I find the answers aren’t so clear
Wish I could find a way to disappear
All these thoughts they make no sense
I find bliss in ignorance
Nothing seems to go away
Over and over again
Just like before
– One Step Closer, Linkin Park
Friday, February 20, 2004
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Elizabeth gingerly stepped off the stairs, wincing at the tightness in her chest. She hadn’t really tackled steps in several weeks, and in the last twelve hours, she’d had to deal with them twice. Jason hadn’t been there. Monica had stayed until she’d gone to sleep, had walked with her up the stairs, but Elizabeth hadn’t wanted to ask the guard on duty to carry her. She’d wanted Jason.
The fact that she’d driven him away so hard that he hadn’t returned last night even to take her up the stairs had shaken her. Somehow, in the last six or seven months, she’d taken Jason’s presence for granted. She’d barely been able to sleep last night, listening for the familiar sound of his boots on the steps, the warmth of his body next to hers.
Her fingers shaking, Elizabeth reached out to take her cell phone from the charger and flipped it open to find two voicemails. One from Gail and the other from Jason. Cowardly, she clicked Gail’s first.
“Hello, Elizabeth. I got Monica’s message last night, and I wanted to let you know I made room in my schedule today. I hope ten will be all right. Please let me know if it isn’t. Otherwise, I’ll see you then.”
Elizabeth didn’t know if she was up to return to therapy, but maybe she’d left it too early. Maybe she should have stayed in the support group after all. It seemed almost arrogant now for her to have assumed she’d worked through her issues and could handle it on her own.
She could barely walk down the stairs.
For Jason, though, she knew she needed to do better. She needed to fix what was wrong with her so she could stop hurting him.
With that thought rattling in her brain, Elizabeth pressed his message.
“I’m sorry I didn’t call sooner. I’ve been at the warehouse all night. I’ll call if I won’t be home tonight.”
That was it. The entire message. She stared at her phone, blinking at it. He hadn’t asked about her or the baby. Hadn’t even acknowledged the message she’d left him.
He hadn’t told her he loved her. The first time since…
Since the hospital. In July.
Elizabeth tightened her fingers around her phone, squeezed her eyes shut. She’d hurt him so much, and it was her turn to reach out. To make it better. So she dialed his number and tried not to flinch when the phone rang three times—and went to voicemail.
He’d declined her call. It was five rings before voicemail came on automatically. Anything less than that meant he’d seen her name and hadn’t taken her call.
“Hey,” Elizabeth said, forcing a lightness to her tone. “I got your message. Thank you for letting me know. I—I was worried,” she admitted. “Um, I have—I’m going to see Gail today, but I’m okay. I mean, I tested myself this morning. I used the portable thing Monica gave us, and my levels are still at 94. That’s good. I wish it were higher, but you know—” She paused. “Please, if you can, come home. I’m sorry. I just—I’m sorry. I love you.”
She closed her phone, set it on the desk, then went over to the door. As she expected, Cody was on duty.
“Good morning, Mrs. Morgan.” He straightened immediately. “What can I get you?”
“Um, I have to be at the hospital at ten, but I want to stop on the way for some breakfast, so around nine?” she asked. “If that’s okay.”
“I’ll make sure the car is ready.” Cody paused, squinting. “Uh, Mr. Morgan isn’t here? I mean, the night guard said—”
“No, Sonny’s keeping him pretty busy right now,” Elizabeth said, laughing uneasily. “I’ll see you in a bit.”
She closed the door, leaned her forehead against the wood. Her eyes felt heavy, and it was a struggle to hold back the tears. She didn’t have the right to cry. She deserved this. She’d done nothing but push Jason away, and now he’d gone. It would serve her right if he didn’t bother coming back.
PCPD: Squad Room
Jason felt his phone vibrate. Elizabeth. His throat burned as he thought of her at home, alone. He knew Monica had gone home the night before—his mother had called him to say her condition was stable and that he was an idiot for not coming home.
Elizabeth alone in the penthouse meant she’d gone up the stairs last night herself and probably down them this morning. And he’d even warned he might not come home tonight. He slid his finger over her name again. Was she angry? Would she be upset if he listened to her message? Would she—
Jason’s head snapped up, and he saw Scott Baldwin outside the open door of the interrogation room. He slid the phone into his pocket and went to deal with something that he could actually handle.
“You got ten minutes, and then he’s back in lock-up,” Scott warned him. He sneered, and Jason felt almost comforted. Here was something that was normal. Baldwin had come to his wedding for Elizabeth, but with Ric long gone, and the rapist case wrapped up, the district attorney was back to loathing Sonny with Jason as collateral damage.
Jason liked when things were predictable, and the PCPD as an enemy felt right.
“Got it,” he said, then went into the room where Justus was standing, his arms folded. Sonny was handcuffed to the table, dressed in the familiar blue jumpsuit. There were deep circles under his eyes, purple gouges that stood in stark contrast to the red, bloodshot eyes. His disheveled curls hung limply over his forehead.
“Why am I still in here?” Sonny bit out. “What the hell are you assholes doing?”
Jason gritted his teeth, then glanced over at Justus, who looked as tired as Jason felt. They’d spent the entire time at the warehouse, going over every single Lansing sighting since the bastard had jumped bail and dissecting the people who had reported to them.
The only thing they were sure of was that someone inside the organization was screwing with them because they knew how out of control Sonny was. The last few sightings had been reported to Sonny directly.
It couldn’t be Lansing — or at least it wasn’t Lansing working alone — and the thought that they had a traitor working against them from within the organization was just one more thing Jason had to juggle.
“Sonny,” Justus said with his jaw clenched, “has refused to participate in a psychiatric evaluation and has refused to allow me to petition for it. I can’t do it without his consent. I can’t even ask the DA to do it for me—”
“I’m not fucking crazy—” Sonny tried to lung to his feet, but his hands and feet were chained to table and chair. He scowled. “You need to be calling the goddamn judge to get me out of here—”
“Even if you could convince a judge to sign off on the request,” Justus told Jason, ignoring Sonny, “it wouldn’t hold up if Sonny doesn’t want it. I’m out of options here.”
“The hell you are—”
Justus’s head whipped around, his eyes flashing. “Watch it, Sonny! I haven’t seen my family in more than thirty-six hours. Jason hasn’t been home for more than ten minutes with a sick, pregnant wife waiting for him—”
Jason flinched at that reminder.
“You are charged with four counts of assault—do you even remember the security guards you decked to get up to Alexis? Ned is throwing every single charge he can find at you—you broke into the mayor’s offices and attacked him—you’re facing at least six or seven felonies—what the hell do you think I’m going to be able to do when you already violated your bail by getting arrested within two hours of being released?”
Sonny seethed. “You don’t get to talk to me like that—”
“I’m not going to talk to you at all,” Justus shot back. “I’ve already filed notice that I’m withdrawing from your case. Find someone else to clean up this mess. I’m done.” He yanked open the interrogation room door and slammed it behind him.
“You need to get me another lawyer—”
“You need to shut the hell up,” Jason cut in sharply, and Sonny blinked at him. “Another lawyer isn’t going to get you out. I already called in favors to get you out on bail last night, Sonny! I tried to keep you out of lock up! And because of you—”
Because of Sonny, Elizabeth had gone to that damned appointment alone. None of this would be happening if Jason had been there. Maybe he could have even convinced her to check in—maybe she’d be in delivery right now and on the road to recovery—their son would be in the world—
But Sonny had lost control and had taken Jason’s life with it.
Because Jason had let it happen.
“I can’t do anything else for you,” Jason said roughly. “I’ll make some calls, I’ll get another lawyer, but no one is giving you bail. Not right now.”
Sonny stared at him, his eyes dark and burning. “I can’t go into lock-up—I can’t spend another night like that—”
“Then let Justus file for an evaluation,” Jason said, his tone all but begging. “We need to end this, Sonny. We need to make it over, all right? If we can get a doctor to tell the court—”
“You want me to admit I’m weak?” Sonny roared. “That I can’t control myself? To hell with you! I’m not weak—”
“You’ve been weak for months!” Jason slapped a hand on the table. “And you’ve made me weak, too, because I won’t do what everyone wants me to do!”
“What the hell does that mean?”
“I’ll get you another lawyer,” he bit out. “But you’re on your own after that, Sonny. I can’t do this anymore.”
Quartermaine Estate: Foyer
He turned, pausing in the act of shrugging into his coat to find his mother stepping off the bottom stair. He hadn’t spoken to her since the terrible scene a few days earlier after the news had broken and she’d ripped into him.
“Mother. Can I help you?”
Tracy exhaled slowly. “I’d like a moment of your time. Please.”
Ned narrowed his eyes. He was unsure the last time he’d heard his mother utter that particular word, so just out of pure curiosity— “All right.”
Tracy stepped towards him. “After you left on Wednesday, Mother and I had a long talk. She was—” His mother shifted her eyes away. “A bit disappointed in the way I had reacted.”
That would put it mildly. Lila didn’t have to raise her voice to express disapproval, a skill Ned hoped he’d learn one day. “So was I—”
“Alexis dropped off a copy of the press statement for Father—” Tracy crossed over to a table and picked up a folder. “She also wanted to apologize—”
“She has nothing to apologize for—” Ned snapped, but his mother held up a hand.
“I know. And neither do you.” Tracy pressed her lips together, then looked down at the statement. “The family is putting out a statement of its own. I thought you might want to run it past Alexis and Lois to make sure it dovetails with your messaging.” She held it out.
Ned grimaced, then opened the folder. He skimmed the statement, then raised his eyes to his mother. “You wrote this?”
“Father and I drafted it together.”
“‘The Quartermaine family is deeply ashamed,” Ned began, “of any media publication that would capitalize on the grief of parents whose only crime is the loss of their child. The blood of Brooke Lynn Ashton stains their hands. They chose to publish the name of a rape victim, rejecting compassion to sell more papers. It is disappointing, but not surprising, to learn that the Port Charles Sun and Port Charles Herald continues to victimize the innocent by speculating on the paternity of a child, publishing her name and opening her parents to more grief and pain. The Quartermaine family, therefore, would like to remind Port Charles that we protect our own. Kristina Davis-Ashton is, and will always be, ours.” His throat tightened and he looked at his mother.
“I was terrified,” Tracy murmured as she took the statement back, “that it meant I’d lose another grandchild. I didn’t do enough for Brooke. I was—I was in a meeting with lawyers. Prepping our suit against the city and the media. That’s what I was doing when she took those pills.” She met her son’s eyes. “I never did enough for her. Or you. Or Dillon. Kristina—I thought she’d be another chance.”
“I know.” Ned cleared his throat. “I know. Mother—”
“What these papers did to you and Lois, what they did to Brooke—” Tracy shook her head. “We can’t let them get away with it, Ned. I understand why your statement was restrained, but we don’t have to be. Brooke was ours, too. Let us help you protect Kristina.”
“Thank you, Mother.” He drew her into a tentative embrace. “I’ll give this to Lois, but I don’t see anything wrong with it.”
General Hospital: Hallway
Elizabeth blinked when she saw Emily waiting outside of Gail’s office, pacing. “Em—”
“Oh. Hey.” Emily’s expression was relieved as she came forward and hugged Elizabeth. “I talked to Mom earlier, and she said Jason never came home last night. I’m sorry—I didn’t think—”
“Don’t apologize.” Elizabeth managed a rueful smile. “We were both right. I shouldn’t have lied, and Jason really couldn’t take one more hit.”
“If Sonny hadn’t gone insane—again,” Emily muttered darkly, “then it wouldn’t be like this. He would have come home—”
“Maybe. But I made a choice to lie, Em, and I made a choice to make Jason feel like he didn’t get a say in what happens to me or the baby. I have to live with that—”
“He’ll come around. He will,” Emily insisted. “He loves you. You know that—”
“I do. And I’ve taken him for granted. Repeatedly. I’m not innocent, not even a little. He’s put up with a lot from me—” Elizabeth shook her head. “And I still don’t even know if I’m ready to change my mind.”
Emily pursed her lips. “Okay, but—just in case—” She handed Elizabeth a piece of paper with a name and time scrawled on it. “I called in a favor with a nurse I know in the NICU. She’s going to give you a tour.”
Elizabeth’s froze as she reached for the paper. “The NICU?”
“You need to see where Cameron might be, even if it’s for a few days. You need to see it, meet some of the people who will be there to care for him.” Emily opened Elizabeth’s hand, put the paper in her palm, then closed Elizabeth’s fingers around it. “Promise me you’ll go.”
Elizabeth exhaled slowly. “What if it makes it worse?” she asked softly.
“Trust me,” Emily said. “This will help. I love you. I want you and my nephew to have the world.” She hugged Elizabeth. “Call me when it’s done.”
Elizabeth sighed and watched as Emily left, then went into Gail’s office for her appointment.
Brownstone: Living Room
The last person Jason wanted to see when he got to the Brownstone after the PCPD was Luke, sitting next to Bobbie on the sofa while Carly stood pensively at the front window.
He did not need one more person who was going to give him crap about not taking action on Sonny sooner.
“What happened to your legendary security?” Luke demanded, getting to his feet. “Corinthos got past them and the security system—”
“Luke, I told you not to start—” Bobbie said, reaching for his elbow. “I told you—”
“It’s hard for them,” Carly said wearily, turning towards Jason. “It’s one thing to say you’ll go against Sonny, but another for them to do it. And maybe they didn’t realize he was going to break in until he did it.”
“That was their story,” Jason told her. “I’ve reassigned them, and—” He hesitated. “For now, with Sonny in lock up, the security system is enough. I let Francis choose the last set of guys, but I want to do it personally. I didn’t have time before,” he snapped as Luke opened his mouth. “I didn’t think it was necessary until the wedding—”
“It’s okay,” Carly told him. “You let Justus call Taggert, and he was here. Lucas and Felix were here. I was even grateful for Maxie. She kept Michael calm. He knew Sonny was here, but she distracted him.” She rubbed her arms. “How did it happen? Last night, I mean. You said you’d keep an eye on him.”
“How’d he get past you?” Luke put his hands at his waist. “What was the point of letting him out of lock up if you were just going to let him wander around—”
“I didn’t—” Jason stopped. He had meant to keep a closer eye on Sonny, make sure he was behind the doors of his own penthouse with guards. He’d brought Sonny over while they waited for Max to come on duty.
Then Elizabeth had looked at him and told him she lied, that her oxygen levels had dropped, and he’d simply snapped.
He hadn’t wanted to yell at her, hadn’t wanted to take the anger out on her. He’d simply left, and he hadn’t thought about Sonny again until Justus’s call.
“I didn’t ask you to blame you,” Carly told him softly. “I was just worried. I knew you’d meant to take care of things, which meant if you didn’t, something was wrong. That’s all.” Her eyes searched hers. “What’s going on? Something isn’t right.”
“Is it Elizabeth?” Bobbie asked sharply. “Is she okay?”
“She’s—” Jason paused. “She’s fine. Something came up, and I wasn’t—I didn’t—it just happened. Okay? Everyone is fine,” he said more sharply than he’d meant to, and Carly just stared at him. “It’s fine,” he repeated.
“I wish you trusted me,” Carly said in that same soft tone that felt more like a slap than anything Luke had said to him. “Things aren’t fine, Jason. You don’t want to talk about it, that’s one thing. But don’t lie to me. Don’t you ever lie to me when all I’m doing is making sure you’re okay. I didn’t ask you to take care of Sonny last night. I told you to leave him in jail even as hard as it was. You decided to take that on, so when it went wrong, I was legitimately worried about you.”
Jason exhaled slowly. He barely noticed as Bobbie put a hand on Luke’s arm and gestured for them to leave Jason and Carly alone. “You’re right, and I’m sorry. Things aren’t fine,” he added. “But it’s not anything you need to worry about.”
“I worry about everything, Jason. You just never let me help. You come in here to take care of me and my boys, and I’m grateful for it. I am. But I’m done being something on your list.” Carly folded her arms, her glare deepening. “We’re either friends, or we’re not, and right now, it doesn’t feel much like friendship. I am not your responsibility. I can handle my own security. I’ll hire private guards.”
“You have enough to worry about with Sonny not taking anyone’s advice and with Elizabeth and the baby. I’m not interested in being one more thing on the list.”
Why was everyone talking to him about being on a list? There wasn’t any goddamn list, Jason thought bitterly. He didn’t have people numbered, and if he did, he sure as hell wouldn’t put his own wife at the end of it—
“Fine. You want to handle your own security, then do it. I have enough to worry about—”
“That’s exactly my point,” Carly said, stopping Jason as he turned to go. He tensed. “You walk around, trying to handle everyone, and then you get angry at anyone who tries to do the same to you. You want to handle my life, Elizabeth’s life, Sonny’s life—when the hell are you going handle your own?”
“You have a lot of nerve—” Jason snapped, then stopped, appalled at himself. “I’m sorry—”
“Don’t apologize when it’s the first honest piece of emotion you’ve shown,” Carly said. “You’re right. I have a lot of nerve telling you how to live your life when all I’ve ever done is mess up yours. Make things harder. Get mad at me, Jason. At least I’ll know you’re letting yourself feel something—”
“I can’t—” Jason paused, trying to gather himself. “I don’t have the time for that—”
“Then make the damn time. What happened last night? And why is it so hard for you just to say it—”
“Because I can’t,” Jason shot back. “Okay? What do you want me to say, Carly? I went home last night, and Elizabeth told me her oxygen levels are dropping, and the only reason I didn’t know it about twenty-four hours earlier is that we had a bomb drop on us with Kristina—why the hell didn’t you tell me about Kristina being Sonny’s kid?” he demanded. “I get not telling Sonny—but why would you let me be blindsided like that?”
“I didn’t—” Carly rubbed the side of her face. “I had no idea it would hit the papers. I still don’t know how—and it was just a suspicion, Jason. I said I was sorry—”
“I am sick of people lying to me about things I damn well should know!” Jason growled. “You knew Sonny was making threats to get the boys back in the penthouse, knowing he came here to take them himself—what did you think would happen when he found out about Kristina?”
“I honestly didn’t—”
“No, you didn’t think, Carly. That’s the problem. You never think further than ten feet in front of your own damn face—” Jason stopped abruptly, staring at his hands.
They were shaking.
“Jason—” Carly came forward and put her hands over his, stilling them. “Why aren’t you home with Elizabeth? What the hell is going on?”
“I think—” He closed his eyes. “She lied to me. She told me the appointment was fine, but it wasn’t, and the only reason she did that was that Sonny and Justus had just had a fight. A physical one,” he added. “She lied because she didn’t want to make things worse. She told me last night.”
“That’s why Sonny wasn’t being watched,” Carly murmured. “I’m so sorry. But that doesn’t answer my question. Why aren’t you home with her? Why aren’t you with her right now?”
“Because I can’t. I can’t look at her. I just want to shake her—” He couldn’t force any other words out. Couldn’t make himself speak. “She’s going to die, and I don’t know how to stop it, and I don’t want to be angry with her. It’s not her fault. It’s not. It’s just—”
“We’re all doing the best we can.” She squeezed his hands. “Why aren’t you with her right now?” she repeated for the third time. “Why are you dealing with Sonny and me and all this other stuff that doesn’t matter?”
“Not if Elizabeth doesn’t get through this.” Carly tipped her head. “Be selfish, Jason. I’m begging you. Let Sonny deal with this latest crap on his own—”
“I can’t.” Jason stepped back. “Not yet. I can’t handle it. Not anymore. Not without snapping.” He dragged a hand down his face. “She doesn’t need that from me. Okay? So—so, you can look into security, but I’ll still get someone, okay? I’ll do a better job this time—”
“You didn’t do a bad job last time—” Carly grimaced. “Jason—”
“I have to go.”
She watched him go, then went into the kitchen, where Luke and Bobbie were not doing a very good job at not pretending to listen.
“Should I call Elizabeth?” Bobbie wanted to know.
“No, Jason will have to go home sometime.” Carly sighed. “I hope he does snap. He needs to, and I think Elizabeth is the person who actually needs to hear it.” She looked at Luke. “Can you drive me over to your place? I appreciate Laura looking after the boys, but I need my babies. Thinking about what Jason’s going through—what he and Elizabeth are facing—”
“I’ll get the keys,” Luke said, getting to his feet. “You did good, Caroline,” he assured her. “The best you could.”
“Just wish it was enough,” she murmured.
General Hospital NICU: Hallway
Elizabeth hesitated at the entrance to the NICU—the ward was behind a set of locked doors that could only be entered with a member of the staff, and she was early for her meeting. She looked at Cody. “Do you mind waiting back here?”
“Not a problem.” Cody gestured to the waiting room. “I’ll be here when you need me.”
A bright, perky blonde stepped out of the NICU doors and smiled. “Elizabeth Morgan?”
“Yes. Are you the neonatal nurse?”
“Yeah, hi! I’m Nadine Crowell.” She extended her hand, and Elizabeth shook it. “Come on back! I’ll give you a quick tour of what I can and answer any questions you have.”
Elizabeth followed the nurse behind the doors and folded her arms over her belly as they approached the first room. “It’s smaller than I thought it’d be,” she admitted. She stepped to the side as a few people brushed past her. “And busier.”
“Yeah, we don’t have a lot of NICU babies,” Nadine said, “but we have a lot of specialists in and out. Emily said you have CTEPH, which means you’ll be inducing early to avoid complications?” she asked. She stopped at a sink and washed her hands. “You need to wash your hands every time you come in,” she told her. “We’re obsessed with it here.”
“Of course.” Elizabeth washed her hands and accepted the towel Nadine handed her. Then Nadine helped her to put on a gown similar to the one she wore. “Yeah, I’m at thirty weeks. I was hoping to wait until thirty-five, but—” She sighed. “It’ll probably be more like thirty-two.”
“Oh, that’s good. Thirty-two is a good time,” Nadine told her. She stopped in front of a room where an empty incubator sat. “This is where your baby would spend probably about two months,” she told Elizabeth. “At thirty-two weeks, depending on the baby’s own weight and development, they’re in the NICU for six-eight weeks.”
“And my husband and I— we can visit?” Elizabeth murmured. “Dr. Lee said we could.”
“Yes. One of you can be in here twenty-four-seven, and a lot of the time you can be here together, which is good for building the family bond. A lot of parents like that—they can help us wash and change the babies as they get older, and we really encourage skin-to-skin as often as possible—”
Elizabeth blinked, looked at her. “I can hold—we can hold him?”
“Oh, yeah! Babies who get skin-to-skin do just amazing with it. We have a lot of specialists to make sure he gets the best care.” Nadine tipped her head. “It’s not often we get a mom in here before the delivery.”
“Don’t do a lot of tours?”
“Honestly, no, but you’re the chief of staff’s daughter-in-law,” Nadine told her. “And most of the time, parents don’t know they’re going to be in the NICU until it happens.”
“I’m—I’m trying to be okay with inducing early,” Elizabeth admitted. “I’m not sure I’m there yet.”
“It’s scary,” Nadine said. “For parents and sometimes for us. But we’ve come a long way, and there’s a lot we can do to make sure your little guy goes home safe and sound. But at thirty-two weeks, you know—he won’t look like what you’re expecting. His skin might be thinner, he’ll be much smaller—”
“Kelly showed me some pictures.” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “I’m not sure if I can do this,” she murmured. She looked at the incubator, tried to picture herself sitting near it.
“It’s scary,” Nadine repeated. “GH has one of the best staff in the country—and they’ve really invested in the NICU. I know it might be terrifying to think of your son in there, with all the wires and tubes, but Mrs. Morgan?”
Elizabeth looked at her, at the kindness and understanding. “Yeah?”
“He’ll be in good hands here. We’ll love him, take care of him, and I promise you, we will do everything we can to make sure you have a healthy boy to take home.” She paused. “I can schedule an appointment for you to meet with a neonatologist if that might help. He can walk you through the treatment and even talk to you about some complications.”
Elizabeth felt Cameron kick her and smiled. “Yeah, let’s—I’d like to get a better idea of what Cameron will be going through. Can I call you? I want to check with my husband and make sure he can go.” If he was even speaking to her after all of this.
Elizabeth looked around the ward again, seeing it with new eyes. It didn’t seem too small or too busy now. There were so many people here who knew exactly how to help her son. She looked at Nadine again. “Thank you for taking some time to show me one of the rooms and answer my questions. I know it’s special treatment, but I still appreciate it.”
“Honestly, I’d give every parent a tour if we knew in advance,” Nadine said as they walked back towards the ward’s doors. “You’re lucky to be able to plan it, to get the chance to learn to everything.”
Elizabeth smiled at her again and took the card Nadine gave her. “Thanks. I’ll call for that appointment.”
Port Charles Municipal Building: Mayor’s Office
“Well—” Lois set that day’s papers on his desk with a wry smile. “At least Dante and Kristina are out of the headlines.”
Ned grimaced as he read over the Herald and Sun‘s take on the assault and arrest the day before. “For now.”
She sobered and sat across from him. “Your mother’s press statement from the family will help. It meant a lot that she mentioned Brooke. That she connected it.” Lois pressed a fist to her chest. “She said what we couldn’t.”
She cleared her throat. “We could still hold a press conference. Have you reconsidered taking questions?”
“No. I’d have to talk about Alexis and Kristina, and it would get into her representation of Sonny.” Ned shook his head. “I’m trying to avoid it. Let’s see how the statements shake out.” He set the papers aside. “Have you been able to talk to Dante?”
“Not yet. He’s not talking to anyone,” Lois admitted. “He’s left his apartment, and his roommate won’t tell us where he is. Liv thinks he’s at Kelly’s—he’s been sort of seeing Lulu Spencer, and there are rooms there.”
“He’ll understand, Lois—”
“Will he?” Lois sighed. “It’s a miracle that Liv and Alexis are forgiving me. But they get it. They’re mothers. Dante—he’s been through so much, Ned. With Brooke and Vinnie—now this—”
“I talked to Anna and Taggert. They’re looking after him the best they can,” Ned assured her. “And he’s met the right kind of friends here. Lucky and Lulu—they’re loyal. He’s got people who care about him. Even if he’s angry now—”
“It’s just—I hung up on Brooke, and I never had the chance to make up for it. Dante—he’s just a little bit mine. All I have left,” Lois murmured, “and I’ve hurt him so much—”
“You didn’t hurt him,” Ned retorted. “That damn reporter did—”
“We never should have had that argument at the office—”
“I should have left it alone. If he wants to blame anyone, it should be me—”
“But I’m the one who had hate in my heart. I hated you so much for still having Kristina when I had no one, and now I’ve taken that from you—I never wanted that—”
“Alexis has made it clear that I’m still Kristina’s father, and she hasn’t changed her mind about Sonny. Especially after this.” Ned rose from his desk. “Dante will forgive you, Lois. He’s a good kid. He might need time, but I know he will.”
“I hope you’re right.” Lois stood and reached for the papers. “I’ll toss these in the shredder and get back to work. I don’t want to look at them anymore.”
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Elizabeth closed her eyes in relief when she finally heard voices outside, in the hallway — quiet, muffled ones which told her that Jason had finally come. It was nearly nine, and she was exhausted from the lack of sleep the night before and the long day, but she’d been determined to wait for him. He hadn’t called to say he wouldn’t be home there, and she didn’t want to miss his call again.
But he wasn’t alone. Justus filed in behind him, his eyes flashing regret when they met hers. She swallowed hard, realizing that Jason hadn’t wanted to be alone with her.
Would she be able to fix any of this? Even if she agreed to check in tomorrow if that’s what he wanted from her—would Jason ever be able to truly forgive her?
“I didn’t think you’d be up,” Jason said as their eyes met for a brief minute. He closed the door behind him. “Justus and I have work to do, but I’ll take you upstairs first—”
“I know you’ve got a lot on your plate,” Elizabeth began, “but I really need to talk to you first—”
“I’ll go,” Justus offered.
“Can it wait until tomorrow?” Jason asked. “I haven’t slept in nearly two days, and I don’t want to deal with this right now. I came home because I need to sleep.”
Elizabeth flinched, and he grimaced. “I didn’t mean it that way, I just—”
“You’re angry with me—”
“I’m going,” Justus interrupted. “I don’t—”
“No,” Jason told him. “We need to go over a few more things, and—”
“I just need to apologize, okay? Didn’t you get any of my messages?” Elizabeth cut in, her voice faltering. “You didn’t—you didn’t call.”
“I got the messages, but—” Jason scrubbed his hands over his face, then let them fall to his side. “Fine, let’s get this over with. You went to Gail, she didn’t change your mind. You’re really sorry, but you’re going to wait until the last minute to induce labor, and you don’t care if you die and leave me alone to raise Cameron. Anything else?” he snapped.