Written in 60 minutes.
Morgan House: Driveway
Jason watched as Jordan and Nathan climbed back into the car and drove away, but he didn’t look at his wife. Couldn’t.
He’d gone to Robin, they’d discussed the possibility, but until this moment—until Jordan had showed them the photographs of what had been on Tom Baker’s wall—photos of his wife. Of Joss. Of Emma and Trina—he realized he hadn’t truly believed it.
Baker had been stalking his wife and young women close to her for months. And Jason hadn’t known. Couldn’t have known, thanks to the PCPD tying his hands—but Elizabeth—
She’d found out. She’d learned the truth, and she hadn’t told him. She must have. He and Robin had wondered what had triggered Baker’s death after all these months—
When the car had disappeared, Jason’s chest eased a bit. He looked down at Elizabeth whose gaze was still trained on the horizon where Jordan’s SUV had turned. Her face was pale, and she’d crossed her arms tightly. “Elizabeth—”
“You told me they had guys following Baker,” Elizabeth said, her voice still shaky. “From the moment they learned what he was and what he’d done to me, the PCPD had eyes on him.” A tear slid down her cheek. “They missed it. They didn’t know. Those photos—” She squeezed her eyes shut.
“Nothing happened.” Jason drew her against him, holding her tight. He knew they needed to have a conversation about Baker—about why she’d done this on her own—why she hadn’t trusted him—but it wasn’t his priority right now. “Nothing. Everyone is safe. Including you.”
“They could have kept men on him,” Elizabeth said, fisting her hands in his shirt, looking at him. Her eyes searching his. “But they were watching you instead. Jordan wanted you and Sonny more than keeping those girls safe.”
He squinted slightly—and thought now of that conversation when the surveillance had been pulled on Baker. He swallowed hard — she’d used him for information. Another reason Baker had only recently died. There had been no one watching his comings and goings.
The yellow bus from the middle school turned a corner, stopping a block away—the normal bus stop. He cleared his throat. “Jake’s home. Aiden and Cam will be here in a bit.”
“I’m going to go wash my face.” Elizabeth swiped at her eyes. “Wait—” She frowned. “Jordan never said how he died. Just that there was no cause of death.”
“Yeah. Maybe it was natural causes,” Jason said. “I’ll have someone find out.” And he’d try to think of the right way to ask his pregnant wife if she and her best friend had planned and carried out the murder of her rapist. He exhaled slowly, watching her go inside. He should just ask her straight out, but she’d already lied to him. Would she keep lying?
He watched as Jake raced towards the house, their bright, beautiful miracle on his way home from school. Thought again of that day in Greece when Elizabeth had killed Stavros Cassadine. She was capable of anything when it came to protecting the people she loved.
“Dad! Dad!” Jake was breathless as he approached. “I did it! I got an A in math! You promised I could have the Playstation in my room for the whole week—”
Jason pushed Baker’s death out of his head and reached for the paper from the triumphant student.
Inside, Elizabeth had gone upstairs to splash water on her face. She looked at herself in the mirror. Jordan had come to ask those questions even after she’d seen the photos. If she kept coming after Jason, if Jordan tried to break Jason’s alibi, she’d make sure the entire world knew about those photos. She’d worked too hard to protect him from this—she’d even lied to him—
She’d be damned if Jordan was going to screw it up for her now.
PCPD: Commissioner’s Office
Jordan was seething when she stormed back in the office. “An alibi,” she muttered. “A perfect alibi—”
“Maybe it was the heart problems,” Nathan offered as he closed the door. “There’s a history in the file. He wasn’t in great shape. CSU says no signs of forced entry—”
“They’re missing something—”
“Like we did?”
Jordan turned to the detective. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Nathan flipped open the file and held up the one of Baker’s room. “Elizabeth Morgan had a good question. Baker was on parole. How did he manage to take all these photos of teen aged girls? We had surveillance on Baker for weeks. You’re telling me he did this under their noses?”
Jordan scowled. “We don’t pick our victim—”
“Say you get evidence that Morgan did this,” Nathan interrupted. “You’re going to want motive, right? The rape of his wife. A jury is going to see those photos. They’re going to think whatever happened to Baker isn’t so bad. Because at least they stopped him before another girl got attacked.”
She hissed. “And you agree with them, don’t you?”
“You rolled a dice, Commissioner,” Nathan said. “You thought Jason or Sonny might take this opportunity to go after Baker. You waited for two months. And when the budget was strained, you didn’t keep the guys on Baker. He’s dead two weeks after we pull his surveillance. I think, judging by the photos in his room, maybe we got lucky.”
“We don’t pick our victims—”
“I hear you, and I’m going to investigate. We’ll canvass the neighborhood. We’ll go over the house, but Commissioner — I’m telling you — no jury in the world would convict this guy. You don’t even have a cause of death.”
“They’re smart. They waited for Thanksgiving, surrounded themselves by family and former cops—they must have hired someone.” Jordan shook her head. “I’m not giving up.”
“Like I said, we’ll run out the leads. Maybe we’ll get lucky.”
Nathan took the case file and returned to the squad room. He opened the file again, looked at the close-ups of Baker’s photographs. He’d do the job, but he really didn’t care if Baker was dead.
Justice came in all forms.
Morgan House: Master Bedroom
Elizabeth rubbed lotion into her hands, watching Jason from her mirror as he changed. He’d been quiet all day, and she wondered if he suspected something. Or if he was worried about her because of the photographs.
She’d kept the truth from him because he never would have let her take care of this. He’d have insisted on doing it himself — and the PCPD was watching. What if they’d watched one of the men who worked for Jason? No, she couldn’t take that chance. And she’d kept lying because Jason couldn’t know anything until the body was discovered.
But she’d slipped up on Thanksgiving, and now she worried that he’d started to pull at the threads.
“I nearly killed Baker when I was a kid,” she found herself saying. Jason stilled, standing at the dresser, his back still her. “At the studio. After he’d locked Emily and I up. Lucky and Nikolas got to us—but Baker got there before we could leave.”
She stared down at her wedding ring, twisted it. “There was a fight, and the gun was just on the floor. I grabbed it, and I held it on him. I didn’t shoot him. I could have. Self-defense. Being held hostage. Protecting others. But I wanted him arrested. I wanted to see him go to jail and pay for what he’d done.”
He turned and their eyes met in the mirror. “But he didn’t get charged with your attack.”
“No. I was stunned. Devastated when Taggert told me there wasn’t enough evidence. He’d confessed to me, but then said I was just a scared little girl who didn’t understand what he’d said. It’d be my word against his.” She exhaled slowly. “Not only was he not going to get charged with it, but my case was being put on the shelf. They were going to stop investigating. I’d done everything wrong from the moment that night started. I lied. I went to the park. And I took a shower—”
“Hey.” Jason came around the bed, sat on the edge. “You did the best you could—”
“Lucky told me not to shower. He told me to stay right where I was. He was going to get help. But I could—” Elizabeth’s throat tightened, and she was back in the terrible night, curled up in that chair, sweet Foster’s head resting on her knee. What a lovely dog he’d been— “I could still smell him. I could feel him—” On her. Inside. She shook her head to clear it. “But you know what I regret more than that shower?”
She met his eyes again in the mirror. “I should have killed him then.” Please. Her eyes begged him. If he suspected anything, please, she wanted him to understand. What she’d done had been justice, long overdue.
“Emily wanted to testify against him,” Jason reminded her quietly. “She wanted to be brave like you—”
“Emily would have understood. She killed her rapist, too.”
He nodded. “Yeah,” he said finally. “She would have understood.”
“I’ll never know,” she murmured. Then she closed her eyes, her shoulders began to tremble. “I’ll never know if it would have helped.”
“Elizabeth—” Jason tugged her off the stool and next to him. “Hey—”
“The nightmares — they used to come all the time, and then they’d go away, but never forever—they never went away forever—but if he’d died years ago—if I had shot him then—I’ll never know—”
He rocked her in his arms as she continued to sob for the girl who’d been lost all those years ago, and still hadn’t found her way home.
Later that night, when Elizabeth had finally fallen asleep, her eyes red and puffy, Jason slipped out of bed and went downstairs to the back deck where a man waited.
“I got copies,” the man said handing over the manila folder. “So far, the case is a dead end. Looks like natural causes—”
“Autopsy won’t be final for a few days,” Jason murmured. “The photos in the bedroom?”
“I got those, too. From CSU—”
Jason found them — the photo of the girls in the park. Elizabeth at the hospital. And photos that looked like posed candids—of Emma with her family. Baker had focused most of the photos on Emma—a pretty brunette around the age Elizabeth had been.
But there was one of Joss that made his blood run cold. Standing in Kelly’s courtyard, in that red dress the night of the dance. Baker had been there that night. He’d been the noises she’d heard. How close they’d come that night to devastation.
“Let me know if the autopsy comes back,” Jason said. “If it says anything other than what the prelim does.”
“You got it.”
The man melted away and Jason went into the house, into the room at the back of the house that served as an office. He stored the file in the lockbox in the closet. So far Elizabeth had gotten away with it. The crime scene was clean, no signs anyone else had been in the house.
He wondered what the plan was — to lie to him forever? Or was there a moment when he was to be told?
Jason rubbed his chest, thought of how to handle it. Should he just make sure it went away and hope she’d tell him in her own time? It hurt, he finally admitted, that she’d hint around it and not tell him straight out. She’d all but told him that night. But she wouldn’t say the words.
Did he wait until the PCPD found something or should he push her now to get rid of anything before it could be found?
There was no easy answers. He went back up stairs to lay beside his wife, but he didn’t sleep.
General Hospital: Roof
“I know you don’t feel the cold,” Robin complained as she joined Jason the next morning, “but did we really have to meet up here—”
“Did you say anything to Patrick yesterday?” Jason asked as he handed her a copy of the autopsy report.
“No. He’d heard about it at work and mentioned it.” Her lips twisted in a smile. “Like it was gossip he was sharing. I think I’m concerned he’s too good at this.” She skimmed the autopsy, nodding. “History of heart arrhythmia,” she murmured. “Did you see this?”
“Yeah. I thought that might be something.”
“Heart arrhythmia means it could be natural,” Robin admitted. “It can be fatal if it’s not taken care of. Massive heart attacks. He could have died in his sleep—” She scanned the notes. “No defensive wounds. Body looks clean. Um—there are drugs that could have done it—but there’s no sign of injection. So either it was missed or it was ingested.” She squinted, then looked at him. “But unless the labs come back with some sort of poison, there’s no way this gets marked as anything but natural or, at worst, undetermined.”
“The labs they sent out—can you tell anything from that?” Jason wanted to know.
“Uh—” She flipped through the lab order. “Pretty standard tox screen. It’ll pick up most things.” She handed it back to him. “Honestly, Jason, if it weren’t for Thanksgiving, I might write this off as a natural death. The heart was in really bad condition, and decomposition over three days in a closed up house — it’ll make it hard to see if that was the cause.” Robin bit her lip. “That’s a good thing, isn’t it?”
“I guess you didn’t ask Elizabeth about any of this, did you?”
“No. I didn’t. I wanted to, but—” Jason’s mouth tightened. “Baker was watching the girls,” he confessed. “He had photos of Elizabeth, but a lot of them were Emma. Some of Trina. And one of Joss at Kelly’s after the dance.”
“Oh my God—” Robin brought her hands to her face. “He was there that night—”
“Elizabeth said Joss heard sounds. If she hadn’t followed—” Jason shook his head, looked out over the city. “I don’t care that she did this,” he told Robin. “I just—”
“She lied to you.” Robin closed her eyes. “But the pictures—it explains why Patrick agreed.” She touched Jason’s arm. “I’m telling you that unless the tox screen comes back with a poison or there’s something on the scene, they’re in the clear. If Elizabeth lied, you know she had a good reason.”
“She’s pregnant, Robin—” Jason bit out. “And she went into that house—”
“And came back out. She was protecting her girls—” Robin thought of her daughter. “And if she did do this, if she did this to look after Emma and keep her safe, there’s no way in hell I’m going to be angry about it. She did what had to be done.”