Written in 49 minutes.
Scorpio-Drake Home: Emma’s Bedroom
Trina knocked on Emma’s open door. “Hey. You never came back down—” She paused. “Are you crying? What happened?”
Emma sniffled, swiping at her tears. She shoved herself off her bed. “I’m fine. Let’s go downstairs—”
“No, did you and Cam have another fight?” Trina folded her arms. “What did Joss tell him? Because if she made it sound worse—”
“I don’t know what she told him,” Emma said, “but it’s not—” She drew in a shaky breath. “I don’t know. Do you think we were fair to her today?”
Trina shifted, staring at the ground. “I don’t know. We’ve been mean to each other since kindergarten—”
“Yeah, I know.”
“But—” Trina winced. “The thing about her dad might be a low blow. I’m a kid of divorce, too. And Spencer gave me attitude about it. I just—Joss is always talking about her dad and how rich and important he is—” She closed her mouth. “Which might be her way of explaining why he’s never around.”
“I just—Cam talked about how his dad—his mom’s last husband—just left him. You don’t remember him, I don’t think.”
“No, but I know the story. He’s Aiden’s bio dad, but Jake’s dad adopted Cam and Aiden, so it’s all legal.” Trina leaned against the door frame. “And I know Spencer’s sensitive about the dad thing.”
“I’m not saying we have to be best friends with her,” Emma said, “but you guys haven’t pulled any pranks on each other since the blue hair dye. I don’t really know why I snapped at her today.”
“Me either. And I feel bad that she left like that. She must have been really upset. And like, yeah, my dad does really important work, but—” Trina pressed his lips together. “Sometimes it’s like that work is more important than me. So if that’s what Joss feels about her dad, I guess maybe we got something in common.”
“We’ll call her and make it right,” Emma said with a nod. “I know we can.”
Baker House: Kitchen
The house was silent as Patrick and Elizabeth crept inside. She closed the door, keeping the handle twisted until the door was nestled inside the frame, then releasing it so that there was no sound of tumblers clicking.
They’d done a test run during one of Baker’s night shifts a few days ago to time themselves. Just one. Any more than that, they risked getting caught.
She looked at her phone one more time — Baker was still asleep, resting on his stomach, the thin blanket shoved to the side, his face turned towards the camera. Elizabeth nodded, then Patrick took the lead.
They kept their arms at their side, their hands were gloved, and they’d taken off their shoes at the back door. It had added maybe a minute to their time, but Patrick didn’t want shoe prints from the mix of dirt and snow. It had to look like no one had been in the house.
Patrick rounded the corner out of the kitchen, then down the short hallway connecting the living room to the one bedroom and bath at the other end of the house. Mercifully, the bedroom door stood partially ajar — though during their test run, Patrick had oiled the joints on both doors to avoid any creaking.
He paused outside the bedroom door, looked back at Elizabeth, then at the door — carefully pushing it open.
Scorpio-Drake Home: Backyard
Robin stepped out onto the deck. “How’s the turkey going?” she asked Sonny. “It hasn’t exploded yet, so that’s a good sign.”
“Ye of little faith,” Sonny replied good-naturedly.
Robin smirked, then looked at Jason. “Hey, did you hear from Elizabeth yet? I thought and Patrick would be done at noon. He promised he’d come right home so I wasn’t on my own with Carly—and he doesn’t know she left—” she added when Sonny opened his mouth.
Jason checked his phone. It was nearly twelve-thirty, maybe ten or fifteen minutes after they could have expected them to be home. “She didn’t call.”
“Maybe they got called into an emergency surgery,” Sonny suggested.
“Yeah, that’s true. Still—” Robin made a face, looked back at the teens. “Cameron didn’t come back out?”
“No, he’s inside with Aiden.” Jason followed her gaze. Emma and Trina had returned to the group around the electric heater, but it was more sullen.
“I’m sorry Joss got hurt,” Robin said. “But maybe it’s for the best. If they don’t get along, we can’t force it—”
“Joss gets along fine with Cameron,” Jason said without thinking, and Robin’s eyes narrowed.
“So, it’s my kid that’s the problem and not Carly’s?” she asked coolly.
“You know, I think it’ll be more comfortable inside with the former commissioners,” Sonny muttered, ducking between them and disappearing inside.
“That’s not what I said,” Jason shooting Sonny a dirty look just as the mobster slid the door closed. Coward. “I just said Joss has no issue with Cameron.”
“Which is something she gets from her mother. Carly always managed to make friends with the guys, but I never met a woman who could stand her—”
“Joss isn’t her mother,” Jason cut in sharply and Robin’s cheeks flushed. “And Carly was friends with a woman. Sonny’s sister. And she and Elizabeth get along fine now—”
“Which means it’s me and my kid who are the problem—”
“You’re putting words in my mouth,” Jason said, trying to find the patience. “I know Carly isn’t for everyone. I know that you have legitimate issues with her that go back a long time. And no, I don’t think we should try to force Emma or anyone else to be friends with Joss.”
“Then why bring up Cameron if you agree with me?”
“Because it’s—” Jason took a minute. “Elizabeth and Carly couldn’t stand each other. But they figured out how to be civil because of me. Cameron and Joss have been friends since they were kids. I don’t see how it’s different—”
“You wouldn’t. You’ve had a blind spot to Carly since the day you met her, and it looks like your son picked up your bad habit of expecting everyone to put up with someone just because they—” Robin closed her eyes. “I don’t want to fight about this. I don’t even know why we are.”
“You don’t have to like Carly. No one said you did. I just don’t see what’s so wrong with Joss that justifies making her cry.” Or making her feel so left out she walked home alone.
“Maybe it’s just striking a nerve,” Robin said slowly, “listening to you talk about my daughter having to put up with someone she doesn’t like because her boyfriend does.” She looked back out over the yard. “I’m sorry.”
“No, I am. Because I forced Carly on you back then, and I never really apologized. I messed up, and I hurt you,” Jason told her. “I’m sorry.”
Robin smiled then, a bit more genuinely. “It’s silly, really, for us to get involved with their problems. I would have been mortified if Uncle Mac was fighting my battles for me behind my back.”
“I don’t remember being a teenager, but I don’t think I’d like it either.”
“I’ll go get Sonny and tell him it’s safe to come back out. I don’t want this thing exploding on my deck.”
Baker House: Bedroom
The room was dark, lit only by the weak November sunlight filtering in through the grimy windows, but Patrick and Elizabeth had practiced this too many times in their minds and in conversations.
Patrick drew out the bottle of succinylcholine and syringe. He stuck the needle inside the top, drew out the dosage required and handled it to Elizabeth. He returned the bottle to his pocket and went to stand at the top of the bed while Elizabeth went to the foot of the bed.
She gently drew back the blanket where it covered Baker’s foot. It was long, skinny, the big toe sticking out like a finger. Her heart was pounding. It was the first time she’d been this close to him since that day at the hospital, when she’d been catapulted back to that horrible moment, to being on her back, the freezing snow and ice seeping into her back, spreading through her limbs, numbing her, strangling her throat she couldn’t even scream—
The sight of him, the way his voice sounded — it had brought back her worst nightmare. Pandora’s Box had been blown to smithereens and every terrible thought and feeling was pouring out. She couldn’t shove them all back in again, and maybe she’d never get that before feeing back.
But it would be better. She would exist in a world where she and every other girl walking alone would be safe.
Her heart might be pounding, but her fingers were steady as she leaned down, angled the syringe between Baker’s toes. She plunged the needle in, his foot jerking just slightly. Then Elizabeth depressed the plunger, watching as the medication left the syringe and entered his body.
Patrick waited with baited breath at the end of the bed, ready to leap into action if Baker did more than jerk his foot—but nothing.
The succinylcholine was a quick-acting drug, which made it perfect for this, really. Elizabeth watched as Baker’s chest stopped rising. They waited a full minute, then Patrick pressed two fingers to Baker’s neck. He looked at Elizabeth, nodded.
It was done.
Tom Baker was dead.
Elizabeth slid the used syringe into her pocket. It, along with the clothes they wore, would be burned at some point. But for now, it was time to go.
On their way out, Patrick stopped, his eyes falling on the photographs across the room, pinned up. He’d recognized them that first day — the missing photos from his locker. From his wallet. His little girl on the wall.
Elizabeth touched his arm, and he looked at her, the rage simmering beneath the surface. She tilted her head. They were on a tight schedule if their alibis were to hold.
After another moment, Patrick turned his back, leaving the evidence behind so that all the world would know that while someone had died here today, nothing of value had been lost.
Scorpio-Drake Home: Front Step
Still a bit unsettled after the argument with Robin, Jason stepped out to the front of the house, scanning the street. He and Robin had been distracted from the question where their spouses were.
It was twelve-forty-five. A half hour later than he would have thought Elizabeth would be home from work. He wasn’t really that worried—after all, she was Patrick’s go-to surgical nurse and it wouldn’t be the first time they’d worked overtime.
He took his phone out, and looked at the find app, expecting to see Elizabeth’s phone at General Hospital. He frowned. It wasn’t — it was in a shopping center. Curious, he called her.
“Hello?” her voice, a bit breathless. “Jason?”
“Hey. I was just wondering what happened.”
“Oh—” Elizabeth laughed. “I got the weirdest craving while I was clocking out. I wanted this brand of pickles. You know those bread and butter ones you hate?”
“Patrick offered to come with me, and then we got distracted in the store, because I wanted candy, but they were out of Starbursts, and I couldn’t decide what would taste right with the pickles.”
“Candy,” Jason repeated. “With pickles.”
“Mmmm, when I was pregnant with Jake, all I wanted was Starbursts soaked in pickle juice. I can hear you making a face from here—shut up, Patrick, it’s disgusting but I love it.”
Jason’s chest eased. He hadn’t been around for any of those pregnancy cravings, but he’d be here for these, and he’d make sure the house would be stocked with the disgusting combination. “I would have gotten those for you—”
“It’s fine. We’re leaving now, and we’ll be home in like five. I love you.”
“I love you, too.”