Flash Fiction: Scars – Part 24

Written in 65 minutes


Vista Point

He’d expected her to deny it. To continue lying, or maybe to discover that he’d been horribly mistaken and there was some other explanation for all of this—

Instead his wife had lifted her chin and stated the truth bluntly, the light in her eye suggesting that she wasn’t looking for forgiveness. She’d murdered someone—she and Patrick Drake had plotted to kill someone and had actually gone through with it—and lied about it.

Jason clenched his jaw, took a deep breath. “You injected him,” he repeated. “You.”

“Yes. Patrick was there in case the injection woke him, but I did it. Succinylcholine,” Elizabeth said. “It paralyzes—”

“I know what it does,” Jason bit out, and she closed her mouth. She wasn’t really going to explain how to kill someone without a trace, was she? But then he took another deep breath. “There are tests for that—”

“You have to test specifically for the metabolites which isn’t part of any standard tox screen,” Elizabeth said. She folded her arms. “And it’s even harder to detect in a body that’s begun to decompose.” She finally broke eye contact, looked back over the harbor. “It’ll be weeks before we know if they tested for them, before the tox screen comes back—”

“They didn’t,” Jason said, and she looked back, furrowing her brows. “It was a standard tox screen. I made calls,” he added, a  bit irritated with himself when she just frowned. “As soon as I found out he was dead. I knew.”

Elizabeth exhaled carefully. “I didn’t want to lie to you,” she said. “But if I’d told you, you’d have insisted on handling it yourself—”

“Yes—”

“And I knew Jordan was watching you. Not me, just you and Sonny. You told me that. And she’d never suspect you’d let me do it. I made sure you and Sonny were safe—”

“I don’t need you to protect me—” That was his job, damn it. “Did you know about the pictures? Why didn’t you—”

“No. Not the pictures.  But—” Elizabeth rubbed her chest. “Not long after the dance, I saw Baker in the park. He was watching the girls. It terrified me,” she murmured. “But you were still under surveillance. And I didn’t know what Jordan was watching. If she’d found other ways into your organization. I broke into his house—”

Jason closed his eyes. “You—”

“I am not some amateur,” Elizabeth cut in sharply, and he focused on her again. “I watched him first. I understood his schedule. I know how to pick a lock. I went into the house, and I saw the photos. And I realized she had to know. Those photographs—she had to. There were too many.”

He’d find out if Jordan Ashford had been aware the girls were being stalked— “There were pictures of you.”

“I know.” Her voice faltered a bit, and some of his fury faded. “I know,” she repeated. “I saw them. He followed Joss that night, Jason. My worst nightmare. He wasn’t going to stop until someone stopped him. I should have done it two decades ago. I went inside to see if I could. And then I went to Patrick. We bought cars in cash and I got rid of them both, just the way Luke taught me—”

Jason grimaced, but acknowledged the information with a nod. “What else?” Was there a trail he needed to handle—

“Patrick and I went to the drug store so there’d be a receipt if anyone asked. We made sure the window was small if anyone looked into us, but I knew Jordan wouldn’t. She didn’t even check with the hospital to see if we were scheduled. We burned the clothes we were wearing—”

“The succinylcholine?”

“Patrick knows how to work the system at the hospital,” Elizabeth said. “It’s an outdated med dispensary. We’re always off on the count. The only mistake I made was the one I made with you.” She huffed. “Starbursts,” she muttered, obviously disgusting with herself, and Jason had to admit that she’d thought of almost everything. And he knew that she’d left no trace behind in the house. Jordan would have found it by now.

And still — “You lied to me. And you let Baker walk around for two more weeks—what if he’d gone after the girls?” Jason demanded. “I could have handled it—”

“Maybe.” She swallowed hard. “Maybe. But you wouldn’t have let me do it. You would have made me stay home.”

Jason shook his head, turned away from her, his hands at his waist. He was so goddamn angry—the blood was pounding in his head, in his chest, everything felt like it was going to explode — “You’re pregnant—”

“And if I hadn’t been, you would have let me be part of it?” she demanded caustically, and he scowled. “No. You would have just taken care of it. Like you offered when he first got out. This was mine—”

“And Patrick’s—”

“Because he’d follow me,” she retorted, and he fell silent. “He wouldn’t try to protect me. I lied to you because there’s no reasoning with you sometimes. I can handle myself, Jason. I’ve   carried three other children. I know what I can handle. I’ve been in car accidents. I’ve been held hostage. I’ve nearly died giving birth—”

“Elizabeth—”

“And you heard Britt. I’m perfectly healthy. All I did was drive to a house, pick a lock, and shove a needle inside the monster plotting to hurt more girls. If I hadn’t been there that night, Jason, we’d be picking up the pieces of Joss right now. But you wouldn’t have let me do what needed to be done.”

“No, I wouldn’t have,” Jason snapped. “You think you’ve got everything, including me, handled. But what about Patrick? Do you think Robin is happy about any of this? You think she doesn’t know? As soon as she found out Baker died on Thanksgiving, she knew—”

“Years ago, when I was furious that Luke had killed Helena first—before Laura or I could even get our hands on her—you told me that you were relieved.” Her eyes burned into his. “Because something like this stays with you. You were glad I didn’t have to.”

“Elizabeth—”

“And I warned you then. I told you who I was. What I knew I could do. I would have strangled that evil bitch with my bare hands and danced on her grave! Did you think I was bluffing?”

“No—” Mystified at how the argument had turned, he just shook his head. “No—”

“You were glad that my hands were clean. It was fine to kill Stavros in the heat of the moment, but you don’t want me to get dirty. Like you.”

“That—Okay, that’s what I said then, but—”

“And it’s how you feel right now. You’re angry that I did this. That I didn’t just plot a murder, but that I actually went through with it.” Her eyes glimmered with tears. “I killed him, and then I shared Thanksgiving dinner with my children. And the only reason you even know is I slipped up with my cover story. I’m sorry I’m such a disappointment—”

“You’re twisting this around,” Jason interrupted. “I’m angry because you put yourself at risk without telling me—that you lied to me about it when you damn well know that I had the connections to get it done without a trace—”

She swiped at her eyes, and laughed bitterly. “You don’t even hear yourself, do you? I didn’t need your connections, Jason. I have my own. I killed my rapist—” Elizabeth flattened her hand against her chest. “I killed my monster. Not yours. Helena was mine. Stavros was only aiming at you because of me and my history. It’s okay for you to take care of crime in your world without discussing it—but I can’t do the same?”

“I’m not arguing about this anymore.” Jason went past her, heading for the parking lot, irritated. She just didn’t understand—

She followed him back to his bike, took the helmet he offered, just staring at him with sadness in her eyes—and a hint of disappointment. “I didn’t want to lie to you. But it was the only way—”

“We’ll never know because you didn’t trust me.”

“Would you have let me into that house, to be the one to kill him?” Elizabeth asked. “If I told you it needed to be me?”

Jason opened his mouth, then closed it, troubled by the question. He didn’t know the answer.  He climbed on the bike, and without another word, drove them home.

Scorpio-Drake House: Kitchen

Patrick studied the menu in his hands. “How many pizzerias does one town need?” he wanted to know when Robin came through the door. “This is the third new flyer in the last month—”

“Did you kill Tom Baker?”

The question fell out of her mouth before Robin even knew she was going to ask it. Her husband froze, then lowered the menu, their eyes meeting.

“You can tell me,” Robin hurried to add. “Even if you—if you didn’t do it alone—I’m your wife. I can’t tell anyone what you said even about someone else—”

“I’ve got a passing familiarity with spousal privilege,” Patrick said, finally finding his voice. “Yes. I didn’t do the final deed. But I secured the means, drove to the house, and went inside. I watched it happen. And then I came home. That makes me just as liable.”

They stared at each other for a long moment, then Robin bit her lip. “Did you know about the photos?”

“No. I didn’t. Not until I saw them. He was watch Emma, Robin. He was watching our little girl. And he was there the night of the dance.” A muscle ticked in his cheek, and his Adam’s apple bobbed. “If Elizabeth and I hadn’t hung out that night, if she hadn’t doubled back—it might have been Joss. It might have been any of them. But he stole photos of Emma from my locker. They’re both pinned on that board.”

Her hands were shaking as Robin dragged them through her hair, digesting that news. “He was stalking her, then.”

“He must have seen her around Elizabeth. Knew Emma was special to her. And—”

“And Emma has superficial resemblance to Elizabeth,” Robin finished, her stomach lurching. “Oh, God. Our baby.”

“The system didn’t protect Elizabeth. I couldn’t take the chance. Not with Emma. Not with any of those girls.” Patrick folded the menu and set it on the counter. “I understand if you think less of me. If it changes how you feel about me—”

“No. No.” Maybe it should, Robin thought. But she’d seen rape victims over the years, and she had some sense of how Elizabeth had struggled. The thought of her precious baby being shattered that way— “No, I’m glad he’s dead. We’ll—we’ll let it go. We’ll put it away.” She closed the distance between them, his eyes staying on her hers. “I can let it go.”

“Okay.” He cupped her face in his hands, his thumbs fanning out over her jaw. “I’m sorry I had to lie to you.”

“You’re not very good at it.”

“I didn’t—” Patrick stopped. “If you know, then—”

“Jason and I know. Or suspected. I don’t know if he’s asked Elizabeth yet.  He said it looks like the PCPD doesn’t have anything yet, but he’ll make sure it goes away.”

“I should tell her he suspects. We didn’t want to lie, but Elizabeth—” Patrick hesitated.  “There just wasn’t another way.”

“No. I can see that, I guess.” She kissed the corner of his jaw. “Thank you for protecting our daughter.”

Greystone: Study

Sonny offered Jason a drink, but the younger man just shook his head and stalked across the room to glare out the terrace doors. Sonny poured himself a bourbon and took a seat, considering the situation.

“What’s the part that’s making you the most angry?” Sonny wanted to know.  Jason turned to him, a scowl etched into his expression. “The lie or the crime?”

“Damn it—” Jason clenched his fists. “My wife just admitted to committing murder, and you want to me to pick which part makes me the most angry—”

“How many men have you killed to protect Elizabeth and the boys?” Sonny asked idly, and Jason stared at him. “There was that guy who set the bomb all those years ago. It’s why you left and went to Puerto Rico. And the one who kidnapped her. A few Russians. Some Cassadine guards—”

“Sonny—”

“Your wife,” Sonny said slowly, “saw a threat to her family and she eliminated it. Just the way you’ve done over and over again.”

Jason’s shoulders slumped and he sat on the sofa. “She thinks I’m angry because she got her hands dirty,” he muttered. “I said something a few years ago about being glad she didn’t have to be the one to kill Helena—that her hands were clean—” Sonny winced. “She was angry at me then, but I didn’t realize she’d held on to that. I’m not—this isn’t about that.”

“It’s a little about that,” Sonny said, and Jason’s scowl returned. “You hated when the violence touched her. When it came near your family. But you always hated it more than she did. And every single time she tried to show you she could handle it, you ran as far and as fast as you could in the opposite direction.”

“I—” Had done exactly that, though he hadn’t seen it that way. “Maybe.”

“She knows who you are, Jason. Always has. She never flinched from any of this.” Sonny leaned forward. “She lied to you because she didn’t want you to realize that she wanted to be the one to kill Baker. She was scared you’d flinch from her. And then you did exactly that.”

“My face changed,” Jason murmured. Sonny frowned, and his friend looked at him. “I don’t care that she killed him. I don’t. I’m glad he’s dead.”

“I’m a little impressed with her, honestly. She ever decides to make this a second career—” Sonny winced when Jason glared at him. “Kidding.”

“It’s not funny.”

“It’s a little bit funny.” Sonny got to his feet. “You’re glad Baker’s dead. And maybe Elizabeth got some satisfaction from doing the deed. Some closure. The girls are safe. And, cherry on top, Elizabeth pulled off what might be the perfect crime. Go home. Tell her you love her and that you understand. Because you damn well know about taking a life to protect others.”

“Sonny—”

“And tell her I appreciate the alibi. I enjoyed having Diane tell Jordan that she should ask a trio of former commissioners where I was all day.” Sonny sipped his bourbon. “We’ll make sure the case gets buried, Jason. Go home to your wife and family. You have a woman who’d kill to keep you and the kids safe. We should all be so lucky.”

Comments

  • I loved all that Elizabeth and Sonny told Jason. I was glad Robin wasn’t mad at Patrick.

    According to Carla P on September 16, 2022
  • It’s so interesting how Robin reacted differently to the truth compared to Jason. I’m glad he talked to Sonny because he described the situation perfectly. Elizabeth protected her family just like Jason has done so many times. It was too early for the humor, Sonny. I loved how you used their history and his face did change but hopefully not too much. I hope they find out that Jordan knew that Baker was stalking the girls. Shame on her.

    According to arcoiris0502 on September 16, 2022
  • I hope that Jason can give over the fact that Elizabeth killed Baker. I hope that he listens to Sonny’s advice. Now Jason just needs to take care of Jordan.

    According to Becca on September 16, 2022
  • ah the conversations that were had, all good ones, and I could see the points they all made. I’m glad it has been aired and now Jason has to go home and tell her he understands and just like she loves him, he loves her no matter what.

    According to Pamela Hedstrom on September 16, 2022
  • I am sorry you had a rough week. It’s must have been so hard to get together and remember your friend. Hopefully soon you can remember her without the pain and just the wonderful memories.

    This was a great chapter with some amazing conversations. I see all the sides so it’s hard to see Jason and Elizabeth hurting and opposite sides. Hopefully Jason understands now and they can talk it out. Jordan needs to be fried!

    According to Golden Girl on September 17, 2022
  • enjoyed the conversationS
    jason listen to sonny and tell your wife that you love her

    According to Nicole on September 17, 2022
  • I love the conservation between Patrick and Robin about what he did to Baker and what he saw on the wall of his room. Jason needs to understand where Liz was coming from and what she had to do. Thanks for the update.

    According to Shelly Samuel on September 17, 2022
  • Wondering what you are going to do with Jordan. Jason has never wanted the ugly side of his life to touch Liz. The trouble is she is in it never the less and she is taking care of her family. She did it so that Jason wouldn’t be sent to prison .After all he was being watched because Jordan wanted him more then the saftey of the girls.

    According to leasmom on September 17, 2022