Chapter Seventeen

If you love somebody
Better tell them while they’re here ’cause
They just may run away from you
You’ll never know quite when, well
Then again it just depends on
How long of time is left for you

– On Top of the World, Imagine Dragons

January 5, 2006

Elizabeth & Patrick’s Apartment: Living Room

Elizabeth sipped her coffee and leaned back against the couch cushions, relaxing for the first time in days. Will had packed and left for the Spencer house the day before, moving into the empty room vacated by Lucky.

It would be good for Will to be around the Spencers, to get some of the unconditional support that Lucky had benefited from all his life. She knew her aunt wasn’t in favor of the idea, but Cheryl was just going to have to get over it. This was what was best for Will.

She heard rustling from Patrick’s bedroom and steeled herself for a confrontation. She’d been avoiding him for the past two days, but she knew this couldn’t continue. They would have to come to some sort of agreement.

Patrick’s door opened and he stepped out. “Hey.”

“Hey.” Elizabeth sat up and set her mug on the table. “Ah…I guess you should know that Dad’s being transferred to lockup in the next day or so.”

“You’re not bailing him out?” Patrick asked his tone even and calm.

“I can’t.” Elizabeth sighed and rubbed her eyes. “Sonny’s paying for Diane’s services. I tried to argue with him, but he just…he said that money should never be an obstacle. He offered to pay the bail, but I told him that I absolutely couldn’t accept that.” She chewed her lip. “We don’t have anything for collateral.”

“Ellie…” Patrick crossed the room and perched in the armchair adjacent to the couch. “I know…I know I haven’t always been as supportive as I could have been. Especially in the last week. Or since Mom died.”

“We all lost her,” Elizabeth responded softly. “We all have to deal with it in our own ways. Dad drinks, I try to manage everyone’s lives and you…step back.”

“It leaves you holding the bag and it’s not fair.” He hesitated. “I can’t…I don’t know how to fix this for you. Or to help you fix it. I don’t know that I want to fix it.”

“I understand. I really do.” She bit her lip. “I told Diane that I wasn’t necessarily interested in getting him acquitted. That she would have to discuss that with Dad. I don’t…” Elizabeth paused. “I don’t know what I want to happen. I don’t want Dad to go to jail, but I can’t see…I don’t understand how he could go anywhere else. How he could deserve anything less.” Her voice broke. “That little girl…deserves so much more from us. I can’t keep pretending.”

“Robin told me that I had to talk to you, to find out what it is you really wanted and not just assume,” Patrick said with a small smile. “As usual, she knows better than me.”

“She always was the better half of the two of you,” Elizabeth replied softly. She cleared her throat. “I don’t know what Robin told you about her time in Paris–”

“She told me she’s sick,” Patrick responded. “That she’s healthy right now, but you and I both know that’s…not necessarily always going to be the case.” He shoved himself off the chair and crossed to the window. Outside, the park across the street was covered in thick, white snow. He hated winter.

“No,” Elizabeth agreed. “Her cocktail could stop working at any moment.” She stood and walked over to stand beside him. “How cliché of us to fall for people like our parents.” When Patrick threw her a questioning look, she continued, “Jason is wonderful when he’s here, but he can be….inaccessible sometimes. Like Dad when he’s drunk. When he’s sober, he’s the best dad. When he’s had the alcohol…” Elizabeth shrugged.

For once, Patrick didn’t rise to the bait regarding Jason. “And I’m doomed to love a woman who will leave me first.” He paused. “She told me on New Year’s. Just before you told me about the accident. Double whammy.”

“Oh Patrick–”

“And for the first time, I could understand how Dad did this to himself,” Patrick continued. “Because Mom was his entire world and with her gone, he didn’t know how to go on without her. That’s why I can’t face him. Because I’m condemning him for not being strong enough. Ellie, I don’t care that Robin and I are not together. I wish that we could be, but I’ll deal with that. But if something happens to her, if she gets sick and or is in an accident…I realized that night that I don’t have to be with her to be okay, but I do need her to be okay. I need her to be out there, somewhere in this world, living and breathing.” His voice caught and Elizabeth realized he was as close to losing it as she had ever seen him. “And I’m more than a little worried if something happened to her…maybe I would end up exactly where Dad is.”

Quartermaine Estate: Dillon’s Room

“So Drake officially moved in yesterday?” Dillon asked. He frowned and ran some more footage through his computer. He needed a better angle on this shot and made a note to reshoot it the next day.

Lulu sighed heavily from her position on the bed and stared up at the ceiling. “The last of his things are in the room, yeah.”

Dillon glanced over at her. “You don’t sound particularly thrilled.”

Lulu propped herself up on her elbows and shook her head. “No, it’s not that. It’s just–it’s like life is happening so fast. If you blink, it’s like a year goes by, you know?”

“Well, when you get knocked up in your teens, life does start to go very fast,” Dillon murmured, making some dialogue notes.

“Ha,” she responded dryly. “I just want everything to be okay. I don’t want Will to be sorry that he took this on–”

“Lu, it’s not like you did this by yourself,” he interjected. “You and Will are equally responsible for this situation, so if he regrets that he stepped up to take responsibility, he’s a weak-willed, little boy that doesn’t deserve your time.”

Lulu blinked and frowned at him. “That’s kind of pessimistic, don’t you think?”

“Not at all,” her best friend replied. “You know, I’m so tired of the attitudes in this town towards family and doing the right thing. Grandfather browbeat Emily and guilted her into choosing him over Nikolas. Will’s parents just suck. And every time I see Elizabeth Drake or her brother, they’re arguing about their father again. It’s all just crap.”

Dillon threw his pencil down. “I’ve met my father once and I only know that because I happen to have a picture of it. My mother forced him into marriage and got pregnant on purpose. That’s we do in this family. We have an agenda and we go after it whether it’s ethical or not.”

Lulu sat up and tucked her feet under her. “I’m surprised Emily gave in,” she said, tackling the only part of Dillon’s tirade she felt she could. Dillon was usually more laid back and content to go with the flow. This was unexpected to say the least.

“She still thinks she needs to earn her place here,” Dillon replied. He shoved off his chair and paced his room. “Like she’s less because she’s not blood-related. She’s freaking lucky she doesn’t have this blood running through her veins. Jesus, Lu, you know who my mother is. Who’s to say I won’t wake up like her tomorrow?”

“Dillon…” Lulu tilted her head to the side. “You’ve already inherited the stuff you’re going to take from your mother. Don’t you think if you were going to be as ruthless as Tracy, some signs would start to show?”

“I’m as self-absorbed as she is,” Dillon muttered. “For years Emily has been trying to keep it all balanced and she could have used some support, but did I help? No, I just holed up with my camera and my movies and ignored it–”

“Dillon–”

“I just stay in my room or I tune everyone out. Maybe Ned would have liked some support against Grandfather–”

“Dillon–”

“And what about AJ? Grandfather and Alan just go after him like he’s meat on a bone all the time. No wonder he’s an alcoholic. And I could have been nicer to Jason after the accident–”

“Were you mean?” Lulu asked curiously. “I thought you just avoided the whole situation because your family was insane.”

“Exactly!” Dillon threw up his hands. “I’m self-absorbed. I don’t care about anyone other than myself and–”

“Okay, seriously, you’ve lost it.” Lulu got off the bed and waved her hands in front of time. “Time out.”

“Lulu–”

“Who’s the guy who tackled Maxie Jones when she pulled my hair in the third grade?” Lulu asked. “And who’s the guy who let me cry on his shoulder when I thought Ellie wasn’t going to like me anymore because she wasn’t dating my brother? Who’s the guy who got on the bus to St. Paul just because I thought I saw a celebrity and never once held it against me that we got stranded there?”

“That stuff doesn’t count,” Dillon grumbled.

“It counts to me.” Lulu put her hands on his shoulders. “You’re the Wallace to my Veronica. The Xander to my Buffy, the Sonny to my Cher. The Jack to my Jen–”

“You know I hate that one,” Dillon sighed.

“You are my best friend and I never would have been able to get this far in life without you.” Lulu hugged him fiercely. “You could never be your mother and don’t blame yourself because you figured out how to be a sweet, compassionate, awesome guy without your family ruining all the good stuff.” She pulled back. “You are the best friend a girl could have and I want you to know how important that is to me.”

“All right, all right,” Dillon sighed. “I guess you have a point. No one who worries about numero uno would have tackled Maxie Jones. She bites.”

Lulu laughed. “Listen, if you really feel badly about what happened to Emily, then you can start standing up for her now. Make her understand that she’s got a comrade in arms in this loony bin.”

General Hospital: Noah’s Room

Noah heard the door to his room creak opened and wondered if it was Patrick again–opening and then closing the door without bothering to actually come in. He hadn’t seen Ellie in days. He wasn’t sure what to make of anything — he could barely stand to be awake and asked for sedatives to keep him sleeping.

“Uncle Noah?”

Noah turned and frowned as his nephew Will stepped out of the shadows. “Will?”

“Hey.” Will shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans and rocked back on his heels. “Sorry I haven’t been by…I don’t know if Ellie or Patrick mentioned it, but I’m…well…things are happening in my life that are little surprising.”

“That’s okay.” Noah struggled to sit up. “The kids haven’t mentioned anything, is everything okay?”

“They’re not bad,” Will said slowly. “Bad would be an unfair term.” He paused. “I moved out of my house at Christmas and I moved into the Spencers yesterday.”

“The Spencers?” Noah searched his beleaguered mind. “I thought I heard you and Lulu had parted ways.”

“We did,” Will confirmed. “We’re not really back together. Not yet. I don’t know if we will be. I was drinking too much and she didn’t want to be around that.”

“Sounds familiar,” Noah murmured in reply.

“But she found out that she was pregnant,” Will continued. “And everything had to change.”

Noah just blinked in response. His nephew, to become a father? His seventeen-year-old nephew? “Will…”

“I know it’s a big responsibility,” Will continued, “but Lulu and I think if we stay realistic and stick together, we’ll be okay. Her parents wanted me to come live with them so they could support Lulu through everything. They’re going to help with the medical bills and make it so Lu and I can graduate from high school and go to college. I just…I wanted to ask you something.”

“What’s that?” Noah asked.

“The Drake curse,” Will said. “The thing that makes all Drake men drink like fish and ruin their lives.” He shrugged uncomfortably. “I was just wondering if it could be avoided.”

“There’s no such thing as a curse,” Noah replied. “It’s a matter of willpower. I don’t have it. Your father doesn’t. My father didn’t. Patrick…he has it.” Noah stared at his hands. “He had every reason to drown himself in alcohol these last few years and he kept himself going. You want advice about staying out of the bar and keeping your life together, your cousin is the best person to ask.”

Will nodded. “I just…I don’t want to screw this up. I don’t want to be my father, I don’t want to be–” he cut himself off and shrugged again. “I just want to be okay at it. It’s too important to mess with.”

“I agree,” Noah replied. “Don’t make the same mistakes that I did. You can be better than that.”

“It’s not like you can’t make things better,” Will said. “You’re a still a dad. You can fix things.”

“I’m not sure this can be fixed,” Noah replied. “You know what’s happened.”

“You can’t take back the night you decided to drink and drive, no,” Will said bluntly. “And you can’t take back the lying you’ve done over the last year or the role you played in my parents’ divorce. You can’t take back the last three years, Uncle Noah, you know that. But you can help Ellie and Patrick. All they do is argue, and when they’re not arguing, they’re just silent. They don’t talk to each other. And how to deal with your…situation is why.”

Noah just stared at him and Will decided to just go for it. “You should plead guilty, Uncle Noah. You did it and it’s ridiculous to walk in that room to pretend that you don’t deserve to be punished for it. The more you screw up, the more you make Patrick and me think we don’t have a chance. And the more you lie and drag this out, the more pain you cause Ellie. It’s not fair.”

When his uncle still didn’t speak, Will just shrugged. “Anyway, that’s all I really wanted to say. See you later.”

Harborview Towers: Apartment

“Why do I have to close my eyes?” Elizabeth asked. She stumbled out of the elevator as Jason led her down a hallway.

“Just a few more seconds,” he told her. He fumbled with a key and Elizabeth heard a door open. She was led through a doorway and heard the door close behind her. “Open your eyes.”

She lifted her eyelashes and frowned when she saw a modest set of rooms in front of her; a small living room that opened into a kitchen to the left. On the right, there was a hallway that probably led to a bedroom. “What is this?”

“I’m renting it,” Jason told her. He shoved his hands into his pockets. “I can’t keep bringing you to Jake’s–”

“Jason–”

“I know it’s not much, but it’s in a better part of town, you know?” Jason continued, almost sounding nervous. “And it’s got a better bathroom. I know it’s cleaner than the one in my room.”

“The one in your room is fine…” Elizabeth smiled faintly. “Jason, I like Jake’s.”

He nodded. “I do, too. And we should still go there for pool if you want. But I’m not the same guy that moved in there, you know. And you deserve something better.”

“I don’t want you to do this for me.” Elizabeth chewed her lip. “You quit working for Sonny, didn’t you?”

He hesitated. “Not exactly.”

“You’re back to working at the warehouse,” Elizabeth qualified. “No more…side jobs.”

“I don’t like having to disappear on you,” he said, his voice taking a slightly stubborn tone. “You needed me and I wasn’t here–”

“Jason…” Elizabeth sighed and turned in a slow circle. “This is…this is all a little…fast.”

“I know you don’t want to move in with me,” Jason said. “That’s okay. I know you and Patrick still need time together, to work things out. I just wanted you to know that I’m…serious about what’s going on here.”

“I wish you wouldn’t quit working for Sonny,” Elizabeth murmured. “I don’t want you to be sorry about it–”

“I won’t,” he insisted. “I did it for me. I don’t want to be out of town or out of contact when you need me. When anyone needs me. I told Sonny that I wasn’t quitting exactly, but I couldn’t take those jobs anymore.”

“Jason, you have to want this, too.” Elizabeth stepped towards him. “The apartment, the job. You have to want this, too.”

Jason was silent for a long moment before exhaling slowly. “I told you that I was getting flashes of Jason Quartermaine–that some things were clearer than others. I talked to Tony Jones about it and he doesn’t think I’ll ever remember everything but the flashes are normal. The more I remember, Elizabeth, the more I know exactly what I want.” He took her hand in his and just looked at it. “And what I want is to make sure that you don’t have to carry it alone anymore. It’s important to me to know that I’m supporting you and taking care of you.” He held up his other hand when she opened her mouth. “I know you can do all that for yourself, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to do it.”

She huffed and looked away for a moment. When she looked back at him, the expression in her eyes made him relax a little. “It’s hard to argue with that,” Elizabeth replied with half a smile.

PCPD: Commissioner’s Office

Robert glanced up when he saw a thermos set in front him, and then next to it, a large brown bag. “What’s this?”

“Dinner.” Robin unbelted her jacket and tossed it on the back of the chair. She sat. “Someone has to look out for you.”

“Thanks.” He opened the bag and grinned. “Corned beef on rye. You are my favorite daughter.”

“I’m your only daughter,” Robin replied with a grin. “That we know about it.” She hesitated. “You’ve been working late because of Noah Drake’s case.”

Robert paused as he unwrapped his sandwich. “You’ve always known me too well.”

“I just know how you can get with a case that you can’t leave at work,” she replied. She tilted her head to the side. “You never want to bring it home, so you just stay here.” Robin paused for a moment. “I think Ellie and Patrick are going to come out of this thing stronger, so if it’s them you’re worried about, it’s okay. They understand what’s happening and why Noah’s in trouble.”

“I could give a rat’s ass about that man,” Robert said shortly. “I had my suspicions that he was still drinking, but as long as he kept himself out of trouble and those kids seemed to be okay, I kept my mouth shut. It wouldn’t have served any purpose to do anything else. But if I had said something–”

“It wouldn’t have changed anything, Dad,” Robin said gently. “Because nothing would have kept Noah from drinking. He knew what he was doing and the only person to blame is Noah. Ellie arranged for Noah to get a lawyer, but she’s not bailing him out, and she’s not helping him in his defense.”

“I always knew she was a smart one.” Robert swallowed his food. “I know the Drake men have their problems, which is part of the reason I was glad you were out of town when all of this hit the fan. I worry about Patrick. So far he’s kept himself on the straight and narrow–”

“Patrick is going to be just fine,” Robin replied. “Liam and Noah belong to another generation. Patrick and his little cousin are going to turn things around. Patrick has lost too much to alcohol — his father and Jay. And Will lost his entire childhood.”

“You really believe that, don’t you?” Robert said.

“I do,” Robin said firmly. “Now what’s keeping you here late every night?”

“It was mostly Ellie,” her father admitted. “I just remember watching her grow up, her being in and out of the house so much. She was always around; she started to feel like my daughter too. And I guess it’s Patrick. I want to believe that this cycle in their family can be broken, Robin. Jay Quartermaine was such a bright kid with the entire world in front of him and so was Jennie Young. I’m tired of losing young people to this disease and the thought that Patrick might eventually give in under all that stress…”

“I knew you liked Patrick,” Robin replied, pleased.

“For a long time, I thought he’d be the one for you.” Robert paused. “Are you feeling all right? I mean, everything is okay?”

“Everything is fine.” Robin stood and moved around to hug her father. “You know why I loved Patrick so much?”

“Why?”

“Because he’s funny, smart, loyal and absolutely the best man I’ve ever known.” Robin leaned over and kissed her father’s cheek. “In short, Dad, I didn’t think I should ever settle for someone who didn’t measure up to my father.”

Comments

  • loved it. glad that Liz and Patrick talked. good for will for telling Noah the hard truth. good of Jason to talk to Liz. loved the conversation with robin and her dad

    According to Nicole on April 22, 2014
  • I think Elizabeth took the news of Jason quiting Sonny went better than I thought. Good for Will going and talking to his Uncle.

    According to starhine on April 25, 2014