Port Charles Courthouse
It almost seemed like a stand-off, Robyn Nichols mused, as she perched on the wooden bench outside of the grand jury room. Inside, District Attorney Scott Baldwin was just beginning his case and he hadn’t called any of his witnesses yet.
Across the hall from her, sitting on an identical bench was the victim, Elizabeth Lansing. She was dressed conservatively in a pair of black cotton pants and a white silk blouse. Her dark hair was loose around her shoulders, but styled straight. She wore no make up and her only jewelry were her engagement and wedding rings. It was the first time Robyn had laid eyes on the former close friend of her clients and it made her wonder what Elizabeth Lansing could have ever had in common with two men whose taste in women ran to Carly and Courtney.
Her husband, in a silk Armani suit, sat next to her, one of her hands enveloped in both of his. They were talking in low whispers but were very intent on their conversation.
Mac Scorpio was standing a few feet away, leaning against the wall, the case folder in his hand. He was troubled and rethinking his decision to go along with Scott Baldwin’s plan.
Robyn was seated next to an irate Carly Corinthos and her vacuous sister-in-law Courtney Matthews. Carly was still going on and on about Sonny being stuck in jail while every word out of the second blonde’s mouth was about her upcoming wedding.
The groom in question was standing to the right of his fiancée, leaning against the wall. Every once in a while, Jason would glance at Elizabeth before looking at the end of the hallway where Johnny, Max and Marco were standing. To anyone who didn’t know any better, they’d think each of them had a guard. Elizabeth wouldn’t suspect that Johnny was there guarding her and that’s the way Jason preferred it.
Just because they were no longer close and not friends, it didn’t mean he didn’t care about what happened to her. He was deeply sorry she’d miscarried her child and found himself wondering–not for the first time–why she was married to Ric Lansing anyway. Did he have something on her? Was he blackmailing her?
The door opened then with a slight squeak that shattered the tension-filled silence. A uniformed man stepped out, the bailiff Robyn decided. He cleared his throat. “Uh, Commissioner Scorpio, they’re ready for you.”
Mac nodded and he paused in front of Elizabeth and Ric. “No matter what happens here today,” he told the couple, “I won’t stop looking for the person who really did it.”
Elizabeth nodded. “I know you won’t, Commissioner.”
He nodded and stepped inside the courtroom.
Elizabeth shifted in her seat and sighed a little. Ric frowned. “Do you need something?” he asked, for once his voice carrying to the other side of the hallway. “Coffee? Tea?”
She shook her head. “No. I just…I want this over with.”
“Well, if you hadn’t accused Sonny,” Courtney muttered, shooting the brunette a nasty look.
“Courtney,” Carly admonished quietly. “You know that’s not true.”
“Well, why else was Sonny arrested?” Courtney demanded. “They have no evidence against him. All they have is her word that she was pushed. That’s as good as accusing him.”
Elizabeth sighed and shook her head. “Courtney, this isn’t what I wanted. I think that they’re wasting their time trying to prosecute Sonny. We all know he didn’t do it. And all I want is the person who did brought to justice.”
Courtney rolled her eyes. “You’re so perfect aren’t you?” she snarled, her voice dripping with sarcasm. “You think you have the perfect life now that Ric has decided he’d rather be with you than destroy my brother. Well, I’ve got news for you–it’s not. Because Sonny hates Ric and–”
“Courtney,” Jason cut in quietly. She looked up at him and he shook his head. “Stop it. This isn’t the time or the place.”
Ric glared at the younger man. “Well, it’s good to know where you stand on this,” he snapped. “You can let your little twit of a girlfriend shoot her mouth off to Elizabeth, spouting lies but all you’ll tell her is that this isn’t the time–”
“Ric,” Elizabeth interrupted. She sighed. “Please don’t fight. Courtney and Jason are going to believe what they want to believe. Arguing is only going to make it worse.”
“That’s so self-sacrificing of you,” Courtney retorted. “Aren’t you the little angel?”
Courtney looked at her sister-in-law. “Carly, I–”
“Elizabeth didn’t accuse Sonny. She’s even made a statement to the police stating that he didn’t do it. So just stop blaming her already. Don’t use this tragedy to further your dislike of her.” Carly’s eyes flicked to Ric. “And don’t you use this to get at Sonny. What happened was horrible and we’re all sorry. But it’s ridiculous to keep on with all this fighting.”
Elizabeth nodded. “Carly’s right.” She stood. “I’m going to get some air. Come get me when they need me to testify?” she asked Ric.
“Sure,” Ric said. He stood. “I’ll come with you if you want,” he offered.
Elizabeth shook her head. “No. I’ll be fine.”
She slipped her purse over her shoulder and headed towards the elevators. When she had slipped inside, Jason met Johnny’s eyes from the other end of the hall and tipped his head towards the bank of elevators. Johnny nodded and went towards the stairs.
After a few moments, Robyn shook her head. “You’re all a bunch of idiots,” she muttered under her breath.
Carly, being seated next to her, glared at her but said nothing.
PC Courthouse: Court Steps
Elizabeth took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She’d needed to get away from the scene as quickly as possible. Sitting in the small space, across from Courtney, Carly and Jason was almost suffocating. She’d felt so guilty for being there with her husband–and she felt stupid for being guilty. She loved Ric. She was glad she’d married him.
She didn’t have to answer to anyone–not to Jason, Sonny, Courtney or Carly–about her reasons for marrying him. None of them knew her–they couldn’t possibly understand why she loved him.
Hell, she didn’t even understand it.
Lucky had offered to be with her today, but she turned him down. It would have been uncomfortable enough at the courthouse with the resident mobster, the blondes, and her husband. She didn’t need to toss in the ex-fiancé.
She sat down on the steps and dragged a hand through hair. She loathed the idea of going into a court room, knowing that Scott Baldwin was going to use this opportunity to finally get Sonny where he wanted him.
“Hey, Mrs. Lansing.”
Elizabeth looked up and smiled. “Johnny. Long time no see.”
Johnny shrugged and sat beside her. “I’m here with the wife,” he told her. “Saw you leave and wanted check on you.”
She nodded. “I’m fine.”
“Yeah, you always are, aren’t you?” Johnny replied. “I also wanted a chance to tell you I was sorry.”
“Thanks,” Elizabeth said. She sighed. “I have a bad feeling, Johnny.”
“Why’s that, Mrs. Lansing?” Johnny asked.
She shook her head and stood. “I just don’t think this is going to go away. I’d better get inside.”
“I’ll walk back with you.”
“And did Mrs. Lansing tell you that she did not see Mr. Corinthos leave the plaza?” Scott questioned.
Mac glared at the DA, realizing that Scott had no intention of doing the right thing. “No, Mrs. Lansing remembers walking away first.”
“Which is when she was pushed,” Scott finished.
“Yes,” Mac replied. “Mrs. Lansing doesn’t remember anyone else being present and Mr. Corinthos didn’t see anyone on his way out.”
“Now, did you find any evidence that anyone other than Elizabeth Lansing and Sonny Corinthos were at that location that night?” Scott pressed.
Mac sighed. “No we did not.”
“And is there any evidence that proves Sonny Corinthos did not push Elizabeth Lansing down those stairs, seriously injuring her and causing a miscarriage?”
“No, there is no evidence that shows that, but the victim herself states–”
“Thank you, Commissioner,” Scott cut in quickly. He looked at the judge. “That’s all for this witness and I’m finished presenting my case.
Mac gaped at Scott. “You’re supposed to call Elizabeth.”
“I changed my mind,” Scott protested. “I don’t see the need in forcing her to relive that awful night.”
“That’ll be all then,” the judge declared. “You may step down, Commissioner Scorpio.”
Mac stepped outside the room and Elizabeth stood. “Do they need me?” she asked.
Mac shook his head. “Ah, no. Scott…he’s not calling you. At all.”
Elizabeth frowned. “But…I’m supposed to tell the jury that I don’t think Sonny did it. I thought that was what we discussed. Sonny’s…he’s not supposed to be charged.”
Carly launched to her feet. “What the hell is going on?”
Robyn slowly stood and sighed. “Can we expect an indictment, Commissioner?” she asked.
Mac nodded. “Yeah. I don’t doubt the jury is going to vote on it. I tried to work in your statement, Elizabeth. But he cut me off.”
Elizabeth closed her eyes. “That doesn’t surprise me.”
“Because this is exactly what you wanted!” Courtney seethed as she stood. She advanced on the other woman. “You’re in on this whole thing with Ric, aren’t you? This is just another part of the plan!”
Elizabeth sighed and shook her head. “No, Courtney.”
Jason tugged on Courtney’s arm. “Calm down. He’s not going to be convicted.”
“It doesn’t matter!” Courtney retorted angrily. She yanked her arm out of Jason’s grasp. “He’s still going to trial for a crime that probably didn’t even happen.”
Elizabeth frowned. “Excuse me?”
“You heard me,” Courtney replied. Her eyes narrowed. “We’ve only got your word for it that you were pushed. How do we know you didn’t trip and fall?”
Elizabeth’s eyes filled with tears. “You think I’d use the death of my own baby to get at Sonny?” she asked softly. “You don’t think very much of me do you?”
Courtney faltered then and hesitated. “I…”
Elizabeth turned to Ric. “I want to go home, now. Can we just go?”
Ric nodded and put an arm around his wife’s waist, leading her towards the elevator. He pressed the button and they stepped inside.
Once they were gone, Carly turned to her sister-in-law. “I cannot believe you said that to her.”
Courtney sighed. “Look, I was upset. I went too far–”
“You’re damn right you did,” Carly snapped. “God, Courtney, losing a child is one of the worst things a woman can go through and you just threw it in her face. Grow up.”
Courtney glared at her friend and stalked down the hallway towards the stairs.
“You need to control her,” Carly warned Jason. “She can’t be going around, attacking people like that. It’s not right.”
Jason nodded. “Yeah. You’re right.” He sighed and followed Courtney.
Robyn smirked. “You know what?”
Carly sighed and turned to the lawyer. “Yeah?”
“That’s the most intelligent thing you’ve said all day.” She picked her briefcase up from the floor. “I’ll hang around and wait for the actual indictment, but you can go home if you want. Once I get it, I’ll head over to my office and do a brief to get a bail hearing.” She patted Carly’s shoulder. “Don’t worry. It’ll be okay.”
Elizabeth tossed the purse on the couch and stalked over to the window. “This is unacceptable,” she declared.
Ric remained silent, removing his suit jacket and carefully set it on the back of the desk chair. He loosened his tie and started to untie it.
“He didn’t do this,” Elizabeth continued. She yanked the curtains back and stared over the Port Charles park. It was almost ironic that she lived with a view of the fountain, she mused. The rape victim with a park view. Who would have thought?
“Elizabeth, I know that you want to believe that,” Ric began finally, “but the truth is, we don’t know that. We don’t know who pushed you and it could have easily been Sonny.”
“It easily could have been Faith Roscoe!” Elizabeth retorted whirling to face him. “Remember her? Your little psycho one-night stand?”
Ric exhaled slowly. “I won’t deny that Faith is capable of this, but–”
“And Sonny isn’t,” Elizabeth snapped. She crossed the room to the kitchen and disappeared inside. After a moment he followed her and watched as she made herself a cup of hot chocolate. “He may be your brother, but I’ve know him for years. God, I snuck into his wedding to Brenda Barrett. My boyfriend was thought to have died because he slept in a building connected to Sonny.” She glared at her husband. “Sonny may be your blood, but I’m the one who knows him.”
“Fine. Then believe Sonny is perfect. Believe he can do no wrong,” Ric replied angrily.
“I’m not an idiot,” Elizabeth countered. “I know who he is, what he does. I’ve always known. But I know that he didn’t do this.”
“The fact is you don’t want to him to have done this,” Ric told her. “You don’t want it to have been him, so in your mind, there’s no chance that it was. You won’t even consider the possibility–”
“Don’t you dare use this as a reason to renew your stupid revenge against Sonny!” Elizabeth cried, finally voice the fear that had been wracking her since the miscarriage. “Don’t you use our child as a reason to destroy him!”
“We don’t have a child, Elizabeth!” Ric yelled back. “We had a fetus and it’s gone now!”
She choked out a sob and pushed past him and by the time he’d gotten to the door, she was already on the elevator and gone.
Lucky pulled the door open, stopping the pounding against the cheap wood. He found Elizabeth on his doorstep, silent tears streaking down her face and violently trembling.
“I…” She shook her head and tried again. “I didn’t have anywhere else to go,” she said softly.
Lucky reached for her and drew her shaking body into his arms. “It’s okay,” he murmured in her ear. He closed the door behind her and shook his head. “It’s okay, Elizabeth. You can always come to me.”
Then…and only then…did Elizabeth break down and sob.
I love how she ends up on Lucky’s doorstep. I love the way you write their friendship.