carly closed the door, then lifted Michael from his toddler bed to cuddle with him in the rocking chair by the window. “Hey there, Mr. Man.”

“Mommy…” He snugged closer. “Is it time for my bed time story?”

“Just like every night,” she told him. She reached reached into her pocket for the small photograph she kept on her body at all times—she couldn’t have anyone else finding her. “Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess named Carly who was in a lot of trouble. She was saved by a handsome prince who rode to her rescue and fell in love with her.” She handed Michael the photo. “The princess wanted to live forever with her prince, but the world was mean and she had to leave with her son. But she promised the prince she’d come home one day.”

Carly tapped the photo. “The prince waits for his princess and his son to come home.” She kissed the top of his head. One day, the story would have a happy ending, she was determined. Jason would forgive her—he always did. And she’d find a way to make their family whole again.

Until then, she’d tell Michael his story, and make sure he never forgot who really loved him.”Who’s that in the picture, Michael?”

“My other daddy,” Michael said, a bit drowsy, his words slurred. His eyes fluttered. “Me and Daddy.”

“That’s right. You and Daddy. He misses you all the time,” Carly said. “And just like the prince, Daddy hope one day I can bring you home.”

Spencer House: Living Room

Laura was restless after Luke had gone, unsure whether to believe this new leaf he’d promised he was turning over. Since the moment he’d learned of her affair with Stefan on the island all those years ago, he’d treated her like a stranger.

Even during those terrible days after Lucky’s death, when he’d held her and they’d grieved together, there had still been a distance between them. A coldness that she couldn’t bring herself to understand. How could the man who’d been wracked with guilt over their past just that summer turn away from her so easily?

Laura went to the desk by the front door and started to sort through the mail, tuck away bills and throw out the junk mail, happy to have found a chore for her idle hands and pained heart. Underneath the pile, at the very bottom, she found a copy of a legal document.

The divorce papers she’d had drawn up when Luke had missed Lulu’s birthday that summer, and their little girl had cried at her party, asking why everyone left her. She’d waited nearly a year to file—

But Luke hadn’t been around to serve with the papers. Was it time now? Maybe. She took the papers with her to the sofa, to review the contents. She’d asked for the house and nothing else —

As she sat down, her eye caught the framed photograph Luke had picked up earlier. It was tilted away. Laura abandoned the divorce papers and went to straighten the frame, sliding her fingers over Lucky’s beloved face. How happy he looked in this photograph—Laura hadn’t been at the Christmas party that year, but Bobbie had taken this photo, sure that Laura would love it—Lucky holding Elizabeth in his arms, the two of them listening to Alan Quartermaine read to the children.

They looked so happy, Laura thought. How could it be that her little boy had only been allowed barely eighteen years in this world? And poor Elizabeth, to find such happiness so young, and to have it so cruelly stolen? How much more would the universe throw at her?

Laura hadn’t seen Elizabeth in a few weeks. Maybe even months, she thought. That wasn’t right. It wasn’t fair. She had loved Elizabeth, had looked forward to welcoming her into the family—

Laura set the photo back on the mantel, straightening it so that Lucky faced the room. It was time to start living again, she thought. To move on and start the next chapter. And she’d begin by looking in on Elizabeth and filing her divorce papers.

Kelly’s: Courtyard

Nikolas hissed with some irritation as he left the diner. Elizabeth wasn’t scheduled until the next day, Tammy had told him, and if the snow storm didn’t weaken overnight, her morning shift might be canceled.

He wanted to honor his promise to Emily to resolve matters with Elizabeth, though he wasn’t entirely sure how he would manage that if she insisted on keeping Jason Morgan in her life—

Nikolas strode away from Kelly’s and crossed the street, heading towards the waterfront and Elizabeth’s studio. He couldn’t understand, after the year she’d just had, why Elizabeth would want to be around someone who was responsible for Lucky’s death — it had been Jason’s enemies who burnt down the garage—Sonny must have paid off all the authorities to make sure it was buried, but Nikolas knew the truth—

And despite that, despite everything she knew, Elizabeth had let Jason touch her. His blood began to boil at the memory of Elizabeth and Jason in the studio, her leaning over his bare chest—

She’d forgotten Lucky so quickly, used him as excuse push Nikolas away, but Jason—the reason Lucky was dead—he was good enough?

He turned the corner of the stairs to lead down to Elm Street Pier, then stopped when he heard voices. Familiar voices.

Elm Street Pier

He didn’t even know how it had happened—he hadn’t started the day intending to end it with Elizabeth on the docks, sipping coffee while she drank hot chocolate. The night was bitterly cold, and he knew that he should walk her home.

He just didn’t want to.

The last few hours, on the bike, with Elizabeth screaming in delight behind him, holding on tight—it was the best he’d felt in weeks. And every time he wasn’t with her—

“Are you all right?”

Jason looked over to find her staring at him. She was biting her lip with her eyes narrowed. “What?”

“You just seem…quiet isn’t the right word,” she said, “because you’re always quiet. Which is okay, I guess, I talk enough for five people. Um, I don’t know. It just feels like you’re distracted. Do you have to be somewhere?”

“No,” he said quickly, almost tripping over her words. “No, I don’t. I was just—I’ve missed this,” he admitted and she smiled again. “Even though it’s really too cold to sit out here.” He tossed his empty cup in the nearby trash. “We should get you back to the studio. That storm is going to be hitting in a few hours.” He got to his feet.

Elizabeth sighed. “Yeah, I guess. I’m supposed to open tomorrow—unless the storm closes everything.” She pulled herself to her feet and tossed her cup away. “Are you going to come in tomorrow for coffee like you used to?” She started for the steps and started the climb.

“I—” He grimaced. “Probably not,” he admitted as he followed her. “I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

She stopped and whirled so suddenly that it took him an extra step or two to realize it. He crashed into her, then snagged her by the waist to keep her from falling down the steps, instinctively pulling her against him.

Startled, Elizabeth rested her arms on his biceps and blinked up at him, her lips slightly parted, just inches from his own since she was a few steps above him. He could feel her breath, warm against his skin. Their eyes met, held for a long moment, before he dropped his gaze to her mouth. She licked her lips, and he nearly—

Jason cleared his throat and set her firmly on her feet, his hands falling away from her waist. “I’m sorry,” he said, his voice sounding rough and strange to his own ears. Her eyes were wide. “I didn’t mean—”

“Why isn’t it a good idea?” she asked, and he had the oddest feeling that she was asking about more than just coffee at Kelly’s.

“It’s not you,” Jason told her. “I need to lay low for a few days.” Away from Sonny and Carly. Not her. Nothing about how messed up and confusing his life was had anything to do with Elizabeth.

At least it hadn’t until thirty seconds earlier. He’d nearly kissed her. What a colossally stupid move that would be, and she wouldn’t want that—

I care about you. I don’t know why I have to pretend like I don’t.

“Okay,” Elizabeth drawled, clearly unsure. She shoved her hands in the pockets of her jacket. The leather jacket he’d bought her for Christmas. She’d worn it even though she’d been angry at him— “Um, should I just—I can get back to studio on my own—”

“No, I can walk you.” He wanted to. And maybe he needed to. To cling to this one piece of his world that didn’t hurt. “It’s okay.”

“If you’re sure.” Clearly bewildered, Elizabeth turned around and started back up the stairs. Jason closed his eyes, took a deep breath, then followed her.

When they had disappeared, Nikolas stepped out from the shadows and glared after them, all thoughts of resolving matters vanished.

October 1, 2022

Update Link: Counting Stars – Chapter 1

I won’t be able to update flash fiction this weekend. We had testing this week (New Jersey has added a second round of standardized testing at the beginning of the year) and we didn’t realize it was going to happen (admin didn’t give us a lot of notice) until Thursday of last week. Testing always puts everyone behind because things get shuffled, classes get moved (I was literally told on Tuesday five minutes before classes started that my entire first block would be in a different room, and I wasn’t prepped for that, we needed to be in my room for that lesson). I’m also co-advisor of the National Junior Honor Society, and we launched our first fundraiser this week (which we would NOT have scheduled for testing week, but ugh). Absolutely EVERYTHING got away from me this week, including real life stuff, and progress report grades are due Monday night.

I’m tired just typing all of that.

Anyway, instead of just skipping, I thought I’d give you guys some preview chapters of Counting Stars. And I’ll do that every time I have to skip a Flash Fiction update, so at least I’m still around, lol.

These are beta chapters, which means they’ve been edited but some typos still exist, and these are not necessarily the final edit. I’ll be back tomorrow with a Chapter 2 preview.