Part 2

6
And we softly surrender
To these lives that we’ve tendered away
December 5, 2007

General Hospital: Chief of Staff’s Office

“I’m concerned for one of my nurses.”

Epiphany Johnson didn’t enjoy asking doctors for help, she certainly didn’t enjoy going to a Quartermaine about this particular nurse but she’d been left without any alternatives.

“If you have an issue, you should take it up with Bobbie Spencer or Audrey Hardy,” Monica Quartermaine said absently as she examined a list of items for the board meeting that afternoon.

“It’s not an issue of her work,” Epiphany continued, “but her mental health and I thought I could appeal to you.”

That brought Monica’s head up and she frowned. “Elizabeth,” she realized. She set her pen down. “She’s not handling the custody ruling well?”

“Would you?” Epiphany demanded. “Some judge who don’t know a damn thing about you or yours taking away your babies? Would you be able to function?”

“No.” Monica sighed and rubbed her forehead. “No, I wouldn’t. Is she showing up for work?”

“She’s doing the job,” Epiphany confirmed. “But she used to take initiative, she used to spend time with the patients, look out for them. She was taking some of the new hires under her wing, functioning as a mentor to some of the volunteers. She was making a name for herself, Dr. Quartermaine. Well on her way to becoming a charge nurse.” The nurse shifted. “I don’t like what I’m seeing from her. She’s lost her babies, she’s lost a lot of her support system and the hospital gossip is that she’s been unsuccessful in getting an appeal filed, that your son has blocked her from doing anything to overturn the ruling by lining the pockets of clerks and judges.”

“I won’t pretend I know the situation,” Monica said. “Or that I particularly agree with what Jason has done, but I don’t know what you think I can do.”

“Do what mothers are supposed to do,” Epiphany huffed. “Smack him upside the head and tell him to start treating the girl right. If the situation doesn’t improve, I don’t like the road she’s traveling.”

7
No I would not sleep in this bed of lies
So toss me out and turn in…
Morgan Penthouse

Damien Spinelli stepped inside the door and smiled widely. He’d just had the singular most awesome moment in his entire life. Lulu Spencer was hot on the trail of her absent father and after he, the Jackal, had found traces of Luke in England, The Blonde One had hugged him quite fiercely.

He would be able to float for days on that.

If only his motley family type group was having as a good a day as Spinelli, Emperor of the Hot, Grateful Chicks. Little Goddess had cried for a week straight and it was seriously beginning to interfere with the Jackal’s sleep. Stone Cold had been glaring at everyone in sight, though Spinelli was mostly used to that by now.

Life had been quieter before Stone Cold had brought the kid around permanently and life had been happier before the Woman Formerly Known as Goddess had started to muck things up.

Spinelli pursed his lips and started up the steps to his room, reflecting on how much happier Stone Cold had been when Little Goddess was with Nightingale.

Speaking of the miniscule one, he could hear her shrieking all the way down the hall. If this kept up, he was going to have to start looking for alternate lodging and that wasn’t something he was prepared to consider–or afford.

Spinelli ambled down the hallway and lounged against the partially open doorway to find Former Goddess trying to rock Little Goddess to sleep. She didn’t notice him.

“Why won’t you stop crying?” Sam pleaded. Her face was drawn, her hair was limp and she looked like she hadn’t slept in days–which she probably hadn’t, Spinelli reflected. None of them had.

“Please stop crying,” Sam continued, her throat hoarse. “I’m a good mother, I love you so much. I can give you more than Elizabeth, why can’t you just stop crying and go to sleep for me?” She adjusted Cady’s position and tried to rub her back in small circles. “This isn’t fair–after everything I did to get you, all you do is cry! It isn’t fair!”

Spinelli eased away from the door, troubled by the scene. He’d been surprised when Stone Cold had brought the kid home for good because Jason had told him it would probably end in joint custody, which made sense to Spinelli, since each parent had filed for complete custody.

Had Former Goddess messed with things? Spinelli pondered. It wouldn’t really surprise him–she’d been unhappy since the Nightingale had turned to be knocked up by Stone Cold. She’d constantly asked him to bring Cady around more and wondered why she had to spend so much time with Elizabeth, why Jason was always over there.

He’d liked Nightingale. She was usually happy and had cookies around but whenever he’d seen her lately, she’d been quiet and there were usually tearstains on her cheeks. She didn’t look much better than Former Goddess, Spinelli decided.

Maybe it was time to get Stone Cold involved. He would set things right. He could give Little Goddess back to her mother and they could all sleep at night.

8
And there’ll be no rest for these tired eyes
I’m marking it down to learning
I am
General Hospital: Cafeteria

Most afternoons, Mac Scorpio would be pleased to have lunch with his niece and her boyfriend. It gave him an opportunity to check in on her, make sure the idiot was still making her relatively happy, which seemed to be case since they were buying a house together. He was still reserving his judgment about that venture.

But today, on this particular day, he wished he were elsewhere.

When Robin was younger, she’d had a habit of asking questions he didn’t quite know how to answer. Thankfully, that had faded as she grew older but today, she was trying to find ways to help Elizabeth Webber and Mac didn’t really know how to answer her questions–something that had been occurring again since the vicious and bitter Morgan-Webber custody battle had started.

How did an alleged mobster and a former con artist get custody of an infant over a hardworking nurse descended from the one of the most respected families in the entire city?

Not fairly, Mac agreed.

How could people who had always professed to be someone’s family or best friend like Nikolas or Emily just suddenly abandon Elizabeth without a second thought?

Selfish bastards, Mac had told himself.

How could someone survive losing their children, knowing that if things didn’t change, their daughter would grow up thinking someone else was her mother?

Probably couldn’t, Mac had admitted silently.

“Hoes does one go about bribing judges?” Patrick wondered. “Do you just pick one and go with it?”

And now the boyfriend was going to ask questions Mac didn’t have an answer to, though he could certainly sympathize with Patrick. As Elizabeth’s last remaining friends, the two were now resorting to breaking the law and in their place, Mac wasn’t entirely sure he’d do anything different.

“I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that,” Mac said, choosing the safest answer. “I’d hate to arrest you.”

“Well, I don’t know what else to do,” Robin said, tossing her napkin on her tray. “Patrick and I can’t offer much more than moral support until after the new year because everything’s tied up in the house but the one appeal Elizabeth’s lawyer filed before she had to let him go was rejected.”

Mac frowned. “Rejected? How did it get rejected without even going to court?”

“The clerk said something was missing or some sort of legalese than no one really understood but I don’t know why it matters. Jason clearly isn’t stopping at just taking Cady, he’s making sure she can’t get Cam back either,” Patrick said, disgusted. He saw Emily taking a seat across the room with another intern and narrowed his eyes.

“Stop glaring at Emily,” Robin smacked his hand. “This isn’t entirely her fault and sending her death glares is just going to make things worse.”

“I’m willing to accept that Jason bribed a judge to get custody of Cady,” Mac allowed, “but I’ll tell you, Robin, something about this entire situation has never felt right to me. There are many things I don’t like about Jason Morgan, but he has always been devoted to Elizabeth. It just seems odd that he would have sued her for complete custody.”

“I know but how can you dispute it now?” Robin replied. “He did sue her for complete custody–”

“But he never stood up in court. Sam testified, Carly testified, but Jason himself never got on the stand and said he wanted his daughter away from Elizabeth. It just seems if he was willing to take Cady away, he would have been willing to do that.”

“I know, Uncle Mac, but he did take Cady away–”

“I’m going to give Dara Jensen a call. She works in the DA’s office, maybe she can ask some questions. There might be someone in the family court division that can tell her what’s going on.” Mac shook his head. “Nothing about this seems right.”

9
Don’t wanna be the one who turns the whole thing over
Don’t wanna be somewhere where I just don’t belong
Where it’s not enough just be sorry
Corinthos & Morgan Warehouse

The last person Jason wanted to see this morning was Spinelli. It was bad enough that the juvenile delinquent had somehow taken up permanent residence down the hall but for the kid to show up at work–today of all days–it was almost more than he could stand.

“What?” he snapped.

“Dude, chill out, Stone Cold.” Spinelli held up his hands in mock surrender. “I come in peace. I need to talk to you about Sam and Little Goddess–”

Jason sat in his seat behind his desk and put his head in his hands. “It’s none of your business–”

“Au contraire, Silent One,” Spinelli argued. “I have to sleep down the hall and she does not seem to respect the boundaries. Plus, I was on my way here and I ran into Nightingale on the docks and we had the creepiest conversation about water.”

Jason’s head snapped up. “Nightingale?” he repeated. “That’s Elizabeth isn’t it?”

“Dude, I knew sooner or later you’d speak the Spinelli. Everyone does,” he replied cheerfully. “Yeah, she was just standing by the water, staring in so you know, I go to say hi but I don’t think she really knew I was there because she just kept talking about water and how she never really liked the ocean or lakes and hates to swim.” He frowned. “And then she said something about wanting to let go, which did not sound at all cool. Then she just turned and left.”

“Where was she going?” Jason demanded.

“Not sure, Stone Cold, but I actually came here with a proposition,” Spinelli said. He continued to speak even though Jason was standing and pulling on his leather jacket. “I think you should give the judge back his money and give Little Goddess back to the Nightingale.”

Jason stopped and turned to look at the teenager with an irritated glare. “I did not bribe a judge!”

“Whatever, dude. I’m not, like, spreading the word or anything but everyone knows that’s what happened.”

Everyone thought so anyway, Jason thought bitterly. His own mother had stopped by and read him the riot act about bribing judges to take kids away from their mother and now this little miscreant was going to accuse him of the same thing–it was almost more than he could take.

He grabbed Spinelli by the collar and shoved him against a metal cabinet, his feet making a jangling noise as they dangled. “I didn’t steal Cady!”

“Whatever, I’ll toe the line,” Spinelli said, unperturbed by the temper tantrum. He was quite used this. “But seriously, Stone Cold, what do you expect people to think? Pretty hard working nurse loses kids custody of kid to, you know…you?”

Jason set him on his feet and muttered under his breath. “I’m tired of being accused of stealing Cady from Elizabeth, of setting her up to lose her kids. Anyone who thinks I’d do that obviously doesn’t know me.”

“I admit, it does surprise me,” Spinelli agreed. “Because I know you, like, worship the ground her dainty little feet walk on and I always thought she was a pretty awesome mom but I figured you just got tired of Sam complaining about all the time you spent over there.”

“Sam doesn’t even–Elizabeth is the one that stopped letting me see Cady. If she hadn’t done that, I never would have had to file for joint custody.” Jason yanked his cell phone from his pocket. He’d call Elizabeth’s guard to find out where she was.

Spinelli frowned. Maybe Stone Cold was too upset to remember it, but when Former Goddess had filed the papers for him, he’d asked for complete custody.

10
Don’t you know I feel the darkness closing in
Tried to be more than me
Port Charles Art Museum

Jason found her sitting in an empty room, surrounded works of art. She hadn’t taken her coat or scarf off, but sat motionlessly on a bench, staring into space.

Cady’s crying caught her attention and Elizabeth snapped her head up, her eyes wide and wary as Jason approached her, their daughter in his arms.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, fighting to keep from snatching Cady away. Her hungry eyes drank in every inch of Cady’s face, her hands, her little legs before looking at Jason. “Are you trying to drive me insane?”

“No,” Jason licked his lips nervously. “Spinelli–he was worried about you and–”

“And what?” she demanded shrilly, taking a step back. “You didn’t think taking Cameron and Cady away from me was enough? You kept me from filing an appeal and now you’re going to parade her in my face?”

Jason shook his head. “Elizabeth, I didn’t do any of that, I didn’t mean–”

“You think I’m stupid?” Elizabeth cried, tears streaming down her cheeks. “Why couldn’t it be enough to take Cady? To make me lose my entire family when everyone found out she was yours? Why did you have to take Cameron? Do you hate me that much?”

Cady, upset at her mother’s hysterical voice, started to scream her own protests. She held her hands out to her mother and started to wiggle.

“I don’t hate you at all,” Jason said, his mouth dry. He was having trouble keeping Cady still and in an act of desperation, he strode forward and almost shoved their daughter at her, hoping it would calm them both.

He had to find out why everyone was so positive that he had fixed the results of the custody hearing, why everyone would so readily believe he’d steal Elizabeth’s children out from under her and keep them away. His own mother believed he was blocking Elizabeth’s appeals–but Jason wasn’t even aware that she’d filed any.

Elizabeth clung to her little girl and pressed kisses to her cheeks, choking back her own sobs in an effort to calm Cady. “It’s okay, baby, Mommy’s here.”

“I didn’t pay anyone,” Jason said quietly. “I wouldn’t do that to you.”

“You filed for custody in the first place, after you promised me time and time again you would never take me to court.” Elizabeth closed her eyes and pressed her forehead against Cady’s, inhaling her scent, trying to etch it into her memory so that she could recall this later, alone in the lonely apartment.

“You didn’t leave me with much choice,” Jason replied, irritated. “You wouldn’t let me see her–”

Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “You’re such a liar, I can’t believe I thought I could trust you. I let you have all the access you wanted. You were over every day until you got sick of me and wanted me out of the picture–”

“I never wanted you out of the picture,” Jason interrupted harshly. “You wouldn’t let Sam pick her up–”

“You wanted to take her away me! You told Sam I was terrible mother, that I disgusted you!”

Jason closed his mouth abruptly and stared at the mother of his child, bewildered. “I never said that to you.”

“Not to me, you wouldn’t be that direct,” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “But you sent Sam to do your dirty work. You couldn’t even insult me to my face, you had to send her to do it.”

“I didn’t–” he protested.

“I don’t want to hear it.” Elizabeth kissed Cady once more before reluctantly giving her to Jason. “If it’s the last thing I do, I’ll get my children back.”

“Elizabeth–”

“And when I do get Cady back, the day I take her from you, I promise you, it will be the last time you see her.”

Elizabeth stalked out of the museum, her daughter’s cries echoing behind her.

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