Time: 9:00 a.m.
Date: February 12, 2003
Place: Harborview Towers, Penthouse 4
It was over breakfast that the first of the many changes occurred. Sonny Corinthos sat at his small dining room table and sipped his coffee–one cream and two sugars. His wife sat across from him, sipping her own coffee. There was silence in the room since one of the guards had taken their son to kindergarten earlier that morning.
Carly was reading a magazine, Sonny a newspaper. Their lives had been in an uproar for so many months that a normal routine like this seemed more sacred. Brenda Barrett was finally out of their lives for good, having divorced their best friend and left town with Jasper Jacks after being cleared of all charges in Luis Alcazar’s murder.
Sonny was slowly adjusting to Jason’s relationship with his sister. He wasn’t happy with it, but he realized it wasn’t his decision to make. Carly couldn’t have been more thrilled–Jason finally had a woman in his life that looked up to her–listened to her.
The door opened and the guard, Marco, announced Courtney’s arrival. The blonde barely waited for that to happen before she entered.
“Good morning,” she greeted the couple cheerfully.
“Hey, Courtney,” Sonny replied. He folded the newspaper and set it aside. “Sit down.”
“Oh, I can’t stay that long,” Courtney said. “I just wanted to come by and find out if Carly had plans later today.”
Carly frowned and looked up from her magazine. “No. Why?”
“I need to go shopping,” Courtney said. “And I want your opinion on what I have to buy.”
“What’re you getting?” Sonny asked.
Courtney shifted. “It’s nothing big. Just some clothing. Carly’s got good taste.”
“All right.” Sonny stood and kissed Carly on the cheek. “I’ve got to go. I’ll see you later.”
“Bye,” Carly murmured watching Sonny take his coat and leave. When he was gone, she eyed her sister-in-law. “All right. Spill.”
Courtney grinned and sat in the seat across from Carly. “I need to buy some lingerie.”
Carly raised her eyebrow. “Lingerie,” she repeated.
“I’m just trying to inject something into our sex lives,” Courtney said, not bothering to hold back.
Carly frowned. She remembered what it was like to be with Jason–sex with him was an incredible experience–it didn’t need any help. It didn’t need sexy clothing or things like that. She brushed the thought away almost instantly. “Sure. We’ll go to Wyndhams later, okay?”
“Okay,” Courtney agreed, giving the other woman a big smile. She stood and left the penthouse, leaving Carly staring after her a little strangely.
Something was off with her sister-in-law and she wasn’t sure what it was.
Time: 9:23 a.m.
Date: February 12, 2003
Place: Corinthos-Morgan Coffee Warehouse
Sonny ushered Jason into his office and closed the door behind him. “Faith Roscoe has sent her apologies,” Jason said, pulling his jacket off and sitting in one of the chairs. “She’s been persuaded to shift her loyalty from Tagliatti to us.”
“Good,” Sonny murmured, taking his seat. “Is that it?”
“As far as I know,” Jason replied. “Was there anything else you needed me to take care of?”
Sonny shook his head. He opened a file on his desk and then glanced up at Jason. “Courtney came by this morning. She seemed happy. If you need the night off or something–”
“I don’t need the night off,” Jason cut in. “And I haven’t seen Courtney since yesterday. We haven’t made any plans for today.”
“All right,” Sonny replied. He sat back. “Oh…there was something else.”
“What?” Jason asked, already a little uncomfortable from the brief conversation about Courtney.
“Francis said he saw Jackie Ortolino in town. Heard some rumors about a contract he was sent here to fill,” Sonny said.
“Ortolino,” Jason murmured. “Why do I know that name?”
“He’s a hitman from the Gregory family in New York,” Sonny told him. “Has an impressive record. I just wanted you to keep an eye out for him.” He slid a picture from the file across the desk. “This is his picture.”
Jason took it and he squinted at it. He was able to make out some of the vague features–enough to be able to recognize the man if he saw him. “All right,” Jason said, setting the photo back down. He stood. “Is there anything else?”
“Nope,” Sonny replied. “What are your plans today?”
“I’m going to finish the account books,” Jason replied. “And probably go to lunch at Kelly’s. Nothing else. Why?”
“Just in case I need you,” Sonny replied. Jason nodded and left.
Time: 10:42 a.m.
Date: February 12, 2003
Place: Kelly’s Diner
Elizabeth shoved her hair behind her ears and went back to wiping one of the tables with a little bit more force. One of the families she’d served for breakfast had some rambunctious kid who thought it’d be more fun to wipe their eggs all over the table rather than eating.
She glared at the door, willing to open and have Courtney enter–she was already over an hour late for her shift–she should have been here at nine.
“Morning, Elizabeth,” Bobbie Spencer murmured, passing her on the way to the counter.
“Bobbie, we need to talk,” Elizabeth told her. She finished the table and scanned the diner. Once she was satisfied that no one needed her, she went behind the counter. “Courtney’s late.”
Bobbie sighed. “She probably overslept. Can I have a cup of coffee?”
Elizabeth bit the inside of her cheek and turned around to grab the coffee pot to pour the cup. As the hot liquid rushed into the porcelain mug, Elizabeth continued. “She’s nearly two hours late. And this is the third time this week. Bobbie, I’m sick of covering her shifts.”
Bobbie leaned forward. “Elizabeth, what do you want me to do? Fire her?”
“I don’t care what you do, but you have to do something,” Elizabeth replied. “When she is here, she’s too busy talking to Carly or Jason to do her job and I end up doing her job anyway. She calls out half the time, forcing me or one of the other waitresses to cover at the last minute. Sometimes she doesn’t even bother to call out–she just doesn’t show up.”
“Elizabeth, I’m sure it’s not that bad,” Bobbie said. She sipped her coffee. “Besides, you’re not so innocent yourself.”
Elizabeth blinked and shook her head. “Excuse me? When was the last time I took time off or even called out sick? In October? Bobbie, I am one of the most reliable waitresses you have.”
“I know, and Courtney is a good waitress. She’s going through a difficult time right now with the divorce.”
“And I’ve worked here through difficult times, too and I’ve always pulled my weight.” Elizabeth sighed. “Bobbie, she’s only getting a divorce. She and AJ have been separated for months. She’s dating someone else. How difficult could it be?”
“Elizabeth, you’ve never been through a divorce–”
“No, I’ve just been raped, faked my own death, mourned my boyfriend and went through his brainwashing. I’ve also been kidnapped and had a bomb in my studio. But, hey Courtney’s getting a divorce. Let’s give her special treatment.” Elizabeth shook her head. “Bobbie, if you don’t do something about this–”
“You’re right,” Bobbie said. “Something has to be done.” She took a deep breath. “I’m sorry, Elizabeth. You’re fired.”
Elizabeth just blinked. “I’m….I’m what?”
Bobbie sipped her coffee and set it down with a sad sigh. “Courtney told me what’s been going on, but I didn’t want to believe it.”
“You…you didn’t want to believe what?” Elizabeth asked, confused.
“She says you’ve said mean and hurtful things to her,” Bobbie said. “That you tell her that Jason’s just using her to get back at you. That you take every opportunity to ridicule her and demean her. I just couldn’t believe it, but here you are…trying to get her fired.”
“I…I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Elizabeth said, shaking her head. “I try not to talk to Courtney, much less be mean to her. I can’t believe you’re saying these things, Bobbie. You know me–you know I wouldn’t do anything like that.”
“I also remember when I first met you,” Bobbie said. “I remember that you were manipulative back then. You might have matured, Elizabeth, but you haven’t changed.”
Elizabeth’s fingers were shaking as she untied her apron. “You want to fire me? You want to believe Courtney over me? That’s fine. You’re not the woman I thought you were. You can mail my final paycheck.” She dropped the apron on the counter and grabbed her purse.
Time: 11:15 a.m.
Date: February 12, 2003
Place: Elm Street Pier
Elizabeth sat down on the bench and pulled the sides of her black wool jacket tight around her. She crossed her arms and stared out over the water.
Courtney had been filling Bobbie’s head with lies for God knows how long. Elizabeth’s eyes filled with tears as she replayed the words over and over in her mind.
I remember that you were manipulative back then. You might have matured, Elizabeth, but you haven’t changed.
That’s not true, Elizabeth thought desperately. I’m not that person anymore. I’m better, I’m older and I’m wiser. I’m not some stupid little girl hopelessly searching for someone’s approval. I’m not Lizzie anymore.
Behind a building a few feet away, a tall man with dark hair and dark eyes studied the brunette with interest. He was there to kill her on orders from the boss. But he couldn’t imagine why. He’d never heard of Elizabeth Webber before that day–never heard her name connected with Frankie Gregory or any investigations concerning him.
How could a small little girl manage to garner interest like that?
But John “Jackie” Ortolino did not earn his money by questioning his orders. He carried out the job to perfection every time.
And it wouldn’t be any different with one Elizabeth Imogene Webber.
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