Courtney shifted the phone to the crook of her neck as she folded a light blanket and put it over the back of the couch. “I’m glad your first session went well, Carly. When are you going back?”
“I’m actually in the waiting room now.” Carly sat back and crossed her ankles. “Listen, I want the boys to come in this weekend. To stay at the house. I want to start slowly, you know? I’m finding out that the more time I spend around people, the more I feel.”
Courtney nodded. “Sure. I’ll drive back Friday morning. Carly, there’s something I wanted to run by you. Michael’s already been out of school for two weeks. He really needs to go back.”
Carly chewed on her lip. “Yeah. I understand that. Well…we can talk about it when you come this weekend.”
“Okay.” Courtney sighed. “How’s Jason? And Sonny?”
“Sonny’s…I haven’t seen him,” Carly admitted. “And Jason…” she hesitated. “He’s okay,” she said finally. “A little stressed but fine.”
“Well…soon this will be over and we can be together–go on a honeymoon or something I guess.” Courtney bit her lip. “Carly, can I ask you something?”
“Sure,” Carly replied a little hesitantly.
“Do you think I’m a bad person?” she asked bluntly. “I mean…you say you can’t remember your feelings, your emotions so I’m hoping that you can give me an objective opinion.”
“I don’t think you’re a bad person,” Carly replied, surprised. “Why?”
“Never–never mind.” She sighed. “I’ll see you on Friday. Tell Jason I love him.”
“Will do. See ya.”
Courtney hung up the phone and wandered to the window where Michael was standing out on the lawn, his face tilted up to let the first snow fall of season fall over his face. Brian was standing behind him, his hands in the pockets of his jeans, his usual sheriff’s jacket zipped up.
He looked up and met her eyes through the window. She didn’t look away even though her instincts told her so. There was nothing wrong with physical attraction as long as she didn’t act on it.
And she didn’t intend to. She’d fought hard for her relationship and her marriage. Sure she and Jason had had tough times but she knew people who’d gotten through worse. She wasn’t going to be one of those women who gave up when the going got rough.
It wasn’t going to be like her marriage to AJ. A year later, she could look last fall a little differently. Look at AJ’s motives rather than his actions. After all, the thing he’d feared the most had ended up being true. She’d left him for his brother.
She watched as Brian left Michael in the snow and walked to the front door. He knocked on it but she made no move to open it.
After a moment, he pushed it open and stepped inside. “I wanted to apologize.”
Courtney crossed her arms. “Okay.”
“You’re right, I only know what’s in the file. Jason Morgan could be a great guy.”
“He is,” Courtney said quickly and a little too forcefully. “He is,” she repeated in a quieter voice. “We went through a lot this last year and I love him. So…whatever this is…it has to stop.”
Brian nodded. “Right.”
“I’m taking the boys to see their mother this Friday and if it goes the way I think it will, we’ll probably go home next week,” she said quietly. “And I know you have more important things to be doing than just…hanging around here, looking after the house.”
“It’s a pretty quiet town,” Brian remarked. “Not much happens here.”
“It’s a nice place but Port Charles is my home.”
“I should get back to the station. I’ll see you later, Courtney.”
General Hospital: Cameron Lewis’s Office
“So, how are we feeling today?” Cameron asked. He adjusted his notepad on his thigh and studied his patient.
“Fine. A little more clear on things,” Carly answered. “I, ah, just got off the phone with Courtney and she’s bringing the boys in this weekend for a few days.” Carly tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. “The more time I’ve spent with Jason, the more my feelings for him, the affection, the love…the more that’s all returned so I’m going to experiment with that this weekend.”
She stared at her hands. “I took my wedding and engagement rings off. I haven’t taken them off since Sonny put them on my fingers.”
“Why do you think you were able to do it this time instead of other separations?”
“Before I never really accepted it,” she admitted. “Even when we were divorced…I was still so in love with him. I didn’t move on at all. I just…I couldn’t do it.”
“What if you get your feelings for him back?” Cameron pressed.
“My marriage has been in trouble for a long time,” Carly admitted. “I didn’t…I didn’t see it because I found ways to excuse it. He was just having a bad day, he was going through a rough time…etc. So when he’d say…when he would treat me like a child, I rationalized it.”
“How would he treat you like a child?”
“He’d…he’d question my every move, my every thought. Nothing I did ever…it was like he felt that I wasn’t…that I wasn’t smart enough to take care of myself.” She cracked her knuckles nervously. “I used to just think it was part of…he’s always gone through these periods…dark times when he’d question everything. He’d question me, question Jason, anyone in his life, you know? He’d get overly paranoid and I just…I accepted it because it was part of him and I loved him.”
“Now I think that I sheltered him,” Carly admitted. “I made excuses when I should have gotten him help. And I let him get away with treating me so badly because I didn’t want to face the idea I couldn’t give him that help.”
“Okay, now let’s talk about your dreams, about the man in them. Is the man part of your life now?” Cameron asked, switching topics.
Carly nodded. “Yeah. He is.” She flushed a little and looked down. “It’s hard to be around him though. Because I feel this way and I’m not sure it’s real and I know…he’s made it very clear how he feels about me.”
“And how does he feel?”
“He’s in love with me,” Carly admitted. “And I don’t want to tell him that I feel the same because if that changes in the future, I don’t want to hurt him. He means…he means a lot to me. He’s been there for me when I’ve needed him so I just…I want to be careful.”
“That makes sense. It’s clear this man was important to you before the shooting.”
Carly nodded. “He was there for me when I moved into the new house, he was at my side when I nearly lost Morgan–he told the doctors not to deliver the baby even though my life might be in danger. Lorenzo’s been good to me and I want to make sure I don’t hurt him.” She cleared her throat. “I invited him and his niece over for dinner this week. It was a spur of the moment thing and I still…I don’t know why. Sage–his niece–is the only family he has left and I guess I wanted to…” she bit her lip and frowned a little. “I want to know more about him–see him around the people he loves.”
“You want to be part of his life,” Cameron clarified.
“Yes,” Carly agreed. “I also…” she blew out a deep breath. “I’m thinking of going to see Sonny this week but I think it hurts him that I don’t love him anymore and I also…I’m not sure if I’m ready.”
“Why wouldn’t you be?” he asked.
“Because…he did shoot me,” Carly remarked. “I was in labor with our child and he shot at Lorenzo who was helping me and I ended up with a bullet in my head and in a coma for two weeks. I was extremely lucky that there wasn’t a lot of damage done so I think it’s understandable that in addition to my loss of emotions, there’s anger there.”
Cameron nodded. “It is understandable and it doesn’t surprise me. If Sonny is convicted and sent to jail, what do you think will happen?’
“I’m not sure.” She took a deep breath. “I know that Jason broached the lawyers about doing some kind of mental defect defense and I’m in favor of it if it means that Sonny will get the help he needs.”
“So while the love is gone, it sounds like there’s still a lot of concern for him.”
“Of course,” Carly replied. “He’s a claustrophobic paranoid man locked up in a jail cell. I am concerned for him but that doesn’t mean I’m going to run around trying to get him released.”
“So what do you think would happen if you were to go see him?”
“I’m not sure I could separate my anger from everything else and he doesn’t need that right now–I don’t need it right now,” Carly corrected. “I’m trying to get to a place in my life where I’m okay with who I am and where I’m going and it’s becoming clear that a marriage to Sonny isn’t part of that. At least…not until I’m a little more…settled in my life. I need to get back to running my club, to being with my boys–I’ve never been a particularly good mother–I can admit that now. I put Sonny above that and I can’t do that anymore.”
“Sounds like you’re on the right track, Carly. You’re making good progress,” Cameron told her. “To be honest, when your mother first told me you were coming to see me, I wasn’t sure what would happen because doctors were sure that it was brain damage but the more I talk to you, the more I think what you’re going through is psychosomatic. The mind is very powerful but it’s also vulnerable and it goes to great lengths to protect itself. When people repress memories, their mind is protecting them.”
“You think I’m trying to protect myself from something?” Carly asked, slightly confused.
“No, but I think part of you subconsciously realized that you were going to stay locked in this hurtful limbo your marriage turned into and it needed to find a way to change the situation.”
“So you think it shut down my feelings in order for me to realize what was going on,” Carly said slowly. “I think…I think that might be right. Do people who experience these things remember eventually?”
“Repressed memories usually come back, yes and what you’re experiencing is a type of repression. You’re repressing your emotions in order to look at your life. And when you are more ready to deal with things, it’s altogether possible those memories could come back. Those emotions.”
“That sounds so much better than what some of the doctors were telling me,” Carly sighed. She smiled at him. “I’m really glad I decided to do this.”
Jason stared at her for a moment, still trying to process the idea. She was pregnant and the child was his. Elizabeth was pregnant and she was apparently very pissed at him.
“Why are you mad at me?” he asked finally.
“I’m mad at myself more,” she scowled. She turned her back and gripped the sides of the stove. “I made this stupid mistake. And I’m just…God, Jason, you’re married. Do you have any idea what this looks like?”
“How do you think I feel?” he hissed. “I never told Courtney about that night.”
She whirled around. “You said you were going to–”
“I just…with everything that was going on, there was never a right time and then she just…the wedding just came together and look, it’s not the easiest–” he swore under his breath. “Elizabeth–”
“I know this is a bad situation for you and I want you to know that I’m prepared to take care of it, okay? I don’t need your help.” She shoved her hair out of her face and took a deep breath. “Oh and just for some clarification, I don’t intend on having an abortion. I was willing to have my psycho ex-husband’s child, I think I can deal with having a married man’s baby. I mean people are already laughing behind by back, now they’ll just laugh in my face–” her voice broke and she turned away from him, closing her eyes.
“Elizabeth…people are going to realize that the child was conceived before the wedding,” he tried to assure her.
“You were still engaged and technically I’m still married so you know what? This looks really bad. God, I went from a hit man to a psycho straight back to the hit man.” She thumped her closed fist against her forehead. “When will I learn?” she muttered.
His face darkened. “This isn’t exactly my idea of good news either,” Jason bit out. “I’m already dealing with enough–”
“Oh and I’m not?” she snapped, her eyes flying open. “I’m in the middle of a very bitter divorce, I have to work double shifts and I live in a studio that wouldn’t know heat if it bit it in the ass so I really don’t want to hear about what a horrible life you’re living with all the money in the world and a luxurious penthouse, okay?” She glanced out into the dining room to see a few curious customers looking her way as well as the sympathetic eyes of Nikolas and Lucky. Shit, shit, shit.
“Can we just do this somewhere else?” she continued, a touch of desperation in her voice.
He exhaled slowly. “Yeah. Fine. When are you done work?”
“Eight tonight,” she told him. “Just…ah, come to the studio I guess. We can…we can deal with this then. I need to finish Nikolas’s order.”
“Elizabeth, this is going to be okay,” he tried to tell her.
She snorted and looked away, her eyes teary. “You don’t really believe that do you?” she scoffed.
He took a deep breath. “I have to. I’ll see you tonight.”
He left through the back door instead of the font door and she took a few moments to collect herself before starting Nikolas’s food.
She turned at the sound of Lucky’s voice. “Hey. Did…did you, ah, need something?”
“I’m getting ready to head out. Uh, that conversation looked intense. Are you okay?”
Elizabeth closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “No, Lucky, honestly I’m not but this is a conversation that you really don’t have time for.”
“Seriously, Lucky, it’s nothing I can talk about right now.” She managed a fake smile. “Go to work. I’ll call you tonight.”
“Okay.” He looked at her suspiciously but left. She turned back to the stove and fought tears.
General Hospital: Waiting Room
When Carly exited Dr. Lewis’s office, she found Jason waiting for her. “Hey. Did you…did you talk to her?”He nodded and they started for the elevators. “It’s mine,” he admitted once they were inside the car and heading for the parking garage.
Carly sighed. “Oh, Jase…what’re you going to do?”
“I don’t know yet. She…she was working and it really wasn’t the place or time to get into it.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “We’re going to meet later.”
“How do you feel about it?” Carly asked, placing a hand on his arm.
“I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel,” he sighed. “This–”
“I don’t care about what you’re supposed to feel, I care about what you do feel.” The doors slid open and they started towards her car. “I’m not trying to pressure you and I’m not going to force you to tell Courtney before you’re ready…I just…I wanna be there for you like you’ve done for me.”
“I’m…I almost feel happy about it,” he admitted. “I really…I liked the time I spent with Michael and the idea of having a child that…that no one can take from me and tell him or her that someone else is their father…” he shook his head. “But on the other hand, I cheated on Courtney. It was a mistake but I still did it. I knew it was wrong and I did it anyway.”
“How did it happen?” she fished her car keys out of her pocket and slid it into the lock.
“It was after she got out of the hospital,” Jason told her. “She was just getting her sight back but it wasn’t…it wasn’t back all the way and she was on the docks one night. I’d had a fight with Courtney. I don’t even remember why and I was there. I walked her home and we were talking…it was nice not to argue with her…it wasn’t like before but we were talking again and I had…I’d forgotten how easy it was.”
Carly stared at him over the car. “And?”
“We were at her studio and she…she was trying to fit the key into the lock but she..” he paused, his eyes looking kind of distant, “she couldn’t get it in right away. Couldn’t make it fit. I put my hand over hers to…adjust it and she looked up to thank me and it just…I kissed her.” He blinked and looked at her. “I started it. And she got the door open and we were still kissing. It was awkward because she still couldn’t see very well but it felt–” he broke off and shook his head. “But we made love–had sex,” he corrected. “More than once. The next morning when we…when we woke up, we agreed it was a mistake and that we wouldn’t talk about it again.”
She stared at him. “I just…this is going to get so much more worse before it gets better,” she told him quietly.
“Yeah.” He sighed. “Yeah I know.” Jason met her eyes. “But the only thing I’m sure of–that I know for certain is that I’m going to be a father to my child. I’m going to take care of the baby and his mother if she’ll let me.”
“She’s stubborn,” Carly reminded him. “And you’ll have Courtney to deal with.”
“I know.” Jason rubbed the back of his neck. “I know that I want to talk to Elizabeth before I tell Courtney so I have a better idea of what to tell her, you know?”
“Jason, it’s a very honorable thing you want to do,” Carly told him. “But I just want you to be careful. Yes, it’s your responsibility to provide for the baby and I can even understand where you’d want to take care of Elizabeth but you’re a married man. Promise me you won’t do anything impulsive.”
“I don’t think I’ve done anything impulsive in my life,” he remarked.
“Well, a good way to decide if it’s impulsive is to ask yourself…would Carly do this?” She cracked a smile. “And if the answer is yes, then your instinct should be no.”
“Yeah…that’s probably a good place to start,” Jason replied, a faint glimmer of amusement in his eyes.