Forever, we will be
Together, a family
The more I get to know ya, nothin’ can compare
With all of my heart you know I’ll always be
– I’ll Always Be Right There, Bryan Adams
Monday, December 11, 2000
General Hospital: Waiting Room
“You know what would happen if I went home now, don’t you?” Emily said to Bobbie on her third lap around the room. “I’d get to the parking lot, and she’d have the baby.”
“That’s probably true—” Luke checked his watch. “But I don’t have a choice. I promised Felicia I’d grab Lu from her by eight, baby or no baby.” He grimaced. “Barbara Jean—”
“I’ll call you as soon as we know anything,” Bobbie said, flipping a page. She glanced up. “I told you all not to come this early. She only went into labor two hours ago. We’ll probably be here all night.”
“Well, then I better go restock the coffee.” Sonny got to his feet. “Bobbie, you in?”
“Is it your blend or the cafeteria?”
“Me, too. I’m staying until the bitter end. I will not be at home when my niece or nephew is born.” Emily flopped into a chair next to Bobbie, eyed the television mounted in the corner with some suspicion. “Who picks the channels on these things anyway?”
Tuesday, December 12, 2000
General Hospital: Elizabeth’s Room
Bobbie was right. Elizabeth’s labor lasted through the night and into the next morning, but with the support of Laura and Jason and an excellently timed epidural, it wasn’t the nightmare she’d been worried about. It was a bit mortifying in some parts, but then a nurse placed the baby in Elizabeth’s arms, and it all seemed to slide away.
“She barely weighs anything,” Elizabeth murmured. Jason bent in close to peer at their daughter, and Elizabeth rested her forehead briefly against his cheek. “She’s perfect. They said she was perfect, didn’t they?”
“They did.” Jason kissed her forehead. “Full points on everything.” He’d watched as they’d cleaned her up, counting her fingers, her toes—
“Look at all that hair,” Laura said, leaning over the other side. “She’s going to have your color,” she told Elizabeth. “She’s beautiful. Absolutely incredible.”
“Do you want to hold her?” Elizabeth asked Jason. “I’ve been holding her for nine months.” Gingerly, Jason took the baby—she felt like a bundle of feathers in his arms. He’d thought about this in Greece, about this moment, holding his child. Watching her being born.
And he’d nearly lost it. It had almost been stolen from them. It would have been so easy for Elizabeth to give up, to think Jason had disappeared willingly or one of his own enemies had come for him. But she’d believed in him and had fought for him. She’d rescued him.
“You decided to be surprised,” Laura said to Elizabeth. “But you had names picked out, didn’t you?”
“Yeah. She’s Paige Audrey Morgan.” Elizabeth rested her head against the pillow and smiled faintly at Jason as he swayed slightly, soothing their newborn daughter.
“That’s a good name. I should go tell everyone. I think Luke came back after dropping Lu at school. Are you ready for everyone or do you want some more time?”
“They can come back for a little while.”
Laura kissed her forehead. “You did so good, honey. Congratulations.”
Spencer House: Living Room
“I swear I’m going to sleep for a month.” Laura collapsed on the sofa. “Bobbie and I should have pulled shifts or something.”
Luke smiled, sat on the coffee table and leaned down to help remove her shoes. “No, Liz wanted you in there with her, and Bobbie understood. Cute kid. She’s gonna grow up to be something special.”
“Are you all right?” Laura opened her eyes, peered at him. “You’ve been quiet since we left the hospital.”
“I’m—” Luke paused. “I had a moment when I was holding the baby—just a moment—where I wanted it to be Lucky. I’m happy Liz has moved on. That she’s found happiness and that she’s building her family. Grateful that she’s open to letting us both stay in her life. But it’s so hard sometimes—”
“It’ll pass. We’re going on two years since we lost our Cowboy, and it’s getting easier. I don’t think about him every day. It’s not the first thought when I wake up.”
“You’ve done good this year, Luke. Stepping up for Lulu, coming back to the club. Being there for Elizabeth.”
“Yeah, well, I wanted to be the man my boy always thought I was. Better late than never.” He got to his feet. “I’ll head out, let you get some rest.”
Laura watched him go, then curled up on the sofa, closing her eyes. She understood Luke’s fleeting desire for Lucky was to be the one in that room, that it had been handing his daughter to Luke to hold for the first time instead of Jason. Eight months since they’d left Greece, since Laura had turned her back on her last living son, and the pain could still make her chest ache and steal her breath.
She’d lost her boys, but she still had Lulu, and God willing, she’d have Elizabeth. It would be enough.
Wednesday, December 12, 2000
Cassadine Estate: Terrace
The moon had risen over the water, but Nikolas hadn’t yet gone inside. It was the first time in months that he was alone on the estate. His father had remained to enforce the house arrest, but finally, Stefan had gone to the mainland for a series of meetings.
The house was as silent as a tomb. As empty as his own life. He let his head fall forward, contemplating his future. He could likely negotiate the ability to travel freely as long as he kept his promise to stay out of Port Charles. Beyond his sister, who had likely been fed lies about Nikolas’s supposed crimes, there was little left for him there anyway.
“I always enjoyed the way the moon shimmered over the water from this side of the island.”
Nikolas lunged off the chair, whirling around as a figure glided out of the house, her silver hair carefully coiffed, silver and diamonds glinting at her wrists and on her figure. “Grandmother,” he said warily. “I thought you were wintering in St. Petersburg.”
“I was, but then I learned that you had finally been left alone. My dear boy, this is no life for you.” Helena smiled as she approached. “You only honored the blood of your grandfather, of your uncle. You sought justice in a world that hadn’t offered it. And you’ve been punished for it.”
“I don’t know what you want from me,” Nikolas began. “There’s nothing I can do for you—”
“No, no, darling. I’m here to give something to you. An opportunity.” Helena tilted her head. “To finally make the women who abandoned and betrayed you pay. Are you interested?”
Friday, December 14, 2000
Hardy House: Elizabeth’s Bedroom
Elizabeth smiled as Jason entered the room, clad only in a pair of sweatpants. “Hey, she’s almost asleep.” The gentle back and forth rhythm of the rocking chair had lulled Paige into a light doze, and if they were very careful, that doze would turn into at least two solid hours of sleep before her next feeding. Hopefully. It had worked the night before, their first full night at home.
“I can’t believe she’s finally here,” Elizabeth said, keeping her voice soft but not whispering. “I feel like we’ve been planning so long, and now—” She brushed her knuckles down Paige’s soft cheek.
“Now she’s here.”
“Do you want to try putting her in the bassinet? I think she’s ready to move.”
Jason leaned down to take the baby and soon enough Paige was fast asleep, her tiny fists raised up above her head. Elizabeth remained in the chair, watching him, her own body relaxing and sliding into sleep.
She felt herself being lifted from the chair, but there was no panic, no worry, just the comfort of being in the arms of the man she loved. “Mmm…I could sleep for an eternity,” she muttered, pressing her face into the pillow when he laid her down. She felt the bed dip next to her as he climbed in. “I’ve never been so tired, and we’re just getting started.”
“Yeah, we are.”
She felt his gaze on her, and opened her eyes, her lips curving into a smile. “Hey. You’re looking at me.”
“I’m looking at you.” He brushed some strands off her head, gently. “You’re so beautiful.”
“You have to say that,” Elizabeth said with a yawn. “I’m the mother of your child.”
“Maybe, but it’s not why. And you’re more than that.”
She smiled again. “More than friends. I remember.” Elizabeth opened her eyes again when he didn’t respond. His gaze was so serious, somber. “What?”
“I love you,” he murmured, bringing her hand to his mouth. “For never giving up on me. You dragged me out of the snow, and you gave me back my life.”
“And you showed me I didn’t have to keep living in nothing. That there was still a life out there worth living. I love you, too.” He leaned down, and she threaded her fingers in the hair at the nape of his neck to hold him close, as he kissed her, lingering.
“We’re going to have the best life,” she said. Jason opened his mouth, likely to agree, but then Paige started to cry because there was no such thing a routine with babies.
Somewhere in Russia
Nikolas blew warmth into his hands as he followed his grandmother down another twisting corridor. She’d dragged him from the warmth of Greece to the tundra of Russia, and then to this building that looked like a basic, bland building left over from the days of the Soviet Union.
“How much further—”
“Right here.” Helena stopped by a door. “In here you’ll find what you need for revenge. To make your mother, the Spencers—”
“Morgan and Corinthos,” Nikolas growled. “You promised.”
“Ah, yes. All those who hurt you, my love—” Helena punched a number into a keypad. “Tell me what you think, my darling.”
Nikolas pushed the door open, then simply stared open-mouthed as a lean young man stumbled to his feet. “What is going on?”
“What are you doing here?” Blue eyes flicked to Helena, questioning. “You said it wasn’t time yet.”
“No, not quite yet, pet.” Helena went into the room, her tone soothing. “But I thought it might be amusing to hold a family reunion.”
Nikolas swallowed hard, looked at Helena, then back at his brother. Lucky was alive. And in complete thrall to his grandmother.