A week later
Georgie pulled her black jacket and hung it over the back of her chair, shooting Dillon a nasty look as he worked on collating some of the newest briefs that been delivered while they were at Courtney Matthew’s funeral.
“I can’t believe she put you on salary,” Georgie grumbled. She sat down and started going through the mail. She set aside bills and shoved letters from clients in another pile. “She must be on crack.”
“She has been on some powerful pain killers,” Dillon agreed. “I told her it really wasn’t necessary but…”
“Hey, is your mother still in town?” Georgie changed the subject.
“Nope. She was only home long enough to give my grandfather heart pains. That and to get funding for some project. She got it, she’s gone–son of a bitch!” he yelped in pain, bringing his thumb to his mouth. “God damn stapler.”
“Yeah, those things can be lethal,” Robyn cracked from the doorway of her office. She had a cane to help her walk and had a bit of a limp but otherwise, looked and acted fine. “Jones, if a Jessica Mitchell calls, put her through. She’s doing a little side job.”
“Isn’t that the reporter from the Herald?” Georgie asked. She yanked Dillon’s finger from his mouth and slapped a bandage on it.
“Yeah. She’s got a lead on the real culprit.” Robyn took a deep breath. “Okay. We go back into session tomorrow. Did Scott send over the paperwork for his expert witness?”
“Yeah, I left it on your desk. Apparently, it’s some psychologist from California,” Georgie said. “I read Scott’s paperwork and then Dillon did some research on the computer about him.”
“Yeah?” Robyn asked, interested. “So he’s gonna earn his salary now?”
“That’s my aim,” Dillon said. “He’s got some theory all men hate their siblings and seek to destroy their lives. He’s going to present that theory for Sonny.”
Robyn frowned. “Has Scott lost his mind? He can’t introduce psychiatric testimony about a theory that’s not in general practice.”
“Nope. So you probably won’t have to worry about his testimony since you can get it thrown out.”
“Gee, thanks for that bit of law,” she said dryly. “Okay, and that’s Scott’s last witness so I’d better call our star witness and get her prepared.”
She disappeared back into her office and Dillon stared at the bandage on his finger. “Hey, you do care.”
Georgie rolled her eyes. “You’re a buffoon, you know that? I couldn’t let you drip blood on the papers.”
“Uh uh,” Dillon wagged his finger at her. “You like me. You can’t deny it.”
“Go stick your head in a boiling pot of water,” she scowled.
Carly rubbed her eyes. “I think we should convince Jason to come over for dinner tonight,” she told Sonny. “He’s been sitting in his penthouse for the past two weeks, no one’s seen him except for today at the viewing and he hasn’t even said anything.”
“Jason’s never really dealt with grieving,” Sonny replied. “He’s never lost anyone close to him before–not like this. You have to let him figure this out for himself.”
“Yes, but he doesn’t have to be alone while he figures it out,” Carly argued. She sighed. “Look, we’ve been under so much stress this last month, with the trial and now Courtney…I just want to make sure we can keep our family together.”
“We will,” Sonny assured her. He put an arm around her shoulders. “We just have to give it some time. The trial will be over soon–Robyn only has one witness and she called a little while ago. Elizabeth goes on the stand tomorrow.”
“What if the jury doesn’t believe her?” Carly asked fearfully. “What if they believe the rumors and you get sent to jail and Jason and I are all that’s left?”
Sonny shook his head. “Don’t even think about that. It can’t happen that way. We’ll find a way out of this, I promise.”
The Next Day
Port Charles Courthouse: Lobby
Robyn emerged from the judge’s chambers with a smile on her face and a sulking Scott behind them. She stopped in front of Sonny and Carly. “I sure hope Elizabeth is ready.”
“So you got the testimony thrown out?” Carly asked hopefully. “No psychiatrist?”
“No psychiatrist,” Robyn confirmed. She glanced over at Scott who was fighting through a group of reporters, doing his best to remain silent. “Not only did Scott not give me proper notice but he can’t introduce psychiatric testimony when the defendant has not been examined or isn’t putting on a psychiatric defense. Also, the doctor he wanted to call practices a theory that isn’t generally accepted so all in all, it was obvious a desperate move on his part.”
“He knows he’s gonna lose,” Carly stated. She touched Sonny’s arm. “Because you’re innocent.”
“Elizabeth is prepped, she’s our star witness and Scott won’t shake her. I promise you, Mrs. Corinthos, I have done everything in my power to keep your husband from getting a guilty verdict,” Robyn told her. She glanced at her watch. “Okay, I need to call Elizabeth and let her know that she’s due in a half hour.”
She strode towards a bank of payphones. “She’s a good lawyer,” Carly admitted. “She’s going to get you acquitted.”
“All the lawyers in the world can’t control the jury,” Sonny sighed. He rubbed the back of his neck. “How you feeling? You all right?”
“I’m fine.” She kissed his cheek. “I’m going to go call Jason and let him know court will be in session soon. He’ll want to come out for this at least.”
“Don’t push him,” Sony warned her again. “It’s okay.”
“What’s okay?” Jason asked, approaching them. “Did Robyn talk to you about the psychiatrist?”
Carly blinked, her mouth open a little. A moment later, she threw her arms around Jason. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
He held her tightly. “I’m okay, Carly,” he promised. “I just needed some time to process everything, okay?”
She nodded tearfully. “Well, it’s good that you’re here because Robyn’s calling Elizabeth to the stand in a half hour and then she’s resting her case. It all hangs on her now.”
“She’ll come through,” Jason said firmly. “She always does.”
Port Charles Courthouse: Steps
Elizabeth darted up the stairs, shielded from the press by the glares of Lucky and Nikolas. It’d been a bad morning for her–it was all she could just to get out of bed and get showered. But once Robyn had called, she’d felt better.
She had a reason to breathe this morning.
“You okay?” Lucky asked. He gripped her shoulders. “You up for this?”
“I’m fine,” Elizabeth repeated for the third time that morning. “I need to tell the jury that Sonny is innocent.”
“Scott Baldwin’s going to do whatever he can to shake you,” Nikolas warned her. “So…don’t be surprised if he brings up everything and anything.”
Emily nodded. “Right. He’ll do anything to get Sonny in jail.”
“I know all of this,” Elizabeth assured them. She smiled briefly. “I’m ready.”
“Okay.” Lucky took a deep breath. “Then let’s do this.”
Emily rolled her eyes. “Oh for…we’re not going to war, Lucky!”
Port Charles Courthouse: Courtroom
The judge called the court to order before looking at Robyn who was getting last minute typed questions from Georgie. “Ms. Nichols, present your first witness.”
Robyn stood. “The defense calls Mrs. Elizabeth Lansing.”
The doors open and all eyes were on the victim in the case as she nervously came down the aisle and stepped up to the witness stand. A bailiff swore her in and she sat down.
Because of her limp and the cane, Robyn was unable to question Elizabeth in her normal pacing manner and settled for staying seated. “Please state your name, address and occupation for the record.”
“Elizabeth Lansing, 231 Harbor Drive and part-time waitress,” Elizabeth answered.
“Mrs. Lansing, on the evening of May 23 of this year, where you?” Robyn began.
Elizabeth took a deep breath. “I was at Rice Plaza meeting with my brother-in-law, Sonny Corinthos.”
“You were meeting with the defendant,” Robyn clarified.
“Why were you meeting with him?”
“I had married his brother the day before and I wanted…I wanted to form some kind of truce between them,” Elizabeth answered. “They only recently found out about their relationship and it’s been very antagonistic. For the sake of my child and the one Carly is about to have…” she took a deep breath and forced herself to continue. “I was hoping to find a way to get past it.”
“But the meeting didn’t go well.”
“No,” Elizabeth admitted. “We were both arguing. We both yelled. Called in markers, so to speak. Took advantage of past favors…it was a bad fight and I walked away, knowing we weren’t going to come to any kind of agreement.”
“You walked away first,” Robyn said.
“You did not see Sonny walk away.”
She stood then and started towards Elizabeth. “What’s the last thing you remember before waking up in the hospital, Mrs. Lansing?”
“I was on the stairs and someone pushed me,” she answered softly.
“You sustained a number of injuries, none particularly life-threatening. But the one that concerned and upset everyone was the miscarriage of your child,” Robyn said bluntly.
“Yes,” Elizabeth answered in a hushed voice. “I…when I woke up, my husband told me that the baby had not survived the surgery.” She glanced away and met Emily’s reassuring gaze.
“You say someone pushed you down the stairs. Do you remember who? Did you see?” Robyn asked.
“No. The push was light–just enough to make me lose my balance,” Elizabeth answered. “It was a woman’s touch. I…” she hesitated and met Mac Scorpio’s eyes. “I felt the nails. They were women’s long nails.”
“Objection!” Scott bellowed. “None of this was in the police report.”
“Your Honor, the event was traumatic and it’s possible that the more Mrs. Lansing talks about it, the more she remembers,” Robyn said quickly.
“Mrs. Lansing, even if you weren’t sure of the kind of hand it was, is there any doubt in your mind that my client is innocent?”
“There is none,” Elizabeth told her clearly. “I’ve known Sonny for a long time and he would not have done this.”
“You’re good friends,” Robyn said. “You’ve been close for a few years. Supported each other through a great many things. Friends do things for each other. Get each other out of trouble…?” she trailed off.
Elizabeth shook her head. “I wouldn’t lie to protect to him. When I say Sonny is innocent, I mean that. He didn’t push me. He was angry but he never would have pushed me down the steps.” Her eyes teared and she found Sonny’s gaze. “He and his wife lost a child that way a few years ago and I can’t imagine for one second he’d ever put another woman though that kind of pain–not even for revenge or out of anger.”
Robyn nodded. “Thank you, Mrs. Lansing.” She glanced at Scott before taking a seat. “Your witness.”
Scott stood and shoved a hand inside one of his pockets. “Mrs. Lansing, good morning. How are you?”
“Fine,” Elizabeth answered warily.
“You testified that you’ve known Mr. Corinthos for a great many years, that the two of you are friends.”
“Give me an example of one of the times he’s helped you, been a friend.”
Elizabeth glanced at Robyn who urged her to go on with a gesture of her hands. “A few years ago, there was a fire in a garage that his best friend Jason owned. My boyfriend lived above in one of the rooms and he was believed to be dead.” She took a deep breath. “I was devastated–I was there when they brought out this…a chain Lucky wore around his neck…they had taken it off the body…” her voice caught, remembering that night. “And Lieutenant Taggart handed to me. Up until then I had just…I’d been adamant that it wasn’t Lucky in there. It couldn’t be…but when they gave me that…” she shook her head. “I just fell apart.”
“And Mr. Corinthos?” Scott prompted.
“He caught me before I hit the ground,” Elizabeth answered in a hushed voice. “That’s really only one of the clear moments I remember of that night. He and Jason were there that night–and I guess they felt responsible…because Jason owned the building a-and they couldn’t do anything to save Lucky…he was very supportive of me that night. They both were,” she added quickly.
“So you and Sonny were friends even before you started dating his best friend,” Scott stated.
“I–yes,” Elizabeth answered. There was no need or way to explain the complicated relationship she’d once shared with Jason and she knew he’d understand that. “He was always there for me if I needed him and I was able to offer him comfort the night Carly miscarried.”
“And yet…once you ended your relationship with Jason Morgan, didn’t that end your friendship with Sonny Corinthos?”
“No,” Elizabeth said immediately. “You don’t have to see each other or talk to each other every single day to be friends. That’s not how friendship works,” she retorted. “Sonny was and still is someone I consider a very good friend.”
“This is the man who is on trial for killing your child,” Scott said, suddenly coming forward and resting his hands on the edge of the witness stand. “The man who is accused of pushing you down a flight of stone steps–”
“Objection, council is badgering the witness!” Robyn cut in sharply.
“I know what he’s accused of,” Elizabeth said in a shaky voice. “I know what you think of him and I know what everyone else thinks of him. But what you think and what I know are very different things. He did not push me, Mr. Baldwin. It is not in his nature or in his character to push a defenseless woman down a flight of stairs purposefully and deliberately. You think by throwing the death of my baby in my face you can get me to say well maybe he did do it but you’re wrong,” she snapped. Tears were streaming down her face now and her hands were trembling but her voice was still strong.
“Sonny Corinthos didn’t push me,” Elizabeth repeated. “You can sit here all day and you will never get me to say anything different. Not out of revenge for his best friend breaking my heart, not out of revenge for the death of my child breaking up my marriage. There is nothing you could say that would make me change my mind.”
Scott glared at her for a moment. “You met Sonny Corinthos at Rice Plaza to plead for your husband’s life, didn’t you?”
“I met with him to plead for a truce,” Elizabeth corrected in a scathing tone. “He and Ric argued and fought with each other every time they came near one another. If something bad happened to either one of them, they automatically suspected the other had orchestrated it. I didn’t wait to raise my child in an environment like that.”
“Well, Sonny Corinthos certainly made sure you didn’t have to,” Scott challenged.
“Someone pushed me but it wasn’t Sonny!” Elizabeth retorted.
“How can you be so sure?” Scott demanded. “Are you willing to stake your life on that?”
“Yes,” Elizabeth replied firmly meeting his glare straight on. “I am one hundred percent positive that Michael Corinthos is innocent of this crime.”
Furious with his inability to shake her testimony, Scott threw his hands up. “I’m done with this witness.”
The judge nodded. “Ms. Nichols, any redirect?”
“Oh, I think Mr. Baldwin pretty much took care of it for me,” Robyn said. “Oh…and the defense rests,” she added with a smug smile.
The judge nodded. “Mrs. Lansing, you may step down. This court is in recess until 1 PM. You will meet me in my chambers to discuss final instructions to the jury and then closing arguments will commence after that.” He rapped the gavel.
Elizabeth shakily stepped down from the witness stand and went over to the defense table. “Did I do all right?” she asked hesitantly.
“You did so much better than I could have dreamed,” Robyn assured her. “That whole last few minutes up there? With you listing all the reasons why you could frame Sonny and didn’t? Girl, those are moments we dream about in law school.” She put her arm around the slightly trembling brunette. “I’m buying you a drink. Come on.”
“You okay?” Lucky asked immediately as he, Nikolas and Emily strode through the gate. He gripped her shoulders. “Do you need sit down?”
“Why don’t you sit down, Mother Hen?” Emily rolled her eyes. She stepped over to her brother and wrapped him in her arms. “Hey, how are you?”
“I’m fine.” He hugged her back. “A lot better now that we know for sure Sonny will be acquitted.”
“Thank you for the things you said about my husband,” Carly told Elizabeth. “With all of the evidence and your testimony…there’s no doubt in my mind now.” She glanced at Sonny. “Right?”
Sonny nodded. “Right. Thank you, Elizabeth. I don’t deserve the things you said up there but it made my heart feel good to hear them.”
Elizabeth nodded and hugged him surprisingly. “I’m so sorry about Courtney,” she said softly. She glanced at Carly and Jason. “I’m sorry to all of you. I wanted to come to the viewing but these last few weeks have been hard for me.”
“There were some mornings I didn’t want to get out of bed,” Carly said, with a note of understanding.
“We should get some lunch while we can,” Nikolas told Elizabeth.
“Yeah, Kelly’s?” Emily suggested, taking Elizabeth by the arm and leading her away from the Corinthos family.
“That sounds good,” Elizabeth agreed. She laughed shakily. “I could use some hot chocolate.”
“With sprinkles and whipped cream,” Emily added, pushing the doors open.