Chapter 34

This entry is part 34 of 37 in the Counting Stars

There’s nothing left to try
There’s no more places to hide
There’s no greater power
Than the power of goodbye

There’s nothing left to lose
There’s no more heart to bruise
There’s no greater power
Than the power of goodbye

Power of Goodbye, Madonna

Saturday, May 13, 2000

WSB Clinic: Jason’s Room

Elizabeth groaned, pressed a hand against her eyes to block out the sunlight that was streaming through the single window. “Oh, I still hate mornings.” She dragged herself into a sitting position, then pressed a hand to her belly—

She managed to make it to the bathroom across the hall before the nausea won. She vomited until her stomach and throat started to burn—then slumped back against the wall, closing her eyes.

“Thank you, baby,” she murmured, pressing her hands to her abdomen. “For holding off on the really bad morning until we found Daddy. He’s good in a crisis, too.”

There was a light knock at the door. “Elizabeth? Can I come in?”

“Yeah.” Elizabeth managed a weak smile as Bobbie stepped around the edge of the door—a pack of crackers and a can of ginger ale in her hands. “I’ve never loved you more than I do this moment—”

“Well, I’d love to take credit,” Bobbie said, perching on the toilet seat. She handed the crackers to Elizabeth and cracked the can. “I came to check on you, and I found Jason trying to take out his IV. You ran out of the room—”

“He brought me crackers every morning,” Elizabeth murmured. She nibbled at the corner, then sipped the ginger ale. “It was always waiting when I woke up.”

“It’s hard to do it alone,” Bobbie said. “When I was pregnant with Carly, Luke and Ruby were around, but not steady. I was on my own most of the time. It’s one of the reasons I went through with the adoption.”

“You thought about keeping her?”

“Oh, a dozen times a day, all the way up until the day she was born. I told myself I’m a hard worker. I could make a life for us.” Bobbie smiled wistfully. “But the truth was that I didn’t have enough to give her. Love matters, honey. But so does a roof over your head. And I just—I knew that neither of us would have a life if I didn’t make this choice. I don’t regret doing it. I’m just sorry that it left her with bitterness and anger.”

“Sometimes I wish my mom would have given me away.” Elizabeth nibbled another cracker. “After I found out about the fellowship she gave up, I used to dream about it. I’d have a family who wanted me. Picked me. I used to think adopted kids had it so great — they were chosen.” She smiled thinly. “Then I met Carly. And I realized the flip side, you know? For every baby that gets chosen, there’s a parent who didn’t want you. And maybe it would be harder. I don’t know.” She closed her eyes. “I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a good mother. I want to be the best I can.”

“You will be—”

“I’m going to try. I’ve watched you and Laura, and you’re really good moms. I know that sometimes trying isn’t enough to make your kid feel safe and loved. It scares me,” she admitted. “That you can do everything right, and still, something terrible happens. I mean, we lost Lucky to burning candles.”

“I lost BJ to a bus accident.” Bobbie sighed. “I think about that day a lot. She was running late, and if it had been just a bit longer—I’d have driven her to school. She would have turned fourteen this year.” She swiped at her cheek. “But Maxie’s still with us because of that accident. How do I wish my daughter to be here when I know her cousin wouldn’t?”

Elizabeth slowly got to her feet, and Bobbie helped her stand the rest of the way. She tossed the empty ginger ale into the trash can. “How can you stand it?” Elizabeth wanted to know. “I’m so scared all the time. When Nikolas grabbed me yesterday, I thought—what a stupid risk I’d taken—I’d put my baby in danger—”


“But at least right now I can protect it—after—how do you let a kid go out in the world when you know everything that could be out there?”

“Honestly? Courage mixed with arrogance. Courage to let your child make their own choices and arrogance to believe the universe will take care of them. Losing BJ broke me into pieces. I don’t know that Tony ever recovered. Not after the way he lost Tania, his first wife and BJ’s biological mother. But if you ask either of us—would we still do it—would I still raise her, would he still bring her into the world if we’d known we lose her? If I had known I’d only have seven precious years—”

“You’d do it, wouldn’t you?”

“Absolutely.” Bobbie tucked Elizabeth hair behind her ear. “You know what it’s like to live a life driven by fear. You’ve done it before. You also know how to step outside of it.”

“Yeah, I do.” Elizabeth hugged her briefly. “Thanks for the pep talk.”

“Any time.”

She and Bobbie left the bathroom and returned to Jason’s room where they also found Luke.

“There are my girls. How you feeling, kid?”

“Better. I need a shower,” Elizabeth admitted. “And a toothbrush.”

“I can get you sorted with both of those.”

Elizabeth went over to the bed to check on Jason, relieved to see that his eyes were clear and that he was sitting up. “Did you sleep okay?” she asked, pressing the back of her hand to his cheek. The clamminess was gone—he looked like himself again.

“Yeah.” He reached for her other hand, drew her down beside him. “You’re okay?” Jason asked.

“We’re both fine.” Elizabeth pressed his hand against her belly. “As soon as we get back to Port Charles, we’ll listen to the baby’s heartbeat. It’s far along enough now that we can.”

She twisted to look back at Luke. “I imagine that if we stay much longer, we’ll outstay our welcome.”

Luke shoved his hands in his pockets. “I’m here on a favor from an old friend. So, yeah, we’re gonna need to clear out soon, but the doc wants you on those fluids a bit longer. I’m gonna head over to the island to check on things and pick up Sonny and Emily—”

“Emily—” Jason exhaled slowly. “I thought I heard her voice. She’s—she’s really here?”

“Once we thought it was Nikolas,” Elizabeth said with a grimace, “I thought Emily deserved to be here.” She looked at Luke. “What do you think Laura is going to do?”

“She and Alexis might stay longer—”

“Where is he?’ Jason bit out, and no one had to ask who he meant.

“Still breathing,” Luke confirmed. “I left Sonny to negotiate on your behalf,” he added dryly. “That’s part of the reason I’m gonna head over. We’ll take the boat back to Mykonos, catch the jet and come to Athens to pick you up—”

“I’m going with you,” Elizabeth said. Luke shook his head. “We’re not going to have this argument again—”

“No, because you won last time and look what happened. Sorry, kid. You’re staying here.”

“Elizabeth, I don’t think it’s a good idea—”

“I want to be there for Laura—and Emily. And if Nikolas is—” she grimaced “Detained in some way, I want to see him.”

“Why? What good could it do, honey? We came all this way—you’ve been searching for Jason for almost a week,” Bobbie reminded her. “Stay here. Rest.”

“I’ll rest when I get home.” She turned to Jason who was clearly displeased at the suggestion. “I promise I won’t go near Nikolas unless he’s restrained. I just—it feels unfinished. I was so scared and worried for you—” Her voice faltered, and she stroked his hair. “I didn’t think we’d get you help in time.”


“I just want to close this chapter. Luke will be with me the whole time and if he doesn’t want me to go near Nikolas, I promise you I won’t.” She looked at Luke. “Right?”

“I can answer that right now. You’re not going—” He grimaced when she just glared at him. “Yeah, okay, I didn’t think that would work either.” Luke exhaled slowly. “All right, Elizabeth. If this is what you need to make this over, I’m going to listen. At least one of you will get closure. I don’t think Jason’s going to get to rip Nikolas apart.”

“You’ll be with her the whole time,” Jason said to Luke. “Because otherwise, I’m ripping out this IV—”

“Won’t take my eyes off her. White on rice.”

Cassadine Island: Terrace

“It’s a shame,” Sonny said, strolling out on to the terrace adjoining the breakfast room, “that this place is owned by lunatics.” He sat next to Laura, across from Alexis and Emily, ignoring the scowling Stefan at the head of the table. He plucked the white linen napkin from the table, laid it in his lap, then poured himself a glass of orange juice. “Maybe I should get a place in Greece,” he said to Alexis who narrowed her eyes. “To help keep my eye on this pile of insanity—”

“I believe I have some business to see to,” Stefan said stiffly, rising to his feet and striding inside. Laura pursed her lips, tossed Sonny an irritated glance, then followed her son’s father.

Sonny lifted a brow and looked at those still seated. “Was it something I said?”

“You might have some consideration and compassion for them,” Alexis said stiffly. “Nikolas is their son—”

“I have consideration and compassion for Elizabeth,” Sonny cut in sharply. “The eighteen-year-old girl who’s had nothing but garbage thrown at her for the last two years and managed to rise above it without kidnapping and trying to kill people. I have it for Jason who did nothing but offer a kid a job and a place to live—” He jerked a fork at Emily. “For Emily, who nearly lost a brother—”

“Sonny—” Emily said softly, her cheeks pale.

“What about for me?” Alexis wanted to know, slapping her napkin on the table. She shoved her seat back, stood. “What about consideration and compassion for me? I’ve done nothing but hold your damn hand for months—”

“I’m going to go,” Emily said but neither of them noticed as she disappeared inside.

“Hold my hand?” Sonny lunged to his feet. “The hell—”

“Why was Jason in Portland?” Alexis challenged. “Why did he leave? Why wasn’t he coming back, huh? How quickly you forget when people have compassion for you,” she said scathingly. “Did you deserve consideration when you slept with Carly? When you knowingly took the woman Jason cared about to your bed? Did you deserve compassion?”

Sonny growled. “You’re not comparing me to that lunatic—”

“I’m reminding you that it costs you nothing in this moment to be a human being,” Alexis broke in flatly. “Jason is alive. Nikolas is locked in a damned dungeon. Laura and Stefan are grappling with a terrible reality with no easy choices, no way out. And you’re enjoying their pain—my pain—” Her voice broke on the final words, and Sonny’s ire faded.

“I’m not enjoying it,” Sonny said roughly. “Alexis—”

“Stefan was not a perfect parent, but he did the absolute best he could with Helena waiting in the wings to poison Nikolas. Laura is doing the best she can with divided loyalties. She loves Elizabeth like her own daughter—he’s mine, too, Sonny.” She pressed a fist to her chest. “Mine. I watched him grow up. I thought he was a chance for our family—” She squeezed her eyes shut and stalked away to the edge of the terrace. She placed both her hands on the railing, her palms flat against the stone, the ocean waves crashing below her.

“You’re right. I’m sorry.” Sonny approached her. “I’m sorry,” he repeated and was relieved when she looked at him, could meet his gaze. “Maybe it’s my own guilt. Jason was in Portland because of me. He was staying away because of me. He knew Elizabeth wanted to be in Port Charles, and he was going to come back for her. He just needed to convince her he was okay, and I messed it up. I pushed and pulled, and I shoved him further away. He could have come home, and instead, he was in Portland, alone. Like a sitting duck.”

“There you go again,” Alexis murmured. She closed her eyes, shook her head. “The arrogance of thinking this was all in your control. Jason didn’t get kidnapped because of you. Or me or Elizabeth.” She turned around, leaning against the railing, her back to the water. “This happened because of Nikolas. Because he believes the world, and the people in it, are his to control. There’s no point in any of us blaming ourselves.”

“I don’t like thinking this was inevitable,” Sonny returned. He rubbed the back of his neck. “That no matter where Jason or Elizabeth were, he’d be ready to strike—” He paused. “I’m sorry,” he said again. “For what you’re going through.”

“I didn’t know Mikkos was my father,” Alexis told him. She stared at the house, at the walls that contained the memories of her childhood. “I thought I was a distant cousin, a poor relation that Mikkos took in out of spite because Helena had murdered my mother.”

Sonny raised a brow. “Spite?”

“Mikkos was having an affair with her. A distant cousin,” Alexis repeated. “I think maybe he loved her, as much as he could love anyone. He stayed with her for years, and I thought of him as a warm and generous man who loved her. And then Helena slit her throat.” She exhaled slowly. “Mikkos brought me to the estate to live and I grew up here with Stefan and Stavros. He was still kind to me, but I thought it was because I wasn’t his child. Maybe because I wasn’t a boy. If I’d been a son, maybe the casual cruelty would have been my fate. I grew up being grateful, thanking God that he wasn’t my father. That the Cassadine blood in my veins would be diluted and I could get away, I could have a life and a future.”

“But you are his daughter.”

“I am. And I learned the hard way that he only cared about you when you did his bidding. When I stepped out of line, he made sure I knew it. I paid for it,” she murmured. She looked at Sonny. “Elizabeth stepped out of line, and Nikolas made sure she paid for it. Nikolas never knew his grandfather and yet, he grew up to be just like him. The Cassadine blood is a curse, and the line should die with us.”

Cassadine Island: Dungeons

It had really been too easy to slip behind the hidden doorway and down into tunnels and passages leading to the dungeons — Emily had expected them to be guarded, though she wasn’t really sure why. Stefan wasn’t likely to let Nikolas on the loose with Sonny still on the island—

Yesterday, her blood had been pounding in her veins, her throat, even her ears, and she hadn’t really paid much attention to her surroundings — she’d just trailed behind Bobbie and Alexis as they walked through the stone hallways with dim lighting, the vague smell of death mixed with the ocean and the sound of waves crashing.  As they’d drawn closer to the dungeons, Emily had heard Nikolas’s taunting voice, then silence —

Then they’d turned a corner to see Jason inside a cell, behind rusted bars, and Nikolas pressed against those same bars, Jason’s hands around his neck. The scene had been horrifying, unbelievable — and all too real.

And still Emily couldn’t make sense of it. How was this happening?

She turned that same corner today and the dungeons came into view — more than just the single cell where Jason had been held. There was a row of them, each their own little dank hole dug into the stone walls, with a crisscross of bars at the front.

Nikolas laid on his back in Jason’s cell, his hair disheveled, stubble on his cheeks, his hands folded behind his head as if he were relaxing on a chaise lounge.

She stared at him for a long moment, thinking of the first time she’d seen him, the flutters in her heart at his lovely dark eyes and sweet smile — he’d never seen her as more than just a friend, but Emily had adored him from the beginning, and would have cheerfully walked through fire for him—

Nikolas turned his head at her approach, then slowly rose to his feet like a coiled panther stretching. “I don’t imagine you’re here to let me out,” he said coolly—in that elegant voice that had never betrayed a childhood spent in Greece, no trace of an accent.

“I came,” Emily said, a bit unsteadily, wrapping her arms around her torso, keeping her eyes on him, “because I needed—I needed to understand. I needed…” To know that Nikolas was sorry? To see remorse? Or to discover it had been a mistake? Maybe this wasn’t Nikolas. Maybe it was just an impostor— “I miss Lucky, too. He was your brother, but he was my best friend. My first friend in Port Charles. And if I’d thought someone was responsible for taking away from us—” Her voice faltered. “I’m trying to picture how I’d react—”

“Someone was responsible,” Nikolas bit out. “Your brother. And you did nothing to avenge the friend you loved so much—”

“You keep using Lucky against us like a weapon.” Emily shook her head. There was a coolness seeping into her veins now—not quite numbing but calming. For the first time, she saw clearly what had happened. “You’re using him as if you have the right, but it’s been a year, Nikolas. If you’d believed Jason responsible, then why did it take so long to do something? Why now?” She tipped his head. “Because Elizabeth is pregnant. You wanted her for yourself—”

“Shut up,” Nikolas bit out.

“And you’re too arrogant to imagine she doesn’t feel the same. There must be a reason, an explanation, for why she doesn’t want you,” Emily retorted. “It must be someone else’s fault. It’s always someone else, isn’t it? It’s Laura, for leaving. Lucky, for working for Jason. It’s Jason, for seducing Elizabeth. It’s Elizabeth, for rejecting you—” A humorless smile tugged at her lips. “It’s mine for not abandoning my brother or maybe for not telling you Elizabeth was pregnant. It’s always someone else, but it’s never you.”

Nikolas stepped towards the bars, wrapping his fingers around them, curling them tightly. Emily took a step back to be sure she was out of his reach. “It’s all of those things,” he hissed. “You’ve all chosen me last or not at all, and I’m done—”

“It is our fault,” Emily said with a nod. “For humoring you. I should have known a long time ago that you were nothing but selfishness and arrogance masquerading as a good man. You tried to kill my brother, to make my best friend feel abandoned. Whatever happens next,” she told him, “is your fault. If you come back to Port Charles, if I ever see you again, I’ll make sure Sonny and Jason know where to find you.”

Nikolas’s jaw clenched. “You should know better than to threaten a Cassadine—”

“If you think I’m scared of you, then you don’t know me very well. Stay away from me and my family, Nikolas. There’s no one left to protect you.”

She walked away and made sure she’d turned the corner before the tears began to fall.

Cassadine Estate: Study

Laura placed the receiver back on the base and looked at Stefan. “Jason made it to the clinic and is expected to make a full recovery. Luke is on his way back to the island to collect Sonny and Emily.” She paused. “He’s bringing Elizabeth with him.”

Stefan raised a brow. “I didn’t think he’d allow her anywhere near this island after yesterday.”

“Yes, well—” Laura looked to Alexis. “Will you stay or go back with them?”

“I would stay,” Alexis said slowly, “if I felt as though my presence would be helpful.” She met Stefan’s eyes. “But I think that since I put him in that cell—”

“You should both leave.” Stefan focused on Laura. “Your presence may do more harm than good.”

“I can’t just—” Laura hesitated. “If I leave now, it’ll be committing the same crime I did when he was a baby. I have to stay—”

Stefan shook his head. “It won’t work, Laura—”

“You asked me not to give up on him—”

“I did, but I merely hoped that you would leave room for his redemption. At the moment, you represent a world that has rejected him—”

“I won’t just leave—” Laura flattened her hands on her desk. “He’ll feel more abandoned—” She closed her eyes. “I want to see him once more. I want him to be the one to send me away. I’ll go then. But he’s my son, Stefan. I can’t give up on him. Not yet. You begged me not to.”

“Fine. You can speak to him once more. But I—” Stefan sat at the desk. “I fear that if we allow him any freedom while any of you are still here, I don’t know what he’ll do. I never thought he’d harm Elizabeth. Or anyone else. This—” He met her eyes. “I want to believe the boy I raised is still inside of him, but you were right. The man I saw yesterday can’t be trusted. I won’t trust him with your life or that of anyone else.”

Cassadine Estate: Foyer

“How is he?” Emily demanded as soon as the butler closed the door behind Elizabeth and Luke. “Alexis told me he would recover, but—”

Elizabeth hugged her. “He’s a medical miracle,” she told her best friend. “Five days without water, and he shouldn’t still have had the strength to choke a man.”

“Well, that’s been Jason’s story since he woke up from the accident.” Emily sniffled. “They said he wouldn’t, and that he’d be a vegetable, but look at him now, you know?”

“They want him on fluids for a few more hours at the clinic, and rest when we get home. But he’ll recover.” Elizabeth squeezed Emily’s hands, then went over to Laura to hug her. “How are you?”

“Managing. You?”

“Slept for the first time last night.”

“I didn’t expect to see you back here—”

“Yeah, I thought you’d stick to Jason like glue,” Emily said. “I can’t wait to get him back home where he belongs. I’m never letting him out of my sight again.”

“If it’s okay—” Elizabeth bit her lip. “If it’s safe. I want to talk to Nikolas one more time. Before I go home. I just—I don’t know. I don’t want to leave it this way.”

“And Jason and I made her promise that if it’s not safe, she wouldn’t do it. So tell her it’s not safe and we can pack up and get out of here—”

“Actually—” Laura winced. “It’s probably safer now than it’s ever been.”

Cassadine Estate: Dungeons

Elizabeth had expected to learn Nikolas had been taken to a suite of rooms and locked away, or maybe—well, maybe she really didn’t have an idea of what she’d find when she returned to the island —

To learn that Nikolas had spent the night in the same cell where he’d locked up Jason—

“You know, I always knew Natasha had it in her,” Luke mused as they made their way down the dark passage. “She complained about the parapet—”

“This is not the time,” Laura snapped. “You’re here because you promised Jason. Stay quiet and out of the way.”

They rounded the corner and Elizabeth inhaled sharply at the sight of Nikolas sitting on the cot, his back to the wall, one leg drawn up to his chest. A tray of food and jug of water lay discarded on the floor.

“Come back to gloat, Mother?” Nikolas asked darkly. He rose to his feet, padded towards them. Elizabeth was careful to keep her distance — she’d seen what might happen if she got too close. “And you—” Nikolas turned to her. “Why did you come back?”

“Because we were friends once. And Lucky loved you by the end. I owed it to him.” Elizabeth folded her arms. “I don’t know what’s happened since yesterday. I’ve been in Athens with Jason. He’ll live. If you care.”

“I don’t,” Nikolas muttered.

“You were going to let him die,” Elizabeth said. “I thought you were supposed to be different than the men who came before you. Different from Helena. I don’t understand. We—we haven’t been able to see eye to since that night. Since my birthday. We’ve argued. And I’ve thought terrible things about you. I’ve been angry with you about what you did at Christmas and a few weeks ago—but I never thought you could be capable of this. For all the arrogance that used to drive me crazy, you could also be kind. We worked so hard to find the man who blackmailed Emily. It was so important to you that we get justice.” Her eyes burned. “How did that man turn around and plot to murder Emily’s brother?”

“It’s not murder,” Nikolas said. He wrapped his fingers around the bars, his eyes gleaming in the dim lighting. “It’s neglect. I wasn’t going to kill him, but I wasn’t going to lift a finger to stop it. The same way my brother died—”

The same old argument and excuses. Whatever friendship she’d found in him once, it was gone now, and there was nothing left to say. “I don’t care what Laura or your father says. If you come back to Port Charles, I won’t step in to save your life. The same neglect you showed the father of my child, I’ll return it to you. Your brother, by the way?” Elizabeth shook his head. “He’d be horrified by what you’ve done. Then again, blood always tells, and the Cassadine men are rotten to the core.”

She swiped at her eyes. “I’m going back upstairs,” she told Laura, who just nodded. “Luke—”

“I’ll be right here until Laura’s done,” Luke told her. “You go on up. Sonny and the others are waiting.”

Laura listened to Elizabeth’s footsteps fade away, then looked at her son. At the boy she’d carried for nine months, then abandoned for sixteen years. “I could spend the rest of my life trying to make up for the choice to leave you,” she murmured. “I would have done anything to earn your forgiveness. I thought I had. I thought that you and I could finally be a family.”

“You think I want you in my life after this?” Nikolas demanded. He rattled the bars. “You let them lock me up!”

“And you’ll stay that way until Elizabeth is gone. I worked so hard to be forgiven, but I’m done. I have spent too many years feeling guilty for surviving a nightmare.” Laura’s lip trembled. “But not one minute more. I did the best I could, and you grew up with a man who loved you with all the material comforts wealth could buy. You’ve decided to hold my decision to leave you over my head. You think I should have stayed—”

“Yes!” Nikolas cried. “You were my mother, too!”

“And I would have eventually flung myself from the cliffs. Do you know how often I was raped living on this island?” Laura asked. “Do you know how many times Stavros dragged me into these dungeons and threatened to forget me down here. I escaped this nightmare, Nikolas. And I will not spend one more minute feeling like the villain. I never should have had to ask for forgiveness. I have nothing to apologize for.”

She stepped back. “For four years, I have begged for your mercy and love, and I’ve received none in return. Not a single ounce of understanding. From either of my sons,” she admitted. “Not one more minute will I give you or this place. If you come back to Port Charles, I cannot and will not guarantee your safety.”

Nikolas lifted his chin defiantly but said nothing. Laura turned and left.

Cassadine Estate: Hall

Laura emerged from the hallway, Luke trailing behind her. She found Elizabeth waiting for her. “Oh.” Her eyes filled. “I thought you’d have gone ahead to meet with Sonny.”

“I waited in the passage until you were done speaking, then came ahead.” Elizabeth looked at Luke who remained silent as he closed the entrance to the dungeons. “I’m sorry. For all that you’ve been through. For what you’ve lost.”

“You did all you could, Angel,” Luke said finally. “The best you could when you were being pelted from all sides.” His eyes were damp as she looked at him. “For my part in it, for the grief and misery, I can only offer my apology. It’s not enough. It’s maybe a drop in the ocean. I was too weak to be the man you needed me to be, and I’ll spend the rest of my life regretting it.”

“Thank you for that, Luke.” Laura closed her eyes, took a deep breath, then looked back at Elizabeth. “We’re going to go home and be with our family. Lulu can’t wait to be an aunt, and I’m sure Jason’s grandmother can’t wait to get her hands on you.” She put an arm around Elizabeth’s shoulders. “There’s nothing left for either of us here. Let’s go home.”


  • My heart was breaking for Emily, Laura, and Elizabeth. I don’t think Stefen is going to be able to control Nikolas.

    According to Carla P on January 16, 2023
  • some dramatic scenes I loved them all

    According to Pamela Hedstrom on January 19, 2023