Chapter One

Lily Corinthos strode into Jason Morgan’s penthouse without bothering to wait for Johnny to announce her. Her dark hair was pulled into a low ponytail and her caramel eyes were filled to the brim with concern.

Jason Morgan stood up as she came to a stop in front of the dining room table where he’d been going over warehouse receipts. He towered over the petite woman–but what Lily lacked in stature, she made up for in energy.

“Good morning.” Jason said.

“What’s this I hear about Robin moving to Paris for good?” Lily demanded.

Jason sat back down. “Don’t worry about it.” He reached for the receipts but Lily slammed her hand down on top of them.

“Damn it, don’t do this, Jase. Don’t shut me out.”

Jason sighed and looked up at his friend. “What do you want me to do?”

“So Robin couldn’t handle this–that’s fine, but you can’t stop living.” Lily sank in a seat across from him. “I know how that feels–I thought my life was over when Sonny died in that explosion. But I had a son–he needed me.”

“That’s all well and good, but I don’t exactly have a kid,” Jason said, absently reaching for the receipts again.

“Jason-” Lily shook her head. “But you do have people who need you–love you. Me and Mike need you.”

“You have me,” Jason replied simply. “I promised Sonny I’d always take care of you.”

Lily frowned. “Am I only an obligation?”

“No,” Jason replied. He looked away. “I don’t know what you want, Lily.”

Lily sighed. “Robin wanted another chance. She-”

“Robin has tried over and over again to handle this,” Jason said quietly. “She can’t. And by pretending it could work, we’d only end up hurting each other.”

Lily nodded. There was truth to Jason’s words and she knew it. She knew from the get go that pretty Robin Scorpio would never be able to last in Jason’s life. She wanted security–and she needed the knowledge that she always came first. Jason couldn’t–or wouldn’t–give that to her. But she knew that if Jason didn’t have someone in his life–he’d probably shut down entirely. And she couldn’t let that happen. “All right,” she conceded. “But I know you’re going to use this as an opportunity to shut me out–and I’m going to tell you now it’s not going to work.”

Jason looked up at Lily and sighed. He’d promised Sonny on his wedding day he’d take care of Lily if anything ever happened to him. Jason hadn’t expected to be alive if Sonny wasn’t, but here they were, three years after Sonny had been killed in a car bomb. After the explosion, Jason had pushed almost everyone out–from his sister, Emily, to Robin to Sonny’s father, Mike. But Lily dug her feet in and refused to let him blame himself. Jason still blamed himself–a fact that Lily was well aware of. But now, Lily Corinthos and her son Michael were the only people in the world that he still cared about.

“Look, I know you’re trying to be my friend,” Jason said, “But you can’t save me from the world.”

“No,” Lily said. “No. I can’t. But it doesn’t stop me from trying. Jase, you made me get out of bed. You told me to live for my child. I’d be a horrible friend if I didn’t try and be as supportive to you.”

Jason nodded. “All right. If I let you be supportive, will you let me do my receipts?”

Lily frowned and removed her hands. “Oh. Where’s Benny?”

Jason took the receipts back and sighed. “Vacation. Besides, I like doing this.”

She wrinkled her nose. “You’re insane. Are you meeting me for dinner tonight?”

Jason nodded absently. “Yeah. The Outback, right?”

Lily nodded. “Right. At eight. I’ll see you later.”

——

Elizabeth Spencer squinted her eyes and stared at the clock. Seven forty-five. An hour and fifteen minutes before her shift was over. Elizabeth had owned The Outback for nearly three months–but she kept her job as waitress anyway. The extra tips made all the difference since most of the money she made went into an account for Lex.

She rubbed her eyes wearily and paused for a moment at the bar. Lex spent most days at her in-laws house, but Elizabeth dreaded walking into that house to pick her up. Because Elizabeth and Lex were a living reminder that their son was dead.

“Hey, Spencer,” Mac Scorpio said, taking a seat at the bar. “Place looks good.”

Elizabeth looked at the former owner and smiled wearily. “Thanks. How goes it with catching criminals?” she asked.

Mac grimaced. “Slightly difficult now that Scott Baldwin’s taking over some cases.”

Elizabeth frowned. “Isn’t he the DA that Luke hates?”

“Yeah. Scott’s decided to crack down on organized crime.” Mac signaled for the bartender. “He’s got a fixation on Jason Morgan–it’s almost as bad as the one that Taggart had on Corinthos.”

Elizabeth shrugged. “Why don’t you wait until they do something you can prove instead of always chasing them?”

Mac ordered a Vodka Tonic. “I ask Scott that everyday.”

Elizabeth laughed. “Well, you know you’re always welcome to drown your troubles here. Drinks are on the house.”

“You don’t have to do that, Liz,” Mac said.

Elizabeth shrugged. “You’re practically the only person in town that believes I didn’t plan on Lucky dying or that I didn’t trap him.”

Mac smiled at her. “That’s because I was your boss–I knew better.”

Elizabeth returned the smile warmly. “And since you’re also the commissioner, that faith kind of works in my favor. Nikolas been in lately to announce my guilt?”

“He was in last week,” Mac admits. “I keep telling him the accident wasn’t even Lucky’s fault and that the other driver wasn’t even from Port Charles. He won’t listen.”

Elizabeth’s face darkened. “He’s been telling Laura–and I think she’s so desperate to latch onto anything regarding Lucky that she might start believing him.”

Mac frowned. “I’m sorry you have to deal with that Liz.”

“Well, it’s not your fault. It’s Nikolas and the rest this town.” She sighed. “The only reason I still stay here is because of Lex.”

Mac nodded and finished his drink. “She’s a beautiful baby. Bring her by the house sometime–Felicia misses seeing you regularly.”

“Tell her she’s welcome any time,” Elizabeth replied, warmly. “Tell Maxie and Georgie I said hi.”

“Will do. See ya, Spencer.”

“Later, Scorpio.” Elizabeth watched him leave and hauled her tray back up. Back to work. She was seriously considering quitting the waitress job. She was the owner–she shouldn’t be serving.

She saw a dark haired woman sit in her section and sighed. Please let her be alone, Elizabeth asked silently as she went over to the table.

“Hi, I’m Liz Spencer and I’ll be your server today,” Elizabeth said brightly. “Do you need a menu?”

The woman smiled at her. “Actually, I’m waiting for someone. Could you bring me a martini, sweet and a Budweiser…in the bottle?”

Elizabeth nodded. “Not a problem. I’ll be right back.” She gave her a smile and moved towards the bar.

Lily watched the waitress leave and sighed. Liz Spencer. She’d heard about the girl–mainly from Robin. Robin’s first complaint about her was her childhood friend was dating a little waitress–and then it was that the little slut (Robin’s words) had trapped Lucky into marriage. She’d then killed Lucky and talked Mac into selling her The Outback.

Lily had never really liked Robin and figured if Robin hated Liz Spencer that much–well, she might be the type of girl Lily’d like.

Jason slid into the seat across from her. “You’re late,” she muttered, irritated. “I ordered you a beer.”

“In the bottle?” Jason asked, absently, picking up the menu.

“Yep,” Lily replied. She looked up as Elizabeth Spencer returned with their drinks. “Thanks, Liz.” She paused.

Elizabeth smiled again. “Are you ready to order?”

Lily looked at Jason–who’d yet to raise his head from the menu. She rolled her eyes. Typical. She kicked him under the table.

“Ow!” Jason yelped, looking up. “What?”

“What do you want?” Lily said, tipping her head towards Elizabeth. Jason glanced her way and glared at Lily.

“That’s not a reason to kick me,” Jason said, irritated. He flicked his eyes towards their waitress. “The steak–well done. Mashed potatoes.”

Elizabeth wrote it down and nodded. “And you?”

“Rosemary chicken…” Lily paused, “…with a side of sweet corn.”

Elizabeth wrote it down and flashed them another smile. “I’ll be back with your order.”

As soon as Elizabeth disappeared, Jason gave Lily a swift kick right to the shins. She kicked him right back.

“What is it about you that makes me so irritated?” he muttered, taking a swig of his beer.

Lily smiled brightly. “You know you love me.”

—-

Elizabeth glanced at the clock and wanted to jump for joy–it was nine! She could pick up Lex and go home. She looked over her section and immediately her face fell–the brunette and her friend were still sitting. She let her head drop to the bar in disappointment.

“Excuse me.”

Elizabeth looked up into Lily Corinthos’ friendly eyes. Immediately she straightened. “Yes?”

Lily glanced back at her table. “We need our check.” When she glanced back, she was in time to see the relief flash through the other woman’s eyes. She looked at the clock and smiled. “Sorry we took so long.”

Elizabeth shook her head and eagerly ripped the check off her pad. “It’s fine. I just didn’t want to be late to pick up my daughter.”

Lily smiled and took the check. “How old is your daughter?”

“Oh, Lex is six months old,” Elizabeth replied. “Do you have children?”

Lily tilted her head in confusion. Someone in Port Charles didn’t know about Sonny Corinthos or his son? In a town this small, everyone knew everyone else’s business. She laughed. “Yes. I have a son. He’s two and a half.”

Elizabeth smiled. “I love children. I just wish I didn’t have to leave her with my mother-in-law all the time.”

“Being a single mother is hard,” Lily said. “But I don’t work, so it’s easier.”

“I guess when Lex is older, I can bring her here,” Elizabeth said. “But that’s if I even stay in town.”

Lily frowned. “Why wouldn’t you?”

“Don’t tell me you don’t know…” Elizabeth smiled. “You haven’t heard that I murdered my husband?”

Lily’s face flushed and she had the grace to look embarrassed. “Actually, I have heard the rumor. But being who I am and who my husband was…I don’t pay attention to the rumor mill.”

“Who was your husband?” Elizabeth asked curiously.

“Sonny Corinthos…” Lily frowned. “You’ve never heard of him?”

“I’ve only heard about him from my former boss,” Elizabeth said. “Mac Scorpio…but I didn’t realize he’d been married.”

Lily wrinkled her nose. “Ahh, our lovely police commissioner. Yes, we were married for a year before he died.”

“I’m sorry,” Elizabeth said.

Lily sighed. “It’s been three years, so it’s not as bad.” She glanced at her table. “I think Jason’s getting restless. It was nice talking to you, Elizabeth.”

“You, too.” Elizabeth took her apron off and shoved it with her order pad under the bar. “Ariel, I’m leaving. You’re closing, right?”

“Sure thing, Spence,” her manager Ariel called. “See ya tomorrow.”

Elizabeth headed over to Lily’s table to collect her money and the tip. She tossed the money in the register and the tip in her pocket.

—-

“You didn’t have to take so long,” Jason muttered as he and Lily headed towards the parking lot.

“Sue me–I got caught up in talking to someone who didn’t know Sonny was my husband. It was refreshing.”

“What, the waitress?” Jason asked, glancing back at the restaurant.

“She’s Elizabeth Spencer–you know her.” Lily looked at him. “Robin detested her–she owns The Outback–Lucky Spencer’s wife–Luke Spencer’s daughter-in-law.”

Jason frowned. “Never actually met the woman.”

“You were at her wedding,” Lily said, irritated. “I remember–you asked me to go.”

“Like I remember who actually gets married,” Jason replied. “When was it?”

“About a year ago,” Lily replied. “It was around the time Johnny got married.”

Jason frowned. “Johnny got married?”

“You were his best man!” Lily said, frustrated. She shook her head. “Never mind.”

Jason shrugged. “I remember Lucky getting married and Robin refusing to go.”

“Robin thought Elizabeth trapped him…remember?”

“Sounds familiar.”

“Do you ever listen when people talk?” Lily asked, annoyed.

“Not when you talk,” Jason replied. He pulled her door open and looked inside the car. “It’s clear.”

Lily glared at him. “You know, you’re lucky you’re my friend or I might want to kill you.”

“Who else would you nag?” Jason asked. He shut the door after she was in. He strode away before he heard her angry retort.

—-

Elizabeth entered the Spencer house tiredly. She pointedly avoided looking in the direction of the mantel where Laura had erected a shrine to Lucky.

“Sorry, I’m late,” she said.

Laura Spencer stood up and rubbed her eyes. “It’s all right. Alexandria has been asleep for about an hour.”

Elizabeth leaned down to pick up the carrier. She refused to look Laura in the eye–Laura thought Elizabeth wasn’t properly mourning her son. Something about that she didn’t still wear black, that she’d used Lucky’s insurance money to buy The Outback or that she hadn’t named her daughter after Lucky. Elizabeth idly wondered what kind of girl’s name you could get from Lucas Lorenzo Spencer.

“Thanks for watching her.”

“She looks more and more like him,” Laura said sadly. She looked up at Elizabeth. “Do you tell her about her father?”

Elizabeth shifted uncomfortably. She hated when Laura did things like this. Tried to make it seem like she wasn’t being a good enough mother. “I tell her about Lucky every day. There are pictures around the apartment.”

“What if you get married again?” Laura asked desperately. “Will he raise Alexandria as his own daughter?”

Elizabeth looked at her peacefully sleeping daughter and wanted to scream. Laura was asking questions that she had no right to–and questions that were about a future Elizabeth couldn’t imagine. “Of course…any man I’d be with would have to treat Lex like his own child. It wouldn’t be fair to her.”

“She’d call him Daddy, wouldn’t she?” Laura asked. “She’d forget about Lucky, what about Lucky?”

Elizabeth sighed and looked at her mother-in-law. “Lucky’s dead, Laura. He’s been dead for seven months. Lex shouldn’t be deprived of a father because some idiot was driving too fast.”

“That’s right,” Nikolas Cassadine announced. He stood in the entryway of the kitchen. “And Lucky would still be here if you hadn’t killed him.”

Elizabeth narrowed her eyes. “Lucky was killed by a speeding driver–not me.”

“A driver who happened to be on that road at that time–when Lucky was picking you up?” Nikolas said, sneering.

“You’re being ridiculous,” Elizabeth replied. “And I don’t appreciate you telling anyone who’ll listen that I killed Lucky. I didn’t do it. It was an accident.”

“Who are you sleeping with?” Nikolas demanded. “You wanted to get away from Lucky but he wouldn’t let you. So you killed him.”

Elizabeth glared at her brother-in-law. “You don’t know anything about our marriage. I did love him. Maybe it wasn’t the kind of love that you wanted for him, Laura, but I did care about him. I didn’t want him to die.”

Laura looked away. Elizabeth threw another glare at Nikolas and left. She didn’t have the patience or the energy to deal with Nikolas Cassadine and his accusations tonight.

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