Chapter 92

This entry is part 17 of 41 in the Mad World: Liberty

This time
I’ll have no fear
I’ll be standing strong and tall
Turn my back towards them all
And I’ll be awful sometimes
Weakened to my knees
But I’ll learn to get by
Yeah I’ll learn to get by
On the little victories

Little Victories, Matt Nathanson

Thursday, March 5, 2004

Kelly’s: Courtyard

“What makes you think he’ll talk to us today?” Lois asked as she followed Olivia in from the parking lot. “Liv, he hasn’t returned one of my calls—he hates me—”

“He isn’t talkingto me either,” Olivia reminded her best friend as she stopped and looked at her. “But his roommate said he’s been at Kelly’s since the news broke. He wanted to give Cruz a break from the press—”

“And since the shooting and his resignation, it’s only gotten worse.” Lois closed her eyes, nodded. “I know. I’m so worried about him. This is my fault—”

“We’ve been over this,” Olivia snapped, worry threading into her impatient tone. “He knows you love him—”

“But I fed him to the wolves—”

“You had a weak moment—”

“In public—I know better—”

Olivia gritted her teeth. She knew Lois was struggling, that the last few weeks had been horrible for her—Brooke’s death had been splashed all over the papers again, and the Sun had even revealed that their source was, in fact, Lois’s argument with Ned. He’d been blamed in the papers for his daughter’s suicide — protecting a mobster’s kid instead of his own.

If Olivia could get just get Lois and Dante into a room together—she knew things would get better for both of them. She was just going to break some heads to get it done and play the only card she had left.

The guilt trip.

“The only person he even talks to is that Spencer girl,” Olivia said, jerking the door open, the jangling bell riding her last nerve. “She’s too pushy to be ignored.” She scanned the crowded tables, then growled. “I don’t see her, do you?”

“No, but I see someone who might be able to help.” Lois tugged Olivia towards the counter and the cluster of younger people around it. “Maxie—”

Felicia’s daughter turned and blinked at her in surprise. “Oh, hey, Ms. Cerullo, Ms. Falconieri,” Maxie chirped, her eyes too wide, her voice a bit too high. Olivia narrowed her eyes. Had the kids been talking about her? Or her baby—

“Are you looking for Dante?” the sister asked, her voice quieter, her eyes kinder.

“We were looking for Lulu Spencer,” Lois clarified, “but only because we thought she’d get Dante to talk to us.”

Olivia glared at her—she didn’t want people knowing that her own son wouldn’t return her calls. “Is he upstairs?”

“Um, maybe?” Maxie said. “I don’t know. Lulu isn’t on shift until later, and usually, I see her sneaking some food upstairs. Dante, like, never shows his face. I don’t blame him. Some bitch told the Sun he was staying here.” She scowled. “There was a whole thing yesterday, but then Luke came by and yelled at them—”

“Oh, God. He’s not safe anywhere.” Olivia closed her eyes then took a deep breath. “So he’s probably upstairs.”

“I’m not sure if we’re supposed to say,” Georgie said with regret. “Lulu said Dante doesn’t want to see anyone, and, like, he’s been through so much, you know? I feel bad, and he worked so hard to make sure Brooke had justice and then all—” She swallowed. “You know all of that, I mean. Of course you do, you’re his mom and aunt, but I just mean—”

“Dante gets to decide who he wants to see,” Maxie cut in, lifting her chin. “And if he wanted to see anyone, he’d see them. I tried to cheer him up, but he wouldn’t let me in, either—”

“To hell with all of this,” Olivia snarled. She stalked towards the stairs. She’d respected Dante’s boundaries enough, but she was done waiting—

“Thank you for trying, we’ll tell Dante you had his back,” Lois called as she hurried after Olivia, who had already charged up the stairwell. “Liv, we don’t even know—”

“Dante Angelo Falconieri,” Olivia announced at the top of the landing, “if you don’t open one of these doors right now, I will stand in this hallway telling embarrassing stories until you do, and I will start with Cheryl—”

“Ma—” A door was tugged open, and Dante stepped out, his scowl matching his mother’s. “What the hell—”

Olivia brushed past him to enter his room. Lois was a lot more quiet, sliding gently past her godson. Dante closed the door, facing them. “You didn’t return one of my phone calls—”

“I didn’t want to see anyone—”

“You have no problem letting Twiggy feed you, and the Doublemint twins downstairs know you’re here—why do they get to see you and your own mother doesn’t?” Olivia demanded.

“Liv—” Lois put a hand on her friend’s shoulder. “You’re not really angry, you’re just worried. We’re in now.” She focused on Dante. “I’m sorry we forced our way in, but I just—”

Dante held up a hand to cut her off, and she immediately closed her mouth. “You’re here to say you didn’t mean for that to get into the papers, Aunt Lois, and I know that. Okay? I know.”


He gestured at the small table, cluttered with editions of the Sun and the Herald. “I’ve read the coverage. You and the mayor were having a fight because he’d lied about Kristina. Someone overheard.”

Lois cleared her throat. “It doesn’t change the fact that I could have talked to Ned like an adult instead of letting things boil over like this. That’s on me—”

“It’d be easier if I could blame you, but I can’t. I leaked the serial rapist case to the press back after Brooke got hurt,” Dante told them. “I didn’t say her name, just that the PCPD and the mayor knew there was a threat—”

“And Floyd leaked Brooke’s name to get the attention back on the Quartermaines,” Lois murmured. “Ned suspected, but he wouldn’t tell me who the original source was. Dante—”

“If I had kept my mouth shut, Brooke wouldn’t have been in the papers, Aunt Lois. I know it’s still Floyd’s fault, but I tried to make it right.” Dante shook his head. “There’s no bringing her back, so I can’t ever make up for that. And the whole world knows who my father is now. I’m done in the department.”

Dante held up a hand when Olivia opened her mouth to protest. “It’s not your fault, Ma. Or yours, Aunt Lo. It’s just this world. It’s the PCPD. It’s all of it. I got my partner shot just by being the one who called for backup. The next time, the guy bleeding in the alley might be me. I’m not gonna let it happen. It’s over. I’ll never be a cop again. It’s done. We all just gotta live with it.”

PCPD: Squad Room

“This is some absolute fucking bullshit—” Taggert launched out of his chair, his blood boiling. “What hell do you mean, the calls aren’t available?”


“I got a cop shot and you can’t get me a record of the calls? What kind of circus are you running over there?”

“I already sent the physical record for the calls on Unit 84,” the supervisor retorted. “You’re asking for calls that are outside your purview—”

“I’m not asking for—” Taggert gripped the phone more tightly, took a deep breath. “I’m not asking,” he said. “I’m telling you. You get me the physical calls for all units within a one mile radius by the end of today, or I’m taking this to the commissioner.”

“Go ahead and try it. My union rep will back me up—”

“Yeah, we’ll fucking see about that—” Taggert slammed the phone down and sat back down, staring blindly at his desk.

He hadn’t wanted to believe it. Even as he’d stood in Anna’s office and watched Dante quit, a small kernel had held out hope there was a mistake. That Dante had called in the 10-97 on location and just remembered it wrong.

Dispatch should have jumped at the opportunity to make Dante look like an idiot. No physical records of a backup call would just make the statement fall apart.

But refusing to even turn over the calls meant—

Taggert exhaled slowly. That meant there was something to bury.

They’d left Lucky and Dante out to dry, not giving a shit if they lived or died. Now Lucky was recovering in the hospital and Dante had quit the force.

There was no way in hell he was going to let anyone get away with that.

Quartermaine Mansion: Foyer

“I’m so glad we were able to steal you away,” Tamika said as she handed their coats to Alice. “Lila wanted to get together one more time before you went in tomorrow.”

Elizabeth rubbed her belly, feeling Cameron’s tiny foot pressing against her hand. “I’m glad. One of my big regrets about Cam being in the NICU is that it’ll take longer for everyone to meet him. I want Lila to know him.”

“She will.” Tamika squeezed Elizabeth’s shoulder as they walked towards the front family room. “I was worried about taking Kimi away from my family, but Justus was worried that she wouldn’t know his side—that she wouldn’t get any time with Lila.” She paused. “And it’s strange when you think of how Justus entered the family as the grandson of another woman—she’s not even his blood relative.”

“Family is what matters to her. I’ve always wanted to be Lila when I grow up.”

Tamika opened her mouth to respond, then the doors to the front room were thrown open.


Elizabeth blinked at the large cry from the crowd gathered inside the room, then took in the decorations, the streamers and signs, and the women inside. Emily, Bobbie, Gail, Lila, Monica, Carly, Tamika’s sister Portia—and women from her support group. Elizabeth saw Renee and Dana—

It was a baby shower.

She pressed her hands to her mouth as tears streamed silently down her cheeks. How had they known? How could—

Emily came forward and wrapped her arms around Elizabeth. “Jason told us,” she murmured in her ear. Drawing back, she continued. “Mom and I were planning it for after you came home,” she revealed, “but Jason made us realize that we shouldn’t wait. You should get to have everything you want right now.”

“Thank you.” Elizabeth hugged her again, then turned to face the others, keeping Emily’s hand in hers, squeezing it. “Thank you.”

Port Charles County Jail: Conference Room

“In preparation for your release tomorrow,” Scott began, setting down an agreement in front of Justus and Sonny, “I want to review the bail terms—”

“I got it,” Sonny said sourly. “I go home and don’t talk to anyone. Whatever.”

Scott said down and arched a brow at Justus. “Justus?”

“Don’t bother with him,” Sonny interjected. “He’s only my lawyer until tomorrow.” He sneered. “Can’t handle the pressure.”

“Don’t want to,” Justus said. “Jordan Baines has filed a notice of appearance, I’m sure you saw it on the docket.”

“I did—I assumed she was joining the team, not replacing you.” Scott sat back. “Trouble in paradise?”

“The court has ordered that you wear an ankle monitor,” Justus said to Sonny, ignoring the DA. “That’s the only reason you were granted bail, Sonny. You need to go straight to the Towers. It’s not an unconditional bail release—”

“This is bullshit—”

“You committed violent assault, breaking and entering, and Ned was pushing to file terroristic threat charges since you barged into a public building,” Justus reminded him impatiently. “This was the best anyone could do—”

“Maybe that you could do—”

“If you go anywhere but your apartment building,” Scott interrupted, “the department will be notified, and you’ll be arrested for violating the bail. And Albany won’t help you the next time, Corinthos.”

Sonny glared at him. “You’ve been waiting for this for years, Baldwin. Don’t pretend you give a damn—”

“Yeah, I really wanted you to go after your traumatized wife who was only kidnapped and tortured because of you,” Scott retorted. “It’s my dream to sit back and wait for you to go after more defenseless women whose only mistakes were to trust you.” He leaned forward. “I played this by the book, Corinthos. Your lawyer can tell you that. I’ve barely thought about you in months. You have no one to blame but yourself.” He shoved himself to his feet.

“You should have recused yourself,” Sonny snarled.

“If you really felt like I was biased,” Scott said with a pleasant smile, “you should have had your attorney file a motion.”

Sonny glared at Justus who just stared at the table.

“Oh, you already tried that? Let me guess.” Scott flattened his hands against the table. “In order for you to get me removed, Corinthos, you’d have to tell the court why I’d have a bias.” Scott placed his hands flat against the table and leaned in. “You’d have to tell them about Karen.”

Sonny’s eyes burned into him. “I’m not that man anymore.”

“Really? I bet your wife doesn’t agree. Go ahead. Tell the court that I hate you because you fed my barely legal daughters drugs so you could rape her.”

“That’s not—”

“Sonny—” Justus put a hand up. “That’s what I meant. To get Scott of the case, you’d have to prove bias. He’s right. He’s done everything by the book. Even if he should absolutely recuse himself, ethically,” he added, glaring at Scott, “it won’t matter. We need to prove a conflict of interest. You would have to tell them about Karen. Even if the statute of limitations ran out—”

“I’ll beat this case like I always do,” Sonny retorted. “You can’t bring me down.”

“Maybe not for the smuggling or the gambling or the drugs—but I always knew you’d dig your own grave. The trash you were back then—” Scott leveled a malevolent glare at Sonny. “He’s always been there underneath the suit, the charm, and the dimples. You’re a violent, ugly, disgusting piece of shit. And the rest of this town is finally learning what some of us have always known.”

Kelly’s: Diner

Cruz watched as Lulu climbed the back stairs to the second floor, a tray in her hands, and didn’t notice as he was joined at the counter until a textbook hit it with a thud, making the mug and saucer rattle.

He blinked and looked at Maxie. “Where did you come from?”

“Statistics,” the blonde muttered. She craned her neck to see where Cruz had been looking. “He’ll come around. I mean, he talked to his mother earlier.”

“Lu said his mom just walked in. I don’t think I get to do that.” Cruz shifted his attention back to his dinner. He pushed the pot roast around. “It’s fine—”

“It’s not, but I get why you don’t wanna say anything. He’s shutting everyone out except Lulu, and that’s only because he needs to eat.” Maxie’s lips thinned. “And you barely know anyone else, so it must really suck with Lucky stuck in the hospital and Dante shutting down.”

Cruz stared at his dinner, letting Maxie’s words sink in. He’d come to Port Charles to go to the academy and because getting hired at the PCPD was a slam dunk, but she was right. He didn’t have a whole lot going on otherwise.

He couldn’t go home again. Abuela had made that much clear, and his parents hadn’t disagreed. He cleared his throat, forced a smile. “You’re right. He’ll come around—”

“Yeah, Lu will force him. It’s hard to be down around her.” Maxie went around the corner to pour her own soda. “But that’s Dante. We’re talking about you.”

“I don’t like talking about myself—”

“No—” Maxie planted a hand against her chest, widening her eyes in mock surprise. “Really!”

Cruz smiled again, and this time it was a bit more genuine. “I’m good, Maxie. Really.”

“And you can be even better. Lucas and I are gonna hang out at Club 101 Saturday night. It’s their under 21 night, and I’m solo since Kyle’s at school. Come with me, so I don’t have to third wheel with Felix and Lucas.”


“Please. You’ll be doing me a huge favor.” Maxie clasped her hands under her chin and fluttered her lashes. “Pretty please.”

He knew she was asking a little bit out of pity, but Cruz needed to branch out and make friends who weren’t in the department. He nodded. “Okay. You convinced me. I’ll keep you company.”

Kelly’s: Dante’s Room

Lulu dropped Dante’s dinner tray on the table, frowning at the newspapers she had to shove out of the way to make room. “You shouldn’t read this trash.”

“When my name disappears, when they stop reporting on all of this—” Dante sat down. “I can figure out the next step—”

“The next step,” Lulu declared, sitting across from him and reaching for his fries which he wouldn’t eat anyway, “is to go to Anna and ask for your badge back.”


“Or go see my brother in the hospital.”

Dante listlessly pushed his spoon around the bowl of chili. “I can’t do either of those things. And if you keep this up—”

“What? You’ll starve? Please.” Lulu snorted. “Try it. You’d come crawling back in a week.” She broke a fry in half and ate one piece. “Maxie said you had some visitors—”

“Does Maxie have a life of her own?” Dante wanted to know. “It seems like she has nothing better to do than worry about mine—”

“Maxie knows everything about everyone. It’s why I keep her around,” Lulu told him. “She said your mom and aunt forced their way upstairs. If it makes you feel better, Georgie and Maxie tried not to confirm you were here—”


“Hey—” Lulu scowled at him. “You can be in a bad mood. You can get mad at me, I don’t care. I can take it. But Maxie and Georgie have been nothing but kind to you. Maxie is the one that called my dad to get the press out of here. I know you’re having a shitty time, Dante, and I let you take swings at me, but I’m not gonna let you go after my friends. They’re your friends, too.”

Dante dipped his head, then shoved the tray of food away. “I’m sorry,” he muttered. “I’m not good to be around right now.”


“And I should—” He looked around the room, this place that had been his home for two weeks. His prison. “I should just leave Port Charles. Maybe head out west. Idaho or something. They might not call the department or find out about Sonny.”

“Eventually, someone will find out, Dante. You can’t run from it forever.” Lu tipped her head to the side. “Don’t hide. And you know you’re not the only reason this happened to Lucky.”

“Don’t start—”

“It wasn’t just you calling for backup — it was you and Lucky. And don’t forget — Capelli hates all three of you. Cruz got all the accolades for the kidnapping case last year because he was the only good cop on that case, then my brother cracked the rapist case, and you put the bastard away. Capelli and the others — they’re jealous.” Lulu waited for Dante to look at her. “Taggert respects you guys, doesn’t he? And you said your old training officer wasn’t a complete dick. Just lazy.”

“No, I guess not.”

“You guys knew the PCPD was trash last summer, but you stuck it out because you wanted to do better. And you have. They found the guy that shot Lucky by the end of the day,” Lulu reminded him. “Change doesn’t happen overnight.”

“Do you really want me to go back to the PCPD?” Dante demanded. “Knowing that the next time I call for backup and get screwed over, I could die—”

“You being a cop scares me to death,” Lulu told him quietly, and he stopped. “Because Lucky got shot in the line of duty, and I’ve already buried him once. You know that I care about you. Do you think I wanted to? After nearly losing my mother, my brother, what happened to my grandmother—the violence that’s surrounded me my whole life? Do you really think that I wanted to sign up for someone who invites that?”


“But the reason I care about you,” Lulu continued, “is the same thing that scares me. You knew that turning that tape over would be hard. For your family, for you with the department, but you did it anyway. Because it was the right thing to do. You went to the sentencing to make sure Vinnie got what he deserved for all the damage he did.”

He exhaled slowly. “I know all of that, but—”

“You did what had to be done because that was the job. You made sure the public knew about the attacks because that was the job. You followed through. Do I want you to be a cop? That doesn’t matter. It matters what you want. Can you honestly tell me you don’t want to be a cop anymore?” she demanded.

He was quiet for a long moment, then shook his head. “No. I’ve wanted to be a cop my whole life, Lu. And even as hard as the Lansing case was—as hard as all that Vinnie stuff was—at the center, I knew we were doing good. I knew we were trying to make a change. But wanting to be a cop doesn’t mean I can be. Or that I should be. My head’s not in the game anymore, Lu. And maybe I’ll end up distracted. Hurting someone. I couldn’t live with myself.”

“Okay.” She nodded. She pushed the chili back towards him. “Then that’s a reason not to go back.”


“Yeah. Now, eat. You’re gonna need to keep up your strength. As soon as the papers stop harassing you, you’re taking me out to that movie,” she told him. “We had plans the night my brother got hurt.”

He lifted his brows. “We did, didn’t we?”

“Yeah, plus, tomorrow, Lucky’s getting out of the hospital, and you’re going with me to see him.”

“Lu—” He paused. Then lifted his spoon. “Yeah, okay. Maybe it’s time.”

Portia’s Closet: Office

Taggert leaned in the doorway of Portia’s office, watching her lean over a large drawing, scribbling at something that looked like a lot of lines right now, but that he knew with a bit more work, it would turn into some sort of incredible outfit.

She glanced up and smiled at him, a bit distractedly. “Hey,” Portia straightened and rubbed her back, wincing. “I thought you were coming later.”

“Needed to see your face.”

“Hey,” she murmured against his lips. “Not that I mind the afternoon sugar, but something’s wrong. You’re smiling here…” She touched his lips. “But not here—” She tapped just underneath his left eye. “You ready to tell me what’s going on yet?”

He sighed, dipped his head. “This shooting—it’s making me question everything.” He told her about the backup call and trouble with the dispatch supervisor. She listened, nodding at the right moments, then waited a long moment before replying.

“You know, until I met you, I didn’t know if there really was such a thing as good cops,” Portia said. She crossed to her mini-fridge and offered him water. “You’re doing everything you can, Marcus. You know that, don’t you?”

“Maybe. I just—these kids—the rookies—they came to us looking to do something good. But it’s just been one disaster after another. First Elizabeth Webber’s case—that one broke Cruz. He’s working hard, but his first week on the job, he saw a cop sacrifice a woman for his own case. Lucky had to go on calls with Vinnie—he tried to tell me that Vinnie was terrorizing his rape victims,” Taggert admitted.

Portia frowned. “What do you mean?”

“I didn’t know—I didn’t know it was him, but Lucky—he saw that Vinnie’s interviews of the victims were offensive, even traumatizing. And I brushed him off.”

“Did you? So Vinnie got to keep doing the interviews?” Portia pursed her lips. “No, I don’t believe that.”

“I took sex crimes away from him—and the cases,” Taggert admitted. “But I could have done more.”

“Maybe, but you’re just one man.”

“Yeah, well, then Dante found out his own cousin was raping women. You know, they were all thinking about quitting after Elizabeth’s case. I talked them into staying. Into giving me a chance to turn things around. And then this happened.”

“Marcus.” She touched his chest, waiting for him to meet her eyes. “You’re giving that supervisor one last chance, aren’t you? And when he doesn’t cough up the calls, you’re gonna get them another way. I know you. You won’t give up.”

“Shouldn’t be this hard,” he murmured. “Shouldn’t have to keep wondering if I’m even making a difference.”

“Well, what about that rapist case?” Portia asked. “I read the newspaper articles. I know you all broke that case at the same time. You followed the leads, you got the job done. And now he can’t hurt any one else. No more Brookes or Elizabeths.”

“Yeah, I finally got Elizabeth some justice. Five years later, and she nearly lost her life for it.” He shook his head. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to come over and ruin your day.”

“You’re not. Hey—” She turned his face back to her when he looked away. “I don’t know how you grew up, but I never met a cop that deserved an ounce of respect. But here—I’ve got you. I know how hard you work. You’re going to get to the bottom of this. You’re going to find out who screwed your officers, and then you’ll be closer to getting rid of them. You’re a good cop, Marcus.”

“Maybe. I just—I wanted to have a little bit of power,” Taggert admitted. “I didn’t want to be afraid anymore. I don’t know if I joined up for the right reasons.”

Portia nodded, her expression grave. “What about now? You get up every day and go to work. You doing that because you don’t know what else to do?”

“No, I—” Taggert’s smile was faint. “No, I transferred to Major Crimes because I didn’t ever want another Elizabeth Webber on my conscience. I wanted to do better.”

“That’s what I thought. It’s just gonna take the world a little longer to catch up,” she murmured. She leaned up and kissed him again. “You’ll have to show them the way.”

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

Elizabeth turned back to Cody, still standing on the threshold. “Thanks. I appreciate you helping me in with some of this.” She’d brought up some of the smaller gifts, leaving the bigger stuff for Jason. “I thought Jason was supposed to be here—” She turned back to scan the living room. “But—oh, there you are!”

“Sorry—” Jason jogged down the stairs and joined them at the door, taking Elizabeth’s hand. “Cody, we’re good for the night.”

“Sure thing. You need me at the usual time tomorrow?” the guard asked.

“No, earlier,” Jason replied. “I have things to do before we check into the hospital,” he told Elizabeth. “The appeal got decided today. Sonny’s coming home tomorrow.”

She wrinkled her nose. “Really? I thought with punching the mayor—”

“He’ll be on house arrest,” Jason reported. “If he goes anywhere but here, they’ll arrest him and put him back in lockup.” He winced. “I was hoping he’d be gone longer—”

“We’ll figure things out.”

Jason turned to Cody. “I need you early, around seven. I’ll be gone most of the morning, so I don’t want to leave Elizabeth alone in case Sonny gets released before I get back.”

“I’ll call Nikolas,” Elizabeth offered. “He can come over and sit with me for a while. Or maybe Bobbie.”

“But I’ll be here on the door until Mr. Morgan gets back,” Cody promised. “Good night.”

Jason closed the door, then turned to Elizabeth with a sigh. “I’m sorry about this. I really thought the appeal would fail, and he’d stay in lockup longer.”

Elizabeth took off her coat. “You can’t help when things happen—”

“But this is the last thing I needed.” He hung up her coat in the closet. “He’ll be on house arrest. If he disappears, the PCPD will climb down our throats—”

“Which isn’t what we want with a baby in the NICU.” She wrinkled her nose. “So, what’s the plan?”

“I’m meeting with Bernie and Tommy at the club first,” he said lightly, and Elizabeth knew that was probably about the Vinnie situation. She’d asked Jason not to tell her anything else, and he’d listened, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t know what was going on. “Then we’re going to the coffeehouse. I want to make sure Justus and Bernie have everything they need to run things without me for at least a week. If not more. And now I need to figure out how to keep Sonny in check—”

“The house arrest thing could help us,” Elizabeth reminded him. “If he leaves the Towers, then he’ll be arrested. I won’t be here for him to harass since I’ll be in the hospital for a few days.” She leaned up to kiss him. “This will be okay, I promise.”

“I wish I could believe that.” He leaned his forehead against hers. “But—”

“Tomorrow, we’re going to meet our son. Nothing is going to ruin that.” She cupped his face with her hands again, lingering. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

“Thank you for today.” She drew back. “Emily said it was your idea.”

He ran his fingers down her arms, from her shoulders until his hands linked with hers. “I knew they were planning something after. I think Monica was worried that if she threw you a baby shower, it would be like pressuring you to deliver early when you didn’t want to. But—”

“I wanted just one thing to feel normal. Getting to have the celebration while I’m still pregnant—it meant so much to me. And so many people were there—” She sighed as they walked towards the stairs. “Monica had some of the members from my support group there. I want to go back after Cameron comes home. I miss it. I think I still need it, and seeing them reminded me how good I felt while I was working with them.”

He swung her into his arms to start up the stairs. “You’re back on board with PCU in the fall, then?”

“Yeah, I think so. I could defer for a year,” she admitted, “but Gail pointed out that I don’t need to take a lot of classes the first semester. I could do one or two. So as long as I’m healthy, I’m gonna do it.”

He set her on her feet in front of their room. “I just want you to have everything I can give you,” Jason told her. Then pushed open the door across the hall — the room that had been empty two weeks ago.

Elizabeth blinked, then her eyes widened. “You—how—”

It was painted in the soft ocean blue that she’d picked out. It had reminded her of Jason’s eyes, the color she hoped their little boy would inherit. And it had furniture. The set she’d circled in a magazine—but she hadn’t—

And the rocking chair from her grandmother’s house that had been in storage. The mobile that Emily had given her that day at the baby shower. There were other things from the shower as well—

“How—” She turned back to Jason, her eyes wet. “How did you do this—”

He slid his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “You left your magazines around, and I saw the sketches. I figured if there was anything you didn’t like, we have time before Cameron comes home. Carly came over last week to go through it while you were at lunch with Emily. She’s better at this than I am.”


“And then we had people to do it while you were at the shower. The painting actually happened two days ago,” he added as she wandered around the room. “When Bobbie took you out to go shopping and lunch after your doctor’s appointment?”

She touched the mobile over the crib, smiling at the soft blue motorcycle that Emily had attached. “I thought we’d do it while Cameron was in the hospital—”

“I thought about what you said a few weeks ago. All the things you didn’t get to do because you’re sick. We’d have more time for all of this, Elizabeth. The shower, the nursery—” He took her hands in his again. “I made you a promise when we decided to keep the baby. I promised you we wouldn’t live in fear the whole time.”


“We didn’t do a good job of keeping that promise,” he admitted, “and I’m sorry—”

“I made it so much worse—”

“We both did,” he corrected gently. “But this part? We should get to do this right. You should have a baby shower before you have the baby. And you should get to decorate his nursery before you go into the hospital. We can change anything you want, but—”

“It’s perfect. It’s exactly what I wanted, and it means more that you did it for us.” She leaned her head against his chest, looking at the crib. “I’ll have to call Carly in the morning. To thank her. I made sketches and notes, but she turned it into reality.”

“She didn’t really get to enjoy being pregnant with Morgan either,” Jason reminded her. “So she knew exactly how you felt. And she wanted to do this for  both of us.” He led her over to their room. “But I also know that Cameron will be with in our room at first—”

In the corner of the room that had remained empty, there was now a plush chair that would be perfect for cuddling up with their son. Next to the chair was a cradle where Cameron would sleep for a few months. “We’re ready for him. Whenever he gets to come home.”

“This is why I can believe everything will be okay.” She leaned up to kiss him. “Because I have you, and we’ll have our son. That’s all I need.”

Miami, Florida

The Setai Miami Beach Hotel: Grand Suite

Claudia sauntered out onto the terrace, where Ric was lounging in the hot tub. “I need to fly home tomorrow,” she told him.

He arched a brow. “Really?”

“I just received the most delightful update.” She waggled her cell phone at him. “The stars are aligning for the final step. We’re ready for Manhattan.”

“Really?” he climbed out of the tub, reaching for the towel to drape around his naked waist. “I thought we were holding onto that one for the right moment. You’re sure?”

“Definitely. My father has played his part excellently.” Claudia smirked. “Won’t he be surprised when we finish the job—you’ll let me be the one to take him out, won’t you?”

“As long as you leave my father for me,” Ric said coolly. “But not until we’re sure. We need the Zacchara contacts. We need them to play patsy—”

“Oh, believe me. They’ve already done it. Their contact inside the Corinthos organization just got in touch, and Enzo ran right to tell me.” She slid her tongue over her teeth. “Enzo was a great investment and quite the animal in the sack.” She danced her fingers down his bare chest. “We could all have so much fun together—”

“Not interested,” he said. “What did he learn?”

“He overheard my father and Trevor talking about Manhattan. Sonny’s being released tomorrow,” Claudia told him. “And Elizabeth’s going into the hospital for delivery.”

He frowned. “Already? She can’t be due yet—”

Claudia waved away his concern. “Something to do with the baby or something. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. It means Jason will be distracted with his family while Sonny is let loose on the world. What will he do without Jason to hold him back?”

Claudia snorted. “My father thinks he’s so smart, fooling Jason and Sonny into searching desperately for a man he killed months ago.”

“Now it’s our turn to have the last laugh.”


  • Excellent update. Love Dante and Lulu as well her defense of her friends. Olivia and her no holds barred- gave you space now we talk was great as well. It was nice of Jason to get the nursery ready and get them to throw the baby shower before Elizabeth checks in. Not certain how I feel about it being completely down without Elizabeth getting to do some of it, but it was very nice. Claudia and Ric are on deck to be a pain, but I know they well eventually meet their makers. I am interested in how Sonny getting out and under house arrest will work with Jason being gone for a few hours. I was pleasantly surprised he didn’t take his anger out on her when Jason was literally on overload and left but I am wondering if he will try to give her grief while Jason is at his meetings or if he won’t factor in to it. So, the organization definitely has a mole. While it is common knowledge on Sonny’s antics, there can only be a few people who know that Elizabeth is being induced. I’m going to toss Tommy into that ring as much as I don’t want to. As always any Liason is icing on the cake.

    According to nanci on June 28, 2022
  • My heart is breaking for what Dante is going through. I can’t wait for Jason to get retribution for what Ric did to her and Carly. Sonny needs to step down and let Jason runs the territory. Thanks for the update.

    According to Shelly Samuel on June 28, 2022
  • I’m loving

    According to Nicole on June 28, 2022
  • It’s terrible that Dante is in so much pain because of others. He just wants to do his job. It’s so heartbreaking. Sonny is so problematic. I think he’ll be arrested because he won’t stay home. Claudia and Ric think that they’re so smart. I can’t wait until they’re gone. What a lovely surprise for Elizabeth: a baby shower and the nursery is done. Everything has to be good for our couple.

    According to arcoiris0502 on June 29, 2022
  • I love Elizabeth getting her baby shower. I’m glad Jason was involved in getting the nursery done, I hope Dante goes back to the PCPD. So, Enso is the betrayer. I hope Sonny stays put.

    According to Carla P on July 24, 2022