Chapter 78

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Mad World: Liberty

Seasons change and our love went cold
Feed the flame ’cause we can’t let go
Run away, but we’re running in circles
Run away, run away I dare you to do something
I’m waiting on you again
So I don’t take the blame
Run away, but we’re running in circles
Run away, run away, run away
Circles, Of Monsters and Men


Thursday, February 5, 2004

 Lake House: Front Porch

Though the air was cold enough to see his breath, Jason didn’t want to take the chance that the call would wake up Elizabeth.

Her good day on Tuesday had cost her — she’d woken yesterday feeling sluggish. Then this morning, she’d needed the oxygen tank between the bed and the sofa. He’d left her dozing to call his mother.

“The vitals are still in the normal range?” Monica wanted to know as Jason related Elizabeth’s condition. “The oxygen resolved the problems?”

“Yeah, but—”

“Jason, we talked about this. We knew there would be days where she felt like her old self, and then days when she would be too tired to move,” his mother reminded him patiently. “I’m sure it’s upsetting to see her struggling for energy, but as long as her blood pressure doesn’t drop and she doesn’t lose consciousness, there’s nothing the hospital or a doctor can do.”

“I know that. I just—” Needed to hear it again? Wanted a different answer? Jason didn’t really know why he’d called Monica —

Or maybe he did. So few people knew how severe Elizabeth’s condition was—he needed to talk to someone who understood what he was dealing with.

He curled his hand into a fist, resting it against the side of the house. “How do we know if it’s a crisis? I mean, when should I be taking her in—”

“If you’re looking for something other than blood pressure, Jason, I don’t have it for you. We’re going to do a full exam when you come back. If her oxygen levels drop, we’ll have to change treatment.” She paused. “She isn’t talking about moving up delivery, is she?”

“It’s a nonstarter,” Jason muttered. He wasn’t sure Elizabeth would change her mind even if her condition changed. As long as the baby was still healthy—he sighed. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have bothered you.”

“Of course, you should,” Monica said staunchly. “That’s what I’m here for. You did the right thing keeping her out of Port Charles. She can rest and relax. Of course, now you have more time to worry about her and the baby.”

“Cameron,” Jason corrected softly.

“What’s that?”

“Elizabeth—and I—we picked his name. Cameron Hardy Morgan.”

“Cameron Hardy,” she repeated. “That’s a good name. Steve and Audrey would be pleased.”

“Sonny didn’t come back to the hospital, did he?” Jason asked. “After Tuesday, I mean?”

“No, at least, he hasn’t come back to me. If he’s tried Bobbie or Justus again, I wouldn’t know.” She paused. “I’d suggest you not worry about that, but I know it won’t do any good.”

“No, it won’t.” He said goodbye to her, then peered through the window—Elizabeth was still resting, her eyes closed, so Jason made another call.

“Jason?” Carly’s voice was surprised, and a bit worried. “What’s up?”

“I wanted to check in with you—”

“Jason, I told you, I wanted you to enjoy your honeymoon. Please don’t worry about me—”

“I’m not—” Jason took a deep breath. “I just wanted to know if anything happened. After Tuesday. With the PCPD. Justus said he didn’t know anything—”

“Oh. Nothing yet. Lucky said he’d go over to talk to Sonny, but he said it might be a few days because it’s unofficial. I’m not pressing charges, but I still wanted a report so I can use it—” She hesitated. “I’m going to file for divorce, Jason.”

Jason closed his eyes and let his forehead rest against the house. He’d known this was coming—he’d expected it a long time ago. “Okay.”

“Please don’t worry,” she repeated. “You’ve spent too many years cleaning up after me. You have a family now. I have Mama here, and Uncle Luke is sticking his nose in—actually, there he is right now.” She paused. “I love you, Jason. You’re happy, right? You’re not letting what happened on Tuesday mess things up for you?”

“No,” Jason said finally. “Tuesday isn’t messing things up.”

“Good. I’ll see you when you come home. Have a great time and give Elizabeth my best.” The phone went dead, and Jason stared down at it.

Carly was going to file for divorce. Jason had known it was coming eventually, but he’d fooled himself into thinking he had more time. Sonny was going to completely lose it, Jason realized. Carly might be ready — but Justus and Bernie—the organization—could it withstand another confrontation with Sonny?

“Hey.”

He blinked, looking back up to find Elizabeth in the doorway. “You shouldn’t be on your feet,” he said instantly. He shoved his phone in his pocket and strode forward.

“I’m feeling a bit better,” she promised but didn’t protest when he put an arm around her waist and steered her back towards the sofa. “You were on the phone. Everything okay back home?”

“Yeah. No news. I just wanted to check in while I had a minute.”

She stopped him just as he started to lift her legs onto the sofa. “I’m okay,” Elizabeth repeated. “I don’t feel out of breath, and I only feel a little bit tired. Probably from, you know—” She rested a hand on her belly. “I promise, Jason.”

“I know.” Jason sat down. “I’m sorry,” he said after a moment. “I just—”

“Can’t do anything about what’s going on in my lungs, so you’re going to try to fix everything outside of it. I know.” She reached for his hand. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

Brownstone: Living Room

Carly frowned when she entered the living room with Morgan perched on her hip. “Uncle Luke, what are you doing here?”

“He came over to check on the security,” Bobbie said. “I’ve been telling him that Jason was careful which guards he put on the house—”

“I know all that, Barbara Jean,” Luke cut in. “I know he picked guards that he thought were more loyal to him than Sonny, but that doesn’t mean a fresh eye can’t do you some good.”

“It’s not like he broke into the house,” Carly said, already exhausted by the conversation and people constantly checking in on her. It felt like she wasn’t capable of taking care of herself and her children on her own.

Then again, maybe they were right. Sonny hadn’t broken in, but she hadn’t really let him in either. And it certainly hadn’t been Carly who had made him leave— it had been her brother and his boyfriend. It hadn’t been Carly who had freed herself when Sonny had locked her up—that was Jason and Elizabeth.

Jason and her mother—and now Luke, Lucas, and Felix—were all running interference, protecting her. It had to stop.

“Carly—”

“Mama—” Carly fastened Morgan into his swing and turned it on. “Ever since I left the penthouse, I’ve just been—” Shoving her head into the sand, hoping it would all go away. “I’ve been drifting,” she continued. “Waiting for something to happen. For Jason to get through to Sonny or for Sonny to figure things out on his own—” She turned to face her mother and Luke. “I can’t do it anymore. I can’t pretend this isn’t happening. I have to make a change.”

“All right,” Bobbie said slowly, trading an uneasy look with Luke. “What change are you thinking about?”

“Jason just called me,” Carly continued. “With everything he’s dealing with—and I know there are health problems with Elizabeth or the baby he’s not telling us yet—with all of that, he called me from his honeymoon because he doesn’t think I can do this on my own.”

“I’m sure that’s not true—”

“No one thinks that—”

Carly sliced her hand through the air, cutting Bobbie and Luke off mid-sentence. “I didn’t think so either, so I don’t blame him. And in his defense, Jason has been taking care of me for a very long time. You’ve been taking care of me, too, Mama. Now I got Lucas, who doesn’t even like me—” She took a deep breath. “I’m stronger than this. I’m better than this. Sonny could go get help tomorrow, and it wouldn’t change anything. I can’t go back. I’m a mother, and I have to start putting Michael and Morgan first. So I’m going to contact a lawyer and file for divorce.”

Luke lifted his brows as Bobbie bit her lip. “Are you sure you want to do start all of that with Jason out of town? What if Sonny gets wind of it?”

“This is the best time to do it,” Carly insisted. “He and Elizabeth are both out of firing range. Sonny can’t contact them. He can’t make this Jason’s problem, and neither can I. I don’t want you to worry about me. Either of you.”

“Well, that’s just impossible,” Bobbie declared, “but you’re making the right decision. Isn’t she, Luke?”

“Oh, yeah, no doubt about that.” Luke put his hands in his pockets and rocked back and forth on his heels, studying Carly. “Can I ask what kind of divorce you’re going for? He came here, spitting mad over the boys—”

“And I’m sure what I’m going to ask is not going to make things easier. I don’t want his money. I don’t need it. The clubs do fine, and I can make more money.” She paused. “But I’m asking for full custody of Morgan, and I’m going to revoke Michael’s adoption.”

Luke whistled low. “You’re playing with fire, Caroline—”

“I have repeatedly asked him to get help for his problems. Michael isn’t his biological son, and Sonny has really only been in his life for a few years.” Carly bit her lip. “I’m also hoping,” she admitted, “that doing this will shock Sonny. Taking the boys, refusing him access—it hasn’t gotten through to him. Taking Michael away—that’s the last card I have, Uncle Luke.” She looked at Bobbie. “Mama—”

“If you’re sure this is what you want to do,” Bobbie said, “then I’ll support you. Do you know who you’re going to contact?”

“Yeah, I do I just hope she’ll take my case.”

PCPD: Squad Room

“Am I reading this report right?” Detective Andy Capelli demanded as he approached Taggert’s desk. “You have Corinthos dead to rights on trespassing and assault? Why isn’t he in lock up?”

Lieutenant Marcus Taggert glanced up from his paperwork with a frown. “Why are you sniffing around my cases?” he retorted. He yanked the incident report from him. “How many times do we gotta do this—”

“How much is he paying you to sweep this under the rug?” Capelli shot back. “Everyone knows you’re Corinthos’s butt boy—”

“What did you just say to me?” Taggert demanded. “Listen, asshole—”

“Taggert, Capelli.”

The cold slice of the British accent from behind them had Taggert wincing. How many times was the commissioner going to catch him and Capelli going at it before one of them got written up?

He turned to face the irritated Anna Devane. “Anna—”

“You wanted proof Taggert was on Corinthos’ payroll, here it is.” Capelli snatched the report back and shoved it at Anna. “He’s covering up a felony—”

Anna didn’t bother to look at the report. “Detective Capelli, are you looking for another write-up?”

“But—”

“I am aware of this report.” Anna smoothed out the paper and handed it to Taggert. “Bobbie Spencer is a close, personal friend of mine,” she continued, “and I’ve spoken to her about this incident. You can be assured that the decision not to arrest Sonny Corinthos did not come from Taggert. If I were you, I would get out of his face before he writes you up for insubordination. He’s still your ranking officer.”

Seething, Capelli stalked out of the squad room. Anna sighed and looked at Taggert. “You can’t give in to him—”

“I wasn’t even on this call,” Taggert muttered. “Spencer and Falconieri both said Carly and Felix DuBois declined to press charges. It’s a mistake,” he continued, “but it’s theirs to make.”

“I know that.” Anna folded her arms. “I thought Spencer was going to talk to Sonny about this. They apparently have history.”

“Yeah, Lucky said he’s having trouble getting in to see him, but it’s unofficial, Anna, so his hands are tied. He’s trying to pull some favors. If Carly doesn’t want charges from this, I’m not forcing her hand.”

Anna picked up the report, scanned over the details, her brow furrowed. “Do we know how long Jason Morgan is supposed to be out of town? Doesn’t he usually keep Sonny on a pretty tight leash?”

“He does,” Taggert said, “but—” he paused. “Something is going on here. I don’t know what it is, but Sonny’s out there, running wild, breaking into houses, and creating chaos — and Morgan still isn’t back. I thought he would be when he heard about the Brownstone.”

“Well, didn’t you and the mayor tell me you were hoping there was finally some daylight between Corinthos and Morgan?” Anna asked. “He was willing to inform on Lansing to Ned. Perhaps he’s weary of cleaning up after his boss.”

“Maybe.” Still, it troubled Taggert. He knew something was up with Elizabeth—had seen something in her expression the day he and Scott had gone to see her about the wedding invitation. “I think Bobbie told me it’d be another week.”

“Well, at least someone is getting a break from this. Taggert, I respect Carly and Felix’s right to make this decision, but I also have to think about the big picture. The next time Sonny Corinthos commits a crime, you arrest him and sort it out later. Is that understood?”

“You don’t have to tell me twice.”

Corinthos & Morgan Warehouse: Justus’s Office

Justus kissed his wife’s cheek as he accepted the bag of food she’d brought him. “I don’t like you coming down here,” he complained.

“You told me it was safe.” Tamika Ward just lifted a brow. “You said so when we moved here. Safe enough for you, safe enough for me.” She pointed at the desk. “I needed a break from the store.”

“Or a break from Portia,” he muttered as he took his seat and started to unpack the containers of food.

“Don’t start. You love my sister. She’s got Kimi with her, which is why we can have a minute to ourselves.” Tamika removed the container from her soup and twirled a spoon. “How are things around here since…well, since.”

Justus sighed. “Not great,” he admitted. “Morale’s in the gutter. Sonny barely shows up except to yell at people. Johnny’s doing what he can, but honestly — Jason should be here.”

“Jason has a right to his honeymoon—” She pursed her lips. “Then again, I was surprised when Emily said it was for two weeks. That feels like a long time with everything going on.”

“I know—” Justus tipped his head. “He did that for Elizabeth.”

“I’m surprised she suggested it. She seemed to know what was going on with Sonny—”

“No, she—” He paused, shifting. “She’s sick, Mikki. It’s pretty bad.” He wiped his mouth, feeling his stomach swirl with nerves and worry. Every time he thought about what Elizabeth was going through, he thought of his own family. How would he have handled things if Tamika’s health had been so fragile—if there was a chance their precious daughter wouldn’t make it?

“Justus—”

“Last summer, she got these blood clots because of that asshole with the birth control,” he continued. “She ended up with this condition in her lungs — there was scar tissue in the blood vessels. They want her to deliver the baby early.”

Tamika stared at him. “Oh my God. How early?”

“If the doctors had their way, Jason said, this week or next. The kid would be in the NICU, probably with all kinds of complications. Elizabeth wants to wait as long as she can—”

“I’d do the same—”

“Right. But the longer she waits, the more stress it puts on her heart and lungs. Jason took her out of town to get her away from this circus. So, yeah, he should be here. He can’t. He made a choice between his family and this job. I’d make the same one.”

“Of course, you would, baby—”

“I’m just worried about what comes next. There’s another week before he gets back— and even when he does—what happens if Sonny lets loose on Elizabeth? He’s done it before, you know. Back in December. At the wedding—”

“Justus—”

“I can’t see a way out of this that doesn’t make it worse,” he continued. “And I’m afraid Elizabeth or the baby will pay the price.”

Harborview Towers: Hallway

It had taken Lucky nearly two days and all the favors he could manage to get admitted to the penthouse floor. He wasn’t entirely sure how his father had done it, but maybe Luke still had some friends in the organization after all these years.

“What are we even going to say to him?” Dante demanded, following Lucky out of the elevator. “Don’t harass your wife? Do you think we’re the first to say it—”

“No, but at least we can say we tried everything,” Lucky replied, wishing he had left his cranky partner in the patrol car. “Hey, Max.”

“Hey, Lucky.” The guard shifted uncomfortably. “Listen, Francis said he owed your old man for—” he slid a glance to Dante “—for something, but maybe you tell Mr. C I had no choice.”

“I got you, Max. Thanks.”

The guard knocked on the door then opened it. “Mr. C—”

“What the hell do you want?” Sonny demanded, shoving himself off the sofa. “Who let cops past the front desk?” he shot at Max.

“I told them that you either talk to me now unofficially,” Lucky said easily, unruffled by Sonny’s volatility, “or we’ll come back with an arrest warrant.”

“On what grounds—”

“Trespassing and assault,” Lucky cut in. “Carly and Felix didn’t press charges because I said I’d come to talk you. You throw me out, that changes things.”

Sonny clenched his jaw. “So talk, then get out.”

“You’re going to be served in the next day or two with a temporary restraining order. You can’t go back to the Brownstone, Sonny, or you’ll be arrested.”

She should be arrested! How about that? I want to press charges against her!” Sonny said, striding towards them. Dante fell back a step, but Lucky didn’t.

“On what grounds?”

“Child endangerment! She refuses to let me protect the boys. I tried to keep her safe, but she didn’t want to listen—”

“I don’t think that’ll stand up in court,” Lucky said slowly, “but—”

Sonny grabbed him by the collar and dragged him forward. “You tell that bitch that if she doesn’t give me my kids—”

Lucky wrapped his hands around Sonny’s wrists and shoved him back. “I’m going to ignore that, okay? Stay away from Carly.” He jerked his head at Dante. “Let’s get out of here.”

“Don’t come back without a warrant!” Sonny called after them.

Lucky jabbed the button for the elevator and frowned at Dante. His partner looked pale and shaken — almost like he’d been the one that had been pushed around. “What’s up with you?”

“Nothing. Nothing. I just hate these domestic calls,” Dante muttered. “The guy always finds a way to blame the woman. It bites.”

“Yeah, okay.” Lucky wasn’t sure that was actually the issue, but he let it go. They had bigger problems to worry about because he didn’t think Sonny would take the restraining order seriously.

Port Charles Municipal Building: City Attorney’s Office

Carly folded her hands again and looked over at the secretary busy at her desk, trying to pretend Carly wasn’t there — which did not bode well for Carly getting through to the city attorney.

Alexis Davis was Carly’s only hope — one of the few women in Port Charles who would not only understand what Carly was going through but help get her to the other side. If only Alexis would let her through the door.

“How much longer?” Carly asked the other woman, who flashed her an absent smile.

“I don’t know. You know, Ms. Davis is very busy—”

Carly shifted uncomfortably. She didn’t want to force Alexis’s hand—she didn’t want this to feel like blackmail, but desperate times called for desperate measures. “Maybe it would help if you told her why I’m here,” she said. “I have some medical information for Kristina—about her father.”

The secretary peered at her curiously, then picked up the phone. “Can you let Ms. Davis know that Carly Corinthos is still here and says she has some information about Kristina’s father?” The woman’s eyes widened. “Ah, yes. I’ll send her right in.”

Carly nearly smiled but suppressed it. Some things would never change. She rose from the seat to head for the door, but it was yanked open before she reached it, and Alexis was there, glaring at her. “Get in here,” she hissed.

“Now that’s not very discreet,” Carly murmured as she passed Alexis and settled herself in the visitor’s chair. Alexis closed the door and rounded her desk, her jaw clenched.

“What do you want? Why are you here? How did you find out—”

“You know, I’m surprised you managed to keep the secret this long,” Carly said, forcing a casualness she didn’t really feel. “You’re not good at playing it cool. And you know how I found out.” She hesitated. “I never believed the story about Ned. Remember? I knew you were pregnant, and I told Sonny. He went to talk to you—”

“And I told him Kristina is Ned’s daughter—which she is—” Alexis paled. “You never—he didn’t—”

“Sonny believed you,” Carly assured her. “As far as I know, he still believes you. I doubt he’s thinking about Kristina right now anyway. He’s—he’s out of control. That’s why I came to you. Because I get it now. I get why you didn’t want Sonny to be involved—” She paused. “It wasn’t just the job.”

Alexis took a deep breath. “Carly, I don’t know what’s going on—”

“I’m filing for divorce,” Carly interrupted. “And I need custody of my kids. Sole custody. I’m not—” Her heart twisted. “If I win this, Alexis, if you win this case—it would help you do the same if the truth about Kristina came out.”

“Why would it?” Alexis returned to her desk, standing behind it as if it gave her some comfort or security. “No one would ever need to ask—”

“Because this is Port Charles, and the truth always comes out.”

“Carly, this is outside my practice right now—”

“You’re a good lawyer,” Carly darted in front of Alexis even as the other woman moved to the door as if to usher Carly out. “You got Jason visitation with Michael when that was a long shot, right?”

Alexis hesitated, curling her hand into a fist at her side. “Carly, I’m not in private practice right now. If I took your case, it would be suspicious—”

“I know, I know. I thought about that, and I just—” Carly spread her hands out at her side. “I don’t have an answer for you. I don’t know. I just—” She bit her lip. “You heard about the other day at the Brownstone.”

“Yes.” Alexis folded her arms. “But—”

“He’s out of control,” she repeated. “The other day, it was the Brownstone and forcing his way in, punching an innocent bystander. At the wedding, he and Jason nearly got into a fistfight—” She squeezed her eyes shut. “And last December, he had some sort of break and locked me in the bedroom.”

“He locked you—” Alexis took a step back. “In the bedroom.”

“He was suffocating me with security after Ric disappeared, and I tried to leave him. He locked me in that room, and I couldn’t get out. I begged him to get help, Alexis. I’ve tried everything, but it’s not working. I don’t know anyone else who would understand how much I need to protect my kids the way you would.”

“Carly, if you file this kind of case—it means you and Sonny in court, going after each other. You can’t take this back. You’ll be telling the world Sonny isn’t fit to be a father—”

“He isn’t. Not like this. He’s barely been around Morgan, and Michael is terrified of him.” Carly paused. “This isn’t blackmail, Alexis. If you turn me down, I’m not going to tell the world about Kristina.”

“What if I lose—”

“I’m trying to get my kids away from Sonny. Why would I ever put your daughter in danger? She won’t ever know Morgan,” Carly said, “but I know they’re family. I’m asking to you protect Kristina’s brother, and I promise you — I will protect Morgan’s sister.”

Alexis closed her eyes, took a deep breath. “All right. Let’s talk about what’s next.”

Lake House: Master Bedroom

“I just got off the phone with Justus,” Jason said that night as he came in and dumped the phone and his wallet onto the dresser. “Things are fine—”

“Are they, or is he just covering so he doesn’t worry you?” Elizabeth asked. She bit her lip. “Or are you trying not to worry me?”

“I wouldn’t—” Jason sat on the bed, then stared at the dresser, avoiding her eyes. “I told you Carly is filing for divorce, but that paperwork might not be ready right away—”

“These last few days have been great, and I’m glad we did this,” Elizabeth told him, “but I really think we should think about cutting the trip short—”

“No—”

“Jason, staying here isn’t going to change the fact that things are going to get worse back home. Maybe the divorce won’t be filed right away, but didn’t you say Carly was going to get a restraining order? Won’t that complicate things? And—look, I don’t want to ask about the warehouse,” Elizabeth continued, and he jerked his head around to look at her. “And I’m not, but I can’t imagine things are great there with Sonny the way he is and you not there—”

“You don’t have to worry about any of that—”

“Telling me that doesn’t change the fact that I do worry. I don’t want to make things worse by staying away another week—”

“Staying here isn’t making things worse,” Jason said shortly. “I don’t want to talk about this anymore. You need more rest and less stress. I told you, if I thought we could get away with not going back until the baby was born, we’d be doing that.”

He got to his feet and went over to a drawer to drag out a pair of sweats. “You wanted to wait until the last possible minute to have the baby. I’m just trying to make that happen.”

And at that, she closed her mouth. They were both right—things at home were probably falling apart faster and harder than they would if Jason were there. But as long as she refused to deliver early, she was adding to Jason’s problems, making him dig in his heels even harder about staying away.

“Okay,” she said softly. “I’m sorry.”

He exhaled slowly. “I’m doing the best I can,” Jason said, his voice low and pained. “I need you to trust me.”

“I do.” She pushed aside the comforter and padded over to put a hand on his back, wincing at the tight muscles. She wished like hell she could make this better for him, but she wasn’t willing to give up hope that their little boy would be born healthy. She couldn’t stand the idea of him struggling for breath in the NICU when Elizabeth could give him a better chance.

“You know what I really want to do right now?” she asked, pasting a smile on her face. “I mean, I can’t do what I actually want to do,” she continued, relieved when Jason’s lips curved into a slight smile, “but I love when you read to me. It helps me fall asleep.” She took his hand in hers and led him back to the bed.

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Comments

  • Thanks for the update. I can’t wait to see what is going to happen next.

    According to Shelly Samuel on April 20, 2022
  • Great update. Carly trying to stand on her own. About time.

    According to leasmom on April 20, 2022
  • terrfc

    According to nicole on April 20, 2022
  • This is so good! Sonny is causing so much trouble. I’m very scared for Carly because she’s taking a big and dangerous step to be free of her husband. I’m also worried about Jason and Elizabeth and everyone else.

    According to arcoiris0502 on April 20, 2022
  • Awesome update! I’m glad Carly is going to stand up for herself but it definitely puts her in the path of Sonny and I am with Justus, he is right to be worried about Sonny putting Elizabeth and the baby in danger either directly or indirectly. I don’t think Jason could ever forgive that.

    According to nanci on April 20, 2022
  • I have Pateron and I have read this story twice so far ❤️

    According to Becca on April 23, 2022