Tried to be more than me
And I gave till it all went away
December 6, 2007
Morgan & Corinthos Warehouse: Coffee Shop
There were many things that Lesley Lu Spencer was not proud of. She was not proud that she destroyed a marriage, that she had not told her brother the truth about Cady’s paternity, and instead allowed Jason to interrupt the wedding and announce the truth.
And she was not proud of the way she had participated in her family’s treatment of Elizabeth after the truth had been revealed. Lucky had publicly denounced her, Luke had given her the cold shoulder and Nikolas…well, he’d stopped speaking to Elizabeth completely.
And Lulu had used every opportunity to berate her former sister-in-law, whether she was in public or in private, whether her children were in tow or not.
Not her proudest year all in all.
Her outlook on the situation had begun to change after the custody battle was initiated. While Lulu could never agree with Elizabeth’s decision to keep the truth from everyone involved and then ask Jason to give up his rights to his child, she couldn’t understand why Jason would have gone to such lengths to take Cady away, to humiliate Elizabeth to the degree that a judge had found her an unfit parent completely.
She wasn’t particularly proud of the fact that she had not stood up for Elizabeth then, the way Elizabeth had always stood up for her—that she hadn’t taken Elizabeth’s side at least once. Elizabeth had been the first to take her side when Lulu herself had been pregnant and Elizabeth had always been the one to stop by the Spencer house when her own father and brothers had ignored her.
Elizabeth had been her sister longer than she’d been her brother’s wife and Lulu wasn’t sure if she could forgive herself for forgetting the fact.
Sitting here, in this coffee shop, she watched Sam and Jason across the room with Cady in a carrier seat. Jason was speaking in low tones and whatever he was saying, Sam wasn’t happy with. Good, Lulu thought. She should be as miserable as Elizabeth. Lulu had no doubt that Sam had somehow engineered this tragedy.
“Earth to the Blonde One.”
Lulu jumped when Spinelli snapped his fingers in front of her face. “What? When?”
“Nothing. You were just spacing. What has you so distracted?”
Lulu started to shake her head but she realized she had an opportunity to make things right—to make up for her actions of the past year and be a better person.
Someone her mother would be proud of.
“Have you noticed anything odd about the whole…” Lulu gestured towards the Stepford Family From Hell. “I just—I can’t make myself accept that someone would give them a child over Elizabeth.”
“Dude, Stone Cold swears there was no monkey business but I figure he’s in denial.” Spinelli slurped his latte. “I mean, dude forgot he was suing for complete custody. Maybe he can’t face what he did.”
Lulu narrowed her eyes. “What do you mean, he forgot?”
“I was attempting to convince Stone Cold to hand Little Goddess back so that, you know, I could get some sleep and he said that she had practically forced him to file for joint custody.”
“But he filed for complete custody,” Lulu said. “That’s not something you forget.”
“He’s just so wigged out right now, probably a guilt thing. I bet he’s regretting giving Former Goddess the go ahead at all—”
“Wait—” Lulu held up her hand. “Sam handled the custody papers?”
“Stone Cold couldn’t seem to bring himself to do it, but the more Nightingale refused to let him visit the kid—”
“Jason stopped visiting Cady,” Lulu said. “Robin told me that Sam showed up one day and stated that he was tired of coming to her apartment, that Elizabeth disgusted him—”
“No, no, Blonde One, you must have misunderstood,” Spinelli shook his head. “If Stone Cold had had his way, they’d all be one big happy family. He totally worships her—”
“But he still took her kids away.”
“Well, yeah, that’s got me pretty stumped,” Spinelli admitted. “But he was always happier after a visit with them. I figured, before long, the dynamics of the situation would be different. Former Goddess would be out and Nightingale would be in.”
“Well, duh, I think we all saw that coming–” Lulu tapped her fingers. “How easy would it have been for Sam to file for complete custody instead of joint? I mean, would Jason have caught on?”
“I don’t think so,” Spinelli admitted reluctantly. “He seemed pretty broken up by the whole affair. He just told Sam to call Diane and file the papers.”
“Which means that Jason could have easily meant to file for joint custody. Sam’s the common factor, Spinelli. She was the go between—”
“No way, she wouldn’t do that,” Spinelli argued.
“She used to make her living as a con artist. She knows how to play people against each other.” Lulu sat back in her chair. “Now all we have to do is prove it.”
Spinelli narrowed his eyes. “I thought we were looking for your dad.”
“He always comes back,” Lulu stated. “This is more important.”
“Forgive me, Blonde One, for pointing out the obvious but you don’t even like Nightingale these days—”
“Why should that matter?” Lulu demanded. “You don’t always have to like family, but you do have to look out for them.”
And we’ve only surrendered
To the worst part of these winters we’ve made
General Hospital: Doctor’s Lounge
“I still think we should go with the eggshell for the living room,” Robin said, holding up a paint sample. Patrick glanced up from his medical journal.
“You mean the white?”
She narrowed her eyes. “You only say that to annoy me. You know eggshell is not the same thing white.” Robin huffed.
“Uh huh, and ivory and off white are different too,” he murmured. “White’s fine, Robin.”
“Eggshell,” Robin repeated. “Eggshell.”
“Eggshell,” Patrick echoed. “You should throw in some yolk.” He brightened to this. “We should make it a breakfast theme, maybe get some pictures of bacon to hang on the wall and sausage shaped pillows for the sofa.”
Robin rolled her eyes. “Yolk’s not a color.”
“Oh, of course not. That would be silly.”
Before Robin could open a can of whoop ass and make Patrick give a damn about the house color scheme that was due to the painters by the end of the week, Elizabeth sat down at their table. “Hey,” Robin hastily shut her binder and shoved it out of sight. She immediately felt guilty—her focus should be on helping Elizabeth get her kids back, not worrying about what color to paint a living room she didn’t technically own yet. “How are you doing today?”
“Better,” Elizabeth said. “I ran into Jason yesterday and he let me hold Cady.” Her hands shook a bit as she sipped her tea. “I almost didn’t want to give her back but running away with her wouldn’t have solved anything. The only thing that gets me through any of this is that I know he’s a good father and that he loves her. That much will always be true.”
“You’re too nice,” Patrick grumbled. “You need to get pissed off, Liz.”
“I am.” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “And now I’m desperate. If Jason isn’t willing to follow the law with this, I don’t see why I should either. Robin, I think it’s time I spoke to your father.”
“About time—” Patrick began but Robin held up a hand silencing him.
“You know it’s not that easy,” Robin softly. “If you disappear, if you take Cameron and Cady away, you can’t come back. You can’t ever come back. You can’t make contact; you have to leave everyone behind.”
“I know that,” Elizabeth swallowed hard. “And it’s not something I decided on a whim. The truth is that the only people I would miss are you and Patrick. No one else has stood by me the way you two have. You both stood up for me in court and I’m not sure I would be able to stay sane if not for you.”
“I appreciate that—” Robin started.
“We’d miss you, no mistake about that,” Patrick interrupted. “But you know I’m behind you in this. You have to do what’s necessary to get your kids back and Jason’s blocked every legal channel. He’s left you no choice and he deserves what’s coming to him.”
“No argument there,” Robin agreed. “Listen, I’ll call my dad and see if he’ll come to town. There’s no reason we can’t try a few other options first, maybe arrange some back door dealing of my own. Let’s make disappearing our last resort, okay?”
“All right,” Elizabeth nodded. “That sounds fair but I’m not going to live without my kids. I need my little boy back.” She hesitated. “I think I could have survived losing Cady. Jason’s a good father and she’d be well provided for…but Cam’s living in some group home. He’s scared and he doesn’t know what’s going on.” Her voice broke. “He needs his mom.”
“I’m going to make sure you get your kids back—both of them,” Patrick promised, “if I have to kidnap them myself. This isn’t over, Elizabeth.”
After they had left, Emily stepped out from behind a door that led to the other hallway. She pressed a fist to her mouth and wondered where her loyalties were supposed to lie now.
No I would not sleep in this bed of lies
So toss me out and turn in
Her knocks going unanswered, Emily pushed open the door to the penthouse. Her ears were immediately filled with her niece’s frantic cries. Two weeks after her removal from her mother’s home and still, Cady hadn’t adjusted.
Emily supposed that said it all.
She climbed the stairs and entered Cady’s nursery, remembering the day Jason had asked her to set it up. She had wondered if Sam would be a better choice, but her brother hadn’t agreed. Emily thought maybe Jason was beginning to see what most people had known for months—that Sam was on her way out and Elizabeth was on her way in.
And yet, just six months later, the situation was completely different. It seemed that Elizabeth and Jason would never find their way to one another and Sam was going to be sticking around.
The idea of it made her slightly ill.
Jason was seated in the rocking chair, rubbing small circles into his daughter’s back. He was speaking to her softly, Emily couldn’t make out the words but it wasn’t soothing Cady. She knew what she wanted and she wasn’t getting it in this penthouse.
“Jase?” Emily said softly. “We have to talk.”
Jason glanced up at her. “It’s not a good time.”
“It will never be a good time.” Determined, Emily strode forward and took Cady into her arms. As if sensing that this was not a person directly responsible for taking her from her mother, the infant quieted. Emily sighed and kissed her cheek before settling the infant in her crib. “Jason, this has to stop.”
Her brother scrubbed his hands over his eyes and nodded. “I know, but I don’t know how to make this right. I don’t even know what happened.”
“Jase…why did you sue for complete custody?” Emily asked. She knelt in front of him and did her best to meet his eyes. “How could you want to take Cady away?”
“I didn’t file for—Elizabeth filed for complete custody. She wouldn’t let me see Cady, she—”
“In your heart, you know that’s not true.” Emily chewed her lip. “You know Elizabeth better than anyone. You always have. You know she would never keep you from Cady.”
“I thought I did, but when Sam told me—”
“Sam?” Emily cocked her head to the side. “What does Sam have to do with any of this?”
“She’s the one that told me Elizabeth didn’t want me in Cady’s life anymore,” Jason explained. “I was running late for my day with Cady and I asked Sam to pick her up. Maybe that wasn’t the best solution, but I knew Elizabeth had to be at work and I didn’t want to be the reason she was late. But Sam came home without her and said that Elizabeth was refusing to let me see Cady anymore, that she didn’t want me anywhere near her.”
“And you believed that?” Emily asked, incredulously. “You didn’t think to ask Elizabeth yourself?”
“I tried,” Jason argued. “I called her but she was crying and then she hung up on me. I went to see her, but she slammed the door in my face. Sam thought maybe if we filed for joint custody, Elizabeth would change her mind or the judge would give me visitation rights but—”
“Jason…you filed for complete custody,” Emil said softly. “I was with Elizabeth when she got served. She was devastated but…”
“No,” Jason shook his head. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Sam filed—”
“Sam again,” Emily muttered. “Jason, exactly what part of this custody battle did you handle? Because it sounds like you took Sam’s word for everything. That Elizabeth was denying you visitation, that Sam filed for joint custody…I bet Sam handled all the preparation, telling Diane where to look for all that damaging information—”
“No, Sam was just trying to help—”
“More like she was helping herself to your kid!” Emily exploded. She jumped to her feet. “Jesus, Jason, don’t be so damn blind! For months all Sam could talk about was having your child and then she had to watch as Elizabeth replaced her in every way. She saw her opening and she took it. Sam’s a con artist, there’s nothing more she knows better than playing a mark and you know it.”
And the trouble was that of course he knew it. Elizabeth had never once said to his face that she would deny him access to Cady. She had never given him any indication that she was planning to either. She was honest.
And Sam had had free reign over the custody battle. He’d been too sick with guilt and misery to realize just how much she had controlled it. He hadn’t even bothered to tell Diane what would be off limits. Elizabeth’s rape, her marriage to Ric, the faking of her own death…how could he have let his lawyer rip her apart that way?
“Jason, if you don’t make this right, if you don’t fix this, Elizabeth is going to take her kids and disappear,” Emily cautioned softly. “And I’m not sure you wouldn’t deserve it right now.”
And there’ll be no rest for these tired eyes
I’m marking it down to learning
“You look tired.”
Sam paused at the door and turned back to find Lulu smirking at her from the entrance to the parking lot. “What do you care?”
“I don’t.” Lulu sauntered forward. “You know, I never really liked you. Mostly because I couldn’t understand what anyone saw you in you. The way I heard it was that you were a two bit con artist.”
“I don’t have to listen to this—” Sam gripped the door handle but Lulu grabbed her arm and shoved her back.
“You do have to listen,” Lulu snarled. “You will stand there and you will listen to me. You are poison, Sam. You destroy everything you touch. You took your own mother’s solid marriage and drove them into divorce court. You wrecked your sisters’ lives, but that doesn’t seem to matter to me—”
“What do you know about it, you little bitch?” Sam demanded. “That was all on Ric—”
“I’m not saying he wasn’t at fault, but I know you weren’t blameless. You’re a filthy slut and you know it. I wouldn’t be surprised if you had seduced him. And then you have the nerve to hold a one night against Jason and Elizabeth. One night where they needed each other, because he had seen you gyrating on your own stepfather and she had seen her husband with another filthy little slut. You had the nerve to make that about you. But even that’s not why I hate you.”
“I hate you because you have no regard for the collateral damage.” Lulu paused. “Kristina and Molly don’t have their parents together anymore. Cameron is just a little boy and he should be with his mother,” Lulu said. “Cady deserves to have her mother and that’s what really pisses you off. You knew Jason was slipping away, that he was going to end up with Elizabeth and those kids by the end of the year. You know how to play people against each other, Sam, it’s your only real talent. I pity you for that. You’ll never know real love, real friendship, real family. When you look at person, all you see is what you can get from them.”
Lulu stepped back from her. “And what really ticks you off? You know this can’t last forever. Sooner or later, Jason’s going to take the blinders off and he’s going to realize what you did to him, to Elizabeth. He might have been able to put that behind him, but what you did to Cameron and Cady?” Lulu shook her head. “I’d cut my ties and run now, Sam. Because Jason doesn’t tend to let people who hurt his kids live.”
She sent the silent woman a jaunty little wave and walked out of the courtyard.
I am all that I’ll ever be
When you – lay your hands
Over me but don’t go weak on me now
December 15, 2007
Elizabeth stared at the blank piece of paper. She was trying to write her grandmother, to explain why she could not see her anymore, why she would never hear from her again but the words wouldn’t come. She and her grandmother weren’t exactly on the best of terms, but they rarely were.
For as long as Elizabeth had lived in Port Charles, Audrey had been her constant. Despite their arguments and their differences of opinions, her grandmother had been there for her when it mattered and she never held their problems against Cameron or Cady. She loved her great-grandchildren and losing them had almost broken her as well.
She wondered if perhaps Audrey would consider disappearing with her. There was no family left, Steven and Sarah never wrote, never called and Elizabeth couldn’t remember the last time that she had heard from her parents. She would have to ask Robert if it was a possibility.
Now that she had made her decision to disappear, she was impatient for Robin to find her father and arrange for him to come to Port Charles. She wanted this to be over this.
She wanted to hold her children.
A hesitant knock sounded at the door. Elizabeth stared at it for a long time before rising to answer it.
“What do you want?” she said, scathingly. She kept the door propped open only a few inches—she didn’t want Jason to think he was welcome.
“We need to talk, Elizabeth. We need to fix this,” he told her. “Just you and me. No Sam. No Patrick or Robin. You and me. This is about our children—” he stopped himself. He hadn’t realized that he considered Cameron his son until the word had tumbled from his mouth. “No one else needs to be involved.”
“All right,” Elizabeth said warily. She stepped back and slid the door open to allow him entrance. “What do you want?”
“Do you have copies of the papers from the custody hearing?” Jason asked. “The papers you were served with?”
She stared at him, wondering if he could be that cruel but somewhere inside her—the small piece of her heart that had always insisted that this was a mistake, that he loved her and she loved him—that piece of her answered. “Yes.”
“I need to see them, I need to see what you received,” he told her. “Please.”
Bewildered, she crossed to her desk and removed a thick folder. She flipped through several sections before she found what he was looking for her. She handed them to him and watched him as he skimmed through them.
He swallowed hard and raised his eyes to meet hers. “This isn’t what I asked Sam to do.”
“I don’t…” Elizabeth shook her head. “What are you talking about?”
“I asked Sam to file for visitation rights, for joint custody.” Jason clenched his fist, wrinkling the papers without thinking. “This says complete custody, that I think you’re an unfit mother.”
“That’s what you said in court—” Elizabeth stopped and she blinked. “But you didn’t. You didn’t testify. You never said a word in court.”
“I couldn’t…” he stopped. “From start to finish, the whole situation felt wrong but I never figured out why. I couldn’t believe we were in court at all, and I just—I never asked Diane to do what she did. I never wanted her to go where she did. All I wanted was for her to prove that I was fit to see Cady.”
“Which she did. By proving what a mess I am,” Elizabeth folded her arms. “What is the point of this? What is the point of going over what we did, what we didn’t do—”
“I trusted Sam more than I should have. I asked her to contact Diane, she filed the custody papers and she met with the lawyer. I couldn’t—I couldn’t bring myself to do any of it.”
“Are you trying to tell me that this is Sam’s fault?” Elizabeth demanded. “Is that your excuse?”
“No—” Jason stepped forward. “No, I just want you to understand that I never wanted any of this. I wanted—” he paused but forced himself to continue. “I wanted our family. You, me, Cady, and Cameron—I never wanted—”
“So you never said that I was a bad mother and that you wanted me out of Cady’s life?” Elizabeth interrupted. “And I suppose Sam said something equally nasty to you about why I wouldn’t let you see Cady—”
“She told me you didn’t want me around anymore—”
“That’s fine,” Elizabeth broke in. “It even makes some sense but it doesn’t fix anything, Jason. Because you still believed her. You still sat in court while Diane Miller interrogated me about my rape, about my marriage to Ric, my marriage to Lucky, the fact that Cady was conceived while I was still married—all the things that made me look like poor trash—you sat there and you never said a word.”
“I want my daughter back,” Elizabeth cut in. “I want my son back. You can have all the visitation you want and when Cady is older, you can have her for weekends and holidays. We can work out whatever arrangements you want but you and I are done. Maybe we were heading somewhere before, it’s impossible to know that now.”
“Elizabeth, I know my apology isn’t enough,” he began.
“It’s not. All the apologies in the world will never make up for the last few months of my life,” Elizabeth said. “Because you never spoke up. You knew something was wrong and you still sat quiet.” She tilted her head to the side. “Was this payback? For asking you to stay silent about Cady? For my attempting to go back to Lucky?”
“No, I would never do that—”
“Probably not,” Elizabeth agreed softly. “I don’t deny that I hurt you. I’ve hurt you a thousand times in a thousand ways since we became friends and maybe I deserved to be dragged into court for what I put you through last year but I didn’t deserve to have my son taken from me, for you to bring that woman into my home to take my daughter. Bring my kids home, Jason. Maybe then I’ll be in a better frame of mind to discuss making amends.”
Jason nodded. “I’ve already contacted the necessary judges. Sam bribed them for the outcome—I’m doing the same to vacate the ruling. I’ll have Cameron and Cady back to you tomorrow at the latest.”
“Fine.” She pushed past him and opened the door. “I don’t want you in my home right now.”
I know that it’s weak
But God help me I need this
December 16, 2007
Elizabeth found Patrick grumbling over paint samples the next day. “Where’s Robin?” she asked, stopping at the vending machine.
“Probably devising some other method to torture me. Maybe a furniture catalog.” He set the samples aside and turned his attention to her. “Are you having second thoughts?”
“Well, if this afternoon goes the way I was promised, I won’t need them.” Elizabeth hesitated. “Jason came by yesterday. He asked to see my copy of the custody papers.”
“What, to drive the knife in further? If I didn’t need these hands to pay off this house—”
“No, no,” she shook her head. “He told me that Sam had been in charge of everything, filing, meeting with the lawyer and he found out she was the one that paid off the judges.”
“Way to shove the blame aside,” Patrick said. “But it wouldn’t surprise me. So, he’s giving Cady back. Is he greasing the wheels to give you Cameron?”
“He said he’d have them back by this afternoon.” She met his eyes. “But I’m terrified that it won’t happen. That I might never see my son again. It’s been three weeks since I’ve hugged him, tucked him in…” she stopped and closed her eyes. “Jason seemed to think that finding out how it happened and getting my children back fixed everything. That it could all go back to the way it was before.”
“But it can’t,” Patrick said. “Because he believed Sam in the first place.” He tapped the samples absently. “I’m not a deep introspective person, Liz. But Robin’s drummed a few things into my head the last year or two and I don’t blame you for being angry. He sat back and watched it happen.”
“Exactly my point. How can I ever feel the same way about him?” Elizabeth asked. “How can I ever trust him?”
“I can’t answer the second, but you know the first hasn’t changed and I think that pisses you off the most. Last year, when Robin left me, pretended to be with Nikolas…” he shook his head. “I was pissed. I was hurt, yeah, but more than that, I wanted to hurt her- to hurt him. After everything we’d been through together, after almost losing her barely a month before, how could I have forgiven her?”
“She did that to protect you,” Elizabeth answered. “Who was Jason protecting?”
“Probably nobody. My point is—and I say this even though I hate him and I think you deserve better—my point is that you loved him before this happened and I don’t think that’s changed.”
“No,” Elizabeth admitted. “And you’re right. That makes me even angrier. That after all we’ve been through, after all we’ve done to each other, that nothing’s changed. I still love him as much as I did when I was eighteen.” She laughed brokenly. “It’s not fair.”
I will not sleep in this bed of lies
So toss me out and turn in
Sam entered the penthouse, fighting back a yawn. She was not looking forward to another night of listening to Cady scream.
This had never been the plan. She was supposed to be the perfect mother so that Jason would love her again and never leave her. But Cady was not cooperating and Sam could see her dreams running down the drain. If a no one like Lulu Spencer could see through this, then how much longer would Jason put up with his daughter’s unhappiness?
She was losing everything and she couldn’t figure out how to con her way back inside.
She closed the door and started up the steps. Something caught the corner of her eye and she turned to find Spinelli on the couch, cradling Cady. A quiet Cady.
Sam smiled faintly. “She’s not crying.”
Spinelli stood and Sam frowned as the usually verbose young man couldn’t quite meet her eyes and said nothing to her, only kept his attention on his charge. “Spinelli, where’s Jason?”
Sam turned to find Jason descending the stairs, Cady’s bright pink diaper bag over one arm and a small suitcase in his hand. “W-What’s going on?” she asked, shakily.
“Little Goddess is returning to her former abode,” Spinelli said. He patted Cady’s back. “Do you want me to take her down to the car while you…ah…handle things?”
“Yeah, go ahead. Tell Milo I’ll be right down.” Jason waited until Spinelli was gone before turning back to Sam. “I want you out of here when I get back. Take whatever you want, I don’t care. I just want you gone.”
“I don’t understand,” Sam stepped forward, to reach out to him. “What happened? Why are you doing this to me, to our family?”
“This is not our family,” Jason said coldly. “This is my family. This is Elizabeth’s family. These last few months—the custody hearings—was a mistake. And I’m making it right.”
“Jason, wait a second, I did this for you—so you could have your daughter—”
“I had my daughter. You destroyed Elizabeth’s life, took away her children—” he shook his head. “I don’t owe you any explanations. You have an hour. If you’re not out by then, I’ll have you removed.
He walked out of the door and Sam watched him go, still not understanding what had just happened to her.
And there’ll be no rest for these tired eyes
I’m marking it down to learning
I’m marking it down to learning
‘Cause I am
Elizabeth opened the door and found Spinelli in the hallway, carrying Cady. “I come bringing the Little Goddess in hopes you can make her happier than we have.” He held her out and Elizabeth took her daughter, holding her for the second time in three weeks.
She stared at her daughter’s face, smoothing her fingertips across Cady’s soft skin. “Where’s Jason?”
“Stone Cold had another stop to make.” Spinelli hoisted the suitcase into his hand. “Shall I bring her things in?”
“Yes, yes, come in.” Elizabeth stepped back and let him in. She closed the door and pressed her lips to Cady’s head. “Oh, God, I never thought this day would come. I didn’t think—” Cady cooed and laughed and reached for the strands of her mother’s hair.
“Stone Cold was most adamant about correcting his grievous injustices. The unnamed one was given one hour to remove herself from our humble abode.” Spinelli coughed. “I hope this means the supply of your most bodacious brownies will flow once more.”
“Anything you want, Spinelli. I’ll make a batch just for you after…” Elizabeth stopped and stared as Jason pushed open the door, Cameron’s small hand in his. “Cameron.”
“Mommy!” Cameron wrenched his hand from Jason’s and ran forward. Elizabeth knelt and gathered Cameron in her other arm, shifting Cady to the side. “Mommy!”
“Oh, baby, baby,” Elizabeth showered kisses on Cameron’s face, his curls, his cheeks. “Are you all right? Are you hungry? Can I get you anything?”
“I missed you, Mommy.” Cameron burrowed. “Why did I have to go away? Was I bad?”
“Oh, baby, no, no…” Elizabeth started to cry. Jason motioned for Spinelli to retrieve Cady. He bent down behind Cameron.
“Your mommy had nothing do with you going away. That was my fault,” he told him.
Cameron sniffled and rubbed his hand under his nose. He turned to Jason with those big brown eyes. “You don’t like me no more?”
“That’s not it, buddy. I made some mistakes and I trusted the wrong people. Your mommy wanted to bring you home so much.”
“Okay.” Cameron seemed to accept that his mother was blameless and wrapped his arms around her neck once more. “Can I have some pizza? I missed pizza.”
Elizabeth laughed and nodded. “I think there’s some frozen pizza in the kitchen. Spinelli, can you take him in? He likes to help put it on the cookie sheet.”
“Aye aye, Nightingale. Come, Young One, we shall make some munchies.” Spinelli cradled Cady gently and directed Cameron into kitchen.
As soon as they were out of earshot, Elizabeth stepped towards Jason. “Thank you…thank you so much for bringing my babies home. For making sure I had them before Christmas.” She pressed her fingers to her lips, struggling to regain her composure. “You can’t know how much it means to me.”
Jason nodded. “I know I can never make it right or ask you to forgive me, but maybe we could find a way to get past this.” He held out his hand. “Please.”
Elizabeth stared at his hand for a long moment, remembering the times she had taken it, and the times that she hadn’t. Maybe she couldn’t forgive him, but she couldn’t just forget the months after Cady was born—when she could almost believe they were a family.
She placed her hand in his. “We can try.”