Chapter One

Song in first part of chapter: Sand and Water (Beth Neilsen Chapman)

Friday, April 11, 2003

General Hospital: Nurse’s Station

All alone I didn’t like the feeling
All alone I sat and cried

Elizabeth Webber sat on the sofa by the elevators, staring straight ahead, ignoring the ball of nausea in her stomach. Fiercely trying to block out the memory of the test results Dr. Kelly Lee had delivered twenty minutes earlier.

Somehow, it was all a dream. This entire week of terror and nightmares would be a dream.

Any moment now, she would wake up and maybe if she were truly lucky, she would wake up months and months ago. God, if she could just go back to the fall, and wait five lousy seconds for Jason to talk to her, to apologize to her. It might all be different.

Or even further back. Maybe if she had thrown Jason’s cell phone into the harbor, he wouldn’t have taken the phone call that had sent him out the night the lights went out and she’d slept with Zander.

What she wouldn’t do for the power of time travel.

All alone I had to find some meaning
In the center of the pain I felt inside

But it wasn’t a horrible dream. It was her reality. She had gone from a man who was too stubborn to say anything that really mattered to a man who used words as a weapon.

In her loneliness, in her aching need to be loved and to matter, she’d allowed Ric Lansing into her life. He was everything Jason wasn’t, she’d told herself. He told her how beautiful she was, and how happy she made him, and how much he wanted to be with her. She’d lapped it up like a stupid little girl, too needy and desperate to see the truth

Ric Lansing was everything Jason Morgan wasn’t. He was a liar, who used all those words to pump her for information about Jason and Sonny, information she wouldn’t have given even if she’d known all the answers to the questions he wanted. He was a user, who’d only sought her out after finding her talking to Jason one night at Luke’s.

And she wished to God she’d known she was just a pawn in his game to get to Sonny Corinthos. His half-brother.

All alone I came into this world
All alone I will someday die

She had ignored all the warning signs, had ignored Jason’s words of caution because she told herself he might be jealous or something else stupid and inane to explain why Jason would say these things about a man he barely knew. Jason didn’t know Ric like she did. She had never listened to Taggart, Nikolas, her grandmother or anyone else who talked about Jason like that, why should she listen to these things about Ric?

It wasn’t like she could trust Jason to tell the truth. He’d let her comfort him at Sonny’s funeral. He’d told her they would try to be more, to finally capitalize on the years of feelings and emotions, and they’d be together.

She’d thought she mattered. Until Courtney. Until the lipstick on his neck, all the days he never stopped in the penthouse while she was there…and the loft he’d bought for Courtney.

So she’d told herself Ric was a good man, and that Jason hadn’t done much but lie to her for months.

Solid stone is just sand and water, baby
Sand and water, and a million years gone by

And instead she’d learned the truth the hard way. She’d learned that Ric had targeted her to bother Jason, and when that hadn’t worked, he had pretended to sleep with Carly when she was drunk.

Not that Ric had admitted these things or even felt bad, but he’d taunted Sonny and Jason one night earlier that week at Kelly’s. Sonny had learned about Carly, had tracked Ric down in the courtyard and none of them had bothered to look inside the restaurant, where Elizabeth had been closing up for the night.

And Elizabeth had learned the hard way that she couldn’t trust herself.

I will see you in the light of a thousand suns
I will hear you in the sound of the waves

And now…she was pregnant. She was pregnant with Ric Lansing’s child.

She stared down at the pamphlets Kelly had handed her, after Elizabeth had broken down in tears. Not to push her way or another, but to understand that she had options if she didn’t want the child. Adoption. Abortion.

And all Elizabeth wanted to do was crawl under the covers and stay there for the rest of her life. Anything not to make this decision.

How could she have a child? She was a waitress who lived in a broken down studio without her own bathroom, much less a kitchen. She had a degree in art, but what the hell could she do with that? Of course she couldn’t have this baby. She’d have to have an abortion. There was no other choice.

I will know you when I come, as we all will come
Through the doors beyond the grave

And yet, how could she blame an innocent life for the crimes of its parents? This child was half her, and despite her many failings, she still had time to pull her life together. She had options. She could get her teacher’s certification. She could go into the nursing program like her grandmother kept hinting.

Ric Lansing didn’t have to be a part of this child’s life.

And, maybe it was selfish, but if she had this child…if Elizabeth became a mother, there would finally be someone in this world who loved her.

Just the way she was.

Elm Street Pier

All alone I heal this heart of sorrow

Her heart heavy, her body tired and her mind racing with ways to keep this pregnancy a secret from the worst choice of her life, Elizabeth blindly walked towards Kelly’s, stopping at the top of the stairs to the Elm Street Pier when she heard voices.

Familiar voices.

Hanging back around the corner, Elizabeth waited for Ric Lansing and whoever he was with to disappear so she could head to work.

“What have I told you about seeking me out in public?” Ric demanded.

“You like it better when we’re all by ourselves in bed,” a female voice purred, and the pit in Elizabeth’s stomach grew, burning. She knew that voice.

All alone I raise this child

“Well…” God she knew that tone. That disgusting charming tone he used when he was flirting. When he was convincing her she was the only woman in his life. “That may be true,” Ric continued. “But things are tense right now, and if anyone sees us talking…”

“You mean the little twit,” Faith Roscoe purred. “I thought you were gonna cut her loose.”

Oh, she was going to be sick. She was going to lose it, and just start heaving for all the world to hear.

“I was,” Ric said. “But she’s amusing, and while it doesn’t seem to bother Morgan much I’m screwing his ex-bed buddy, I know Sonny can’t stand it, so she’s worth the trouble.”

Elizabeth sank to her knees, wishing she were anywhere else in the world. She’d known she’d been targeted to bother Jason, but to hear him…to hear him put it that way, God, she just wanted to set herself on fire.

Flesh and bone, he’s just
Bursting towards tomorrow

“You’re lucky I’m so understanding,” Faith remarked. “If I thought you gave a damn about her, I might decide to…take preventative measures.”

Tears slid down Elizabeth’s cheeks, and she just wanted to disappear. She’d been so stupid. She should have listened to Jason. She should have known better. She should have trusted him.

“Now, now. You can’t make any waves.” His voice lowered slightly and Elizabeth couldn’t really make out words other than “danger, Families, money.”

And his laughter fills my world and wears your smile

Their voices finally faded, and she heard footsteps indicating they were moving out further onto the pier. Even when she was sure they were gone, she remained on the ground, her arms wrapped around herself, tears sliding down her cheeks.

That was the father of her child, who talked about screwing her to annoy someone else. She hadn’t meant anything to him, not even a little.

If she could just curl up into a ball and fade into nothing, it might be for the best.

I will see you in the light of a thousand suns
I will hear you in the sound of the waves

She heard footsteps on the stairs, and told herself to get up, to move, but her legs were frozen, her brain sluggish. When the steps stopped in front her, she opened her eyes and saw the boots a few feet from her.

If Elizabeth possessed any energy left to be embarrassed, she might have actually burst into flames as she watched Jason Morgan crouch in front her, his eyes concerned.

She was too shattered to care.

“Elizabeth,” he said quietly. “How long have you been here?”

I will know you when I come, as we all will come
Through the doors beyond the grave

And oh, God…he must have heard. Oh, God. She opened her mouth to respond, to say something…anything to stop this torment. She could lie to him—she’d only just gotten here, she’d tripped and stumbled.

But she just couldn’t drag it out of herself. “Long enough,” she murmured.

All alone I came into this world

She heard Jason’s inhale of breath, and wondered what he thought of her being targeted because of him. He’d always said his enemies would use her to get to him, he probably hadn’t thought it be through sex and that she’d let them.

“I wish I could blame you,” she said softly, keeping her eyes on the ground, not meeting his gaze. “That Ric only came for me because I…because of you. But I can’t.” Her breath was shaky as she slowly exhaled. “Because you told me, and I ignored you.”

“I am so…” He stopped, and slid his hands under her elbows to help her stand. “Elizabeth—”

All alone I will someday die

“There’s nothing you can say.” Another tear slid down her cheek. “I heard most of it at Kelly’s earlier this week, but you know…he didn’t put it that way then.” She struggled to keep from sinking back to the ground. “He just told you he’d had to use Carly when you didn’t seem to give a damn about me.”

“I—” But Jason didn’t seem to know what say.

“It’s okay.” Elizabeth offered a shaky smile. “Really. I needed…” She took a deep breath, trying not to collapse under the weight of the devastation of her life, of her dreams. “I needed to hear him put it that way. To know that he’d been sleeping with other women, with Faith Roscoe. I hadn’t broken up with him yet, you know. I didn’t think I could be in the same room with him, I was afraid he’d explain away his words to you and Sonny the way he always seemed to explain everything else. I was afraid I might believe him because I needed…” She pressed her lips together. “But now I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I outlived my usefulness a long time ago, and I was only kept around for amusement.”

Solid stone is just sand and water, baby

After a long moment of silence, Jason cleared his throat. “Can I—Can I give you a ride somewhere?”

No. Taking a ride from Jason Morgan when her life had shattered four years ago had been the reason she was in this mess. For her own sanity, she could not let him be her sounding board. He already thought her to be pathetic, to be desperate, if he knew she was pregnant by Ric, he’d feel sorry for her. He’d pity her.

And she really would throw herself into the harbor at that point.

“No.” When her voice was weak, she forced herself to take a deep breath. “No. Thank you for being concerned, but I think that sometimes the truth is better…” She looked at him now, for the first time, meeting those beautiful eyes that had broken her heart. “Sometimes the truth is better, even when it’s harsh. I have no illusions left.” Another tear escaped her eye, and she found her lips curving into a smile. “I never mattered at all.”

Sand and water and a million years gone by

Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room

Sonny Corinthos was going to have to start tricking his wife with healthy cookies or almond ice cream. He’d found another bag of Oreos tucked under the sofa. He was going to have ferret out who was smuggling this contraband into his home. Carly was going to have the safest pregnancy he could provide, and nutrition was the only thing under his control.

Or at least he’d thought so.

He was searching under the cushions for any other junk food, particularly candy bars because they would fit without changing the shape when Max Giambetti knocked briskly and then opened the door. “Boss, its Jason.”

Sonny got to his feet, holding the Oreos by the corner of the package. “You’re not Carly’s dealer are you?” he asked, tossing them on the coffee table. He glanced over at Jason as he entered and faltered. “What’s wrong?”

“Um…” Jason scrubbed his hands over his face. “I’m just tired, Sonny. It’s been a rough week.” He looked around the penthouse. “Where’s Carly?”

“She took Michael to see Bobbie. They’re having dinner there.” Bobbie. Could she be behind this processed sugar? He pushed Carly’s food choice aside. Jason looked tired, but more than that… Sonny cleared his throat. “Jason, what happened?”

“I…” Jason hesitated. He exhaled slowly and looked at Sonny. “I was near the Elm Street Pier, and I saw Faith Roscoe with Ric.”

Sonny scowled. “Well, we suspected he was working with her.” He walked towards the mini bar and poured himself a whiskey. “What’d you overhear?”

“Ah…” Behind him, he heard Jason’s voice falter. Sonny turned, the tumbler in his hand. Jason rubbed the back of his neck, and Sonny realized that Jason looked tired, but he looked pissed and sad as well. “It was a variation of what we heard at Kelly’s.”

Sonny closed his eyes. He’d been so angry that night Carly had finally divulged to him what had happened at her club opening. She didn’t think she’d actually slept with Ric, but she’d been afraid of Sonny’s reaction. Sonny had torn out of the house to track the son of a bitch down and Jason had followed to keep Sonny out of serious trouble.

They’d cornered Ric in the courtyard and Sonny had gone for his throat. He could still hear the mocking laughter in his voice as Ric taunted him. Sonny had demanded answers—why was Ric coming for him, for his family?

And he’d learned the disgusting truth. That Ric Lansing was his mother’s son, by an affair with her boss. He’d blamed Sonny for pushing her down the steps while she was pregnant, forcing Trevor Lansing to tell Adela to choose between her sons.

Sonny sighed, the heavy breath whooshing out from his lips as he remembered the rest of the conversation, and why Jason would be so upset. “He talked about Elizabeth again.”

“Yeah.” Jason cast his eyes away. “But it was…Sonny, she heard us that night. At Kelly’s.”

Sonny tightened his grip on his tumbler. “We never looked inside. Kelly’s was supposed to be closed.”

I didn’t have much choice but use Carly. I thought it might be amusing to pick up Morgan’s ex-girlfriend, but he didn’t seem to give a damn. It’s about leverage, Sonny, and Carly gave me more than Elizabeth Webber. But man, it sure was fun.

“Damn it,” Sonny hissed. “He’s slime, and believe me…” He pressed his free hand to his chest. “If—if he were anyone else, Jason, he’d already be gone for what he did to Elizabeth and Carly.”

“Sonny, she was there again today,” Jason continued. “Around the corner. Ric and Faith were on the docks, and Faith threatened to do something to Elizabeth if she thought Ric actually gave a damn.” His face twisted into a grimace. “And the way he talked about her…” He closed his eyes. “They walked further onto the pier, but I didn’t want to follow and press my luck. So I went up the stairs, and Sonny…”

“Elizabeth had heard them. Found out Ric had Faith on the side.” Nausea welled up in Sonny’s stomach. This was his fault. To use Elizabeth that way, a young woman who had once been raped, it made him physically ill. “I would have spared her that. I’ve been trying to think of way to talk to her about Ric all week, but you know, I, uh…” He paused. “I didn’t think she’d listen to me anymore than she did the last time I tried. Or when you did.”

“She just looked so shattered,” Jason said softly, almost to himself. “You remember that night at the garage, when she thought Lucky was dead…and she just collapsed?”

“Yeah,” Sonny replied, hoarsely. He’d been standing just behind her as Lieutenant Marcus Taggart explained that the subway token Elizabeth held in her hand had been found on the body. She had just sunk to the ground, as if she could no longer support her own weight.

“That look in her eyes,” Jason continued. “She had it again today. And you know, she told me she didn’t blame me.” He exhaled, his breath almost shaky. “But I blame myself. If it hadn’t been for me, he never would have focused on her—”

Sonny sighed and sipped the whiskey, feeling the burn slide down his throat. “I hope the Families torture him before they kill him,” he muttered. He looked at Jason. “I’ll let them know that despite my newfound relation to the man, I don’t give a damn about his life. I—” He fisted his hand. “I can’t be the one to order his death, Jason. I can’t do that, and I know you think less of me—”

“No…” Jason shook his head. “I get…I get it.” He cleared his throat. “But you’ve got no problems with the Families taking care of it?”

“Not a damned one. He made a mistake there.” Sonny threw back the rest of his whiskey. “He thought he could weaken them, sabotage their operations, embezzle money while screwing with my head, he made his bed there. Until this week, I was just gonna…” He waved his hand, dismissively. “Let them take care of it in their own time. He wasn’t much of a problem. But now?”

After seeing the tears in his wife’s eyes, trying to explain why she’d needed to order a paternity test, apologizing for a night she just couldn’t remember. After learning of the way he’d used Elizabeth…

“As far as I’m concerned, he’s a dead man.” Sonny set his tumbler down. “Did Elizabeth say whether she’d broken things off with him?”

“She said not yet,” Jason answered. “Sonny, until Ric is…dealt with…”

“Say no more.” Sonny held up a hand. “I had Francis on her that year you were in her studio and then for a couple of months after you left that first time. I’ll tell him keep an eye out.”

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Comments

  • Rick and Faith are a bad combo.

    According to shilo0854 on December 13, 2014