Flash Fiction: Watch Me Burn – Part 1

Written in 53 minutes.


August 2007

Spencer House: Master Bedroom

She had dreamed of living in this house once, as love-struck teenager who thought that the Spencer family and the home where they lived represented the epitome of love and devotion. Even after Luke and Laura Spencer’s marriage had crumbled—this house and the sanctuary it had always represented featured in a dream of her future.

Today, Elizabeth Spencer finally accepted that the dream she’d created for herself as a terrified, broken, and fragile girl had ended a long time ago. She and Lucky had just been clinging to the wreckage like two people adrift on a sea. Who were they when they weren’t Liz and Lucky, Lucky and Liz? They had tried to find out once before, but they hadn’t been brave enough to stick it out. They’d drifted right back, too comfortable to see that their love had died in a fire long ago.

She emptied another drawer from the dresser into the suitcase, dumping the mixture of socks, bras, and panties in before going to the next for t-shirt and sleep shirts. It only took her a half hour to pack the things she’d brought to this house, this dream she’d wanted so badly for herself and her boys.

Now, standing in the wreckage, Elizabeth could only admit to herself that the dream she’d woven for them all had rested on foundation of lies, secrecy, fear, and jealousy. She couldn’t begin to hope for forgiveness from anyone involved—she’d started on this path months ago when Jason Morgan had looked at her and told her it was for the best that he wasn’t the father of the child she carried.

She closed her eyes. For so long, she’d been able to hold on to that moment as evidence that the road she’d chosen was the right one. The slice in her gut as he’d spoken those words, the memory of knowing her own parents had never really wanted her, that she’d ruined her mother’s bright medical career simply by existing—

She’d let herself drown in those memories, the childhood that had made her lash out and demand attention from anyone who would look at her—and she’d let it take over. Jason would be a good father, but maybe it would come at a cost, and he’d always look at their beautiful child and think of everything it had cost him.

Elizabeth couldn’t hold onto it anymore and if she allowed honesty in her heart for once, she hadn’t been able to since the elevator. Since Jason had made it clear that he wanted the baby and to be a father—

And she’d cruelly taken advantage of him, of his grief, and fear for his child to steal that from him.

On a shaky breath, Elizabeth went to the nightstand to clear out the bits and bobs—a forgotten bracelet, a pack of tissues—

She’d ripped away the illusion only a few days ago, and had finally done what she should have from the beginning.

“So I have to ask, Mrs. Spencer, is it possible that Jason Morgan, the man on trial for the murder of Lorenzo Alcazar, is the father of your little boy?”

She had nearly denied, nearly let the words that had so easily fallen from her lips for months, be said. Of course not, Mr. Lansing. My husband is his father.

But she’d looked at Lucky, at the doubt that was already in his eyes, at Jason, whose eyes always told more than the rest of the world could see.

“Yes. Jason Morgan is the biological father of my youngest son.”

And with those words, the life she’d tried to stitch together—all of the holes she’d tried to patch over and tape up—ended.

Elizabeth closed the suitcase, zipped it, then it on the floor next to the other two suitcases and a box with the contents of her vanity table. She had to pack Cameron’s room and Jake’s nursery next —

There were footsteps on the stairs, then down the hall. She turned to find Lucky in the doorway, the first time they’d been in a room together since that terrible day. His hand gripping the white frame, his eyes dark with a mixture of resentment, pain, and grief. He hadn’t come home after the trial, and she’d worried—had he gone to Courtland Street? Had the truth done what she always feared and driven him back to the pills?

Then Emily had quietly informed her that Lucky had gone to Wyndemere, that he was with Nikolas, and that when he was ready, he would contact her.

“You’re packing,” Lucky said. The Adam’s apple in his throat bobbed, and he exhaled. “You waited until Jason was acquitted, didn’t you? Is that—” His hand curled into a fist. “Is that where you’re going? Where you’re taking the boys?”

“No.” Elizabeth laced her fingers together. “I’m going to my grandmother’s. I wanted to wait until the trial was over because of the press.” She cleared her throat. “You’re a cop—”

He nodded. “They didn’t have the address to harass you,” Lucky finished. He dragged a hand through his hair. “And now the press is bothering the DA and Jason, I guess. Smart.” He paused. “But you’re still packing.”

“I don’t think we need to keep lying to each other—” She winced. “I don’t think I can keep doing it,” she finished. “I’ve been trying so hard to make this work that I didn’t stop to ask myself why.”

“Yeah.” Lucky wandered into the room, stopped at the dresser with nothing but a framed photo of their wedding day and from his parents’ wedding the year before. “This—” He tapped it. The vision of Luke and Laura, smiling as if his mother wasn’t going to slip back into catatonia within weeks. “This is why you came back to me. You let my mother think we were still a family.”

“It’s—” Elizabeth folded her arms. “I’ve loved you since I was fifteen, Lucky. I didn’t know how to stop. Or let go of what I thought my life was supposed to be.”

“You loved me at fifteen,” Lucky murmured. He turned to face her. “We’re not kids anymore. Making promises we can’t even understand in some church. We made new ones.”

“We did.”

“I wanted to blame you. I did—I do,” Lucky corrected. “And that first night, I was furious. Nikolas had to talk me down. I went to him because it’s an island. And I knew if I were in Port Charles, I knew that I might want to make it go away.” His voice tightened. “You might have ruined our second marriage, but I destroyed the first.” His mouth stretched into an ugly smile. “I guess we’re even.”

“I’m sorry isn’t enough,” Elizabeth said. “I’m ashamed of the things I’ve done. The lies I’ve told.” Tears burned her eyes. “This wasn’t how this was supposed to end.”

“Yeah, well—” He took a deep breath. “The boys. I want them. They’re still mine. And I don’t think I deserve to lose them because you lied.”

“Cameron, yes. You’re the only father he’s ever known,” Elizabeth said. “But—” Her chest ached. “Jake wasn’t mine to give to you. I hurt you, I know that. But I hurt Jason. He didn’t know at first. Not until the Metro Court. I told him when we were in the elevator. And he wanted to be part of Jake’s life. I asked him to give Jake up.”

“You—”

“We wanted him to have a family and safety—” Elizabeth laughed harshly, then pulled her hands through her hair. “Safe. A four letter word that’s never brought me anything but pain and unhappiness.”

“For a year, I’ve believed that was my little boy. Before he was born—” Lucky growled, some of the anger drowning out the grief that had dominated the conversation. “You have no right to take him away—haven’t you done enough to destroy my life? You can’t do this—”

“I have to do this—” Her voice broke. “The only way to keep you in Jake’s life would be to take him from Jason. I can’t keep hurting him to make you happy—”

“Don’t act like you’re some sort of goddamn saint,” Lucky bit out. “You did this—you started this lie, and now it’s gone out the door and around the world! I’m a fucking laughingstock at the station—” He hissed. “And now you’re telling me I can’t even have my son—”

“If it’s a choice between hurting you and hurting Jason—” She closed her eyes. God, how easy it would be to just give in. To stop the argument, to stop explaining over and over again how this was all her fault and—

But she was done with lies. Done with being the villain in this story.

“I’ve chosen you too many times,” Elizabeth said softly. “And today, I’m finally making the right one. We can talk about custody of Cameron, but Jake is out of the question.  He was never mine to give and take. I’m sorry.”

“Yeah, we’ll see about this. You’re going to pay for what you’ve done to me and my family—to my sons. Get out of my house by the end of the day or I’ll have you arrested for trespassing.” He stormed past her, down the hall, thudded down the stairs, and then she heard the door slam.

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

It had taken longer than Jason Morgan had wanted to before his release from custody was finally processed. If he hadn’t been in jail on the bail violation, he’d have been free to go the moment the jury had given him his freedom—

But Ric Lansing had held him until the last possible moment. By the time he was out, the last thing he wanted to do with go with Carly to dinner or talk business with Sonny. He wanted to go home, take a shower, and then call Elizabeth. He was free. The world knew Jake was his son.

And it went without saying the absolute last thing Jason wanted in this world was to open the door and hear the blast of an airhorn and an explosion of confetti.

“Welcome Home, Stone Cold!” Damien Spinelli chirped as he threw another handful of  the confetti. “You have been granted your freedom from the The Dastardly DA—”

“Uh, Spinelli, I don’t think this is a good idea—” At his side, Georgie Jones, took the tech by the elbow. “He doesn’t look all that thrilled—”

“Nonsense! He’s been locked up for weeks! The Jackal thinks he deserves—” Then Spinelli focused on Jason’s irritated face, blew the noisemaker in his hand one more time. “The Insightful One might have a point.” He flashed Jason a rueful grin. “Welcome home.”

“Sorry about this,” Georgie said, making her way past the door. “He was going to do this with or without me, and I figured with me—”

“There’d be less chance of a marching band,” Jason said dryly. He stripped off his suit jacket. “Yeah, you’re not wrong. Thanks.”

“Welcome home,” she said, then dashed out the door.

“Have I overstepped, perchance?” Spinelli set the noisemaker down. “I knew you would not let Mr Sir or the Valkyrie properly celebrate  this momentous occasion, but we are all so happy to have walking among the free and the brave—”

“Yeah, yeah—” Jason found his mouth twitching, a sensation that was uncomfortable but normal around the tech. It was difficult to keep a straight face at times. “Thanks.” He rubbed the side of his face. He dragged out the bag of effects that had been returned to him upon his release and dumped out his cell phone. Dead, of course. He plugged it in, then went over to the desk and the phone.

“Great idea. We can call for pizza—”

“Spinelli—” Jason held the receiver against his chest. “Clean this up. Go get your own pizza. Thanks for the welcome, but I have things to do.”

“Ah—” Spinelli stuck up his hand. “You must see to the Wee One. The Stone Cold Special—” Spinelli pursed his lips. “I’m still testing this one.”

“Go away.”

“Going.”

Jason punched in Elizabeth’s cell phone number, hoping that it wouldn’t go to voicemail. Hoping that she would want to talk to him—it could haven’t been easy these last few days since her testimony and he couldn’t do a damn thing to help—

“Jason.”

Her voice was breathless as if she’d rushed to answer the phone. “You’re home,” she continued. “I didn’t—” He heard her suck in a breath. “I didn’t know it would be this soon. I tried calling Diane to find out, but—I’m sorry. I’m sorry. You called me.”

“I did. I need—I need to talk to you.’

“Me, too.” She waited a moment. “An hour in the park? I have to finish—there’s something I need to finish, but at the park, near the old gazebo?”

“Yeah, I’ll be right there.”

Port Charles Park

Jason forced himself not to pace the length of the gazebo, and old wooden structure that had been in disrepair for several years. He knew why she’d suggested it — it was tucked away in the corner of the park where few people went.

But why she’d need secrecy when the whole world knew everything—his stomach clenched. What if she still didn’t want him in Jake’s life—

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry—” Elizabeth’s voice reached him first. He turned, and then just stared. “It took forever to get the stroller—” She stopped at the base of the gazebo, then locked the wheels. “It got stuck—” Her voice was still breathless. “I thought—” Her eyes met his. “I thought you’d want to see him. Um, because you know—you can do that now. Any time you want. As much as you want.”

When Jason still remained locked in place, staring at the infant in the stroller, Elizabeth stepped forward. She lifted Jake in her arms, then handed him gently to Jason. “I mean, I guess I don’t really know what you want. That’s why I asked you to meet me here. In case—I don’t know.” She folded her arms, stepped back. “But I’m done making the choices for you. I want to know what you want.”

Comments

  • Wow, I always love your insight to the characters and the ability to show such nuance rather than making them simple caricatures of the archetype. I thought you might actually have me feeling sorry for Lucky there for a bit, but then you brought him back true to character. At the end of the day, his character’s view is that he was the one wronged in every storyline – from finding out about Luke & Laura to the paternity reveal and affair with Nicholas. And, you captured that beautifully – showing him in grief (rightfully so) but choosing to hold on to the anger and notion that he should get his way regardless of the costs to others.

    And, while I hated the lies of this storyline, I kind of always understood the pressure they tried to paint on Elizabeth as driving it. I really can’t wait to see how you delve into it and she’s even more light on her character development with these new choices. Excellent work!

    According to LivingLiason on July 28, 2022
  • Thanks for the story. I can’t wait to find out what is going to happen next.

    According to Shelly Samuel on July 28, 2022
  • Love the start of this! Fixing the mess of this era is my favorite stories to read!

    According to Tania on July 28, 2022
  • Lucky was never a good father to Cam. Why Liz would think he would be a better one to Jake is beyond me.

    According to leasmom on July 28, 2022
  • Wow! As always you amaze me with your insight into these characters. I am so glad you rewriting this! I already loving this rewrite!

    According to GoldenGirl on July 28, 2022
  • Fantastic start. I’m happy that Elizabeth is bringing Jake to Jason and making that connection happen and I hope he continues to let her do that. I know that Lucky was wronged and he is deserved his grief but He doesn’t deserve the amount of leeway he always got. Of course this comes from someone who was not a Lucky fan in any incarnation of Lucky so perhaps I am a bit jaded. I think at one point he tried to be a decent father but I think the less stellar times out weigh the good and that Elizabeth doesn’t budge too hard on any generous custody, unless it is completely court order.

    According to nanci on July 28, 2022
  • This story is going to be a killer one I can already tell.
    Oh how I wish you were writing for Liason back then!!

    According to Becca on July 28, 2022
  • I wish Elizabeth didn’t grant Lucky permission to still see Cameron. I am so glad Elizabeth is making things right for her and Jason.

    According to Carla P on July 28, 2022
  • Wow! What a chapter. I almost bought Lucky’s words but then he exploded. I don’t trust him. Elizabeth is finally told the truth. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Great start!!

    According to arcoiris0502 on July 28, 2022
  • loved it
    Lucky always reverts to form he has always been an ass.
    Glad Jason can see Jake
    TY

    According to Pamela Hedstrom on July 28, 2022
  • Oh wow! I knew it was going to be good and still I was blown away, such a great start!!

    According to Shawna on July 29, 2022
  • great

    According to Nicole Lynn Barnes on July 29, 2022
  • You’re such as amazing storyteller. I think you hit it on the nail in regards to Elizabeth’s motivation during this time. Not only is she trying to protect herself; she’s trying to protect her kids from feeling she did. That’s powerful. Childhood trauma is real. And given their history; Jason and Elizabeth tended to put others first over one another. Which definitely adds to not feeling like you can depend/trust on someone emotionally. So I’m looking forward to seeing where you go with this. Honestly, for as awful a character as Lucky is; this situation sucks. Because really how do just you cut someone who has been a parent to said child for x amount of months? How do you navigate that?

    According to Madison188 on July 29, 2022