Ever worry that it might be ruined
And does it make you wanna cry
When you’re out there doing what you’re doing
Are you just getting by
Tell me are you just getting by, by, by
Where there is desire, there is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame, someone’s bound to get burned
But just because it burns, doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
You gotta get up and try, and try, and try
– Try, P!nk
Elizabeth hadn’t hesitated. The moment she’d learned that Hayden Barnes had been gunned down in Julian Jerome’s garage with Sam and Jake, she went straight to the pier and called for the launch.
She nearly expected Nikolas to ignore the call, to refuse to let her onto the island. Instead, within a half hour, she was entering through the double doors of the Gothic mansion and heading for his study.
This had gone too far. She’d tried to steal her happy ending and now was being punished.
She found Nikolas standing by the fireplace, a glass of something dark in his hands — likely the brandy he’d always favored. The hearth itself was unlit, dark and cold.
Just like this entire island.
“What did you do?”
He didn’t answer for a long, tense moment, his back to her, the muscles in his shoulders tight. She’d known him most of her life—had let him touch her—
And until today, she had never worried for her own safety in his presence..
He turned slightly, offering his profile only—his jaw clenched. “I did what had to be done.” And now he faced her. “Or did you want everyone to know the truth?”
She swallowed hard. “This is a mistake. I should have told everyone the other night. I never should have—”
Never should have thought it was finally her chance to be happy. If Jake learned he was actually Jason Morgan—he’d do what Jason always did.
She fought back the hysteria, the misery that rose in her throat, and swallowed a sob. “He deserves to know who he is. This—it isn’t worth any of this—”
“He’ll go back to Sam.”
The flat pronouncement sliced through her, and Elizabeth closed her eyes. “You—you don’t know that. He doesn’t—he doesn’t have to know I knew. He might—”
He might stay.
“He always goes back,” Nikolas continued in that terrible, empty voice. He didn’t sound like himself anymore. The boy she’d known, the man she’d once loved—
She couldn’t find him now.
“If he remembers who he is,” he continued as she fought to find the words, to reach the center of him that was warm and real, “you’ll lose him.”
“I don’t have him,” she confessed on a shaky breath. “It’s a lie. I tried to steal my happiness, but I can’t—I can’t do it. Not this way.”
“It’s not about losing him to Sam. I—” She pressed a fist against her stomach. “Jake Doe. I wanted him. I deserved him.”
“He’s not Jake Doe—”
“But he’s not Jason, either. He’s never been Jason to me. I used the lie to keep Jake. Don’t—” She cleared her throat. “Jason doesn’t want me. I know that. He made that clear before he was shot. This isn’t about losing him to Sam. I can’t say I love Jake and keep this from him.”
Nikolas carefully set the glass on the mantel and walked towards her. She forced herself to stay right where she was—not to take a step back. “You can’t tell him. Not now. He’ll want to know how you found out.”
“Then we’ll tell him.” This was the right decision. “We’ll tell him Helena told you and—”
“He’ll tell Sam you knew,” Nikolas cut in, and she stumbled to a stop. “Do you want that?”
“I don’t—what do you mean? Why—”
“And she’ll tell everyone,” he continued ruthlessly. “Everyone will know you lied.”
Oh, God. They would. If Sam found out—if Sonny or Carly—She squeezed her eyes shut. It would be like the affair. She had made a terrible mistake all those years ago, and it had taken her so long to drag herself out of it—
No. No. No.
“I’ll—” She forced her voice to steady. “I’ll risk it.”
He must have seen the conviction in her face, in her expression because his eyes began to burn with desperate anger. “You can’t tell him! If they find out what I did to Hayden, they’ll take me away from my son! Is that what you want?”
“I—I’m not the one who had a woman shot! My God, Nikolas!”
“I did it for you!”
“No. No!” She stabbed a finger at him. “Don’t you dare put that on me! Don’t you dare—I never asked you to keep this secret! I never asked you to—” The enormity of what Nikolas had done began to sink in—to really sink in. If he was arrested—could they take Elizabeth in, too? What if—
“I just—” Nikolas grabbed her elbow, digging his fingers in painfully. “I need Jason to stay out of the picture a little longer, okay? Just a few more months.”
She narrowed her eyes. “No—”
“He might never get his memory back!” He seized her other arm and shook her hard, her teeth rattling. “You tell him he’s Jason, and Sam and Carly and Sonny will rip him away from you! From the boys! He won’t remember them, but you know it won’t matter! He’s been here almost a year, Elizabeth! He’s never had so much as a flashback!”
Doubt began to swirl in. Nikolas was right. If Sonny and Carly—if Sam—learned the truth, they’d swarm in and try to make Jake remember. Carly and Sam would never accept his loss of memory—
“He’s happy with you just the way things are,” Nikolas continued. “Aren’t you happy?”
“How can I be happy?” she demanded in a harsh whisper, the words dragged from her soul. “He’s not choosing me, Nikolas! He wouldn’t if he knew—I can’t have what I want. Not like this—”
“This might be the only way.” His fingers were clutching her elbows so tightly, her arms began to throb. “Haven’t you been through enough? Damn it, Elizabeth! Don’t you deserve this?”
She squeezed her eyes shut. The temptation to just say yes, to say of course, she deserved to be happy. She’d lost everything, hadn’t she? She’d been humiliated more than once, she’d been cheated on repeatedly, she’d been screamed at—
And her little boy. The world had stolen him away, and her baby was lying, cold and dead in the ground. Damn it—when was it going to be her turn? Why did everyone else get to have what they wanted—
Just as she nearly agreed, something tickled at the back of her brain. She opened her eyes and met his. He was too desperate, too upset. “Why do you need Jason out of the way?” Elizabeth demanded, her voice stronger now. “Why was it so important you had Hayden shot? She might die, Nikolas!”
“I can’t tell you.” He released her arm and shoved her back a step, whirling to stalk towards the fireplace. “I’m asking you to trust me.”
Absently, she rubbed her sore arms, chilled to the bone. “Nikolas—”
“We can’t go back now,” he continued. “I panicked about Hayden. I should have found another way to handle things.” He faced her again, and she almost wept from relief. There was her Nikolas again. Her friend, her family. “Everything falls apart if we tell the truth now.”
“If Hayden wakes up,” she said slowly, “if Jake remembers on his own—”
“If those things happen,” Nikolas cut in, “we’ll handle it. If you tell him now—”
With Hayden’s shooting so fresh, with the newness of their relationship—Jake might not understand. He might not forgive. She could live with that—but he wasn’t Jason. He didn’t have Jason’s memories.
Jason would never tell Sam. Jake might.
“Okay,” she found herself saying even as everything inside of her screamed that this was wrong. That she was only making it worse, that it would never be okay—
“I will find a way out of this,” he promised. “For all of us. I will make sure this doesn’t hurt you.”
“It’s too late for that,” Elizabeth murmured. “This is the path we’ve chosen. I guess we’ll just have to see where it goes.”
Sunday, December 24, 2017
Greystone Manor: Foyer
Despite all of Joss’s best efforts, she wasn’t able to figure out exactly what Lucky Spencer had done this time to make Cameron miserable. He’d ignored every single attempt to pry it out of him, but she was not someone who gave up easily.
She was Carly’s daughter, and she always had a backup plan.
So Joss was in the foyer, ignoring the entire Christmas party happening around her, waiting for Cameron to arrive with his family so she could lull him into a sense of safety with gossip about Jason’s divorce. Then she would drag the damn truth out of him so she could fix it.
That’s what best friends were for.
“Finally,” Joss muttered when the door pushed open, and Jason and Elizabeth came in with the boys, blowing in a blustery whirl of snow flurries. “Hey!” she said brightly. “Merry Christmas!”
“Merry Christmas,” Aiden said, beaming. He held up a plate with foil over it. “I made cookies!”
“Oh, awesome! Uncle Sonny was just saying he wanted to try something you baked,” Joss said. She ruffled his hair. “Why don’t I take them to the kitchen with the other desserts? Cam? Wanna help?” She lifted her brows at him.
“Uh, you know where the kitchen is,” Cameron said as he took his brother’s coat from Jake and handed it to Max. “You don’t need me—”
Joss narrowed her eyes, took the plate, grabbed Cameron’s arm and pulled. With a sigh, he followed her.
In the kitchen, she set Aiden’s cookies down and turned to Cameron. “Listen, I have got some serious tea—”
Cameron looked at her skeptically, leaning against the counter. “That’s why you dragged me in here?”
“Yes!” She rolled her eyes. “Did you know that Sam finally served Jason with divorce papers?”
Cameron straightened as his eyes narrowed. “No. No, I didn’t. I thought they’d done that weeks ago. Oscar said that his stepmom got papers before Thanksgiving—”
“Yeah, yeah, I overheard Mom and Uncle Sonny talking about it. He is livid,” Joss told Cam. “Like, hit the roof pissed off, time to sleep with the fishes angry. Jason thought it was coming, but, then it didn’t. So Jason went to Sam and told her—hey, we need to do this. Which I think he did because he’s totally figured out your mom is the best thing in the world—”
“I thought you said Sam served him—”
“I did—but Jason, like, warned her he was gonna start the process,” Joss said. “At least that’s what Uncle Sonny said. Get this—Sam is asking for half of everything. Like — half.”
“Oh, man, he didn’t have a prenup?” Cam snorted. “What a dumbass. Even I know Sam is a gold digger.”
“Right?” Joss whacked him in the arm. “But, like, that’s not the worst part. She’s asking for Jason to terminate his rights to Danny, because, and get this, he neglected and abandoned Jake so he’s an unfit father—”
Cameron exhaled slowly. “That’s…that’s pretty cold.”
“I know. My mom was kind of happy about it because you know—” Joss shrugged. “But Uncle Sonny told Jason not to give Sam a damn thing and to fight her but, it’s so weird and terrible. Jason was, like, going through hell, and he wanted to come home to his life. And this is what she does? Like, what is her damage, right?”
“I don’t know. I mean, look, I get why Jason thought it was better that Jake was with my—” He stopped. “That Lucky was raising him. But that doesn’t really change the fact that Jason did sort of abandon Jake. I mean, I don’t remember seeing him around that entire last year once he got back together with Sam.”
“Yeah, but—” Joss furrowed her brow. “You don’t agree with Sam, do you? I mean, Jason’s with you guys all the time. He’s awesome. You said things have been great lately—”
“Yeah, well, that’s how it goes with Mom and her projects,” Cam said with a light shrug that raised the hairs on the back of Joss’s neck. “Jake Doe came to live with us, and he was great. Lucky was great. Ewen was nice. So was AJ. And Ric for the five minutes he was around. I mean, Franco was a dud, but Jake really liked him. But it doesn’t last, Joss. No one stays.”
“Yeah, but—” Joss hesitated. “Those are—that’s all different, Cam. Things are different now. Sam and Jason—they’re done. There’s no way he’s going back to her this time. I think he’s finally seeing what trash she is. And Drew’s at the party without her. Like—maybe your mom and Jason will be together this time—”
“Sure.” Cameron offered her a tight smile. “Until they’re not.”
“Let’s go find the others,” Cameron said. “Emma’s going back to Berkeley in a few days, and we should get caught up. I want her to meet Oscar.”
“Hey, watch it—” Joss teased, though she was still troubled his attitude about Jason and his mother. “Emma stole the last guy I liked, too—”
Cameron rolled his eyes, but his smile was more genuine this time. “We were in fifth grade, Joss—”
“Yeah, but you know who my mother is. I hold grudges.”
Greystone Manor: Living Room
Carly took a deep breath, squared her shoulders, and headed across the room where Drew was talking to Spinelli and Patrick. She pasted a smile on her face and kissed Patrick’s cheek. “It’s good to see your handsome face back in these parts,” she said. “But I guess you dragged the wife with you.”
“I did,” Patrick said dryly, but returning her smile. “She’s over there with Jason and Elizabeth—” He looked over by the tree where the trio stood, Robin beaming as Jason said something to her. “It’s wild. Robert and Anna told us what was going on—but—” He looked at Drew, then back at Jason. “Wild,” he repeated.
“Yeah, and, uh—” Carly wrinkled her nose, meeting Drew’s curious eyes. “Some of us handled it better than others. And by us, I’m not including me. I’m sorry—”
Drew held up a hand to cut off her apology. “I’ll tell you the same thing I told Sonny. The two of you did what you thought was best. You knew Jason better than almost anyone. I was angry as hell for a while,” he admitted, “but after these last few months—” He shook his head. “I’m more comfortable with the truth. I’m not Jason Morgan, and knowing that…it gives me peace. You weren’t wrong about the choices I was making, Carly. They weren’t Jason’s choices.”
“Still, I didn’t want any of us to go through this — to not know for so long that Jason was trapped—” Carly closed her eyes, took a deep breath. “I just—we were friends before you were Jason Morgan. In fact, we were better friends when you were Jake Doe.”
“Yeah, we were.” Drew narrowed his eyes slightly. “You know, I always thought it was weird even though I didn’t have memories, I did have—I felt connections to some people. You, Michael, Elizabeth, Robin—you all felt familiar to me. But other people—” His mouth twisted slightly. “Sam. Sonny. I didn’t feel anything.”
“Yeah, you and Sam hated each other at first,” Patrick remembered with none of the bitterness one might expect from the man that had ended his engagement to Sam. But maybe Patrick thought it had all worked out for the best, Carly thought. He’d reunited with Robin, and had a new son to show for it.
“You think that’s tied to the experiments?” Carly wondered.
“Maybe. I mean, they screwed with Jake’s head, they shoved someone else’s memories into my head—how do we know that I even got the right memories?” Drew asked. “Maybe Maddox played with them—”
“Well, he’s not going to be talking to anyone,” Spinelli said with a mutter as he sipped his orange soda. “Robert said he was so pissed about the trick Anna pulled that he’s refusing to cooperate even though the files are damaged.” He sighed. “I think I can recover a lot of them, but even the ones I can see are encrypted.”
“I just want this to be over,” Carly muttered. “I want everyone to be safe. But mostly I want to find out who the hell did this to you and Jason—and Jake—and make them pay.”
Drew’s smile was thin. “You’ll have to get in line.”
Across the room, Michael wandered away from Nelle and met Jason at the bar with empty glasses. “Hey,” he said, greeting his uncle with a half hug. “I didn’t want to interrupt you with Robin—”
“Oh.” Jason looked back over towards the tree where he’d left Robin and Elizabeth. “Yeah, it’s great to see her. Especially since—” He shook his head. “She was supposed to be dead.”
“A lot of that going around,” Michael said. He poured himself another glass of wine, then sipped it. “Listen, you probably don’t want to talk about it, but I know about the divorce papers.”
Jason’s mouth tightened. “Sonny should mind his own business—”
“I came in when he was trying to convince Mom not to go over beat the life out of Sam,” Michael told him. “Not her worst idea this year,” he added, “because this is a pretty crappy thing to do to you. Not the money, because who the hell cares about that. But Danny.”
Jason stared down into his beer, then shook his head. “She has a right to make choices for her child,” he said tightly.
“This isn’t twenty years ago, Jason. This isn’t you and my mom making these decisions anymore,” Michael continued. “I know what you did with Jake because you felt like you had to stand by that principle, but you know—you can also just admit that it’s wrong.”
“Also—” Michael paused. “Danny knows he’s Jason Morgan’s son. One day, he’s gonna look up, he’s gonna understand the truth, and he’s gonna wonder why you didn’t want him.”
Jason stared at him, then looked away. He said nothing.
“And you’re not going to be able to get away with the same story Jake’s swallowed,” Michael pushed. “Because you’re with Jake now. Danny’s going to know you were with his brother and not him. And he’s going to wonder what he did wrong.”
“It’s not that simple—”
“It really is,” Michael said. “My entire childhood—until AJ faked his death—I knew that Mom, Sonny, and AJ were fighting over me, dragging me back and forth, but I never doubted any of them loved me. Even when they were driving me crazy. Lying to me.” He paused. “I always knew my biological father loved me. AJ never had any other kids. He wanted them, but he always felt like he didn’t deserve them. Because he couldn’t hold on to me. He didn’t want me to ever see him with other kids and think I didn’t matter enough to fight for.”
“So I drag Sam and Danny into court,” Jason said, in a low voice, “and do what Sonny and Carly did to you? Make him choose where to live? Which parent he wants? Make him talk to judges? You want that for him? Because I don’t.”
“No.” Michael winced. “No. Christ, sometimes I forget—and man, did I piss Mom and Sonny off when I said I wanted to live with you and Aunt Courtney. What did I know, right?” He sighed. “It’s just—you told me you had regrets about everything that happened back then, right? So, like, I’m just saying—don’t do anything that you need to apologize for in ten years. Danny is your son. And I don’t care what the hell Sam says. You were—are a damn good father. I always knew you’d kick my ass if I needed it. You were a better father to me than anyone else in my life,” Michael said. “I know how much you love Jake. How much time you spend with Jake and Cam, and how you took care of Morgan and Joss.”
“Thank you for saying that,” Jason said slowly, “but that doesn’t change the fact that there’s no easy way to do this. Danny doesn’t know me—”
“Neither did Jake, and look at you now. Yeah, it helped that Elizabeth helped push it, but you and Jake did the work, and now you have him in your life. Jake loves all his brothers, Jason, and he knows Danny is his brother. I don’t know what the answer is, I really don’t. I just don’t think letting Sam get away with this because you don’t want to hurt Danny—I don’t think that’s good enough.”
Jason opened his mouth, but then he frowned, and turned towards the terrace doors where the teens were gathered, as voices began to raise slightly.
“I told you I didn’t want to talk about it!” Cameron said, yanking his arm away from Trina. “Why can’t you just let it go?”
“Damn it—” Cameron yanked open the door and stormed out, slamming it behind him. Trina looked upset, and Emma put an arm around her shoulder.
“Should we go after him?” Oscar asked, but Joss shook her head.
“Not when he’s like this—he’ll just get madder.”
Jason exhaled, then looked over to find Elizabeth, but she’d walked away and he’d lost sight of her. Robin had joined Patrick, Drew, and Spinelli, but Elizabet was nowhere in sight.
“Can you do me a favor and find Elizabeth?” he asked Michael, setting his beer on the table. “Tell her Cameron needs her. I’ll go out and check on him.”
“Yeah, sure, I’ll go track her down.”
Davis House: Living Room
Kristina sipped her eggnog, raising her eyebrows as her sister came through the door, Scout in one arm, and Danny’s hand tucked in another. “Oh, look,” she said to Molly. “Our sister is here without her husband.”
“You promised you weren’t going to fight with her. I don’t know why it’s such a big deal for you. He wasn’t your dad—”
“No, but it was my family,” Kristina muttered. “You not having a grudge isn’t normal, Molly. You need to be more bitchy.”
“Why?” her sister asked sweetly. “You’re bitchy enough for the both of us—”
“Both of you stop it,” Alexis hissed behind them as she left them, and walked over to greet Sam and her grandchildren. “Here’s my handsome prince.” She leaned down to kiss Danny’s cheek. “Are you excited for Santa?”
“Yeah,” Danny said. He sighed. “But Daddy had to go to another party.” He frowned at his mother. “Why couldn’t I go with him? Jake’s there and I haven’t seen him forever!”
Alexis lifted her brows at that, then looked at Sam whose cheeks flushed. “Drew went to Sonny’s?”
“Yes,” Sam said shortly.
“Well, I’m sure he wanted to see Patrick and Robin,” Molly said as she took Scout and bounced the giggling baby in her arms. “TJ said they were at the hospital to visit Anna, and I think they’re leaving a few days after Christmas.”
“I think Oscar is invited, too,” Kristina said. “Hey, Little Man,” she said, offering Danny a high five. “You want me to drive you over? I’m going to my Dad’s in a little while. I figure I’d hang out here for appetizers,” she said to her mother, “and then check out the party. You and Aunt Diane always stay up too late when she comes over.”
“Mom—” Danny began, but Sam shook her head.
“No, it’s Christmas Eve, and I want you here with me. You’ll see Daddy at home,” Sam said.
“What about Jake?” Kristina asked. Sam glared at her, but Kristina just smirked.
“Yeah, Mom, I wanna see Jake. And Cam. And Aiden!” Danny pouted. “How come I can’t go with Daddy?”
“You’re here to see Grandma,” Sam said through clenched teeth. “We always do Christmas Eve here—I’m not the one who changed the plans—”
“Sam, can I see you in the kitchen for a moment?” Alexis interrupted. Sam scowled, but followed her mother through the door.
“So, I’m guessing Drew and you are having some problems,” her mother said, folding her arms.
Sam looked away. “He saw the divorce papers, and he was…not happy with the argument I made for custody.” She met Alexis’s eyes. “I don’t have to explain that to you, I guess. You hated that part, too.”
“I hated it because it went against every instinct I have to make a legal argument that won’t stand up in court,” Alexis replied. “Diane still has a wealth of opposition research on you—which you damn well know since you got all twisted up about that testimony in the first place—”
“And we both knew that if Jason chose to dig out more secrets,” Alexis said, “he could. Do you think Amelia Joffee is the only person from your past who could do you damage? Don’t think it’s not possible. He let Diane do attack you in a murder trial. You think he won’t let her do it for this? If he decides to fight this in court—which he damn well should because otherwise it goes down as a legal fact that he’s admitting to being an unfit parent. It becomes part of the permanent record, Sam, that he neglected and abandoned Jake.”
“I know that—”
“And how do I defend you if it goes to court?”
“It won’t. Jason would never do that to me over a kid. He never did it to Elizabeth,” Sam spat, “and he wanted her kid—”
“And maybe he’s learned from that experience,” Alexis said softly, and Sam blinked at her. “Because he has Jake in his life now. And you heard Danny out there. He misses his brother. You’re not just hurting Jason. You’re hurting Drew because you’re asking him to hurt the brother he just found. And you’re hurting your son.”
“I told you that I didn’t want to file those papers,” Alexis said. “I told you it was going to make everything worse. No one said you had to give Jason full custody. Or even visitation rights. At least not yet. You wanted to stay with Drew—that’s fine. I supported you. I like Drew. But you decided that to keep him and this life you wanted so damn much, you needed to scorch the earth behind you. But the only thing that’s getting burned is you.”
Greystone Manor: Foyer
Carly emerged from the kitchen, then scowled as Nelle stepped right in front of her. “Oh, no—” Carly stabbed a finger at her. “Absolutely not.” She stalked past her, heading towards the double doors of the living room.
“Carly, I just wanted to say I was sorry—”
Carly whirled around to glare at her son’s conniving girlfriend. “No, you’re not dragging me into another conversation where you set me up to look like a liar—”
“That’s—” Nelle’s lips thinned as she pressed them together. “Okay, that’s what I did. I’m sorry. I just—I know that if we can’t get along, Michael won’t stay with me, but I also think if I just keep him on my side—”
“I’m not listening to this—”
“Please. Carly. Just hear me out.”
Carly closed her eyes, muttered something under her breath, then turned back around to lift a brow. “You have exactly one minute, and I’m not going to say a single word that you can use against me.”
“I know you don’t like me, and that’s not going to change. Fine. But I love Michael—” Nelle paused when Carly just shook her head. “And he loves you. So sometimes I feel like I have to attack that. You know what I mean, Carly. We’re the same—”
“We are nothing alike—” Carly hissed, then clenched her hand into a fist, forcing herself to take a deep breath. “Fine. Yes. There are certain things we have in common, but you damn well know that I didn’t attack you the last time—and you made me into a liar—”
“It’s hardly my fault Michael doesn’t trust you—”
“No, that’s on me. But you exploited it.”
“Well, I’d say that’s in the Benson blood but we both know you don’t have any, so maybe it’s just being raised by Frank,” Nelle said coolly. “Something about him rips the conscience out of you, don’t you think?” She tipped her head.
Carly stared at her for a long moment as something tickled at the back of her head. “Nelle—”
“Never mind.” Nelle tossed her hair over her shoulder. “You’re never going to give me a chance, are you?”
“Can you blame me? You used my grief about my son, Sonny’s grief—and you tried to destroy my life. My marriage. Why the hell would I want you anywhere near my son—”
Carly scowled, and whirled around with a hiss. “Damn it! I’m going to put a bell on you,” she told Michael with a furious scowl. “This isn’t what it looks like—”
“Really? Because this looks like you cornering Nelle and attacking her. Again,” Michael said flatly, as he crossed over to Nelle. “You promised me—”
“It’s not. Tell him, Nelle,” Carly said. “Tell him—you stopped me—”
“I did,” Nelle told Michael, her eyes wide. “I just wanted to apologize, but she just got so angry again. I’m sorry. I should have left her alone. You told me not to—”
“Oh, to hell with this—” Carly snarled, charging forward but they were both surprised when Elizabeth stepped between them, Spinelli behind her, looking perplexed.
“I’m sorry,” Elizabeth said. “I don’t want to interrupt, but Michael—” Elizabeth looked at Nelle coolly. “Nelle is full of shit. She followed Carly to the kitchen, then back out here. And she admitted that whatever happened with Carly the last time—she started it.”
“What—” Nelle sputtered, looking at Michael who was frowning at her now. “No. That’s not true. You misunderstood—”
“Really? You told Carly that you attacked her on purpose to make Michael think she was lying.” Elizabeth folded her eyes. “Spinelli?”
“That’s what I heard, Fair Elizabeth.”
“That’s—” Nelle’s mouth tightened. “You misunderstood—”
“Then explain it to us.” Elizabeth stepped towards her. “If you can.”
Greystone Manor: Terrace
Cameron glanced over his shoulder at the sound of the door opening, then closing as Jason stepped out. He made a face, then looked back out over the inky night, his breath white puffs in the air as he slowly exhaled. “I’m fine.”
“So if Trina or Joss made you come out here—”
“They didn’t.” Jason joined him at the stone railing and they looked out over Port Charles together. “I sent Michael to find your mother. Do you want to talk to her?”
“No. No,” Cameron repeated, with a shake of his head. “I just—I want it all to go away.” He folded his arms, then glanced at Jason. “Mom doesn’t get it. She’ll feel guilty, and I don’t want that.”
Cameron was quiet for a moment, then before he knew what he was going to say, he just blurted out the only thing on his mind. “Are you going to give up Danny?”
Jason drew his brows together, shook his head slightly. “Joss eavesdrops too much.”
“Never mind. It’s none of my business—”
“No?” Jason asked. “If Joss knows about that, she also knows what Sam said about Jake, doesn’t she?”
“Yeah,” Cameron said after a moment. “That you abandoned Jake.” He turned to face Jason. “You did, you know. You had your reasons, but you abandoned my brother. You know you did.”
“Yeah.” Jason nodded slowly. “Yeah, I know that. I told myself that wanting him to be safe was enough of a reason to stay away. After what happened in that building—when I almost watched him die—I didn’t think being in his life meant more than making sure he was alive. But you’re right. I abandoned Jake.”
“At least you admit it,” Cameron muttered. He looked back out over the night. “Are you gonna give up Danny, too?”
“I don’t want to,” Jason admitted. “I don’t want to make the same mistakes.” He paused. “Cameron, you don’t have to tell me what’s going on, but you know your mother loves you. She’d do anything for you—”
“Yeah, including dragging home every half decent guy she could find to give me a father,” Cameron muttered. “She was really scraping the bottom of the barrel with Franco, huh? At least he never pretended to give a damn.” He hunched his shoulders.
“Just go back inside. I’m fine. I need air, and I’ll go inside, and it will be fine.” Cameron whirled on him again, the rage bubbling his throat. “I’m always fine, okay? I have to be. So I just need a minute and it’ll go away. It always does—”
“What will go away?” Jason asked quietly.
Cameron shook his head. “No. I’m not doing this with you. You don’t deserve it—”
“Then I’ll get your mother. But you need to—”
“Don’t tell me what I need!” Cameron exploded. “You’re not my father, remember? No one is! No one ever wanted me enough to stay! Not Zander who got himself shot instead of getting shit together when he knew Mom was pregnant, right? I mean, why the hell would he give a damn? He didn’t even know me! And Lucky—” he scoffed, his voice faltering as he forced himself to swallow. “He was my dad, you know. My whole life.”
“I know that.”
“He left town, but he called and he wrote, and sometimes me and Aiden went to visit—but it was different—and I didn’t know why—” His breath was shaky. “I didn’t even know he didn’t love me anymore until he told Drew he could adopt me. Like it was nothing. I didn’t matter anymore. He told Drew he could have me and Jake.”
“And I never knew why he stopped loving me. I thought it was something I did. I thought if I were a better son—so I wrote him more. And I tried so hard in school, and I tried to be the best brother to Aiden and Jake so he’d remember that I was a good son—” Cameron closed his eyes. “But I couldn’t change enough.”
“You don’t have to change at all—” Jason touched his shoulder, but Cameron shrugged it off.
“No? You know why Lucky stopped loving me? Because one day, he saw Zander in my face and he couldn’t pretend anymore,” Cameron spat. “And he saw you in Jake, and he just—he decided he was done. We weren’t really his sons. And fine—you know, that’s fine. I don’t need him. I never needed him. I didn’t need anyone that Mom brought home. I didn’t need Lucky or Ewen or AJ or Ric or Franco or Jake Doe—or you! You didn’t just abandon Jake. You walked out on me and my mom, too—” Cameron’s chest was heaving. “So why not walk on your other kid? It’s what fathers do, isn’t it? They leave.”