You left something undone, it’s now your rerun
It’s the one you can’t erase
You should have made it right, so you wouldn’t have to fight
To put a smile back on your face
– Fall Away, The Fray
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Haunted Star: Upper Deck
Robin hesitantly stepped out onto the enclosed deck—Luke had spared no expense for his floating casino—and cleared her throat. “I just want to say something and I promise that I’ll—that’ll I never bring it up again okay?”
Patrick turned from his position staring moodily out over the water and stared at her with an unreadable expression. She felt no encouragement to continue but didn’t see any visible scorn so Robin decided to just continue with it. She would never feel at peace unless she had finished this.
“I’m just going to apologize for the way I left,” Robin said after a moment of silence. “Hindsight being what it is, I could have found a better way to do it or I could have stuck it out for a few more months, I don’t know. But my timing was awful and I can’t blame you or Ellie if you can’t forgive me for leaving the way I did—when I did.” She hesitated. “But I can also say that I did what I thought was best at the time. I wasn’t making anything better and every time I tried to draw you out, you just—you just got more angry with me so I figured that maybe I was just making things worse so I’m sorry—”
“Robin—” Patrick held up a hand and she stopped her clumsy ramble in mid-stream. “I appreciate your apology but really—you have nothing to be sorry for.” He was silent for a moment. “Did Ellie ever tell you that I moved out of our apartment after you did?”
Robin silently shook her head and he laughed a little, a bitter and angry sound. “I left my sister alone in that apartment, not four months after our mother had died. The building went co-op and Ellie couldn’t put any money down to buy it, my dad was completely useless at that point so she asked me if she could use the guest room in my new apartment for a few weeks, until she had enough saved for a new place.”
He blinked and turned back to the water, tracing his hand over the railing. “I told her no. That I was tired of living with my sister, that she’d cramp my style. I basically left my only family to rot in the streets—”
“Patrick—” Robin began, her heart aching for the both of them.
“She cried, Robin, you know that? She was never much of a crier, you know Ellie, always looking on the bright side, always trying to find the silver lining but when I told her that she had to be on her own and figure out her life without my help, she cried. And I changed my mind—I told her she could use it for a few nights, but that was it.”
“But she still lives there,” Robin said hesitantly. “So things got better.”
“My father sold our house when Mom died,” Patrick continued as if she hadn’t spoken. “And he moved into a one bedroom apartment. He stopped going to work, he stopped smiling, he stopped living and I think, if he had had the courage, he’d have stopped breathing. All he did was drink and I just—” he shook his head. “I couldn’t stand to be around him and remember how things used to be. And Ellie, I couldn’t look at her and not see Mom. I mean, she looks just like her. I think that’s why Dad stopped calling her, stopped letting her into the apartment.”
Her chest felt so heavy and her cheeks were stained with tears as Robin again berated herself for not staying for Elizabeth’s sake. The hell with Patrick, Elizabeth had been her friend, her sister and she’d had no business abandoning her. “But things are better now.”
“I didn’t let myself think about anything but me,” he remarked caustically. “Ellie’s pain, my father’s pain, I just blocked it all out. I kept dropping hints that she should look for other places to live, other people to depend on because as soon as I graduated from med school, I was getting an internship at a hospital as far away as I could and I was never going to look back.” His voice was rough now, sliding towards hoarse and Robin only wished she could wrap her arms around him and take away some the pain.
“But right before I graduated, Dad was in the car accident. I don’t if you know how bad it was, but he nearly died. And I sat in the ER, waiting to hear if I was going to lose another parent and Ellie came in and I realized that if my father died, she’d be alone. Not that she wasn’t alone already, but if Dad died, and I moved away, she’d have no one but Uncle Liam and Aunt Cheryl to depend on and I can remember thinking that she’d hate that because she didn’t really get along with either of them. And she started to cry when Monica Quartermaine told us how close Dad had come to dying—that he’d been drinking and he’d slammed into a guard rail and had nearly gone over an embankment. And I couldn’t watch her cry anymore so I told her that she could live with me for as long as she wanted because I wasn’t going to leave her after all.”
“Well, that’s good then,” Robin said uncertainly, hoping he didn’t have anything left to the story that would make her feel even worse about abandoning them. “Noah went into rehab afterwards, right?”
“He’s been sober for a year,” Patrick nodded. “And he and I…we’ll be okay again if he doesn’t pick up the bottle, and I thought, until tonight, that I’d fixed everything. But tonight, Ellie let me have it. She just—she exploded and all that anger and the hurt came rushing out, like she’d been bottling it up for a really long time. And I realized that I never told her I was sorry. And that I’d never seen her cry for what we’d done to her. She’d cried about what was happening, but not for the hell Dad and I put her through. She never once called us on cutting her out of our lives or at least trying to but tonight she did and I just—” He met Robin’s eyes. “I wasn’t a very good person to be around three years ago. You wouldn’t have liked me much so I don’t blame you for breaking up with me and taking off. I’m sorry that you weren’t here for Ellie, but you’ll have to take that up with her, not me.”
“Ellie loves you,” Robin said softly. “And she loves Noah. If she didn’t, she would have cut her losses a long time ago. You guys—because of you, I wanted a brother, so that I could have what you and Ellie have. So you had a rough patch and you were an ass to her.” A smile hovered at the edges of her lips. “I seem to remember a particularly annoying fourteen year old that sent me a Valentine lollipop with a cheesy awful poem attached because she wanted to torture her brother.”
A small grin spread across his face. “Well, it got me the girl so I didn’t hold a grudge for very long.”
Robin smacked his arm. “It did not get you girl—that happened two years later. However—” she smiled wickedly. “It did get me the sneezing story that I have used against you—”
He slapped a hand over her mouth but it did nothing to stave off the giggles that escaped from her lips. “Okay, okay, Scorpio, I think it’s time we laid that to rest. It was eleven years ago, for Christ’s sake.”
“You’re right, which is why it’s a shame you’re still so sensitive about it,” Robin sighed dramatically, dancing away from him. “Come on, Patrick, it makes you unique. How many other guys sneeze into the girl’s mouth during their first kiss?”
Patrick glared at her. “It was your awful perfume I’ll have you know, so it’s really all your fault.”
Robin let out an outraged gasp and whacked him in the arm. “You toad, I can’t believe you’d blame that on me. What a gentleman you are!”
“All’s fair in love and sneezing,” Patrick drawled. He curled an arm around her waist in a familiar move that he’d used their entire relationship. They’d spent a good portion of their six years together teasing each other and torturing the other with embarrassing stories of their childhood and after each session, he’d draw her close to him and kiss her until they forgot what they’d been bantering about.
He’d realized that he’d slid into the old routine about halfway into it and changed course, drawing her to his side and steering her towards the door. “Let’s go back in and I’ll give you the real low down on what you’ve missed since you left.”
Robin decided not to comment on the incident and grinned up at him. “All the dirty details Ellie was too nice to mention?”
“Of course.” They stepped back into the main casino floor and Patrick stalled when he saw the group that had just entered. Not that he drew anyone’s eyes to him—everyone had pretty much stopped into their tracks when Sonny and Brenda Corinthos had entered. Not so much for Sonny and Brenda but the couple behind them. Their friendship had been rumored but not since his accident had Jason been out and about in the social scene and no one had expected shy Elizabeth Drake to be on his arm when he did make an appearance.
Patrick glanced across the room where his father was standing with the rest of the Quartermaine family and quickly took Robin’s hand, leading her to the door. “I’d better head this off before Dad’s head explodes.”
Sonny and Brenda had broken away from Jason and Elizabeth to speak with Lois Cerullo-Ashton and her reluctant husband Ned. Patrick waited until his sister and Jason were alone before stepping up to them. “Ellie,” he said warmly, kissing his sister on the cheek. “You look beautiful.”
“Thanks,” Elizabeth said warily, wearing the universal expression that all sisters wore when their brothers were acting in an uncharacteristic manner. “I’m surprised to see you here with Robin.”
“We ran into each other outside,” Patrick explained. He hesitated for a moment but then extended his hand to Jason. “Jason, it’s good to see you.”
Elizabeth blinked but Jason shook Patrick’s hand. “Dr. Drake,” the other man said evenly. It was surreal to see his best friend’s face and hear his voice but realize that his best friend was, for all intents and purposes, dead.
Elizabeth recovered and turned to Jason. “You haven’t met Robin, yet right?” She looked back at Robin. “Robin, this is Jason Morgan.”
“Ellie has told me tons of about you,” Robin joked, shaking Jason’s hand.
“Robin,” Elizabeth hissed.
“She’s mentioned you quite a few times too,” Jason responded, somewhat amused that Elizabeth had gone to the trouble of introducing him to someone he was pretty sure he’d been friends with before the accident.
“Well, it’s a known fact that if there’s oxygen to be breathed, Ellie will be using it for talking,” Patrick sighed. “Would you mind letting me borrow my sister for a few moments? Because if we don’t go see our father, he’ll come over here…” he gave them a half-smile. “I don’t think anyone wants that.”
“That’s fine,” Robin said. “Jason and I will get caught up—” she hesitated, “we’ll get to know one other,” she corrected.
Elizabeth bit her lip but finally released Jason’s arm. Patrick wrapped an arm around her shoulders and they started across the room. “Are you high?” she demanded under her breath as they drew closer to her father and his irritated expression.
“Now why would you ask something like that?” Patrick asked idly.
“Because you’re acting like—” she waved her hand. “You’re acting weird. You’re being nice and you’re standing next to Robin and you called Jason by his first name and you’re…” she huffed. “You’re freaking me out.”
“It is a brother’s prerogative to annoy the crap out of his sister,” Patrick nodded. “And the best way I can do that is act the opposite of how you expect me to. Now, let’s go make sure our father’s head doesn’t explode, okay?”
“You’re such a brat,” Elizabeth muttered.
Noah had crossed his arms and was taping his fingers against the dark fabric of his tuxedo when his children finally reached them. “Elizabeth Imogene Drake, I expect an explanation—”
“Ellie doesn’t have to explain her behavior to you,” Patrick cut in. “She’s a grown woman and she’s been taking care of herself for a long time.”
Elizabeth’s mouth dropped open. “What the hell?” she demanded, frustrated. “Why are you defending me?”
Noah stared at his son with a mixture of irritation and amusement. “Are you trying to drive your sister crazy? You know nothing does it better than agreeing with her.” He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter—Elizabeth, you’re not acting rationally—”
“Dad, seriously,” Patrick broke in again. “It’s just a party. It’s not like they’re setting the date and sending out invitations, okay? So let’s just be cool about it.”
Elizabeth glared at him. “Okay, seriously, you’re freaking me out.” She raised a hand to his forehead. “Are you feeling all right?”
“I’m feeling fine,” Patrick batted her hand away. “Look, Ellie, Dad and I have put you through hell and I figure if you want to get back at us by hanging out with Jason Morgan and Sonny Corinthos, well it’s the least we deserve.”
“I’m not doing this to get back at you,” Elizabeth said, frustrated. “Is it so hard to comprehend that I enjoy spending time with Jason?”
“Yes,” Noah said plainly.
“Okay, Ellie,come on, you’ve made your point,” Patrick remarked. “I get it, Dad gets it—you can drop it now.”
“You are such a jackass,” Elizabeth said scathingly. She shoved him and stalked back to her date.
“I really thought I’d figured it out,” Patrick said, a little confused. He looked to his father. “I mean, it makes sense to me.”
“Me, too,” Noah shrugged, “but since when has your sister done anything that makes sense to either of us?”
Haunted Star: Main Casino Floor
Robin watched the Drake siblings cross the floor to deal with their father and smiled faintly. It was clear that Elizabeth held no long-lasting grudge towards her twin and she hoped Patrick could forgive himself one day for grieving in the only way he’d been able to.
“So, I’m guessing you knew Jason Quartermaine.”
Jason’s familiar, yet completely strange, voice broke into Robin’s thoughts and she turned her attention back to him. “Yes,” she admitted. “We all grew up together, actually. Jason, Patrick and Lucky were all best friends and Ellie and I were like sisters. We were all very close.”
Jason nodded and looked back towards the Drakes, where Elizabeth was feeling Patrick’s forehead. “I didn’t know—I didn’t know that Patrick had been friends with Jason Quartermaine.”
“Best friends,” Robin corrected quietly. “They were friends before I met either of them and had been since pre-school. You—” she cleared her throat. “Jason actually set Patrick and me up on our first date—sort of.” A smile flitted across her lips as the memory returned to her. “He’d gotten so tired of us dancing around each other, but never doing anything about it so he invited Patrick over to the pool house on the Quartermaine estate and invited me over as well. He locked the door and told us that he’d put food in there but neither of us were coming out until we figured out what the hell we were doing.”
“Elizabeth—” Jason hesitated. “She doesn’t tell me much about him, I think because she knows how the Quartermaines kept drilling me on how it used to be, how I wanted to be a doctor and what a good son I’d been and she knew how much I hated that.” He looked in her direction. “She’s very careful to separate the two.”
“Because, to her, they are separate people,” Robin told her. “In fact, after the accident, after you were out of the hospital, she would call me on the phone and tell me about the bike rides but she’d never say that it was Jason Quartermaine or even Jay—which was his nickname. From the start, you were always Jason Morgan to her.” She paused. “Do you ever wish you remembered?”
“Sometimes,” Jason admitted. “Monica—she looks at me sometimes and I can see how sad she is that I don’t. I think if I remembered even a little, it would hurt the people who loved him less.”
“I swear to God, that my brother sucks,” Elizabeth grumbled, rejoining them. She slipped her hand through Jason’s elbow. “His life’s mission is to drive me crazy and he knows nothing does it more than agreeing with me.”
“He’s diabolical,” Robin agreed, grinning.
“He’s a crack head,” Elizabeth corrected. She looked up at Jason. “He is not going to ruin my night. Let’s go gamble and you can help me win some money. Ellie needs a new car.” She tugged him in the direction of the blackjack table and Jason let her lead him away.
“Nothing’s more satisfying than confusing my baby sister,” Patrick said, returning to Robin’s side. “Reverse psychology, you know. If I pretend to accept him, she won’t need to use him to rebel.”
“Oh…you are so thick,” Robin sighed. “She’s not using him to rebel. She’s crazy about him—”
“No, no—” Patrick shook his head. “That’s just—it’s not a possibility. I won’t stand for it.”
“She’s right, you are a crack head,” Robin rolled her eyes. “Patrick, do you want things to be better between you and Ellie?”
Sensing where this was going, Patrick sighed, resigned. “Yes. And I suppose that means accepting and supporting all her choices, no matter how asinine.”
Robin patted his arm. “Good boy.” She let her eyes drift over the crowd and frowned when she saw a slightly familiar form stumble onto the floor from the room where the underage kids were playing poker. “Patrick, that’s not—” she squinted. “That can’t be Will, can it?”
Patrick followed her eyes and swore under his breath. His younger cousin was plastered again. He couldn’t even begin to count the times Will had called him from a party to pick him up or even how many times he’d gone to the police station to talk Robert out of pressing charges for trespassing or fighting. “Yeah, it’s Will.” He set his half-empty glass of champagne on a passing tray. “I’m going to have to take a rain check for the catching up, Rob, but I should get him out of here before your father the commissioner realizes that he’s drunk again.”
“I’ll help,” Robin said immediately, setting her own drink on another tray. She followed him across the room.
“Hey, Will, why don’t we call it a night?” Patrick suggested, slinging an arm around the slightly shorter boy in a thinly-disguised attempt to keep him on his feet.
Will peered at him blearily. “Lu?” he slurred.
“If I look like a tiny blonde than you really have had too much to drink,” Patrick sighed, starting to steer him towards the door.
“No, need to find—I have to see her—”
“The only thing you have to do sober up, pal.” Patrick saw Robert Scorpio’s eyes on them and tensed. “Robin, be a pal. Go head off your dad.”
“We’re almost out of here and you’re going to need help loading him in the car,” Robin refused as she helped Patrick maneuver the teen up the steps and towards the door.
After making it off the yacht and folding Will into his car, Patrick shut the door and sighed. “Home to Aunt Cheryl, it is.” He met Robin’s concerned gaze. “Thanks for your help.”
“What’s wrong with him?” she asked softly. “He was an honors student, he was so clean cut—”
“My uncle moved out last year,” Patrick said flatly. “And apparently, alcoholism runs in the family. Aunt Cheryl started drinking a lot and I guess the only way Will could cope was to get in trouble. He’s only been drinking the last few months though. Since he started dating Lu Spencer.”
“Lu drinks?” Robin’s eyes bulged. “That’s just—”
“No, I think Lu drives him to drink,” Patrick said dryly. “Look, I should get him home, make sure my aunt doesn’t…” he shrugged. “I’m glad we had a chance to clear the air.”
Feeling dismissed, Robin smiled hesitantly. “Ah, me too. I’ll just go in now. Good luck with him.”
Patrick waited until Robin was back inside before sliding in the driver’s seat and glancing at his cousin. “Thanks, Will. You just ruined any chance I had at getting some tonight.”
Will snorted. “Robin Scorpio was not going to sleep with you tonight. Or any other night.”
Though Patrick knew the first part was true, he was a little surprised Will added the second. He’d only admitted to himself that night that he wanted Robin back, that he wanted to be with her again, to have that part of his life make sense again. He knew it was going to take time but he’d thought it was a no-brainer. Robin was the only woman he’d ever loved. Of course, she was still in love with him. Right?
Perturbed now, Patrick started the car. “Why wouldn’t she sleep with me?” he demanded, somewhat irritated.
“Because once women leave us Drakes, they never come back,” Will muttered moodily. “I bet it’s written somewhere.”
“Look, if Lu ties you up this bad, then maybe you’re better off without her—” Patrick began.
“You don’t know a damn thing about it,” Will retorted. “I love Lu. And she loves me, I know she does. I just have to make her understand that I’m not like—” he broke off. “I just have to make her see that I love her, that we belong together.”
“That’s usually what the guy says before he goes all stalker, Will,” Patrick replied, now firmly concerned. “Have you mentioned Lu to your mom? Or to your dad?”
“No,” Will muttered darkly. “I can’t remember the last time Mom was sober and Dad hasn’t been around, hasn’t called.”
Feeling guilty that he hadn’t been there for his cousin, Patrick decided it was time for a change. He’d start hanging out with the kid more, making sure he drank less and instead of just dumping him off with his aunt after bailing him out of trouble, he’d stick around and make sure Will straightened out. “Look, tomorrow, we’ll go to the park, we’ll shoot some hoops and you can tell me about Lulu, okay?”
He pulled into the drive way and shut off the ignition. “Look, I know what it’s like to be in love with someone who walks away. Who makes it look easy to walk away. But you can’t know what’s in someone else’s head, okay?”
“Spare me the lectures,” Will muttered. “I don’t want to hear them right now. You had Robin for six years. I had Lu for two months, okay?” He glared up at the split level home that up until a year ago, had housed a pretty decent family. “Home, sweet home,” he muttered, pushing his door open.
Haunted Star: Casino Foyer
Robin was rubbing her chilled arms as she stepped back into the casino. This was not how she’d expected her night to go and though she wished Will were in a better place, she was somewhat grateful for the interruption. She had been falling into old habits with Patrick and in another hour or so, it would have felt like they’d never been apart.
She wanted to make her peace with him, but she could never go back to that life and she had to be careful that he didn’t get the wrong idea.
Lulu stepped out of a shadowy corner and grabbed Robin’s arm. “Hey—” she swallowed. “I saw you and Patrick take Will outside. Is—is he okay?”
“Yeah…” Robin paused and tilted her head. “Lu, is everything okay between you guys?”
Lulu waved a hand and shrugged. “Oh…well, we sort of broke up last week. Will’s not—” she paused. “He’s not taking it well but I don’t think that’s really surprising. He hasn’t been taking anything well. I just—I wanted to make sure he was okay. Is he?” she demanded.
The teen looked so agitated that Robin slid an arm around her shoulders and led her to a sofa. “Sit down, Lu. Tell me what’s wrong.”
“Nothing,” Lulu denied. “It’s all fine—I just…” she stared at her hands. “I did something really stupid and I dragged Dillon into it like always and I think I really—I really screwed up with Will.”
“Hey, there’s nothing so bad that we can’t fix it,” Robin assured her. “Why don’t you tell me what’s wrong and we’ll see what we can do about it?”
“You’re just going to say what Emily said,” Lu huffed. “You’re going to tell me to be honest and to tell Will and then it from there, but c’mon, Robin, you saw him! He’s in no shape to be getting this kind of news—”
“Lulu,” Robin interrupted, feeling the strain of a headache coming on. “What news?”
“I’m pregnant,” Lulu announced. “And it’s Will’s and I broke up with him because he’s a lush and he’s self-destructive and I asked Dillon to say he was the father because I panicked, but you know, that’s just making this whole thing worse because my father would literally kill him—”
“Okay, okay, deep breath—” Robin held up a hand to ward off more of Lulu’s ramblings. “You said that Emily knew, right? And I take it that Dillon knows.” When Lulu nodded, Robin continued, “So, we’ll get together after Christmas, and we’ll figure this out.” She squeezed the blonde’s hands. “You’re not alone, Lu. You know that right?”
Lu smiled weakly. “Sure feels like it sometimes.”
Casino: Main Floor
“Should I put it on red or black?” Elizabeth asked, glancing over her shoulder at Jason. But he was looking at Sonny across the room. She exhaled slowly and looked back at the table before putting half her money on black twenty-nine. “Black it is,” she muttered.
Jason touched her shoulder. “Hey, I’ll be right back, okay?” he told her. Elizabeth shrugged—not like he was paying any attention to her anyway. As first dates went, this was a bust. Which wasn’t entirely surprising considering it wasn’t supposed to be a date.
She smiled weakly when she won and raked her winnings in while watching Jason join Sonny at a table with a man she vaguely recognized from the newspapers as Hector Ruiz. It looked like a planned meeting and suddenly she felt nauseous. She quietly cashed out her winnings and exited out to the upper deck.
She wasn’t sure how long she stood there, staring out over the bay and damning herself for seeing things that were never there to begin with. Jason was a friend, he clearly had no interest in being more and she was only making herself look like an idiot by thinking he did.
She turned and leveled a cool stare in Jason’s direction. “Is your meeting finished?” she asked.
He frowned and glanced over his shoulder. “How did you—” he hesitated. “Yeah, it’s done. Did you want to go gamble some more?”
“Don’t worry about me,” Elizabeth replied stiffly. “I can get a ride home from Lucky or Robin. You can go now.”
Jason stepped out onto the deck and shook his head. “Elizabeth, I’m not exactly sure but I think you’re angry with me and I really don’t know why—”
“I’m angry with myself, I’m only irritated with you,” she muttered. She turned back to the water and leaned her elbows on the railing. “You could have just told me that you had a meeting here tonight. You didn’t have to make me twist your arm to come. And here’s a little piece of advice for the future, Jason. I don’t like being used.”
“Used?” he repeated, completely lost. “I wasn’t—I don’t understand what the problem is. I had a meeting, I was already going to be here—”
“Since when do warehouse workers take meetings with Sonny Corinthos and Hector Ruiz?” Elizabeth demanded. He fell silent, not realizing that in trying to defend himself against an unknown charge that he’d given away his role in Sonny’s organization. She swiped at her eyes, furious with herself for feeling hurt that he hadn’t confided in her about his changing job. But that wasn’t surprising, not really. She’d usually been the one doing the talking. She saw that now.
“So I guess you’re not even a courier now.” She hated that her voice sounded thick and she was sure he could see the tears in her eyes. “The problem is, Jason, that you invited me to dinner with your boss and his wife. And you agreed to come with me tonight. Stupid me, I thought it was because you wanted to spend time with me. If I’d known it was a means to an end…” she shook her head. “Never mind. It’s my own fault—”
“Elizabeth—” Jason began, still not completely following the thread of the conversation. She was angry, and she was hurt and he wanted to make that go away but he’d caused it and he didn’t know how. “I can take you home now if you want—”
“Don’t bother,” Elizabeth said. She pushed past him. “I’ll find my own ride home. I don’t want to inconvenience you any further.”
Jason followed her back inside and tried to catch up with her but someone stepped between them and by the time he could see her again, she was going out into the lobby.
“Your date just ran out on you,” Brenda observed, sidling up to him. She sipped her champagne. “Care to explain how you scared her off?”
Jason drove his fingers his hair and glared at her. “I would if I knew what I did wrong. She said something about being a means to an end and not wanting to inconvenience me anymore. And I think it has to do with the meeting I had to take here tonight.”
“Oh…” Brenda patted his shoulder. “Jason, you have so much to learn about women.”
Drake House: Living Room
Cheryl Harris Drake had been a pretty woman once, with strawberry blonde hair and a peaches and cream complexion. Sixteen years of marriage to a functioning alcoholic had given her a hard look in those pretty green eyes and a chip on her shoulder the size of Colorado.
She was in the living room, watching a movie when Patrick pushed open the door and started to steer Will towards the stairs. She sprang to her feet and crossed to them. “What the hell is this?” she demanded.
“Will wasn’t feeling well so I brought him home,” Patrick replied. “I’m just going to help him to bed—”
He broke off when his aunt reached forward and roughly grabbed her son’s chin. “Sick, huh?” She smiled nastily. “Drunk as a skunk.” She let go abruptly and Will stumbled a bit. Patrick braced a hand on his back to keep him standing. “You’re just as useless as your father, you lousy bastard—”
“Hey, his girlfriend just broke up with him,” Patrick began.
“Don’t defend him to me,” Cheryl spat. “You’re no better than your father or his brother. All the Drake men are useless piles of shit. You just haven’t fallen into a bottle yet. You will, you all do—”
“Well, being married to you, I can’t imagine why Dad would stay sober,” Will remarked with a sardonic grin. Cheryl answered that with a vicious slap that sent Will sprawling in his weakened state.
“Okay, that’s enough—” Patrick stepped between them. “I’m sorry Uncle Liam sucks, okay? He was never much use to me anyway. But don’t take it out on Will—he lost his father too—”
“Oh, don’t come in here acting all high and mighty just because your daddy went to rehab!” Cheryl retorted and she was close enough to him that Patrick could smell the whiskey on her breath. “He’ll fail just like Liam failed and Will over here ain’t no better—”
“That’s it,” Patrick snapped. “I’ve never hit a woman in my life, but man, you’re coming close.” He hauled Will to his feet. “C’mon, I’m taking you back to my place. And I’m not letting him back here until you clean up your act,” he told his aunt. He yanked the front door open and all but shoved Will down the front step. “This family is falling apart,” he muttered.
Will started to laugh. “Falling apart? Christ, Patty, when did we ever have it together?”