When your tears are spent
On your last pretense
And your tired eyes refuse to close
And sleep in your defense
When it’s in your spine
Like you’ve walked for miles
And the only thing you want it just to
Be still for a while
– Beside You, Marianas Trench
Thursday, April 6, 2006
Lucky & Elizabeth’s Apartment: Living Room
Her shoulder was on fire, her face was throbbing, but Elizabeth couldn’t think about the way she felt. She had to get to a phone—she had to get to Bobbie—
She had to stop Lucky from getting his hands on Cameron.
She pushed herself up on her elbow, wincing and biting her lip as pain radiated down her arm. She half crawled, half slid short distance between the sofa and the door where she’d left her purse. She fished inside and found her phone, then pressed the speed dial for Bobbie.
“Elizabeth! I was just going to call you,” Bobbie said, her voice bright and breezy. “Cameron is having such a great time—Carly wanted to know if he could spend some time with Morgan this weekend.”
Elizabeth leaned against the door, closing her eyes as tears slid down her cheeks. She bit her lip again, then took a deep breath. “Hey, um, we can talk about that later—”
“What’s wrong?” Instantly, Bobbie’s tone sharpened.
“I’m f-fine,” Elizabeth managed to say. “I just—” She swallowed a sob. “Listen. Lucky is—I think he might come over to get Cameron. Can you—”
What did she even say? Keep your violent, crazy nephew away from the kids? Would Bobbie even believe her?
“Elizabeth?” Bobbie prompted.
“He’s worried about Cameron playing with Morgan—”
“With Morgan? What? Why?”
“Oh—” Elizabeth pulled herself to her feet, taking another deep breath. The pain in her shoulder was starting to fade to a dull ache. “You know, he’s Sonny kid, and—”
“Yeah, I know, but Lucky, he’s just—” Her voice faltered. “He’s under a lot of stress right now with the physical coming up.” She pressed the heel of her hand against her eye. “Um, can you just—can you just not let Lucky pick him up?”
Bobbie was quiet for a long moment. “Elizabeth,” the older woman said. “Morgan has a guard here. Would you like me to have him to keep Lucky from coming inside? So that the boys never even see him?”
“I—” She squeezed her hand around the phone and sucked in a deep breath. “No. I, um, maybe Lucas is around. Can he take Cameron away? Before Lucky gets there.” She paused, trying to find the words that would make Bobbie stop asking questions and just do what Elizabeth needed her to. “We’re just having a fight right now. And I don’t want to make it worse. You can just tell him Lucas is driving Cameron home. That I called. That I realized he was right.”
“Please. Bobbie, it would mean a lot to me.”
“All right.” There was a heavy pause. “I’ll have Lucas bring Cameron home—”
“No—no. Wait.” Elizabeth looked around the apartment, a place that was no longer safe for her. The lamp was shattered on the floor, the end table flipped over—one its legs snapped off. She stared at the shards of ceramic on the ground. “No. I think—can he bring Cam to my grandmother’s house? I’ll meet him there.”
“All right. Elizabeth, I love you. Please remember that.”
“I will.” Elizabeth closed her phone. She jumped as the phone vibrated in her hands a second later—
She looked down to find Emily’s name on the screen—then a notice that she had three missed calls. All from Emily. She sighed and put the phone in her purse. She couldn’t deal with anything except getting out of this apartment and to her grandmother’s house.
Because if Lucky showed up there, Elizabeth knew her guard wouldn’t let him in. She knew she’d be safe.
Quartermaine Mansion: Parlor
Emily scowled as her phone call to Elizabeth went unanswered — again. She just wanted to talk to her, to check in on her—
Maybe she should go over to the apartment and demand—
Emily took a deep breath and shook her head. No, no. That wasn’t the right way to handle any of this—
She turned to find her grandfather standing in the entryway. She blinked—Edward hadn’t spoken more than a handful of words to her since this mess had started. “Grandfather.”
“You’re pacing.” Edward gestured at her. “What’s wrong? Has that reprobate hurt you? I knew he would—”
Emily sighed, then sank down on the sofa, setting her cell phone on the table. “No, not the way you think. I just—” She looked at him. “I’m worried about Elizabeth.”
“Elizabeth?” Taken aback, Edward frowned. “Why? What’s happened—”
“Manny Ruiz.” Briefly, Emily brought her grandfather up to date as he took a seat next to her. She told him about the kidnapping the previous fall and Manny being at the hospital—
“I’m sure Dad told you he let Jason send him two guys to work as orderlies at the hospital as extra security,” Emily said. “One of them stayed with me on Pediatrics, and the other has been following Manny around.” She stared down at her hands. “But someone should have been with Elizabeth weeks ago. He took the job to be close to her.”
“That is…upsetting,” Edward said finally. “But you said Jason had someone following him—”
“They lost him today. Maybe because of Skye going to Miami, but I just—Grandfather, I could have told them weeks ago that Manny was targeting Elizabeth. I should have seen it—”
Emily pressed her lips together and looked at her grandfather. “But I didn’t. I was being selfish. Because Elizabeth didn’t immediately jump to my defense or take my side—I froze her out. And she didn’t tell me. I didn’t know Manny was watching her, that she was still seeing him all the time—I didn’t see it, Grandfather. And what’s worse—” Her lips trembled. “Sonny did know. He’s known for weeks.”
“Ah.” To his credit, Edward didn’t immediately launch into a diatribe against Sonny. “And you’re angry that he said nothing to you?”
“It’s—he knew she was in trouble. He knew that Manny was targeting Skye and possibly Elizabeth—but he didn’t think it was his problem. He didn’t want Jason to do anything to help—” Emily looked away. And how much worse had she made it by throwing their past in Jason and Elizabeth’s face right when Elizabeth needed Jason to keep her safe?
“And your brother listened?” Edward demanded.
“No, he ignored Sonny. He put a guard on Elizabeth, and he’s part of the reason Skye moved to Miami early—but—” Emily hesitated. “I threw away everything, Grandfather. I fought with everyone about Sonny. And it—it doesn’t matter.”
“I thought he was different,” she murmured. “I really thought—” She closed her eyes. “And now my best friend needs me but doesn’t think I’ll be there. She tried to tell me, but I couldn’t hear her. I wouldn’t hear her,” she corrected.
“That might be true, and maybe Elizabeth isn’t ready to talk tonight.” Edward picked up the phone and handed it back to Emily. “But if you keep trying, she might be ready tomorrow—”
They both turned when they heard Alice’s voice in the foyer, raised as she told someone that they couldn’t just barge in—
“Emily!” Lucky bellowed. He pushed past Alice just as Emily reached the doorway to the family room. “Where is she? Is she here?”
“Is she—” Emily closed her mouth, looked back at Edward, who was crossing to join her. “Is who here—” She frowned at her oldest friend. “Lucky, what’s going on? You look like hell—”
His eyes were bloodshot, his hair disheveled, and were—were his hands shaking? “Lucky—”
“Elizabeth. She—” Lucky wiped his mouth with the back of his mouth. “We had a fight. I went to pick up Cameron, but Bobbie said Elizabeth had asked Lucas to take him somewhere. She wouldn’t tell me where—she’s not home—”
His eyes darted around wildly. “Is she upstairs? Where is she?”
“She’s not here, Lucky,” Emily said flatly. She folded her arms. “What did you fight about?”
“Nothing—” Lucky scowled. “None of your damn business. Just tell me where she is—” He stepped forward, towards Emily who found herself taking a step backward. Alice scowled and put herself between Lucky and Emily.
“It’s time for you to go,” Alice told him. “You can either go on your own, or I’ll toss you out. If that’s okay with you, Mr. Quartermaine.”
“That’s fine by me,” Edward said stiffly. “And you can be sure I’ll be calling Mac tomorrow—”
“Fine. I’m leaving. Just—” Lucky scowled. “Just tell Elizabeth to call me. She’s being dramatic—” But his hand was still shaking as he shoved his hands through his hair. “Tell her to stop hanging out with criminals, and we won’t have any problems.” His scowl deepened. “You should take that advice—”
“Out—” Alice said, pointing towards the door. “You have thirty seconds—”
“I’m going,” Lucky muttered. He jerked open the front door and slammed it behind him.
Emily let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding. I’m drowning. Elizabeth had told her that—but now she wondered if Elizabeth had been talking about Manny that day—
Or if things with Lucky were really that bad.
She looked down at the phone in her hand again, then at her grandfather. “I’m fine. I just—I need to find a way to help Elizabeth. Even if she won’t let me.”
She pressed a speed dial on her phone and waited for the call to connect—praying that Jason might look past all the damage they’d done to each other and answer the phone.
She sighed in relief as her brother’s curt and irritated voice came on the line. “What?”
“I need to talk to you.”
Hardy House: Front Porch
Elizabeth paced the small porch, back and forth, waiting for a pair of headlights to turn up the driveway. She could see Cody in his car, parked in front of the house. He’d been there since she’d pulled in the driveway, but hadn’t checked on her or asked any questions.
If he had come close to her at that point, Elizabeth knew it would have been difficult to keep him from calling Jason. If he’d seen her face—
When she’d arrived at her grandmother’s, she’d gone into the bathroom to wash her face, only to realize that she had a cut on her cheekbone with dried blood flaking on her skin. Her eyes were bloodshot, the bruise at her temple was turning a sickening green—
She looked like hell.
Elizabeth washed her face, carefully cleaning her cut and arranging her hair so that it hid the worst of the bruise. The dull ache in her shoulder was starting to sharpen again the more she used her shoulder—
She didn’t have a game plan, didn’t have the next step worked out—
She just wanted her little boy in her arms, safe and sound. She wanted to shut her door and lock away everyone—knowing that Cody would keep all the demons at bay. She couldn’t think too hard about Manny Ruiz right now—with any luck, he’d left Port Charles and was out of her life.
She couldn’t find the energy to worry about him.
Elizabeth sighed as a car finally pulled into the driveway. She saw Cody get out of his car and lean against it, waiting to see if she needed him.
Lucas pulled his car close to her bumper, then switched off the ignition. She stepped down off the porch and met him at the car as he opened the back door to get Cameron unhooked from his car seat.
“Thank you so much for doing this, Lucas,” Elizabeth said. She smiled brightly at Cameron, who blinked at the house behind her. “Hey, Cam. Did you have fun with Aunt Bobbie?”
“Yeah, but—” Cameron scrunched up his face. “Why we at Gram’s?”
She looked at Lucas, who arched his brow. “Lucas—”
“Mom said to remind you that she likes you more than Lucky,” Lucas said dryly. “Particularly right now because babysitting Morgan is easier with Cam around.” He hesitated, tilting his head to the side. “You okay? You want me to stick around in case Lucky shows up?”
Elizabeth bit her lip, then shook her head. “No—I have—” She nodded towards Cody at his car. “I have someone here.”
“Okay,” Lucas said, drawing out the word. “I’ll leave you alone then. Take care, buddy. Next time, I’ll show you how to play Mario Kart.”
“Bye, Lucas!” Cameron waved as Bobbie’s son climbed back into his car. She didn’t wait for Lucas to drive away or for Cody to get back int his car. She went straight into the house and locked the door behind her.
Greystone Manor: Living Room
Max had the good sense to get out of Jason’s way as he stormed past the guard in the foyer to confront Sonny in the living room—where he was, as usual, drinking.
“Were you even going to tell me?” Jason demanded.
Sonny turned to look at him, raised his brows, then sat down in the armchair. “Tell you what?”
“Don’t play with me, Sonny. Manny is missing, and Emily just told me that Manny hasn’t been on her floor since Elizabeth transferred—”
“So?” Sonny shrugged and sipped his bourbon. “We already knew that—”
“No—” Jason bit off his retort, tried to find the patience. “We knew that Manny was hanging around Emily and Elizabeth when they worked the same floor. We knew that Manny was hanging around when Skye was there. We did not know that Manny had stopped hanging around Emily—”
“Did you or did you not put Beto at the hospital so he’d know where Manny was?” Sonny demanded. “Don’t put this on me—”
“Manny was assigned all over the hospital,” Jason cut in sharply. “He was still on the Pediatrics floor. But he wasn’t following Emily. And Emily and Elizabeth weren’t working the same shifts anymore—Damn it, Sonny. You knew Elizabeth was having trouble with Manny weeks ago—”
“And it’s my fault that no one asked Emily about this?” Sonny got to his feet, went to refill his drink. “Maybe if you hadn’t thrown a hissy fit about my relationship with her—” He looked over his shoulder at Jason. “If you hadn’t encouraged Elizabeth to get involved—”
“I didn’t—” Jason scowled. “I didn’t encourage her—and it doesn’t have anything to do with that—Manny kidnapped her months ago when she wasn’t even in—” He took a deep breath. “She wasn’t in my life in October, and Manny went after her then. He obviously got the job to stay close to her—”
“That doesn’t make it my fault—”
“No, but you knew Emily wasn’t talking to Elizabeth. You knew she and I were fighting. And it didn’t occur to you once to let Emily know what was going on with Elizabeth.” And Jason couldn’t understand that—couldn’t understand how Sonny had seemed so oblivious to all the crap Emily had gone through because of their relationship—
He didn’t seem to care that Emily wasn’t talking to her best friend—the same way he hadn’t cared that Elizabeth might be in danger—
“Manny is missing,” Jason told him. “You knew that this morning. You knew hours ago that Elizabeth was probably the target, not Skye. And you said nothing to me.”
“I see Emily sucked up her pride to call you.” Sonny shrugged again, but his shoulders were tense. “Now, you know. And Elizabeth knows Manny is missing thanks to Emily.” He scowled. “When did we start telling women everything? What happened to the rules?”
Jason just stared at him, dumbfounded. “What are you talking about? Elizabeth is the one in danger— from a man you decided wasn’t our problem. How do the rules—” He stopped. “When you ask someone to be a part of your life, Sonny, you ask them to cross a line. They deserve to know when they’re in danger.”
Sonny’s smile was sour. “That sounds like something someone else told you. Was it Elizabeth? Is that how she talked you into letting her help with Manny?”
“No, that’s why she left me,” Jason said roughly. Sonny looked at him, a bit taken aback by that. “She deserved better from me. From you. And it sounds like you’re making the same mistake with Emily.” He shook his head. He hadn’t wanted to be right—part of him had hoped that it would be different this time—
But he wasn’t surprised.
“I don’t care if you don’t think Manny is our problem or not,” Jason told him. “I told Francis to put everyone on this.”
Sonny pursed his lips. “And if I told you to back off?” he asked quietly. He swirled the alcohol in his tumbler, then met Jason’s eyes. “If I reminded you that Elizabeth is married to a cop—”
“Is that what you’re telling me?” Jason said. He lifted his chin. “Are you telling me to drop it?”
“I have a feeling,” Sonny said slowly, “that I would lose that argument.” He looked down at his tumbler. “You’re making a mistake getting involved with her again.”
“It’s not like that—”
“No?” Sonny smirked, finished his bourbon. “You should listen to yourself once in a while—”
Jason just shook his head, scowling as he took out his phone. “I’m not having this argument with you,” he said. “I’m calling Cody. Elizabeth needs to know that she was probably the target all along.”
He needed to figure out how to keep her safe while not making more trouble with Lucky, but if it came down to it, he could live with Elizabeth hating him as long as she was safe. Emily had mentioned briefly that Lucky and Elizabeth were fighting again, but he hadn’t asked her for more details. He needed to deal with Manny, not worry about Elizabeth’s marriage.
“Cody, hey. You have eyes on Elizabeth?” Jason asked, waiting for the guard to tell him that she was safely at home or at the hospital.
“Uh, yeah, I do.” Cody’s voice sounded strange—hesitant even. “What’s up? Is there word on Manny?”
“It looks like Elizabeth might have been his target all along.” Jason pinched his nose and turned away from Sonny, who had poured himself yet another drink. “I need—I need to know if it’s okay if I come over. Is Lucky there?”
“Uh, actually, Jase—she’s not at the apartment. She’s at her grandmother’s house.”
“What?” Jason asked. “Why? Isn’t she in Memphis—”
“I guess, but Elizabeth came here on her own, then paced out front for a while until Lucas Jones arrived with Cameron. She went inside, and I haven’t seen her since. Do you want me to check on her?”
Jason exhaled slowly. “Yeah. Let her know I’m on my way to talk to her about Manny. That it’s important, or I wouldn’t bother her.”
Jason hung up the phone. “I have to go—”
“Wait—” Sonny held up a hand. Jason sighed, but his partner shook his head. “Look, I get it. She’s in danger, and me being me not telling Emily anything—if that’s made it worse, I’m sorry. I was wrong. We should have done something sooner. As soon as Elizabeth got involved.”
Jason frowned at him “Sonny—”
“I might not like you being close with someone married to a cop, but you were right. It’s Elizabeth. And we should have done more.” Sonny hesitated. “I should have done more. So whatever you need, get it done. Keep her safe, and let’s get rid of Manny Ruiz for good.”
Hardy House: Living Room
She’d settled Cameron down on the sofa with the Spiderman movie DVD she always carried in her bag. She knew she needed to figure out something for dinner, but she was broke until payday, and her grandmother didn’t have much in the house since she’d planned to be gone for so long.
Her cell phone rang again, and Elizabeth looked at it, expecting it to be Emily—but it was Cody’s name that lit up the identification screen. With a sigh, she realized she couldn’t entirely ignore the world. At least the part of it that was determined to keep her safe. “Yeah?”
“Miss Webber, I wanted to let you know that Jason is on his way over. He, ah, needed to tell you something about Manny, so I had to tell him you were at your grandmother’s. Uh…sorry,” Cody added when Elizabeth remained silent.
Elizabeth flinched. She really didn’t need this tonight, but if Jason had news about Manny–
“It’s okay. Thanks for letting me know, Cody.” She hung up the phone.
“Mommy?” Cameron asked. He frowned at her. “Mommy, I’m hungry.”
“I know.” Elizabeth bit her lip. “Okay. Okay, I can do this.”
“You can do anything,” Cameron said, loyally. “Did you bring my toys?”
“No, but you have some upstairs—” Elizabeth rubbed her shoulder absently. The levels of pain came and went, but she didn’t want to get an ice pack in front of Cameron. And what was she going to do about dinner? Maybe she could check the balances on her credit cards again or find some dry cereal—
The doorbell rang before she could make a decision. Determined to get rid of Jason as quickly as possible, Elizabeth got up to let him in.
“Jason. Hey. Cody just told me you were coming by,” she said. She kept the door halfway closed, wondering if it was possible to keep him from coming in. She really wasn’t up to this tonight.
Jason frowned at her, and she looked away, hoping that he didn’t notice the way she was favoring her shoulder or that she had a cut on her face just below the bruise he’d yesterday. “Hey. I know we talked about me not coming by,” he said, “but something happened with Manny.”
“Yeah, Cody called.” She looked at him, waiting for him to volunteer the information. When Jason glanced at the door, then back at her, he exhaled slowly.
“Right. Uh, well—” He scratched the edge of his eyebrow.
“Mommy?” Cameron tugged on her pant leg as he came to the door. He peered out from behind her. “Hi, Mr. Jason. Did you come to see my toys?”
“Hey, Cameron.” Jason’s face relaxed as he knelt down. “No, but Morgan said you had the best Legos he’d ever played with.”
“I gots lots of Legos here.” Cameron looked at Elizabeth. “Mommy, is Mr. Jason staying?”
Jason met her eyes as he got back to his seat. “Uh, no—”
“Yes,” Elizabeth said at the same time. She stepped back, opening the door wider. She didn’t really think about it. Maybe she should have, but she just—she couldn’t turn away an opportunity to distract Cameron—to give him a bit of happiness.
“Are you sure?” Jason asked softly as he walked past her into the house. Elizabeth closed the door behind him.
“No,” she admitted, “but I know you wouldn’t come all the way over here if it wasn’t important, and Cameron—” She ruffled her son’s curls as he grinned at her. “Cameron does have a lot of Legos here.”
“Mommy, can we eat? I’m hungry.” Cameron looked at Jason. “I like pizza. Do you like pizza? We don’t got pizza here. Grammy is in Memdis forever—”
“For a few weeks,” Elizabeth corrected. “Cameron—” She wrinkled her nose, already regretting the impulse to invite Jason in. She folded her arms, wincing as her shoulder protested.
“Bobbie was gonna have pizza,” Cameron continued, “but Mommy made me come here.” He pursed his lips. “I like pizza,” he repeated.
Mortified beyond belief, Elizabeth just closed her eyes. Jason knelt down to match Cameron’s height. “What kind of pizza?”
“All pizza is good. Mommy says there no bad pizza. ‘Cept the ones with green stuff. We don’t like green stuff. Do you like green stuff?”
“Sometimes,” Jason said. He got back to his feet. “Do you want me to call for something?” he asked Elizabeth quietly.
“I—” Elizabeth took a deep breath. Her son came first. He always came first. “Yes. And I—I have to owe you. I don’t get paid until tomorrow.”
Jason nodded. “Yeah, sure.” She sighed—he’d never take the money from her, but she couldn’t deal with that right now. Cameron needed to eat. Jason stepped away to make a phone call while she looked at her son. “Cameron, why don’t you go upstairs and put together your favorite Lego pieces so you can show them to Jason?”
“Okay.” Cameron hesitated. “But no lights. Mommy, don’t like no lights. Dark.” He looked up at the dim stairwell and the dark hallway beyond it. She could switch on the lights for the stairs, but the hallway light was at the top of the stairs.
And she couldn’t lift him to take him up the stairs. Her throat felt thick as she struggled to think through the fog of it all. Her shoulder was still throbbed, an eternal reminder of why she was at her grandmother’s in the first place—
She just—God, she just wanted this to be over.
“Cameron,” Jason said from behind her. “Do you know which room is yours?”
“I’ll take you, and Mommy can wait down here for the pizza, okay?” He lifted the toddler into his arms, looking back at Elizabeth. “Do you want me to call Emily? Or Bobbie?”
“I didn’t even want anyone to call you,” Elizabeth managed miserably. Emily and Bobbie might feel sorry for her, but they also might just tell her that she should think about Lucky—that she should give him another chance. He was so close to getting his job back.
And hadn’t she told everyone things would be okay when he was back to work? Hadn’t she told herself that?
“Okay,” Jason said, not looking remotely hurt by that. So he went upstairs, and Elizabeth sat on the sofa, trying to figure out how to get through the next few hours without Jason finding out exactly why she’d dragged her son to an empty house without any food.
A few minutes later, Jason came down with a plastic monitor in his hand. “Cam said his gram uses this when he plays alone.” He handed it to her, and she could hear her little boy singing to himself. “Biderman, Biderman, does a Bider can,” came his sweet voice.
“I know you don’t want to talk about what happened,” Jason said. She looked at him. “And I’m not going to ask. You’re here. You’re safe. Cody isn’t going to let anyone come in here. I promise.” He hesitated. “With Manny missing, I was hoping you might let one of the guys stay in the house tonight.”
“I—” That would be safest, wouldn’t it? But she hated the idea of it. She just wanted to be alone.
“But that’s not an option, I can see that now,” he said smoothly. “So I’ll set up shifts. Cody or someone out front. And then someone out back. They can sit on the back porch. I’m hoping we’ll have him found within a day or two. Can you stay here that long?”
“Yes.” Elizabeth took a deep breath, finding her feet again. “Yeah, I can manage that.” She looked at him. “Something happened that you’re not telling me because I’m upset. Something more than Manny going missing. You know I know that already.”
“I do, yeah, but—” Jason hesitated. “I came here to tell you, but I just—I don’t want to make things worse, Elizabeth. This last week—” He pressed his lips together. “I know it’s been tough.”
She nearly told him that Manny Ruiz and his threats had almost been a relief as it gave herself something else to worry about beyond her marriage. “I know. And I appreciate it. But you want me to be guarded twenty-four seven. You wanted someone down the hall from me. I have Cameron to think about.”
“Yeah. Yeah, okay.” Jason rubbed the back of his neck. “We think Manny might have taken the job at the hospital to get to you.”
She jolted at that, then got to her feet, putting some distance between them. “No, no, that’s not—there’s no reason for that. I don’t matter—You and Sonny—I didn’t matter—”
“Elizabeth—” Jason slowly stood, the frown on his face deepening. “You always mattered. But, no, there wouldn’t have been much of a reason for Manny to make a connection between us. Not then. But that’s not why he wanted you.”
“What—” Her stomach rolled over. “Oh. Oh, it’s not about getting to you. It’s just about me. You-you said Manny—women have gone missing.”
“Yeah. There’s never been any proof, but he’s got a reputation. I think—after he kidnapped you—”
She might have been targeted by a psycho killer who liked to hurt and torture women. Elizabeth closed her eyes, took a deep breath. “Okay. Well, then, in that case, please put a man in every single guest room of this house. And if you could find some sort of armor that covers houses—”
“No, no, I’m not being flippant. I’m not making a joke. I mean it. Lock this place down. I can’t—” Her heart started to pound again, and her lungs felt a thousand times too small for her chest. “He rapes women, doesn’t he?”
“I—” Jason took a few steps towards her. His hand raised slightly at his side as if he was going to reach out and touch her. He let it drop as he swallowed hard. “He’s not going to get to you, Elizabeth—”
“I know you mean that. I know that you are doing everything you can. But we both know you’re not Superman. And I don’t expect you to be.” Elizabeth took a deep breath, covered her face again, even as her shoulder protested. “If someone stays here tonight—in the house, I mean—can it be Cody? Or Vic? Marco still works for you guys, right? He was on your door when I lived with—” She hesitated. “Or Francis—Just someone I know?”
“Yeah.” He hesitated. “Not me,” he said finally. “It can’t be me.”
“No.” Elizabeth managed a smile at him as they both locked eyes, uncomfortable with the suggestion. “No, it really can’t be you. Not after—it just can’t.”
“Okay. Can you stay home tomorrow? With Cameron?”
“I—” Elizabeth shook her head. “No. I mean, Epiphany could probably cover my shift if I had to, but I’ve been…I’ve missed a few since I started upstairs, and some of the nurses are—’” Less than friendly. “I’m not making any friends. And I can’t afford to lose the hours—”
“And even if you told me you could make up the difference, it doesn’t resolve my long-term problem. I can’t keep asking Epiphany for favors. And it’s not something we can take to the chief of staff. Because it doesn’t change the fact I have to work with these people when Manny is just a memory.”
“Okay. Cody stays on you at the hospital. He drives you to and from, though. You don’t go on your own.”
Thinking of Lucky and how he’d take that information, Elizabeth grimaced. “Okay.”
“Why are you apologizing? You’re keeping me safe from a psycho who wants to rape and torture me. I just wish I could lock myself in here until this was over. But I can’t.” She sighed. “I’ll find a way to explain it to Lucky.”
Jason paused. “You…I thought you were here for a reason.”
“I am,” Elizabeth said. But she hadn’t entirely wrapped her mind around any of that, and it was just—it was a reflex to think of how to manage Lucky’s anger, which was a depressing realization. “Which means on top of everything else, I don’t need another argument with Lucky about me owing criminals favors. Even if I went to the cops, they couldn’t do anything.” She lifted her chin. “And we’re not talking about Lucky.”
“Okay.” He hesitated.
“But Cameron—” Elizabeth shook her head. “I can’t take him to daycare.”
“No, but Morgan will be at Carly’s tomorrow with Leticia and Michael. They have guards. Carly said Cam has been over to play with Morgan a few times.”
“Yeah.” Elizabeth’s chest eased. “And I know how seriously Carly takes Michael and Morgan’s safety. Cameron would feel safe there, and he’d have a good time. He wouldn’t think anything was wrong.”
“Are you—” Jason hesitated. “This is a lot—”
“This is necessary. And I am okay.” She was okay, Elizabeth was realizing. She’d had a terrible couple of days, but she’d left. She’d gotten out. And even though she was in danger from another threat, she knew that Jason would do everything he could to look out for her. If Manny got to her anyway, it wouldn’t be because Jason hadn’t tried to protect her.
“I’m okay,” Elizabeth repeated. “I can handle this.”
“I know you can. You always handled this kind of stuff well.” Jason hesitated. “Maybe better than I ever gave you credit for. You never flinched from any of it. From the bomb, from the guns, from Sorel. From Roscoe’s guys. Alcazar. I should have trusted that. I should have remembered that—”
Elizabeth shook her head. She tried to fold her arms again, wincing as she’d forgotten her shoulder again. She rubbed her hand over the sore area. “We’re not talking about it,” she bit out. “Now, if you want, because Cameron will probably ask, you can stay for dinner. You can let him tell you all the stories he wants about his toys. He might even ask you to watch Spiderman before I put him to bed. You can do that if you want. Because he needs kindness and comfort right now. But we are done talking about everything else.”
“I—” Jason stared at her. “Elizabeth—”
“Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. It happened. I’m glad we understand each other better, but we can’t go back. And it’s not fair to anyone else, including Sam—and Lucky—for us to keep dragging all of that up.”
“No. No, you’re right. I’m sorry.” He shook his head. “I won’t do it again. I’m sorry. But if it’s okay, I’d like to stay until Cameron goes to bed. I’ll make some calls, make you sure have food and supplies here, so you don’t have to go out in the open,” he told her as she started to open her mouth. “You’re going to work tomorrow because you have to, I get it, but I’m sorry, I can’t—” He hesitated. “I would appreciate it if you’d let me do this.”
“And I’ll track down someone you know to stay the night. In addition to the guards at the back,” he told her. “I don’t think we’ll need to use every room, but I’ll make sure you’re safe here before I leave.”
“I know you will.” She took a deep breath. “Thank you.”
“This will be over soon,” Jason told her as she went towards the stairs to check on Cameron. “I promise.”
“One way or another,” Elizabeth murmured.
Thanks for the update I am hoping that Manny takes out Lucky but leaves Liz alone.
Another gut wrenching chapter. Can this be the point Elizabeth realizes that Lucky is too dangerous to be around. When will she notice that he’s taking drug, she’s a nurse for God’s sake. I’m hoping that Emily is realizing Lucky is using drugs, maybe even Bobbie. Somebody has to realize Elizabeth is in danger from him. Is Jason going to get a clue about Lucky too, please. This story is so addicting. Thank you.
Jeez, this is killing. You bring all the feels, and it’s heartbreaking. Can we have Lucky fail his test and cart him off to rehab (in a land far, far away)? I’m not handeling this Elizabeth very well. She’s a suvivor but she needs to start living.
very well written. Monday can’t come fast enough!
I really hope that Manny is after Lucky and just trying to scare Elizabeth to get Lucky to make a move. I hope Edward keeps his promise and calls Mac about Lucky. I know Lucky will blame and take it out on Elizabeth. I really hope Elizabeth doesn’t go back to Lucky. I wish Jason would see that Elizabeth is hurt worse than when he last saw her.
Cam and Jason moments are so adorable. I am very happy that Elizabeth thought fast on her feet and had Lucas bring Cam to her gram’s house and she is even going to let a guard stay in the house. She is safe from Lucky for one night at least. I hope Emily is truly seeing what living with Lucky is like and is actually in Liz’s corner. Liked that Alice tossed him out, which what Carly would do if he tried to remove Cam from her care when he is with her. I know Manny is a danger but right now I feel like Lucky is the bigger threat to her safety. I am hoping we will see a better Sonny emerge from this as well. Look forward to the next update.
I just LOVE Jason. He is what a man truly SHOULD be. I love that he makes Elizabeth feel safe even when she isn’t. I love that he makes Cameron feel loved when his ‘father’ won’t. I can’t wait for the next chapter. Amazing job!