“Nikolas Cassadine to see you, sir.”
Mac Scorpio eyed his lieutenant, Marcus Taggart, with weary eyes. “Are you serious?”
Taggart smirked. “Dead serious. He’s in the squad room, demanding to meet with you.”
Mac dropped his head to the desk and gently slammed it against the surface. “Why me?”
“Don’t know, commissioner.” Taggart entered the room more fully and closed the door behind him. “You don’t suppose there’s any truth to his allegations, do you?”
Mac raised his head and glared at the man. “No,” he said firmly. “I knew Elizabeth before Lucky Spencer ever dated her. I do not, for one second, believe that she had anything to do with Lucky’s death.”
“Well, sir, if you don’t mind me saying so, that is your personal opinion.” Taggart shrugged. “I have to admit–it’s suspicious. Girl comes to town for no reason other than she picked it on a map, and within months has married one of the most prominent young men in town–who’s connected to the Spencers, the Cassadines and to a certain extent, the Quartermaines. And months later, her husband dies on his way to pick her up from work. The kid’s born and she buys the restaurant from you and Felicia using his insurance money.”
Mac nodded. “And if it were anyone else besides Elizabeth, I’d agree and recommend an investigation be opened. But Elizabeth didn’t want to date Lucky at first–he kept asking her out. And she only used a quarter of the money on the Outback. Felicia and I were looking to sell it and she was looking to buy it–it just worked out. Whatever was left of the money, she put into a trust fund for her daughter. Elizabeth Spencer is not a murderer–she didn’t marry Lucky to kill him.”
“All right, I trust your judgment,” Taggart replied. “I just want to make sure you remember that the only thing that’s backing you up is your own opinion and that won’t hold up in a court of law.”
“As long as I’m commissioner,” Mac said, “Elizabeth will not be charged with a murder that didn’t happen. It was raining, someone ran a red light and unfortunately, Lucky Spencer paid the price. I won’t haul that girl because his brother has money and connections.”
“All right, all right,” Taggart said, holding his hands up in surrender. “What do you want me to do with Cassadine?”
Mac sighed wearily. “Bring him in, I guess. Don’t really have a choice I suppose.”
Taggart disappeared and minutes later, Nikolas Cassadine stormed in. “Commissioner, this is ridiculous–”
“Have a seat, Nikolas,” Mac said, standing and gesturing towards the chair in front of his desk. “What brings you here?”
Nikolas ignored the chair and glared at him. “What do you think brought me here, Commissioner? Elizabeth is still walking free while my brother lies cold in the ground. Is that fair?”
Mac refrained from rolling his eyes. “Nikolas, this is the same argument that we have every week and I’ll tell you the same thing I always do. Bring me evidence and we’ll investigate. Until then, we’ve got nothing but your word to go on.”
“So because she covered her tracks, she’s going to get away with it?” Nikolas demanded, his nostrils flaring angrily. “That is completely unfair and I shouldn’t have to stand for it.”
“Nikolas, you and I both know that Elizabeth didn’t do a thing to Lucky,” Mac said, his patience reaching its limit. “You have this whole situation worked out in your mind and you’re telling anyone who’ll listen that she killed him–that’s slander and I wouldn’t be surprised if she sued you.”
“Well, she can counter sue me then,” Nikolas fumed. “Because I’m suing for her wrongful death.”
Mac sank into his seat. “Nikolas, do I need to remind you that’s there’s no evidence that says Elizabeth had anything to do with Lucky’s death?”
“My lawyers think they can get a conviction,” Nikolas said. “I can petition for the insurance money and then you get an investigation opened on that basis, can’t you?”
“A guilty verdict in a civil suit will mean next to nothing in criminal court, as I’m sure your lawyers have advised you.”
“My lawyers will be calling for your deposition.” Nikolas glared at him a moment longer before exiting the office. Mac let his head drop to the desk again.
Lily hurried down the hallway towards the penthouse, practically dragging poor Michael along with her. She could still hear the phone ringing as she dug in her purse for her keys. “Please don’t hang up!” she pleaded as if the phone could hear her.
She threw the door open, yanked Michael inside and closed it behind her. She grabbed the receiver up and said breathlessly, “Hello?”
Lily grimaced and sank onto the couch and covered her eyes. “Robin.”
As if sensing his mother was now in a bad mood, Michael climbed into her lap and rested his head against her chest. Lily stroked her son’s dark hair as Robin Scorpio tittered on about Paris.
“Robin,” she broke in mid-chatter. “Is there a reason you called?”
Robin fell silent. Whether she was surprised at Lily’s bluntness or that she’d had the nerve to interrupt her, Lily could only guess, but Lily wasn’t about to waste her time with a girl she’d never liked and pretend they’d been friends. Finally, Robin asked, “How is he?”
“What? Since you broke his heart and took off on a grand adventure?” Lily asked. Michael raised his head and shook his finger, as if reprimanding his mother for her biting tone.
“I did no such thing!” Robin argued. “I can only take so much, you know. He’s going through a phase and I shouldn’t have to nurse him through it.”
“A phase?” Lily echoed. “What are you talking about?”
“You know what I mean. He thinks he’s no good because of Sonny. Well, I can’t keep trying to convince him differently, especially when I agree.”
Michael whimpered as his mother’s eyes narrowed into dangerous slits. “Excuse me?” Lily asked, her voice nearly a growl. Michael hurriedly backed off his mother’s lap and headed for the floor where his trucks were.
“I think Jason is being an idiot. Pretending to have all this power because he stepped in for Sonny,” Robin explained. “He didn’t understand that he blew his only chance to get out.”
“Blew his only chance?” Lily repeated, desperately wishing this foolish girl were in front of her right now so she could tell her exactly what she thought of her. Or ring her neck–either way.
“He had a chance to lead his own life,” Robin went on, obviously not understanding how angry Lily was becoming. “To get out, have a good life. Get married.”
“Oh, so it’s your understanding that Jason can’t have a life or get married as long as he does what he does,” Lily said, adopting a false understanding tone.
“Exactly,” Robin said. “I mean, you saw what happened to Sonny. That scared the shit out of me.”
“Yeah? Me, too. Then again, it was my husband,” Lily snapped. “Listen to me you self-centered little arrogant piece of–”
“Whoa, whoa,” Robin said. “Lil, calm down. What’s gotten into you?”
“You!” Lily exploded, lunging to her feet. She began to pace. “You’ve gotten into me you rotten piece of shit. No wonder Jason still feels responsible for that car bomb! Jesus Christ, Robin, do you have any idea what you’ve done to him?”
“What I’ve done to him?” Robin argued. “How about what happened to me? I wasted three years on him–”
Her words were abruptly cut off as Lily slammed the phone down. She hadn’t understood exactly how much Robin had attributed to Jason’s state of mind. No wonder the man shut down the second he thought he might be interested in another woman. After what Robin had done, Lily was surprised the man hadn’t become a monk.
“Mommy?” Michael asked softly. Lily turned to see her son tugging at her parents. “Is you still mad?”
Lily sighed and bent over to pick him up. “No, sweetie. I’m sorry if I scared you–but Mommy had a call from a very mean person.”
Michael nodded. “What kind of mean person?”
“A very person who doesn’t understand what a great person Uncle Jason is,” Lily explained. Michael’s brown eyes lit up at the mention of his uncle.
“Unca Jase is cool,” Michael reported, a wide smile on his face. “He’s gonna take me on his bike.”
“Yeah…we’ll see,” Lily murmured. She smiled a little. “Mikey, do you remember Elizabeth?”
Michael’s face scrunched. “The pretty lady with the baby?”
Lily laughed. “That’s right. The pretty lady with the baby.” She sat on the couch and shifted Michael so he sitting on her lap. “How would you feel if she were around more?”
Michael cocked his head to the side. “What do you mean?”
“Well, I think she and Uncle Jason could be good friends. What do you think?” Lily asked.
Michael nodded slowly. “I think Lizbeth would be cool.” His face grew serious. “As long as her baby don’t take my place.”
Lily leaned her forehead against her son’s. “Sweetheart, there is no person in the world that could take the place you have in Jason’s heart.”
Michael grinned. “Then she can come around.”
Nikolas stormed into the Spencer house to see Luke and Laura sitting calmly on the couch. At Nikolas’s noisy entrance, Luke turned around and frowned.
“What the hell do you want?”
Nikolas glared at his mother’s husband before turning his attention to Laura who had stood. Luke stood as well, still regarding him with wary eyes. “I just got back from the police station.”
“Is anything wrong?” Laura asked, worried.
Nikolas shook his head. “No, except Mac Scorpio is still turning a blind eye to the truth.”
Luke rolled his eyes. “Not this again.”
Nikolas threw him a dirty look. “She killed him, Luke. I know you don’t want to hear–”
“You’re damn right I don’t want to hear it!” Luke roared, rounding the couch. “I am sick and tired of you comin’ in here and spouting that garbage. Elizabeth is part of this family–she was your brother’s wife and that’s all that matters, damn it. You’re being ridiculous, going ’round town telling everyone she killed him when you know damn well she had nothin’ to do with it.”
“With all respect Luke, I don’t know anything of the sort,” Nikolas snapped. “All I know is barely after a year of meeting her, my brother is dead and she’s moved on.”
“Nikolas, please,” Laura whispered. “Maybe you should just drop it–”
“She killed him, Mother, and you know it.”
Laura peered up her husband. “Luke–”
“Angel, don’t let this Spawn contaminate you,” Luke said kindly. He glared at his wife’s son. “You leave Elizabeth the hell alone–she has enough to worry about without you comin’ around and acting like an idiot.”
Nikolas crossed his arms. “You can’t deny that she moved on awfully quick.”
Luke narrowed his eyes. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“I saw her the other night at the Outback,” Nikolas reported, his tone gleeful. “She was flirting with none other than Jason Morgan.”
Luke chuckled. “You think Junior will do anything? Morgan ain’t been right since Corinthos blew up and everyone knows it. He ain’t got the heart to love anyone–and I doubt you saw what you think you saw.” His eyes hardened. “You stay away from Jason Morgan, do you hear me? You don’t mess with him and you don’t mess with Elizabeth. Jason is a good friend of mine–even if he is a little screwed up.”
“Brain damaged is more like it,” Nikolas snorted. Luke’s eyes were practically glowing with rage. It was Laura’s presence that kept him from attacking the Cassadine spawn.
“Laura, darlin’,” Luke began in deceptively calm voice. “Go into the kitchen.”
Laura looked from her son to her husband. “Luke, maybe he has a point. I mean, Elizabeth and Lucky barely knew one another before they got married. And then he’s dead and now she’s moving on with Jason? It seems…”
“Angel, I told you. I don’t care if he is your son–all Cassadines know how to do is lie,” Luke said gently. “Now, please, go into the kitchen.”
“No,” Laura said in a somewhat firm voice. “I…I want to hear what Nikolas has to say.”
“You see what you’ve done?” Luke spat. “You’ve turned Laura against her own daughter-in-law.” He looked at his wife. “Darlin’, if you go along with this creep and you start accusing Elizabeth, then she’s going to take Lex away. She won’t let her daughter around you–you know that sweetheart.”
Laura’s blue eyes filled with fear. “But I love that girl,” she whispered.
“We’ll petition for custody,” Nikolas remarked smugly. Luke glared at him again.
“You stay away from Lex, too, you hear? She’s none of your concern. She is Elizabeth’s daughter, not yours.”
“I haven’t made my mind up yet,” Laura said, “and I want to hear what he say to say. So, please, Luke, leave us alone.”
“Luke,” Laura said, sounding stronger than she had in all the months since Lucky’s death, “Leave us be.”
Never one to deny his wife, Luke left. He grabbed his coat and set out for the Outback, hoping to give Elizabeth a heads up.
Laura had chosen a side.
Elizabeth was tending the bar that night when Luke entered the Outback. He made a beeline for the brunette, whose face lit up at the sight of her father-in-law.
“Well, if it isn’t the second most beautiful girl in town,” Luke said, grinning at her as he took a seat in front of her.
“Nice of you to lie…” Elizabeth shook her head and grinned at one of the few people left in town who believed in her. “What’ll it be?”
Luke scanned the room slightly unnerved at being in a competing club. “Darlin’, we need to discuss your business ventures. What do you say you sell this dump and come work with me at Luke’s?”
Elizabeth smiled at him. “Luke, you know that’s not going to happen.”
“Yeah, I know.” Luke’s face turned serious. “There’s a reason I’m here.”
“You? Have an ulterior motive?” Elizabeth said, faking shock. She pressed a hand to her chest. “I don’t believe it.”
“Yeah, well…the spawn was by again tonight.”
Elizabeth grimaced. “Yeah, Mac called me. I guess he went straight from the station.”
“Good that Bubba’s keeping you in the loop cause I think Cassadine is gonna start playin’ dirty.”
“Well, he’s already filed for a civil suit. He wants to have me legally declared responsible for Lucky’s death.”
Luke frowned. “Well, he’s nuts if he thinks he can prove it.”
Elizabeth shrugged. “He probably can’t–not ethically. Mac told me that he and Taggart are probably going to be subpoenaed, but there’s not much they can tell a judge or jury other than what happened. Lucky was hit by a driver head-on. I couldn’t have known–and they’ll tell anyone who wants to listen.”
Luke nodded gravely. “And when they bring up you usin’ insurance money, I’ll tell what happened.”
“That Lucky and I were discussing buying the place anyway, and that you suggested I use the insurance money,” Elizabeth supplied. She gave him a grateful smile. “I already hired a lawyer and we’ve been over everything.”
Luke frowned. “You hired a lawyer without talkin’ to me first? I’m insulted.”
Elizabeth’s smile broadened. “You’ll love this one–Alexis Davis.”
Luke grinned. “Spawn’s aunt? You’re right–I do love that.” He cocked his head to the side. “Her rates are kinda high don’tcha think? Not that I wouldn’t help you–”
“Actually…” Elizabeth hesitated. “She’s not charging her usual rates.”
“She’s not?” Luke’s eyebrows shot up. “She must be ticked at the Spawn.”
“Yeah, more than likely,” Elizabeth agreed, grateful she hadn’t had to explain Jason Morgan and his strange arrangement.
Luke leaned forward. “There is something the Spawn told me…and he told Laura…who I think has finally chosen a side.”
Elizabeth sighed. “Yeah, I expected her to do that. What did Nikolas tell you?”
Luke shifted on his chair. “That he saw here…flirtin’ with Jason Morgan.”
“Flirting with Jason Morgan?” Elizabeth repeated. She frowned. “How could he have seen me? The only time I’ve even spoken to Jason, I’d just gotten off the phone with Nikolas. That’s when he told me he was gonna sue me. There’s no way he was here that night.”
“So, it’s true?” Luke hesitantly. “Cause, darlin’, you know me and Morgan go way back–he’s a silent partner at the club, does the books…but don’t you think–”
“Whoa, whoa,” Elizabeth held her hands up. “First of all, that night, other than seeing him odd times here with Lily Corinthos, was the first time I’d spoken to him and it also remains the only conversation we’ve had. And we were just talking about Nikolas’s lawsuit. He recommended Alexis.”
Luke visibly relaxed. “Well, all right, then. That’s fine. Alexis has kept Morgan out of jail more times than anyone can count…makes sense he’d recommend her.” Luke frowned. “Wait, he recommended his personal lawyer to a woman he’d never met?”
Elizabeth frowned. “Maybe he’s just a nice guy.”
Luke chuckled. “Darlin’, Jason’s a lot things–but a nice guy ain’t one of them.” He stood. “I wanted to give you heads up. Make sure you bring that beautiful daughter of yours by soon.”
“Actually,” Elizabeth said, hesitantly. Luke stopped and looked at her curiously. She bit her lip. “Um, I don’t think Lex should be around Laura as much.”
Luke sighed and looked away. “Yeah…you’re probably right.”
“I mean, you’re both more than welcome to see her, but Lily Corinthos offered to watch her the nights I have to work, and since she’s got a son, I think it might be good environment for Lex.”
Luke frowned. “Being in a penthouse with Sonny Corinthos’ widow and her kid surrounded by guards is a good environment?”
“Luke,” Elizabeth protested. “Lily’s been so nice to me–other than you, Mac and Felicia, that’s about all I got.”
Luke sighed. “All right, darlin’.” He leaned over the bar and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “See you later.”
“See ya, Luke.”