Sage Alcazar examined the polish of her freshly done nails. “Where are we going again?”
“Dinner,” her uncle remarked.
“Uh huh. With who?” she asked in a bored tone. She fished through her purse and removed her compact. She flipped it open and peered into the small mirror to check her makeup. She was planning on taking off after the food and tracking down the scrumptious Dillon.
She knew that tone. Her father had had that tone. She snapped the compact shut and turned a bright smile on her uncle. “Come on, Uncle Zo. I appreciate the fact you’re trying to get in good with the woman but do I really have to be here?”
“She asked to meet you. Sage, Carly is very important to me. And she wants to…look, this is progress. She wants to be part of my life and since you are the only family I have, she wants to meet you.”
“You really like her don’t you?” Sage said quietly.
“Yes. So if you could maybe wait to showcase your usual sparkling personality for the next meeting?” he asked.
“Sure. If I can have a late curfew,” Sage negotiated. She grinned. “Come on, Uncle Zo. I have a date.”
“A date?” Lorenzo asked amused. “Does the boy know?”
Elizabeth nodded. “Right, Dr. Meadows. Uh huh. I want to make an appointment for next week. Yeah…I’ve been reading the material you gave me. Will the father be there? Um…let’s just play that by ear okay?”
She hung it up after confirming the time and turned around to see a stricken Zander. “Elizabeth–”
“Hey, Zander, what’s wrong?” she asked, worried. She stepped forward. “Are you okay?”
“I…you’re pregnant,” he fumbled. She paled. “Elizabeth, I want you to know that no matter what–”
“Oh, Zander, no no…” She took a deep breath and shook her head. “You have nothing to worry about, I promise.”
He hesitated and remembered something she’d told him a few weeks ago. “Are you going to tell him?”
She frowned. “Tell who?”
He leaned forward and lowered his voice. “You know…Ric. You told me about that night at Jake’s when you two were–”
“Oh, God, no,” she felt her stomach lurch at the memory. “That was a big mistake. Huge. Enormous. Massive. And he doesn’t have anything to do with this.”
Zander raised his eyebrows. “What? Was it the immaculate conception or something?”
Elizabeth chewed on her lip. She knew she could trust Zander but she still wanted to keep this to herself–at least until Jason had a chance to tell Courtney. “Could you ask me that next week?”
“Yeah. Elizabeth, you and me…we’re friends right?” Zander told her. “You can trust me.”
“I know. But this news…someone else has to know before I can tell anyone else and even then…I want to keep it to myself for as long as possible.”
“That bad, huh?” Zander nodded. “Well, unless you could make my day and have it be Nikolas…” he trailed off with a fake hopeful look.
“Sorry. Maybe next time.” She tied her apron back on and fished out her order pad. “Did you want anything?”
“Actually, a cup of coffee would be good.”
Sage wrinkled her nose at the plate of cheese pizza Carly placed in front of her. “Well, I hope you have other skills,” she muttered under her breath.
Lorenzo kicked her under the table and she glared at him. Carly flushed a little. “My…husband did the cooking,” she told her. She pressed her lips together firmly, determined not to let the girl’s obvious acidic attitude bother her. She was important to Lorenzo and Lorenzo was important to her. She frowned. Lorenzo was friend. There, that sounded better.
“So, where is your hus–OW!” Sage yelped. “Damn it, Uncle Zo.” She glared at him. “Will you quit it?”
“I’m sorry, Carly. Sage tends to come on strong.”
“She’s blunt,” Carly said dryly. “My husband is in jail for trying to kill your uncle and shooting me. Any other questions?”
“You got kids?” Sage asked. “Because I don’t do sisters.” She moved her legs out of the way before her uncle could give her shins another beating.
“I have two boys,” Carly said, ignoring the sisters comment. Because sisters would indicate that there something that was going to happen between herself and Lorenzo and right now, she couldn’t think about that. “Michael is almost seven and Morgan is…three weeks old.”
“Where are they? Are they ugly?” Sage inquired. She folded her legs underneath her as to completely escape a beating.
“They’re out of town with their aunt. We thought it might be a little tough on Michael with his father being on trial so we’re trying to spare him.”
“So a friend of mine told me that you couldn’t remember anything after your coma,” Sage said with a bright conversational tone.
Carly was now highly amused. This girl didn’t pull any punches and had an attitude to boot. She smiled. “Not exactly. I remember people, places, things but there’s no connection to them. It’s like…looking at pictures of other people’s lives.”
Sage nodded. “That’s gotta suck.” She chewed on a bite of pizza and drank some soda. “So–”
“Sage, why don’t you eat your dinner for a while?” Lorenzo said with a charming smile.
Sage rolled her eyes. “You know, for an international criminal, you’re awfully uptight,” she observed. She shifted her legs–they were starting to fall asleep underneath her. “I mean, it’s not like the woman doesn’t know you’re gone over her–OW! Son of a bitch,” she yelped. “Stop kicking me!”
Carly laughed then. “Lorenzo, don’t kick her anymore. She’s not bothering me. And it’s not like you haven’t told me how you feel.” She flushed and looked away.
Sage grinned. “Okay. I’ve passed the test. She likes me. Can I go stalk Dillon now?”
Carly raised an eyebrow and looked at him. “Stalk Dillon? As in Quartermaine? As in the boyfriend of the commissioner’s daughter?”
“It’s negotiable,” Sage sighed. “We’re at a deadlock though right now. I do not understand what men see in little whiny waifs. I mean, he could have a real women like me.”
“Sage,” Lorenzo warned. “How old are you again?”
“Seventeen,” Sage remarked without batting an eye. “And he’s eighteen. What’s the ish?”
“Some men like a girl they can take care of,” Carly confided. “One of my worst enemies ever was Robin Scorpio–the commissioner’s niece. You think Georgie is a whiny waif? She snorted. “You never met Saint Robin.”
Her eyes lit up and she looked at Lorenzo. “Oh my God. I just…wow, when I thought about Robin, I felt the irritation. I remember how much I hate her and…” she pressed a hand to her chest. “I can feel it.”
He reached over and squeezed her other hand. “That’s great. You’re starting to get it back.”
Sage nodded. “Right. Great. Can we get back to me? I wanna go.”
“Sure, go ahead. Just be back at the apartment by eleven.”
“Uncle Zo,” Sage whined.
“Midnight and no later,” Lorenzo relented. Sage jumped and hugged her uncle.
“Night. See ya, Carly, it was nice to meet you.” She was out the door before anyone could say anything.
Carly stood and started to clean the paper plates. “I’m sorry about the pizza. I tried to make pasta but I burned the sauce.”
Lorenzo followed her into the kitchen. “Carly, you didn’t have to do this at all. We could have gone out.”
She threw out the plates and set the glasses in the sink. “No, I–I wanted to do this. I met with Dr. Lewis today and we were talking about my life before Port Charles.” She turned around and leaned against the sink. “I used to be the equivalent of trailer trash,” she said without shame. “But I used to be able to take care of myself. I was never the world’s best cook but I could…I was independent. And Sage reminds me a lot of who I used to be.”
“Who you are now isn’t so bad either,” Lorenzo pointed out.
“No,” Carly allowed. “But who am I now is the estranged wife of a mob kingpin. I have a club I barely manage, a son that I let a nanny raise, another son I haven’t even seen…I don’t like my life, Lorenzo and I want to work on that before…” she took a deep breath. “Before I throw myself into anything new, you know?”
He nodded. “I’m not in any hurry, Carly.” He brushed her hair behind her, his fingers lingering on her shoulder, the touch sending tingles down her spine. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes–Marcella being the biggest one. And I’d like…I think I’d like a new start too.”
Carly smiled. “That sounds just fine to me.”
“Excuse me–has Dillon Quartermaine been in here tonight?”
Elizabeth glanced up from the pot of coffee she was making to see a pretty brunette sitting at the counter. “Who’s asking?”
“Sage…Sage Alcazar,” the girl said. “Why?”
“He was in earlier with his girlfriend but he left about a half hour ago.” Elizabeth arched an eyebrow. “You’re Lorenzo Alcazar’s niece right?”
“Yes,” Sage remarked coolly. “And you are?”
“Elizabeth Lansing,” Elizabeth replied.
“Ah…the psycho’s ex-wife,” Sage nodded knowingly. “You still using his last name?”
“Only until the divorce is final.”
“Well, if Dillon comes in, let him know I was looking for him.”
Sage sauntered out and Elizabeth finished the coffee. The diner was empty but she was still an hour away from closing so she sat at the counter and pulled the pregnancy book from her apron.
A few minutes later, she heard the door swing open and she hastily shoved the book back in her apron. “What do you want?” she asked Ric.
“A cup of coffee.”
She rounded the counter and got it for him. “Here.”
“Elizabeth, you know I’ve been doing a good job as the ADA,” he began, taking a seat at the counter. She rolled her eyes.
“So…I’m changing. I’m reorganizing my life. And I’m serious. I want to make you a priority.”
She sighed. “Ric, we’re in the middle of the divorce. Just sign the papers and leave me alone.”
“Look, marriage is tough and a lot of couples have trouble in the first year–”
“A lot of new wives don’t find a woman chained to a wall inside a secret room,” Elizabeth observed. “A lot of wives don’t nearly die from a pulmonary embolism caused by an overdose of the birth control their husband is drugging them with so they don’t conceive. Tell me, Ric, is there something I’m missing here?”
She moved out from behind the counter and started to put chairs on top of tables.
“I’m not denying any of those things. What I did was unforgivable and I’m not asking to be forgiven, Elizabeth. I know better.” He caught her elbow. “You are the only person who’s ever loved me, Elizabeth.”
“Ric…” Elizabeth sighed.
“I just…I want a chance to prove to you how much I love you. How much I’ve changed. I know you still love me, Elizabeth. You’d wouldn’t have made love with me last month if you didn’t still feel the same way.”
“I told you. Love isn’t the problem. And that was a mistake,” she told him. “I was having a bad night and we’d both been drinking. It shouldn’t have happened.”
“Okay, so why can’t we just try and take this slow?” he asked her. He slid her hair away from her face. “I love you so much. I just…I want another chance.”
She could feel herself weakening so she took a step back. “Ric, you should go.”
He saw the book poking out from her apron and he reached for it. He recognized it–and his heart lifted when he realized he was right. His eyes lit up and he looked at her with a bright smile. “Elizabeth–you’re pregnant.”
She snatched the book back from him. “Leave now.”
He followed her across the room. “Why didn’t you say something? Elizabeth, this is what I’m talking about. We can be a family–we can have another chance–”
“Ric, just leave me alone, okay?” she demanded. She continued the process of closing the diner.
“Elizabeth, why are you pushing me away when you need me the most?” he demanded. “We’re having a baby–”
“I’m having a baby,” she said, knowing he wasn’t going to take no for an answer. “Please leave.”
He took her by the elbow. “This is my child, too–”
“Get your damn hands off of her.” Jason jerked Ric away and he was halfway across the room in a second. “You don’t put your hands on her.”
“Jason, I’m fine,” Elizabeth said, extremely glad to see him. “Really.”
“Jason, this isn’t any of your business,” Ric seethed. “This is between me and my wife.”
“I’m not your wife,” Elizabeth shot back. “This has nothing to do with you–”
“Elizabeth, you’re pregnant–you need me–”
“I don’t need anyone,” she retorted.
“You don’t get to decide this–that’s my child–”
“The hell it is!” Jason interrupted. He glared at Elizabeth and she just glared right back. “Why didn’t you just tell him?”
“Well, excuse me for not wanting to shout from the rooftops,” she said scathingly.
Ric frowned. “What in the hell is going on here?”
“Nothing,” Elizabeth said. “Just get out.”
“If you think you’re getting a divorce now, you’ve got another thing coming,” Ric challenged. “If you’re going to shut me out of this, I’m going to sue for full custody–”
“Good luck doing that when it’s my baby!” Jason shot back. Elizabeth gaped at him.
Ric blinked. “Excuse me?”
“You heard me. It’s not your kid, it’s mine.”