Port Charles Courthouse: Court Room
Jason’s mood turn another dark turn when he slid into a chair next to Sonny and Carly and saw Baldwin behind the prosecution’s table. Brenda, sitting behind them, leaned forward to touch his shoulder.
“Were you able to see her?” Sonny asked, twisting in his chair slightly. Carly, mercifully, stayed silent.
“No,” Jason muttered. “No visitors before they drove her over here.” He scrubbed a hand over his face. He hadn’t slept in two nights—not since Taggert had dragged Elizabeth out of their bedroom and put her in handcuffs.
“Sonny said Diane Miller is the best defense lawyer in the state,” Carly said. Jason frowned at her. “I mean, he’d only hire the best. This will be okay, Jase.”
Jason squinted at her. “Are you…trying to be nice?”
She wrinkled her nose. “Yes, and it hurts, so don’t start with me.”
The lawyer in question strode into the room and went to the front of the room, setting her briefcase on the table before turning to the small group behind her.
Jason lurched to his feet. “Did you see her? Is she okay?” he demanded, pitching his low so that Baldwin, despite his straining, could not hear them.
“She’s managing,” the redhead said after a long pause. “When this is over, you take that girl on a nice vacation where she can get some sleep.”
Jason started to reply, but a door opened by the judge’s bench and a bailiff led Elizabeth into the courtroom and he swore under his breath when she looked over at them, focused on him. She’d changed into prison blues, the shirt practically swimming on her. Her hair hung limply down to her neck, and her skin—always pale—was nearly translucent with thick, dark purple circles digging grooves beneath her eyes.
“Jason,” she said softly as the bailiff unlocked the shackles at her ankles.
“Why the hell is she shackled head to toe?” Diane demanded off the bailiff. “She’s not a violent criminal—uncuff my client! Now!”
“Sorry, ma’am—” the bailiff slid his eyes to Baldwin who just lifted a brow. “I got my orders. Said this one is a flight risk—”
“Flight risk—” Sonny lunged to his feet. “How the hell—”
“It’s okay,” Elizabeth said faintly. She swallowed. “It’s just for a little while, isn’t it?” Her eyes found Jason’s. “Diane said they’ll set bail, and I’ll go home—” Her voice faltered. “So I can manage.”
Jason fisted his hands at his side, but he didn’t think getting himself arrested for pummeling a district attorney would help Elizabeth’s case. He glared at the bailiff, before looking back at Diane. “Whatever you have to do—get her out of here today.”
“I’ll do my best—” Diane turned as the bailiff hooked Elizabeth’s cuffs to the table, her lips thinning with distaste.
“Girl probably weighs a hundred pounds soaking weight,” Sonny muttered as he took his seat. “And they think she’ll overpower the damn cops—”
“They’re doing it to rattle Jason,” Brenda said quietly. Jason turned to the brunette. “You know it. Baldwin just wants you to feel guilty and do something stupid.” She looked at Scott who was deliberately not looking at them. “Don’t let him see you get upset. It’s what he wants.”
“Brenda’s right,” Carly said, “and it’s a measure of my love for you,” she told Jason who just blinked at her, “that I’m admitting that.”
The bailiff called the hearing to order and the judge stepped up to the bench to begin the hearing. Jason’s blood boiled as Scott laid out the evidence against Elizabeth — she’d been on the pier when Zander had been killed, she had motive —
“And Your Honor, Elizabeth Webber fled the jurisdiction immediately after the crime,” Scott began.
“Objection,” Diane said coolly, not even bothering to stand. She sounded nearly bored. “My client traveled to Las Vegas and returned to Port Charles within twenty-four hours. She was already in the jurisdiction when the PCPD questioned her. I find your characterization of her actions outrageous and spurious—”
“She went to Las Vegas in the middle of the night on a private flight that wasn’t scheduled,” Scott shot back. “And she only came back when she’d married the witness in her case—”
“I’m sorry, since when is Jason Morgan a witness to a murder he wasn’t in town for?” Diane said pleasantly. “You have the receipts. His plane took off almost twenty minutes before Zander Smith was shot—”
Scott opened his mouth, but the judge cut him off. “Neither one of you is earning any points here,” he said dryly, drawing both their attention. “You’ve made your case, D.A. Baldwin.” He looked at Diane. “How does your client plead?”
Diane nodded to Elizabeth. “Not guilty,” Elizabeth said quietly.
“All right. The court will reflect that and we’ll bound this over for trial.” The judge picked up a pen. “What’s the position on bail?”
“Since the defendant has married a man of considerable means with property in several countries without an extradition treaty,” Scott said, “we request that bail be denied.”
The judge looked at Diane. “I imagine you oppose that?”
“We do. My client has no criminal record and has ties to the community. She’s lived here since she was a teenager—”
“Which was practically last year,” Scott muttered.
“And her grandmother still lives here. In addition, her husband has ties to Port Charles. His parents are doctors at General Hospital, and the Quartermaines are prominent citizens. My client is the opposite of a flight risk.”
The judge studied Diane for a long moment, then focused on Jason in the audience with a furrowed brow. “Your client’s husband has refused all ties to the Quartermaines in the past, and Miss Webber might not have been convicted of any crimes, but I do see several arrests on her record. I am denying bail at this time—”
“That’s crap!” Carly announced at the same time Sonny sputtered out his protest, but Jason couldn’t find the words. Elizabeth didn’t look at him, but her head bowed slightly.
“Your Honor, this is without merit—”
“Your client is accused of murdering an ex-lover. She fled the jurisdiction, then married a man who can get her out of the country before I finish my lunch,” the judge said dryly. “She gets no brownie points because she came back. You should have chosen your associates better, Miss Webber.” His voice hardened. “Or should I call you Mrs. Morgan?”
The judge banged the gavel as Diane was still sputtering in outrage. “Court is adjoined. Please return the defendant to lockup—”
“Wait—” Diane hissed. “Can my client have a minute with her husband—”
“So they can make plans for escape?” Scott said with a roll of his eyes.
“Oh, I am going to call my mother,” Carly told Scott. “You’re never getting her back after this—”
Scott made a face, but the judge nodded at Diane. “She can have a minute. One minute,” he added. He paused. “And bailiff, I think we can leave off the shackles. While she might be a flight risk, she’s unlikely to overpower you.”
The bailiff reluctantly uncuffed Elizabeth from the table, and she stood turning to Jason. “I’ll be okay,” she told him.
“I am going to appeal,” Diane said immediately. “This is clearly retribution—”
“I’ll come as soon as they let me,” Jason promised her. “As often as they—” He took her hands in his, wincing at the way they trembled slightly. “I’m going to make this go away.”
“I know you’ll try.” Elizabeth licked her lips and looked up at him. “I guess it’s a good thing you didn’t get me a ring after all.” Her voice was nearly inaudible as she continued. “It’s not like they wouldn’t have let me keep it in here.”
He leaned down to brush his lips against hers but the bailiff jerked her back. “None of that,” he snapped. “Time to go—”
“I’ll be okay,” Elizabeth promised him. “I can handle this.”
And then she was gone, dragged through the door and back to lockup.
“How long before the appeal?’ Jason demanded of Diane. “If you file it now—”
“It might take a few days.” Diane paused. “Maybe even a week. Mr. Morgan—”
“Get it done,” Jason snapped and stormed out of the court room.
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Jason stripped off his suit jacket and tossed it on the sofa before turning back to glare at the trio that had followed him in. “Sonny, who do we know at the PCPD that will get us into lock up?”
“Jason,” Carly began, “she’ll be okay for a few days—”
“Carly, go home and call your mother,” Sonny told his wife and she frowned at him. “Make her yell at Baldwin. If Baldwin agrees to withdraw his opposition, the appeal won’t take as long.”
“It’s something you can do for me,” Jason told her, and that seemed to convince the blonde who still looked unhappy as she left. To Sonny, he said, “Get me a way into lockup. If that appeal doesn’t go through—”
“This is my fault,” Brenda said, drawing both of their attention.
“Brenda—” Jason began.
“No, if I hadn’t had that insane idea to blackmail you into marrying me, you wouldn’t have been on the plane when Elizabeth needed you,” she insisted. “You would have been here—”
“It shouldn’t have mattered,” Jason said. “And it’s not your fault.” He focused on Sonny who seemed to know what was coming. “It’s yours.”
Sonny wrinkled his nose. “Look, it’s not like I knew Zander was dead—”
“She came to you because she’d been shot at, and you didn’t handle it. You didn’t make sure the pier was clear. You lied to her, dragged her across the country — and now the PCPD is using that to keep her locked up—”
“If I hadn’t dragged her across the country, you wouldn’t be married to her right now!” Sonny retorted. “How about a little gratitude?”
Before Jason could lunge for his friend’s throat, Brenda slid in front of her ex-fiancé and spread her arms wide. “You’ll only feel better for a hot minute if you pound his face in right now,” she told Jason. “You can yell at him later.”
“You dragged her across the country and you took away her guard,” Jason retorted. “Marco should have been with her. She never would have been on that pier if you’d thought about anyone other than yourself!”
“Hey, she wasn’t my girlfriend to take care of!” Sonny shot back. “You didn’t notice she didn’t have a guard for two weeks—how is that my fault?”
“Okay, so you’re going to go,” Brenda told Sonny. She opened the door and started to shove him through it. “Go get the guy at the PCPD while I keep Jason from murdering you on the spot—”
“I am sick and tired of being treated like I did something wrong,” Sonny said, shoving Brenda’s hands away from him. “You two were the insane ones, flying to Vegas to get married! I stopped it! And if I hadn’t brought Elizabeth—”
“You mean if you hadn’t lied to her about me being hurt? You used her — and why the hell do you care what Brenda and I do?” Jason demanded. “How is it any of your business? If you’d stayed here and protected Elizabeth, none of this would be happening! I’ve spent most of my life protecting your family and cleaning up your messes—”
“What the hell does that mean—”
“You refused to let me tell Elizabeth you were alive—you made me lie to her—”
“No, you were the one that lied to her. I told you to send her to the island so you—”
“You know,” Brenda said, almost conversationally as if the two men weren’t shouting at each other, “this might be the first time I’m glad you left me at the altar and you sent Jason to do it.”
That shut them both up. “What the hell—” Sonny began.
“You sent Jason to dump me, and I blamed him for a long time. But you’re just a coward, Sonny, when it really matters.” She turned to Jason. “He’s never going to admit he was wrong, so just drop it. Focus on what matters and that’s getting Elizabeth out of jail.”
She then looked back Sonny. “Get out and don’t bother coming back if you can’t be productive.”
Then Brenda shoved Sonny over the threshold and slammed the door. She exhaled in a huff. “He’ll never admit that the reason he came to Vegas to stop us was because he was jealous. He doesn’t want me, but he doesn’t want anyone else to have me. And he’ll never admit that he didn’t see Elizabeth as a person in that moment. He saw her as a tool to be used to get what he wanted. He knew you’d never go through with it if she was there to watch.”
Jason took a deep breath. “I already knew it was a mistake. At the altar. Before they showed up. I’m sorry, Brenda, but I was already going to stop it.”
“Good. It would have been wrong. Funny,” she added, “but wrong. And don’t let Sonny take credit. You and Elizabeth might have gotten married because you were in Vegas, but that doesn’t mean you didn’t make the decision. Maybe it was insane, but something good came out of it.”
“Good? Because of it, she’s trapped in jail—”
“No, she’s in jail because the PCPD refuse to believe you didn’t do this. You know that Scott probably thinks you’re lying about who was on which flight. He thinks you sent her ahead as an alibi for you, and then you came later. I don’t know this Zander guy, but I feel bad for anyone who cared about him. They don’t care who did this, not really.” Brenda took a deep breath. “Now, how do we get Elizabeth out of this?”
Elizabeth had hoped that another woman would be sent to lockup so that she wouldn’t be alone on the cell block. There were no windows, no way to see the outside world. Just the cinder block and bars and artificial, fluorescent lighting that made her eyes hurt—
Elizabeth lay on the cot, staring at the ceiling, hoping that something would change—that Diane would perform miracles—she didn’t want Jason to think she couldn’t handle this—but she wasn’t sure if she could really get through another night without sleeping—
The lights flickered, then went turned off, plunging the area into inky darkness so thick Elizabeth couldn’t even see her own fingers.
“Hello?” she called. “The lights—”
Then she heard footsteps and the clanking of metal as her cell opened. “Please—what’s wrong with the lights—”
A hand clamped over Elizabeth’s mouth and then something pricked her arm. “What—” Her head felt whoozy—everything started to spin—
Then she remembered nothing else.
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
“Did Diane say anything about when she expects the appeal to be heard?” Brenda asked as Jason shrugged into his leather jacket the next morning. “Will the PCPD let you see her today?”
“They better,” he muttered. He needed to look at her for longer than five minutes, to hold her hand, to touch her—to be sure she was okay. The phone on his desk rang. “Yeah? What—”
“I’m sorry, Jason, the DA and the Commissioner wouldn’t wait—they said they had a warrant—”
“Damn it,” Jason muttered. He slammed the phone down and picked it up to call Diane. “The cops are on their way up,” he told Brenda. “Probably to arrest me—”
There was a harsh knock, almost pounding. Jason held out his phone. “Finish calling Diane,” he told Brenda, then went over to the door.
He barely had it open before Scott shoved his way in, followed by a more subdued Mac.
“Where the hell is she?” the district attorney spat out. “Where did you take her? I swear to God, Morgan, I will haunt you until the day you die—”
“What hell are you talking about?” Jason demanded as his blood began to pound in his ears. “Elizabeth’s at the PCPD—” he looked at Mac.
“When we did the count this morning,” the commissioner said, feeling slightly sick, “she was missing. Elizabeth is gone. And judging by the look on your face—” he sighed, “I’m guess she’s not on her way to Dubai.”
“How the hell do you just lose a prisoner?” Brenda demanded as Jason tried to absorb what Mac had just told him.
“He’s bluffing!” Scott declared to Mac. “You know it—”
Mac narrowed his eyes at the district attorney. “If he was bluffing,” the man began, “then why the hell is he here and not with her?”
“We drag him into the PCPD, he won’t be able to join her—we let him on the loose—” Scott continued.
“No one answered my damn question! How the hell does someone waltz into lockup and take a prisoner away?” Brenda stepped in front of Jason. “Until you give us some answers, you should get out—”
“Which brunette did you marry or is this one of those sister-wives things?” Scott snarled. Brenda hissed and started for the district attorney, but Jason grabbed her arm and dragged her back.
“She’s right,” Jason said flatly. “You locked my wife up without any damn evidence and now she’s missing. Go find her. I’ve got nothing else to say to you. Get out.”
“Let’s go before he changes his mind and lets Brenda loose—” Mac sent Brenda a surly look. “And she bites—”
As soon as the elevator doors had closed on the law enforcement officers, Jason and Brenda were across the hall, Jason not even letting Max announce them.
Carly, Sonny, and Michael were sitting at the table, eating, but Sonny surged to his feet as Jason and Brenda came in. “What’s going on?” he demanded. He looked to Carly who hurried to grab Michael and hand him off to Leticia. The nanny went upstairs.
“Elizabeth disappeared from lockup last night,” Jason said and now the words were really sinking in. There was only one person who’d go after her this way. He knew he hadn’t arranged for it—even he didn’t have the connections to get her out under the PCPD’s nose. Neither did Sonny.
That left one option.
“Damn it—” Sonny growled. “Do they think you did it?”
“Scott does,” Brenda said, “but Mac didn’t seem convinced. Sonny—Jason—” She looked at the enforcer. “Luis could have done this—”
“There’s no could have—he’s the only one—”
The landline across the room rang. The four of them looked at it for a minute before Jason stalked over to snatch up the receiver. “What?”
“Did you enjoy your visit from the DA and Commissioner?”
The cool, unaffected tone had Jason’s blood boiling but he knew how to handle this. He had to turn it off. He couldn’t do what he’d done this summer—when he’d lost his temper in a fit of rage and fear and killed the man who knew Elizabeth was in that crypt.
“I didn’t think you would. Your wife is quite lovely, Mr. Morgan. And very smart. Did you know she didn’t even fight?”
His mouth was so dry he could barely force out the words. “Where is she?”
“Oh, she’s fine. Still alive anyway. I’m enjoying the sight. She looks like my Brenda, you know. All that lovely dark hair, big eyes—they’re the wrong color, but I could tolerate it. There’s not much to her, is there? Delicate. Fragile. Just my type.”
His knuckles ached as he tightened his fingers around the receiver. “I want proof of life.”
“You’re a cold one, aren’t you? That’s why I’m negotiating with you. Mr. Corinthos is more hot-headed—”
“Proof of life,” Jason cut in. “Or I hang up.” He waited, hearing the rustle, hearing something in the background, hushed tones.
Finally — “Jason?”
He closed his eyes. “Elizabeth. Are you all right?”
“Yes. He didn’t—he didn’t hurt me. They drugged me and I woke up wherever I am. Jason, he wants to trade—don’t do it—”
Her voice disappeared as Jason imagined someone yanking it away and Alcazar’s voice came over the line. “Brave girl, trying to ruin my surprise. But I’m sure you saw this coming. I thought about forcing Sonny to trade his wife, but I’m not so sure he wouldn’t leave the harpy with me for punishment and keep what’s mine. I want Brenda.”
“I don’t control her—”
“I didn’t say she had to be willing. You know how to get the job done. If you want your wife back, you’ll make the deal.” There was a pause. “You might need some time to think it over. I’ll call back in ten minutes.”
The line went dead and Jason slowly set it back down on the hook, trying to order his thoughts. He wanted to go to the yacht, kill everyone in sight until he found her and bring her home—but that clearly wasn’t an option.
“Jason?” Sonny asked. “You talked to her?”
“She’s alive. He wants a trade.”
“For me.” Brenda folded her arms tightly across her chest. Her cheeks were pale as she spoke, “He wants me.”
“Yes.” Jason met her eyes. “That’s not on the table, Brenda. Even if I wanted to, Elizabeth would never agree to it.”
Brenda took that in, then looked at Carly who had remained quiet, almost frozen. “It’d be an easy choice for you, huh?” she said, her tone light but laced with fear.
“No.” Carly’s eyes were direct. “No. It wouldn’t be.” She turned her attention to Jason. “What can I do?”
“Michael is probably scared,” Jason told her. “Go upstairs. Sit with him. If I think of something else—”
“Okay. Okay.” Carly dragged her hands through her hair, took another deep breath, and started for the stairs — but stopped at the knock on the door and the raised voices outside.
Max opened the door as Audrey Hardy pushed her way in.
“I just had a call from Mac Scorpio,” Elizabeth’s grandmother said, her voice hard and tight. “My granddaughter is missing. Either you sent her out of the country or one of your enemies kidnapped her. Which is it?”
“Mrs. Hardy,” Sonny began but Audrey silenced him with one hot glare.
“I was going to approve of this,” Audrey began, shaking a finger at Jason. “I had my reservations, but I didn’t want to fight with my granddaughter anymore. But I was right! You’ll be death of her—”
“Uh, weren’t you championing my idiot cousin like eight seconds ago?” Carly snapped, stepping between older woman and her friend. “Didn’t you give Elizabeth a lot of grief for leaving him at the altar? Didn’t Lucky almost get her killed like eight times because of Helena Cassadine?”
Audrey narrowed her eyes. “That’s different—”
“Yeah, because Helena is certifiably insane. But Elizabeth knew that. She’s a big girl who puts her panties on one leg at a time. She knows who Jason is. What he does. So why the hell do you respect her choices when she takes on super villains but not a guy who’d literally walk through fire for her?”
Audrey stared at Carly for a long moment before swallowing hard and meeting Jason’s eyes. “Where is she?”
“I don’t know, Mrs. Hardy,” Jason said honestly. “But I’m going to get her back. I promise you that.”
Elizabeth was getting tired of being kidnapped. The first time, she’d been dragged out of her studio kicking and screaming but this time she’d been drugged and hadn’t known what was going on. She couldn’t decide which was worse.
She really didn’t like the ropes and gag—but at least she was being held in a room with port-holes that received sunlight. It wasn’t dark.
“You have the strangest look on your face,” Luis Alcazar murmured as he sauntered across the room. He removed the gag from her mouth. “What’s going through that head of yours?”
“Honestly? Trying to decide which kidnapping I liked better.” Elizabeth rolled her shoulders. “The ropes are chafing my wrist,” she said, “but the last time, I was shoved in a crypt and held in the dark for days.”
“So I’m preferable?”
“I didn’t enjoy the drugging or waking up somewhere strange. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens when I get kidnapped a third time. I’ll need a tie breaker.”
“Fair enough.” The man lowered himself into a chair across from her. “You expect to be kidnapped again?”
“You never know in Port Charles.” Elizabeth waited a beat. “This isn’t going to work.”
“You’re going to tell me Morgan won’t sacrifice Brenda for you, and I know that.” Luis lifted an elegant shoulder in a dismissive shrug. “She’ll offer herself, and he’ll tell her no, and they’ll come up with another plan.”
“So why bother if it won’t work—” She stopped. “Because Jason won’t get near this boat without Brenda.”
“Once she’s on board, I have a chance. Right now, I don’t have many options.”
“But she doesn’t want you—you’re rich and you’re not hideous,” she admitted. “You could have almost anyone—”
“Could I have you?” Luis asked coolly. When she scowled at him. “I can have anyone I want. I want Brenda. She was perfectly happy for a long time—”
“Until she wasn’t. What are you going to do? Lock her up? Even if you win this time,” Elizabeth said, “she’ll just try to leave again. Are you going to spend the rest of your life chasing after her, kidnapping and killing to keep her?”
“If I have to.”
Elizabeth cleared her throat. “What if Jason refuses to bring Brenda to the boat?”
“Oh, he won’t. Excuse me, dear. I have a call to make.”
Luis slid the cell phone out of his jacket pocket. “Morgan? Hello. I just wanted to make the terms of my deal crystal clear. You either bring Brenda to the yacht tonight at eleven to make the trade or I’ll sail away with the beautiful Mrs. Morgan to keep me company on the dark, cold nights. You can ask Brenda how that might go.” His lips curled into a smile. “Yes, I thought you’d see it my way.”
He closed the phone and placed it back in his jacket as Elizabeth just stared at him. “Questions?”
Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room
“What are you going to do?”
Jason turned to Carly who hadn’t gone upstairs even after Audrey had gone. They’d only heard his side of the conversation, making the appointment.
“I don’t know yet, but if he doesn’t see you by eleven tonight—” he looked at Brenda whose dark eyes were somber, “he said he’d leave and keep Elizabeth to keep him company. The way you did.”
Brenda cleared her throat, stared down at the ground. “Okay. Okay. Well, we have to keep that from happening at all costs.”
“Brenda—” Sonny began, but Brenda jerked her head up to stare at her former lover.
“No. You don’t get to ask that question. No one gets to ask that question.”
“She said no,” Carly said, surprising Sonny and Brenda. “Whatever she doesn’t want to talk about sounds like it’s bad enough we don’t want it for Elizabeth. Do you need the damned details, Sonny?”
“No. No, I’m sorry,” Sonny said, startled by his wife’s defense, but no more so than Brenda who stared at the blonde with wide eyes.
“Stop looking at me like that,” Carly muttered. “I’m a selfish, narcissistic bitch. There’s no rule that says I can’t occasionally be a good person when I feel like it.”
“Brenda—” Jason began.
“I’ll go with you,” Brenda said. “Because Luis doesn’t make idle threats. He’ll leave. And you’ll be chasing him for the rest of your life. It’s her or me.”
“No. It’s neither of you. You’ll go only because he won’t let me on the boat without you. But we’ll go in with a plan. You and Elizabeth, you’re both getting off that damn boat.”
It was only later that Brenda realized that Jason hadn’t said anything about making sure they all came home.
Elm Street Pier
Jason grabbed Brenda’s elbow, holding her back from stepping out onto Pier 52 and the launch that would take them out to Alcazar’s yacht, anchored just off shore. “Repeat the plan to me.”
“Do you think that I wasn’t listening the first eight times you made me do this?” Brenda demanded. “Do you think I’ll be stupid and—” She took a deep breath. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I know it’s not about that. It’s how you’re keeping your cool. Okay. We get on the boat. You demand that Elizabeth be allowed to send back to shore first and Luis will refuse. Then you’ll start negotiating which will distract him because he’ll be annoyed, and while he’s annoyed, Sonny’s men will be getting into position.”
“The second they take the shot,” Jason told her, “I’m going to grab Elizabeth. You go for the boat. Don’t think of anything. Just go.”
“I can do that. But I need you to make me a promise—no, don’t shake your head at me, Jason Morgan. Luis Alcazar is my problem. He came here because I wanted to go home and he wanted to make sure I didn’t have a home to come back to.”
“You are not responsible for his obsessions—”
“No. But he’s not your problem to fix. I came to you because I was desperate and because I knew I could count on you,” she confessed. “I only tried to blackmail you with Sonny and Carly because I was scared. But over the last couple of days, I remembered what I’d always tried to forget.”
Jason’s brows drew together in confusion. “What?”
“You looked miserable the day Sonny sent you to stop the wedding. And I forced you to tell me the truth in front of everyone. You tried to be kind. And I made it your fault. I blamed you because I couldn’t bring myself to admit the truth. Sonny didn’t love me enough to find a way out of it.”
“Brenda, that was a long time ago—”
“I know it, but it’s always been there between us. I resented you because it hurt too much to put the blame where it belonged. And because of that, I need you to know that if anyone isn’t coming home today, it’s me—”
“You and Elizabeth have a whole lifetime in front of you. I need you to promise me that you will get her out of this. I can survive Luis. He can’t break me, and I can live to fight another day. Elizabeth—he doesn’t care about her. So if it actually does come down to saving her or me, I want you to know that I expect you to get her home alive.”
“You don’t make promises you don’t try to keep. It’s something I’ve always respected about you. I’m not stepping foot on that yacht until you promise me.”
Alcazar’s Yacht: Upper Deck
“Ah, right on time.”
Elizabeth glowered at Alcazar as he watched the boat moving towards him with some satisfaction. She couldn’t do more than that since he’d gagged her and tied her hands together—he’d also lightly tied her legs together. She could shuffle along, but there’d be no running.
“Let’s see if your husband has some good sense,” Alcazar said. He grabbed her arm and dragged her forward.
Jason stepped on board first, sweeping a brief look over Elizabeth before turning back to reach out a hand to Brenda.
“Search him,” Luis said to one of the men standing nearby. “Confiscate any weapons.”
Jason’s glare could cut ice as he spread out his arms and allowed himself to be subjected to the pat down by the guards. “You think I’d take a chance with Elizabeth’s life on the line?”
“A man can’t be too sure.” Alcazar’s greedy eyes took in Brenda, his eyes lighting up with something dark and twisted that sent shivers down Elizabeth’s spine. “I know you think you have a way out of this, but I’m ready for anything you have planned.”
He looked at Elizabeth, lifting his dark brows. “You’ve been a lovely, charming companion. Even amusing. Did you know, Mr. Morgan—” He returned his gaze to Jason. “She thought perhaps this kidnapping was better than her last. She’s waiting on a third to decide for sure.”
Alcazar took Elizabeth by the arm and gently maneuvered her in front of him. Elizabeth wasn’t entirely sure what she expected—maybe he was attempting to start the trade with a sign of good faith?
But then Alcazar released her arm and she realized only in the second before it happened what he’d planned.
He had pushed her so that her back was against the railing, then reached into his suit jacket.
There was a scream, a shout, and then just the glint of the yacht’s light on the metal of the gun before the night exploded with the sound of fireworks and a hot slice of pain arrowed through her shoulder.
The force of the shot sent her reeling and then Alcazar shoved her over—
Elizabeth tried to scream as her body twisted and rolled before she hit the freezing dark waters of Lake Ontario, but her cries were muffled by the gag in her mouth. She tried to swim, tried to move her arms, but quickly the current of the lake dragged her under.
Brenda choked back a sob as Luis shoved Elizabeth, bound and gagged over the railing of the yacht. With little more than an apologetic glance at Brenda, Jason launched himself overboard after her.
Brenda rushed to the railing, a crazy thought of trying to go after them, trying to help—but that wouldn’t solve anything.
“I’m sure Morgan had a plan,” Luis murmured. “I knew you’d make it clear to them that allowing the sweet Elizabeth to disappear with me into the night would be a terrible future for her. At first,” he added. “I could have charmed her. Make her fall in love with me.”
“The way I did,” Brenda said softly. She could see nothing at all. No figures. No thrashing in the water. Elizabeth had probably already sank down, unable to keep herself afloat, and Jason would never come back without her.
“I do have a way about me,” Luis said. He turned away to one of the guards. “It’s time to go. Let’s leave while Corinthos and his men are distracted—”
“I thought I did love you,” Brenda said. “I thought I didn’t have anything else to live for, and you were kind. I didn’t want to have sex with you, but you made me feel like I owed it to you.” She turned to look at him. “And I guess you’re not a man who minds when the woman lays still beneath him like a corpse.”
His mouth twisted and he flicked his eyes to the guards. “Leave us,” he snarled. In less than a minute, they were alone on the deck. “That’s not how it was—”
“You thought you had this all it planned out,” Brenda said, “but I know you, Luis. And I knew you’d find a way to separate me from Jason. I also knew that you never thought I was very smart. Or bright. Your mistake was assuming that everyone saw me that way.”
“I knew you wouldn’t have me searched.” Brenda reached beneath the bulky sweater she wore, drew out the gun Jason had given her, and leveled the barrel at him. Luis’s eyes bulged and he put his hands up.
The bullet struck him between the eyes, his head exploding around him as his body hit the deck, already dead.
There were footsteps rushing towards her as the guards came towards her, but Brenda just pointed the gun at them. “He’s dead,” she snarled. “And now you’ll do exactly what I say or you’re next.”