Being me can only mean
Feeling scared to breathe
If you leave me then I’ll be afraid of everything
That makes me anxious, gives me patience, calms me down
Lets me face this, let me sleep, and when I wake up
Let me breathe
– Afraid, Neighborhood
Friday, April 7, 2006
General Hospital: Emergency Room
Jason stalked into the emergency room, Sonny and Max hot on his heels. He stopped to scan the cubicles and swore when he saw Cody lying on one of the gurneys, his face pale, blood staining his shirt. At his side, Patrick and Robin were working.
Alan and Monica were both just outside the curtain, talking to Emily. Alan turned and gestured for Jason to join them, even as he scowled upon sighting Sonny.
“We called you as soon as we got the warning from the security room,” Alan told him. “The PCPD has already been through.”
“What did they say? Did they tell you anything?”
“No, they were told the guard can’t help since he hasn’t woken up. We gave them the description of the car Manny was driving and a copy of the security tape. I think Mac said he was going to find Lucky and put an APB out to the airports and the train station.” Monica shook her head. “How did he get into the parking garage?”
“Stan said he’d try to find out,” Sonny said to Jason. “But I told him it’s not the priority.”
“No, but it might tell us where he’s hiding.” Jason exhaled slowly. “What about Cody? What did you find in the parking garage?”
“Flat tire. I guess Manny used it as a distraction.” Alan hesitated and exchanged a look with Monica. “Cody was on the ground by the car, but we found blood nearer the stairwell. Blood and….hair on a bumper.”
“Elizabeth’s hair,” Emily managed, her voice hoarse. Her eyes were puffy. “It looks like she ran for the stairs and almost made it. He must have slammed her head into the car—” She couldn’t. She looked back at the guard. “She should have stayed home.”
Jason followed her gaze, troubled by the pallor of his guard’s face. Somewhere, Manny Ruiz had Elizabeth. She was hurt, terrified—
“Cameron’s still at Carly’s,” Jason said, swallowing hard. “You don’t have to worry about him, Em. I put more men there—”
“A lot of good it did us here,” Emily snapped, and Jason flinched.
“Emily,” Alan murmured. “Short of locking Elizabeth in a room until Manny was dealt with, I don’t know what your brother could have done. And to be honest, I have a feeling the fault is in the hospital security.” He looked at Jason. “I’m sorry. You were right. I should have pushed harder to get Manny Ruiz out of this hospital.”
Emily sighed. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m just—” She folded her arms. “I’m just scared. I know you did your best to protect her.”
You’re not Superman.
Elizabeth’s voice echoed in his brain as Jason tried to think of the next step. No one had seen Manny Ruiz since Wednesday afternoon when he’d clocked out of his shift. Forty-eight hours, and his men still hadn’t found the psycho. They didn’t even have a lead.
He looked to find Robin trying to get his attention. “Yeah?”
“Cody has a fractured skull. We’re taking him up for surgery. You’re his medical power of attorney, so…” Robin held out a clipboard. “He was conscious when they found him. He was drifting in and out, but he kept saying Elizabeth’s name over and over again. Telling her to run.”
“I should have done more,” Jason said. He scribbled his name.
“You’re not Superman,” Robin said, and he looked at her with a start. “What? What did I say?”
And I don’t expect you to be.
“Nothing,” he swallowed. “Em—”
“Call her grandmother in Memphis.” Jason scratched his temple. “Sonny—” He turned to his partner. “Go to Carly’s—” Sonny grimaced. “Stay with Cameron. If Manny’s trying to get Elizabeth out of town…I don’t know, he might be crazy enough to go for her son. To take him along. I just—I know we have guys there, but—”
“No, I got it. Call me if you find anything.”
When Sonny had left, Emily touched his arm. “What are you going to do? Do you have any ideas?”
“No, I don’t,” Jason admitted. “But I’m going down to security. I don’t—I don’t know, Emily. I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry,” she echoed with a sigh. “Because I think I’m going to give you something else to worry about. I’ve been trying to call Lucky since Elizabeth went missing, but he’s not picking up his phone. His dad said he’d been trying to find him all day, but it’s like he’s disappeared.”
Jason frowned at her. “Why—”
“I don’t know if it’s related,” Emily said, “but it’s weird, right?” She bit her lip. “Isn’t it?”
Jason did think it was troubling that Lucky was missing at the same time Elizabeth had been kidnapped, but he couldn’t think of how it was related. “I don’t know. I’ll see if anyone knows anything, but—”
“Right.” Emily nodded. “It’s not a priority. I know. I just wanted to let you know.” She took a deep breath. “Just—just find her, Jason.”
Elizabeth moaned slightly, shook her head, and opened her eyes. She winced from the light. “What—” She couldn’t finish the words.
“I’m sorry.” The bright light flashed, then dimmed. She opened her eyes again to find the room much darker. She was sitting in a chair, her hands tied behind her.
In another chair, a few feet in front of her sat Manny Ruiz.
“W-What—” Elizabeth’s body just froze, and she couldn’t speak. “Oh, God. What are you—”
“You can scream if you like,” Manny said with a smile. “No one will hear you. We’re too close to the docks. Too far away from everything else.” He tipped his head to the side. “I’m sorry I had to hurt you, Elizabeth. You were always so nice to me. But you ran, and, well, plans change.”
“I—” She swallowed the bile that rose in her throat. “What are you going to do?”
“I know you’ve talked about me to Jason Morgan. He must have told you all the rumors.” Manny’s grin widened, and he got to his feet. He picked up a long knife from a table, then pointed it at her, the blade a dull glint in the dim lights. She flinched. “I have…high expectations, and sometimes it’s hard to make me happy.”
A tear slid down her cheek as she tried to find the words. She had to be able to make this stop. “Please—”
“But you’re strong, you know. I’ve been watching you. I think you might be the one I’ve been looking for.” He knelt in front of her, touching her chin with the tip of the knife. She hissed as it bit into her skin slightly.
“But if you disappoint me, well…you’ll go with the others. Pretty women with big blue eyes and skin as pale as yours…” He got to his feet. “They turn a nice profit in many places.”
She moaned slightly as her vision blurred. Oh, God. He was going to rape and torture her until he was bored, and then…
“But I don’t want you to think I don’t care about you.” Manny shook his head. “No, no. It’s just the opposite. You’re such a bright light. Such a sweet, sweet girl. I want to give you something. I want you to see how much I want to please you. I got you a present.”
Oh, no. Oh, God. What if he’d gone to Carly’s—what if her little boy—
“Come with me. No, no, don’t fight—” Manny cut the bonds on her wrist, but held the knife to her. “Come on.”
Very aware of the warm blood trickling from the cut on her chin, the ache in her head from whatever he’d hit with her at the parking garage, and the cool press of the knife against her scrub top—she gulped down a breath and forced herself to stay quiet as he dragged her along.
Elizabeth followed him out of the room into the warehouse’s vast, empty center room. She stumbled in the dark, but Manny hauled her back to her feet and kept dragging her.
“Please. Just let me go—”
“I’ve waited so long for this moment. I had a plan that was better than this, but then, well, you forced my hand, Elizabeth. I had to save you.”
“Save me?” she repeated. “What—”
“I saw those bruises.” Manny shook his head. “When we talked on Wednesday. I saw what he did to you.” He looked at her, somehow his teeth bright white in the dark as he flashed her another smile. “You’ll thank me when this is done.”
A chill danced down her spine as he shoved her through another doorway. She bit back a cry as she saw who Manny had tied to a chair, bleeding and bruised…
General Hospital: Security Room
Learning that Jason was going to talk to her son, Epiphany had followed him down to the security room. Jason didn’t have the time to argue, particularly with someone he knew that was so loyal to Elizabeth.
“I would have given her the time off,” Epiphany said as they neared the room. “I would have made it work. That girl never asks for help when she really needs it. She—”
“Epiphany—” He turned and just shook his head. “No, she doesn’t. But let’s not—we can’t think about any of that right now.”
“Right. I’m sorry.”
Jason went into the room to find it emptier than he’d thought. He frowned and looked at Stan and the other guard. “No cops?”
“They thought they got everything they needed with the tape of her abduction.” Stan spun on the chair and looked at him with a bit trepidation. “You don’t need to see it. We’re scanning the rest of the footage to see how he got in—”
“I want to see it,” Jason said firmly.
Stan sighed, turned back to a monitor, and pressed play. Jason watched as ten minutes before Elizabeth had clocked out, Manny crept out of the shadows, knelt by the car, then disappeared again.
“He dug an icepick into the tire. We found it near Cody,” Stan said as the video continued to run. From the elevators, Jason watched as Cody and Elizabeth walked towards the car.
She’d done everything right. She’d waited to leave the elevator until Cody had swept the area. Then she stayed directly next to him, on the side next to the roadway, not somewhere where she could be grabbed in the shadows.
She’d paused by the car so that he could do a bomb sweep. She knew the routine better than Jason had remembered. And then Cody pulled out his phone—
“We don’t know who he was gonna call. Maybe Vic,” Stan said, continuing to narrate. They both flinched as Manny jumped out of the shadows and whacked Cody hard with the tire iron.
Elizabeth hadn’t hesitated. Just like he’d always told her. Don’t worry about the guard. Just run. She’d screamed, then darted away towards safety—
“She almost got away,” Epiphany murmured. “Just a second more—”
Jason watched, stone-faced, as Manny caught up to Elizabeth at the door, threw her against the car, then grabbed her by the hair and bashed her head against the bumper. Elizabeth slumped down to the floor. Her body was limp as Manny carried her out of camera range.
“She did everything I told her to do,” Jason said. He exhaled slowly. “And it wasn’t enough. How many cars left the garage after this?”
“Twelve. We’ve been tracking all of them, trying to find the one that might have been—”
“I think I’ve got it,” the other security guard said. “This one—registered to a Doctor Leo Ramsey.” He grimaced. “Look at the footage of the car entering the garage around 1 PM—”
And there it was, Manny behind the wheel, just driving like he had a right to be there. The guard switched to another view, and they saw Manny parking the car. Then moving it—
“He waited in the garage until a car near Elizabeth’s moved so he could be closer. He planned this. And he must have been planning this for a long time—do we know where the doctor is?”
“No, but if we find the car—” Stan waited as Jason called Alan and told him the make and model to pass on to the cops. “Does this get us closer to Manny?”
“No,” Jason admitted. “Because I don’t think he’s at the doctor’s house.” He scrubbed his hands over his face. “I don’t know where to look,” he admitted.
“She’s tough, Jason,” Epiphany told him. “And she’s got that little boy to keep her going. Nothing is gonna stop Elizabeth coming home to him.” She nodded to the screen. “Keep looking, Stanford. We’ll go up and wait for word from the guard. He might know something. C’mon.”
Outside the security room, Jason slumped against the wall for a minute, trying to collect his thoughts. “I told her I wouldn’t let anything happen to her. And I couldn’t keep that promise—”
He frowned, looked up at the frowning nurse. “What?”
“Manny knew what car Elizabeth drove to work today.”
Jason straightened, hissed. “She didn’t drive her car. She drove with Cody. He was following her from Audrey’s.” Which meant he’d been following her all along. Damn it. How had they missed it—he thought of the rookie guard who had done a shit job of following him.
“They keep saying they can’t find Lucky Spencer. And I can’t help but think—he went missing after an argument with Elizabeth that sent her running to her grandmother’s.” Epiphany hesitated. “You tell me Manny was targeting Elizabeth because he’s obsessed with her.”
“Maybe Manny wants to punish Lucky for hurting Elizabeth.” Epiphany shook her head. “It’s almost a shame you didn’t hurt her, Jason. Maybe he’d come find you.”
Lucky blearily opened his eyes, looked at both of them, and coughed. “What the hell, Elizabeth—”
“Lucky—” Elizabeth looked at Manny with wide eyes. “What did you do?”
“Nothing much. I found him in an alley on Courtland Street.” Manny grabbed Lucky by his hair, dragged his head back. Brought the tip of his knife to her husband’s throat. “I saw the bruises, Elizabeth.”
“Elizabeth,” Lucky choked, trying to look at her, but Manny wouldn’t release his head, wouldn’t let him move.
“Do you have any other bruises?” Manny asked idly. “Or just the one on your face?”
“She has such a lovely face,” Manny told Lucky, his voice almost sing-song. “You messed it up. Such pretty skin. Soft. You know that.”
“How can you…how can you be so angry at him for hurting me?” Elizabeth managed, desperate to get that knife away from her husband. “You—you’re planning to rape me.”
“No, no…” Manny released Lucky’s hair. “No, I’ll wait until you’re ready. You’ll want it, too.” He licked his lips, his tongue sweeping out with lasciviousness. “I’m good at making women want me.”
“I know you got a taste for the bad boys.”
Elizabeth’s eyes widened as she took a step back. “What does—what do you mean?”
“It means I saw you, my sweet, pretty Elizabeth. All the times you met with Jason Morgan.”
Elizabeth closed her eyes. Oh, God. It just got worse. He’d been following her, he knew—he knew—all of her worst fears—
“I just wanted to get your attention with Skye. That was just a game to see what you’d do. How would you try to save her? I knew you would. I knew you couldn’t help yourself. I thought you’d go to the chief of staff, the police, your husband. But no—” He wagged a finger at her, then turned back to Lucky, who was glaring at Elizabeth now, his lips curled in a sneer, his eyes burning.
Manny laughed again. “Oh, see, Lucky knows what I’m trying to say. He gets it. He knows who you ran to.” He ripped Lucky’s head back again, yanking on his hair, his voice dropping the sing-song quality. “That’s why you hurt her, isn’t it? You knew she was a faithless whore, didn’t you?”
General Hospital: ICU
Jason scowled as he peered at Cody through one of the transparent walls of the ICU. “I was hoping he might wake up tonight,” he told Robin.
“I know. But we can’t do anything about that.” Robin bit her lip. “You really don’t have any leads—”
“No, but—” Jason grimaced. “I can’t just sit here. I need to do something. Look somewhere—” He broke off.
“What?” Robin touched his arm. “I know that look—”
“The waterfront,” Jason said. He met her worried gaze. “There’s a lot of abandoned buildings with cargo docks. It’s a way to escape, to get out of Port Charles under the radar.”
He could go look. He could do something instead of waiting here at the hospital for something to break. “I’ll go take a look. Maybe find some activity or just—something.”
Robin tipped her head towards the elevator. “Go. I’ll call you if anything changes with Cody.”
“What is he talking about?” Lucky demanded. Elizabeth just shook her head. No, not now. Not this. She couldn’t process this, couldn’t make herself accept that her husband was worrying about an affair while they were being held at knifepoint—
“You know, I wondered why a cop’s wife ran to Jason Morgan every time I so much as said boo to her.” Manny shook his head. “Never ran to you,” he said to Lucky, who growled.
“Just—just stop—let him go, okay?” Elizabeth knew if she tried to run, Manny would just kill Lucky and come after her. She was tired, her leg hurt from something—her shoulder was on fire—
She’d never be able to outrun Manny, and she knew she was alone. No one would know where she was, and Lucky clearly wasn’t going to be able to do anything.
She had to find a way out.
“Let him go, and I’ll—” She swallowed hard. “I’ll go with you.”
Lucky stared at her in shock. “No! No! Elizabeth, you can’t—”
“Well…” Manny lifted his brows, lowering his knife slightly. “If I had known the way to your heart was threatening to carve up the man who hurt you, I wouldn’t have planned the second part of this game.”
“S-Second part?” Elizabeth sputtered. “What—”
Manny reached into his pocket with his free hand and showed her a cell phone. Her phone. “Funny. Did you know she has Jason Morgan on speed dial?” Lucky’s eyes flashed with murderous rage, and Manny laughed. “Yes, it’s very upsetting. You’re not on the list. But he’s number two and since one is for emergency—”
“What?” Lucky bit out. He turned his glare back on her. “What the fucking hell?”
“I can explain—” Her world spun for a moment. “I just—with all this Manny stuff, I needed to—”
How could she explain she’d done it the night before when Jason had asked her to make sure she could call him if she needed him. She didn’t need Lucky on speed dial, and having Jason at the top—it just made sense—
But Lucky was looking at her with such hatred that she couldn’t force the words out. This couldn’t be happening.
“Why don’t we call him? We can ask Jason Morgan—” Manny grinned at Elizabeth’s stricken face. “Let’s invite him to the party—”
“Are you absolutely insane?” Elizabeth bit out. Why the hell would Manny want to invite one of the most feared enforcers on the East coast?
“It’s sweet; she’s worried about me,” he told Lucky. To Elizabeth, he continued, “I’ve got something he wants, pretty girl. And it might be nice for you to say goodbye to your lover before I whisk you away somewhere nice. I might not even hurt him much if you ask as nicely as you did for your husband here.”
He pressed the speed dial and put the phone against his ear.
Roscoe Trucking: Parking Lot
He’d parked his bike a block away, not wanting the sound of it to alert anyone who might be in the area. Mickey Roscoe had run a trucking company for Sorel as a front, and Faith had maintained it after his death. It had been abandoned since her death the year before.
It was a medium-sized building on the edge of the docks. The chain-link fence that surrounded it had fallen into disrepair due to negligence and vandalism. Just as Jason ducked under a broken section, his cell phone rang.
His heart began to race when he saw Elizabeth’s name on his identification screen. “Elizabeth?” he demanded when he answered the phone.
“Oh, you sound so hopeful. No, sorry to disappoint you, but it’s just me.”
Manny’s smooth voice sounded so normal that it startled Jason. Did he even have her? Or just her phone? “Where is she?”
“She’s safer with me than she is out in the world. Oh, look, she doesn’t agree, does she? She’s shaking her head—”
“Jason, don’t listen to him—”
He closed his eyes at the sound of Elizabeth’s voice. She was panicked but alive. And that was more information than he’d had thirty seconds ago. He could cling to that.
“What do you want? I can get you out of the country if you let her go—”
“Oh, no, no, it’s nothing that simple. You see, I’m taking my sweet Elizabeth with me, but I have to clear up old business before she can go. She worries, you know, and I’m just…” Manny sighed. “I’m afraid she won’t be able to concentrate on me.”
“What do you want?” Jason repeated.
“I want you to join our party. I have something special before we leave. A present that I want you to give it to her. I’m at Roscoe Trucking. You know the place. You took care of its owner.”
Jason closed his eyes in relief. Thank God. He was here, and he’d arrived nearly ten minutes before Manny could expect him to show up. He’d be able to surprise them.
“Yeah, I’ll be there.”
“Make it quick,” Manny said, then hung up.
Before he went inside, Jason called Robin. When she picked up, he said, “I need you to call Sonny and the PCPD. Tell them to go to Roscoe Trucking, but to be careful. He has Elizabeth, and I’m pretty sure I heard Lucky in the background.”
“Lucky!” Robin repeated, but Jason had already hung up. He needed to stop Manny Ruiz and get Elizabeth to safety. He wouldn’t break another promise to her.
“He sounded so concerned,” Manny said with a sigh. “He must really love you,” he said to Elizabeth. “All the times he was at your apartment, all those close moments on the docks, at the warehouse—did he ever tell you?”
Elizabeth’s hands were shaking as she dragged her hands through her hair. “Why are you doing this to me?” she choked out. “Why are you—” She looked at Lucky, and something inside her shriveled up and died.
Because why—in the middle of being kidnapped and mentally tortured—should she have to explain herself to the abusive husband she’d just fled—
Why was this happening?
“Because I think it might be hard for you to enjoy yourself if I’m the one that kills this piece of shit.” Manny backhanded Lucky, who moaned in pain. “But maybe if I tell Jason Morgan where you got that bruise, he’ll take care of it for me—”
“That’s your plan?” Elizabeth demanded. “He’d never do that to me. He’ll kill you first.”
“She has a lot of faith in him,” Manny said, his tone apologetic as he looked at Lucky. “I was angry with her at first when I realized she was unfaithful. Just like you are now. No, don’t deny it,” Manny murmured when Lucky shook his head. “I thought she deserved to be punished. But then, Lucky, you know what changed?”
“What?” Lucky muttered. He winced as Manny pinched his cheek. “What?”
“I saw her face. And I realized she was just lonely. Desperate for someone to treat her right. So I’ll leave Jason Morgan to take care of you, and I’ll take her somewhere where you can’t hurt her again.”
A sob broke, escaped her lips as Elizabeth shook her head. How could she make this stop? How could she save herself? How could she get back to her son?
“I never hit her,” Lucky hissed. “Tell him, Elizabeth—I never hit you—”
“We don’t have time for lies.” Manny cut Lucky’s bonds, then shoved her husband to the floor. Lucky screamed as Manny ground his heel into his back—right at the part of the spine where Lucky had been injured.
“Stop! Stop! I told you I’ll go with you!” Elizabeth rushed forward to grab Manny’s arm to stop him from kicking Lucky again.
“He shouldn’t lie to me,” Manny panted. He stomped one more time, then grabbed Elizabeth by her wrists. “Come on. We need to be on the docks before Morgan gets here—”
“What? Why—” But Elizabeth could barely catch her breath as he dragged her. “I thought you wanted him here—”
“Not until I’m ready for him.
Elizabeth opened her mouth to argue with him again, but then—
Then she saw him. Just the corner of his leather jacket outside the large loading dock door. A cry of relief nearly bubbled out of her throat, because she knew—God, she knew she’d be okay.
Jason was already here. He’d found her. Somehow, he’d been close when Manny called, and he was here before Manny would expect him.
“I told you,” Manny was saying, “I have a plan.”
“And so do I.” Elizabeth spit in his face.
When Manny reared back, she kicked at the back of his knees until Manny went sprawling. Not even waiting to see if he’d hit the ground, Elizabeth took off, finding a burst of adrenaline somehow—
She exploded out onto the docks, hearing Manny’s angry shouts behind her—Jason was there, shoving her behind him, his arm outstretched, the gun pointed at Manny who skidded to a stop with a growl and look of loathing at Elizabeth.
“You fucking bitch!”
Elizabeth expected Jason to open fire—to shoot Manny where he stood until he was dead. But he didn’t. Because she was standing there. Watching him. “Jason—”
“That’s so sweet,” Manny said with a shake of his head. He looked around, his hands up. “Can’t bear to make her see you as a killer. Must be true love. I guess I’ll just find a way to meet you again—”
“Jason, no, you can’t let him go—”
Manny’s grin only widened—until Jason pulled the trigger. Twice in rapid succession, two shots to the chest that sent Manny flying backward, skidding across the docks. Elizabeth sank to her knees, dizzy with relief.
“I needed a heart shot,” Jason said flatly. He tucked his gun away, then sighed as he heard the whirl of police sirens. He took Elizabeth’s hand and pulled her back to her feet, crushing her into a tight hug. “Are you okay? Did he hurt you?” He pulled away, framed her face in his hands, searching her eyes.
“Just a hit on the head when he grabbed me.” She squeezed her eyes shut. “I was so scared. He called you, and I thought—I was so scared—” Elizabeth threw herself back into his arms. “But you came—”
“And you got yourself away from him.” He turned his face, pressed his lips to her hair. “You saved yourself. I just finished the job.”
“I—” Elizabeth drew back on a shaky breath. She met his eyes. “How did you find me? How did you know we were back here—”
“I just—” He swallowed. “I just did.” Their eyes held for a long moment.
Elizabeth’s head was spinning, and then— “Oh, God. Lucky. He was hurt—”
She drew back, blanching as she saw several police officers standing in the doorway, including Mac Scorpio, who was just raising his brows.
“Your husband is being loaded into an ambulance—if you care,” Mac said with a coldness in his tone she’d never heard before. He nodded to Manny. “He dead?”
“Yeah.” Jason lifted his chin as if daring Mac to do something about it.
“About time.” Mac shrugged and walked away, back inside the warehouse. Elizabeth sagged against Jason.
“Asshole,” Jason muttered as he put an arm around her shoulder and helped her limp back inside. “He could have asked you if you were okay—”
“I can’t worry about that,” Elizabeth sighed as they neared the front of the building. But then she could hear Lucky’s voice. She rushed towards him. “Lucky, are you okay?”
She tried to touch his arm, but he slapped her hand away. “What do you care?” Lucky bit out. “I heard what Manny said. Go be with your lover, you bitch!”
“W-What—” Elizabeth stepped back, stung. She looked around at the paramedics, at the other officers who avoided making eye contact before looking at Jason, still standing by the warehouse door. She looked back at Lucky. “Manny—he was lying, Lucky. It wasn’t like that—”
“He was right about one thing. Faithless whore. That’s what you are. What you’ve always been—”
“Elizabeth, he’s in a lot of pain right now,” Mac finally said, putting a hand on her arm, drawing her away. “Let’s give him a minute.”
“I—” She looked at Mac. “I—”
“And what did you expect, hanging out with Jason Morgan?” Lucky’s partner, Jesse Beaudry, snapped. “What did you think people would say?”
Her knees buckled as she took in all of the people who had listened to Lucky—who believed him—
She’d been kidnapped, held at knifepoint, threatened with unimaginable rape and torture—had managed to survive it—had just about rescued herself—
And it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter.
She didn’t matter.
Tears burned in her throat as she slowly took a step back. She stumbled over a rock and fell to the ground. No one moved to help her. She sat on the gravel for a long minute, just staring at her hands, now scraped from the rocks.
“Come on,” Jason murmured. He knelt next to her and got her to her feet. “Let’s go to the hospital. Robin’s waiting. And Emily. Everyone’s worried.”
“Are they?” Elizabeth asked dully. She closed her eyes to shut out all the stares, the accusations and let Jason steer her towards a car, only belatedly realizing that Sonny and Max had arrived.
“Yeah, they are. Come on,” he repeated. “Let’s go.”
“Okay.” With a shaky sigh, she slid into the backseat of the car and looked one more time towards the ambulance whose back doors had also closed.
She should feel relief. Manny was dead. The nightmare was over.
Except it felt like it was just beginning.