Do your memories haunt your dreams
Do they simply seem to have a mind of their own
Tell me what the emptiness brings
When everything you know is everything but gone
Tell me who will save you
– When It’s Over, 3 Doors Down
Friday, March 6, 2004
Morgan Penthouse: Nursery
Elizabeth adjusted the mobile over the crib one last time, squinting at it. Was it perfectly centered? Maybe a little more to the left—
“Hey.” Jason’s arm encircled her from behind, and she smiled again as he pulled her against his chest, kissing her cheek. “You should get more rest. Just because I have to go out early—”
“Can’t sleep. Nervous,” she said. “We’ll get to meet him today, and you’ll be able to hold him first,” she added. “Since I’ll be in recovery.”
“Just for a few days,” he reminded her. “I’ll bring pictures—”
“I know. I know it has to be this way, and I’m okay with it. He’ll have you, and that’s important. Plus, at the baby shower, Monica reminded me there are things I’ll be able to do once I’m not pregnant. New medications to manage my blood pressure until the surgery.” She sighed. “I wish I could sleep. I feel like I’m dragging already.”
Jason hesitated. “Maybe I should reschedule. I can talk to Tommy later, and Justus can come here—”
She opened her mouth to argue with him, but then her lungs tightened. She winced, pressing a hand to her chest. He ushered her into their room.
He helped her sit and fit the oxygen mask over her face. She sighed as he handed her the control, and she switched it on. After a few moments, the pressure eased and she could expand her lungs again.
“I should stay home,” Jason said again. “I’ll call Justus—”
She reached out to grab his hand as he turned. “No. No. You need—” Elizabeth shook her head, took a deeper breath, and felt the dizziness clear. “No,” she repeated, tugging him to sit. “We talked about this. I should have done my oxygen therapy when I got out of bed, but I felt fine, so I waited. I know better.”
“I can’t check in until three—they don’t have a room for me in the ICU until then. And you have a thousand things you need to make sure are done before you come to the hospital. If you don’t do them now, you might have to later.”
“Right.” He sighed, took her hand in his, tracing his fingers over her palm. “And I want to be with you at the hospital. With Cameron.”
“Exactly. He needs one of us in the room as much as possible.” Elizabeth touched his face.
“I’ll wait until Nikolas gets here,” Jason said.
“What if Sonny gets released before you can go, and then you don’t get it done? We don’t know what time he’s getting out. You’ll carry me downstairs,” Elizabeth said. Even though she could mostly handle stairs once a day, today of all days, she wasn’t taking any chances. “You’ll put my bags at the door, and then you’ll go to work. Nikolas said he’d be here by ten.”
“I’ll call someone else—”
“Everyone else is busy,” Elizabeth said patiently. She knew how much Jason hated leaving her alone—especially when she wasn’t feeling well. He’d never forgive himself for leaving that day last summer when she’d nearly died. “Emily is at work. So are Monica and Alan. Your grandmother can’t travel anymore, and your grandfather won’t leave her.”
“And Carly can’t come to the Towers—not today. Bobbie and Lucas are sticking close to home because of Sonny.” He looked deep in thought. “We could have the meeting here—” he said again.
“Not when Sonny is coming home and might run into Justus. Jason—”
“Nikolas is the only option, and with the launch and weather on the lake, he can’t come until ten.”
When he still looked hesitant, she said, ” Cody will come in and sit with me. It’s only for—” She looked at her watch. “Three hours. And if you don’t leave now, you’ll be late to meet Tommy. You know you wanted this meeting before Sonny gets released.” Neither of them wanted to discuss why Jason needed to talk to Tommy about.
“All right,” Jason said reluctantly. He got to his feet and pulled Elizabeth up. “I don’t want to take any chances.”
“We’re not,” Elizabeth told him. “We made it. Our son is going to be born today.”
“I love you,” he murmured as he kissed her.
“I love you, too.”
Joe’s Bar: Alley
Taggert ducked out of the back door of the dive bar a few blocks away from Courtland Street, and scanned the dim alley. The weak winter sunlight offered scant lighting, but he found his quarry near the rusted, green dumpster a few feet away.
“You left me a message.”
There was a scuffle of steps as the tall, dark-skinned officer who had been on duty that day at Dispatch came more into view. “Yeah.”
Taggert arched a brow, spread his hands out at the side. “I’m here. What do you want?”
“I want a transfer,” Murphy said. He lifted his chin. “I need to be better than I have been, and if I do this, there’s nowhere for me to go where I am now.”
“You get me what I need,” Tagger told him, “and I’ll see what I can do. That’ll have to be enough.”
The younger man exhaled slowly, closed his eyes, then nodded. “Okay. Yeah. The day after you came in, O’Rourke gave us a verbal warning. No cooperation with Major Crimes on this case, and that we were to say nothing about the audio.”
“I knew that—”
“I pulled everything,” Murphy interrupted. He shoved his hands into his pockets. “Before he gave the order. And I was on duty when the Code 8 came in.”
“You were on duty,” Taggert repeated, his heartbeat picking up. “Did you take the call from Unit 84?”
“Yes, sir.” Murphy’s eyes found him. “And I put out an all call to surrounding units. Unit 81 responded that they were unable to comply.”
Unit 81 had been two blocks away. Capelli’s guys, on the stakeout. “The electronic record says it was a 10-97.”
“When I came back on duty the next night, before you came in, I pulled the call records because I figured you’d be there. I wanted to be ready. The record wasn’t what I’d heard or written down. I told O’Rourke and he said he’d gone back to prep the records for you. He said I’d gotten it wrong.” Murphy’s eyes burned into Taggert’s. “Told me that it was his fault for letting a boy like me on the radio.”
A boy. Taggert bristled, knowing the word had not been meant due to Murphy’s age. “You would be willing to make a statement to this?”
“I can do better. I have the calls. The original recordings. I nodded and apologized to O’Rourke, said maybe I needed more training. He seemed satisfied and went on break. And I started to make copies. I can get them to you,” Murphy continued, “but he’ll know it was me.”
“Yeah, he will.”
“I can live with that,” Murphy said. “But I won’t be any better off than Falconieri or Spencer if you leave me in Dispatch. I want back on the street—”
“I will talk to the commissioner.” Taggert stepped forward. “It’s Byron, isn’t? That’s your first name?”
“Men like O’Rourke, like Capelli—they make this job harder for you and me. For my team,” Taggert added. “We need to stop them. Capelli isn’t going to be the only head that rolls. You get me what I need, and I promise you, I will take care of you.”
Kelly’s: Dining Room
Olivia stirred sugar into her coffee, keeping her eyes on the doorway to the upstairs. “Maybe I should just camp here.”
“He’ll just go out the window.” Lois reached across the table and put a hand over Olivia’s. “I know you’re still worried, but maybe you shouldn’t be. Dante’s always had a good head on his shoulders.”
“I know.” Olivia bit her lip. “But I still—he’s hurting so bad and not coming out—I know he says it’s about the press—but whenever he starts going around again, they’ll still be there—” She sighed. “And he’s a grown man who doesn’t need his mother nipping at his feet, trying to take care of him forever. Maybe I should have found a way to stay in Bensonhurst.”
“Where you’ll just be reminded that the only reason this is happening is that your mother told Dante about his father?” Lois challenged. “You stayed in Port Charles to stick close to Dante. You were worried this might happen—”
“I should have told him when he decided to take the job at the PCPD,” Olivia fretted. “I should have known. But I thought—well, it was just me and Frankie and Ma who knew. And we’d never tell no one. Sonny stopped thinking about me even before I left to have the baby.” She growled. “I’m glad Connie stomped all over his heart. Asshole.”
“And I suspected who his daddy was his whole life and never said a thing, Liv. I should have, but I wanted to protect him, too.” Lois exhaled slowly. “You have all that mama bear energy, and it needs to go somewhere. I know. I—” She stared down at her barely touched breakfast. “When we were working on the hearing and Elizabeth was preparing to testify, I got—I got involved. Too involved, maybe.”
“She’s just a little older than my baby, you know? And she put herself through so much to make sure Brooke got justice. She put herself on the line, made Vinnie go after her again.” She sighed. “Ned had to pull me back, had to remind me that Elizabeth isn’t my daughter. It’s hard, Liv, knowing that I’ll never be a mother again. I messed up my chance to protect my baby. I’m just glad Elizabeth didn’t realize how attached I was—”
“She probably didn’t mind,” Olivia told her. “Her own ma’s not around, is she? Why not you?”
“Because she doesn’t know me. And I don’t really know her. All we share is this terrible trauma. I will never look at her and not think of my daughter, and she’ll never look at me and never not think of Vinnie and Brooke. But I’m glad I could be there in whatever way I was, and she was kind to me. I’m just saying — you’re like me. We’re overprotective and smothering. Don’t try to run from that part of you, Liv. I did—last summer, when I sent Brooke away, I did it because I knew if I kept trying to control her, I’d lose her.”
Her eyes burned. “But I lost her anyway. If I’d let her stay—she’d still be here.”
Olivia opened her mouth, then scowled when the bell jangled over the door, and Anna Devane came in. “How dare she—” She jerked out of her seat.
“You gotta lot of nerve showing up here,” she spat at Anna, who blinked at her. “What, you coming to make Dante feel guilty about leaving? You should be crawling on your knees—you’ve had months to clean up that department, and you’ve done nothing! It instead, you put my boy in danger and—”
“I came,” Anna said, in her quiet, unbothered voice, “for some tea and breakfast. Just like you.” She paused. “I’m very sorry—”
“You should be. This whole town should be. You got Brooke killed, and you’ve ruined my baby—”
“Liv, Anna wasn’t even here,” Lois reminded her, coming up and putting a hand on her friend’s shoulder. “Last summer, that wasn’t her.”
“It was the people she works for. It was her department. Her detectives that butchered the case and didn’t—”
“And it was your nephew who attacked her,” Anna reminded her, “but I don’t hold you responsible for that either.”
Olivia’s eyes lit with incandescent rage. “How dare you—”
Lois stepped between the two women before Olivia could do anything that might get her arrested. “Liv, Liv, come on. She’s just pointing out that we can’t blame each other for things that aren’t our fault.”
“I apologize,” Anna said, regret flashing in her eyes. “I do feel responsible for Dante’s resignation. I’m limited by the system, and it moves slowly, if at all. I never wanted Dante or Lucky to get hurt. I promise you, we are working as hard as we can to hold someone accountable for what happened.”
Olivia swallowed hard, fighting for control. “No, I’m sorry. Lois is right. This didn’t happen because of you. It’s just—” Her voice faltered. “My boy wanted to be a cop his whole life, and he’s a damn good one. It hurts to see his dream torn away from him.”
“And it hurts that it was my officers who did it. I will find a way to prove it,” Anna replied. “We need more officers like him in the department. We are much poorer for his loss. You raised a fine son, Ms. Falconieri. I’m only sorry the PCPD wasn’t worthy of him.”
Blue Moon: Tommy’s Office
Tommy scowled, lunging to his feet. “What the hell are you accusing me of?” he demanded. He rounded the desk, but before he could reach Jason, Justus stepped between them.
“You heard me,” Jason said flatly. “Vinnie Esposito was a source for years. What did you cover up to keep him feeding you information?”
“You think I knew about your woman’s attack and let him get away with it—”
“She wasn’t connected to me at the time,” Jason said, his blood already boiling. “You don’t get to hide behind that, Tommy. This was years before Elizabeth and I met—”
“And she was a kid! A baby! You think I’d cover up for an animal going after a girl that way?” Tommy demanded. “Only sixteen—if I’d known it was him, I’d have killed him myself—”
“Sonny told us back in October,” Bernie said, “that you’d cleaned up some messes for Vinnie back before he left town in 2000. And there were one or two under Moreno and Sorel. Sonny said he didn’t press you on it. He was afraid you’d tell him that you’d known about the rapes.”
“Then Sonny is a fucking moron. That’s not how this works. You don’t cover for a man like that, for a crime like that—” Tommy cleared his throat, then sat down. “But Sonny wouldn’t know that. He did worse in his day.”
“Everyone knows the shit he pulled when he was running the Paradise. Even Frank knew, and he was in prison.” Tommy snorted. “Sonny was gonna be a liability, and that’s why he went after Frank. Had to take power before someone took it from him.” He focused on Jason. “You know how he is about that. If he thinks he’s under attack, he lashes out. And sometimes he don’t clean up well after himself.”
“We’re not talking about Sonny—”
“No, we’re not.” Tommy paused. “If you know about Vinnie, then you know about the girls. I don’t want to hear any bullshit about it.” He growled. “I took over Sonny’s girls when he moved up and turned over the clubs to me. It wasn’t part of his image anymore. He wanted people to respect him. Can’t be respected if you run drugs and girls. But he never told me to shut it down, and he’s always known where some of the profits come from.”
“Sonny—” Jason paused. He hadn’t been around when Sonny seized power, and Tommy wasn’t wrong. Sonny was obsessed with self-image and had worked hard to become a certain type of man. He’d known about the Paradise but hadn’t thought much about the man Sonny had been before they met.
Maybe he should have.
“What about drugs—”
“That’s never been my business, and they cause too many problems. That’s where the violence comes from. The drug war,” Tommy added. “But I don’t screw with the Escobars. They’re your source in this town. Sonny told me to let them take Courtland Street. They stay in their area and run their business. They stay out of the schools and away from the waterfront and my clubs. That’s the deal.”
How could Jason have missed all of this? How had he not known about all of this underneath the surface? Sonny had known and deliberately left him in the dark when he’d split town all those years ago.
“Then what did you clean up?” Jason demanded. “Did Vinnie rough up the women working for you?”
“Yeah. Twice.” Tommy scrubbed a hand over his face. “And Vinnie’s the reason we don’t tolerate that bullshit anymore. It kills me, Jason, knowing that I let him get away with pushing some of our whores around and he was out there hurting innocents—”
“How bad did he hurt them?”
“I don’t know,” Tommy admitted. “The first girl just said he slapped her around when she didn’t act fast enough, and the other said he punched her. But maybe they weren’t comfortable telling me the rest. I listened to your girl at the press conference, Jason. I know it’s hard to report, and I doubt they’d tell me all the details.”
“We put a new policy in place after Vinnie got arrested. No one touches the girls. You lay a hand on them, and you’re done. Even whores deserve that much—”
Jason tensed. “Why—”
“Fine, fine. The women,” Tommy said, with nearly a sneer. “How you gonna be in this business if you can’t even admit the truth—”
“How are you going to stand there and pretend you give a shit about me or my family, Tommy, when you and I both know you’re working against me.” Jason fisted his hands at his side. “Acting concerned when you found out Elizabeth was sick—you just needed more time to work against me—”
“I wouldn’t have needed to if you’d do what you should have months ago,” Tommy shot back. “Sonny’s been useless since Lansing disappeared. Everyone knows it. The only reason you’re still in power is because I didn’t pick up that phone and call Zacchara or Tagliatti—”
“And the only reason you’re still alive,” Jason interrupted, “is because I don’t have time to get rid of the body. Are you behind the Lansing sightings?”
“The—” Tommy frowned. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“The sightings,” Jason repeated. “In South America. Puerto Rico. Miami, Baltimore—”
“Why the fuck—no! Every time Sonny thinks he sees that little fucker, he goes wild, and he’s had the PCPD after at us—why the hell do you think I’d want that? I was just gonna take Sonny on a long drive and dump his ass in a hole in the Pine Barrens. Why am I gonna fake months of sightings when I can just shoot him and be done with it?”
Lucky & Kelsey’s Apartment: Living Room
“Shouldn’t you be in bed?” Lulu demanded, planting her hands on her hips. “If Mom were here—”
“But she’s not. She went to work and back to her life,” Lucky said. “The doctors have cleared me. I’ll be back on duty next week.” He eyed Dante. “I’ll be the only one.”
Dante shoved his hands into his pockets. “I guess you heard.”
“Not from you.” Lucky shifted, wincing at the tightness in his chest. “What the hell is this bullshit about quitting?”
“You know what happened because of me—”
“Because of Capelli—”
“Because of me—”
“And Dad,” Lulu interjected. “You both have shady ass fathers—sperm donors,” she corrected when Dante glared at her. “Hard to say which one of them was the reason Capelli screwed you over.”
“Lu, go get me some water. Please,” he added when Lulu just raised a brow.
“Fine, but I’ll just be over there. Either of you start being dumb, I’ll come over here and kick your asses.”
“She’s not kidding,” Lucky muttered. “Sit down, man. I’m not mad at you, so if you try to apologize, I’ll let her kick your ass.”
“She’s been doing that for two weeks.” But Dante sat next to him. “It’s not just that you got shot, Lucky. I know that’s not really my fault. It felt like it in the minute, and maybe I do feel some guilt. But I know that I’m not the one that refused to back up a fellow officer.”
“He’s still there. I know Taggert says they’re close, but I just—” Dante shook his head. “Maybe he’s right. Maybe they can get rid of him. I’m not saying I can’t ever come back, but right now, I’d be a liability to all of you. My head’s not in it. It hasn’t been since Vinnie. I’ve been working through it, but now with this Sonny stuff—”
“Have you even talked to him?” Lucky asked. “I realize now that’s why you were so weird when we went to see him, and we got called to the Brownstone. Don’t you think you’ll feel better if you talk to him—”
“I have zero interest,” Dante said. “He’s nothing to me. I’ve always known my father left my mother. She never named him, but it felt like the neighborhood always knew something. He’s not someone I want in my life, Lucky. There’s nothing he has that I want.”
“But he’s the reason people are looking at me sideways. They don’t trust that I just ended up in Port Charles and didn’t know he was my father. We already had issues at the department after last summer. I just—I can’t go to work and pretend it’s the same.”
Lucky nodded. “Fair enough. But you belong here with me. All three of us. We came here to do the job. So get yourself together, and then come back. We can’t do this alone.”
Port Charles Municipal Building: Mayor’s Office
Ned ushered for Alexis and Lois to enter the office with one hand while the other was wrapped around the plastic receiver. “All right, Anna. I want to see a copy of the report as soon as possible. And the calls. When you’ve heard them. Thank you.”
He set the phone down. “Taggert is putting together his final report on Lucky’s shooting, and Anna wanted to warn us in case it leaks before she makes a move.”
Lois braced herself and traded a trouble glance with Alexis. “What is it? How bad?”
“Taggert got his hands on the original calls from that night,” Ned said. “Dispatch was running circles around them on the paperwork for the audio and the records of the other units.”
“Idiots,” Alexis muttered, sitting down. “They had to do know we’d be able to get the calls—”
“Arrogance,” Lois murmured, her eyes locked on her ex-husband’s. “They thought they’d get away with it. They’ve been doing it for years, haven’t they?”
“Yeah.” Ned shoved himself to his feet. “Taggert’s got the calls and he’s got the officer who took the backup call. A witness who says Dante called for backup and that a responding officer refused.”
Lois closed her eyes, exhaled in a rush. “Christ Almighty. How do they live with themselves? How can they—” She dragged her hands over her face. “Is that all she knows?”
“She hasn’t listened to the audio yet, but Taggert gave her the heads up. We need to get ahead of this—”
“But we need to be careful,” Alexis added.
“Right. Right.” Lois nodded. “We don’t want to be seen spinning the PCPD’s mess into hiding a scandal of our own, but there’s a way—there’s always a way. Capelli worked with the press before,” she reminded Ned. “I wasn’t here for any of that, but you were. So when this hits, we remind them.” She nodded. “That’s our spin. It’s just more evidence of the corruption and disregard for the people of Port Charles.”
“Will this be enough?” Alexis wanted to know. “I mean, will it finally be enough to get rid of Capelli?”
“Anna won’t know for sure until the audio is authenticated, but it if it’s as bad as she says—” Ned’s smile held no humor, only malice. “He won’t be the only one to go. This is the break we needed. We’re finally digging into the rot in the department—”
“I wish I could be as optimistic, but I worry we’ve only scratched the surface,” Alexis murmured, but rose. “I’ll start putting together some legal notes. Lois?”
“I’ll get to work on the statement.” Lois turned to Ned. “It won’t ever be enough.”
“No, but we have to start somewhere.”
PCPD: Squad Room
Sonny stopped by the front desk, snapping his fingers. “Where’s my phone?” he demanded.
The officer on duty looked behind Sonny and his new lawyer, Jordan, to look at Cruz, who sighed and nodded. “Yeah, give him back his personal stuff.”
“You don’t need permission,” Jordan said. “He’s been fitted with the ankle bracelet, and he’s been officially released. Return his things.”
The officer shrugged, then set down the manila envelope. Sonny tore it open and dumped it out. He slid his wedding ring on his finger, then shoved his wallet in the back pocket of the rumpled suit he’d been wearing the night he’d been arrested.
He flipped open his phone to turn it on. He started to click through—it looked like he was sorting through voicemails. He pressed a button, then raised it to his ear to listen. He growled, and stalked out of the PCPD, slapping a hand against the double doors so hard that they bounced back against the walls.
Jordan blanched, hurrying after her client.
Cruz watched Sonny storm out, then went over to Taggert who’d been watching the scene quietly from his desk, hoping to stay out of it. He had enough going on. “You want me to follow him?”
“No.” Taggert looked at the younger man. “But make sure that ankle monitor is activated. I have a guy sitting on the Brownstone. If Sonny shows up there, we’ll be ready. I want to know if he heads anywhere else.”
“He must have gotten something on his phone,” Cruz said. “He looked angry—”
“I’ll give Bobbie and Carly the heads up. We can’t mess this case up, Cruz. Sonny’s on bail. We let him dig his own grave. He’s good at that.” Taggert saw Anna motioning towards him. “I have to go deal with something else.”
Corinthos & Morgan Coffee House: Office
“With Tommy off the board,” Bernie said, “I don’t know what to say any more about these sightings. It doesn’t add up.”
“Are we sure that Tommy’s on the level?” Francis Corelli, their head of security, asked doubtfully. “I know he’s got a point, but—”
“He could be throwing us off,” Jason admitted, “but it didn’t feel that way.”
“I agree,” Justus offered. “Tommy’s been fed up with Sonny for months. He doesn’t really seem like the type to try psychological torture—”
“Maybe he didn’t think it’d take this long,” Bernie suggested. “Maybe he thought Sonny would fly off to South America himself, and Tommy could arrange for an assassination that way—”
Jason scrubbed his hands over his face, then checked his messages. Sonny could be to be released any minute, and he wanted to be at the Towers before Sonny got there. He did not want Elizabeth alone in the building with him.
“We’re running in circles,” he began.
“Are you sure that it’s not Lansing screwing with us?” Francis asked. “I know the reasons we said it couldn’t be, but—”
“But Lansing couldn’t be working alone. He wouldn’t have the connections in Baltimore or Atlanta. Or Philly,” Jason said.
“He could have pulled off Miami and South America,” Justus continued. “He worked for Alcazar after all, and Alcazar was close to the Ruiz family. He could have called in favors, but yeah, I don’t see anyone in Philly helping him out. And I don’t know how to explain the Babe getting involved in this kind of nonsense. He’s never had an issue with Sonny. We don’t deal with Baltimore.”
“Not since the Jerome days,” Bernie said. “Baltimore’s barely in the game since the shipping died out down at the docks. ” He shook his head. “Nah, the only guy they would help out is Zacchara.”
“Are we thinking about this too hard? Maybe you’re right, Francis. Lansing is in all these places, but it’s Zacchara pulling the strings.” Which Jason did not need right now. “It’s the only way to explain all of it.”
“Then we need to bring Sonny in on this,” Justus said reluctantly. “If we can tell him what we know—that we know something is wrong—he might get back under control.” He met Jason’s eyes. “Which we need while he’s on house arrest. The island isn’t going to happen. Not right now. He can’t leave the country. ”
“And you don’t have time for any of this,” Justus cut in. “Johnny will be here in the morning to take point on this, but he and Sonny are like oil and water. Maybe we hold off on that—”
“No, I need someone here that can handle Sonny. Johnny’s the best bet. He’s been here as long as I have, and he knows Sonny almost as well.” Jason paused. “After today, I can’t be dealing with any of this for at least a week.”
“You won’t be,” Bernie promised. “Until Elizabeth is up and moving around, and the baby’s in the clear. We promise. I’ll talk to Sonny. Me and Francis. We haven’t pissed him off yet,” he added when Francis looked doubtful. “And if we make him think it’s new information you haven’t dealt with, then that’s good. We leave Tommy out of it, though. He doesn’t need to know Tommy was planning to get rid of him.”
“All right.” Jason checked his messages. Nothing yet. “Okay. Let’s get everything else done. I want to be home before Sonny is.”
PCPD: Anna’s Office
Anna pressed play on the tape recorder, then looked up at Taggert as the call from dispatch rolled in.
“Unit 84, Code 8 at Courtland and Van Ess. Repeat, Code 8, Courtland and Van Ess.”
“There’s Dante,” Anna murmured. “Clear as day.”
“And then—” Taggert nodded as a new voice came on.
“Copy that, 84. Code 8, Code 8. Unit 84 requesting back up at the corner of Van Ess and Courtland. Code 8. Officers requesting backup.”
“The all-call—” Anna dropped her head in her hands. “You have the officer who made this call?”
“It’s worse, Anna.”
“Unit 81?” Murphy’s voice crackled out over the tape, and Anna blinked at it, confused. “Unit 81, are you stationed at 308 Holloway?”
“Unit 81 responding, yes.”
“You’re closest to the Code 84—”
“Fuck that shit.”
Anna’s eyes widened as a new voice came in. Faint. Dim. As if who ever was speaking wasn’t near the radio, but sitting nearby. Perhaps in the backseat.
“Fuck that traitor.”
There was a pause, then the original Unit 81 voice came back over the radio. “Cannot comply at this time.”
The tape stopped and Anna looked back at Taggert, grimly. “We might not be able to prove that was his voice—”
“That’s him on that tape, and you damn well know it.”
“Yes, I know it,” Anna said, leaning back, her face pale but her eyes steady. “But if we’re going to nail him this time, we need to be careful. We’re only going to get one chance at this. If the union doesn’t back it—”
“Taggert.” Anna got to her feet and he closed his mouth. “We will get him this time. I promise you.”
“I had to sit back last summer and watch this piece of shit waltz back into work after he nearly got Elizabeth Webber killed—” Taggert fisted his hands. “And now I know I got him dead to rights, refusing to back up a fellow officer. Capelli is going to pay for this, even if it’s the last thing I ever do.”
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Elizabeth tossed her magazine aside and sighed. “I’m sorry, Cody. Nikolas should be here any minute—” It was nearly one, and Nikolas still hadn’t shown up. He’d sent a message about the launch being late, but at this rate, Jason would get home first.
And she was so tired. She should try to take a nap. Maybe when she woke, Jason would be home, and she could go to the hospital.
“It’s okay, Mrs. Morgan,” her guard told her as he brought out another glass of water. “It’s windy out. I know how the lake can be on days like these.”
“Nikolas should live in town and not on a goddamn island,” she muttered. “I’m tired—” Her fingers fumbled with the plastic tubing. “And sick of this thing.” She reached for the oxygen mask at her side.
“What’s that?” her guard wanted to know. “What’s wrong?” Then he frowned, turning back towards the door as he heard voices.
“Oh, no—” Elizabeth got to her feet, then gasped—her arm shot out to brace herself on the air chair, her head spinning. She’d moved too quickly.
“Mrs. Morgan—” Cody turned back to grab her arm. “Sit back down. I’ll call Jason—”
The door shoved open, and Sonny pushed Max out of his way. “Where the hell is Jason?” He glared at Elizabeth.
Elizabeth closed her eyes, tried to take a full breath. “Not here,” she said. Cody held her arm as she moved backward, away from Sonny. Behind him, she saw Max with his phone out.
She had to get Sonny out of the penthouse. If Jason walked through the door right now, everything would be so much worse. Sonny would just get angrier, and Jason would be furious. There’d be arguments and screaming—and she didn’t want it. Any of it.
“Did you—” Her chest ached. “Cody, I need—”
“Sit down,” he told her gently, helping her back to the sofa. “Let me help, okay?” He fit the mask over her face, and she managed a deeper breath, though not quite a full one. “Let me call Jason.”
“What the hell is wrong with you now?” Sonny demanded.
“Mr. C,” Max said, grabbing Sonny’s arm. “Let’s go—let’s go home, and we’ll figure out what’s going on—”
“No, she needs to know—Ric is back in New York,” he snarled. “You happy? I got out of jail, no thanks to your husband, and the first thing I hear is that Lansing is in New York—”
“What?” Elizabeth gasped, then her lungs seized. She clutched at Cody’s arms. Then—finally, the oxygen did what it was supposed to, and she could take a deeper breath. Her lungs relaxed. Her head was still buzzing, but she could breathe. Mostly.
“What do you mean Ric is in New York?” She asked. She stood again, but Cody braced her as she did. “How do you know? How long ago?”
Taken aback, Sonny blinked at her. “I got a message in lock up.”
Why had—why was someone giving Sonny messages in lock-up about Ric Lansing? How could they have known he’d get his phone back today? “Sonny, did you—Oh, God, did you go to Carly’s?”
Sonny ignored the question and narrowed his eyes. “This is your fault,” he said, his teeth clenched. “If you’d just let me kill that piece of shit months ago, none of this would be happening—my wife left me because of you!”
“Mr. C,” Max said firmly. “Let’s go—”
“Get your hands off me—”
“My family is in danger because of you!”
“Cody,” Elizabeth said with a grimace. “He—I can’t—”
“Yeah, okay, Mrs. Morgan. Sit down—”
“Can’t—hurts—” She pressed a hand to her chest. “Hurts too much.”
“Christ. Don’t—don’t move—” Cody released her and traded a look with Max. “Mr. C, you gotta go. She’s not feeling well, and we need to get her to the hospital—”
“No one tells me what to do! You work for me! I’ll fire you! I’ll end you!” Sonny thundered. He threw a punch when Cody reached for him, but then two more guards came in, and between the four of them, they managed to get Sonny out of the penthouse and across the hall, screaming.
Back in her living room. Elizabeth’s lungs seized again, and her throat tightened, felt so thick she could barely breathe. She coughed, trying to force air out. Then she couldn’t stop coughing—couldn’t take in a breath at all—her throat was on fire—
She looked down at her hands—still coughing—Her vision dimmed at the edges.
“Mrs. Morgan, we need—” Cody came back to the doorway, with a new guard behind him, his eyes bulging. “Elizabeth—” He ran across the room, hurling himself at her feet, taking her hands in hers, examining the streaks of red. “Where did the blood come from? Where are you hurt?”
She continued to cough, her knees buckling. “Can’t stop—”
“She’s coughing up blood,” Cody told the other guard. He lifted her in his arms. “Get the elevator, call Jason—we’re going to GH now!”