Written in 57 minutes. Did a spellcheck but not a reread.
Scorpio-Drake House: Kitchen
“Where’s Emma?” Patrick asked as he found Robin making a cup of herbal tea. “Did she load the dishwasher?”
“Yeah. I think she’s upstairs doing her homework.” Robin gently stirred her tea. “What happened earlier today? I heard Elizabeth went a little crazy.”
“Is that the gossip that reached the lab?” Patrick grimaced, leaned back against the counter. “She had a panic attack. A bad one.”
Robin furrowed her brow. “I didn’t know—she didn’t used to have those, did she?”
“Not in the time I’ve known her. A few times after Jake died,” Patrick corrected, “but nothing like today. It was almost like she didn’t know where she is. She was almost catatonic and then Griffin tried to help her up—she started kicking and screaming.” He folded his arms. ” He hesitated. “Tom Baker is working as a custodian at the hospital. Laura said the parole officer got him a job there.”
“Tom—” The spoon in her tea clattered to the floor as Robin stared at him with wide eyes. “Tom Baker. The man who—” She took a deep breath. “Tom Baker,” she murmured.
“Oh, right—I didn’t think about it. Laura said this all went down in ’98. You and Jason were together back then, weren’t you?”
“Yeah, that was at the end of things mostly, but—” Robin paused. “I remember when he went on trial. Emily asked Jason not to do anything. She wanted to testify against Baker. To be as strong as Elizabeth was when she confronted him about the rape.” She rubbed her arm. “Jason agreed because it was what Emily wanted and he needed her to be okay after everything that had happened.”
“All I knew was that Baker didn’t get charged with the attack,” Patrick said. “What the hell happened?”
“The usual, I think. My uncle might know more, but you know how sexual assault cases are handled by the police—and the DA. Baker denied the confession, and it was her word against his. The DA didn’t want to risk it, and the PCPD put her case in cold storage.” Robin picked up the spoon, a bit more steady now. “She saw him today.”
“Yeah. Elizabeth told me about this years ago,” Patrick added, “and it’s not like I’ve never seen or met a sexual assault survivor, but it was—it kills me that it can still hit her like this after all this time. It’s been eighteen years, Robin.”
“She was just sixteen,” Robin murmured. “Barely older than Emma. I remember her back then. Lucky worked for Jason and we ran into them once in a while.” She cleared her throat, focused on Patrick. “What does Laura say? Can we get him fired or let go? I mean, he attacked an employee—”
“Can’t fire him without cause, and he’s officially not guilty of anything against Elizabeth. If Emily were still around,” Patrick said with some regret, “we might have a shot. But he didn’t even get charged with holding Elizabeth hostage. They plead it down after the mistrial.”
“I knew that—I just didn’t realize Elizabeth’s charges were left off entirely—” Robin’s lips thinned as she pressed them together. “This system,” she muttered. “It never looks out for women. If that ever happened to our baby—God, Patrick, it terrifies me. I know men are out there, but Baker’s in the hospital. Maybe we should tell Emma she can’t volunteer there any more.”
“She’s never alone,” Patrick said after a minute. “She works with a group, and if we tell her she can’t, we have to tell her why.”
“And she’ll tell Cam. I don’t think the boys know.” Robin sighed. “Fine. But I reserve the right to change my mind.”
The conversation slid into other topics about the day, so Emma — listening just outside the door as she often did after dinner because that was when her parents always talked about anything they didn’t want her to hear — slid away and went up the stairs.
She went for her phone and texted Cameron.
hey meet me tonite midnight
k i’ll let u know if i cant get out
Morgan Home: Kitchen
Across the street, Jason was loading the last plate into the dishwater as Elizabeth sat at the counter. “I thought it was Jake’s night to do that,” she said. “I thought we said we weren’t going to let him get away with forgetting.” Instead, Jason had sent the boys upstairs with the rare opportunity to play video games in Cameron’s room. He’d helped them unhook the game system.
Elizabeth didn’t argue because they’d made a pact not to do that in front of the boys, and she knew why he’d done it. With video games, they’d be less likely to pay attention to anything else.
Jason shrugged one shoulder, starting the dishwasher and turning back to her. “I thought maybe tonight we let it go.”
“I’m fine,” Elizabeth said as he opened his mouth. “I told you I would be. I had a freak out, but I got it under control, okay? Laura said she’d talk to the maintenance department and make sure we don’t get assigned to same floors or even the same shifts if she could avoid it.” She hesitated. “I don’t want you worrying about me.”
“Impossible.” He leaned back against the counter, folding his arms. “You worry about me when I leave the house.”
“That’s different,” she said dismissively. “You carry a gun.”
“And you’ve been through enough,” he said. “You just found out you had a sister—”
“And we don’t talk about Hayden,” Elizabeth said flatly. “She’s gone and I don’t like her. When your secret sibling pops up, you can handle that anyway you want. I’m choosing to ignore her existence.”
“You like to pretend things are fine,” he interrupted her. “Sometimes that works. And then sometimes it just makes it worse when you realize things aren’t—”
“What do you want me to do?” Elizabeth demanded. “Quit my job? Hide in my room? I did all of that eighteen years ago. He stole nearly a year of my life.” She took a deep breath. “Longer,” she murmured. “And maybe I never really got it all back. I don’t know. Can you?” She met his eyes. “You’re right. It’s been a long year. And before that, worrying about the Cassadines—losing then getting Jake back—I can understand why you think something like is going to knock me back. I’m stronger than I look.”
“You were bleeding out from a stab wound and shot Stavros Cassadine in the head,” he reminded her. “I am the last person who is going to question how strong you are.”
Jason hesitated. “A long time ago, Emily asked me to let Baker make it to trial,” he said, shifting uncomfortably because he’d never be at ease with discussing his job with her. “She wanted to testify against him. When he went to jail, she made me change that promise.”
Elizabeth frowned. “I don’t—”
“She wanted him to finish his sentence so he could rot in prison, but she said when he got out — she wanted him to finish paying for what he did to you. At the time, I didn’t really know you,” he reminded her. “So I agreed because it was what she wanted, and honestly, even without knowing you—” He cleared his throat. “But it’s different now. Emily’s gone.” He took a moment because admitting that never got any easier. “And I don’t know if that’s what you need. Or want.”
“It’s what you want to do, isn’t it?”
“What I want doesn’t matter,” he told her. “But yeah, I’d like to rip him into pieces and set him on fire. For what he did to you then. For what he did to my sister. For today. For all the days in between you’ve had to live with it.”
Elizabeth’s lips curved into a small smile. “Set him on fire?” she repeated. “That’s not your usual style.”
“What I want—what I need—is for Tom Baker not to be something or someone I think about,” she said softly. “Part of me wants to tell you to go ahead because you’re right. He never paid for what he did to me. Thank you for agreeing to it back when Emily asked it even though I didn’t matter to you.”
“But?” he prompted.
“But he’s been out of my life for a long time,” Elizabeth continued, “and it didn’t change anything for me. It still took me years to trust myself or anyone else physically. It didn’t change how it felt for Manny Ruiz to grab me the way he did when he kidnapped me.” A shadow slid over her face. “Or how it felt when you did it to find Sam—”
“I think that was the worst of it for me. Back then—Lucky would touch me and I couldn’t handle it. It didn’t matter that I knew he’d never hurt me. Then,” she added with a wry smile because she still carried the scar from when he’d shoved a knife into her three years earlier. “Then when you just wanted to jog my memory to find Sam—I knew you wouldn’t hurt me either, and it still made me think of Tom Baker. He’s taken that from me, Jason. And I don’t know if I’ll ever get it back.”
There was silence in the kitchen then, the sound of the dishwasher gently running in the background.
“There is no justice. No way of making him pay for what he did to me. It wouldn’t make me feel better. It wouldn’t make it stop. It would just be revenge.” She hesitated. “And maybe that would be enough. I might change my mind,” she admitted. “But here’s the thing about making him disappear now, Jason—” She waited for him to focus on her. “If you’d done it quietly while he was in prison, that would be one thing. The PCPD know what he did to me. What he did to Emily. He gets hurt or disappears now, you’re the first person they’re looking at.”
“And before you tell me that doesn’t scare you, I know that. It scares me,” she said softly. “Because the one thing I won’t let him take from me is my family. We have three beautiful boys who love you, Jason. We have another baby on the way. We waited too long for all of this. He isn’t worth the risk.” She held her hands out across the counter, waited for him to take hers. “He’s not worth a single minute of my time. He spent seventeen years in prison for what he did to Emily. I’m going to make that enough for me.”
“All right,” he said after another minute. “But if you change your mind—”
“I know who to ask.” She smiled, then slid off the counter. She wrapped her arms around his waist, and he tugged her closer. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Robinson House: Living Room
Portia held out her hand with a raise of her brows. “It’s eight,” she said.
“You know,” her daughter began hotly, “some mothers would trust their kids.”
“And some mothers,” Portia replied sweetly, “know better. Did you have to talk to Carly Corinthos about what you did to her kid? No, I did.”
Trina’s eyes widened into pools of innocence. “I didn’t—”
“What you and Emma convinced Cameron to do,” Portia corrected. “I’m not saying Joss Jacks doesn’t have that, and a whole lot more coming, but we don’t go low in this house.”
“I didn’t go low. There is no low enough for her,” Trina muttered as she slapped her phone against her mother’s palm. “You think you’re at rock bottom, and Cujo is right there with you, digging an even deeper level—”
Trina stomped towards the stairs. “A little blue hair never killed anyone, God, you’d think I cut it off—”
“Don’t get any ideas—” her mother called after her, wincing when she heard her daughter’s door slam. “Just like her father,” she muttered.
As if on cue, Portia’s phone lit up with her ex-husband’s name. She reached for it. “Marcus?”
“What the hell was that voicemail?” Marcus Taggert demanded. “Baker is out? Why the hell didn’t I know?”
“I really feel like I am the wrong person to be asking that question, and don’t you take that tone with me,” Portia retorted. “Call Jordan Ashford, why don’t you?”
“This isn’t my problem. That’s the beauty of being divorced. Hey, maybe you could return some phone calls sometime and you won’t get blindsided.”
“We’re not doing this—”
“No, we’re not. Maybe you could come ask these questions in person and while you’re at it, you can visit your kid. Until then, we have nothing to say to each other.” She clicked the phone off, thought about throwing it — then carefully set it back down.
She wasn’t going to let that man get the best of her. Not anymore.
Morgan House: Backyard
Keeping an ear out for his father, Cameron managed to get out of the house that night undetected. He shimmied up the tree to the house they’d built two years ago for Jake and Aiden to find Emma waiting for him.
“Hey.” He grinned as he always did when he saw her. She was so pretty and she was dating him even though Spencer had asked her first. He was the luckiest kid in their class because she was definitely the prettiest and smartest—
Then her face registered, and Cameron’s smile fell. “Emma…” He sat next to her, awkwardly putting an arm around her. He still hadn’t quite figured out how to touch her without making a fool of himself. “What’s wrong?”
“Did your parents say anything about your mom today?” Emma wanted to know. “About work?”
“No.” Confused, he slid away slightly. “What’s wrong?”
“Because mine were talking in the kitchen after dinner tonight, and I—” She fumbled with her flashlight. “I don’t know I should say anything but I feel like I have to. I feel like me knowing this and you maybe not knowing this—it breaks the rules or something—”
“Did you know your mom was raped when she was sixteen?” Emma asked in a rush.