Written in 56 minutes.
Morgan House: Kitchen
Elizabeth glanced over her shoulder as she opened the fridge and frowned when she caught Cameron’s eye again. Her eldest son immediately broke eye contact and slumped over his cereal, scooping up the Lucky Charms like it was the most important thing in his life.
It was the third time she’d caught him looking at her—maybe even the fourth. She rolled her shoulders and retrieved the juices she needed for Aiden’s lunch box and went over to the counter to continue packing his lunch. “Everything okay?” she asked Cameron.
“What?” Cameron blinked at her. “Yeah, why?”
She pursed her lips. “No reason.”
“I don’t care what Rocco Falconieri is doing,” Jason said as he walked into the kitchen behind a sullen Aiden. “You’re not going.”
“You act like I’m a baby,” he muttered, starting to climb onto the stool next to Cameron. He glared at Jason as his father rounded the counter and reached for a bowl to pour cereal for him.
“You still got your baby teeth?” Jake wanted to know from the other side of Cameron. “Because I think that’s how it works. You start losing those, you level up.”
Aiden scowled — because of course, he hadn’t lost any of his teeth yet. The bottom center tooth was loose but it refused to come out. “If it comes out, can I go?”
“It’s a school night—”
“That is not how it works,” Elizabeth said at the same time. Jake just grinned at her, his mission of agitation completed for the morning. “No one goes anyone on school nights.”
“But Rocco is family,” Aiden pointed out. “You said we gotta do for family.”
“When they’re in trouble. Not when they have a game system in their room and you’re trying to get around the rules.” Elizabeth zipped his lunch box shut, then looked at Cameron. He was usually in the middle of these morning clashes — whether he teaming up with Jake against who ever the target was that day or he was taking his parents’s side just to be contrary.
Instead, he sat between his brothers, his attention focused on the bowl of cereal like it had all the answers.
“Cameron gets to go places all the time,” Aiden muttered. “He gets to stay at Grandma Laura’s longer and he goes to the hospital by himself. I get locked up like a criminal.”
“Aiden, cool it,” Cameron said, his spoon clinking against the bowl as he glared at his little brother. “No one is locking you up.”
“Yeah, I know what that’s like,” Jake offered helpfully. “You’re not on a island, you got your own room, no crazy person is telling you he’s your dad and you’re gonna help him rule the world—” He was ticking these items off on his fingers as Elizabeth’s mouth dropped and Jason stilled next to him.
Aiden’s eyes were as round as saucers. “Whoa. Is that what it was like with the Cassadines? Do they really rule the world? Is that why Spencer is a giant—”
“Eat your cereal,” Jason said, shoving the bowl in front of Aiden. “Jake—” He didn’t even really know what to say. Jake had been so young when they’d rescued him from the Cassadines, and he rarely spoke about the two long years he’d spent locked up with Stavros playing his father.
“I didn’t know you remembered that much,” Elizabeth said finally. “Do you need—um, Grandma can talk to Kevin—”
“No, it’s cool.” Jake shrugged. “Aiden just doesn’t get it. That’s why he’s the baby.”
Aiden’s eyes narrowed into little slits. “I am not—”
“Here’s his lunch,” Elizabeth said to Jason in a rush as she shoved the box towards her husband. “Cam, Jake, let’s go. I’ll drop you off at school.”
“It’s not like he can hurt me,” Jake said, confidently hopping off the stool. “He kicks like a fly—”
Jason quickly put an arm out to lock Aiden in place. “Jake—”
“Someone has to make up for Cam since he’s all quiet.” Jake sauntered out towards the living room.
“It’s not fair,” Aiden muttered.
“One day, you’ll get to do all the things Cam does,” Elizabeth assured him. “Right, Cam?”
Cameron blinked at her. “Uh. Yeah. Sure. I didn’t even tie anyone up until I was eleven, so you got time, Aiden.” He slurped up his cereal. “I’ll go get my jacket and bookbag.”
“Not the help I was looking for,” she muttered as she followed him out, hearing Aiden ask Jason who Cameron had tied up.
Corinthos & Morgan Warehouse: Office
Jason usually hated to be interrupted when he was working on the books, but he was glad when Sonny knocked on the door late that morning. He hadn’t been able to concentrate on the numbers or the invoices.
“You know, Spinelli could set you up with a program that would do this for you,” Sonny said, nodding to the pile of paper and pencils on the desk. “What does he always say? Something about it being the twenty-first century—”
“Programs can be hacked,” Jason said. “I like double checking. I thought you were at the restaurant today—”
“Yeah, I’m headed over there, but—uh, Brick said you left here yesterday like things were on fire. He was worried and called me.” Sonny sat down in the rickety chair, wincing. “I’m too old for this,” he muttered.
“It’s fine—” Jason shook his head and reached for the pencil.
“I figure it wasn’t too serious since you didn’t call me, but I still wanted to check in.” Sonny paused. “You didn’t come back either, according to Brick—”
“I didn’t know he was watching me—” Jason bit back the irritated remark. “There was something at the hospital. Elizabeth—” He stared down at the pencil, twisting the yellow wood in his fingers. “Tom Baker was released from prison.”
Sonny squinted. “Tom Baker,” he repeated. “Do I know that name?”
“He was the photographer who blackmailed my sister and held her hostage in the photography studio,” Jason said.
“Then he’s also the garbage that raped Elizabeth. I remember they were the same person,” Sonny added when Jason blinked at him. “I just never took in the name. I figured you’d handled that. I didn’t know he was still alive.”
“Emily—” Jason rubbed his face. “She wanted it that way. Baker grabbed her and Elizabeth, shoved them into the dark room. Lucky and Nikolas got them out, but Baker confronted them. There was a fight, and Elizabeth got her hands on the gun.” He hated thinking of his sister going through that alone, of Elizabeth being shoved into a room by the same man who’d terrorized her— “Emily said Elizabeth was brave in facing him down. Confronting him. Elizabeth wanted him to get arrested. To get justice. She put down the gun.”
“But now he’s out—”
“Baker never got charged with the rape,” Jason said bluntly. “He’s out and he’s working at the hospital. Elizabeth didn’t know and ran into him. She, uh, had a pretty bad panic attack.”
“Wouldn’t be hard to get rid of him now,” Sonny said after a long moment. “Make him look like he split town. Spinelli could handle setting a trail—”
“She doesn’t want that.”
His best friend absorbed that, nodded. “Okay. I guess I can understand that—”
“She doesn’t want the PCPD to look at me. I’d be the primary suspect even if he just disappeared.”
“She should know you better. Like you’d get caught,” Sonny scoffed, but Jason shook his head.
“It’s not that. She just doesn’t want to take any chances. Not with—we just finalized the adoption for Aiden, and we’re—” A smile tugged at the corner of his lips. “We’re having another baby. Due in May or June We’re not sure—”
“Oh, man—” Sonny’s eyes lit up. “That’s great news. I knew you were thinking about it, but—okay, okay, that tracks. Elizabeth doesn’t want the old stuff coming back. Not when you got so much going right.” He tipped his head. “You’re okay with him being at the hospital, though?”
“I don’t want him breathing the same air as her, much less in the same building,” Jason bit out. “But it’s not my call.”
“No, I guess it’s not.” Sonny tapped his fingers on his thigh. “How many guys we got working at GH now?”
“Uh, three orderlys and a few of the security guards are ours. I got two more in when Cam started volunteering,” Jason admitted.
“Grab one and assign him to Baker. Just to keep an eye out,” Sonny suggested. “You’re not doing anything but it might help you sleep at night. We can toss someone on him when he’s not in the hospital.”
“Yeah. Maybe. I’ll talk to Elizabeth.”
Sonny got to his feet. “It’s a hell of a thing,” he said. “Special place in hell for rapists.”
General Hospital: Pediatric Wing
Emma folded her arms and followed Cameron off the elevator. “Are you really not going to talk about it?” she asked him as they headed for the nurse’s station on the floor. “You just went inside last night—”
“Emma—” Cameron just shook his head. “No. I really don’t want to talk about it. Let’s just get this shift over with.”
She sighed and they turned a corner. She scowled, then swallowed her protest at seeing Joss Jacks standing by Spencer Cassadine at the nurse’s station. A few feet away, Trina was glaring daggers at the blonde—
“No one said she was working today,” Trina said as Cameron and Emma joined her. “They really just take anyone in this program—”
“Hey, my dad paid for this program!” Joss said, planting her hands on her hips. “Tell her, Spencer!”
“Not a chance in hell,” Spencer said politely. “Dig your own grave.”
“Do you know how long it took my stylist to get that blue crap out of my hair?” Joss demanded. She turned her wounded eyes on Cameron who stared at the linoleum. “I thought we were friends!”
“We are,” Cameron said, dully. “I’m sorry—”
“Hey, cool it, Cujo,” Trina snarled. “You started this and you know it! You told Oscar Nero that I had head lice!”
“And that I don’t shower or wash my hair because of my braids—”
Joss’s cheeks were stained with red. “Okay, that was out of line—”
“Out of line? Out of line? I should have acid, you spoiled bitch—”
Before Trina could launch herself at Joss and finish this for good, Cameron suddenly turned and stalked off in the opposite direction.
Trina and Joss both stopped dead in their tracks at his departure. “What’s his problem?” Joss tossed her hair over her shoulder. “I’m the victim!”
“All your life,” Trina said sweetly and Joss glared at her. Emma ignored them both and took after her boyfriend.
She knew what this was about, and honestly should have dragged him in the opposite direction when she saw Trina and Joss sharing the same oxygen. They had been like oil and water since kindergarten and it was just getting worse. They’d been bickering over Oscar for almost a month, and eventually someone was going to get really hurt.
Emma turned a corner and stumbled, her toe catching on the edge of a custodian’s cart. She nearly face planted on the floor, but a hand snagged her elbow and righted her.
“You okay, little girl?”
“I’m fine,” Emma said, automatically pasting a polite smile on her face as she faced the custodian behind the cart. But the man was smiling at her already, his dark eyes fixed on her in a way that made her feel vaguely dirty. She cleared her throat. “I’m sorry. I should watch where I’m going. Um, thank you.”
She edged around the man and continued down the hall, feeling an itch between her shoulders as she turned another corner and disappeared.
Tom Baker straightened out the cart and smiled to himself as he continued on his rounds. He’d missed the sight of a pretty young girl flying through life, bright eyes and smiles. This one had long legs and a delicate build. Long brown hair. He’d always been partial to brunettes.
He found the puddle he’d been sent to clean and got started, then started to whistle. Oh, yeah, it was good to be free.