Written in 64 minutes.
Morgan Penthouse: Master Bedroom
He’d been irritated when he’d heard Sonny’s voice on the other end of the line. His partner knew Jason was spending the day with his family — had known he was hoping to find the right moment to ask Elizabeth to marry him — so when he’d heard Sonny’s voice, he’d immediately thought that he’d have to leave for some part of his job that was too dangerous or risky to ask anyone else.
He’d been wrong.
“There’s no official identification yet,” Sonny said, still talking even though Jason’s ears were ringing and he couldn’t really process anything beyond those first few words. “But Spencer’s on the scene.”
Emily. His little sister. Emily.
“Yeah.” Jason cleared his throat. “I’m here.”
“I wanted you to know before it hit the news. I don’t know how long they’ll keep it back. I don’t know what’s going on yet. I’ll get more, okay?”
Sonny was quiet. “I’ll let you go. You call me if you need anything. To look after the boys, to sit with — hell, if you need to take a swing—just—”
“Yeah.” He couldn’t produce another answer. Couldn’t do anything but form the same words over and over again. Emily. His little sister.
There was a muffled sound of a door closing down the hall and Jason took a deep breath. “I have to go.”
“Okay.” The line went dead, and Jason lowered the phone from his ear, but then he just stared at it. How long had the call been? Two minutes? Three?
How much time did you need to destroy a world?
The door slid open, and Elizabeth stepped in—freezing when she saw him. “Jason?”
He looked at her, and in even in the shadows of the room, saw her swallow hard before she said his name again.
“Emily,” he said. “It’s Emily.” He flipped the phone closed and set it gently on the nightstand. How did he do this? How did he destroy Elizabeth’s world when his own was already in tatters and he couldn’t even think about the word or what had to be done or said—
“Was she—” Elizabeth’s voice wavered. “An accident? We’ll go to the hospital. We can—” She started for the closet, dragging the door open. “We’ll get dressed. I’ll call my grandmother.” Her movements were jerky, frantic as she ripped out a sweater. “She can sit with the boys—”
“Elizabeth.” His voice sounded rusty to his ears. He rose to his feet. “Elizabeth.”
“You have her number, don’t you? Can you—I have to—” Elizabeth turned, clothes clutches in her hands. Her eyes were wide, her face pale. Some piece of her already knew. He could see it in her eyes. Somewhere deep inside, she knew. But if she kept moving and speaking, she’d never have to say it.
He walked across the room, towards her, but Elizabeth backed away from him, shaking her head. “No, no, you have to get dressed, too. I’ll call her. I can do that. You get dressed and I’ll call her—” Her back hit the wall, and her eyes closed. Her fingers were wrapped tightly around her clothes, holding them against her chest like a shield. “We have to go to the hospital, don’t we?”
“Elizabeth.” Jason gently placed his hands over hers, and her fingers went limp, the jeans and sweater falling to her feet. Her beautiful eyes shimmered with tears, and he knew the burning in his own would only be relieved when he let his own tears fall. “She’s—”
He couldn’t say it. Couldn’t form the words. How many times had he said them before? Why couldn’t he do it? He couldn’t. Because even though Elizabeth knew, even though he knew —
If it wasn’t said out loud, it wasn’t real.
Her lips trembled, and she closed her eyes. “Oh, God.” The words were ripped from her soul, a prayer to a deity who wasn’t listening. But then she dragged in a deep breath, and she opened her eyes. “Jason.” She hurled herself into his arms, and he dragged her against him, because it was true, wasn’t it? It was happening, and he hadn’t had to say the words, but they both knew.
He felt her tears as they hit his bare shoulder, and then the same sensation against his own cheeks. He lifted her into his arms and carried her over to the bed, sitting down on the edge. She drew back slightly, resting her forehead against his. “What happened?” she asked on a shaky breath. “Was it an accident?”
The words came now, though they weren’t easy. “No. They found her in the parking garage. Sonny said it was like…it was like…”
Elizabeth nodded, took another breath. She brushed her thumbs beneath his cheeks, gently brushing away his tears. But she didn’t say anything else. They just held each other.
General Hospital: Lab
“Supposed to be you?” Patrick echoed. Robin pulled out of his his arms, dragging her hands through her dark hair. “Robin—”
“Robin,” Mac said at the same time, and Patrick immediately fell silent. “Baby, can you tell me what you mean?”
She couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe. How could this be happening? It was too much. Too much all at once. The horror, the fear, the swirl of worry and anxiety, and the guilt—oh, god the guilt. “Kelly and Lainey.” Robin cleared her throat. “They asked me earlier. To go to Jake’s when we were done. Emily was going, too. It was—Em and I were going to meet them there.” Robin looked at her uncle, barely visible through the blur of tears. “Emily and I were going together. She was going to drive me.”
“Christ,” Mac managed. “But you didn’t go.”
“No.” And remembering why had Robin looking at Patrick with another dose of fear. If she was pregnant, oh, God, Patrick. He had to get tested — he had to be sure— She swallowed that for now. “Um. I didn’t go. I had some tests to run, and I just—I wasn’t up for it. So I told—I told Leyla. Leyla Mir. She’s a nurse here. They left together. Or they were supposed to. Leyla went because I didn’t.”
“Okay. Okay.” Mac absorbed that. “Okay. So Leyla Mir. I’ll—I’ll get someone who can identify—okay. Robin—” He looked at Patrick. “You’ll take care of her?”
“Yes,” Patrick cut in, his dark eyes eyes sweeping over hers. “Yes. I’m not letting her out of my sight.”
“Okay. I have to go—” Mac strode over and took Robin into a fierce, brief hug. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
He left, and Robin lowered herself onto the stool at her workstation. “I have to call Kelly and Lainey. And Jason. Oh, Elizabeth and Jason—” She bowed her head. “Patrick. Please tell me this isn’t real. Tell me it’s not.”
He came up behind her, pressed his lips to the top of her head. “I wish like hell I could. Call Kelly and Lainey. Jason—he’s family. Someone will talk to him. And then—can you—I know you said—but I need to know you’re all right. Will you come home with me?”
She should say no. She should be with Kelly and Lainey, who would be upset and grieving, too. She should be there for them.
But Patrick was the reason Robin’s body wasn’t lying in the parking garage. Patrick who had done nothing since their break up but stand by and do exactly what she’d asked of him, even when it had hurt him.
He was asking her for something, and for once, Robin was going to do what she wanted. “All right.” She looked at him, tears burning as they fell unchecked. “Yes. I don’t want to be anywhere else right now.”
General Hospital: Parking Garage
Lucky swallowed the bile that erupted in his throat as the medical examiner and his team lifted Emily onto the stretcher, and her limbs dangled lifelessly — her arms hanging over the side until they were tucked away inside the black body bag—
He couldn’t— he turned away, forcing himself to breathe. Breathe in. Breathe out. He owed Emily his best. He’d already failed her by not finding the son of bitch in time to stop what was happening — he couldn’t save Emily — but this son of a bitch was still out there, and with two more bodies, it was clear he wasn’t done.
There couldn’t be another one. Lucky wouldn’t let it happen.
Once Emily was moved, the examiner was able to get the second victim on the stretcher. When they lifted her, the hair was finally brushed away from her face. Lucky recognized her now. He’d seen her at a hospital function. “That’s a nurse,” he said. “It’s—”
“Robin said it’s probably Leyla Mir.”
Lucky turned to find the commissioner striding up. Mac put a hand on Lucky’s shoulder. “Robin was supposed to go with Emily to Jake’s tonight. She changed her mind, and asked Leyla to go at the last minute.”
“Oh, man.” Lucky absorbed the significance in that. “Mac—”
“Which means that should be Robin. We have to consider that, Spencer. The first victims were my stepdaughter and her roommate. The next would have been my niece and her friend. So far—” Mac’s face was gray as he forced out the next words. “So far the only thing the victims have in common is their connection to me.”
“Not the only.” Lucky’s mind could function now. Emily wasn’t laying there anymore. She was tucked away and gone. “They’re all dark haired — Georgie’s hair was dark blonde. Young. Emily, I think, was the oldest, and she’s only twenty-six. The youngest was nineteen.”
“Okay.” Mac’s face eased. “But Robin—”
“She’s not much older, right? Twenty-nine?”
“Yes. Thirty this year.”
“There you go.” Lucky shoved his hands in his pockets, watching as the crime scene unit continued to work. “And location. Parking garage. It’s riskier than the campus. There are more cameras. They’re already pulling them,” he added when Mac opened his mouth. “It’s a public location. He kills in pairs, Mac. That’s gotta mean something. If this guy wanted to hurt you specifically, there are easier ways.”
“Georgie probably took breaks in Kelly’s alone. Robin drives to work alone. But this guy didn’t grab them when they were alone.” Lucky’s mind was flying now with the list of things that had to be done. “We need to get cell phone records. Talk to friends and family. Robin would have said something if she was getting the phone calls and flowers like Georgie, but maybe Leyla was. We didn’t release that information to anyone else.”
“Spencer.” Mac nodded. “Yeah, we’ll do all of that. But you need to do something else first.”
Lucky exhaled slowly. “Yeah. I need to talk to my brother.” He thought of Elizabeth. This would destroy her — and against his will, he thought of Jason. For all they’d hated one another, they’d always loved Emily. “The Quartermaines?”
“I’m on my way to handle that. When you finish that notification, Lucky, you should stay—”
“I need to get started.” Lucky watched as the medical examiner’s team wheeled the bodies towards the elevators. “I can’t let this happen again.”
Quartermaine Estate: Pool House
Nothing cheered Lulu up more than deliberately choosing one of Dillon’s favorite movies to watch, and then needling him the whole time and getting film facts wrong.
“I think the resolution to who Rosebud is was the dumbest thing in this movie,” Lulu declared as the credits for Citizen Kane rolled. Dillon’s fingers tightened around the remote and he sent her a glare. “You know you agree.”
“I think I regret the day I met you,” he muttered. “Philistine. Imagine criticizing what every critic says is the best movie ever made—”
“Pfft…” Lulu grabbed a handful of popcorn. “Old white men. Everyone knows the best movie is Steel Magnolias.” Her eyes lit up. “Oh, no, wait. I think Naked Gun is the best—”
“It’s the best movie with a murderer in a starring role,” Dillon scowled. “You know, the fact that I ever thought I was interested in you boggles the mind—”
Spinelli watched them bicker back and forth, and found himself relaxing, even enjoying it. Lulu knew exactly how to push Dillon over the edge, and it truly was an amusing sight to see the Conflicted Film Major get all flustered and frustrated.
“Spinelli, tell Dillon I’m right.”
“Spinelli, tell Lulu that she’s going to burn in hell for—”
“Au contraire. Neither of you are, in fact, correct.” Spinelli grinned. “The best movie ever made is Hackers.”
Lulu gasped in mock horror and threw popcorn at him. “You need to take that back—”
“You would think that,” Dillon muttered.
Spinelli snickered, and leaned to the side to fish out the cell phone vibrating in his pocket. He frowned when he saw Stone Cold’s number. “That’s weird—”
Lulu opened her mouth, but then her phone started to ring. She flipped it open as Spinelli answered his phone.
“Spinelli. Can you—” Jason’s voice took a moment to steady itself, and a chill slithered down Jason’s spine. “Can you come home?”
“Of course. Is everything okay? Little Dude and Stone Cold the Sequel? Fair Elizabeth?”
“They’re—they’re okay. I just—if you could.”
“Of course.” Spinelli closed his phone, something swirling in his stomach. “Blonde One?”
“That was my brother.” Lulu’s blue eyes met his. “Lucky wants me to meet him at the boat launch. He said we need to go talk to Nikolas.”
Dillon frowned. “That’s weird. All at the same time? What could—” He stopped. “Wait.”
“Stone Cold said the family was good,” Spinelli said slowly. “But—”
“Jason and Nikolas only have one person in common,” Lulu said grimly. “Spinelli, we have to go. And Dillon—”
“Yeah, I think I need to head up to the main house.” Dillon dragged a hand through his wild blond hair. “Please tell me this isn’t happening again.”
Spinelli very much feared that Dillon’s hope would an empty one. “I’ll drop you at the pier,” he told Lulu. “Let’s go.”
Morgan Penthouse: Master Bedroom
Elizabeth’s fingers were shaking as she buttoned her jeans. “Do you think they’ve told Monica yet?” she asked dully. She glanced over at Jason who was pulling on a t-shirt.
“By now.” He cleared his throat. “I don’t know if we should—should we go over there or wait for them to call us—”
“Maybe Sonny knows. He said he’d keep you in the loop.” One foot in front of the other make. Make a list of what to do. There were steps that needed to be taken. Get dressed. Make sure someone was sitting with the boys. Then—
Elizabeth couldn’t fall apart again. Not yet. She didn’t want Jason to have to take care of her. She’d done that earlier. When he’d still be grappling with the horror, she’d broken, and he’d had to worry. She couldn’t do that to him. Emily was—
No, no. Don’t think about it. One foot in front of the other. Deep breath. One foot in the front of the other—
“Do you want to call your grandmother?”
“Spinelli should be fine. Gram—” Elizabeth rubbed her throat. Every word felt like it had to be dragged from deep within. “Gram is asleep. And I’m afraid of waking her with news like this. The boys—” Oh, God. Her babies. Cameron loved his aunt, and now Jake would never—
She bit down hard on her lip. Don’t fall apart. Don’t do it. One foot in front of the other. “They’ll sleep through the night.”
They stared at each other from opposite sides of the room. They’d both put on clothes. Jason had made his call.
“Um, I should call—” There had to be someone, didn’t there? Someone that needed to be told, something that she could do to fill the gap in the moment, because if she stopped—
One foot in front of the other. Keep moving. Don’t stop. Don’t think. Don’t look at Jason too hard because you’ll see it in his eyes and then you’ll fall apart and you need to be strong because he’s always the strong one and he doesn’t—
“Patrick. Or—” Her fingers fluttered and she found herself twisting the ring on her finger. The ring— She stared down at it. The ring he’d put on her finger a few hours ago.
Had that been tonight?
“We should go downstairs and wait for Spinelli,” Elizabeth said, but he snagged her elbow as she passed him, and she finally looked at him. “We have to—there are things to do, aren’t there?”
“No.” His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed. “No. Not right now. You can stop moving. There’s nothing to do.”
The tears spilled past her lashes and she shook her head. “No, no. There is. I just have to think of it—” She bit her lip again, and tasted blood. “Because if I stop, and I look at you too long, it comes back and I think about Emily and how she’ll never know that we’re getting married and what a stupid, selfish to think about—but now Cameron won’t know her and Jake will never know her and why is that what’s going through my head and no!” She stopped him as he came towards her. “No. Don’t. I’m fine. I’m fine. You don’t have to take care of me. I’m supposed to—”
One foot in front of the other.
“I’m supposed to—” Her voice broke. “I can’t be selfish. I don’t want to be selfish and make you worry about me. I want to worry about you, but I don’t know how because there’s no room for any of it, because none of this is real, and this—” Her voice faltered and there was nothing left.
“Okay. Okay. I won’t worry about you.” Jason took a breath. “Then let me hold you because I need to. That’s what I need. I need—”
She didn’t let him finish, she went into his arms, wrapping hers around him tightly, his face buried in her hair as his shoulders shook. Okay. They’d find a way to take care of each other. Somehow.