Chapter Thirty

This entry is part 30 of 38 in the Fool Me Twice: Ricochet

Too many times
I’ve cared too much
I stood on the edge
And I saw that you held my hand
And knowing too well
I couldn’t hide from those eyes
Please don’t let me fall
Please don’t let me fall in love with you again
Don’t, Jewel


January 2015

Wyndemere: Study

Nikolas dragged his hands over his face as he studied his grandmother. “How? Why?”

Helena sighed as she draped herself over the settee sofa. “Must we have this conversation over and over again?”

“Grandmother, I’m just not sure I understand how Jake Doe fits in—”

There were too many questions and too few answers, and he’d had enough. “Haven’t I already proved my loyalty?” he demanded, rising to his feet. “I haven’t told Elizabeth or my brother their son is alive.”

Helena’s lips curved into a smile. “But he isn’t your brother’s son, is he?”

He hissed. “Don’t start with me—”

She blinked, pretending innocence. “I’m sorry. I thought you wanted to know how Jake Doe fit into our plans—”

Your plans,” he snapped. “I just wanted to keep my son safe. To keep Elizabeth and her boys safe.  You left me no choice.”

“Part of you enjoys this,” she purred. “Don’t deny it—”

“You’re crazy—”

“It’s in your blood, Nikolas. We are no ordinary peasants meant to deal with mundanity of life—”

“Or be burdened with a conscience,” he muttered.

“Nikolas—”

“No!” He whirled to face his grandmother, cutting off her wheedling, her ingratiating tone. “You said if I kept this secret and I helped you, you would let Jake come home. You refuse to tell me anything about your plans, and now I catch you meeting with Jake Doe, this mystery man Elizabeth is tangled up with. Tell me what he has to do with this. Now.”

She sniffed. “You act as though I’ve not given you any task to perform—”

“You asked me to wrest control of ELQ from the Quartermaines,” he snapped. “But you also refused to explain that demand—”

She lifted a shoulder. “What better way to test your loyaty? ELQ belonged to that insufferable woman—”

“Don’t talk about Emily that way—”

“It’s simple,” Helena said. “If you’re willing to dismantle her family’s business, then I can begin to trust you—”

He stared at her with a mixture of irritation, frustration, fury—and anxiety. “Are you saying you won’t tell me what’s going on until I have the majority of the shares?” He was still six months, maybe more, away from taking over ELQ. How much longer was he going to keep the secret about Jake from Elizabeth?

If she found out before he could tell her the truth—she’d never forgive him.

His grandmother tapped her chin thoughtfully. “Tempting.”

“I just want to know if Elizabeth should worry about Jake Doe.” He hated that his tone almost sounded like a whine. Like he was a small child, begging for a cookie. He wanted to be done with his grandmother and this entire generation of malevolent Cassadines. “I’ll get ELQ for you,” he continued. “Just tell me about Jake Doe.”

Helena studied him for a long moment, then finally nodded. “All right. I suppose your weeks of silence have earned you a minuscule reward. Jake’s Doe identity is quite essential to my plan.”

This startled him. “You know who he is?”

“And so do you.” Helena tipped her head. “He’s from Port Charles, and he’s quite important to little Jake.” She laughed as dread began to crawl up Nikolas’s spine. “It’s quite humorous, isn’t it? Of all the names for him to adopt, this man chose the name of Elizabeth’s dead son.”

No. It couldn’t be. He swallowed hard. “Grandmother—”

“Death really is temporary, darling,” she crooned. “Especially in Port Charles.”

“Are you telling me—” He closed his eyes. Of all the possibilities, this was one he hadn’t seen coming. “You’re telling me that Jake Doe is actually Jason Morgan.”

He opened his eyes to see his grandmother’s gleeful smile. “Delicious, isn’t it? He escaped my clutches but ended up with amnesia. It’s been quite entertaining to watch him connect to his former life—”

“My God.”

Helena reached for the purse and coat she’d tossed over the sofa. “Now, are you satisfied?” she demanded. “You have a measure of my trust, Nikolas.” She met his eyes. “I hope you will remember what I will do to your family if you cross me.” She paused. “As easily as I saved little Jake’s life, I can take it back. Maybe I’ll even let Elizabeth watch this time—”

And she would. She absolutely would murder a small child and make Elizabeth watch the horror of it.

“I won’t—” He took a deep breath. “I won’t say anything, Grandmother. I’ll get ELQ for you. I’ll do whatever you want. Just don’t hurt Jake. Or any of the boys.”

“I’m glad we understand each other, darling.”

Thursday, December 20, 2017

Webber House: Living Room

There were few people on the planet that Elizabeth trusted as much as Patrick Drake. She adored Robin, but Patrick?

Patrick was family.

“I miss you so much,” she murmured, hugging him tightly, reluctant to release him.

“Same goes.” He pulled back slightly, frowning slightly as he took in the slight sheen of tears in her eyes. “You and me need to find some time before we head back to Berkeley to catch up. Just us.”

“Yeah, we do.” She squeezed his hands, then released him to hug Robin. “It’s so good to have you home, at least for a few days.”

“We love Berkeley,” Robin said, “but we’ve been talking for a while about how much we miss Port Charles.” She nodded over to the sofa where Emma had assumed her normal position on the sofa between Cam and Aiden, a controller in her hand. “I want Noah to have that.”

“And I need to get my hands on that baby,” Elizabeth said. Robin unhooked the straps on the car seat and placed the infant in her arms. “Oh, I miss them when they’re this small,” she murmured, rocking the baby gently, absorbing that sweet baby scent.

“Yeah, it’s been great to get a second chance at this part,” Robin murmured, stroking the back of her knuckle down Noah’s soft cheek. She and Elizabeth exchanged a glance as they both remembered Robin’s difficult battle with postpartum depression.

“Sometimes I feel like Cameron was the only baby I really got to enjoy,” Elizabeth admitted, careful to keep her voice hushed. She and Robin went into the kitchen as Patrick challenged Cameron to some sort of race car game. “You know, with Jake, he was kidnapped and then my marriage collapsed—” She sighed. “Aiden was kidnapped, and Jake’s accident— with Cameron, I got two solid years just to absorb all the moments before things went crazy.”

“Well, you’re younger than me,” Robin reminded her. “It’s not like you can’t do this again—”

“Oh—no—three boys is my limit.” Elizabeth laughed.

They both turned at the sound of the door opening and Robin’s face paled as Jason came in. She inhaled sharply, pressing her fist against her gut. “Jason.”

Jason heard her voice and he stilled. Elizabeth remembered now that the last time Jason had seen Robin had been before the lab explosion that had taken her away from them.

“Robin.” Jason came into the kitchen. “They told me you were alive—”

“They told me you were back,” Robin said, her voice thick, “but I don’t know what I was really expecting. But it’s you, isn’t it? It’s really you.”

“Yeah.” He stared at for another moment, almost in disbelief. “You were really kidnapped as part of this?” he asked. “Helena had you?”

“Eventually. It’s a long story, and it was…” Robin shook her head. “It was a lot. We’ll talk about it all, but right now—I just want to hug you.” She embraced him tightly and Jason hugged her back. “I’m so glad you’re home.”

____

It wasn’t until Robin had tucked Noah away for a nap and they were crowded around the table that Elizabeth realized something was a bit off. Jason was subdued—more than he normally was and there was something in his eyes that worried her.

Even more concerning was the forced laughter coming from the end of the table with Cameron. He was smiling, laughing, trading jokes — but all it felt wrong somehow, like he was trying too hard.

“Elizabeth?”

She looked away from her sons and blinked at Patrick. “I’m sorry, did you ask me something?”

“Yeah. We were just wondering how the Cassadine part of this is going,” Robin asked. “Mom said you’d sort of gone your separate ways. Mom and Dad were doing the WSB stuff with Drew, and you and Jason were taking point on the Cassadines.”

“Oh. Well, not much. We’re hoping Spinelli can save that thumb drive,” Elizabeth said. “There was also that cryptic clue Andre gave us.”

“The one about making sure you know where all the Cassadines are?” Patrick asked. “I mean, there’s not many left.”

“Not in the direct line. Just Spencer, Charlotte, and Valentin. There’s a few cousins out there, too, but they’re disconnected.” Elizabeth looked at Jason. “He hasn’t found anything else, has he?”

“No.” Jason cleared his throat and set his fork down. “No, he just confirmed the stuff Lucky put together.”

“Oh, right, Lucky was supposed to be here. And Luke. Are they still in town?” Robin asked.

“My dad had to go,” Aiden piped up from his seat next to Robin. “He said he had something really important to do.” He wrinkled his nose. “I wanted him to stay for Christmas, but he said he had to help Jason and Mom.”

Elizabeth’s mouth tightened at Lucky using her as an excuse to break a promise to his son. Nothing new there. She caught Cameron’s eye as he scowled.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Robin said, as Jason frowned at the exchange. “My parents were away a lot when I was a kid.”

“Yeah, Dad’s always doing something,” Aiden continued, “but not Mom. She’s here. That’s good. I think you need an adult or Santa won’t come in the house.”

“Yeah, we can count on Mom,” Cameron added, then stabbed his fork into his plate of pasta. “At least that’s something.”

They fell into an awkward silence, the only sounds the clinking and scraping of utensils against plates. Patrick wiped his mouth and turned a grin towards the end of the table. “How about a rematch?”

“Awesome, but don’t forget dessert, Mom!” Aiden called over his shoulder as he made a beeline to the living room to get the controller before either of his brothers.

“Cam, is everything okay?” Elizabeth asked as she rose to gather the plates from his end of the table.

“Yeah. Just crazy this time of year.” He flashed her another smile that she knew wasn’t genuine. “Gotta go save Aiden from embarrassing himself.”

Elizabeth sighed, then went to put the dishes in the sink so she could finish updating Robin on anything Anna and Robert hadn’t already told her.

Friday, December 21, 2017

Metro Court Hotel: Carly’s Office

Carly hadn’t seen Jason in person since that horrible day outside of Elizabeth’s house when he had told her what a terrible friend she was. He hadn’t returned her phone calls and, while Sonny had assured her he’d listened to her voice mails, Jason hadn’t sought her out.

Until her assistant had told her that Jason wanted to see her, Carly had really thought that she’d finally driven away the only person who had never let her down. Even if Jason came to the Christmas party in a few days — it wouldn’t matter. He’d never forgive her.

But he was here. That had to mean something, didn’t it? He’d come to see her on his own. She hadn’t even cornered him at the house or—

Carly took a deep breath. “It’s okay, Jenny. You can send him back.”

“Okay, but you have that meeting—”

“Hold it and my calls. This is important.” Should she stand? Should she stay seated? Should she look busy—

Before Carly could decide how to set the scene, Jason knocked on her open office door. She sprang out of her chair and nervously smoothed down her skirt. “Jason. Hey. Hi. Come in. I mean, if you have a minute—”

“Your assistant said you had a lot of meetings—” Jason stepped over the threshold. “I don’t want to interrupt.”

“You’re not.” Carly came around the desk but stopped herself from going to him. “It’s the holidays, you know? There’s events and before we know it, New Year’s—um—” She cleared her throat. “Just a lot of details, but mostly it runs itself. I—I wasn’t—I mean, I didn’t expect to see you today.” Or any day.

“Yeah, well. We’ve both had some time to…” Jason shoved his hands into the pockets of his leather jacket and studied her. “We’ve had some time,” he repeated.

“I’d apologize again, but I know it won’t do any good. I always say I’m sorry,” she added. “But being sorry after doesn’t change anything. I know. I know that. I have to stop doing things I need to apologize for.”

“I know you’ve had a bad year, Carly,” he said. “Sonny doesn’t like to talk about it, but I’ve been there. I mean—”

“You lost Jake. I know. A-and Michael—” It swept over her again, the shuddering wave that always seemed to be hovering just out of sight. The heaviness behind her eyes that threatened spill over into tears. “Um, thank you. For seeing that. It—it doesn’t give me an excuse, but I just—” She rubbed her arm restlessly. “I don’t know. It feels wrong to blame things on losing Morgan. Like it makes it his fault and it’s not, but—”

“Carly,” Jason said quietly, and the words stopped tumbling past her lips. She pressed her lips together. “I know what it’s like to lose someone and not be able to really live with it. To make choices and say things that feel wrong even as you’re doing it and not being able to stop it—”

“Don’t—” Her voice broke. “Don’t make this okay for me. Okay? You do that. You’ve always done that. I’m wrong inside, you know? Where it matters. And you keep making it okay for me to be this way. You’re right. It has to stop.”

“Carly—” Jason hesitated. “I came because I’m still coming over on Christmas Eve. Like we talked about. But I won’t be there on Christmas Day.”

“Because you’ll be with Jake. You should be with him. You’re such a good father—Michael is who he is because of you—”

“Because I’ll be with Elizabeth and the boys,” Jason corrected gently, and she flinched. “Not just Jake.”

“Right. Right. They’re a package—”

“No. Even if Elizabeth offered to let me have Jake on my own that day, I would still want to be with all of them. Do you understand what I’m telling you, Carly?”

“I do.” She took another deep breath and this time, it felt easier. “She’s your family. Even without Jake. I do understand that. And I have listened to you, you know. I know Elizabeth’s support and just—whatever she’s doing, it’s part of the reason you’re going to be okay. I’m sorry that I can’t—I can’t seem to make myself be okay with that.”

He exhaled slowly. “They’re coming to the party—”

“I just wanted to help you,” Carly interrupted. “Like you always do for me. You always make everything okay. You made sure I got to keep Michael, and you were there when he was shot—when I thought I’d lost him. You gave me Jake’s kidney. It doesn’t matter if it didn’t happen—you didn’t know that. You’ve been my best friend. I just wanted to be that for you. I wanted to make it okay for you.”

“And sometimes I made things worse,” he reminded her. “When I claimed Sam’s baby was mine, I just put off the inevitable. I made that worse, Carly. And when I took over the business, I chose your family over mine. I can’t make things okay for you anymore. And I don’t need to you make things okay for me. I just need you to accept my choices.”

“I can do that.” Carly nodded. “If that’s what you need, I can do that. I promised Joss I’d do better. It kills me, Jase, that the boys heard me. That Joss heard me. I mean, I’m sorry I said those things to Elizabeth, but it’s mostly the boys. I love them. All of them—”

“I know you do—”

“I’m just—whatever you need me to do. I can do it.”

“We’re coming to the party,” Jason repeated. “And we’ll see how it goes. I should let you get back to work.”

“Thank you. For giving me another chance. I don’t deserve it,” she told him as she followed him to the door. “But you’re giving it to me anyway.”

“You still need to apologize to Elizabeth,” Jason told her. “You did what you did because of me, but you did it to her. And her kids.”

“Right. I—I can do that. Thank you,” she repeated. “I’ll make sure you don’t regret it. I promise.”

Jason looked at her for another long moment, then shook his head and left. Carly winced, closing the door behind him. She didn’t blame him for being unsure of her. She’d broken this promise too many times to count.

But she knew, for certain now, that if she messed up again, Jason would be done with her. She had to find a way to be a better person. She just had to. Jason deserved nothing less.

General Hospital: Nurse’s Hub

“I’m just overreacting,” Elizabeth said with a shake of her head, handing a chart to Felix. “People get to be quiet.”

“Yeah, but you’re his mother. You know when something is bothering him.”

“Not always,” Elizabeth muttered. She rubbed the side of her cheek. “I didn’t realize he and Franco weren’t getting along—”

“Elizabeth—”

“It’s just—it was both of them,” Elizabeth said. “You know? They were both being quiet.”

“How can you tell when Jason is being quiet?” Felix wanted to know. “Isn’t that like his default setting?”

“What if they had a fight or something over what happened with Carly? What if Jason hanging around all the time is bothering Cam—”

“Elizabeth—” Felix put up his hands, gesturing for her to take a breath. “What if they both just had bad days? Cam’s a teenager. Were you always in an awesome mood at his age?”

“Never.” Elizabeth leaned against the counter. “Especially at sixteen. Maybe he’s still worried about Emma and Trina. Things seemed fine, but—”

“See? And you know Jason’s been through it lately—”

“He seemed to be doing better, even after that fight with Carly. But you’re right. I’m not just overreacting, I’m assuming it’s about me.” She made a face. “How narcissistic is that?”

“I don’t know if we can call it narcissism since you just basically thought you were the reason they were unhappy. That actually sounds like paranoia.” Felix folded his arms. “Have you and Jason talked about how much time you’re spending together?”

“Oh, don’t say it like that. We’re not dating—”

“You’re not sleeping together,” Felix corrected. “You’re telling me it’s the same thing as when you and Patrick used to do things with the kids?”

Elizabeth hesitated. “No, but—” She shrugged a shoulder. “Sometimes Jason and I just do this. We always have. When we’re both alone. I mean, we drift towards each other. But it never goes anywhere—”

“Except that one time, because, you know, there’s Jake.”

“Even then.” Elizabeth stared down at the insurance forms. “Maybe that’s why Jason’s being like this. He’s realized he’s spending too much time with me, and he wants to stop—”

“For crying out—” Felix muttered. “Girl, you’re gonna give me a headache. The man was quiet at one dinner. Why do you always assume the worst?”

“I—” Elizabeth paused. “I don’t know. Maybe to prepare myself because the worst is usually what I get.”

“Ugh. You drive me insane—”

“Hey, I hope I’m not interrupting.”

They looked up to find Kim at the counter. “Oh, no, I’m just annoying Felix. What’s up?”

“Oscar said he’d been invited to Joss’s house for Christmas Eve.” Kim paused. “We both were,” she added.

“Yeah. Sonny and Carly always invite Joss’s friends,” Elizabeth explained. “Not last year because of Morgan, but I know Sonny said something about inviting Drew, too. Trying to mend fences.”

“I don’t know Sonny or his wife that well,” Kim said slowly, “but if Drew is going, I want Oscar to be there. Do you think Sonny would be okay if I refused his invitation?”

“He’d be fine, but you don’t have to do that. I’ll be at the party,” Elizabeth assured her. “And so will some other GH staff. Bobbie, Felix—”

“Oh, it’s—” Kim paused. “I just want Oscar and Drew to build a relationship, you know? They’ve been hesitant about spending time together. I don’t want Drew to feel like he has to be around me. He’s…” She forced a smile. “He’s made it clear that I’m not part of his future.”

“I’m sorry, Kim—”

“I just want to make it easier for them, but I wasn’t really sure how one goes about refusing an invitation from…”

“Someone like Sonny,” Elizabeth finished. “I get it, Kim, but if you change your mind—”

“Thanks. I appreciate the input.”

As abruptly as she’d approached them, Kim left and Elizabeth stared after her blinking in confusion.

“That felt weird,” Felix announced. Elizabeth turned to look at him. “Right? It was weird.”

“It was something.”

Greystone: Living Room

“I always miss all the good stuff,” Spencer Cassadine declared with disgust as he fiddled with the video game controller. “Why didn’t anyone tell me Valentin was up to no good again?”

“Because you’re unhinged when it comes to him,” Joss reminded him. She handed Cameron the open bag of potato chips. “You just got home last night, Spence. We’re not going to war in the first twenty-four hours.”

“I am not unhinged,” Spencer muttered. “He murdered my father. I am properly hinged.”

Cam snorted and Joss whacked him in the arm. “He’s got a point, Joss. Remember when Sonny had your dad deported? We had to talk you off the ledge, and at least Jax is still breathing.”

“Yeah, but my dad isn’t a creepy Cassadine supervillain,” Joss shot back. “No offense,” she said to Spencer.

“None taken. Supervillainy runs in the family. Damn it—” He hissed and tossed down the controller. “Why do you always win?” he demanded of Cam who just crunched on a chip. “Anyway, how come Valentin is still breathing? Isn’t your uncle supposed to be a hit man?”

Cameron winced. “Oh, man, you’re in for it now—”

“Oh my God, if one more person says to me!” Joss threw up her hands. “Haven’t you bitches ever watched the Godfather?”

“Why am I in trouble?” Cameron wanted to know.

“Hit men are hired by people to kill people. They take money and do jobs for strangers,” Joss told Spencer. “They, like, do it all cold and evil like. My uncle is not a hit man.”

“Uh, okay?”

“He is an enforcer. He takes care of things for Uncle Sonny and only for Uncle Sonny. It’s completely different, and I am so tired of this slander—”

“She’s very attached to a man who’s been home for eight minutes,” Spencer told Cameron, ignoring Joss entirely which would definitely piss her off more.

“He’s been my uncle for my entire life, thank you very much,” Joss said through clenched teeth. “And Drew was him before that, and Drew was an enforcer, too. I hate when people throw around words like they don’t have meaning—”

“She had this fight with Trina last week,” Cameron told Spencer. “And we’ve overheard her mom having this fight like eight times.”

“I hate the both of you,” Joss muttered. She flopped back against the sofa and folded her arms.

“Okay, so whatever Jason is,” Spencer said, “how come Valentin isn’t sleeping with the sharks?”

“He’s doing this on purpose, isn’t he?” Joss asked Cameron. To Spencer, she said, “It’s fishes and you know it.”

“You’re a Cassadine,” Cameron said to his cousin. “You know better. You don’t off a Cassadine until you know all the plans. I mean, your great-grandmother is still orchestrating things and the witch has been dead for two years.”

“Fair point.” Spencer nodded. “Okay, but as long as they off the bastard at some point. Grandmother says I’m not allowed to kill him.”

“We should get to know what’s going on,” Joss said. “I keep trying to eavesdrop, but Mom keeps catching me. She always knows what I’m up to, and it’s annoying—”

“Only because I’ve done it all first,” Carly said dryly and the trio turned at her entrance. “Sorry to interrupt, but I overheard Joss’s enforcer rant.”

“I told you,” Joss muttered to them. To her mother, she said, “Spencer was just being ignorant. I set him straight.”

“Uh huh,” her mother said. She focused on Spencer. “Good to see you. You just get in from London?”

“Hey, Aunt Carly. Yeah, last night.”

“How long are you staying?” Carly asked, taking a seat in one of the armchairs. Cameron shifted uncomfortably, hoping she didn’t stay long. He liked Joss’s mom most of the time, but he couldn’t shake the way his mom had looked that day when Carly had accused Jason of not loving his mother enough to stay—

“Until New Year’s. Grandmother and I were talking about me maybe coming back to Port Charles for my spring semester. She doesn’t like me being so far away right now with things going on,” Spencer said.

“It’d be nice to have you around, even if you were some of the creative inspiration behind some of the stunts these two have pulled—”

“One time,” Joss muttered. “One time we got arrested—”

Carly ignored her daughter and turned to Cameron. “I’m glad you’re here, Cam. I wanted to talk to you.”

“Oh? Uh, why?” Man, he should have gone home after school—

“About that fight with your mother.” Carly paused. “It wasn’t really a fight,” she said softly. “Your mother was just defending herself, and I started it.”

“Mom—” Joss began.

“Just let me say this, and I won’t bring it up again.” She took a deep breath, keeping her eyes on Cameron. “You’ve been a good friend to my daughter, and Michael considers you part of our family. I always have, too, Cameron. I was angry about things that weren’t Elizabeth’s fault, and I took it out on her. I’m sorry. I’m even more sorry you and your brothers saw it.”

Cameron hesitated. “It’s—well, it’s not okay,” he admitted. “It’s my mom who decides if it’s okay. But you don’t have to worry about Jake and Aiden, I mean. I told Jake that sometimes people say things they don’t mean when they’re upset. Jake gets it. He knows his dad loves him, and Aiden—well, he doesn’t like when people argue. But I fixed it with them.”

“You’re a good brother,” Carly told him. “And just generally a good kid. I’m sorry. Everyone deserves better from me.” She got to her feet. “I’ll leave you guys alone—”

“Mrs. C,” Cam said as she went towards the stairs. Carly turned to look at him. “I get it. About being mad and saying stuff. Um, what you said to Aiden at Thanksgiving, about the baking? That was nice. It made him feel better. You can be nice when you want to be.”

“I appreciate that, Cam.” Carly smiled and he felt better because he didn’t like how unhappy everyone seemed to be lately. He could be okay if everyone else was okay. “Let me know if you guys need dinner or something later.”

“Thanks, Cam,” Joss said when Carly was gone. “You really didn’t have to let my mom off the hook.”

“It’s not my hook,” he said. “Jake is good, and if Jason says it’s okay—”

“He shouldn’t, though, unless your mom makes it okay. She was so upset that day, Cam. Did she say anything later?” Joss asked.

“I don’t really wanna talk about it.”

“Ugh, what’s your problem lately?” Joss demanded. “You’ve been so weird and not saying stuff. Emma said something went down when Lucky was here. Why won’t you tell me—”

“Nothing is wrong,” Cameron said, flatly. “So drop it or I’m going home.”

“Uh, why don’t we have a rematch,” Spencer suggested, picking up the controller. “I’m gonna kick your ass.”

“Not in this lifetime.” Cameron grabbed his own controller and ignored Joss’s look. He wasn’t going to talk about it. It wouldn’t change anything. Lucky didn’t love him. End of story.  “Prepare to be crushed.”

Joe’s: Bar

Something was definitely not right. Elizabeth didn’t care what Felix said. It was not paranoia to assume the worst when the worst was almost always true. She’d learned a long time ago not to depend on the happy ending.

She could rarely even count on the mediocre ones.

She’d gone to the dive bar to find Jason, determined to find out what was going on. Cameron refused to talk to her, and he’d happily escaped her clutches—first to Joss’s, then to Laura’s. She’d invited Elizabeth’s boys over to hang out with Spencer on his first full night back in Port Charles.

If she couldn’t push her son to open up, well at at least she could figure out where she stood with Jason.

He was sitting at the same table where Elizabeth had found him that first time, just a little over a month ago but she was relieved when she only saw one bottle of Rolling Rock in front of him. That was always a good sign.

“Hey,” she said, a bit hesitantly as she stopped in front of Jason’s table. “I hope it’s okay—”

“I was gonna—” He started at the same time, sitting up slightly. He stopped. “Sorry. What were you saying?”

“I hope it’s okay that I came here,” she finished. “This is usually where you are when you’re not with me or Sonny.” And she bit her lip because there was something insanely possessive about that statement. “I mean, if you want to be alone—”

Jason shook his head and used a foot to kick out the chair next to him. “No. I was going to call you. Sonny said something about Laura having the boys, so I thought you might want to take a ride or something.”

She sat down, frowning. “But you didn’t call.”

“No.” Jason hesitated. “No. I thought you might need…I don’t know…” He gestured with the bottle. “A break.”

“A break.” Elizabeth frowned. “From…what?”

“We’re…together a lot,” he said. “I know you said I could come see Jake whenever I wanted, but it’s—” He met her eyes. “I’ve been at your place almost every night for a month.”

“Yeah. I know. Jake loves it. I thought—” She paused. “Last night, at dinner, I thought maybe that was the problem.”

Jason tipped his head, furrowing his brow. “What do you mean?”

“You were really quiet,” she said. “I know Robin being there was a lot, but it just felt like something was off. Am I wrong?”

He stared down at the beer in his hand. “I told Sam I wanted to file for divorce.”

Her heart twisted as Elizabeth absorbed that. He’d asked Sam to end their marriage and now he was sitting here, dejected and having second thoughts about the amount of time they were spending together.

So it was exactly what she’d been afraid of.

“Oh. Well—”

“I was waiting for her to do it,” Jason cut in, “because I wanted to be fair to her, I guess. Or I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking about it. It’s not like we were really married when I got shot.” He scrubbed his hands over his face. “She filed first. I got the papers yesterday. That’s why I was quiet at dinner.”

It’s your own fault, Elizabeth reminded herself. She could have stayed home, but no, she had to come here and now she was talking to Jason about his marriage to Sam. You did this to yourself, you moron. Next time, just shut up and stay out of it.

“I’m sorry. I know that must be hard—”

“It’s—” Jason blinked then focused on her. “No, I didn’t mean—I wanted to file for divorce. I still do,” he added. “I’m not mad or hurt she filed first. I told her because I thought I’d waited long enough. And I just—it wasn’t fair to still be legally tied to her when I don’t want to be. ”

“Oh.” Well, now she really didn’t know what to think. “Is it still bothering you? I mean, is that why you didn’t call me tonight?”

“It’s part of it, but it’s also…I talked to Carly earlier today,” Jason said. “And I told her we were still going to Greystone on Christmas Eve. I wanted to warn her that she can’t pull that crap again—”

Carly and Sam. The banes of her existence. “I’m sure she won’t—”

“She might. She’ll try for a while, but she’ll screw up. But it just—we were talking about this last year for her. With Morgan. Not that it’s an excuse—”

“It’s part of the reason I’m probably going to let it go, too, Jason,” Elizabeth said softly. “You don’t have to apologize for that. I’ve been where Carly is, at least in some ways.”

“It made me think about when we lost Jake,” Jason told her. “And how badly I handled it. How much I wasn’t there for you.”

“You don’t have to—I don’t know if it would have been better if you had been there more. I don’t think anything would have made things better. Losing him destroyed me. I was so far from okay for a long time. I’m not even sure I’m better now.” She picked at a chip in her nail polish.

“That entire next year—until the pier—it was…I did and said a lot of things I don’t understand when I look back at them.” Jason hesitated. “I don’t want to keep making the same mistakes. I don’t want to hurt you again.”

She nearly told him he wouldn’t, that he couldn’t because she wanted to reassure him, wanted to take that terrible look out of his eyes. But he probably was going to hurt her. When he left again. Because he always left.  “I’ve hurt you, too,” she offered softly. “Didn’t I start it all? With Lucky? With Ric? With Zander? Is that why you’re sitting here? Why you didn’t call me?”

“I don’t want you to feel obligated,” he said after a long minute. “Like you did with Lucky.”

“Which time?” Elizabeth asked with a rueful smile and was rewarded with his own hesitant smile in return. “I don’t feel obligated to be here, Jason. I really don’t,” she stressed when he looked skeptical. “Back then, with Lucky, I thought if I didn’t take care of him, if I didn’t stay, then no one would. I thought he’d fall apart without me. The brainwashing, the drugs, it was always something that made me think that I was essential. It wasn’t even obligation. It was guilt, Jason.”

“Guilt?” he frowned. “What—”

“He never flinched when I was raped. He never took a step back when it was too hard or when I felt too damaged. I will always be grateful to that boy. I wanted so much to be strong for him, too. But I didn’t love him anymore. I felt guilty about that for a very long time. Even now, I wonder if I had had the courage to walk away and stay away, if I could have saved us both a lot of heart ache.”

Jason’s frown deepened as he tried to process that. “I don’t—”

“Lucky came home and it was like everyone wanted me to be the girl who’d lost him. I was never going to be her again, and he didn’t want who I’d grown up to be. I felt guilty for growing up without him. While he was being held captive and brainwashed, I moved on with my life. I fell in love again,” she added, knowing it was safe to tell him that, to remind him of what she’d confessed the night they’d created Jake. “I never forgave myself for that. The way you can’t forgive yourself for not standing by Jake. Or Sam,” she added because she knew that was part of it. “We did the best we could. But it was a long time ago. I am not sitting in this bar because I feel obligated to the man I met when I was eighteen or the man I asked to give up his son.”

“Then why are you here?”

“Because it’s where I want to be. Do you know when you and I usually go wrong?” Elizabeth asked. “Where it goes off the rails and we get lost?”

Jason paused, his fingers tightening around the bottle. “When?”

“When you decide what I’m thinking or what’s best for me. I get to make that choice, Jason. You didn’t let me make it eight years ago. I’m asking you to let me make it now.”

“I think about it sometimes,” he said after a long moment of silence. “If I had stayed. If I hadn’t let you go.”

“We can’t go back, Jason. All we can do is move forward.” She got to her feet. “Come on. You said something about taking a ride. I think we both need it.”

Penthouse: Living Room

Sam nearly slammed the door as soon as she’d opened it to reveal Sonny’s face on the other side. “What do you want?” she sneered.

“To see you tossed in the dumpster where you belong,” he retorted and she blinked at the fury lacing his tone. She stepped back. “What did you think people were going to say when those papers got filed? When they found out what you’ve done?”

The divorce papers. Sam exhaled slowly. “Jason talked to you?”

“No, he opened them when I was standing there, and I didn’t leave him a choice.” His dark eyes burned into hers. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

“What’s wrong with me?” Some of the shame that had been licking at her throat disappeared. “Me? You have the nerve to ask me that? You can go to hell—”

“You demanded half of everything,” Sonny retorted. “You want to take his home, his son, his money—after what you did to him—”

“What I did to him? How dare you! What about what he did to me? No one ever seems to remember—”

“He wasn’t very supportive when you were pregnant,” Sonny said with derision dripping from his words. “Cry me a fucking river, Sam—”

“I was raped! I thought I was having my rapist’s child and he couldn’t handle it—”

“So you’re going to punish him for being weak? For not being perfect? You have no right to stand there and judge Jason for how he acted—”

“I am the only one—”

“Really? What if Jason had your scorched earth policy? What if he decided you were unfit to keep Danny? All he has to do is make a call to Amelia Joffe. Remember her? She saw you watching his son being kidnapped. If not for Amelia, you never would have told the truth.”

She’d said the same to her mother only weeks ago but to hear Sonny state it so baldly made Sam bristle. “I would have—”

“When? Three months? Six months? When Jake was old enough to drive? You were never going to tell the truth. Admit it, Sam. You’ve hated that kid since the day he was born.” Sonny slapped the hand against the door when she tried to slam it shut. “Don’t bother to deny it. You had that surgery barely weeks after that accident. You must have been fucking thrilled to see him in the ground—”

Tears burned in her throat. “That’s a horrible thing to say—”

“Nearly as horrible as telling a court that Jason can’t have Danny because he abandoned Jake. Saying he’s an unfit father—”

“He didn’t want Danny—He barely counts—”

“Really? Really?” Sonny repeated. “Because that didn’t stop you from grabbing anything Danny inherited because of Jason. This penthouse? The money? You only got that because I let you have it—”

“You’re wrong—”

“Diane made him change the will when those divorce papers were filed,” Sonny said flatly. Sam closed her mouth as she glared at him. “Yeah, you like to forget that part, don’t you? You and Danny weren’t entitled to jack shit. Even if the divorce wasn’t finalized, you were weeks away from being shut out of everything.  It was going to me and to—” He closed his mouth.

“Yeah, I know exactly who was it going to. To Carly and Elizabeth’s kids,” Sam sneered. “You think you did me a favor? I deserved everything I got—”

Danny deserved it,” Sonny corrected. “You were along for the ride. Enjoy the penthouse, Sam, and the money while it lasts. Because I’m going to dedicate my life to making sure you walk away with nothing this time. I am done letting you push him around.”

“Jason won’t let—”

“Wait until I get through with him. Jason may not have always been kind to you, Sam, but the second he let you live after what you did to his son—”

“The son he always wanted,” Sam said bitterly. “He never wanted Danny.”

“You never forgave Jason for having a son with someone else. You can be as terrible and destructive as you want because you’re upset, but God forbid Jason makes a mistake—” Sonny stepped closer to her. “You’re doing this to hurt him. Because you made the wrong choice when he came home, and now it’s too late to fix it.”

“You have no idea what you’re talking about—”

“What was it, Sam? Did you see him with Elizabeth? Did you finally understand that he’s always going to go back to her? That he never stopped loving her—”

She slapped him, his face jerking to the side. Slowly, he turned back to look at her. “He’s finally going to see what I learned a long time ago,” Sonny told her. “You’re nothing but lies and tricks. You twist and turn yourself to match the man because you’re never alone, are you, Sam? There’s always someone waiting in the wings. Always another identity. You’re a con artist. That’s never changed.”

“Get out,” Sam said, her teeth clenched so hard her jaw nearly cracked from the pressure. “And don’t ever come back.”

“I still own the building, sweetheart.” But Sonny sauntered to the door. “So don’t get too comfortable.”

“Go to hell, Sonny—”

“I’ll save you a spot. You’ll be burning right next to me—”

She slammed the door so hard that it shook the door frame. Sonny Corinthos had no idea what she was capable of, and if he was going to come for her and everything she had a right to, well, then—

He was going to have to learn the hard way. Just like anyone else who had tried to cross Sam McCall.

Vista Point

It was probably too cold to be up here this time of year, but it seemed natural to take the cliff roads high up into the hills that surrounded the lake. Jason just wanted to keep driving forever.

He never felt more like himself than when he was taking the turns just a little too fast and could hear Elizabeth screaming in his ear, egging him to go faster. They might not be as young as they’d been the night he’d driven her home the first time—

But some things would never change.

“You can tell me any time,” Elizabeth said with a smug smile that lit up her whole face. She turned back to face him, leaning against the railing on the observation deck. “I was right.”

“Yeah, okay,” Jason said, not even bothering to pretend he didn’t know what she was talking about. “I needed the ride.”

“We both did,” she reminded him. She drew in a deep breath and turned back to Wyndemere, some of the sparkle sliding from her eyes—a heavy reminder that she was far from the girl he’d met once upon a time in a bar. “Sometimes I wish we’d blown that place up when we had the chance—”

“Hey—” Jason took her hand and drew her away from the railing, turning her to face him. “Not tonight. Let’s put that away for a while. We’ve been spending too much time worried about it.”

“I can’t help it. He’s over there now, and he’s part of it all—”

“I know. But he’s not the only one. We don’t know how much was him, how much was Helena, and how much we still don’t know.” He rubbed his hands over her chilled fingers. “You forgot your gloves.”

“Oh, right.” She wrinkled her nose. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to drag you down. I wanted to cheer you up.”

“You did. You always do.”

“Hmm, not always—” Elizabeth looked up and their eyes met, held. She was too close to him, her lips just inches from his own. He could feel her breath—little puffs of air against his chin.

He could lean down. He could just do it. He wanted to. He’d thought about it for weeks—how many times had they been here before? So close but not quite—

And just like all the times before—he’d hesitated too long and she’d gotten nervous.

Elizabeth laughed slightly and stepped back, reaching into her pockets to warm her hands. “You’re right. It’s almost Christmas and you’re home. Let’s not think about the Cassadines right now. You up for another ride?”

“Yeah.” He held out his hand. “I’ve been thinking about what to get you,” he told her as she took it and he laced their fingers together. “Joss said something that glitters, but that’s because she’s Carly’s daughter.”

Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “She means well,” she said as they approached the bike in the cluster of parking spots that passed for a parking lot. “I don’t need anything—what you have planned for Cam is perfect—”

We planned it,” he reminded her, “but I realized I know exactly what to give you.” He held up his keys.

Elizabeth frowned at him.  “I don’t understand.”

“You can’t go very fast,” he warned her, “and we’ll have to switch back if you want to take the turns the way you like, but I thought you might want to drive for a while.”

“You—” Elizabeth’s eyes widened. “You’re going to let me drive?”

“Yes.”

“You haven’t let me drive in eighteen years.”

“You closed your eyes!”

“Yeah, but—” She grinned and snatched the keys. “You won’t regret this. I promise. I’ll keep my eyes open the whole time.” She straddled the bike and beamed at him. “I promise,” she repeated when he hesitated. “Don’t back out on me now, I already have the keys!”

“I know. I trust you.” Jason climbed on the bike behind her. “I always have.”


Comments

  • I am so happy that Sonny put Sam in her place. I can wait for Jason to tell Liz what Sam did in her divorce papers. Carly needs to apologize to Liz for what she said. Thanks for the update.

    According to Shelly Samuel on June 10, 2021
  • This has got to be one of my favorite chapters. I really enjoyed the scrubs reunion with Elizabeth. Hope to see more of them going forward. Elizabeth’s convo with Felix was also great. Looking forward to the xmas party for sure!

    I really do hope Cam and Elizabeth can have a convo about everything if not just the Lucky revelation. So curious about the xmas surprise for Cam though.

    Glad to see Elizabeth and Jason actually communicate about their relationship (past and present). Her internal dialog made me laugh so thank you!

    According to madion on June 10, 2021
  • That Sonny and Sam scene will be read again and most definitely again. Pure Beauty! Although it will likely make Sam double down on what she is already doing. Poor Cam, I really hope at some point he and Elizabeth can talk. It was just Elizabeth and Cam against the world for time. Carly needs to apologize to Elizabeth but I like that she is trying to make amends with the kids too. Love Felix and good to see Scrubs and I always adored Patrick and Elizabeth’s friendship.

    Liason was as always icing on the cake. They are still sort of doing their song and dance but it is different. They are talking more about past and present and actually listening to each other and not trying to thing they know what the other is thinking and feeling. Although Elizabeth needed a refresher course from Felix on that. He is such a great friend. Fabulous chapter!

    According to Anonymous on June 10, 2021
  • Sam has met her match in Sonny!! The ride to Vista Point brings back so many memories, I can’t believe that Jason is going to let her drive 🙂 Just like Sonny said Jason loves Elizabeth and will always go back to her, I hope they finally find happiness together.

    According to Becca on June 10, 2021
  • I thought Sonny was a bit harsh with Scam (since he like to pull his own crap) but I enjoyed every second of it.

    I hope Jason and Diane wipe the floor with her.

    Can’t wait for Xmas. And for Carly to apologize to Liz.

    According to Michelle on June 10, 2021
  • Never have I loved Sonny more than in this chapter.

    According to Nicole on June 10, 2021
  • Jason always has Sonny’s back and usually it’s Carly going toe-to-toe against someone on Jason’s behalf so it was awesome to see Sonny step up and confront Sam. I want to see Sonny be the head of an organization when it comes to her. Con artist Sam might have some tricks but it would be awesome to see Sonny stay a step ahead each time and just laugh at her efforts while she starts to unravel. I also can’t wait for the Cam/Liz convo and honestly, I’d like a Jason/Cam convo too where Jason reassures him that he loves him as a son and he’s not going anywhere. Cam is old enough to be told that Elizabeth asked Jason to be the boys’ guardian should something happen to her so they all stay together.

    According to Xenares1 on June 10, 2021
  • Amazing chapter! Loved the Sam take down but the Liason conversations just get more intimate and better each chapter! I wish he would have kissed her but hopefully that isn’t far off

    According to liketoread on June 10, 2021
  • very very good chapter. Every scene was so good but I really loved the Sonny/Sam scene that was eyebrow raising.
    I also hate Lucky Spencer.
    That last part was very good, made me smile.
    More soon

    According to Pamela Hedstrom on June 10, 2021
  • I have a tendency to delve into rants because your writing is SO good, Melissa, that it honestly is like watching a better version of the show so I’m going to try to make my comments short and sweet:

    – Oh, Nikolas… you sad, useless man. I both forgive you and really hope you stay dead at the same time.
    – Patrick! LOVED the Jason and Robin reunion but, PATRICK!!! <3
    – Methinks Kim realized what we all know… Drew went to Sam because he thought he was Jason. He fell in love with Elizabeth because she's Elizabeth…
    – I have never loved Sonny more. Never.
    – For the life of me, I will never understand why Elizabeth and Jason keep letting Carly slide. Is it because they too know that she's beyond psychiatric help? That her "mind" is so twisted and broken that it's constantly short circuiting from incessantly rewriting history to suite her POV? Case in point: ELIZABETH gave her Jake's kidneys, not Jason. Also, was she loving all of Elizabeth's boys when she was calling them bastards behind Jason's back? UGH.
    – Welcome back, Jason Morgan. I've missed you since the courthouse breakup. Only that guy could've figured out such a perfect gift for our girl 😉

    Can you tell how much I'm loving this one, Melissa? Am I being too subtle?

    According to EternalLiason on June 11, 2021
  • Great chapter as usual. That Sam and Sonny exchange was sooooo great. Vey satisfying.

    According to Anonymous on June 12, 2021