“How did Sonny die?”
Lily blinked. She hadn’t expected that question from Elizabeth–she hadn’t really wanted to get into it. She’d wanted Elizabeth to understand that what Jason was doing wasn’t something he really wanted to do–that it was something he felt he had to do. That he wasn’t just protecting her, he was protecting himself.
“I’m sorry if…that’s a painful question,” Elizabeth said when Lily didn’t answer. “I understand if you don’t want to say anything.”
Lily changed positions and folded her legs on the couch. “No. No. It’s just–I don’t really know how or where to start.” She didn’t say anything else for a few minutes, but finally, “We were at Luke’s celebrating. I had just found out I was pregnant. Jason was like a brother to Sonny, even though he’d only been working for Sonny a short time. He’d moved up the ranks pretty quickly–Sonny fully expected Jason to take over one day.” She looked down at her hands, where the slim gold wedding band still rested on the fourth finger of her left hand. “He just didn’t expect it so soon.”
“We were getting ready to leave…”
“I’ll get the car,” Lily volunteered. She started fishing in Sonny’s coat pockets for the keys. Sonny laughed and twisted away.
“Oh, no you don’t,” he chastised. “You’re pregnant. No more driving around for you.”
“I’m not dying, I’m just pregnant,” Lily replied, trying to reach around Sonny’s waist, but he kept pulling her out of reach.
“No, no. Stay here with Jason and Luke. I’ll get the car,” Sonny replied.
“Hold on,” Jason interjected. “Let me check it.”
“No, I’ll bring it,” Sonny replied, already stepping off the curb.
“Sonny, wait,” Jason protested. He started to follow but Sonny turned around.
“Don’t be such a worry wart, Jase. I can handle the car.” Sonny grinned his trademark smile–dimples and all–before turning back around and heading across the parking lot.
“One of these days, he’s gonna get himself killed being that careless,” Luke remarked. He twirled an unlit cigar in his hands.
“Not with Jason around,” Lily said, squeezing Jason’s arm. Jason didn’t join in on the light-hearted teasing–his eyes were trained on the car.
“Hey, how’s Miss Scorpio?” Luke asked.
Momentarily distracted, Jason tore his eyes from the car and turned to look at Luke. “She’s fine. She’s been applying–”
The force of the explosion knocked them all of their feet.
Elizabeth stared as the widow recounted the story of the day her husband died. “Jason was supposed to check the car–sweep it, you might say,” Lily finished. “And because he didn’t, he thinks he killed Sonny.”
“But Sonny told him not to worry,” Elizabeth protested weakly. “He said he could handle it.”
“I’ve been trying to tell Jason for three years that it wasn’t his fault,” Lily replied quietly. “That Sonny should have swept the car. But he won’t listen–he just sees it as the one time Sonny needed him and he couldn’t deliver.” Lily leaned forward, tears shining in her caramel eyes. “Jason Morgan is one of the best men I know. He might be pigheaded and a little stubborn, but you’ll never find anyone who loves more deeply, cares as much and does everything in power to make you feel safe and protected.”
“I know,” Elizabeth said. “I believe that.”
“It’s just…Sonny’s death rocked him. He lost one of the most important people in his life and he’s just not willing to let anyone in far enough again. He doesn’t want to go through that again and I can’t really blame him. I don’t want to fall in love again only to lose them either.”
“I understand,” Elizabeth said, sincerely. “Truly, I do. But you said yourself–you can’t even convince him it’s not your fault. If you, as Sonny’s wife, can’t do it, what makes you think I’d be any help?”
Lily hesitated. “I don’t know. But I’ve got such a strong feeling. Elizabeth, he’s known you for….what? Two weeks?” When Elizabeth nodded, she continued, “And he’s opened up to you so fast. He told you that Sonny died–he didn’t go into details, but he did admit how he pushed people away–he told you about Robin, he’s taken you on the bike–he’s let you in so far and I think it really scares him.” Lily shifted and leaned forward, her eyes locked on Elizabeth’s. “See, I don’t think he let himself fall in love with Robin. Sure, they both said they were in love, but they weren’t and I knew that. But he couldn’t help himself–he wanted to fall for you.”
“Could have fooled me,” Elizabeth whispered, her eyes wet with tears.
“Well, he did and he didn’t,” Lily tried to explain. “Subconsciously, he wants to be with you. But he won’t let himself. He’s pushing you away, doing everything he can to make you hate him.”
“I could never hate him,” Elizabeth said softly. “Never.”
Lily flashed a brief smile. “That’s good to hear. And since we know that, we can’t let him get away with it.”
“So,” Elizabeth asked, raising her eyebrows. “What do you have in mind?”
“First…let’s get these ridiculous charges dismissed,” Lily said. “And then…well, I’ve got a good idea.”
“You’re not going to tell me, are you?” Elizabeth asked.
“Well, it involves a slight felony,” Lily admitted.
Elizabeth’s eyes sparked with curiosity. “A felony?” she repeated.
“Something along the lines of kidnapping,” Lily replied.
Elizabeth’s lips curved into a smile. “I love the way you think.”
“Your Honor,” Alexis began in chambers the next morning. “There is absolutely no evidence that links Jay Miller to my client.” Elizabeth sat next to her, dressed conservatively in a navy blue knee length skirt, matching blazer and white silk blouse. Her brown hair was clipped back, and her make up done in muted colors. Lily had told her that morning that it would make her look more like an ordinary and more importantly, innocent citizen.
Scott Baldwin wasn’t seated like Alexis. He was dressed in a casual black suit with his green shirt under the blazer opened a few buttons. He was leaning against the wall, one hand in his pocket, the other grasping his jaw. “We have his testimony.”
“Please,” Alexis couldn’t resist rolling her eyes. “The testimony of someone who waited a year to come forward–he can’t even recall Mrs. Spencer’s appearance, only her name. He can’t produce any physical evidence other than his word. It’s relatively his word against my client’s.”
“And his word–” Scott began.
The judge cut him off, “I have to agree with Ms. Davis. The testimony of someone who– if he’s telling the truth accepted money to stage a car accident that intended to kill the occupant in the other car–won’t hold up in court without corroborating evidence.”
“And since Miller’s testimony is the only evidence the state has against my client, I make a motion to have the charges dismissed,” Alexis said.
Before Scott could protest, the judge nodded. “Charges dismissed.”
Outside the judge’s chambers, Lily waited anxiously with Michael sitting at her side and Lex in her arms. She was rocking her back and forth, hoping like hell the six-month-old girl wouldn’t start crying in the middle of the courthouse.
“There she is.”
At the sound of Nikolas Cassadine’s obnoxious and condescending voice, Lily grimaced. She looked up to see Nikolas striding towards her, a woman following on her heels.
The woman stopped in front of Lily. “My name is Nicole McCarthy from Children’s Services.”
Lily’s eyebrows shot up. “Children’s Services?” she repeated in disbelief.
“Mama?” Michael asked. “What’s going on?”
“Hold on, baby,” Lily murmured to her son, not taking her eyes off the duo in front of her. “Mama will take care of this.” Raising her voice to a normal tone, she said, “What can I do for you?”
“Is that Alexandria Mary Spencer?” Nicole asked, gesturing towards Lex.
“Yes,” Lily said, her voice firm and even. She glared at Nikolas. “Why?”
“We have a court order that places Alexandria in Laura Spencer’s care until her mother–” Nicole checked her paperwork, “–Elizabeth Imogene Spencer has been cleared of the charges.”
“You are not taking her anywhere,” Lily said. She glared at Nikolas. “You think you’ve pissed your aunt off with fabricating evidence? You just wait until she finds out you’re trying to have Lex taken away.”
Nikolas snorted. “Lex–what a ridiculous name for a girl.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Nicole interrupted briskly. She leaned forward to take Lex from Lily’s arms but Lily jerked away.
“Don’t touch her,” Lily warned. “Elizabeth Spencer and her lawyer are in the judge’s chambers now getting the charges dismissed. So, just stay away, you understand?”
“Has there been an official dismissal of the charges?” Nicole asked, her eyebrow raised in question.
“No,” Lily admitted. “But they’re not done yet.”
“I have to take Alexandria into my custody until that happens,” Nicole said. “Now, please, give me the child.”
“You’re not taking my child anywhere!”
Lily turned to see Elizabeth and Alexis exiting the judge’s chambers. Elizabeth stalked towards them, her face lit with fury, Alexis hot on her heels.
“What’s going on?” Elizabeth demanded, her brown hair coming loose from its clip.
“We have a court order that says Laura gets custody,” Nikolas said smugly.
“Until you’ve been cleared,” Nicole clarified, shooting Nikolas a dirty glance.
Alexis stepped forward. “Alexis Davis,” she introduced herself. “I’m Mrs. Spencer’s lawyer and she has been cleared.”
Nikolas glared at Alexis. “What?” he barked.
“You heard her,” Elizabeth snarled. “Your little scheme didn’t work. You can produce all the phony evidence you want, but since I’m innocent, it won’t work!”
“You little bitch,” Nikolas hissed, lunging for her. Elizabeth shoved him back before he could do any damage.
“Leave the pretty lady alone!” Michael warned, delivering a swift kick to Nikolas’s thigh, which was about all he could reach once he was standing on the bench.
“Stop right there,” Lily warned, her eyes flashing in warning. She handed Lex to Elizabeth and grabbed Michael’s hand. “Let’s go.”
They headed for the elevator. Nicole looked between the fuming man and the equally angry attorney. “Well, my work is done here. Bye.” She headed for the elevators as well.
“You are a sad, pathetic excuse for a human being,” Alexis spit out. “This is not how Stefan raised you–he raised you to be kind and caring and compassionate about other people.”
“Do not speak to me about my uncle!” Nikolas yelled. “He disowned you and you can’t stand it!”
“I chose to leave the family!” Alexis shot back. “And youcan be certain of one thing–Stefan will be learning of your recent behavior.” She shot Nikolas a dirty look before stalking towards the elevators.
“I cannot believe he tried to have Lex taken away!” Elizabeth fumed as they entered Lily’s penthouse.
“Go play,” Lily directed Michael who took off towards his play room. “I did everything I could to stall until you and Alexis were done.”
Elizabeth deposited Lex in the bassinet she’d brought over. “Thank you,” she said, gratefully. “That means a lot to me.”
“So, now that this immediate business with Nikolas is over,” Lily began, flopping on the couch. “We should start planning Operating Felony.”
Elizabeth sighed and sat. “Lily, we need to talk.”
“Uh, oh,” Lily murmured. “This can’t be good.”
“I’ve been thinking–” Elizabeth rubbed her eyes. “I care about Jason, don’t get me wrong. But I just–I can’t stay in this town anymore.”
“Wait, you’re just going to give up?” Lily asked in disbelief. “You were all for this last night.”
“I know,” Elizabeth replied. “But I realized something today–Nikolas is never going to give up.”
“Well, yeah, but Jason can take care of it,” Lily replied, waving it away.
“That’s just it,” Elizabeth answered. “I don’t want him to take care of it. I want to do this myself and I think the best course of action is just to leave.”
“But–but what about Jason?” Lily asked.
“I’ll always care about him,” Elizabeth admitted. “But you said it yourself, he’s shutting me out and I don’t think he’s going to change his mind.”
“You’ll never know if you don’t even try!” Lily cried. “Come on, Elizabeth. The hard part is over! He’s in love with you. Now we’ve got to convince him to be okay with that.”
“It shouldn’t have to be like that,” Elizabeth said softly. “I shouldn’t have to convince someone that it’s okay for them to love me. I just–I can’t sit around and wait for something that might never happen. Lex is my number one priority and I don’t want to raise her here–not around Laura and Nikolas.”
“What if I could get Jason to change his mind?’ Lily asked desperately.
“You can’t, Lily,” Elizabeth replied. “He’s made up his mind and nothing we do can change it. You can kidnap him and force him into a room with me, but that won’t change the fact that he won’t want to be around me when we leave.”
“Elizabeth–” Lily protested.
“I’ll always be grateful for the way you’ve stood by me,” Elizabeth said. “But I can’t think about myself–I have to think about Lex.”
Lily sighed and looked away. “Just let me talk to him.”
“I’m not going to stop you,” Elizabeth said. “But you have to understand–I’m going to start making arrangements to leave.”
“I wish you’d reconsider,” Lily said quietly. “He’s in love with you, you know?”
“No,” Elizabeth said firmly. “I don’t know that and until he tells me, I can’t know that.” She stood. “I’m just…I’m just going to take Lex and go home. Thank you so much for letting me stay here.”
“Yeah…sure…” Lily sighed.
She had to convince he was wrong before Elizabeth left town. He’d never forgive himself otherwise.
She’d never be able to forgive herself if she let Elizabeth leave town without trying to stop her.
A few nights later, Elizabeth was working the late shift at the Outback. Lily, still her baby-sitter, had Lex for the night since Elizabeth was going to be working late and closing.
It was close to closing when Mac Scorpio entered.
“Hey, Scorpio,” Elizabeth said. “Not here to arrest me, I hope.”
“No,” Mac said, a tired smile on his face. “I got a call from Alexis. Did she tell you about Nikolas?”
Elizabeth smirked. “That Stefan stepped in and had him physically removed to Greece and sold Spoon Island?”
“Best news I’ve ever had. I’m even going to overlook the kidnapping thing,” Mac replied. “How are you, Spence?”
“Now that the shadow of Cassadine is gone?” Elizabeth asked. “Not much different.”
“Well, I wanted to apologize for that whole arrest thing,” Mac said.
Elizabeth shrugged. “You were doing your job. I understand. Don’t worry.”
“You sure?” Mac said, skeptically.
“I’m positive,” Elizabeth said, offering her former employer a warm smile. “Actually, I’m glad you stopped by.”
“Oh, really?” Mac asked. Why?”
“I was wondering if you know anyone who’d like to buy the Outback…”