Hey, you call me up again just to break me like a promise
So casually cruel in the name of being honest
I’m a crumpled up piece of paper lying here
‘Cause I remember it all, all, all too well
Time won’t fly, it’s like I’m paralyzed by it
I’d like to be my old self again, but I’m still trying to find it
– All Too Well, Taylor Swift
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Greystone: Guest Room
Elizabeth stirred awake as she heard sounds in the room around her. Forgetting momentarily where she was, she rolled over and opened her eyes. She expected to see Cameron bounding out of his bedroom to climb onto her sofa bed and ask for something to eat.
Instead, she found the dimly lit, luxuriously furnished guest room at Sonny’s estate, the hint of the morning sun sliding between the openings in the curtains—
And across the room, Jason Morgan was pulling on a pair of black cotton briefs.
She closed her eyes and fell on her back, staring up at the cream-colored ceiling, pulling the sheet up under her shoulders.
She’d slept with Jason. She’d asked him to stay—and he had.
She felt the bed dip under his weight as his voice came closer. Elizabeth opened her eyes again, turning her head again to find that Jason was sitting on the edge of the bed, looking at her.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you,” he murmured. “I was worried that Cameron might come in.”
“Oh.” Elizabeth sat up, clutching the sheet to her chest and dragging a hand through her hair. “Um, what time is it?” she asked as she looked around for a clock. “It’s…almost six?”
“Yeah, you should go back to sleep,” he told her. “We, ah—” Jason cleared his throat. “We didn’t go to bed until a few hours ago.”
Her cheeks flushed. “No, but—” She took a deep breath. “Cam wakes up at seven most of the time, so there’s no point.” Elizabeth met his eyes, but it was hard to read the expression in the dim room. “So. Hey.”
The corner of his mouth lifted slightly. “Hey.”
“So, this, um—” Elizabeth laughed, shook her head. “I’m sorry. I don’t—I feel so silly. I don’t know what I’m supposed to say.”
“You don’t have to say anything.” He tipped his head to the side. “Are you okay? With…”
“I don’t know,” Elizabeth answered honestly. “I…I’m not sorry. I don’t have any regrets,” she added in a hurry when he sighed. “I just…um, I didn’t wake up yesterday and think today’s the day I’m going to—” She huffed. “I’m not explaining this right.”
She bit her lip and met his eyes again. “I’m not sorry. Yesterday was insane. And I was scared. For you, for me, for the boys, and Emily. I hate that they saw that. And I was irritated because I knew we were going to have to have that fight, you know? And I just—” She leaned back against the headboard. “I didn’t think we’d have to have that conversation for a while.”
“I’m sorry.” He took a deep breath. “I know it feels like we always have the same fight.”
“Because we do.” Elizabeth rolled her eyes and huffed. “And I manage to win in the moment, but it’s like—I win the battle, but I never get to stop fighting the war. I don’t want to do this again next year, in two years.” She met his eyes. “This is the last time, Jason. I don’t know what I want tomorrow to look like. But I know that I’m done convincing you that this is something I am choosing with my eyes wide open. You either accept that, or you don’t.”
“And I accept it,” he said simply. “You’re right. And I get it. This wasn’t something either of us was planning to deal with yet. So if you…” He gestured at the bed, at the sheet she was still clutching against her like a suit of armor. “If you’re not ready, you’re not ready.”
“I just—I don’t know,” Elizabeth answered. “I just know that I don’t want to hurt you. I’ve done that enough. I’m not going back to Lucky. But I just don’t know that I’m ready to choose this. Not yet. I want to be. And last night…” She reached out to touch his cheek. “Last night wasn’t a decision I made lightly. I wanted to be with you. And I’m not sorry.”
“I’m not sorry, either.”
“So what happens today?” she asked. “With all of this—I know you hate to talk about business with me—”
Jason hesitated. “It’s not that I hate it—that’s a rule Sonny taught me. Don’t tell anyone who needs plausible deniability. But it’s also an easy way to keep people out. Sonny does that. And I don’t want to do that. Not again.” He paused. “And you were right when you said if you choose this, if you walk over that line, you deserve to understand the risk.”
He’d remembered. “Thank you.”
“You’ve proven you can be trusted. And you’re here because I asked you to come. The way Carly just drops everything and brings Michael and Morgan if she’s asked to. That’s just something she does, no matter how terrible things are with Sonny or how much they argue. Thank you for that.”
“It’s what you needed, and it was the safest place for my son. There was no contest.”
“I told you last night we were waiting to hear from Mateo Escobar. He’s a small-time guy, runs a couple of clubs over on Courtland Street. They run the drugs in Port Charles,” Jason admitted. “Sonny used to try to keep them out, but—”
“But they just kept coming. Moreno, Sorel, Roscoe…” Elizabeth nodded. “I remember. I know some of the Escobars. They were always in the ER being stitched up when I was on my rotation there. Why would they come after you?”
“They’ve been pushing out of their territory lately,” Jason admitted. “Luke’s, the high school, Kelly’s. Sonny hadn’t decided to do anything about it yet, which is why yesterday doesn’t make sense. It’s…” He shook his head. “I don’t know. If it’s not the Escobars—I don’t know. And I hate that. It’s one thing to think it’s probably not us, but I’d rather know for sure.”
“So….I guess Cameron and I might be here a while?” she asked, unsure how she would ever explain that to her grandmother without an argument. And she still had to deal with the end of her marriage—
But Jason was already shaking his head. “No. Jesse Beaudry is—a cop’s dead. No one is going to want to keep the heat going. But…” He sighed. “I’m sorry. I don’t know. Maybe one more night to be safe—”
“Okay.” She flashed him a smile when he didn’t look convinced. “Really, Jason. It’s okay. We’ll wait to see what happens after Sonny meets with this guy. I better get up and get showered. Maybe I can get something to eat before Cameron gets going.”
“I should go before he gets up.” He winced. “Or before Carly does. I’m not in the mood to have that argument.”
“Me either,” Elizabeth offered dryly, as she watched him finish dressing. She got out of bed and found the robe Carly had left for her. She tied the belt as Jason pulled on his shirt and picked up his boots.
Before he left, she went to him to lightly brush her lips over his. “I meant it. I’m not sorry,” she told him softly.
“Me, either.” He kissed her again, then left.
No Name Restaurant: Private Room
Sonny frowned as the door closed on Mateo Escobar and his entourage. He turned to Jason, gestured back at the door. “What do you think about that?”
“I don’t like it,” Jason said with a shake of his head. “He thinks we should relax because it was his nephew who ordered the shooting, and he’s being dealt with.” Jason shook his head. “No. He refused to give us the name of the customer or tell us what the problem was so we could check up on it..”
“And why the hell they picked that moment to shoot at a crowd of kids? With my kid and enforcer standing right in the line of fire?” Sonny shook his head and sipped the coffee as Jason paced the small room. “That idiot Santiago felt secure enough to order a hit that killed a cop—”
“You think he’s lying about the target? You still think it was Beaudry?” Jason went to the window to watch as Mateo’s car pulled out of the parking lot, followed by two more SUVs. “Pretty dumb to take out a cop, even if he was undercover.”
Sonny squinted. “The only thing I am sure of is that Carly and Elizabeth can take the kids home. We don’t have to stay on the estate—”
Jason looked at him, bewildered. “We don’t know who the target was—Elizabeth was still in the line of fire—”
“She was, but she was grazed. Beaudry was hit with a headshot. He picked the wrong moment to get bitchy with her—it was probably the first time he was facing the shooters—” Sonny got to his feet. “I don’t think we’re out of the woods as far as the Escobars are concerned, but I also don’t think we need to worry about Carly or Elizabeth and the kids.”
Jason shook his head. “Sonny—”
“Look—” His partner looked at him as he stood by the door, his hand on the handle. “I get it. You and Elizabeth aren’t sure what you are, and she was lucky yesterday. The boys being there, Emily being there—it’s a lot. But I’m not locking Carly up any longer than I have to. She only agrees to come to the estate if I don’t push it.”
When Jason said nothing, Sonny sighed. “If you’re really not convinced Elizabeth and Cameron are safe, then take them to your place. They’d probably be more comfortable there anyway.” Sonny tilted his head. “Or maybe you’re worried if you push it another night, Elizabeth might not want to stay—”
Jason shook his head. He wished Sonny would stop saying shit like that—dropping hints that whatever was happening with Elizabeth was that weak. After yesterday—after last night—he knew without a doubt that Elizabeth wouldn’t balk at spending a night at his place to keep Cameron safe.
She’d never blinked, never hesitated—not once in all these weeks. Stalked and kidnapped by a psychopath, shot it in front of her son, locked on an estate for nearly twenty-four hours—
And the only time she’d been ready to walk was when he hadn’t been ready to trust her to stay.
He wouldn’t make that mistake again.
“Elizabeth will do whatever’s necessary to make sure Cameron is safe,” Jason said flatly. “I already talked to her about it. I think you’re wrong. I think Mateo knows exactly what the hell is going on and isn’t telling us. You should think about why that’s a problem—”
“Jase—I know he’s lying to us. I’m just not sure it’s our problem to solve. He needs to get his boys under control, but if it’s an internal power struggle, it’s really not our business—”
“They’re having this fight out in the open, Sonny,” Jason retorted. “They’re dealing at the high school, pushing in at Kelly’s and Luke’s—and they just shot up a park in broad daylight!”
Sonny exhaled slowly as if he was trying to find the patience to deal with a tantrum, and Jason narrowed his eyes. “Okay. So we make it clear to Mateo he needs to get the boys under control. We’ll take care of Santiago ourselves if he doesn’t clean it up. But beyond that? This is the same fight we’ve been having for months. Do you want to go to war with the Escobars? Is that it?”
“No,” Jason said after a long moment. “Fine. We’ll give Mateo the chance to fix things. But they’re getting bolder. This time, it was a cop that we don’t give a damn about—next time—”
He shook his head and pushed past Sonny to head to the parking lot. Jason was done arguing with Sonny. He wasn’t going to change his mind, and Jason knew he was going to have to deal with it on his own.
Greystone Manor: Living Room
Carly and Elizabeth were waiting for them when Sonny and Jason returned to the state. Carly stood up from the sofa, crossed her arms, and arched her brows.
“I don’t need any details. I just want to know if me and the boys are safe? Can we go?”
“Uh, yeah, you can go.” Sonny grimaced. “Thanks for this, Carly. I know you hate it.”
Elizabeth looked at Jason and Sonny. “That goes for me and Cam, right? We’re okay?”
“You’re okay to leave,” Sonny said before Jason could say anything. “Why?”
She didn’t answer him but looked at Carly instead. “I need to go by the apartment to pack a few things,” Elizabeth told her. “And I don’t want Cameron somewhere where Lucky might…” She sighed. “My grandmother might let Lucky see or even take Cameron. I hate to ask you, but could you watch him for a few hours? I can pick him up later—”
“Sure. I get it. I’ve been through a messy divorce or two.” She eyed Sonny. “Or three.” Carly shrugged and went upstairs. Sonny scowled, then followed her.
Elizabeth looked at Jason, who didn’t look as relieved as she might have expected upon learning that they were safe to leave. “What’s wrong? Do you not want us to go?”
“No, it’s not—” Jason rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m not satisfied with Mateo’s explanations.” He walked closer to her, dropping his voice slightly. “He said his nephew was behind it. That there was some kind of mistake about a customer. He said it had nothing to do with me or Sonny. I believe that. I just don’t think he was telling us everything.”
“Okay.” Elizabeth waited a minute, but he said nothing else. “Jason, do you want me to stay here another night?”
“No, no. I just—” He shook his head, sighed. “Sonny doesn’t feel the same way, and we’ve already had an argument about it. Carly wasn’t at the park, and they’re divorced, so it’s simple for him.”
He shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “You were shot at. I don’t know why they’d be shooting at you, but I didn’t realize until it was too late that Manny was after you. I just don’t want to make the mistake and think things are okay if they’re not—”
Elizabeth bit her lip. “Why don’t Cam and I come to the penthouse? We’ll stay the night, and maybe you’ll feel better about everything tomorrow. I don’t want you to worry about me, and I don’t want to take any chances either—I want to make sure Cameron is safe.”
“You can stay in the guest room,” Jason said immediately. “I was going to ask you to come stay with me, but I didn’t want it to feel like I was assuming anything or—I don’t know—that it might make you think about the last time you were there—”
“That was four years ago. I also know how to say no, Jason.” She managed a smile. “And I know you know how to hear it. But I meant it about needing some things from my apartment. I really just went to my grandmother’s with a few things. So, let me call Luke or Bobbie, and make sure Lucky is with one of them. Is it okay if Carly still takes Cam with her?”
“Yeah, yeah. They’ll have the guards at their place just like usual.”
“Okay.” Elizabeth paused. “Thank you. For being honest with me about this.” She pressed her hand to his chest, over his heart. He covered it with his own. “It means a lot to me that you’ve listened to me.”
“I don’t want to make the same mistakes again.”
“We won’t.” She kissed his cheek. “I’ll go get my things together and let Cameron know the plan.”
Port Charles Municipal Building: DA’s Office
Alexis Davis grimaced as she checked the list of voice mails she had, her head down as she walked through the entrance of her suite. “Ronnie, hold my calls,” she barked to her secretary. “I have a meeting with the mayor in an hour and Mac still doesn’t have any news on the shooter in the park—”
“Uh, Ms. Davis—” Her secretary cleared her throat and stepped in front of Alexis’s office door, forcing the district attorney to look up and focus on her. “Um, someone says they need to meet with you and won’t leave until you do.”
Alexis frowned and turned away to look at the woman sitting in one of the armchairs in the waiting area. “What are you doing here?”
Sam got to her feet and folded her arms. “I have a few things I need to ask you about.”
Alexis sighed, impatient, really not in the mood to be accused of whatever was going wrong in Sam’s life this week. “Make it quick. I have a meeting—”
“With the mayor, yeah, I heard.” Sam arched a dark brow. “You’re very important. But I think we might want some privacy for this.”
Alexis rolled her eyes and looked at her secretary. “Give me ten minutes.” She turned back to Sam. “Let’s ago.”
When Alexis’s door was closed, and the two of them were alone in her office, Alexis dropped her briefcase on the desk and looked expectantly at Sam. “Well?”
“Well, Natasha…” Sam tilted her head to the side. “That’s your real name, isn’t it? Natasha?”
“Well, Natasha, I’d like to know who my father is,” Sam told her. “Since the birth certificate on file with the state of Maine says unknown. Oh, and did you even bother to name me before you threw me away?”
Lucky & Elizabeth’s Apartment: Living Room
Elizabeth opened the door and stepped inside, followed by Jason. She was nervous about being back here, not having been inside she’d left on Friday. According to a quick conversation with Bobbie, Lucky was at the police station and would be there most of the day.
She realized now that she’d forgotten just how the apartment looked before she’d left on Friday—or that it could look even worse. The table next to the sofa had been turned over, the coffee table had been flipped, and one of the legs was broken.
Cameron’s toys had been strewn all over his room. She dimly remembered now that Lucky had thrown the toy organizer across the room, scattering toys everywhere. But now—she realized he had come back into the room at some point and continued the rampage.
Elizabeth stared at the destruction of her son’s room, of the space she’d given her little boy to feel safe and happy, and wanted to weep all over again for the choices she’d made.
Jason drew in a sharp breath—likely remembering Cameron’s careful pride in his toys. Some of the action figures had been stomped on and broken into pieces—including one of the race cars he’d shown Jason that night.
Jason knelt down to pick up pieces of the plastic. He turned them over in his hands, then looked at Elizabeth. She just closed her eyes, praying he wouldn’t ask what he must be thinking.
“Let’s put the broken ones aside,” Jason said finally. “W can replace them. Maybe I can do that before he knows they’re gone.”
Elizabeth wanted to argue with him, but God, he was doing it for Cameron. And that was the most important thing. She just nodded and knelt beside him, and they started to sort the toys back into the containers. She’d planned to just bring some of his favorites and come for the rest later, but—
If she left them here again, how did she even know they’d be here the next time?
“I’ll take them down to the SUV,” Jason told her. “There’s not that many containers. I can do do it in a few trips. Or, if you want, I can get a few guys with boxes. We’ll get everything cleared out today.”
“I—” Her throat was so tight, she almost couldn’t breathe. “I want to say no,” she said finally. “But I can’t. Yeah. Can you do that? I don’t care about my stuff, but Cameron—these are his—” A tear slid down her cheek. “Oh, God.” She pressed her hands to her face. “What have I done—”
“It’s over now,” Jason told her. He drew her to her feet. “It’s over. You’re leaving. Right? You’re not coming back. So don’t focus on that anymore. Let’s get things packed. I’ll go call Cody. They’ll be here in ten minutes. They can just grab some boxes from the warehouses, and we’ll store it wherever you want.”
“Okay. Okay. Thank you.” She managed a smile. “Thank you. For caring about his things as much as I do. I need to replace them. I might have to borrow money or—” When he just stared at her, she laughed lightly. “Right. Stupid. But thank you. Knowing that you love my little boy is just—it makes this easier.”
“He’s easy to love.” He kissed her forehead. “Keep packing. I’ll call Cody.”
He stepped into the living room while Elizabeth finished packing Cameron’s toys back into their plastic containers. Then she started to sort through his clothes, stacking them so they could easily be put into boxes. When Cameron’s things were organized, she moved on to the dresser she kept in the bedroom.
She put her own clothes into piles on the bed, setting aside things to take to Jason’s and others to leave for her grandmother’s. When she was done, she started to lift her jewelry box from the top of the dresser—then stopped as her wedding ring flashed in her face.
Elizabeth stared at it, then yanked it off her finger. She nearly threw it across the room, but then thought better of it. She could always sell or pawn it later. She lifted the top of the jewelry box—then just stared.
It was nearly empty. All that was left was some of the costume jewelry that she wore on an everyday basis—anything valuable was missing. The bracelet her grandmother had given her, a pair of earrings her parents had sent one year for her birthday, a necklace—
“My jewelry is gone,” she said softly. She turned to look at Jason, stunned. “Everything that was worth more than twenty bucks.”
Jason swallowed hard, then walked forward. “When was the last time you saw it?”
“Thursday, before I left for work,” Elizabeth said. She dropped her wedding ring in the box. “I wear this necklace—” She pressed her hand to her chest, picking up the thin gold strand with her thumb. “My grandmother gave it to me for my last birthday—” She closed her eyes. “Why would he take them?”
“I don’t know,” Jason said. “Maybe—maybe Luke or Bobbie could find out for you.” There was something in the tone of his voice that made her look at him with some hesitation. “Cody is on his way. He’ll be here in ten minutes with two other guys. He’s bringing a van in case you want to bring anything else that won’t fit in my SUV.”
“We should get packing.” Elizabeth set the jewelry box back on her dresser and went to her closet.
She never wanted to come back here again.
Port Charles Municipal Building: DA’s Office
Alexis swallowed hard as she stared at Sam. “I’m sorry,” she said. “Could you—” She took a deep breath. “Could you start from the beginning?”
“Never mind—this was a terrible idea,” Sam muttered. She didn’t know why she was here—why she had taken Elizabeth’s advice—
She’d been arranging her plane ticket out of Port Charles this morning and was just struck with a desperate urge to know why she’d been given away. She had thought Alexis would deny it, that she would even refuse to see her—that she’d do something other than look at her with a devastated expression.
She turned and started for the door, but Alexis rushed past her, flattening herself against the office door.
“No. No.” Alexis just stared at her. “No. There must be a mistake. Mikkos—he took you—and I looked—I looked, but they said you’d died. I looked. There must be a mistake.”
Sam took a step back, shook her head again. “What are you talking about? The records were right there. I mean, we had to hack into them because Maine refused to tell me anything legally, but—”
“I—” Alexis raised a hand in the air, curled it into a first. “Just give me a second. My head is spinning. I—” She took another deep breath. “I was sixteen. I was in a girl’s school in Vermont, and I’d snuck out for the night a college bar. I didn’t know the boy very well. I don’t even—” Her cheeks flushed. “I didn’t get his last name, but his name was Julian. He was very sweet, and we were both very drunk. I never saw him again. I got caught sneaking out, and Mikkos moved me to a stricter school.”
“Okay.” Sam folded her arms, lifted her chin. “So he forced you to give up your kid for adoption. But he died like eight minutes later, so—”
“He did. But you don’t know what Mikkos Cassadine was like—” Alexis shook her head. “You don’t know what Helena was like. Not really. She killed my mother. I hid my sister away to protect her. That’s why I became a lawyer. I thought I could be in charge then. After I graduated from law school, I went to Maine. I tried to find—I find to find the clinic, the agency, but it was all gone. Mikkos had created both just to hide everything—and then had closed them as soon as the baby was—”
Alexis’s voice trembled. “But I looked, Sam. I looked anyway. And they told me that my little girl had been adopted into a family and had died at the age of seven in a car accident. I was devastated. I never—I don’t know if there was a mistake or if Mikkos put something in the system in case I ever tried to look—”
“Well, there’s no mistake now,” Sam muttered, looking away from the shattered look in the older woman’s eyes. “Jason had his suspicions when we were told my mother’s name on the birth certificate was Natasha Davis. So he ran a DNA test behind my back.”
“A DNA—” Alexis closed her eyes. “Oh, God, you must have been horrified. I know how you feel about me.”
“Well, you don’t think much of me either—”
“It’s—” Alexis shook her head. “Sam, none of that matters now. I just—” She pressed her lips together. “I didn’t know your father, but yes, you had a name. I named you for my mother. Kristin. In my head, I always called you Kristie.” Tears were sliding down her cheeks as she laughed. She pressed her hands to her cheeks. “That sounds silly now, doesn’t it? Can you imagine growing up as Kristie?”
Sam’s chest was tightened. “Yeah, maybe. I’ve seen you with Kristina and Molly, so maybe I can imagine what it might have been like to have a mother.” She squeezed her eyes shut. “This isn’t going the way I wanted it to.”
“You’re not my mother. This isn’t—” She huffed, looked away. “I’m not looking for a family. I’m not looking for sisters or a mother. And definitely not a stepfather.”
“I get that—”
“I only—” Sam threw up her hands. “I only came because I’m leaving Port Charles, and I guess I just—someone told me not to leave anything unfinished. Now I think I should have told her to mind her own damn business.”
But Sam reached past Alexis and tugged open the door. “Have a nice life—”
But Sam had already left, leaving her mother in tears.
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
“Thanks for letting me use the storage space here at the Towers,” Elizabeth said as Jason closed the door behind him. “And I guess it’s a good thing that Cam wanted to sleep over with Morgan again. Do you think I’m wrong for letting him? He’s spent so much time at Carly’s this week—”
“I think it might be easier for him there,” Jason said slowly, “than having to sleep in another new place tonight. He loves Morgan’s house, and he’s comfortable there. You’re not wrong to let him.”
“I guess. Maybe I should be concerned that my two-year-old has no problems sleeping in a house without me.” Elizabeth sighed and rubbed her cheeks, her eyes aching from crying again. She just wanted to be done with the tears. “I want to be with him, but you’re right. Another new place would be hard for him. And Morgan has a playroom that’s bigger than our apartment.”
“You’re a great mother,” Jason told her. He put his hands on her shoulders, rubbing them slightly. “You’ve raised a great, funny kid who’s comfortable around people he knows he can trust. And he’s starting nursery school in the fall, isn’t he? He’ll be socialized and ready.”
“You always know how to make me feel better,” Elizabeth said, her chest relaxing. “Thanks. You’re right, of course.” She sighed. “I’m just—” She shook her head. “I don’t know. It’s been a crazy forty-eight hours.”
The phone rang on the desk, and Jason answered it. “Hello? Hey, Walt. Yeah, okay. Yeah, that’s fine.” He put the phone down. “Robin’s on her way up.”
“Robin?” Elizabeth frowned. “How did she know I was here? I was going to call Emily, but—”
There was a knock on the door a few minutes later, and Robin smiled sheepishly when Jason pulled it open. “Hey, I hope it’s okay that I popped over. I ran into Bobbie at GH, and she mentioned you were staying here tonight. I managed to stop Patrick and Emily from rushing over and bombarding you.”
“Oh.” Elizabeth nodded, still a bit confused. “Yeah. I guess that makes sense. Um—”
“I wanted to check in with you. Because, you know, I talked to Emily. And I know what’s been happening.” She pressed her lips together. “And because of Jesse.”
“Oh,” Elizabeth repeated. “Oh, I’m so sorry. I’ve been thinking about Maxie. How are you all holding up?”
“I’m okay. I didn’t know Jesse well, and well, you know we didn’t get along, “Robin admitted. “But Maxie is devastated. Felicia and Georgie are with her.”
“I’m gonna let you guys talk,” Jason said. He hesitated, looking at Elizabeth. “I need to go check on a few things. Cody will be downstairs if you want to go out.”
“I wasn’t planning on it since I’m off today, but thanks. I’ll see you when you get back.” She watched him leave before looking back at Robin. “I guess you’re really here because Bobbie said I left Lucky.”
“Emily told me that last night. We were talking about what happened,” Robin said. “And she said Jesse was fighting with you about Lucky, about you being at the park with Jason. And I guess—I don’t know—I wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“I am…” Elizabeth stopped, thinking about her answer. “I don’t know. But I think I’m getting there.”
She moved to sit on the sofa, and Robin followed her. “I went home on Friday morning after my shift, and he was already—he was already out of control. I don’t have any bruises to show for it, but he grabbed my wrist, he pushed me into the wall again—” Elizabeth rubbed her face. “And I just—I knew I had to be done. Part of me had already walked away weeks ago.”
“I’m sorry you went through that. I’m glad you’re standing in front of me now.” Robin pursed her lips. “But this is the most dangerous time, you know that, right? After leaving. Have you talked to Jason about this yet?”
“I wasn’t going to,” Elizabeth admitted. “I thought maybe I could hide it. Everyone would think we’d divorced over Jason or Lucky’s job, or something else. I almost think I’d rather they think I’m unfaithful than the truth.” She laughed bitterly. “I guess I am technically unfaithful with everything that’s happened with Jason.”
“I wasn’t going to,” she repeated. “And then Jason and I had this stupid argument we’ve been having since the second we became more than friends. He wanted to talk to me about safety. He wants me to be safe. And I just—safe, Robin. Was I safe with Lucky? I mean, if I’m not safe being married to a cop—” She threw up her hands. “When am I supposed to be safe? What does that even mean?”
“Not much, I guess, from your perspective. Elizabeth—”
“I’m not ready to jump into anything with Jason. Not—not officially. But we both know it’s something we want. And I just—I guess I think I might need to him understand why this is a risk I’m willing to take. Because every time he decides I should be safe with someone else, I just end up miserable.” Elizabeth sighed. “I don’t want to be safe if it means I’m unhappy. Why can’t there be something in the middle?”
“I don’t know if there can be. And I don’t know what’s going to happen with Jason, but I think you should tell him what you’ve been through. Because you need to tell the people that matter. I mean, Patrick and I matter, sure,” Robin said before Elizabeth could protest, “but not the way Jason does. Not the way Emily does. And not the way your grandmother does.”
“Because as long as you don’t tell the people who you love the most—the people who are your family—you’re still hiding it, Elizabeth. And hiding it means you’re not dealing with it.”
“I know.” Elizabeth sighed. “I almost told Jason last night. I wanted to tell him today. But we went to the apartment, and Lucky had busted up Cameron’s room. He broke some of his toys—”
“Jason just looked at them—he knows how much Cameron loves those toys—and he didn’t look at me with any kind of disgust or blame for going back to Lucky. He just—he just wanted to sort the broken ones so they could be replaced before Cameron knew they were gone. He loves my son, Robin. And I—we haven’t said it—but I think we love each other. And maybe it’s insane, but I don’t care about the rest of it. Because that’s what’s important.”
“Then be honest with him,” Robin advised. “And put Lucky in the past where he belongs.” She took Elizabeth’s hand in hers. “I think maybe you file a police report with my uncle. He’ll listen.”
“Would he? He didn’t after the kidnapping—”
“He will when you show him the pictures I took before Manny kidnapped you. He will when I back you up.” Robin nodded. “I’ll bring you the pictures. Just—just think about it. Because leaving Lucky—that’s important. That’s the hard part, I know, but the scary part comes now. When Lucky realizes you mean it. He already broke your son’s toys. You need to make a report—even if it goes nowhere—because it needs to be on the record.”
“I’ll—” Elizabeth managed a weak smile. “I don’t know if I’m ready for Mac. But I think—I think I do need to tell Jason. And Emily and my grandmother. I need to stop hiding and pretending it will go away.”