March 29, 2024

Update Link: Hits Different – Part 26
Novel: Fool Me Twice, Book 2 – All Chapters Posted


*takes a minute to freak out on Twitter*

Okay, sorry about that. The link dropped literally as I was setting up the posts for tonight, and I AM JUST SO EXCITED WE’RE GETTING LIASON SCENES AND THEY GAVE US A SNEAK PEEK– *takes a deep breath* I’m okay.

All right, let’s try this again.

I did some design updates — adjusting colors. I like the mix of purples better. I’m also working on the sidebar to keep it more organized.  There’s other stuff but I ran out of time because of my freaking out, and I have to write, lol. I write these posts before I start the timer.



This entry is part 26 of 32 in the Flash Fiction: Hits Different

Written in 59 minutes.

Jason swung his leg over the bike, and hurried to the entrance of Luke’s where Mike was waiting for him, pacing back and forth. “What’s wrong? What did Monica do?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t feel right eavesdropping, but as soon as I heard her voice—” Mike began, but Jason didn’t wait to hear the rest of the statement. He’d already been on his way out the door when Mike’s call had come through, and he was just lucky there weren’t any cops following him into the parking lot because he’d blown through two red lights.

He yanked the heavy front door open, Mike on his heels, and went inside. Elizabeth stood behind the bar, papers in her hands, and Monica was on the other side.

“What’s going on here?” Jason demanded, bounding down the steps and  closing the distance. He stayed on Monica’s side of the bar, ready to drag her to the door if he needed to. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“Just a little conversation between mothers.” Monica reached for the coat she’d tossed over the bar stool. “You call me when you have the chance—”

Jason gritted his teeth, stepped in front of her to block her exit. “No—”

“No,” Elizabeth said, nearly at the same time. “No, you came all the way down here. Why not tell Jason what you told me?” She set the papers on the bar, her eyes shuttered, her entire body tense. “Go ahead. You should be eager to tell him the truth, right?”

“I don’t think—” Monica’s grip on her coat tightened now, as if it were a lifeline thrown to her. “You should really—”

“What? Tell him myself? Aren’t you worried about I’ll find a way to twist and manipulate the situation like I always do?” Elizabeth shook her head. “No, you drove down here, Monica. You wanted to tell me you had proof. So go ahead, tell Jason your story.”

Jason snatched up the papers, his jaw clenching when he realized they were divorce papers between himself and Elizabeth. “What is this? We knew the Edward filed for divorce—”

“Those aren’t the divorce papers from the conservatorship.”

He looked down at the papers again, exhaled slowly. “These are from me,” he said, almost in a trance. The divorce threats had been real. How did that—how could it be right? And why— “If you had these all along, then why didn’t you use them in court?”

“That’s a damn good question,” Luke announced, sauntering in from the office, Sonny and Mike on his heels. “Hey there, Doc.” He leaned against the bar, his elbow resting on the top. His mouth was smiling but his eyes were cold. “What brings you down here?”

Sonny went behind the bar to stand by Elizabeth. “You good?”

“Jury’s out on that,” Elizabeth murmured. “Cruel and inhumane treatment,” she said softly. “That’s what those papers say.”

Jason frowned. “That doesn’t make any sense—”

“I threatened to kill myself,” Elizabeth said. She was looking at Monica who was avoiding her gaze. “That’s what those papers say, isn’t it? That I was using the threat of suicide to keep Jason from leaving me. From telling me he blamed for our daughter’s death. He was afraid to tell me. Afraid I meant it when I told him I’d throw myself out a window if I walked back into the apartment and saw Cady’s things.”

“Well, that’s just bullshit from top to bottom,” Sonny said with a scowl. “You might have been a pansy-assed Mama’s Boy, but you didn’t blame Elizabeth for the accident—”

“Like he would have told any of you,” Monica said finally. “You all would have taken her side! Talked him out of it! I was the only one who knew—” Her eyes burned into Elizabeth’s now. “I knew it was your fault, and it was only a matter of time before Jason came to his senses, and he did. That day. He came to me, and he told me he wanted to get rid of you.” She looked at Jason now, her eyes shifting, becoming softer. “You didn’t say it that way. You never would. I think even when you realized she was manipulating you, you still loved her. But you felt trapped—”

“Whatever I said or felt—I don’t anymore.” Jason set the divorce papers on the bar. “So I don’t know what you gain from being here right now. I don’t want a divorce, and I don’t care what you say—”

“But she does—” Monica stabbed a finger at Elizabeth. “You care, don’t you? If you’d known he wanted to be rid of you, you’d have taken that damn settlement and run—”

“How do we even know this is real?” Sonny reached for the papers, made a face. “I recognize the lawyer’s name. Cheap. Used by some of the girls when I was at the Paradise.” He set them back on the bar. “But that doesn’t mean you didn’t come up with this yourself—”

“It doesn’t matter what I think. Those papers—and those aren’t the originals,” Monica added, “those papers prove Jason wanted to be done with this marriage, and we’ll use them in probate court—”

“No, I don’t think you will.” Luke straightened, picked up the papers, flipped through them. “Because they don’t matter there. And the way I hear it, divorce court wasn’t really working for you either. No, this is a good old-fashioned guilt trip.”

Jason frowned at that for a minute, trying to work it out in his head, but saw Monica’s face flash with a hint of guilt. “You know you can’t use these in court. But you thought you could convince Elizabeth to walk away anyway. Because you know this would hurt her.”

“Jason, I’m doing what I think is best. For both of you. Elizabeth, all of this is just keeping you tied to the past—”

“I don’t know why you’re pretending to care about my emotional well-being right now,” Elizabeth said coolly, and Monica closed her mouth. “Fine. You’ve made your case. You’ve given me a copy of the papers. I’ll read them over and be in touch—”

“Why don’t you just burn them—”

“Because I want to know what else my husband told his mother,” Elizabeth cut Jason off without even looking at him. “And I want to think about what these papers mean.” She snatched the papers from Sonny, leaned down to grab her bag. “Sorry, Luke. I need the day.”

“Honey, why don’t you take a minute—”


But Elizabeth ignored all of them, and headed for the entrance. Jason wanted to follow, but first—

He looked at Monica, at the mother, and knew now he’d never think of her as anything else. “I left that house because all you did was tell me how to live. What to think. What to eat. How to breathe—”


“I got out of there, and I’m making a life of my own. You don’t like it anymore than the one I had before the accident, so you’re trying to take it away. Again. I don’t know what the hell happened before the accident. If what’s in those papers is real—I don’t know, and I don’t care,” he said. “You came here to hurt Elizabeth, to convince her to walk away from me.”

“I won’t apologize for doing what’s best,” Monica said, with a lift of her chin. “One day, you’ll thank me—”

“One day, if I’m lucky, I won’t ever have to see you again,” Jason said. He looked at Luke. “I don’t want to leave you short-handed—”

“I’ll handle it. You go after her and fix this,” Luke said. He looked at Monica. “And Doc, you better get out while you’re still in one piece.”

He didn’t know where to find her, where she’d go, so he started with the only place he could think of — the apartment.

And he found her there, sitting on the sofa, the divorce papers in her hands. She didn’t look up when he came in. “Whatever those papers say, it’s not me.”

“No one was in the room when I told him I’d throw myself out the window,” Elizabeth said. “No one else could have told her that happened.” She looked at him, and all the life had come back into them—tears clung to her lashes. “No one but him.” Her lips trembled. “I know it doesn’t matter. It didn’t happen. He never filed them.”

It was almost a relief to realize she was separating them. “But it matters to you.”

“It’s all such a blur, you know.” Elizabeth used the heel of her hand to brush tears from her cheeks. “Everything after waking up in the hospital. Finding out she was gone. The funeral. Every day, I woke up in hell because I remembered all over again. Sometimes I thought I heard her crying, and I woke up to feed her, but she wasn’t there, and I had to remember. It was…” Her breath was shaky. “It was awful. I couldn’t separate reality from dreams. And most nights, I just cried, and he held me, and he cried, too, and I don’t know, I thought we were grieving together, but we weren’t.”

Elizabeth reached for the papers. “It talks about the accident. Lays out the facts. I took Cady to see Luke and Sonny. And I was going to start back slowly — just doing inventory, light tasks. But Laura came by, and she was playing with the baby, and I was having such a good time—it just slipped away, you know, and then you called, and I realized I was late, and Cady needed to be fed, so I put her in the car—” She looked at the papers. “None of that is in here. It just says the respondent took the child to a bar, and did not return when agreed.”

“It doesn’t say you worked there?”

“No. No. I don’t know if that was the lawyer distilling into the light that would look the worst for me, if it’s how—” Elizabeth hesitated. “I want to believe this a lie somehow. That I wasn’t oblivious—I never—I never thought he blamed me. He never once said it. But if he was really afraid I’d kill myself, then maybe—God, maybe he did feel trapped.” She shoved the papers aside, went into the kitchen and grabbed a cheap bottle of wine they kept in the fridge.

“It’s not even noon,” Jason said, rising to his feet.

“Well, according to those divorce papers, I’m a drunk who killed my daughter, so I think I deserve a glass of wine,” Elizabeth bit out. Then she closed her eyes. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Monica’s not wrong, you know. I did trap you.”

“What?” Jason frowned. “When?”

“I gave you a sob story about our dead daughter, and look, here you are. Back in my apartment. In my bed. Talking about refusing to divorce me. Just where we were a year ago—maybe I’ll get pregnant accidentally again, and we can run the whole damn scene back—” Abruptly, she sat down, her back sliding against the fridge, her legs stretched out in front of her. “That’s how she probably sees it. Just another manipulation from the gold digger.”

Uncertain, Jason sat next to her, wincing slightly as he tried to get into a comfortable position on the cracked linoleum. “You’re not a gold digger. And it wasn’t a sob story. It was the truth. We had a daughter. She died. We’re married. These were facts, Elizabeth. None of them were created by you to trap me.”


“And you told me to go away,” Jason reminded her. She sighed, closed her eyes. “I didn’t. And Justus had the idea that I should move back in here. You didn’t do any of that on your own.”

“Emily thinks it’s like a fairy tale,” Elizabeth murmured. “She called last night to tell me Edward and Alan had the financial audit, and she was telling me it was like a movie. Separated by amnesia, and we’re still here.” She looked at him. “What do you think?”

“I don’t know about fairy tales or movies,” Jason said. “I just know—when I left the Quartermaines, I wanted to make my own life. My own decisions and choices. They never let me have any say without making me feel bad or angry about it. But Luke and Sonny gave me a job and a place to stay. I didn’t have to take it — I could have left. But I decided to stay. And then you showed up, and I did what I wanted. Even when it was hurting you,” he admitted. “But I know that everything got better after I moved in here.”

“Yeah, you’re having sex regularly,” she muttered.

“You told me that sex meant something to you,” he said, with a hint of irritation. “Did you mean it?”

“Yes. I’m sorry. I didn’t—” Elizabeth sighed. “I didn’t mean to make it sound…like that’s all there is. Or that it’s all you’re here for. I know it’s not. I just—” She twisted the ring on her finger. “I thought my life was over when I woke up in the hospital. I asked for Cady, and you just looked at me, and I knew, but I made you tell me because it wasn’t real until you said it.   I thought there was no reason to live, and that it would always hurt that way. But it didn’t…Christmas, you know, it should have been awful. Because she was supposed to be here. But I woke up on Christmas morning, and I looked at you, and I thought, I’ll be okay. Because I still had you. And we had each other, and we’d just keep holding on to that. It was a good day. The first one.”


“And I know you don’t remember it, and I can live with that. I know you’re not the same as before the accident, and who you are now is wonderful, and I don’t want to lose that. Because things got better after you moved in here,” she said, echoing his words. “But I’m just—if those papers are real, it shakes everything I thought about myself. Everything I thought about my life before, and I don’t know what’s real anymore. If I couldn’t see what was happening in front of my own face, if I couldn’t see that the most important person in my world was desperately unhappy with me—then how can I ever be sure of anything again?”

Jason got to his feet, then pulled her up after him, keeping his hands at her hips. “I don’t know what happened before,” he said. “If those papers are real, then I’m glad I got my head slammed into a rock—”


“Because it would have been a mistake,” he told her and she looked at him, tears sliding down her cheeks again. “I don’t know if they’re real. I’ll find out because you should know one way or the other. But I promise you, right now, that I’ll never lie to you. I’ll never pretend to be happy when I’m angry. And if I want to leave, I’ll go.”

She rested her hands on his forearms, and he was relieved when he saw the first hint of a smile. “I’ll never lie to you, either. Or pretend to be happy when I’m sad or angry. And if I want to leave, I’ll go.”

“Good.” He drew her close, wrapping his arms around her, relieved when her body relaxed against him. And he made another promise to himself — that if he found out Monica was lying to him, he’d make her pay.

March 28, 2024

Update Link: Fool Me Twice, Book 2 – Chapter Listing (Added Chapters 53-77)

Happy Spring Break!

When I got home from work today, I checked reviews on and saw I had a bunch of people disappointed I was writing Jason as “settling” for Elizabeth and that I was secretly writing JaSam fanfiction. I got annoyed, and I thought, you know what? I’m just gonna dump the whole stupid book today and stop thinking about it. (I clearly have unresolved rage issues.)

I started organizing the chapters to post, and then I thought — well why do I post chapters like this? Spacing them out, making you guys wait?  It’s so I don’t disappear for months on end between books, lol. And that was a good plan 2014-2018 when I was writing and posting as I went. But I’ve been finishing the books before posting for six years — and Flash Fiction is a pretty regular fixture.

SO. Executive decision. I write the books, I release the books as books. You read them in however many sittings you want. And Flash Fiction can be bumped up to 3x times a week, especially as we move into the end of the year.

Don’t forget to let me know what you think! I’m working on Book 3 right now, and if you like something (or hate it) let me know! You’re the audience I’m writing for.

Have a great night and enjoy 🙂 See you tomorrow at 8 for Flash Fiction!


This entry is part 39 of 39 in the Fool Me Twice: Ashes to Ashes

You squeeze my hand three times in the back of the taxi
I can tell that it’s gonna be a long road
I’ll be there if you’re the toast of the town, babe
Or if you strike out and you’re crawling home

Don’t read the last page
But I stay when it’s hard, or it’s wrong, or we’re making mistakes
I want your midnights
But I’ll be cleaning up bottles with you on New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day, Taylor Swift

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Port Charles Airport: Arrivals 

They exited the plane and moved through security, then bypassing baggage claim. Beyond it was the arrivals hall where families and friends waited for passengers to disembark.

Jason started to scan the crowd for a familiar guard — he figured Sonny would have sent Max or maybe Milo—but then his gaze halted — there was a group of people blocking someone—but he knew—

“Should have just parked a car in the lot,” Drew began, but Jason ignored him, walked forward—unsure if he was imagining it—if he’d just dreamed her into life—he’d done that sometimes, wishing so hard for to be in front of him, that his eyes would trick him—

But Elizabeth was there—he’d caught just the barest glimpse of her chestnut hair through the crowd and then the people around her had moved, and he could see her searching, her eyes darting around—then the smile when she found him. When their eyes met.

Jason forgot about Drew or anything—he closed the distance between them, his longer legs eating up the space faster—

“Hey,” she began. Anything else she might have said was lost when he tugged her into his arms and covered her mouth with his. He’d missed her more than he realized—had grown too used to seeing her every day—

Her fingers fisted in the material of his shirt. “Hey,” she repeated when he finally let go her go, her dreamy gaze a bit unfocused.

“Hey.” Jason tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. “I thought Sonny was sending Max.”



Drew joined them, his lips curved into a half smile, his duffel slung over his shoulder. “This is a nice surprise,” he said. “Unless you’re here with bad news.”

“No. No. Nothing that can’t wait for tomorrow. You still okay with meeting at Laura’s?”

“As long as I get eight hours of sleep before then.” Drew rubbed the back of his neck. “It’s been a long couple of days.”

“Then let’s get out of here.” Jason picked up his bag, laced his fingers through Elizabeth’s and they headed for the exit.

Spencer House: Spencer’s Bedroom

“You know, you think you understand how crazy your family is—” Spencer crawled across his bed to reach for the second controller Cameron was holding up from the floor. “But then you actually get to read witness reports about a weather machine your great-grandfather built and died in—”

“Yeah? More gruesome than you were expecting?” Cameron sat up, leaning his back against the foot the bed. He flicked a few buttons until the campaign started playing. “Whenever I heard that story, it just seemed like he’d watched one too many Bond movies.”

“And learned the wrong lessons—go down this alley,” Spencer said, furrowing his brow. “I think that’s—yeah. Good. Yeah, kind of trippy though. Apparently, there was, like, a blizzard here in Port Charles.”

“Yeah? In the middle of summer?”

“No, September. But still.” Spencer sat cross-legged. “It’s boring, though, I’ll be honest. Reading the files. I kind of thought I’d find something that we could do something with.”

“Do something?” Cameron echoed. He made a face. “Didn’t you promise Grandma that you’d just read?”

“Well, yeah, otherwise she’d never have let me. But what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.” Spencer shrugged. “I was talking to Trina about it when we were at the garage today, and she wanted to know how we knew Mikkos was actually dead.”

Cameron frowned, then paused the game. He twisted to look at his cousin. “Trina?”

“Yeah, she was reading with me. And you know, Cassadines don’t really die at first. Everyone gets a few false starts. My grandfather, Stavros? Died like twice before that last one.” Spencer hesitated. “Or three times. I lost count. And Grandmother, well, that’s obvious.”

“Not even sure she’s dead this time,” Cameron muttered.

“And my uncle Stefan? He faked his death, too. And they thought my dad was dead like twice before—” Spencer pressed his lips together. “Well, anyway.”

“I thought they found this Mikkos guy. The body anyway.”

“Your brother died in a hospital, Cam. With surgeons to declare him dead. They buried him.”

Cameron stared down at the black plastic controller. “Point taken.”

“Sorry, I didn’t—”

“No, you’re right. When it comes to the Cassadines—” He shrugged. “Can’t really rule anything out. What about your dad?”

“What about him?” Spencer said defensively. “He’s gone, this time for sure. We’d know if he was alive.” When Cameron said nothing, Spencer’s eyes darkened. “He’d have come back for me, Cam. Okay? He wouldn’t let me think he was dead all this time.”

“No, I know. I know. I just—I guess if we’re speculating about frozen dead guys from decades ago, it’s only fair to bring in another guy. And maybe if your dad were alive, there’s a reason he can’t come back. Like…my brother. Or Jason.”

“Maybe.” Spencer slid down onto the floor next to Cameron. “I wonder sometimes, you know. If maybe it were true.”

“I hope it is,” Cameron said. “But only if he couldn’t come back. You know? I don’t…I don’t want him to be like my dad—” He grimaced. “Like Lucky—”

“You can still call him Dad, Cam. No one’s gonna think less of you.” Spencer bumped his shoulder. “Unless you’re thinking about getting a new one.”

“No. Definitely not. I’m glad my mom’s happy. I’m glad Jason’s a good guy, and that Jake’s doing okay with all of it—” Cameron paused. “It’s stupid to think that my dad could show up and have a good reason for what he said at Christmas. For never calling or being around. There’s no reason good enough. Just like your dad. If he’s out there and not coming back — I don’t know. It just sucks. All of it. Not that I think he is—Uncle Nikolas wouldn’t do that—”

“He did some other stuff before he died, though,” Spencer said. He traded a look with his cousin, and they looked back at the screen. “So I don’t know. Doesn’t say much about me that I hope my dad’s dead or in one of those stupid comas. Because the other options aren’t great.”

“Maybe we’ll find out in those files,” Cameron suggested. “I could help read, if you want. Take a break from working on my car.”

“No, it’s cool. We need someone to be legal behind the wheels, and you’re the first one up. But thanks.” Spencer flashed him a grim smile. “I’ll let you know if that changes.”

“Well, Trina’s good for details, so you’ve already got some good on the team.” Cameron lifted his controller. “Now let’s get back to me kicking your ass.”

Morgan House: Driveway

Elizabeth pulled into the driveway behind the dark SUV, then switched off the engine. Jason paused, his hand on the handle, expecting to be dropped off while she headed home to the boys.


“I, um, Laura has the boys,” she said in a rush. His hand fell from the handle, and he shifted in his seat so that he could see her, though her face was only dimly lit by the security light by the front door. “I would have asked or run it past before you left but I didn’t—she didn’t offer until today—so I was thinking—if it’s okay—”

He cut off the ramble of words with his mouth, his hand on her throat, her pulse beating rapidly beneath his fingers. “You never have to ask,” he murmured against her mouth.

Elizabeth laughed, but it sounded a bit nervous and unsure, so he reached down, unsnapped her seat belt, then tugged her over the center console until she was in his lap, her back to the door and her legs still dangling over to the driver’s seat. Jason tangled his hand in her hair and kissed her again. Her nails scraped lightly down the back of his neck, and she struggled, shifting to straddle him, her hands sliding down his chest to the button—

And he rapped his elbow sharply against the window. Jason swore, and Elizabeth giggled, leaning her forehead against his. “We’re not really going to do this in the car, are we?” she asked. She leaned back, and he rested his hands at her hips. “It’s not like we’re teenagers who can’t go home.”

“There’s a bed inside,” he reminded, curling a finger in the belt loop of her jeans and tugging her back to him. She kissed him, keeping it light and soft. “And at least one room we haven’t been in.”

“That’s true—but—” She fisted her hands in his shirt and grinned. “The sofa’s closer.”

Metro Court Hotel: Suite

It was really time to prioritize finding somewhere permanent to live. He’d checked into the hotel, hoping it would be temporary. That leaving would shock Sam back to her senses and they could resolve things—

He realized now, as he slid the access key into the lock, then pushed it open, that he’d thought he’d be home by now. Instead, he was back at the hotel, considering a late call to room service and eying his neatly made empty bed with disgust. And Sam was across town, with Danny and Scout tucked away in their rooms.

He dumped his duffel next to the bed, then sank down, perching at the edge. He could call Diane and force some movement. File for custody. File for divorce. Do something that would shake the status quo.

But Drew didn’t want to do any of that. He didn’t want to burn bridges that couldn’t be rebuilt. Sam would see reason. She had to. He was a damned good father, and he knew she loved him. She’d stayed with him, hadn’t she? She’d chosen him when Jason had come home. That had to mean something.

He dragged a tired hand down his face, and let himself drift back to that moment in the airport, when he’d been walking with Jason, each of them looking for one of Sonny’s guards, and then look in Jason’s eyes when he’d found Elizabeth, when the world had fallen away and he’d gone towards her—

Drew had looked past Elizabeth, and just for one insane moment, he’d wondered if maybe Sam would be there, too. Maybe she’d missed him. But no, Sam hadn’t even known he was gone.

So instead, he’d watched Jason greet the woman he loved, and knew as Elizabeth had dropped him off in the hotel, that they’d go somewhere together. He didn’t begrudge them that happiness—how could he with all that he knew of what had come before—

But Drew wanted a piece of it for his own. So tomorrow, he’d go to see Sam and then he’d call Oscar.

It was time for all of them to stop standing still and take the next step. Wherever it led.

Morgan House: Bedroom

Elizabeth stirred, stretching her arm out across the mattress, frowning when it met nothing but air. She opened her eyes, found the space next to her empty, then rolled over, her eyes searching in the dark room.

As her vision adjusted, she made out the dim shape by the bay window overlooking the street. Elizabeth sat up, the sheets rustling. Jason turned, his shadow shifting.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“It’s okay.” She cleared her throat, pushed back the comforter and found Jason’s discarded shirt by the end of the bed. She pulled it over her head and joined him at the window, sliding her arm around his waist, just above his sweatpants. She could see a bit more clearly now, and there was some light from the street lamps outside. “Jet lag?”

“A little. But you should sleep. Don’t you have to work—”

“Not until later. I have the night shift starting tomorrow.” She rested her head against his chest, his arms embracing her. She could sleep just like this, she thought, wrapped warmly in Jason’s arms, his quiet breathing lulling her into dreams—

“Drew said you’d talked to Scott about Susan Moore.”

The words jerked her back to reality, and Elizabeth stepped back. “What?”

Jason sighed, then moved away. He switched on a light by the bed, and she winced, covering her eyes. “Drew. On the flight to Turkey. He said you’d talked to Scott.”

“Weeks ago. I forgot about it, actually.” Elizabeth tipped her head. “Why is he bringing this up now? Did he find something?”

“They looked into it.” Jason sat on the edge of the bed, and she joined him, curling one leg beneath her. “Curtis found some paperwork—Drew was put into the foster system just after Susan was murdered.”

“Oh—oh, God.” Elizabeth pressed two fingers to her lips. “What does that mean? What does he think—”

“He thinks—” Jason hesitated, then looked away, towards some undefined point in the distance. “He thinks Monica and Tracy know something. One of them did it and covered for the other, or they did it together.”

“Did what? Got rid of Drew?”

“Yeah. Drew and Robert said something to her before New Year’s. Separately. And now Drew wants—I don’t know—he wants to know if we should keep going.”

“I didn’t—I would have said something if I realized—it was just some old gossip I passed to Drew, Jason. I never would—”

“I know.” He squeezed her knee, then left his hand covering it. “I know,” Jason repeated. “I don’t know what to do. Should Curtis and Robert keep going?” She waited, and he spoke again, “If we do this, and it’s true, where—what happens? Does she go to jail?”

“Do you think she should?” Elizabeth asked softly. “If she was the reason Drew ended up in the system, growing up without a family—I know you don’t think much about the Quartermaines, but—” She closed her mouth, unsure how to continue.

“Drew told me that if I don’t want to do this, he won’t go forward. He’ll put it away.” He traced a pattern on her thigh, left bare by his t-shirt. She leaned against his shoulder. “He thinks if he did it without me, it would…” He paused. “We’d never be brothers.”

She was quiet for a long moment, taking it in. “And it’s something he wants, isn’t it?”


“Do you?”

“I don’t—” Jason considered the question again. “I had a brother once. AJ and I—we got along sometimes after the accident, but it changed after Michael. I didn’t…I didn’t know I was throwing anything away. That it would ever matter that he hated me. I didn’t care what he thought.” He paused. “But I see the boys — the way Cameron takes care of Jake and Aiden — how they are together — and I know I made a mistake. It was like that sometimes with Emily and AJ. Before Michael.” She remained quiet, her breathing soft. Comforting. “It was like that a little in Turkey. Maybe it would be okay. If we were brothers.”

“What do you want to do about Susan? About Monica?”

“I don’t—” Jason sighed, looked at the shadows clinging to the ceiling. “I don’t know. What do I owe to a woman I don’t remember. That Drew never met? Monica’s been through so much. I can believe if she did it all those years ago, she regrets it now. Maybe that could be enough.”

“You don’t remember her, Jason, because someone murdered her,” she said, her tone gentle, and he sighed. “She made a choice to bring you into this world. What do you owe to a mother you didn’t love? I can’t answer that. But maybe you owe it to yourself. You and Drew. For the lives that you never had the chance to live. Someone made sure that he never had a family or home to call his own.”

She rested her chin on his shoulder. “But what’s keeping you up right now isn’t whether or not you should keep asking questions. You already know the answer.”

“Yeah. I know. I just—it took a long time to look at Monica and see her as my mother. But if she did this—” He exhaled slowly. “If she did this, how do I look at her again? How do any of us?”

“And maybe she didn’t do this. How can you go on without knowing?” She pressed her lips to his skin. “Pandora’s box is open, Jason. We can’t go back.”

This entry is part 38 of 39 in the Fool Me Twice: Ashes to Ashes

Below my soul
I feel an engine
Collapsing as it sees the pain
If I could only shut it out
I’ve come too far
To see the end now
Even if my way is wrong
I keep pushing on and on and on and on

Nothing Left to Say, Imagine Dragons

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Quartermaine Mansion: Family Room

Tracy glanced at her phone again, her lips pressed together. Still nothing from Luke. That damned bastard hadn’t answered a single phone call in days— how was she to move forward if she couldn’t be sure that her hands were clean?

She prowled the empty room, her eyes catching family photos that hadn’t been there when she’d left a year ago. Jason and Drew’s children, Tracy realized, stopping at the mantel. School photos of Elizabeth’s boys, with Jake right in the middle — smiling back at Tracy with Lila’s blue eyes. No doubting the paternity there.

And clustered on the other side, near a photo of Emily, Danny holding his little sister. Tracy touched it, considering. What would her brother have said if he’d known about Drew? What if Monica had been able to bring him home? If they’d found a suitable cover story —

“Picking out your next victim, Mother?”

Tracy glanced over as Ned strolled in, a tablet in his hand. “Looking at all the grubby hands reaching for my father’s company,” she said coolly. “This family breeds like rabbits.”

“Charming.” Ned sat at the table, leaning back and crossing his legs. “Have you decided to let poor Michael off the hook yet? You could always go annoy Drew and give the kid a break.”

Tracy snorted, then turned. “Are you suggesting Michael can’t handle it?”

“I’m suggesting that it would be nice if you changed directions, but it’s asking too much.” Ned flicked at the screen. “What is the end game, Mother? You can’t really be that worried about the waterfront project, are you?”

“I have many concerns.” Tracy folded her arms. “This Drew character—”

“You know him—”

“I knew Jake Doe. I knew Jason Morgan. How do we even know he’s not lying or pulling a con? He was married to that grubby street urchin, wasn’t he?”

“Ah, so you do have Drew in your sights. Was Michael a diversion?” Ned lifted his brows, and Tracy sniffed. “You can relax. Drew received his ELQ shares, signed them over to Sam to vote along with Danny and Scout. He asked for one advance on his shares for the fourth quarter so he could invest in the media company.”

“How long before he held out his hand again?” Tracy demanded. “I knew it—it’s about the money—next, he’ll be trying to dump this company on you so he can flit off and move to the next mark—”

“Drew’s not interested in a merger. Aurora is his baby.” Ned set aside the tablet. “He doesn’t want ELQ, Mother. He just wants to be left alone.”

Tracy pursed her lips, sat on the sofa. “Maybe. But for all we know, he’s got more kids out there—”

“We ran a background check before we issued the shares. Andrew Cain was a decorated military officer who’s been married twice with one son. Until Scout,” Ned added. “We’ve been over this.”


“Whatever you’re up to, Mother, I want nothing to do with it.” Ned met her eyes. “Drew is a member of this family. Whether you like it or not. And Michael is CEO at ELQ. These are not facts you can change.”

Not that she wanted to, but she had a role to play. “That remains to be seen. I’ll be keeping my eye on all of this,” she warned, and swept out of the room, checking her phone again.

Damn it, Luke. Where are you?

Webber House: Kitchen

“You know, I bet Grandma has snacks at her place,” Cameron said, sliding onto a stool and popping open a can of soda. “She told you not to worry about it the last time we all spent the night.”

Elizabeth dropped a second bag of chips into the small cardboard box on the counter. “That was before Spencer moved in. Better safe than sorry.” She turned back to the snack cabinet, pursed her lips, and considered. “You’re sure you don’t mind? It’s a school night.”

“Nah, it’s cool.” Cameron grinned. “Spencer has an Xbox in his room, you know. So, uh, this is actually good for us.” He paused. “I guess you’ll have a lot of stuff to go over with Jason and Drew when they get back.”

Elizabeth bit her lip, glanced at her son over her shoulder. “Something like that.”

“Relax, Mom. We don’t have to talk about it. You said you weren’t gonna do anything crazy like marry Jason next week.” He sipped his soda.

“Cam—” Elizabeth exhaled slowly. “I promised you nothing would change around here because things happened with Franco barely two months ago. But—”

“I get it. It’s not like you met someone brand-new. Jason’s been around for a long time. And it helps Jake to have him be part of the picture. I’m proud of him, you know.  Jake, I mean. He handled this pretty well—”

“Because you were there every step of the way. Don’t think I don’t see how much Aiden and Jake look up to you,” Elizabeth said. “I know I put too much pressure on you, that you’re responsible for them a lot—”

“You make it sound like it’s a burden.” Cameron shook his head. “I like my brothers. And I got lucky because so do my friends. Joss pretty much considers them part of the family, you know? And Emma and Trina are great about it, too. And now we have Oscar. Mom—I know you’re still messed up because of what happened at Christmas, and maybe Jason is, too. I was kind of crazy at the party.” He rubbed his thumb against the laminate counter. “Did he ever, like, tell you what we talked about?”

“No. He only told me that you’d overheard Lucky. And I know what you told me.” She tipped her head. “Was there more than what we talked about?”

Cameron was quiet, and she waited, hoping he’d open up. “I blasted Jason, I guess. I told you that. Because I was upset and mad, and no one would just leave it alone, you know? And Joss told me about the divorce papers Sam sent—”

“How did—” Elizabeth shook her head. “Never mind. Go ahead.”

“I guess Sam is saying Jason abandoned Jake and that’s why he’ll be a shitty dad to Danny. That’s what I said to him. I asked him if he was gonna leave Danny the way he left Jake.” Cameron dropped his eyes again. “I told you all that then. The way he left us.”

“It wasn’t just Jason back then—”

“No, I figure that. I see how he is with Jake, and Michael talks about him all the time. So I know he’s good at this. I guess maybe—” He cleared his throat. “I don’t know. I was thinking about all that stuff with Dad—with Lucky.” He looked at Elizabeth. “I keep reminding myself to call him Lucky because he doesn’t deserve anything else, and mostly I can do it. Sometimes I slip, though, and I think about him that way in my head. I hate it. I’m okay with Jason being around, stepping up for Jake. And Aiden, too, I guess. But I don’t need a dad. You always thought I did.”

“He loved you so much,” Elizabeth said. “Lucky. He was your dad. He adored you. I think we both let ourselves forget that. Maybe it makes it easier. I wasn’t looking for a new father for you, Cam. Not with Jason or Drew or AJ or anyone else that came into my life. Because Lucky loved you.”

“Until he didn’t.” Cameron slid off the stool. “It’s cool, Mom, I’m dealing with it.” He offered an easy smile, one she didn’t buy for a second.

“Cameron—I know what it’s like to feel cut off from someone who supposed to love you—”

“Your parents. Yeah, I know. We talked about this—”

“We did. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t sneak up on you and hurt all over again. It took me a long time to accept that there wasn’t anything I could do to fix things with my parents. They’d made a choice, and I couldn’t keep punishing myself for not being good enough.”

“Did you ever…I mean, did you ever stop thinking it though?” He bit lip. “Do you wonder sometimes what you did? Like, if you’d done just this one thing, or maybe not done something else—like, what flipped the final switch?”

“I don’t think it’s really a matter of switches.” She considered the question. “When I first moved to Port Charles, I talked to my parents all the time. Mostly my dad because we’d always understood each other better. And then I…I got hurt. And I didn’t call as much. And then I didn’t go to Europe that next summer. They didn’t call all the time because your aunt Sarah lived with them.” She tipped her head. “I remember wondering all those times they’d called, if it had just been Sarah they wanted, and I was standing next to her. That one kept me up for a while.”

“So it was distance. Like me and…like me.”

“I think that was definitely part of it. You know, you get out of the routine of being together. Of being a family. And it just got easier to keep not talking. Because it would be awkward when we did.” Elizabeth leaned over, touched his hand. “But, Cam, if you’re asking me when did I stop blaming myself for making them stop loving me, the answer is never.”

“Oh, man.” He tried to laugh, but it was just a thin, nervous hiccup of laughter as he put his head in his hands. “Never? That sucks out loud.”

“It does. Most of the time, I remember that it’s not about me. I mostly stopped believing it when I had you. They put you in my arms—” Elizabeth cradled her arms, pushing herself back to that moment. “I thought I knew what love was before that moment, but I wasn’t even close. I’d loved you since I felt you fluttering inside me—”

She waited for Cam to meet her eyes, their matching blues locked. “But when I held you, it was like the world started singing. I loved you more than anything else in the universe, and I have never stopped. I can’t imagine not having this love inside.” She fisted her hand against her heart. “Even when we lost your brother, the love didn’t fade.  But it drowned me, you know? I couldn’t come up for air. All that love, it had nowhere to go. I never stopped. I will never stop loving you. That was the turning point. Where I started to forgive myself—and my parents—I wasn’t the daughter they wanted, and they weren’t the parents I needed.”

“But you said—”

“Every once in a while, mostly when Aunt Sarah sends a letter or emails me and she slips in that Mom and Dad were in town—or I see pictures on social media of her kids with them—” Elizabeth forced herself to smile. “It passes, mostly. But I’d be lying Cam, if I told you it ever went away.”

“Okay. Okay.” He took a deep breath. “I had a few good weeks, you know. I was fine with it after Christmas and Joss wanted to dump him in the Sahara, but Jason went to Turkey, and that’s where Da—Lucky is. He’s there. And maybe I could have gone. I don’t know. It’s stupid. But maybe I could have gone and seen him. Yelled at him. It’s dumb,” he repeated. “I was never going to go. No reason to. And you’d never let me. But I had this, like, thought flash, and I thought—if I showed up, I’d see the disappointment. I’d see it in his eyes. Damn, not the son I wanted.” He cleared his throat. “It won’t happen to us. You and me. Because you talked about drifting away, and you and Aunt Sarah hate each other, so it’s almost like they chose sides. But that’s not going to happen to us.”

“Yeah? How can you be so sure?” Elizabeth asked, tilting her head with a wry smile.

“Because me and Jake and Aiden, we like each other. And we like you.”

“Oh, well—” Elizabeth laughed and shook her head. “Always nice to be liked.”

“A lot of people love their family,” Cameron said, frowning, “but liking them is harder. We love you, Mom, because you’re our mom and you take care of us, and you know, Christmas. But it’s not why my friends always hang out here. Or why I’m cool with hanging out with my brothers so you can work. We just like to be around you.”

Her eyes burned and she had to take a few deep breaths. “That might be the absolute best thing you’ve ever said to me. Except the first time you called me Mom. That’s eternally number one. But that—that’s second.”

“Good.” Cam raised his brows. “Now, about moving the Xbox to my room.”

Plane: Main Cabin

As the jet taxied from the runway towards the gate, Drew reached for his phone to connect to cell data, noting that Jason did the same. As soon as the signal engaged, notifications began to litter the screen — he had more than a dozen missed calls and a handful of voice mails. Nothing from Oscar. Or from Sam, not that he’d really expected it. But he’d hoped.

The plane came to a stop, and the airport was visible through the window. Across the cabin, he heard Jason’s voice, speaking softly. “Yeah. We landed safely. Okay. Yeah.” His brother set the phone aside and got to his feet. “Sonny said there was a car to meet us.”

Drew nodded absently. “Did you call Elizabeth?”

“It’s late. She’s probably sleeping.”

“We should get out of here. I’m exhausted.” Drew slid the phone in his pocket. They’d been gone for barely forty-eight hours by the Port Charles clock, but the time difference meant somewhere, they were missing fourteen hours. All Drew wanted to do was find his bed and sleep like the dead.

Penthouse: Living Room

Sam stepped off the bottom step, exhausted beyond words. A few hours ago, she’d been upbeat, optimistic, ready to take on whatever was next — she finally felt like she understood what was in her own head and how to fix all the mistakes she’d made for the last few months —

A few weeks ago, even a few days ago, Sam would have told Valentin to go to hell. The secret she’d held so close to her heart since Danny’s illness a few years ago had revealed they’d all been living a lie — Silas, for all his faults, had said nothing to anyone else when he’d brought it to her.

He’d told her that, somehow, Julian was a match for her son, but that he wasn’t her father. And that Alexis wasn’t her mother. The daughter they’d created that long ago night was still somewhere out there in the world. Sam didn’t know or care to find out more than that. It didn’t matter. She was a Davis girl. She had a family and a life here. The truth didn’t matter.

But now that Kristina knew about Ric, and about Jake, and oh, so many of Sam’s other mistakes — now that Molly knew — and now that her mother was looking at her with those careful, suspicious eyes—

Would they ever believe that Sam had kept quiet out of fear?

“Just keep them busy,” Valentin murmured in her ear as Danny drew closer to them. “Keep them in court. Make them miserable. Keep their children away from them. Take them for everything you can. Throw any obstacle in their way.”

“That’s all you want?” Sam asked, her voice unsteady. “Distraction? You won’t come back for me?”

 “I won’t need to. Just a little time to get what I need, Samantha. And your secret will disappear back into the Cassadine family files.”

“Until the next time you want something.”

“That’s possible,” Valentin allowed, a smile flitting across his lips. Sam looked away from her son long enough to glare at him. “But only you can decide Sam. Is that a risk worth taking?”

She looked at the photo on her desk. Taken at Christmas with her sisters and her mother. Burning the bridge with Drew and Jason or keeping her family? Would Alexis still love Sam if she didn’t have to? Would she still forgive Sam all her mistakes? Or would Alexis start to remember she’d been happy with Ric all those years ago, and if not for Sam…

Sam closed her eyes. No, it was better this way. She’d keep her family. Her mother, her sisters. Jason and Drew would have to take care of themselves.

This entry is part 37 of 39 in the Fool Me Twice: Ashes to Ashes

I loved you with a fire red, now it’s turning blue
And you say sorry like the angel
Heaven let me think it was you
But I’m afraid

It’s too late to apologize, it’s too late
I said it’s too late to apologize, it’s too late

Apologize, OneRepublic f. Timbaland

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wyndemere: Study

Valentin had woke that morning with a measure of optimism and happiness, sure that the good fortune of the last few days would only continue. He’d located his mother’s files, decrypted the memory protocol, repaired his relationships with his wife and daughter, and had arranged for the bulk of the research to be done at his home base. As soon as Klein was able to extract memories from Stefan Cassadine, Valentin would be able to secure his inheritance and position in the world.

He urged Nina awake in the early hours, indulged in a delightful round of lovemaking, enjoyed breakfast with his daughter before Charlotte took the launch to the mainland for school, and he’d sat down in his study to go over business details of the vast Cassadine empire he now controlled.

His good mood was shattered around noon when his phone lit up with a call originating in Turkey. With a clenched jaw, Valentin listened as a doctor reluctantly relayed the news that there had been a break in just moments earlier and somehow, Stefan Cassadine had been spirited away. Their men had given chase but had lost the car in the twisty streets of Istanbul.

Valentin growled. “How can you have no idea—what the hell am I paying you for?” He tossed the phone aside, his skin heated and his pulse racing. Damn it. Damn it.

It wasn’t just the loss of Stefan and information that could be gleaned from his memories—it was the knowledge that somehow, Jason Morgan and Drew Cain had learned where his lab was located and what he’d been storing there. They had arrived in Turkey just as Valentin had left, congratulating himself on slipping away in secrecy—and now his lab had been breached.

There must be a vulnerability in his security—a leak in the mainframe that their blasted hacker had exploited or one of the men at the lab had turned—

He shoved himself to his feet, began to pace, his mind working furiously on plans for revenge. He could destroy the bastard — Damian Spinelli might be nearly omnipotent with computers, but he was still a fragile human. He could dispose of him—that would certainly distract and punish Morgan and Cain for daring to steal from him.

He could punish the brothers personally. They had family. Friends. Children. Women they loved. Thanks to his mother’s obsessions, Valentin had more than enough information about Elizabeth Webber and Sam McCall.

All of the options were tempting, but he took an extra moment. A breath. He had to remind himself that the goal was not to blow his own cover and ruin the life he’d built in Port Charles. The brothers hadn’t taken any direct action against Valentin because they’d lacked the certainty of his involvement in the experiments. Even now, with possession of Stefan, they couldn’t prove Valentin had done anything to hold either brother hostage. Only Andre Maddox knew of his involvement, and if he hadn’t given him up yet, it was unlikely he would.

No. Going after Damien Spinelli or anyone else that the brothers had brought into their circle—it was too risky, and Valentin still had to consider his own bottom line. He’d lost his half-brother as a source, but—

His eye caught a photograph of Nina on the desk, her sultry smile beckoning him like a moth to a flame. There were other ways to ensure Jason and Drew were miserable, of course. His revenge had to be subtle. Untraceable.

And he still had his mother’s memories to mine. Valentin would just have to readjust Klein’s goals. He’d unlock Helena’s vast memories, glean the information he needed, and eliminate every last living Cassadine to ensure his own branch was all that remained.

He looked at the photo next to Nina, at his bright smiling princess as Charlotte beamed out at him from her fall school picture. Oh, Valentin knew exactly how he’d make Jason and Drew pay for their crime.

Port Charles High: Classroom

Cameron scribbled down the postulate notes from the board, only half listening as their teacher assigned independent practice for the rest of the period. He was thinking about the paper he had due in three days, the test next week, and—

“You’re going to need to explain this to me.” A notebook dropped down on his desk, and he glanced up to find Emma twisting in the seat in front of him so that she was facing him. She made a face. “Reilly had me until we got to step 3, and then I was in no man’s land.”

Cameron reached for her notes, then tapped a space on the triangle. “You labeled this wrong. That’s why it’s the angle addition postulate.”

“You know, when I moved to California, you still thought math was the enemy.” Emma grumbled, but erased and corrected her work. “What happened?”

“Talked to the guidance counselor who told me you need math to get into medical school.” Cameron flipped the page in the textbook for their practice problems. “Decided to take it seriously.”

“Yeah, that’s what you said at lunch last week, but that doesn’t really explain why you’re good at it. And why medical school? What happened to soccer?”

“I’m not exactly Lionel Messi,” Cameron said. “And don’t label that segment,” he said catching her before she could make another mistake. “I think I’m good enough to complete for a scholarship, but not MLS. Anyway, it turns out math isn’t so bad once you get to geometry. I’m more worried about chemistry next year.”

“Oh, yeah, Dad said organic chem is what nearly made him jump out a window.” Emma tipped her head. “So no professional sports in your future. Why the family business?”

Cameron hesitated. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “It just felt right. To save lives. I grew up around your parents, my mom. It’s something that matters. And I want to do that.” He tapped her notebook. “You’re wrong on Step 6 of that proof.”

“Son of a—” Emma erased it. “Okay. Okay. Don’t tell me where I messed it up. I wanna figure it out on my own.” She stared at the index card where she’d neatly written every postulate and theorem, a line forming between her brows. “Theorem 5?”

“Yeah, but why?”

“Oh, you’re the worst.” Emma sighed, studied the problem again. “Because the ratio is the same on these angles.”

“See, you got it. Just have to take your time.”

She flashed him a smile, and Cameron dropped his eyes, not entirely sure he liked the way her smile made him feel.

“Didn’t that used to be my advice to you?” Emma asked. “When did we switch places?”

“Someone had to be the logical one, and it wasn’t going to be Joss.”

Emma rolled her eyes. “Oh, well, obviously not. I’m glad I moved home. It’s been hard,” she said after a moment. “Figuring out how I fit in now with, um, you know, Oscar and Trina. And Joss not being the worst. And Spencer being here—we weren’t really a quartet very long before Spence got sent to boarding school. And mostly we were trying to avoid Joss.”

“But you’re doing okay now, right?” he asked, and she smiled, though it wasn’t as genuine as the first.

“Yeah. I’m finding my way. We’d better finish before the bell. I don’t want to deal with homework tonight.”

Davis House: Living Room

“Don’t look at me,” Kristina said, as she sailed past her mother, “I’m not even here. I just need to grab one thing and I’m going right back to the hospital—” She stopped at the door to the kitchen, turned back to Alexis. “Wait, why are you home?”

Alexis, seated on the sofa and looking over paperwork, glanced at her, the reading glasses sliding down her nose. “No reason to be in the office when I’m just working on briefs. What did you forget?”

“Budget file for Laura’s meeting. I accidentally put it in my bag last night because I was in a rush to leave, and then I left it in the kitchen when I was making coffee—” Kristina leaned against the doorway. “It got mixed up with other things. I don’t know how you office people keep this straight.”

“Practice. You’ll get there.”

Kristina wasn’t so sure about that but shrugged and disappeared into the kitchen. She snagged the file from next to the coffee machine and returned to the living room, shoving it into her bag. “Well, back to the fun world of hospital administration—”

“Do you—” Alexis rose, removed her glasses. “Do you have just a minute?”

Because her mother never asked her anything in that tone, Kristina frowned, turned back to her. “Yeah. Laura’s meeting isn’t until three, and I’m on lunch. What’s up?”

“Have you talked to your sister?”

“Uh, not since we talked about it on Sunday. I figured I’d give her another day or so to calm down.” Kristina shifted her weight from one foot to another. “Why? Have you?”

“Unfortunately.” Alexis sighed. She made a face. “And I’m worried about her.”

“What else is new?” And after that conversation with Valerie, Kristina was less worried about her sister’s emotional well-being, and more concerned about what Sam would do.

“She’s talked herself right into wanting Jason back, which I suppose I should have seen coming, but I’d hoped—” Her mother made a face. “I just—I thought since you talked to her the last time, and it seemed to make her feel better—”

“I don’t know, Mom. It seems like I helped walk her right back into the old patterns.” And now Valerie’s concerns were making sense. Sam’s sense of security was being threatened, so she was backtracking and trying to get Jason back.  “I mean, you said she wasn’t likely to win her case against Jason. Especially with how hard she was going to fight. It feels like she agrees with you, and now she’s switched to the next plan. Which is getting Jason back. I think that’s a mistake.”

“I do, too—”

“Not just because of what I’ve learned about Sam’s…past with all of that. I mean, I don’t think Jason’s coming back to her. He has before, I know. But that’s…it’s different, isn’t it? He didn’t claim Jake before, and then they thought Jake was dead. And a few years ago, when we thought Drew was Jason, Drew only left Elizabeth because of the lie. He didn’t choose Sam then, you know? Mom. I’ve seen Jason and Elizabeth together. Have you?”

“No. No, I haven’t—”

“Sunday. At Kelly’s. They came in for breakfast, and they were so clearly…” Kristina lifted her hands. “They’re together. And Jason has Jake in his life now. What is Sam going to do when she realizes that?”

Alexis closed her eyes, rubbed her fist against her lips, considering Kristina’s words. “I simply don’t know,” she murmured. “Sam is anything but predictable.”

“Really? Because it feels like I can write the next chapter of this in my sleep. She was fine with staying with Drew until Jason made it clear he wasn’t picking her. And when she wanted to get revenge, she realized she wouldn’t win, and that Jason could just go on with his life. You told her that, Mom. Bifurcation. She might keep Jason in court, but it doesn’t keep him tied to her. But Danny does. She’s going to use Danny. Isn’t she? She’s going to give Jason a chance to be with his son, just like Elizabeth did with Jake.”

“Oh. Oh.” Alexis sank onto the sofa. “She said she’d let him think he’d won—” She rubbed her forehead. “What are we going to do?”

“Nothing. Sam needs to fail, Mom. You tried to talk to her, I tried to talk to her.” Kristina looked down at the file in her hands, remembering another set of files, ones that she’d handed back to Valerie, hoping never to think about them again. Remembering the cold way Valerie had dissected Sam’s past.

When her security is threatened, she goes nuclear.

 Kristina couldn’t just sit back and stay out of it. She had to do something to protect the people she cared about who would get hurt when Sam went off the rails.

 “I suppose you’re right,” Alexis said. “We may have to let this blow up in her face and pick up the pieces when it does. Maybe this time she’ll learn her lesson about Jason Morgan. You’d better get back to work.”

Penthouse: Living Room

Across town, oblivious to her mother and sister’s worries, Sam sat at her dining table, considering the next plan of action. It was amazing how much lighter she felt now that she had acknowledged the truth to herself.

She’d stayed with Drew that night in October out of fear, out of shame, really. Her instinct had been to run to Jason, just like everyone had always said. She’d chased the name two years ago, and that’s what everyone expected her to do again—she’d wanted to prove differently. And she did care about Drew. She loved him, the way she’d loved Patrick.

But she’d never been able to give up on Jason, and they’d been so close to having it all five years ago. Their son, their life together—she’d just been so angry when he’d returned, blowing up the life she’d already thought she was leading. And she knew she’d hurt him. It would take time for Jason to see that she was sorry, but she’d find a way.

The first thing of course, was to tell Martina to make the divorce from Drew as quick and as clean as possible to clear that obstacle.  Sam made that note, mentally shoving her divorce from Drew out of her mind. Jason was a different story. A trickier one. Sam had waited too long to figure out what she wanted — and Jason had started to move on. Just like before.

Just like that last summer when she’d been too broken by her grief, and Elizabeth had slid in through the cracks like she always did. But Sam had seen them kissing, and she’d known how to stop it, hadn’t she? And then the universe had given them a sign — Danny was alive, and even better, he was Jason’s son. Just the way he was supposed to be.

She’d drop the custody battle. The divorce—that had to stay it was. To stall it out until Sam had figured out how to bring Jason around to her side again so that it wouldn’t be necessary. She tapped the pencil against her yellow legal pad, where she’d been doodling out what kind of message to leave for Drew, to start the ball rolling.

Maybe she’d suggest family counseling to Jason. To build a relationship with Danny. Yes, he’d agree to that, and then they could talk about what it had been like before. And he’d remember their plans. And he’d fall in love with Danny—

Sam’s pencil stilled. He had to fall in love with Danny. He would once Jason had the chance. But he hadn’t loved him before. Not like Jake. Jason had loved that damn baby even when he’d thought it was Lucky’s kid. But Sam’s kid—

The pencil broke in her hand, and she stared blindly at the pieces. No, no. That wasn’t fair. It had been such a horrible time and only months after Jake’s accident. Jason had buried a son. And Franco had been such a nightmare.

Franco. She could use that, couldn’t she? Remind Jason how terrible it had been, how badly he’d treated her because of Franco — the same man Elizabeth had let into her lives.

Yes, that would work—and Jason would remember how terrible Elizabeth was, and he’d leave her. Sam just had to play her cards right — and she knew how to do that. She could play the long game.  No one was better than her at that.

General Hospital: Administrator’s Office

Elizabeth knocked on the open door to Laura’s office, causing Kristina to glance over from her computer. “Oh, hey, Liz.” The younger woman smiled. “You looking for Laura?”

“Is she in? I only need a minute—”

“Yeah, sure.” Kristina got to her feet and went to Laura’s closed office door. “She’s between meetings.” She knocked, then pushed it open. “Elizabeth needs you.”

“Of course.” Laura smiled warmly as Elizabeth passed Kristina and the assistant pulled the door closed behind her, leaving the two of them alone in the office. “Is everything all right?”

“Jason called just before he and Drew took off. They’ll land here around ten our time. Too late to really do anything tonight, but Jason thought maybe we could meet tomorrow.”

“I’ll call Robert and Anna.” Laura waited a beat. “Are you going to meet them at the airport?”

“I thought about it, but it’s late, and I don’t like to leave the boys—”

“Let me take them.” Laura straightened. “You can have some time with Jason, and I’ll get to spoil them with pizza and soda.”

“It’s a school night—”

“And I take Spencer to school on my way to work. It’s no problem to make a few more stops.” Laura took Elizabeth by the hands. “It’ll be good for you. And for Jason. Take some time together. Let me have my grandchildren and enjoy them.”

“Are you sure?”

“Absolutely.” Laura made a face. “If I have to spend tomorrow talking about how terrible my ex-husband and son are acting, at least let me have my grandsons tonight to distract me.”

“All right.” Elizabeth embraced her former mother-in-law. “I appreciate it.”

“Any time.”

Saint Andrews Elementary: School Yard

Sam blew into her hands, cursing herself for grabbing the wrong jacket on her way out. She’d carelessly left her gloves in the one she’d worn to her mother’s house, and now her fingertips felt numb.

A few minutes more, and Danny would burst out of the school, eager to tell her about his day. He really was the most beautiful miracle, Sam thought. The child she’d never thought possible—

“Well, hello, Samantha.”

Sam scowled, glanced to her left as Valentin stepped up to her side. “What are you doing here?”

“Picking up my daughter. What else?” He nodded at her bare hands. “Forget something at home?”

Sam wrinkled her nose, shoved her hands deep into her pockets. “I have nothing to say to you.”

“That’s quite all right. You can just listen. You know, my mother knew so many delightful things about our family. Have you ever studied the Cassadine family history?”

“No,” she said, tightly. “And I don’t care to—”

“Hmm, well, that’s a shame. You know, my mother never cared for you, but she was quite tickled when Alexis accepted you as her daughter,” Valentin continued, and Sam went perfectly still. “You’d think the presence of—what did she always call you? When she deigned to acknowledge your existence, that is. Guttersnipe?”

Sam said nothing, but her brain was screaming.

“But you’ve built yourself quite a lovely life here as a Davis girl. With those sisters of yours. The children. You seem happy. As your mother’s daughter.”

A hundred feet away, children started to pour out of the front doors, and Sam saw Danny standing there, searching for her. His brown eyes lit up, and he started to run to her.

“I wonder, my dear cousin, what your mother would think if she learned you weren’t a Davis girl after all.” His lips were near her ear. “And that you’ve known for some time that her real daughter is out there somewhere. Did you never wonder who she was? Or were you happy to take her place? To pretend? I wonder if your mother will believe that you didn’t know. Or will she see it as just another one of your little confidence games?” He paused. “Then again, maybe I could be persuaded to forget what I know.”

Her lips were dry as she finally looked at him. “What do you want?”

“I was hoping you’d ask.”

This entry is part 36 of 39 in the Fool Me Twice: Ashes to Ashes

There was nothing in sight
But memories left abandoned
There was nowhere to hide
The ashes fell like snow
And the ground caved in
Between where we were standing
And your voice was all I heard
That I get what I deserve

New Divide, Linkin Park

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Maslak: Warehouse

Britt waited in the driver’s seat, the engine idling, the warehouse’s cargo door open. “Come on, come on.” Just let him get here without a tail, so Britt didn’t have to drive. The last thing she wanted was to be in charge of the final escape — she’d just screw it up. What if she crashed? What if she killed them both? What if she took the wrong turn—

Headlights flashed and a van squealed to a stop. Lucky shoved the door open and ran towards the sports car, sliding through the open window. “Go, go, go, go!” he roared. “They’re right on me!”

Britt stepped on the gas pedal and the car jerked forward. She yanked the steering wheel so that the car skirted the van and headed for the other cargo door — but before they cleared the exit, she heard a car behind them. She took a second to look in the rearview. “Holy shit, they’re right there—”

“Yeah, yeah, I got stuck behind a goddamn truck and couldn’t get around it. Faster,” Lucky bit out, twisting in his seat. “Take the first turn up here—”

Britt did as she was told, and actually felt the car tilt to the side as she did a hard bank to the right.

“Okay, maybe not that fast,” Lucky managed. “Take the next two lefts. And don’t look back. That’s my job.”

“Yeah, if they catch up to us, do we have a plan?”

“Nope, so better not let that happen.”

“Oh, yeah, that’s comforting.” Britt jerked the wheel again and wondered if the car would end up airborne at some point. “And what if the cops get on us?”

“Well, then we’re fucked. So don’t let that happen either.”

“I hate you.”

Atatürk Airport: Terminal 230A

Nikolas was still glaring at his phone, willing the Zafer to make the turn towards the airport when Luke loped up, a bag slung over his shoulder.

“No sign of Cowboy and Little Obrecht?” Luke’s tone was easy, casual, but his blue eyes were worried.

“Still east of the D100,” Nikolas said tightly, his fingers wrapped around his phone. He looked at Luke. “Where—where is he?”

Luke’s expression was somber. “He wasn’t conscious. I can’t tell you if it’s the type of coma Morgan was in or something else. We need the doc. He’s loaded onto the plane, disguised as a cargo. I watched myself before I came to the gate.”

Nikolas exhaled slowly. It would have been too easy, too simple, for his uncle to have been up, walking around. “But you saw him.”

“With my own eyes. We got him. All we need now is the doc and my boy.”

Nikolas looked down, and saw with relief, that Lucky’s car had finally crossed the D100 highway. “He’s on the highway, driving straight now. I’ll go tell them to make ready for departure. I want to be wheels up as soon as they’re on board.”

Istanbul Airport: Plane

Jason buckled himself into the seat, then leaned back to look out the window, at the dim lights of Istanbul. “Feels like we just got off the plane,” he said.

“And somehow, like it’s been a hundred years,” Drew said, fastening his own belt. “You really think Nikolas is somewhere out there, don’t you? That’s why Spinelli couldn’t track the location.”

“Lucky didn’t care if we knew Britt was with him or if we put trackers on his devices. But he made sure to shield where they were staying. Yeah, I think Nikolas was here.” The longer Jason let it sit in his head, the more sure he was that somehow, the Cassadine prince had survived his fall into the ocean.

“If he’s alive — if Lucky and Luke are working with him — ” Drew shook his head. “We’re going to need more than our gut before we bring that theory home.”

“I know. But it’s the only thing that feels right. Elizabeth will understand that, and she’ll bring Laura around.”

Drew frowned. “If Britt hasn’t been with her father, and no one has seen Obrecht in months — just where the hell are they?”

“That’s a damn good question.”

The engines below them began to rumble, and then the plane began to move, taxiing down the runaway.

And within a few minutes, they were in the air, leaving Istanbul and whatever secrets the city still held, behind them. They flew towards Port Charles, where the day still stretched ahead of them.

Atatürk Airport: Parking Lot

Her hands were still shaking as she pulled the car into the spot. She stared straight ahead, her heart pounding in her ears.

They were alive. Barely. They’d clipped a few cars, and there had definitely been a cop somewhere, but—

Lucky leaned across her, turned the key to switch off the ignition.  “You can get out now,” he said. He pushed at his door, then looked back at her. “Britt.”

“Can’t move.” Her knuckles were white, and she continued to stare straight ahead. “Can’t breathe.”

“Well, at least you waited until we were safe to lose it.” Lucky sighed and slid of the car. He walked to her side, tugged it open, and took her. “Let go. Come on, Britt. We’ve got a plane to catch.”

“How can you—” Britt finally let go of the steering wheel and let Lucky pull her out of the car. Her knees buckled and she nearly fell. Lucky caught her, braced her against his body as he nudged the car door shut. “How can you be so calm about this? I nearly killed us.”

“But you didn’t.”

“I could have.”

“But you didn’t.”

“This isn’t—” Her voice faltered. There were white spots in her vision. “I almost killed us.”

“You keep saying that. Okay. Let’s just take a second. Here…” Lucky gently lowered her to the ground, leaned her against the car, then crouched down next to her. “Hey. You did a good job. Not everyone nails their first car chase. Full marks. Tens across the board.”

She closed her eyes, resting the back of her head against the cool metal of the car. “How are you doing this? It’s like nothing happened.”

“Listen, this was my childhood, okay? Constantly on the run, always looking over my shoulder. My old man taught me defensive driving before he gave me my first condom. And he did that when I was twelve.”

“What?” Britt opened her eyes. “What?”

“Yeah, I think I was ten when he took me out in the Cadillac. Up in Canada, where we were living for a minute. He always worried they’d get him or my mom and I’d be on my own, so he taught me to drive when I was ten. And I always knew where I was supposed to go if anything happened. Straight home to Port Charles and Aunt Bobbie.”

“That’s twisted. Nice, but twisted.” She exhaled slowly. “I’m okay now.”

“Yeah? Good.” He stood, then pulled her up. She stumbled a bit, and he put his arm at her waist. “You ready? Hard part’s over, Britt. Well, except for sitting on a plane with Dad and Nikolas for a few hours. That’s not much fun.”

“No, it’s not.” She cleared her throat. “Sorry. I don’t — I don’t usually fall apart.”

“Yeah, well, at least you waited until we parked the car. Smart.”

This entry is part 35 of 39 in the Fool Me Twice: Ashes to Ashes

And now I’ve been gone for so long
I can’t remember who was wrong
All innocence is long gone
I pledge allegiance to a world of disbelief
Where I belong

On a mission nowhere bound
Inhibitions underground
A shallow grave I
Have dug all by myself

Walking Disaster, Sum 41

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Maslak Lab: Rear Entrance

Luke waited by the door, his eye trained on the pair of white vans parked in the alley. The shift change lasted ten minutes. All they needed was the security system to blink out and they’d be on their way—

“Any time now, Cowboy,” Luke murmured.

“Patience is a virtue,” came the tense reply through the ear piece. “Thirty seconds.”

Luke clenched his teeth, then looked at the security alarm just inside the door, barely visible through the clear pane of glass. The light still blinked red.

“That’s thirty and counting—”

“That’s not very encouraging. Shut up and let me work.”

And then the light blipped green. Luke snagged the door handle and tugged.

Game on.

Istanbul Airport: Departures

With the flight time and time difference, they would land in New York only two hours after they’d left. But that still meant ten hours in the air without any idea what was going on the ground beneath them. Jason hated being out of touch. But if Valentin was going to do something, wouldn’t he have already done it?

“A few minutes,” Drew said, returning from the desk. “We’ll be able to board then.” He focused on the view of the city outside the large, plate-glass window overlooking the runaways. “I know there’s not really a reason to stay, but it feels like we’re leaving something unfinished.”

“I know.” Jason hesitated. “There’s something that’s been bothering me. Something I’ve thought of a few times, but I didn’t want to bring it up. I knew Elizabeth and Laura wouldn’t   agree.”


“Cassadines. Elizabeth said once that for them, death was only the beginning.” Jason paused. “What’s the one thing that Luke and Lucky might want to keep quiet? Even from Laura?”

Drew stilled. “You’re talking about Nikolas.”

“You were there in Greece, weren’t you? They never found his body. They never found mine. Here I am. You disappeared in a desert without a body.”

“Yeah. Yeah.” His brother grimaced. “I just—I don’t know. It’s…do you think they’d keep this from Laura?”

“Do I think Luke would lie to her if he thought he was doing the right thing? Yeah. Without question. But it might explain Lucky turning on him. Maybe he doesn’t like it.”

“I don’t—” Drew waited a moment. “It was crazy back then, you know? We found out about Nikolas’s role in Hayden’s shooting, and I was so furious about what he’d done. The lies he’d told. Dragging Elizabeth into it. And then he was suing ELQ and freezing the assets. I went to confront him on Spoon Island, and he faked his death. Pretended to have thrown himself out the window. I think he was going to frame me for his death.”

“I didn’t—” Jason blinked. “No one told me any of this.”

“It was a long five years.” Drew dragged a hand down his face. “It was around this time I think Maddox screwed with my head again. I was in the hospital after an accident, and I woke up with my memories restored, or at least I thought so. Then the thing on the island happened. Sam and I tracked Nikolas and Ava—not sure how she got involved—to Greece. We were going to force him back to clear my name. Then Laura and Kevin showed up. Lulu, too. And Valentin shows up to take us hostage. He was using a different name back then — Theo. Theo Hart.”

Drew sat back against the chair. “He put me and Sam in another room with a guard. By the time we got out and back to where the others were, Nikolas was gone. Supposedly dead. Ava said he’d signed papers turning the Cassadine fortune over Valentin, and when Valentin was going to kill them anyway, Nikolas jumped him, and he ended up going over the side.”

“But Ava’s the only one who was in the room? Where were the rest of them?”

“I don’t remember now. Uh, we looked for his body. But the drop—the ocean was below—we just—it didn’t make sense, I guess. And Laura believed—and we agreed—that Valentin was a threat to Spencer, too. Nikolas wouldn’t have left Spencer in harm’s way. He was the only Cassadine left standing, the real heir. Until that will showed up. If Nikolas faked his death again, I don’t—” He pressed his lips together. “I don’t know.”

He looked at Jason. “You’re right. Laura and Elizabeth wouldn’t buy it. They’d argue that he’d never stay gone for this long. And I have to wonder if they have a point. Why let Valentin go for so long? Why leave Spencer unprotected? What’s the point? We’re going on two years since Greece.”

“If Nikolas came back, wouldn’t there be charges in that shooting you talked about?”

“Not worth pursuing,” Drew said. “Not unless you want Elizabeth charged as an accomplice.” He paused. “I was so angry with her back then, but now I think—I wonder if she was scared. If some part of her wondered what he’d do to her if she turned him in and told the truth. He nearly killed Hayden to keep the lie going.”

“I didn’t realize how bad things were with Nikolas by the time he disappeared.”

“No, Elizabeth wouldn’t have told you any of that. She’s still convinced that there was something else at work there. Some secret war he was waging against Helena. You know how she is. Believe the best about everyone until there’s no choice. I mean, hell, she dated Franco.”

Jason grimaced, looked away. “Yeah, I know. That’s why I didn’t bring it up with her. Not seriously. Elizabeth told me the same thing about Spencer. But I can’t think of another reason Luke and Lucky would be so secretive.”

“Me either. And we’ve been asking ourselves why Faison would want you awake, and Obrecht would want to stop him. But doesn’t Britt’s story work a little better if Nikolas is involved?”

Jason considered that, exhaled in a low breath. “You’re saying Nikolas is the one that sent Britt to Russia. And Obrecht stopped her.”

“Because you coming home unravels everything, including Obrecht’s role in any of it. Britt is what connects the Spencers to any of this. Everything makes sense if it’s Nikolas behind it.”

“We’re going to need more a gut feeling,” Jason told him. “Elizabeth might be ready to consider it, but I doubt Laura will.”

Drew glanced over as the flight attendant motioned towards them. “We can talk strategy on the flight home. Let’s get out of here.”

Maslak Lab: Rear Entrance

Lucky tapped his fingers against the steering wheel, watching the back door like a hawk. In five minutes, the security system would reset, and they’d be screwed. In seven minutes, the shift change would be complete, and if his father wasn’t—

Then the back door flew open, and a stretcher was wheeled out, Luke at one end and the orderly he’d paid off at the other. And on the stretcher—

Well, holy hell. Stefan Cassadine was actually alive.

Lucky barely had time to take in the older man’s features before he was being loaded into the white van. “Come on, come on,” Lucky murmured. Tie the stretcher down, close the doors. Get in. Drive away. Lucky couldn’t do any damn thing until his father was gone.

The orderly took off down the alley way — smart man, fleeing the scene of the crime.

Luke whipped around the side and slid into the driver’s seat. Then peeled away, tires squealing as the van raced towards the main street.

“Ten, nine—” Lucky watched the rear door carefully. “Eight. Seven. Six—”

When he’d reached one, he took off, following his father’s wake. Just as he turned out of the alley way — he saw a car pull out of a garage next to the building.

“And here I was thinking we’d made a clean get away.” He pressed his foot on the gas pedal and kicked it into gear, following the first white van until Luke pulled into the first of their warehouse stops. Lucky pulled behind him — then kept driving right through while Luke’s van waited in the shadows—

“Well, Cowboy?” Luke’s voice came through the ear piece. “They just passed me—”

Lucky flicked his eyes to the rear view mirror, saw headlights behind him. “Yeah, yeah. They’re on me. Go!”

“See you at the airport.”

Lucky yanked the ear piece out — it was bothering his damn ear, and turned the van abruptly, starting his twisting and winding journey to the second warehouse where he’d exchange this jalopy for the sports car.

And finish the escape.

Atatürk Airport: Terminal 230A

It had consumed nearly every resource and contact Nikolas had in the area, but he’d managed to book a private terminal at the much smaller airport located near the Sea of Marmara. Though international and domestic flights still used the area, the larger airports had taken much of the traffic.

At this time of night, just before seven in the evening, the gate area had been largely deserted. Nikolas had purposely requested a gate at the end of the long departure terminal. He paced the small waiting area, avoiding the curious eyes of the flight attendant behind the desk.

He checked his phone, as he had obsessively since the operation had commended an hour earlier, watching as the dots representing Lucky in one car and Luke in the other drew closer to the clinic, then sat there, idling — meaning that they’d begun the extraction process.

Then the dots pulled away, one after another. With his chest tight, the dots continued to travel together until they stopped — one dot kept going, twisting and turning, and another made the turn south.

Nikolas exhaled slowly. Phase one complete.

Now he just had to hope his brother was able to escape whatever tail he’d picked up and get to the airport.

This entry is part 34 of 39 in the Fool Me Twice: Ashes to Ashes

In cards and flowers on your window
Your friends all plead for you to stay
Sometimes beginnings aren’t so simple
Sometimes goodbye’s the only way, oh

And the sun will set for you
The sun will set for you
And the shadow of the day
Will embrace the world in grey
And the sun will set for you

Shadow of the Day, Linkin Park

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Kiremit House: Britt’s Bedroom

The door on the ground floor slammed shut, then there was a light pair of footsteps jogging up the steps. Britt folded a pair of jeans and looked up as Lucky rounded a cramped corner to reach her doorway. “Hey. When are we leaving for the clinic?” he asked, leaning against the door jamb.

“Not until night fall. Around six.” Britt checked her dresser. “You’re back later than I thought.”

“Drew tracked me for a few blocks after I left the meeting.” He stepped inside the room, closed the door, and leaned against it.

Britt paused, glanced up, her eyes wary. “You’re sure you lost him?”

“Sure enough. I know the streets better than he does.” Lucky wandered over to the window, glanced through the filmy curtains overlooking the street. “Ducked into an alley that turned into another alley, then cut through a café. I tossed on a hat and sat in the café for ten minutes. Drew never came out of the alley.”

“He’s a former SEAL—”

Lucky turned back to her. “You don’t trust me to know if someone is on my tail?”

“Trust.” Britt smiled thinly, snapping her suitcase shut. “Funny word. I trust you as much as you trust me, which is to say, not much.”

“I haven’t told my brother what you know.” Lucky raised a brow.

“You haven’t told him because you’re still think I might be lying.” Britt snorted, then the suitcase by the door, then sat on the edge of the bed.

“I know when I’m being lied to.”

“Really? I find that hard to believe. Didn’t your wife have an affair with your brother behind your back?” Britt shrugged.

“She wasn’t my wife at the time,” Lucky muttered, then dragged a hand down his face. “And that’s none of your business—”

“Hey, I’m just pointing out you don’t exactly have a nose for these sorts of things—” She gasped when he snagged her elbow and dragged her off the bed, pulling her against him. “What the hell—”

“No, I didn’t know that my fiancée and my brother were screwing each other,” Lucky bit out. “Because I trusted her. I trusted him. You comparing yourself to them? You think you matter enough to get past my guard?”

Britt narrowed her eyes but didn’t wilt beneath the demand. She met his eyes, arched a brow, and waited an extra beat, his fingers clenched around her wrist, their chests pressed together. “No,” she said, finally. “Now you can either let me go or do something about it.”

Lucky released her, stepped back. “You keep pushing, Britt, and someone’s going to push back. Unless you’re saying I have a reason not to trust you, I don’t know what the point of this was—”

“Because I’m not—” Her eyes dropped, and she folded her arms. “Maybe I don’t believe you’d trust me over your father or your brother. I haven’t done much to earn it—”

“I didn’t know you in Port Charles,” Lucky said plainly, and she looked back at him. “Is there anything worse in your past then what you did to my sister?”

“No. I’d think that was enough—”

“I’m not proposing marriage,” he said, and she closed her mouth. “When this is over, we’ll go our separate ways. I don’t need to like you, Britt, to work with you.” He tipped his head. “I used to be addicted to drugs. Recovered or not, addicts don’t get a lot of trust either. This needs to be the last time we have this conversation. You either believe me or you don’t.”

“I do. I just—if Nikolas ever finds out—”

“He had an affair with my fiancée and worked with Helena to keep Jason away from his family,” Lucky cut in. “He’ll get over it.”

“Easy for you to say,” Britt muttered. She sat on the edge of the bed.  “Let’s go over the plan again.”

“You wait in the warehouse until I show up. With any luck, I’ve lost any tail already, and I can take over driving. Otherwise, you’ll have to drive while I navigate.” Lucky tossed a map at her. “I circled the airport and the lab. Get familiar with the area.”

“Oh, sure, in the next five hours—” Britt grumbled, but picked up the map. “Are you sure you trust me enough to do this? If I mess up, your dad still gets away.”

“Yeah, that’s the part of the plan Dad likes.” Lucky went towards the door, then stopped. “Don’t worry so much.”

“Once again, easy for you to say,” she retorted. He tossed her a grin and left, and she got serious studying the map. Lucky was the first person in years to offer her even a modicum of trust, and she wasn’t going to let him down.

Grand Ambiance Hotel: Jason and Drew’s Room

“Plane can’t take off until around eight,” Jason told Drew as his brother returned from another walk. “So we don’t have to head to the airport for another few hours.” He set his cell phone aside, considered the files he’d brought with him. “Any more, uh, memories?”

“No. No, but I think I’ll try to make some time to go to San Diego.” Drew sat on the bed, kicked off his shoes. “Maybe over spring break. I could take Oscar. He’d know some good places to go.” He reached for the tablet on the nightstand, scrolled through it for messages. “What’s the plan when we go back? You know Anna or Robert is going to make us sit through another big meeting.”

“Don’t remind me. Couldn’t you just go for both of us?”

“Absolutely not. Why should I be the only one tortured?” Drew paused. “At least now we have proof that Spencers were lying to us. What do you think they’ll say to that?”

“I don’t really care. Even though he told us about the lab and Valentin, Lucky’s still lying to us. Britt’s story doesn’t hold together. I don’t understand how her parents were involved or why either of them gave a damn what happened to me.” Jason exhaled slowly, tapped a finger against a manila folder. “They’re not actually helping us which all that matters. We’re giving them more than they’re giving us. You said as much on the plane, remember?”

“You’re ready to talk about cutting their access to the files?”

“They wasted a week following their leads. A day with our list? They found Valentin. They’re using us.” Jason shook his head. “And we don’t need them if Valentin is moving the lab back to Port Charles. They’ve been looking for Faison for two months. That’s what they told us they’d do. But Lucky told us they’ve been tracking Cassadine research facilities. So was anyone actually looking for Faison or Liesl Obrecht?”

Drew straightened, his brows furrowed. “Britt was supposedly with her old man until you came home — but Lucky just told us she hadn’t seen him since last year.”

“If Lucky knew where Faison was, I’d think he’d have told us that. To keep us out of Turkey,” Jason added. “So I don’t think either of them have the first clue where Faison or Obrecht is.” He paused. “You were right. I think we need to talk about whether or not we want to keep giving the Spencers access to the files.”

“Well, you and I are on the same page with that. But I’ll remind you of what you said on the plane. We’re gonna have an issue with Laura and Elizabeth.” Drew raised his brows. “You think it’s worth asking anyway?”

“I don’t like the idea of being used by the Spencers,” Jason said shortly. “After what Luke did to Jake, what Lucky has put Elizabeth and the boys through—Lucky thinks coming clean on a few lies while keeping back others is enough. We need to send a message. There’s no more working on their own. No more sharing information when all we get is lies in return. I’ve talked to Elizabeth. She’ll be on board. Spinelli works for me. Laura will just have to deal with it.”

Kiremit: Kitchen

Lucky closed the back door behind him and headed for the fridge. “Stashed the cars in the warehouse for tonight,” he told his father as he pulled out the ingredients for a sandwich. “I’m gonna go up and quiz Britt on the back streets and turns, but—”

“I don’t like the idea of her being in charge of the drive.” Luke twisted in his seat, his brows drawn. “You need to risk the time to get behind the wheel. I don’t see why—”

“You’re not the one in the car, so you don’t have to see.”

Luke nearly let it go, nearly didn’t push. Nothing had been right with Lucky since they’d arrived in Istanbul, and he knew exactly who to blame. He’d known that Britt Westbourne would be working overtime to get someone on her side — and Lucky was carrying enough guilt to be vulnerable.

But there was too much on the line, and he didn’t want to see his boy go down on account of a manipulative woman. “Do we have a problem, Cowboy? Everything I say, you go the opposite. And the shots about Jake and the accident—”

“Does the truth bother you?” Lucky asked, almost pleasantly. He leaned against the counter. “I take shots at you, Dad, because sometimes you need the reminder. And so does Nikolas. You both want to jump down Britt’s throat every time she opens her mouth, but neither one of you is shiny or clean in this. And neither am I. What has she done that’s worse than you?”

Luke pressed lips together. “You can’t trust her—”

“Why? Nikolas had an affair with my fiancée. You ran over my kid. Britt stole an embryo. I used to be a drug addict.” He jerked a shoulder. “What exactly makes any of us worth trusting?”

“She’s Obrecht’s kid.”

“And Nikolas’s is Stavros’s, but you trust him more than Britt. Look, Dad, you don’t have to like or trust her. No one asked you to work with her. She’s gonna unless I feel like it’s safe enough to risk switching drivers. End of story. This needs to be the last time we have this conversation. I’m done defending myself.”

“This isn’t just about Britt—something’s been off with you since we got here—”

“The last trip home.” Lucky paused, exhaled slowly and looked towards the window. “I don’t like lying to Elizabeth’s face. And I miss my kids. Cam and Jake don’t even see me as their dad anymore. This wasn’t supposed take years. How much longer am I supposed to put my life on hold for this? Until Aiden can’t be bothered with me either?”

Luke sighed, rubbed his forehead. “No one said you couldn’t have gone home. Kept your relationship with the boys—”

“Why? So another Cassadine could come out of the woodwork and go after them? No. I’m not going to rest until there’s no one left that can hurt them. Four years—” Lucky paused. “Four years, my son was dead. You think you know what’s that like because I was gone for a year. But I was sixteen. I was old enough to remember you and Mom. Helena stole Jake when he wasn’t even four years old. She screwed with his brain, warped it. Just like me. Cam’s almost the age I was when she destroyed my life. I didn’t want any of this to touch them.”

He exhaled slowly. “They’re normal. Elizabeth made sure of it. Even with all of this going on with Jason and his brother, the boys — they have friends. Cam’s an honors student. He’s never run away from home and slept under the docks. He’s never been brainwashed. No one’s tried to use computer games to hurt him.” He folded his arms. “A good father protects his kids. That’s what I did. Maybe it was the wrong way. Maybe all of that still would have happened if I stayed in the picture, I don’t know. But I did what I thought was right. That doesn’t mean I like where it ended up.”

He tossed the remains of his food into the garbage. “You know what to know what my problem is, Dad? I’m sick and tired of the Cassadines. It’s that simple. Any other questions?”

Kiremit House: Foyer

Before stashing the cars in the warehouse, Lucky had taken most of their luggage to the airport, ready for whatever destination Nikolas had determined was the right one.

Now, he stood in the foyer, checking his watch, adrenaline coursing through his veins. In just an hour, his father would be using his contacts to get Stefan out of the lab, and they’d be taking off from the lab in different directions —

It was Lucky’s job to draw the heat off his father, to clear a path to get Stefan to the airport. He was ready for it. Ready for the challenge. Ready to do something.

“All right, I’m heading to the airport to make sure everything is ready. I want to be taking off as soon as we’re all there,” Nikolas said, striding down the steps. “Is there anything we’re forgetting?”

“Hey, Britt, did I ask if you could drive stick?” Lucky said. “That was an oversight on my part.”

“You’ve got to be shitting me,” Luke bit out. “You waited until now—”

“Son of a bitch,” Nikolas began.

“He’s screwing with you,” Britt said, rolling her eyes. “I can drive automatic or manual. It’s fine.” She slapped Lucky in the chest. “Knock it off.”

“But it’s so much fun,” Lucky said. He opened the door and the two of them headed out.

“I told you,” Luke said to Nikolas, “if she screwed with his head, I was gonna make you pay for it.”

“Let’s just get this over with.”

This entry is part 33 of 39 in the Fool Me Twice: Ashes to Ashes

Now he sits on his throne in his palace of bones
Praying to his greed
He’s got my past frozen behind glass
But I’ve got me

That old familiar body ache
The snaps from the same little breaks in my soul
I know when it’s time to go

It’s Time To Go, Taylor Swift

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Davis House: Living Room

Sam sighed when she saw the trepidation cross her mother’s face. “Don’t look so excited to see me,” she murmured, sliding past her.

“I’m always happy to see you. Where’s Scout?”

“I hired a nanny,” Sam said, removing her coat and hanging it up. “It’s time I get back to work and to my life.”

“Work? Back to private investigations?”

“For now.” She folded her arms. “I, um, wanted to talk to you about Sunday.” She licked her lips. “I know you must be mad. I hired someone else.”

“I know.” Alexis stepped off the landing and moved towards the sofa. “Martina Morales sent a messenger to get your files yesterday.” She sat down, crossed her legs. “She is a deeply unethical shark of a lawyer, so I can guess that you haven’t changed your mind about any of this.”

“I…” Sam sat in the armchair, her arms wrapped tightly around herself. “I don’t know what I want to do anymore,” she admitted. “I keep thinking it’s clear but then I get cold feet, you know? Because maybe it’s wrong. Martina sent over a copy of the custody petition I told her I wanted to file…”

She stared hard at the floor. “We talked about how Drew isn’t technically Scout’s legal father. Biological, yes, but on paper, no. And it’s a simple solution, right? Doesn’t even need a hearing.”

“No, not if Drew files jointly with Jason, and you don’t oppose it.” Alexis’s tone was cool. “Of course, you opposing Jason terminating his legal rights to a child that was never his in the first place would keep him in court longer.”

“Yes. I thought about that. I told Martina yesterday I didn’t know what I wanted to do.” She closed her eyes when she heard her mother sigh. “And then I called her this morning to tell her no. Because it’s punishing Drew. A-nd I don’t think that’s fair.”

“You don’t think it’s fair,” Alexis echoed. “Do you want me to jump for joy, Sam? Because you’ve stated the obvious. Drew did nothing to merit you even considering dragging him into court just to take a jab at Jason,” she added. “You resent him for taking Jason’s side. And maybe I think you resent him for not being Jason in the first place.”

Sam hesitated. “There’s some truth in that, maybe. I was happy, you know. Before Carly burst into that stupid church and told everyone Jake Doe was Jason.” Sam tilted her head to the sky. “I had Patrick, and I had a future. I really loved him, Mom.”

“I know you did.”

“But Jason was alive, and I couldn’t let it go. He chose Elizabeth which made sense, I guess. Until we found out she’d been lying to him. But it drove me crazy. He chose her and Jake when I was right there with Danny. And I couldn’t stand it. And I threw away everything. I threw away Patrick. I mean, he’s probably fine with it,” Sam muttered. “He’s back with Robin after all of that. I worked so hard to get Jason to love me again. To choose us. And then he remembered me, and we were happy. But he was never Jason. And it’s stupid to be angry with him for that. He didn’t do any of this. He didn’t tell Carly to blow things up, he didn’t tell Elizabeth to lie about his identity, or Maddox to shove those memories back into his brain—”

Sam swiped angrily at her eyes. “Drew didn’t ask for any of this, but if he’d just stayed Jake Doe, if we’d never thought he was Jason, I could have been there. Jason came home from Russia, and he came home to me, but I wasn’t there. I made all the wrong choices, Mom. At every step. And now I can’t fix any of them.”

“So you wish you’d believed Jason that night at the police station,” Alexis said. She tipped her head. “You wish you’d taken his side.”

“Yes. I d-don’t know if that means I wanted him back. Or if I still want him now. But I messed up. I lied. I knew Drew wasn’t Jason. The moment I was in the room with both of them. But I wanted the life I’d fought so hard for. I lied to myself, too. And I kept on doing it. Until Jason asked me for the divorce, and I realized while I’d been lying to myself, he’d given up and was moving on without me.” Sam raised her eyes, looked at her mother. “And I can’t let him do that. He should have waited. He should have given me more time.”

“And for that, you’ve sentenced him to legal torture,” Alexis said, dryly. “If you’re looking for my sympathy, Sam, that ship has sailed. You’ll lose in court. You’ll drag yourself and him through all of this—”

“If I don’t, he’ll just keep moving on. I ignored him, and he thought I didn’t love him anymore. That’s how she works, you know. She waits for a crack in our relationship, and moves in.”

“I don’t have to ask who that is. So the grand plan today is that you need to keep Jason thinking about you, so he’ll leave Elizabeth and come back to you. This is exhausting, Sam, and I’m just a bystander.”

“You don’t understand—” Sam shook her head. “But that’s okay. You’ll understand when it’s over. You’ll see it had to be this way.”

“Oh, I doubt that.”

“I just came over because I wanted you to know that I understand where I went wrong. And how I’m going to fix it.” She rose. “I know how to get Jason back. I’ve always been able to before.”

“Sam. This is a mistake—” Alexis followed her to the door.

“No. He left Elizabeth five years ago and came home to me. He only thinks that was a mistake now because I hurt him.” Sam took a deep breath. “I can forgive him for that.”

“You can—” Alexis put a hand on the door frame, blocking Sam’s exit from the house. “You can’t honestly think you’re going to get him back by dragging him into court and calling him a bad father, and potentially putting him at legal risk over financial disclosures.”

“He’ll want it to go away, Mom. He knows that I only lash out like this when I’m hurt,” Sam told her mother. “He’ll want Diane to make it go away, and then I’ll let him win.” Bolstered by this strategy. “And when I let him win, he can be in Danny’s life. And Jason will see how it could be with us.” She frowned. “But you can’t tell anyone. Because you were my lawyer. And if you do—”

“As soon as you walk out that door, Sam, I’m going to forget this conversation ever happened. Because tomorrow you’ll have another plan.” Alexis stepped back, letting her arm fall to her side. “For your sake, Sam, you realize that you need to let Jason go. Legally and emotionally. Because until you can do that, you’re doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. You threw away Lucky the moment you thought you could get Jason back. You threw away Patrick, and now you’ve thrown away Drew. How many times are you going to destroy your life before you get it?”

General Hospital: Hub

“Amy, I understand your schedule conflicts, but—” Elizabeth grimaced when the always perky and irritating Amy Driscoll interrupted to explain why Elizabeth simply had to find someone to switch Amy’s night shift with because dates like this simply didn’t come along every day, and didn’t Elizabeth understand that you only had so many opportunities to find the love of your life—

“If he’s really that interested,” Elizabeth cut in sharply, “he’ll reschedule. You’re an adult, Amy, who gave me your availability a week ago. I’m your charge nurse, not your friend. It’s not my job to fix your life. Find someone to switch with. This isn’t my problem—”

“And what happens if I get sick?” Amy planted her hands on her hips. “You’d have to find someone to cover then, wouldn’t you? This isn’t fair. You get to do whatever you want with your schedule—”

“Because I paid my dues, Amy. I worked the night shifts and the doubles. I took the shifts no one else wanted.” Elizabeth picked up her chart. “I worked my ass off for almost fifteen years to get this promotion. You want power? Earn it. Until then, find someone else to complain to and ask yourself why can’t you find someone to switch with you. Seems like a you problem, and I’m not interested in solving those.”

“Stuck up bitch,” Amy muttered as Elizabeth walked away, but Elizabeth chose not to engage further. She had plenty of problems to solve, and there was zero room for Amy Driscoll on that list, thank you very much.

“Oh, I know that face. Who pissed you off and do you need any help?” Felix stepped inside the hub. “Because I’m pretty bored.”

“Nothing much. Just Amy thinking she’s the center of the universe again.”

“That girl has main character syndrome something fierce,” Felix muttered. He picked up a chart. “How are things? Any news from Turkey?”

“Nothing I can talk about here,” Elizabeth said. “But…” She bit her lip. “I found Jake’s files. From Helena’s records.”

“Oh, yeah? Anything that helps?”

“I didn’t go through most of it yet. I’m waiting for Jason. He doesn’t know yet. I didn’t think it was fair to tell him and have him worry about me when he’s six thousand miles away.” She sighed, leaned her back against the counter. “But there was a video from that night on the island, I told you about it right? Helena let me see Jake when I had a fever. Knowing I’d never be believed.”

“A video. Oh, that must have sucked.” Felix scowled. “What a cold bitch.”

“Yeah. Yeah, um, it was bad. And Andre’s notes — Jake sort of remembered it. At least he did then. He remembered loving me.” Elizabeth’s voice faltered and she dipped her head. “Andre used that. He built a failsafe into the Chimera programming. That’s why I could stop him. Drew and me. We stopped him, but it was mostly me. Andre used Jake’s love for me.”

“I don’t know whether to be angry or a little bit happy. That he could hold on to that even after a few years—that’s something, isn’t it? But then I’m pissed because he’s just a baby.” Felix shook his head. “I’m sorry. There always seems to be another smack around the corner.”

“Yeah, well…” Elizabeth sighed, picked up her charts. “It just keeps reminding me that Andre knew more than he was willing to tell us, and now he never has to.” She paused. “Do you…maybe I should have told Jason.”

“Nah, you’re right. He’s an ocean away.” Felix paused. “Unless there’s another reason you’re not telling him.”

“No, not really. It was just — I found out, and then we got some other news that seemed more important, and I didn’t really want to have the conversation over the phone,” Elizabeth continued. “I was going to call him back later, but Sonny came by the garage, and…” She stared at the charts. “Jason’s divorce from Sam. Sonny brought it up.”

“Why does he care?”

“He didn’t want me to worry,” Elizabeth murmured. “Because of what Sam’s putting him through. Even though Jason’s having second thoughts, Sonny said it shouldn’t bother me. Because he had similar thoughts with Carly, and they still got divorced. This was years ago,” she added when Felix frowned.

“Second thoughts about what? I’m confused.”

“Me, too. Because until yesterday, I didn’t think there was anything to talk about with the divorce. The last I heard, Jason had received the papers and was planning to respond to ask for joint custody. But maybe he’s just not talking about it with me. Which I could understand,” Elizabeth said. “Sam’s a little bit of a sore subject between us.”

“That’s putting it mildly,” Felix muttered darkly. “You don’t think he’s really having second thoughts, do you?”


“Now why did you say that like maybe there’s a question mark afterwards,” Felix said. “Elizabeth.”

“Maybe it’s more that I don’t want to know. And I’m trying to remember that Jason’s relatively honest. He hides his emotions sometimes to protect himself, but after last weekend, I really felt like we connected, you know?”

“So there you go. Sonny probably read too much into something Jason said, and he ran with it. He’s married to Carly, that kind of thing is contagious. Jason will come home, you’ll jump his bones to welcome him back, and you won’t even remember what the hell Sonny said.”

Quartermaine Estate: Family Room

“I see we’re lounging like a king,” Tracy snapped as she came into the room and saw Michael at the breakfast table, reading the newspaper. “Don’t you have work to do?”

“Ignore her,” Ned advised, taking a seat next to Michael at the table. “You’ll just feed the fire.”

“Not that it’s any of your business—” Michael folded the paper and set it aside. “But I’ve already been to the office. I had a morning meeting. I came home to grab some papers I forgot and decided to eat breakfast—which I skipped.” He lifted his brows. “Any other complaints, Aunt Tracy?”

“Well, you’re still breathing, so there’s one.” Tracy sniffed, then sat. “I saw the construction budget for that damned eyesore you’re planning on the pier. Just like your father. Pie in the sky plans that are only going to bankrupt and humiliate this family—”

“You don’t get to talk about my father,” Michael said tightly. “You need to shut the hell up about him—”

“Please. I knew that waste from birth to death. I can say what I like, and you’re following in his footsteps—”

“Mother,” Ned said, seeing Michael’s knuckles turn bright white as they clutched a butter knife. “That’s a little much for a Wednesday morning. Don’t you have a small baby to make cry?”

“I penciled that in for after lunch,” Tracy said sweetly, before flicking her eyes back to Michael. “It’s funny seeing you be so damned defensive. Don’t you call his murderer daddy—”

Michael shoved back his chair abruptly and stalked out. Tracy followed him with her eyes, then turned her attention back to her cup of coffee. She glanced at Ned. “What?”

“Why do you suddenly dislike Michael so much?” Ned asked. “You were in favor of appointing him as CEO. You retired, saying the company was in good hands. You’ve said nothing for months. Now you’re home and you’ve done nothing but needle the kid—”

“You don’t think he’s overcompensating just a little on this pier project?” Tracy demanded, and Ned hesitated. “I knew it. You agree.”

“I think he’s nervous because it’s his first major project. But—”

“And he chose the waterfront. The same piece of property his worthless sperm donor tried to make work for years.” Tracy shook her head. “As soon as I saw that project on the agenda, I knew something was up. And you clearly have the same reservations.”

“That doesn’t mean you should be shoving AJ in his face all the time, Mother. Even you usually have more tact than that.” Ned hesitated. Though his mother had a point. Michael was getting a bit too emotionally attached to this project. “I’ve told you, I’m keeping an eye on him.”

“Well, do a better job.”

General Hospital: Stairwell

Elizabeth pushed open the stairwell door and started to jog down to the third floor for a meeting. She stopped short when she saw Franco on the landing below, lurking near the doorway of the third floor. Just what she needed today.

“Don’t you have anything better to do?” Elizabeth asked coolly, taking the final steps more slowly.

“What makes you think I’m waiting for you?”

“Good. Then let me pass—” She huffed when he slid in front of the door. “Are you really going to do this? It’s been two months, Franco—”

“And eleven days, but who’s counting?” he said. He folded his arms. “Does Jason know we were still together when he showed up? Or does he think I was a one-time mistake? Does he know I lived with you? With your children?”

Her stomach tensed. “He knows everything he needs to know. Which, if you don’t let me go to my meeting, will include today and the elevator—”

“Oh, you haven’t told him about our delightful meeting the other day?” Franco’s lips curved. “Why not?”

She pressed her lips together mutinously. “If you don’t let me pass, Jason isn’t the only call I’ll make. One word from me, Franco, and you’re gone from this hospital.” She crossed her arms. “So make your choice—”

“Oh, I don’t think you’ll be telling anyone about this, including Jason.” He stepped aside. “After all, don’t you want Jason to forget I ever existed?” As she reached for the door, he grabbed her arm, yanked her against his body. “Does he know about the beauty mark? Maybe he and I can compare notes—it’s a small one—just below your—”

Elizabeth drove her knee into his groin, and Franco released her on a grunt and scowl. “Leave me alone,” she said flatly. “I won’t warn you again.”

“I’m not worried.” Pain twisted his expression, but he still found the ability to look smug. “Jason will be disgusted, and you know it. That’s why you’ve said nothing. Go ahead, Elizabeth. Keep living in delusion as long you can. I wonder how long he’ll last before he runs back to Sam—”

The door swung closed before he finished his tirade, and Elizabeth leaned against the wall for a long moment, closing her eyes, and exhaling slowly.

Then she went to her meeting, resolving to keep Franco on the list of problems she’d solve herself.