If there was one thing Lucky Spencer did well, it was driving Elizabeth Webber away.
He’d clearly perfected it this time, but he realized now that he’d been doing it for years. Maybe since the day his parents brought him back to Port Charles and he stood in front of her on the docks and knew he’d never be the man she needed again.
Everyone looked at him and saw that boy he’d been once. That wise-cracking boy who exuded self-confidence, with the warm and generous heart who went to the wall for his family and friends.
That Lucky had been dead since the fire, since the night someone stole into his room, drugged him and took him away from everything he’d ever known. Lucky knew he would always be found wanting in the eyes of those who claimed to love him.
For his father, his choice of becoming a police officer would always be a source of bewilderment and disappointment. For his mother…well, maybe Laura didn’t care who had come home from the fire, but she’d been gone from his life so long, what did it matter? His sister didn’t know him. Nikolas saw someone to save—he’d needed constant saving after the fire, from Helena and brainwashing, from his own stupid plans. Emily wanted the boy with whom she’d run away with once, who shared puppies with her dog and saved her from blackmail.
And Elizabeth would always look in his eyes, search for that boy and always find him lacking. But that was fair, because he’d looked into her eyes, to find that delicate, fragile girl he’d fallen in love with and she’d been a stranger to him as well. He hadn’t wanted her to stay a victim, but maybe he hadn’t expected her to be so self-sufficient.
So when he picked Sam McCall up in Jake’s a few weeks earlier, maybe in the back of his head, he thought this would be the last time he’d have to remind people he wasn’t Lucky Spencer, pre-fire. He was Lucky Spencer, post-fire, and people who didn’t accept that were just doomed to disappointment. He was done doing what people wanted him to do. He didn’t love Elizabeth the way he was supposed to do. He cared for her, would always care for her, but he knew they’d settled last year even if she didn’t.
Sam had been downing tequila, reeling from the discovery that the woman she hated most in the world was her birth mother, at a loose ends with her life, hating who she’d become. People didn’t know, she had drunkenly declared. That was her fault, because she was such a good fucking con artist, she’d gotten lost inside her own con.
She’d forgotten who she used to be, and now she didn’t want to be who she’d become.
So after several rounds, they’d asked for a key and gone upstairs.
He’d always intended to confess to Elizabeth, to calmly ask her for a divorce. Maybe he’d even ask why she didn’t see this coming. They were both playing roles, both pretending they were each other’s soulmates. They were each other’s eighteen-year-old soulmates, but that was then. This was now. He’d needed a night with another woman to tell him that.
But it hadn’t been a one night stand. Lucky had kept going back to Jake’s, and then eventually to Kelly’s during shift breaks, and then as often as possible. Because Sam didn’t know Lucky Spencer, pre-fire. She knew him as he was today. He didn’t know the con artist or Jason’s girlfriend. He knew Sam McCall. And there was something freeing about that.
He’d wanted to confess to Elizabeth, but the words had never come. He understood now, why she’d never walked away from him before during those dark days he’d been so jealous about Jason. To stand in front of Elizabeth and admit that they were never going to work, that they were never going to be right for each other, it was harder than it should have been.
It meant saying goodbye to pre-fire Lucky Spencer, and for the first time, he wasn’t entirely ready to bid cast his old self away. He’d spent so much time trying to be that boy, he didn’t know who this man was. Did he like being a cop? Did he want to be married? Did he want to have a family?
Did he like his family? Did he have any real friends?
So after Elizabeth had rushed out of Kelly’s, he hadn’t gone after her. He’d gone to Jake’s and stared at a shot of tequila, remembering how it had fallen apart.
A body dropped onto the stool next to him. “You have no idea how hard you are to track down, Lucky Spencer.”
Patrick stepped into the living of Bobbie Spencer’s brownstone and halted in his tracks. Bobbie and Robin were sitting there looking at him expectantly. He slid his hands into the pockets of his pants and grinned at them.
Robin narrowed her eyes. “You didn’t find her. I know those dimples.” She looked at Bobbie. “We should go look—maybe call Emily or something, She’ll know where to look.”
He scowled. “Hey, I found her. I talked to her. But Jason’s got people looking for her, too. One of his goons showed up to haul her away back to the penthouse so Jason can…” He shrugged. “Whatever. So I told Max that I had it under control, Max started arguing with me and Elizabeth got away from us.”
Robin pursed her lips. “Jason will find her eventually, but I’m still worried about her.”
“I’m less worried,” Patrick said. “She snuck away from a mob guard. Clearly, she knows what she’s doing.” He cleared his throat. “Am I…still in trouble?”
“Why would you be in trouble?” she asked sweetly.
“Because I woke up this morning to find that I was still a man, and therefore, always wrong.”
Bobbie snorted and turned away to hide her laughter as Robin shot her a look. “I heard what Carly said—”
“Hey, she said tried to seduce.” Patrick pointed at her. “Try. You know what try means? It means not successful. And she did it to annoy you. It worked. Therefore, mission accomplished. I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Hell. Women. Neurotic as hell. This woman was lucky she had a sexy crooked smile that made him think of all the ways he’d like make her smile.
“Okay.” Robin nodded. “I appreciate you looking for her, Patrick. I know Jason will find her.” She tapped her chin. “As for you…”
He saw the devious look in her eyes, as she looked at her friend. “Bobbie, I think we’re going to head back to my apartment. I think Patrick needs to apologize a little more.”
He drew himself up, indignant. Apologize? What the hell…and then he saw that wicked smile.
Well, he could apologize a bit more if she had something specific in mind. Never let it be said that Patrick Drake couldn’t admit when he was wrong.
And he’d been a very bad boy.
“I absolutely think I have to make this up to you,” he said with a serious nod.
Max Giambetti was a good Catholic boy, which meant he made his confession every week. An edited version of that confession, but he and Father Coates both knew he was fudging a bit.
He was glad it was a Monday, because tonight, as he stood in front of Jason in his penthouse, Max would die with a clean soul.
“You were distracted,” Jason said flatly. “I asked you to help me find Elizabeth, to make sure she was okay. You found her, and she got away from you because you were distracted.”
“See, when you say it that way, it sounds so much worse than it actually is,” Max said. “She was standing there, and she didn’t want to come with me. I figured you could tell her I had my orders, but it’s not like I could drag her away, Jase. I thought you’d frown on that.”
“Explain to me again why I asked you just to keep an eye on her, and not only did she run away from you, but that you weredistracted enough not to know she was gone.”
“We’re getting stuck on that distracted part, aren’t we?” Max sighed. “Well, Patrick Drake told me he had it under control, and I was explaining to him I couldn’t trust him with Miss Webber. He’s a neurosurgeon. He wouldn’t take a punch for her. I always liked Miss Webber, you know that, Jase. She’s very nice, and she made Carly brownies when she thought Sonny was dead. She always made a batch for the guards. Cody never got over losing—”
He closed his mouth because Jason’s eyes narrowed. “That is to say, I still got men looking for her. Milo is on it, Cody and Marco volunteered—you wouldn’t believe how many of the guards remembered her. I don’t even know how they knew her—”
He closed his mouth, when Jason’s eyes remained icy. He was not talking himself out of this. “And this time, I told the guys, hey don’t bother her. Just keep an eye on her. Make sure she’s not in any danger. But you know, you could…” He licked his lips. And figured hell, he was already going to get assigned to guarding one of Sonny’s kids for this failure tonight, might as well make it worth it. “Youcould find her yourself.”
“I…” Jason paused. “I tried. But I’m not sure she’d wanted to see me. After all it was my…Sam that she saw with Lucky.”
“True.” Max nodded. “True. But it’s not like Miss Webber would hold that against you. She’s a sweet girl, Jase. Well, sweet woman.” And shit, that didn’t sound right because the muscles around Jason’s mouth tightened and Max remembered why he and Carly had enjoyed those brownies—Elizabeth had been seeing Jason then. Right. “Anyway. What I meant to say was is Miss Webber doesn’t seem to hold a grudge, you know. She even was going to be Courtney’s surrogate, despite all the crap that woman put her through—” And he stopped again, because damn it if this world wasn’t littered with mines.
He coughed. “She’d be less likely to run from you.” Except she had once. Twice. Maybe even three times.
Maybe Max should shoot himself and save Jason the trouble.
“This is all my fault,” the guard declared. “I let her get away—”
“Because you were distracted.”
“You keep saying that.”
“Max, you’re a guard,” Jason said with an air of disgust. “I trust you to guard the people close to me. To train other guards to look after Sonny, his kids. Carly. You know Elizabeth…” He muttered something under his breath. “How do you think it sounds that you let Elizabeth slip by you? Why did you even approach her? Did I say to talk to her? To annoy her? I told you she was having a bad night.”
Max closed his mouth because all of these things were true. “Well, truth be told, I was just so relieved to find her I just kind of blurted it out—” And he cringed. Guards didn’t blurt out information. “Listen, it’s just…Miss Webber’s different, Jase. You know that. She’s not part of this world. I didn’t think of her like I do Sonny or Carly, like someone who’s life is in danger. I just…she’s a nice girl who had a really bad thing happen to her. I didn’t want to just follow her around. I wanted to offer my help, my…sympathies.Something, you know. She deserves better than Lucky Spencer. Cody and Milo think so, as well. So I just…wanted to be nice to her. I really am sorry, Jase. But she looked okay when I saw her.”
He saw the tension slide from Jason’s shoulders and Max thought he’d bought himself a reprieve. “Maybe you should go look, Jase. She might want someone who knows how awful what happened is, you know? And you probably even know where to find her, if she wasn’t at her apartment or her grandmother’s. Where does she go to be alone?”
“I still want the guards out, and someone keeps an eye on her if they find her.” Jason said, reaching for his keys. Not the SUV keys, Max noted, but the motorcycle ones in the desk drawer. “I don’t want anyone else bothering her tonight.”
“Got it, Jase.”
“Try not to get distracted while I’m gone,” the boss tossed over his shoulder as he exited the penthouse. Max scowled.
“He’s not going to let that go, is he?” he asked the empty room.
For Part Six
– Who is sitting next to Lucky?
– What happened to Sonny and Sam?
– Hey, where’s Emily?
– How long does Jason have to look before he finds Elizabeth?