Elizabeth looked up as her grandmother took the seat across from her. “Gram…”
“I heard it on the evening news, I believe you’re making the right decision and I want you to divorce the son of a bitch who’s keeping you here,” Audrey said briskly.
“I–” Elizabeth pressed the heel of her hand against her forehead. “Jesus, Gram, don’t you think I’m dealing with enough right now?”
“Exactly my point. Ric’s been fired as DA, he can’t do anything else to screw you over if you’re not in his life. Now–I know that you love him but I loved Tom Baldwin and that really didn’t get us anywhere, now did it?””
“He was fired?” Elizabeth said softly. “Why?”
“The mayor was faxed a copy of your statement and didn’t take to kindly that he tried to cover up a murder.”
Elizabeth closed her eyes. “Oh, God, I murdered him.”
“Gram–I don’t know what I’m doing anymore.” Her voice shook. “I thought–I thought Ric would understand I’m doing the right thing and support me but he hasn’t and now you want me to divorce him–”
“I want you to be safe, darling,” Audrey said softly. “You are doing the right thing and anyone who doesn’t see that should go to hell.”
“I love him, Gram–”
“But he doesn’t value you. He doesn’t trust you. He wants to control you.”
“He wants you to come to him for help and you didn’t. You went to Jason. You know that had to infuriate him,” Audrey said gently.
“I didn’t go to Jason,” Elizabeth said defensively. “I don’t do that. I don’t expect him to fix my problems, Gram. He just showed up at my door this morning and he asked me what I wanted to do. I wanted to confess. He’s helping me but–”
“Darling, I know all of this.” Audrey sighed. “But Ric doesn’t. Ric just sees Jason. You can’t go back to him after this.”
“I know. But–”
“Justus says your petition to strip him of parental rights would carry more weight if you were divorcing him.”
Elizabeth bit her lip and closed her eyes. “I just–I want to find out about this deal before I make that decision.”
“It’ll work out,” Audrey promised.
“I deserve to go to jail,” Elizabeth whispered. “I killed him, Gram. Zander was the father of my baby and I killed him.”
“You were scared.”
“I knew Zander wouldn’t hurt me. Could never hurt me.” Elizabeth’s hands started to shake and she bowed her head. “I know that, I’ve always known that but–he was so desperate. He’d lost everything. Emily, his job, his freedom. I didn’t know what he was capable of anymore. I loved Zander, he was a good friend but he made so many bad decisions.” Elizabeth wiped her cheeks. “He was capable of violence so I know he could have shot that cop. But he was capable of kindness, of gentleness. He was so wonderful to me. He always was. I know he wouldn’t hurt me–”
“Elizabeth, you just said that you didn’t know what he was capable of. Do I believe Zander would consciously hurt you? No,” Audrey shook her head. “But people under pressure do things they wouldn’t otherwise. You were protecting yourself. Your child. And Zander would not blame you.”
Elizabeth took a shaky breath. “I know that here.” She gestured towards her head and then pressed the heel of her hand against her heart. “It’s here that I’m having the problems with.”
By the time Justus had drawn up the divorce papers, Jason had returned with more than what he’d gone for. A judge’s word that he would sign the deal. And the judge’s word that he would over ride family court and award custody of her child to Elizabeth just as soon as the deal had been placed.
“Can I see her?” Jason asked. Garcia nodded and moved out of the way, going over to Dara who was working out the details with Justus.
Jason entered the interrogation room and hesitated when he saw Audrey seated across from Elizabeth. “Hello, Mrs. Hardy.”
“Jason.” Audrey squeezed Elizabeth’s hands and stood. “My granddaughter and her friends have told me that you’ve been out trying to fix this mistake so that she can go home.”
“I have,” Jason confirmed. He shifted. There were few people in his life that he felt uneasy around–that made him feel like he should check his hands and make sure they were clean. His own grandmother, Bobbie Spencer and Elizabeth’s grandmother.
“And can she go home?” Audrey pressed.
“Gram,” Elizabeth protested weakly.
“Justus and Dara are working on the papers now,” Jason said dutifully. His eyes flickered to Elizabeth. “The judge agreed to strip Ric of his parental rights.”
“The family court…” Elizabeth hesitated. “It’s over?”
Jason nodded. “As soon as Dara files the papers, we’ll get you in front of the judge. You’ll be given a few years of probation and Ric has no rights to the baby.”
“And she’s filing for divorce,” Audrey revealed. “I won’t deny I forced her to do it but it was only a matter of time. He’s no good for you, Elizabeth. He doesn’t give a damn about what’s important to you.”
“I know,” Elizabeth said softly.
Audrey nodded and looked back to Jason. “Thank you, Jason. I know how much you care for my granddaughter. She’s lucky to have a friend like you.” She kissed his cheek and left the room.
Elizabeth blinked. “She must have taken some drugs or something,” she offered as an explanation. “She’s been acting oddly since she walked in here.” She cleared her throat and stood. “Thank you. For everything you’ve done since you’ve known the truth. It’s the first time in a long time that I felt like anyone has really listened to me.”
Jason ducked his head and looked away. “It was nothing you wouldn’t have done for me.”
Justus pushed open the door. “You ready to head over to the court? We’ll have you home in an hour.”
Elizabeth was in the squad room before she stopped. “I don’t have a home,” she said softly. “The apartment–”
“You’ll come with me,” Audrey said briskly. She took Elizabeth’s purse from her and pushed her towards the doors. “Let’s go.”
“How does the defendant plead?” the judge asked briskly.
“Guilty,” Elizabeth murmured.
“Your Honor, the defendant has never been arrested or charged with anything of this nature before. Her statement to the police leaves no doubt in our minds that she struck in self defense and did not intend for the victim to die. Autopsy reports say that Alexander Lewis aka Zander Smith died of smoke inhalation we request that she be sentenced to a year suspended with probation,” Dara recited.
The judge nodded and shifted in his seat. “That sound right to you, Mr. Ward?”
“Yes, sir,” Justus nodded. “My client came forward to cleanse her mind and wishes to go on with her life and raise her child in peace.”
“The investigation indicates the trail had gone all but dead,” the judge remarked. “You never would have been accused, Ms. Webber.”
Elizabeth nodded. “I would have known, sir.”
“I admire that. Honesty is hard to find in this seat these days. I can understand your reluctance, seeing as how you’re with child.” The judge smiled. “Defendant is sentenced to one year, suspended and four years of probation. Court is adjourned.”
On a cold day that March, Alexander Lewis was laid to rest next to his brother Peter and his father Cameron. His funeral was paid for by the Cassadine family and attended by only a sparse few. Emily and Nikolas, Elizabeth and her grandmother, Jason, Alexis and Justus.
His son Cameron Alexander Webber was born late that May and proudly named Alexander Lewis as his father.
Elizabeth told her son stories about Zander, about how he’d saved her from losing her mind during the horrible days in the crypt. How he’d listened to her, had cared for her and how much she missed him.
She thought that Zander would have liked that.