Chapter 108

This entry is part 33 of 41 in the Mad World: Liberty

There’s not enough rope to tie me down
There’s not enough tape to shut this mouth
The stones you throw can make me bleed
But I won’t stop until we’re free
Wild hearts can’t be broken
No, wild hearts can’t be broken

Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, P!nk

Wednesday, April 30, 2004

Corinthos & Morgan Warehouse: Office

Jason closed the door behind him, then turned to Justus and Bernie. “It’s been almost two months since Cameron was born,” he said, then took a minute to let that information sink in because sometimes it felt like he was still standing outside the trauma room, waiting to hear if his wife and son would live or die.

“Okay,” Justus said when Jason didn’t continue. “And things have been mostly quiet which is good. Things are getting back to normal.” He tipped his head. “Aren’t they?”

“As far as I know.” Even if the bear was still poking at his brain, Jason hadn’t found a single reason to be sure that it was more than a coincidence. “How many people know what Cody did?”

“Cody?” Bernie repeated. “Uh, well, the three of us and Elizabeth, but I don’t think it really went further than that. Most of the guys think Cody got reassigned because he let Sonny get that close to Elizabeth.”

“What’s going on?” Justus asked. “Are you thinking of putting him on Elizabeth again?”

“Not just thinking about it. I called him back from Puerto Rico.” He sat down behind the desk and told them about the stairwell. “Elizabeth stayed home yesterday,” he said, “and I told Richie she’d be home again today but then I had Marco stay with her. She likes Marco and he’s been trustworthy—”

“Why not keep Marco on her, then?” Bernie wanted to know. “Cody’s a security risk—”

“Not to Elizabeth, he’s not,” Justus said and Jason nodded. “He did the wrong thing for the right reasons, and we were all looking for a way out. If you’d told him how sick she was, he never would have taken that risk. I think we can agree on that. But still—why not Marco?”

“He’s got a kid,” Jason told them, “and he asked us from the start to work nights. He wants to be at home so his mom doesn’t do all the work. He stays with us for the paycheck. He did me a favor until I promoted Richie, and he’s doing me another one right now. But it can’t be permanent.”

“Fair enough. Still—”

“I need someone Elizabeth feels safe with. The safer she feels, the more she trusts her guard, the better off she’ll be. I was going to do this no matter what you said,” he told them. “But I’m glad that what happened with Cody never got out. It’ll be easier.”

“It’s your risk to take,” Justus said with a shrug. “You know that I was on Cody’s side for the most part, but if it gets out that Cody turned and not only lived to tell the tale but got to keep his plush assignment guarding the boss’s wife, there’s going to be hell to pay.”

Remembering the flush of shame in Elizabeth’s cheeks, and the discomfort she’d shown a few days earlier, Jason just nodded. “I’ll deal with that if I have to. It’s worth the risk.”

Kelly’s: Dining Room

Taggert checked his watch for the third time since sitting down and across the table, Portia arched her brows. “Marcus, you look at that thing one more time, I’m gonna choke with you it.”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” He focused on her and smiled. “I’m sorry,” he repeated, more genuinely. “I know I’ve been busy—”

“You’re just lucky you’re cute,” she murmured, lifting her coffee cup. “What’s so important about this case, anyway?” Portia asked. “I know it’s your ADA’s dad, but it’s a cold case, isn’t it? Aren’t you just talking to people?”

“Normally, but I’m—” Taggert hesitated. “It’s not just who the victim was,” he admitted. “I’ve been going over every step a thousand times, making sure all the paperwork is right, that I’m documenting everything—”

“Why?” she pressed. “I mean, I’m glad you’re doing the job right, but you usually do—”

He pushed his food around on his plate, wondering whether or not he should explain that he’d been obsessed with Sonny Corinthos to the point he’d nearly gotten two women killed. Was there ever a good time to bring that up?

“I told you I started in the NYPD, didn’t I? In Brooklyn.”

“You did. That’s where you grew up, right?”

“Yeah, in Bed-Stuy. It was just me, my sister, and my mom for the longest time.” He paused. “You’d like my sister, Gia. She’s in law school in the city.” Taggert sipped his coffee, then set down the cup. “I joined the department in 1992, but it might as well as have been 1972.”

“92?” Portia’s brows lifted. “You were only twenty?”

“Did two years at city college like I promised my mom, but I always knew I wanted to be a cop. I wanted to make a difference.” Taggert grimaced, looked away. “It was tough those first few years, but I made it happen. I kept at it, and I didn’t let any of those assholes stop me.”

“What does that have to do with this case?” Portia folded her arms on the table and tipped her head to the side. “I thought the vic was from here—”

“He was, but—I’m sorry. I’m—I’m not doing this right.”

“Don’t worry.” She smiled at him, reached across the table to squeeze his hand. “Just tell me.”

“I was going the wrong way back when I was a kid. When I was fourteen, I almost ended up in a street gang. My mother was so sure I’d end up no good like my father. Then I got hauled in on a vandalism charge—” He snorted. “It wasn’t me, but it could have been. I’d tagged so many damn cars and walls in that neighborhood, I figured they’d grabbed me when they had the chance.”

He rubbed his jaw. “It was a tough time to be a Black kid in New York,” he admitted. “It was 1986, a few years before those kids got arrested for that rape in Central Park.”

“The boys that just got released last year? Did you know any of them?” she asked.

“No, they weren’t from my neighborhood. But I knew kids like them. Kids that were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I hated the cops.” Taggert sighed. “But the guy who pulled me in that night believed me when I told him I didn’t do it. He believed my mom, too, when she gave me the alibi. Ma never would have lied for me, but you know—most of the dicks never believed her.”

“But this guy did.”

“He saw my mom as someone whose word could be trusted. You know what that was like?” Taggert asked her. “For a guy like that to look at me, and take me at my word? He went to bat for me with the other cops, and I got released.”

“One of the rare ones.”

“Yeah. He kept in touch after that. He was married, and his wife came over a few times with him. She was really nice. She had a kid—he was older than me and out on the streets. Deke took an interest in me—took me to ball games, irritated me about school. I became a cop because of him.”

“What happened to him?” Portia said softly, but in her eyes—she could see that he knew.

“The kid—the stepson?” Taggert said. “When I say he was out on the streets, I mean he ran with Joe Scully’s crew. I didn’t know much about him then—Scully worked out of Bensonhurst and we had our own problems in my neighborhood.”


“The kid had him killed. Had Joe Scully put a bullet in his brain.”

Portia inhaled sharply. “What? Why?”

“Because he hated him. Hated cops.” Taggert met her eyes. “That kid grew up to be Sonny Corinthos. My mentor—the reason I got off the streets—he was Sonny’s stepfather, Deke Woods.”

Taggert’s mouth twisted as he continued. “People forget what garbage Sonny was back then. He ran drugs and women in Port Charles. He did it in New York, too. He beat his mother when Deke wasn’t looking. He killed her, but Deke said they couldn’t prove it—”

Portia’s eyes widened. “Oh my God—”

“After Deke died, I knew I had to become a cop. I had to join the force and make sure Sonny paid for everything—” He sat back. “I moved to Port Charles to take him on. For seven years, he was all I could think about.”

“But you transferred out of Organized Crimes,” Portia said. She shook her head. “And…you went to the wedding. He—he was Jason Morgan’s best man, wasn’t he?”

“Yeah, well, since he took over for Frank Smith, Sonny’s been trying to pretend he’s some sort of honorable criminal. He doesn’t run drugs or women, and he’s got money now. I couldn’t nail him—” He hesitated. “Carly’s kidnapping last year. The Lansing case. I got tunnel vision. I thought I played it right, and the record reads like I did—but I know better. I know that I saw my chance to get him, and I almost got Elizabeth and Carly got killed.”

He sipped his coffee. “Letting go of this thing with Sonny—I had to. Or I was gonna have to give up the job. But this case…”

“You said it was related to the mob. Is Sonny a suspect?”

“Yeah. The main suspect. I just—I don’t have any direct evidence, just rumors. Part of me wonders if I just want it to be him.” He looked at her. “What if I’m focusing on Sonny because of that? Because of my past with him?”

Taggert leaned back in his chair, shook his head. “No, I got too much going for me. I’m doing good work at the PCPD. Those kids—” He glanced at the kitchen. Dante wasn’t working today, but he’d let him down somehow. “The rookies. I owe it to them to be better than I was. And you. I got you, and we’ve got a kid coming—”

“You think you’re getting obsessed with Sonny Corinthos again?” Portia asked. “Marcus.”

“I don’t know. I thought about passing the case,” he admitted. “After I talked to Luke Spencer—after I realized what I was getting into—” He broke off abruptly.

“This man broke into the Brownstone, attacked his ex-wife and her brother. He punched you. And you offered to drop the charges to make Carly’s life easier.” Portia arched her brows. “Would you have done that even a year ago?”

“No,” Taggert said, after considering the question. “I just—”

“The fact that you’re worrying about it? Thinking about passing the case? ” Portia leaned forward. “That’s not a man obsessed with anything other than doing the right thing.”

Taggert smiled at her, feeling lighter. She was right, of course, and now he was glad he’d talked to her about it. “Thanks.”

“I have to run,” Portia said, getting to her feet. “But it’s gonna be one of those days.” He stood and kissed her. “Call me tonight. We’ll get dinner when I close.”

“Count on it.”

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

Bobbie sighed happily as she strolled around the living room while Cameron dozed in her arms. “I just love having another grandbaby to spoil,” she told Carly and Elizabeth who were sitting on the sofa. “I can’t wait until he’s old enough to run around with Morgan and Michael.”

Morgan still isn’t old enough to do that,” Carly reminded her mother, then looked at Elizabeth. “I didn’t see Richie outside today.”

“No. You were right. I told Jason, and he immediately volunteered to change the guards. I feel bad because Richie didn’t really do anything wrong—” Elizabeth grimaced, then looked at Bobbie. “Did Carly tell you about Monday?”

“She mentioned it, but didn’t get into the details. Something about the lights and a panic attack.”

“Her guard thought she was crazy, or at least made Elizabeth feel crazy,” Carly told Bobbie. “So Marco’s on days?”

“For a bit. Jason’s going to get me another guard, I guess. I don’t know. I feel stupid because it’s not like Ric was even there.” She sighed and checked her watch. It was almost time for Cameron’s next bottle. “I don’t know why it can’t just be over,” she murmured. “He’s dead. It should be over.”

“I know.”

“And the crypt—God, why am I having panic attacks after almost two years?” Elizabeth demanded. “It doesn’t seem fair.”

“I wish I could say that you’ll get over it for good,” Bobbie said as she sat down in the armchair. Carly rose to go check on Morgan, napping in the portable crib. “But you know better than that.”

“I know. The rape came back and slapped me around again, didn’t it?” Elizabeth grimaced. “It’s like, I resolve one thing, and then the next one comes around. I’m just—I’m exhausted. From not sleeping because of Cameron, and then worrying all the time—and now this.” She shoved herself to her feet and crossed over to the mantel. “I hate that Jason had to reassign a perfectly nice guy because I can’t handle the dark.”

“Elizabeth—” Bobbie began, but Carly shook her head.

“That’s not why he did it, and you know that. And it’s not your fault.” Carly got up. “Do you remember when I came to see you at the hospital last summer? And you told me that you had the same stress condition I did? Why didn’t you tell Jason at the time?”

Elizabeth sighed. “Because I was scared he’d think I was weak and stay away from me.”

“And this time you told him. Were you worried that he’d think you were weak?”

“No. No, not really. I was embarrassed, but—” Elizabeth managed a smile. “I knew he wouldn’t see it that way. I came to see you so that I’d be calmer when I came home. To I could have a minute to think.”

“You’ve both come so far since last year,” Bobbie told them. “But that doesn’t mean you don’t still have a long way to go. You’ll get there.”

“Yeah. Probably.” Carly wrinkled her nose. “Sonny’s been home for like a month. Have you talked to him?”

“Not yet. Jason said he came by on Monday, and they talked. I’m going to ask him over for dinner sometime this week,” she admitted. “Jason said Sonny’s struggling with a reason to stay on the meds, and I guess we’re both going to try to find a way to give him one. He can’t get the business back or fix things with you,” she added to Carly. “But I know how important Sonny is to Jason, and God knows, I know how your mind can screw with you.”

“Are you sure you’re ready to let Sonny in?” Bobbie asked skeptically. “Don’t do it just because of Jason—”

“It’s not just because of Jason. It’s a different sort of pressure for me, I guess. He was Jason’s best friend, not mine. He wasn’t my husband or the father of my children. There’s just not the same expectations, you know? I wasn’t even as angry with him as everyone else because I didn’t have a reason to be. I was disappointed and irritated, but not angry.” Elizabeth took Cameron from Bobbie. “I can do this for Jason. I want Sonny to be better so that one day, he might get more of his life back.”

“I suppose that makes sense, and I don’t want Sonny to stop taking the meds.” Carly bit her lip. “But I hope he gets healthy and stable again for his sake.”

“And that’s all I want to do. Keep him on the road to that stability,” Elizabeth said. “We’ll all be better off.”

Corinthos & Morgan Warehouse: Office

Jason braced himself as Richie knocked on the open door. “Francis sent me over. Said you wanted to talk to me.”

“Yeah.” Jason got up and went to close the door. “I appreciate you stepping in and helping out with guarding Elizabeth for a few days, but I wanted to let you know that I’m reassigning you.”

Richie’s hands curled into fists at his side. “Did I do something wrong? Is this about Monday? I swear—I tried to tell her to take the elevator—we never should have been in that stairwell—”

Jason bristled at that statement, but shook it off. “It’s just not going to work out. Don’t take it personally,” he said. “Cody became available again, and he’s a better match.”

“Cody?” Richie echoed. “I thought he went to Puerto Rico.”

“He did, but he’s back, and he’s been her guard for almost a year.  I talked it over with Francis, and he suggested you could take over the security detail at the Cellar.”

“The Cellar.”

“Yeah. Jimmy was doing that, but he’s going down to Puerto Rico. You’re not guarding Carly—she doesn’t need one anymore—but you’ll be on the building. Making sure it’s secure.”

“Okay,” Richie said. He nodded. “Okay. Uh, thanks for the opportunity. Tell Mrs. Morgan I said goodbye.”

“I will.” Jason opened the door to let him out, and saw Cody waiting. “Hey, Cody. I didn’t think you’d get here until tomorrow.”

“O’Brien said you needed me here, so I thought—” Cody glanced at Richie as the other guard glared at him and left. Jason made a note to keep an eye on that situation. “Um, I didn’t think—I didn’t know if maybe you changed your mind about—”

Jason waited for Cody to come into the office and then closed the door. “I haven’t. You did what you did, and it’s over. I’m satisfied that you did it to protect Elizabeth. She sent you away because she was worried what the other guards would think if I let you stay on as her guard.”

“I know. And I’m still sorry for what I did. I should have come to you or found another way to take care of the situation. Um, am I being reassigned to the warehouse?”

“No. I haven’t talked to Elizabeth yet, but assuming she’s okay with it—” Jason went back to the desk and looked at the stuffed bear that he’d left on top as a reminder to never take chances with Elizabeth. “She needs a guard who makes her feel safe, but I also need someone I know will put her first. Not just her physical safety.” He paused. “You know what she’s been through this last year.”

“I do.”

“It’s why you did what you did.”

Cody swallowed hard. “Yeah.”

“She needs someone who understands all of that and doesn’t treat her differently. I don’t have anyone else working for me who I think fits that better than you. She still has to agree,” he warned Cody. “But if she does, I hope you’ll come back to guard her.”

“You’re—” Cody cleared his throat. “I didn’t—you’re giving me another chance.”

“It’s the last one. Elizabeth and my son are more important to me than anything else. The business, the organization — she’s number one. They both are. If you think something I’m doing is dangerous to her, then you better bring that to me.” Jason met Cody’s eyes. “You get me? You don’t get another chance, Cody. This is it.”

“You told me that I had to make her number one when I started guarding her,” Cody said. “And she made it clear that that you were her number one when she sent me away. I messed that up. I put you in danger by trying to help. I won’t do it again. You won’t regret this.”

Municipal Building: Scott’s Office

“Come in, come in.” Scott gestured for Taggert to take a seat. “You have an update on Ollie’s case?”

“Uh, sort of.” Taggert set a few files on the desk, waited for Scott to sit down. “I talked to Spencer. He added some things to what I already knew.”


“I need to clear up some timeline issues.” Taggert hesitated. “Karen.”

“Karen?” Scott leaned back. “What about her?”

“When did you find out she was your daughter?”

“Oh. Uh—” Scott blinked, then squinted. “Um, sometime in early January of…’94. Yeah, about six months before Ollie died. Rhonda called me—she said she’d been thinking things over, felt bad I didn’t know. And that it might be nice for Karen to have a relationship with me if we wanted that. I think she didn’t tell Karen until she was marrying Jagger. In March, that same year. Why?”

“Because I think this goes back to Karen and the Paradise. Sonny was hired on there as a favor to Joe Scully, according to Luke. And based on what I’ve learned—the Paradise changed under his management. It had probably always been a front for gambling—”

Scott twisted in his seat. “Wait a second—”

“Luke only knew rumors, but he thought Oliver was unhappy about the treatment of some of the girls. That he knew drugs were being used on the premises. Did he know about Karen? Being your daughter?”

“Yeah. Uh—” Scott shook his head. “I’m sorry. This is—this is just a lot. I—are you telling me that maybe he got killed because of what was going on at the Paradise?”

“That’s the rumor,” Taggert said slowly. “Did Oliver know Karen was your daughter?”

“Yeah,” Scott said faintly. “Rhonda said she’d reached out to him—we all went to school together. When Karen was struggling. She’d wanted some help. I never asked why she’d called him. I wasn’t involved then. But if—if he was working at the Paradise, it makes sense Rhonda wanted to talk to him.”

Scott looked at Taggert. “Wait. Wait. Is Corinthos a suspect?”

“I don’t have any evidence,” he said, “but yeah, based on Spencer’s statement, he is. The cop that buried the case—he never worked for Frank Smith. He was always on Sonny’s payroll.”

“Damn it. Damn it. And there’s no way to prove any of this—” Scott shoved away from the table. “Ollie got himself killed because of Karen?”

“I don’t know for sure, Scott. We might never know. I’m driving down to Buffalo tomorrow to talk to Angela Joyce. Now that Kelsey’s brought this to us, her mother might agree to help. I’m hoping she saved some of her husband’s paperwork to see if I can make any connections to Corinthos to pull him in for questioning.”

“Christ.” Scott crossed over to the window, looked down at the street. “It always comes back to him,” he muttered. “Even when we try to get away. I tried to let it go, Taggert.”

“So did I. And I sure as hell didn’t go looking for this case or for Sonny. I thought maybe we’d find some evidence of Smith ordering someone to do it—I never thought it’d be tied to Karen or Sonny. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be.” Scott met his eyes. “Last year—last summer—we made mistakes. And we went after Sonny hard. That was wrong. And we learned from it, didn’t we? I think I did. I mean, I tried to do right by Carly after it went down. And you—you made nice with Morgan for Elizabeth’s sake.”

“I had my doubts, too,” Taggert admitted. “But this case—I’m on even ground here. I crossed all the boxes, and I’m waiting for probable cause before I pull Sonny in.”

“Luke pointed you in this direction? Luke Spencer?” Scott grimaced. “Never thought he’d turn on Sonny.”

“A lot of people are turning their back on Corinthos these days. Even Morgan.”

“I never thought I’d have a chance to get my daughter any justice for what that man did to her.” Scott looked at Taggert. “You’re going to Buffalo tomorrow? Let me move some things around. I’ll go with you. Angie might talk to me.”

Morgan Penthouse: Master Bathroom

“I think this is my favorite part of the day,” Elizabeth told Jason as she carefully washed the soap suds from Cameron’s body. His little fists splashed the water in the basin and his lips curved into what might have been a smile. “He loves the bath.”

“Smart guy.” Jason kissed the side of her neck, and Elizabeth laughed. “I think he likes it better when you do the bath.” He handed her a dry towel so she could wrap the baby in it and quickly dry him.

Once Cameron was double layered, Jason stayed behind in the bathroom to clean up while she went to feed him. Cameron had only been home for five days, and while she hadn’t had a lot of sleep, it was the best she’d felt in months. Maybe even years.

“I have something I want to run by you,” Jason said, switching off the light and closing the door. “You know I’ve been looking for a new day guard.”

“Oh, did you find someone? Marco won’t say anything but I know he’s worried with summer coming — he wants to be with DeeDee as much as possible. Did you know she was almost done with preschool? There’s a graduation, and I want to send a card—” Elizabeth stopped. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt you.”

“No, but thanks for letting me know. We’ll do something for him. I asked Cody to come up from Puerto Rico.”

Elizabeth blinked at him, then readjusted when the bottle slipped out of the baby’s mouth and he started to fuss. “Cody. I—”

“I know why you sent him away and I agreed. But it’s been two months, and no one really knows what he did. But before I gave it a green light, I wanted to make sure you’d feel okay with it.”

“I don’t know. I’ve missed him,” she admitted. “I was so angry and upset when I found out what he did, but it’s helped with time. I really would feel—I don’t know. He was there at the house and with the hearing, and—I guess I wouldn’t have felt so embarrassed if he’d been there. But I don’t want to cause trouble. Won’t it be a problem if it gets out?”

“It might be, but I’ll handle it. If you want Cody back on the door, then I’ll tell him to show up tomorrow.” Jason paused. “I don’t know anyone else in the organization who would be a better fit or who would protect you better. He was willing to go against me to keep you safe. That’s worth something to me.” He crouched down in front of the chair and met her eyes. “I can’t be with you all the time,” he continued. “And you wouldn’t want me to be. But I need you to not only be safe but feel safe. You and Cameron.”

“We’ll try it out and see how it goes.” Elizabeth paused. “Thank you. For thinking of this. I wouldn’t have even considered asking for Cody.”

He stood up and kissed her forehead. “I love you. If you don’t end up feeling comfortable with Cody, let me know. He’ll understand.”

“I know he will. I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

Joe’s: Bar

Claudia sauntered through the door and stood in the entrance for a minute, scanning the dive bar for her prey. Finding him at a back table, slumped over a shot glass with a bottle of tequila nearby, her lips curved into a smile. Drinking away his sorrows. Just the way she liked her men.

She weaved through the crowds of dockworkers, avoiding the stares. Most people didn’t know what she looked like and by the time anyone realized she was from the Zacchara family and that she’d been in Port Charles—

Well, it would be too late.

She tugged out a chair from the table and slid into it. “Richie, isn’t it?”

Richie looked up, his eyes glassy. “Who’s asking?”

“Someone who hears that you’ve been done wrong.”


  • Thanks for the update. I hope Richie doesn’t turn to the dark side and get killed. I am happy Cody is coming back to take care of Liz and Cam. Thanks for the update.

    According to Shelly Samuel on August 9, 2022
  • I was hoping Ritchie would take the news better than he is. I am glad Cody is coming back. How did Claudia know so fast that Ritchie had been dismissed from guarding Elizabeth. Sounds like there is still a trader. I hope Angela can help Taggert and Scott.

    According to Anonymous on August 9, 2022
  • Whoa! How did Claudia know that Ritchie was no longer assigned to Elizabeth so fast? Is the warehouse bugged? Welcome back Cody, I hope you stay on the straight and narrow. Great update.

    I wasn’t able to get your post to open on the main page for whatever reason (my connection is straight up evil) so I wanted to take a second and extend my condolences regarding the passing of your best friend.

    According to nanci on August 9, 2022
  • I knew Ritchie wouldn’t take it well. Being taken off the bosses wife is a real big come down and everyone will know it. But yes how did Claudia learn about it so fast. Our is our time line just off? You switched topics and never put in that it could have been days or even a few weeks.

    According to leasmom on August 9, 2022
  • loved this chapter I figured Ritchie would go to the dark side. I always like Cody.
    Taggert & Scott on the case.
    So happy Cam is doing so well.

    Very sorry to read about your friend, sounds like you had a wonderful relationship

    According to PAMELA HEDSTROM on August 9, 2022
  • Wait if they just now coming to Ritchie that mean he wasn’t already working with Ric and he wasn’t in the staircase with them. Shit I thought he was already working with Ric. I hope he don’t start working with Claudia and Ric now.

    According to Jamie Lee Ann Byrd on August 10, 2022
  • Taggert made some connections to Sonny but he’s wrong about Deke. Scott has to be so angry. I hope Angela knows something. Dang! Richie better not help Claudia. Yay! Cody is back!!

    According to arcoiris0502 on September 6, 2022