Chapter 107

This entry is part 32 of 41 in the Mad World: Liberty

A broken shadow falls across your face
As you hesitate
Trying to think of all the things you need to say
Bare faced the truth lies at my feet
As you turn away
Sometimes silence has a way of making peace

A Few Words Too Many, Billie Myers

Monday, April 28, 2004

General Hospital: Stairwell

The lights flashed again, and then the weakened, emergency lights finally kicked in as Elizabeth’s scream echoed in the stairwell. She looked around frantically—

There was no one at the top of the stairs. Her heart was racing as she clutched her son tightly, Cameron’s crying bouncing off the cement walls.

A few feet away from her, Richie was pulling himself to his feet, shaking his head and wincing. “You okay, Mrs. M? You trip or anything?”

“N-No—” Elizabeth sucked in a deep breath. “I was just—I heard you fall, and I—” She closed her eyes, forcing herself to calm down. Her lungs were burning and she didn’t have her oxygen with her. She hadn’t needed it since being released from the hospital. “Are you okay?” she finally managed.

“Yeah, yeah. Tripped when the lights went out.” Richie grimaced as he righted the stroller.

The doors above them opened as someone called out. “Everyone okay here? I heard screaming.”

“Yeah, we’re good. Thanks!” Richie called back. He looked back at Elizabeth, his brows raised. “Right? Or did you want me to get someone?” There was something in his eyes. In his tone. She swallowed hard.

“No. No. I just—” It wasn’t real. It wasn’t real. She hadn’t seen Ric. It was just a trick of her eyes. He’d been on her mind, lurking in the back of it since that stupid bear showed up— “I’m fine. Let’s just go downstairs and get out of here. I need to make a stop before we go home.”

Port Charles Municipal Building: Kelsey’s Office

Scott knocked lightly on the door frame, and Kelsey glanced up. When she realized it was Scott, she sat straight and met his eyes. “You’ve talked to Anna.”

“I have.” He closed the door and came further into the room. “I’m sorry you didn’t feel like you could talk to me about it.”

“You wanted me to drop it.” Her eyes burned into his. “Did you know?”

“That the PCPD had covered up a murder? Of course not!” Scott scowled, then dragged a hand over his face. “But I knew it wasn’t a car accident. Your mom told me it was a stray bullet and that the case was cold. She didn’t even tell me that until a few years ago.” He exhaled slowly. “I never even realized your dad was working for Frank Smith.”


“We drifted apart after law school, you know that. And I was in and out of Port Charles. I loved him, Kelse, but if I’d know what was going on, I would have said something. I promise you that. I would have talked him out of it, or hell, forced him into private practice with me. I never would have kept that from you.'”

Kelsey shoved back from the desk. “I don’t understand how Daddy had this whole life and no one ever told me. How could my mother lie to me? How could he—”

“You were just a kid when he died—”

“Is that what you’d tell Serena if this were happening to her? If she found out you did something terrible—”

“There’s a whole lot of shame in my past,” Scott said and Kelsey stumbled to a stop, just staring at him. “I married Jason Morgan’s biological mother when he was a baby and embezzled his trust fund. Did you know that?”


“And I definitely got up to no good with Lucy a time or two. No one is perfect. And your parents were human. Finding out what Ollie did as a job—that doesn’t change who he was to you, kid. He was still your father and he loved you.”

Kelsey squeezed her eyes shut. “Mom’s mad at me for bringing this up. For turning the case over to the PCPD. I tried to put it away, Scott. I really did, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t let it go.”

“We might not get answers, sweetheart, but your dad deserves his case to be reopened and investigated properly. You did the right thing. Even if it hurts.”

“Maybe. But maybe I’ll just find out more about my dad I don’t want to know.” Her lip trembled. ‘”There’s no turning back now.”

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

Jason checked the clock on the desk again, frowning. He hadn’t heard from Elizabeth yet. Was she still at the hospital? He’d left her a message to let her know he was done and waiting at home, but—

She was probably fine, he reassured himself. She had her guard, and he knew she’d made it to the hospital since she’d called him before the appointment.  She didn’t have to report to him, Jason reminded himself.

He went to answer the knock on the door, frowning when he saw Sonny there. “Hey. Uh, did you need something?”

“I, uh, thought I’d stop by and—” Sonny smoothed a hand down his shirt. “We haven’t really—we haven’t talked in a few days.”

“No, we haven’t.” Jason stepped aside to let his former partner into the room. Sonny looked around, likely taking in the changes since Cameron had come home. There was a cradle and a changing table next to the fireplace, and a few stuffed animals and other things littered around.

“Is Elizabeth here?” Sonny asked. “I haven’t really had the chance to see her.” He paused. “I mean, if she—I don’t know. Maybe she doesn’t want to see me.”

“We haven’t talked much about it,” Jason said. He closed the door. “But she said she’d be open to it when I was comfortable.” He met Sonny’s eyes. “I’m not there yet.”

“I get it.” Sonny paused. “I’m trying to get it,” he corrected. “It’s been…difficult the last few weeks. I know things weren’t okay before I went to Ferncliffe, but I didn’t know it.” He cleared his throat. “I mean—I knew it. But I didn’t feel about it the same way I do now. That doesn’t make sense—”

“You had the pretense of everything being the same,” Jason said. “You were still in charge even though we both know I’ve been doing everything for months. If you’re here to talk about that—”

“No. I want it back, but then I think about that day.” Sonny looked towards the sofa. “It’s a blur,” he said softly. “If I really think about it, I can remember that she doesn’t look well, but I can’t stop myself. I see her coughing, but then there are arms dragging me back.”

“Max and Cody,” Jason said tightly. “They had to physically remove you because you wouldn’t leave. She was supposed to check into the hospital that day for a safe delivery. Instead, she was rushed in for massive bleeding in her lungs and ended up on ventilator.”

“Did I—” Sonny’s face was gray as he forced out the question. “Did I do that? I know that stress makes the situation worse—”

“No. You didn’t cause the bleeding. That might have happened anyway. But you wasted time. Cody was going to call me when you stormed in. He thought Elizabeth looked sick.” Remembering that, remembering that Cody had always put Elizabeth first even when Jason couldn’t, made him feel slightly guilty for sending the guard away. Even after everything he’d done. “Instead of making that call, he wasted five minutes listening to you scream at her, and then five more getting you out. That’s ten minutes. Enough time to have her almost at the hospital before the bleeding started.”

“There’s no—there’s no apology that can be made for that,” Sonny told him. “Carly will never forgive me for what I did in December, and I know you can’t forgive me for it either. For any of it. I’m trying to be okay with that.”

“I can’t help you get there, Sonny. I spent too much time protecting you. Walking the line to make sure you were okay,” Jason told him. “Stay in therapy, take the meds. That’s all I can say.”

“It’s just—” Sonny looked out towards the window, towards the harbor. “I don’t know what the point is,” he said softly. “I dropped my divorce protest like you asked, but Carly’s still going forward with taking the boys away from me for good. Alexis will never let me near Kristina, and Dante doesn’t want a damn thing to do with me. And there’s no chance that you’ll let me back in. As a friend, as a partner, as a boss—” He closed his eyes. “It’s all gone.”

And with nothing from his life to hold on to, why bother taking the meds? Jason put his hands in his pockets. “It doesn’t have to be,” he found himself saying. Sonny looked at him, opening his eyes in surprise. “The business—I can’t do anything about that. The men won’t follow you. They’ve made it clear to me. I had to fight off a power grab because of it, and the only reason it didn’t go to an all out war is because they felt sorry for me with Elizabeth. That’s it. Her health was the only reason we got a chance to keep it together.”  He paused. “But I’m still here. Elizabeth—she told me that if I wanted to keep you in our lives, she’d be okay with it.”

“She said that, huh?”

“I didn’t know you were seeing Lily and your mother, Sonny. I can’t apologize for what happened the day Elizabeth went into the hospital. Maybe you think I should. But I would have killed you if Carly hadn’t stopped me, and I wouldn’t have regretted it. Maybe you don’t want to be around someone that feels that way.”

Sonny sighed, then looked down at the desk where Elizabeth had set a framed photo of Cameron in the NICU, being held by Jason with Alan by his side. Emily had taken it, and Jason hadn’t argued when Elizabeth had put it on the desk. Sonny picked it up. “I remember how scared you were last summer when Elizabeth was in the coma and they didn’t know if she’d survive the embolism.”

Jason remained silent, so Sonny kept talking. “She’d nearly died to give me back my wife and son. She stayed in that house, ignoring the symptoms, putting herself in danger over and over again to give us a chance to find Carly. She did that for you, I know, but I benefited. And when I think of the way I’ve treated her these last few months—since Carly told me about wanting to testify—” he looked at Jason. “It shames me. The things I said to her. The things I did and said to Carly. I can’t blame the illness. Not all the way. I wish I could. It made it worse, but you were right at Ferncliffe. Sometimes I knew exactly what I was doing and did it anyway.”

He set the frame back down. “You should have killed me that day for what I did to your family, for what I did to my own.” Sonny looked at Jason. “Elizabeth might be okay with me being in your life, but are you?”

“I don’t know,” Jason said. “At the end of the day, Elizabeth and Cameron survived. I have my family. If bending a little on this, if forgiving you helps you stay well, Sonny, and gives you a reason to stay on the medication and in therapy—” he shrugged. “I think it’s worth a try.”

“Thank you for at least considering it.” Sonny touched the frame. “Your kid looks like a fighter. I hope I get to meet him one day.”

“He’s with Elizabeth at GH for a checkup,” Jason told him as he followed Sonny to the door and opened it. “I’ll talk to her and see when she’s ready to have him meet you.”

“Thank you,” Sonny told him. “For at least listening.”

Jason closed the door, then shook his head. He went over to the phone, breathing a sigh of relief. Elizabeth had sent him a text. Cam, a-ok. Stopping somewhere. Be home soon.

The Star Lounge: Office

Johnny closed the door behind him, then answered the phone vibrating in his pocket. “Claudia.”

“Hey, baby brother. You said it was an emergency. Do I have to come and clean up a mess?”

Johnny hissed as he came away from the door, keeping his voice hushed. “Not yet. Are you or Dad up to anything with Morgan? Is he going to break the truce?”

His sister was quiet for a long moment. When she spoke again, her voice was flat and serious. “What’s going on? Is that bastard threatening you? Because—”

“Claudia, don’t bullshit me. Are you up to something? What is Dad planning?”

“First of all, even if Daddy was planning something, he wouldn’t tell me. I only find things out when I screw one of the guards.” The resentment dripped from every word, but Johnny knew she was telling the truth on that score. Anthony only let Claudia in on the family business when he didn’t have a choice — or when she was a witness to one of his rages and had to help clean up the mess.

“Okay, so you don’t know anything.”

“I didn’t say that, just that I’m not planning anything with Daddy. Maybe he’s thinking of calling Morgan’s bluff. I mean, does anyone think that marshmallow is actually going to do anything to you?” Claudia snorted. “Please—”

“He might not, but—” Johnny paused. “What about the guys who work for him and know I’m here for leverage? Jason doesn’t have to do the deed, just look the other way when one of them slits my throat and tosses me on Dad’s doorstep.”

There was silence again on the other end. “I’m not planning anything, John, but I can’t promise Daddy isn’t. What’s going on? I can’t snoop if I don’t know where to look.”

Johnny grimaced. “Something got sent to Morgan’s wife and it’s got him on edge. I’m not gonna say anything other than that. He thinks he can trust me, and he can. I just don’t want any damn surprises, Claudie. If you find out Dad’s planning something, you need to give me a heads up so I can get the hell out of here.”

“Yeah, yeah. I’ll look into it and see what we find out.”

Luke’s: Office

Luke grumbled and sat up, shoving his cigar in an ashtray. “Claude!” he called, getting to his feet. “Why didn’t you tell me the damn PCPD was here?”

Taggert smirked and walked into the office. “You still expecting Claude to have your back?”

“No.” Luke scowled as he sat back down. “I’ve been expecting you,” he muttered.

“Oh, yeah?”

“Laura told me Kelsey was taking her dad’s case to the Anna, so I figured someone would be along sooner or later.”

He stared at his desk for a long moment. “He’s happy, you know. Working as a cop. Even after everything that’s happened with Dante and all of that. Never could understand it, but you know, Laura likes to help people. Always did. He must get it from her. Lucky’s happy. And Kelsey’s part of it, so…” He shrugged a shoulder, looked at the wall.

“I knew Ollie back in the day—back with the Campus Disco, a club I was running for Frank Smith. Ollie did the books. He was green, just out of law school, and he did not like me.” Luke smirked. “He was Baldwin’s best friend, even though I think they lost touch around that time. Went their different ways.”

“Was Joyce in the business? Or legit?”

“In those days, completely above the board.” Luke grimaced. “You always keep one guy on the outside who can’t be tied to anything. Not saying Ollie didn’t know what was up back in those days, but he wasn’t actively involved. There’s a difference.”


“After Smith went to prison, Ollie stayed on with the clubs. Damian took over, but he was a young kid just out of college. I think Ollie helped keep them afloat at first—you know, hiring managers, but the Smiths lost a lot of power and clout without Frank. He still had power inside, but you need someone outside who can make things happen. Damian Smith couldn’t. He didn’t have the same power.”

Luke picked up his cigar, then relit the tip. He took a long puff. “I’m not sure what went on with Ollie after Laura and me split town. When I came back to Port Charles, he was still handling club business and Damian was climbing the ladder. I think there was a power vacuum or something.”

“The Jerome family had fallen,” Taggert told him, and Luke nodded.

“Yeah, that makes sense. Ah, I wasn’t involved mostly at that time, but Frank was trying to pull me back in. He escaped from prison, and I got swept up in all of that.” He looked at Taggert. “I’m a confidential informant, yeah?”

“No one’s looking to get you in trouble, Luke. I know Smith put you and your family through hell. Lucky’s mentioned it.”

“Yeah, well, Damian was taking more control of the clubs, I think, when I moved back. The Campus Disco was gone, but the Paradise Lounge—that, was, ah, Damian’s main front.” He looked at Taggert. “It was managed by Sonny. Frank had known Joe Scully back in New York, and Scully wanted Sonny out of New York after some cop died.”

Taggert tensed. “So he came up here.”

“Yeah, Frank had him take over the club. Damian hated Sonny—hated that his father was still calling the shots.”

“Do you—” Taggert hesitated. “Do you know anything about the cop in New York?”

“Not much. You know, not all cops are great guys.” Luke sat up, leaned forward. “What I heard was Scully was doing Sonny a favor. Getting rid of a cop who’d been beating on his wife, but Sonny was a suspect. Easier to leave town.”

“Beating his—” Taggert shook his head. “That’s—” He stopped. That wasn’t what he was doing here. “Let’s talk about Oliver Joyce.”

“I heard a rumor somewhere, I don’t really remember where now,” Luke admitted, “that Ollie had drifted out of the legit side of the business. He hadn’t meant to, but sometimes—you know, you can’t help yourself. He wasn’t happy about the way the business was run at the Paradise. How the girls were treated.”

Taggert tensed. “Do you think that’s why he’s dead?”

“I can’t tell you that for sure. I wasn’t in the inner circle like that. But,” Luke said, meeting Taggert’s eyes, “I don’t think Frank Smith was paying too much attention to details like that in June of 1994. Ollie wasn’t on his list of priorities.”

They stared at each other for a long moment, then Taggert exhaled on a long breath. “He wasn’t on Frank’s list, but he was on someone’s. Who pulled the job, Luke?”

“I never really knew,” Luke said. “I still don’t. But knowing that Ollie’s death was closed pretty quick, no real investigation?” He shrugged. “When I found out David Case investigated—I knew.”

“Anna said that Case was a dirty cop. He retired in ’97. You know anything else about him?”

Luke waited, then sighed. “The things you do for your boy. Yeah, I know him. He was Sonny’s guy. Sonny lured him in at the Paradise with some girls, got some dirt on him, then paid him off until retirement.”

“Sonny’s guy,” Taggert repeated. “Not Frank’s. You didn’t tell Lucky that. You let him think he was Sonny’s inheritance from Frank.”

“That’s when I thought I could get Lucky to leave it alone.” Luke hesitated. “Sonny told me that he’d wanted a cop in his pocket that was loyal only to him. Not Frank or his kid. He had plans. He thought Port Charles was a good place to get power, and he wanted a hell of a lot of it.”

Taggert scrubbed his hands over his face. “God damn it.”

“I told Lucky—what I know can’t be proved. I’m sorry for it, I’m sorry for Kelsey. She’s a nice kid. But her dad played with some real bad people, and he didn’t get out soon enough.”

Taggert nodded, then made a face. “You said Ollie wasn’t happy about the girls at the Paradise. How? What was the issue?”

“Sonny used to traffic in girls,” Luke told him. “He stopped after the Paradise, at least as far as I know. Fed them drugs so they’d dance with less…” He wiggled his fingers. “They were looser,” he said. “I never liked it either, but I wasn’t in a position to argue. Sonny wanted Smith out of the way, and I needed Smith gone.”  He hesitated. “Karen Wexler worked at the Paradise.”

“Karen—” Taggert winced. “Did—did Ollie know Karen was his kid?”

“I don’t know. I never knew when Scott found out, so I can’t say when or what Ollie knew. I just know he and Sonny didn’t get along.” Luke looked at him. “I know how you feel about Sonny. You think there’s any chance of getting him on this?”

“I don’t know.” Taggert got to his feet. “But I guess we’re gonna find out.”

The Cellar: Office

Carly practically shot out of her seat when Elizabeth appeared in the doorway of her office, holding Cameron in a baby carrier. “Oh my God, is that Cameron?” she squealed. She hurried around her desk, then frowned when she realized Elizabeth was alone and her eyes were bloodshot. “What’s wrong? Where’s Jason?”

“He’s—” Elizabeth closed her eyes and swayed a little. Carly took her arm and with her other hand, took the carrier. She led her over to the sofa, helping her to sit, setting the baby between them. “He’s at home. Waiting for me. I just—I needed a minute before I went there. I’m sorry. I knew you were working—”

“It’s fine—” Carly sat next to her and took in her first real look at the dozing baby. She hadn’t realized just how little Cameron still was. She’d seen pictures, but at the same time—she’d thought— “He’s big enough to be home?”

“What? Oh—” Elizabeth focused on her son, then leaned forward to unfasten the straps. “Here. You haven’t had a chance to hold him, have you?”

Carly lifted Cameron into her arms, her heart aching at just how different his weight felt from the day she’d held Morgan after giving birth. Morgan had been healthy and full-term, weighing almost twice as much as Cameron.

“The doctor said he was doing better than expected,” Elizabeth said, a smile lighting up her face. “I know he still doesn’t look like other babies. I mean, he’s perfect to me, but—”

“No, no, I didn’t mean—it just—I don’t want to hurt him,” Carly told her. “You know? He seems…” Breakable. “Fragile.”

“He’s stronger than he looks. Jason wants to have you over this weekend to meet him. We’ve just been getting him into a routine, and I’ve messed that up—” Elizabeth dragged her hands through her hair and got to her feet, starting to pace. “I just—I need to get myself under control before I go home.”

“Okay,” Carly said with a nod. “And you came to me.”

“I did. Because I know you’ll understand.” Elizabeth turned to face her, folding her arms. “A bunch of the families and business people sent us gifts, and one of them—it was a bear. A bear that looked just like one Ric gave me for the baby last year.” She closed her eyes. “I put it out of my head. I had to. And most of the time, I don’t think about Ric anymore, but it’s hard. Because so much of what I’m dealing with is because of him. I still have to have surgery because of Ric. Cameron was born premature because of Ric. And this bear—” She looked away. “It just came back to me, and I shoved it out again.”

“You told Jason about it?” Carly asked, readjusting Cameron in her arms. “What did he say?”

“We both decided it was a coincidence and he took it away. But today, at the hospital — the storm was making the lights flicker, so I took the stairs. The lights went out, and it was all dark.”

Carly’s throat tightened. Small, dark space. “What happened?”

“The guard—he fell—but it was just—it was all so quick—we were in the dark, and all of a sudden, I felt like I was back in the crypt, and then the lights flashed, and I thought I saw—” She gulped in a breath. “I thought I saw Ric.”

“You thought—”

“I didn’t. I didn’t,” Elizabeth added. “I know it wasn’t him. There wasn’t anyone,” she continued. “Because the lights came back on right away, and there wasn’t anyone there. I imagined it. I thought I heard someone attacking Richie, but he’d just tripped with the stroller and fell down the stairs.”

She rubbed her arms. “I’m okay,” she repeated. “I just needed a minute, and Richie—he wouldn’t understand. I didn’t tell him. He wasn’t there. He’s new, you know. And he hasn’t—”

“He hasn’t been there long.” Carly tipped her head. “I know about Cody. I’m sorry. It’s hard to have a guard following you around, so it’s better when you can trust and know them. I always felt better with Max or Rocco.”

“It’s not Richie. I don’t think. I don’t know. It was just—” Elizabeth sighed and sat down. “He heard me screaming, and he looked at me like I was insane. That’s exactly what it was. Because he doesn’t know me or what I’ve been through. And it’s been months since I had a panic attack. I know I didn’t see Ric. I know he wasn’t there.”

“You had your son with you, alone with just a guard,” Carly said. “A guard you don’t know very well yet. And you’ve got Ric in your head.” She paused. “The first time I came back to the Cellar after getting out of the crypt, I had a panic attack. Because it’s underground without any windows. And then I had a few more after December. I hear Ric in my dreams. And then sometimes I think he’s in the room with me.”

“Still?” Elizabeth said.

“Yeah. More since Jason told us he was dead. I thought it would help knowing it was over,” Carly said. “But knowing and feeling it are different. How many times have you left the penthouse since Cameron was born without Jason?”

Elizabeth wrinkled her nose. “Today was the first time,” she admitted.

“There you go. You were already on edge and didn’t even know it.” Carly paused. “You should talk to Jason. If you’re not comfortable with Richie, you need to tell him that.”


“No buts,” Carly said firmly, getting to her feet and readjusting the baby who was starting to fuss. She handed him back to his mother. “We put up with a lot to exist in that life,” she continued. “The one thing you absolutely deserve is to be able to trust the man who’s supposed to protect you. And you don’t. If you think Richie’s judging you for what happened today, it’s going to be harder to build that trust. And—” she paused. “If you’re struggling with Ric and all of that, Jason should know that, too. I didn’t tell anyone but Kevin about the panic attacks. I never let Sonny in, not until it was too late. Don’t make that mistake.”

Luke’s: Bar

“Hey, isn’t it a little early?” Dante joked as he slid onto a stool next to Cruz while Lucky wiped a glass behind the bar.

“I’m here for the cheese fries,” Cruz said. “Didn’t think you’d show.”

Lucky set a Rolling Rock in front of Dante. “Thought you’d be busy at work,” he said with a raised brow. Dante rolled his eyes and took a long pull. “You do make a mean bowl of chili, I’ll be honest.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Dante looked at Cruz. “I was thinking about maybe coming back to the apartment. The press is long gone, so they probably won’t bother us.”

“Are we still pretending that’s the only reason you moved out?” Cruz asked, turning slightly to face Dante fully. “Because staying at Kelly’s made it easier for you to make googly eyes at his sister.”

Lucky winced. “Hey, I can be completely okay with Dante dating Lulu as long as we don’t talk about it.” He rolled his shoulders. “As far as I’m concerned, they play checkers.” He paused, then focused on Dante. “But are you serious? Are you done with Kelly’s?”

“Done with living there,” Dante corrected.

“Excellent timing,” Cruz said, “Maxie was planning an intervention.”

Dante grimaced. “Oh, hell—”

“Yeah, I don’t even want to know what that would have looked like,” Lucky said, shaking his head. “What about the department?”

“I—” He paused. “I’m starting to think about it, but like I’ve been saying to your sister—if I do, I gotta be ready for the press to start all over again. I’m not there yet.”

Cruz nodded. “Yeah, that’s fair. I mean, we can say we want you back, and we do. Spencer doesn’t even blame you for getting him shot—” Lucky flicked a pretzel at him. “But if it you makes you feel better, the PCPD’s about to have another scandal that might dwarf yours.”

“Oh, yeah?” Dante straightened. “What’d they do this time?”

“They might have covered up the murder of Kelsey’s father,” Lucky said grimly. Dante stared at him. “Yeah, you’re a little out of the loop. Let me catch you up.”

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

Jason knew something was wrong the minute the door opened, and Elizabeth maneuvered the stroller through. She glanced at Richie. “Thank you, Richie.” Then she looked away and smiled at Jason. “Hey.”

“Hey.” He brushed a kiss against her cheek, then looked at Richie. “We’re in for the day,” he told the guard. “So you can take off.”

“Uh—” Richie glanced at Elizabeth again. “Sure thing. I’ll hang out down in security for a while if you change your mind.”

Jason closed the door behind the guard and looked at Elizabeth as she took Cameron out of the stroller. “I have a bottle waiting,” he told her. “I’ll go get it.”


While Elizabeth fed Cameron, Jason folded up the stroller and put it in the closet, along with her coat, then tucked the diaper bag away. “You said the appointment went all right?” he asked, sitting next to her. “Did you get caught in the storm? I didn’t know how bad it was going to get. We lost power here for about ten minutes.”

“Yeah, um, about that.” Elizabeth sighed and let him tuck her into his embrace. She curled into his side, rearranging herself so that Cameron was comfortable, too. “Dr. Devlin said Cameron is doing better than expected. If he keeps the same pace, he’ll catch up by his first birthday.”

“That sounds like good news,” Jason said, frowning. He smoothed a thumb down Cameron’s cheek, reassuring himself that their son was all right.

“It was after. Um, the storm was bad, you know. And the lights kept flickering, even at the hospital. I decided to take the stairs because I didn’t want to get stuck in the elevator.”


“The lights went out while we were there. Um, I heard Richie fall, but I thought—” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “I had a panic attack. It was really dark, and I just went—my mind went directly to the crypt.”

Jason tightened his other arm around her, drawing her in more tightly. “I should have been there—”

“No, no, it’s not—it was just—the lights flickered, and for a minute I thought I saw Ric.” She blinked at him when he clenched his jaw. “I know I didn’t. No one was there. It was just my mind playing tricks on me, but I guess he’s been in the back of my mind more than I thought, and it was just—it was dark. I’m okay. We’re okay.”

“Okay.” Jason paused. “Then what’s the problem with Richie? You were acting strangely when you came back.”

“You really notice everything.” Elizabeth grimaced. “The lights were out for maybe thirty seconds, you know, and it all happened so fast. When they went back on, I had—I had screamed, and I probably looked upset and a little crazy. Richie—he just looked at me weird, you know? It’s fine,” she added. “He doesn’t know me very well yet, and I don’t know him. So we’re just—it’s bumpy.”

Jason exhaled slowly. He could tell she was more upset about being embarrassed than she was about the panic attack, and it killed him because he knew—he absolutely knew—that she wouldn’t feel that way if Cody had been with her. Cody would have made her feel safe. “Okay.”

“I took Cam to see Carly afterwards. I just wanted to calm down, and I knew she’d understand. I really am fine, it just shook me and I felt stupid, you know? It was just a storm.” Elizabeth leaned her head against his shoulder. “I’m okay.”

“I know, but I’ll talk to Marco. You know him better than Richie. I’ll have him switch to days. He likes nights better, but I’d rather you have someone you feel comfortable with during the day. And I’ll work on finding a new day guard.”

“Oh—Jason, you don’t have to—I don’t want to cause any trouble.”

“You’re not. It’s only been a few days, and it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve changed up guard duty. It’s not a big deal,” Jason promised her. “I’ll make sure Richie understands. He probably isn’t the right guy to be with you.”

“If you’re sure,” Elizabeth said.

“I’m sure.” He kissed her forehead. “Tell me more about the appointment. How much did Cameron weigh?”


  • I hope Richie hasn’t turned to the dark side. Thanks for the update.

    According to Shelly Wendy Samuel on August 5, 2022
  • I’m afarid that taking Richie off of Liz will turn him to the dark side. That is a plumb job, the bosses wife and to be ?demoted? is a slap in the face. And yes Liz probably did see Rick.

    According to leasmom on August 5, 2022
  • I’m glad Elizabeth and the baby were okay. There’s something weird going on with Ritchie; I think he’s in on it.

    According to Felicia on August 5, 2022
  • I hope Jason brings Cody back to shadow Elizabeth’s guard or Ritchie. I hope Jason starts thinking Ric may still be alive.

    According to Carla P on August 5, 2022
  • That was intense. I’m on the fence about Ritchie. I’m hoping Cody comes back too. I liked that Elizabeth could talk it out with Carly and then in turn talk it out with Jason. Great chapter.

    According to nanci on August 6, 2022
  • Luke told Taggert alot and it looks like Sonny killed Ollie. Dante needs to go back to being a cop. I don’t feel safe about Richie. I hope he’s clean and not working for Ric.

    According to arcoiris0502 on September 6, 2022