Chapter Seven

Song: Fairy Tales and Castles (Lifehouse)

Haye’s Landing

He says he looks in the mirror
And he can’t tell anymore
Who he really is and who they believe him to be

Courtney’s hands were shaking. She crossed them tightly over her chest in an attempt to hide it.

“Did you really drive all the way here to tell me some vicious lie?” she demanded harshly.

Ric shook his head. “You believe me. You know you do. I can see it in your eyes.”

Brian stepped in between them. “Okay. I think you’d better leave.”

“I don’t remember asking your opinion,” Ric replied coolly. “This is between me and her, so back away.”

And he says he walks a thin line
Between what is and what could be

“Why would you say something so horrible?” Courtney demanded. “Because you know I’ll just pick up the phone and call your wife. Why in the world would she take you back after spreading these lies?”

“Go ahead. Call her,” Ric taunted.

Oh, God. Oh, God. Her breathing hitched but she kept the panic hidden. “You’re working some angle here. I doubt you’d come all the way here and not get something out of it.”

“Oh, I’m getting something all right.” Ric stripped off his gloves and stepped towards her. “I’m getting the pleasure of telling Jason’s wife before he can.”

He’s getting closer
To something he can’t understand

Tears stung her eyes but she resolutely kept them from falling. This was a lie. This was a lie and she knew it. She knew Jason–and Elizabeth…as much as they didn’t get along, Elizabeth wouldn’t do this to her.

“You’re a twisted psychopath,” she spat out. “What? Elizabeth finally kick you to the curb for good and now you’re trying to destroy her life?”

“Oh, if only it were that simple,” Ric sighed.

Brian could see Courtney was slowly unraveling and decide it was time this conversation ended. “Okay, I think it’s time you left.”

Cause there’s a crack in his plastic crown
And his throne of ice is melting

“No,” Ric said firmly. He jabbed a finger at Courtney. “Not until she admits it’s true. Not until I know she believes it.”

“I love Jason–he’d never betray me like that,” she retorted. But her voice was unsure and she winced.

“She’s pregnant,” Ric taunted. “With the child you could never give him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he up and left you now. I mean– what would he want with you now that he’s got my wife?” A twisted smile crossed his lips. “After all, you and I both know he was with you because he couldn’t have her.”

He climbed his ladder
There was nothing there
And now it’s a long way down

“Jason loves me,” Courtney whispered. She looked away and both men knew she believed Ric’s words. From the news of the pregnancy to the accusation Jason had wanted Elizabeth all along–she believed them.

Brian grabbed Ric’s arm and shoved him towards the door. “Get out,” he snarled. He yanked the door open and threw the well-dressed lawyer out onto the snow-covered ground. “Get out of here–if I find you in this town again, I’ll have you arrested.”

He slammed the door shut and turned to see Courtney frozen in the same spot she’d been since Ric had entered. “Courtney–”

Cause on and on and on he goes
Dancing on the grave
Of what he thought was still alive, hey

“He’s right you know,” she said softly. “Part of me always knew it but I ignored it. Jason–he loves children. He’s so good with Michael and he deserves to have children and I can’t give him–”

“Hey, hey…” Brian gripped her shoulders and forced her to sit down. “If this is true…and I’m not saying it is…you not being able to have children…that doesn’t give him the right to break his vows. This isn’t your fault.”

“It’s not true.” Courtney shook her head–her eyes glazed. “It can’t be. I mean…he could have gone back to her if he wanted to. But he proposed to me…he married me.” She licked her lips and met his eyes. “That’s what really matters right?”

“Right,” Brian agreed, even though he had his doubts. He’d seen the way the news had slammed into Courtney–had seen the doubt in her eyes. She thought it was possible. She thought it was possible that her husband had gotten his ex-girlfriend pregnant.

On and on and on he goes
Dancing in mansions made of twigs
And castles made of sand

“What if…what if it is true?” she asked softly. “What if I go home tomorrow and I ask him and he says yes. Yes, he cheated on me and he slept with Elizabeth Webber and now she’s pregnant. What…what do I do then?”

“I really don’t think I can answer that,” he told her. He kneeled in front of her. “Courtney, none of this is your fault. And no matter what you choose to do…I’ll be here for you. You know that right?”

“Okay.” She cleared her throat. “I’m just…I’m not going to think about this. Why don’t…why don’t you go get Michael and I’ll finish dinner.”

“Courtney–”

“Please…I can’t deal with this right now.” She stood up and disappeared into the kitchen. She leaned against the door and slowly slid to the ground, tears soundless slipping down her cheeks.

November 21, 2003

Cameron’s Office

He says his head is filled with
Cartoons and fairy tales

“Do you think this means I’ll get more of my emotions back? Like I did with Robin?” Carly asked.

Cameron shrugged. “Difficult to tell. You’ve told me that the more time you spend around Jason, the more affection you feel. The stronger the friendship feels.”

Carly nodded. “I’m trying to be a good friend to him. You know, he’s been so supportive of me these last few weeks and he’s…” she hesitated. “He’s in a difficult place right now and I’m so worried about him.”

And he’s trapped inside a dungeon of dolls
With smiles on their faces

“What do you mean a difficult place?” Cameron asked. He set aside his notebook. “I only ask because I feel that Jason is your strongest connection to anyone–except for Lorenzo. You talk of Jason almost as often as Lorenzo and I think his life affects yours a great deal.”

Carly nodded. “He’s married to my sister-in-law Courtney. She’s in Haye’s Landing with my boys. She’s my best friend except I don’t…I feel more loyalty to Jason and I guess that’s normal since Jason’s been the best friend I’ve ever had and I’ve only known Courtney for about a year.”

“And is there a reason you feel the need to give him your loyalty over hers?”

He’s built a pretty cage
His shows on a beautiful stage
With candy coated prison bars
And chains that look like jewelry

Carly took a deep breath. “Because Jason cheated on her with his ex-girlfriend and now Elizabeth is pregnant.”

Cameron exhaled slowly. “Well. That certainly puts you in a rough place doesn’t it?”

“Yeah.” Carly sighed. “You have no idea. She’s gonna come to me looking for sympathy and support and I don’t know if I can give it…and mean it.”

Penthouse

Cause there’s a crack in his plastic crown
And his throne of ice is melting

Jason hung up the phone and rubbed his temples. Everything was closing in around him–he could feel it. Sonny’s trial would start in a week or so. Carly was spending a lot of time with Lorenzo Alcazar and while he’d never say it to her, that bothered him.

He had to deal with the warehouse and the rest of the business. Faith was forgetting her place–making deals on their piers, trying to use their network to move drugs.

And somehow in between all of that, he had to find a way to explain to his wife that his ex-girlfriend was pregnant with his child.

He climbed his ladder
There was nothing there
And now it’s a long way down

It felt like he couldn’t win. One thing after another in his life and all he really wanted was a few moments to himself when he could just…be.

He opened his desk drawer and pulled out the pregnancy book he’d found at the store the previous day. It was the match to Elizabeth’s and he felt almost guilty for having it in the penthouse where he lived with his wife.

He’d meant what he’d said. He wanted to be a father to his child–in every way possible.

But would Courtney let him? Was he ready to sacrifice his marriage for his child?

Studio

Cause on and on and on he goes
Dancing on the grave
Of what he thought was still alive, hey

Elizabeth stood outside the heavy steel door, exhausted after an early morning shift. She stared at the notice pinned to her door and only managed a sad sigh.

An eviction notice. Her building had been condemned.

“Guess being late on that rent isn’t going to matter,” she murmured. She fished her key out of her purse and slipped it into the lock.

She just couldn’t win.

On and on and on he goes
Dancing in mansions made of twigs
And castles made of sand

She dropped her things on the work table and collapsed onto the couch, pulling a blanket over her and curling into a ball. All she wanted to was sleep.

She’d deal with this later.

Haye’s Landing

Cause he lives inside
A fairy tale sand castle now

Brian loaded the last suitcase into the back of Courtney’s car. “Are you sure you want to take it all before…before you’re sure?” he asked.

Courtney shook her head. “It’s not true. Brian…you don’t know Jason. He wouldn’t do this to me. Ric’s lying. That’s what he does. He lies to everyone.”

“Courtney…” he sighed and looked away, his hands on his hips. “I just…I’m sorry that you even have to doubt him for a second. That’s not fair to you.”

“No,” Courtney agreed. “It’s not.”

And there’s room inside
For false expectations and illusions

She took a deep breath and looked towards the front of the car where Michael and Morgan were already belted into the backseat.

“I appreciate the way you’ve been…treating me,” she told him. “You’ve been a good friend and…you’ve been good to Michael. It means a lot to me and I wanted to thank you.”

“If you need me…I’m here.” He stepped towards her and kissed her on the cheek.

“Goodbye,” she said faintly.

Carly’s House

Cause there’s a crack in his plastic crown
And his throne of ice is melting

Jason sipped his beer and watched as Carly straightened one of the pillows on the couches. “It looks fine.”

“Yeah. I’m just…I’m nervous. I so want to look at my children and feel the love I remember.” She sat down and took a deep breath. “But if it doesn’t happen, I refuse to be disappointed. Cameron thinks I’m making good progress. We talked about my visit with Sonny, about the feelings about Robin…about you.”

He climbed his ladder
There was nothing there
And now it’s a long way down

“About me?” Jason echoed. “What about me?”

“We talked about how worried I am about you. I know…I know you’re telling her tonight,” Carly told him quietly.

“I have to. Elizabeth has a doctor appointment next week and I want…I want to be there.” He stood and shoved his hands in his pockets. “When I went to talk to her about all of this, she was reading a book about pregnancy and I bought the same one.”

“Oh…Jase…” Carly sighed.

Cause on and on and on he goes
Dancing on the grave
Of what he thought was still alive, hey

“I told her that I want to be there for her–throughout the pregnancy and afterwards. I want to be in the baby’s life. She’s worried about Courtney and I can understand that. Courtney’s going to be angry and she might…she might not want me to be as involved as I want to be.”

“And if that happens?” Carly prompts.

“I just have to know how far I’m going to go in order to do that. I made a mistake, Carly. It was a mistake and we both know that. But this child should not have to pay for that.”

On and on and on he goes
Dancing in mansions made of twigs
And castles made of sand

The door burst open then and an exuberant Michael flew over the doorstep and into his mother’s arms. “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!”

Carly squeezed him tight and closed her eyes. “Hey, baby.” Her fingers threaded through his shaggy red hair and tears sprang into her eyes.

“I missed you so much, Mommy. Are you feeling better?” Michael asked.

Carly pulled away and kissed his forehead. “So much better now that you’re here.”

Cause on and on and on he goes
Dancing on the grave
Of what he thought was still alive, hey

Jason stood as Courtney gingerly stepped over the doorstep, Morgan cradled in her arms. She managed a weak smile before handing the baby to his weeping mother.

Not even noticing Carly’s tearful reaction to her children, she stepped towards her husband. “I have to talk to you,” she said softly.

He nodded. “Yeah, I have to talk to you, too.” He pulled her into the kitchen.

On and on and on he goes
Dancing in mansions made of twigs
And castles made of sand

Carly cradled Morgan tightly, unable to stop the flow of tears streaming down her cheeks. There it was. She was so scared that it wouldn’t come back that she hadn’t really prepared herself for the possibility it would.

She loved her boys. Her sweet Michael, good-natured and well-adjusted despite his tough life. And her tiny little Morgan, with his cherubic face and tiny hands.

His hand wrapped around her pinky finger and his eyes opened–clear brown eyes so like his father’s. “Hey, it’s Mommy,” she whispered. “Mommy.”

Cause on and on and on he goes
Dancing on the grave
Of what he thought was still alive, hey

Courtney wrapped her arms around herself and stared out the back window. The drive had been long–both the boys had napped and she’d only had her thoughts to keep her company.

“Ric came to Haye’s Landing Wednesday night,” she said softly.

Jason froze–just as he was opening his mouth to tell her about Elizabeth. “What?”

On and on and on he goes
Dancing in mansions made of twigs
And castles made of sand

“I was making dinner for Michael and Brian Beck–you met him the one time you came to see us,” she continued in the same quiet tone. “Michael really likes Brian–he took him sledding and played video games with him.”

“Courtney, I–”

“Ric came to the door and I think he scared Michael a little because you know, he saw him kidnap Carly last summer. So I sent him upstairs and I told Ric he had five minutes and then he had to leave.”

Cause on and on and on he goes
Dancing on the grave
Of what he thought was still alive, hey

Courtney turned slowly. She wanted to look into his eyes when she said this. She wanted to see his immediate reaction.

She needed to know.

“And he told me that you had slept with Elizabeth and that she was pregnant.”

Oh, God. Oh, God. Her lower lip trembled and she saw the way he swallowed and looked away.

“It’s true, isn’t it?” she asked, almost inaudibly.

On and on and on he goes
Dancing in mansions made of twigs

“Yeah,” he said hoarsely. “It’s true.”

And castles made of sand

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