Written in 50 minutes.
General Hospital: Hallway
Cameron had nearly made it to the service stairs before Emma snagged his elbow and made him stop. “Hey, Cam. Come on—”
“I just really want to be alone right now, okay?” Cameron said, jerking out of her grasp. When her pretty face crumpled with hurt, he hissed. “I’m sorry,” he muttered. “I just—I don’t know what you want from me, okay?”
“I don’t want anything, Cam, I just—” She bit her lip. “I want you to be okay. I shouldn’t have told you—”
“No, you shouldn’t have. I don’t want to know this. I don’t want to think about what my mom—” His chest felt six sizes too small. “I’ve seen this happen on TV, you know, and I can’t stop—”
“It was so long ago, Cam—”
“It doesn’t matter. I just keep seeing her in my head, crying. She cried all the time when Jake was gone, and now I—” He closed his eyes. “Just leave me alone.”
He shoved open the door to the stairwell, and this time, Emma didn’t follow.
General Hospital: Hub
Elizabeth knew even before Laura reached her why she was here. As her mother-in-law approached the counter, Elizabeth put up a hand. “Before you start, I’m fine.”
“I wasn’t—” Laura winced. “Okay, I was a little,” she admitted. “But I’ve been worried—”
“You and Patrick. And Robin. And Jason. I guess I should be relieved you’re really the only people left that know.” She felt a twist of grief for Emily and for the boy Lucky had been once. For her grandmother. Elizabeth turned back to the monitor and kept updating charts. “I freaked out yesterday. I know it upset everyone. It scared me. But once I got home, and I was with my boys, I remembered something very important.”
Elizabeth met Laura’s eyes. “That sixteen-year-old girl crawled out of the bushes a long time ago. I worked damn hard to put it behind me.”
“I know you did, Elizabeth, but—”
“I wasn’t prepared to see him. That’s all. I can handle this, Laura. I refuse to let him take over my life. Not again. Never again,” Elizabeth said, her teeth clenched. “For nearly a year, it consumed my every waking thought. I didn’t sleep. I couldn’t look at anyone in the eye. I saw the man who raped me in the face of every man I came into contact with. I couldn’t see a future for myself where I would be able to let anyone touch me.” Her breath hitched. “That’s not me anymore. I have three gorgeous, perfect boys who are a miracle. I have a husband who loves me. I have another baby to dream for. There is no room in my life for Tom Baker and what he put me through.”
“Okay.” Laura stepped back. “Then we’ll let that be the end of it. I love you, Elizabeth. Without you these last few years, without your family, I would have been lost.” She reached forward, squeezed Elizabeth’s hand. “If you need me, I’m here. I just wanted to make that clear.”
“I didn’t even get a chance to congratulate you on the baby,” Laura continued. “I’m so excited for you. Both of you. I hope you don’t mind if I cross my fingers for a girl.”
“A daughter would be nice,” Elizabeth admitted, “but I just want a healthy baby that Jason and I can enjoy together.” She paused. “I have to get back to work.”
PCPD: Commissioner’s Office
Jordan heard his voice before she saw the man, so by the time DEA Agent Marcus Taggert strode in, she was on her feet and ready. She’d already heard his angry message the night before.
“Before you say anything,” she began, “it’s really not my job to inform former PCPD officers of parole releases. The department did everything by the book on this Baker thing—”
“By the book?” Taggert demanded. “I called Laura Spencer. She said Elizabeth came face to face with the bastard—”
“He wasn’t convicted of a violent felony against her. We weren’t legally obligated to notify her,” Jordan continued. “Like it or not, Marcus, this is our system. If you’d been here, maybe if Mac had still been in charge—things would be different. There’s been a lot of turnover since you left.”
Taggert growled. “A violent rapist gets released—”
“He wasn’t convicted of rape, and—” Jordan reached for the file. “I know what the Webber statement says, but sure are you that Baker was the guy? I don’t see much of an investigation—”
“Are you telling me I screwed up her case? He confessed—”
“To a terrified, traumatized teenaged girl he was trying to keep under control,” Jordan said. “I called Mac after I looked at the file. He told you that eighteen years ago. No DNA, no case. He wasn’t convicted of this, Marcus. And without you here leading the charge, no one knew.”
Taggert exhaled slowly. “She was traumatized,” he remembered his voice quiet now. “Desperate. Came in over and over again with any scrap she could remember. I dragged her in for line ups, for questioning again—there was never anywhere to go with her case. I tried, Jordan—”
“I know. You followed the leads, but it was a stranger rape, and unfortunately, she did everything wrong—” She winced. “That seems like I’m judging her, I’m not. She did what she needed to for her own sanity. It just limited the investigation.”
“I know. She really beat herself up about that.” Taggert dropped into the seat, the rage extinguished. “I keep attacking everyone but the bastard who did this,” he muttered. “Portia nearly ripped me a new asshole—”
“Yeah, well if you call as often as you did when we worked together, she probably had a reason. No one wanted Elizabeth Morgan to be blindsided like this. I promise you.”
“He’s working at the hospital?” Taggert wanted to know. He straightened in the chair. “Who put him there? The parole officer?”
“I don’t know—”
“Because if he applied for that job on his own—Elizabeth isn’t someone who flies under the radar. I bet the whole town knows where she works,” he continued.
“He’d have to be suicidal to go after Elizabeth again. Marcus—she’s married to the number two guy in the Port Charles mafia. Morgan might look domesticated,” Jordan continued, “but he’s the suspect in three open homicide cases in the last five years.”
“Yeah, how close are you to making those cases?”
“They’re dead in the water,” Jordan muttered. “He’s good at what he does. All of them were low level operatives who were biting at the territory.” She pursed her lips. “I’m trying to get surveillance on him approved based on this Baker thing.”
“I don’t care if Baker is the scum of the Earth. He’s a citizen that I’ve sworn an oath to protect. He did his time. That’s the system,” she repeated to him. “You don’t have to like it, but we will sure as hell respect it. If Baker goes missing, I want eyes on Jason Morgan. I’m going to nail his ass to the wall.”
Taggert snorted as he rose to his feet. “And then you’ll take Corinthos down with him. Good luck, Jordan. Why the hell do you think I transferred out? I got tired of beating my head against a brick wall. Good luck with that.”
Morgan House: Kitchen
Cameron slunk into the back door a few hours later, stopping short when he saw his mother at the stove. “I thought you were at work.”
She smiled at him. “No. I had the early shift today, so I thought we’d heat up some pasta from last night—” Elizabeth tipped her head. “Your brothers are in the living room playing video games. As usual.”
“I’m fine.” He dropped the bookbag on the table and went to the fridge to get a can of pop.
“I saw Emma at the hospital,” Elizabeth continued as she took out a bag of rolls and started to prep garlic bread. “You didn’t volunteer?”
“I went, but I didn’t feel like it.” Cameron took a long sip of his drink. “Trina and Joss were arguing again.”
“Ah, the blue hair thing?”
“Yeah. I didn’t wanna listen.” He stared at the butcher block surface of the counter. “Mom.”
He’d asked her ages ago to stop calling him that, but today—today he couldn’t be irritated by it. “Mom,” he said again.
Elizabeth set down the shaker of garlic powder and focused on him. “Cameron, what’s wrong? I can tell something this—”
“Emma heard her parents talking.” He took a deep breath. “The other night. She told me—” His eyes burned and his throat felt too small to speak. “She told me you—you were—”
His mother’s face was pale. “She told you what happened to me. When I was a kid.”
“Yeah.” He sucked in the breath. “That you were raped.” He found the courage to meet his mother’s eyes. “She’s not lying, is she?”
“No. She’s not.” Elizabeth exhaled slowly. “When I was sixteen,” she began quietly, “I was walking in the park after dark. I sat on a bench, and a man grabbed me. He hurt me. For a long time, it was hard to be okay.”
“But you are now.”
“I am now. I worked very hard to be okay, Cam. Because I wanted my life to be my own again. I didn’t want to think about it anymore. So I got past it, and I had my boys. I built a life that has nothing to do with any of it.”
Cameron took that in, squinted at his mother. She was a good liar, but he could usually tell when she was pretending. She didn’t seem to be now. “Can I—can I ask you questions? I mean—”
“You can ask. I might not answer.”
He furrowed his brow. “Did they catch who did it?”
“They did, but there wasn’t enough evidence. He went to jail for something else.”
“Oh.” Well, at least he’d gone to jail. “Did—I mean, did you know Dad back then? Did he help?”
“Later, he was important. He helped me in other ways. But, no, at first it was just your grandma Audrey and—” She sighed. “Lucky. He became my best friend and took care of me.”
“You said he was different before the fire. He got hurt and his head was messed up.”
“Yeah, he was a very sweet boy who kept me sane for that first year,” Elizabeth remembered. “I loved him very much, and when I thought he was dead, I didn’t think I would survive it. I was just a little older than you. Then, I met your dad. Between the two of them, I knew I’d be okay.”
“What about my biological dad? The one that—” He gestured weakly.
“Zander? He came later. He was a friend for a while, but by that time, I had mostly put it in my past. Cameron, baby, I’m so sorry you found out this way. It’s part of my history, but it isn’t a story we need to tell.”
“I guess not. It’s just—you know, I see it on television and the movies, and it was just hard because I kept seeing you,” Cameron continued, “and I didn’t like thinking of you being hurt like that, you know?”
He felt better now, talking it through with his mother. “Thanks. For letting me ask questions.” Cameron paused. “But you’re really okay now? I mean, it doesn’t bother you anymore?”
Elizabeth opened her mouth, then closed it. “Most of the time, I don’t think about it. In fact, before this week, I couldn’t tell you the last time I had. Maybe sometimes when I thought about Lucky since he was part of it. I’d be lying to you, Cam, if I said it doesn’t bother me. I wish it didn’t happen. I wish it didn’t happen to anyone.”
“Is it like when we were missing Jake?” he wanted to know. “Because we have him back now and I love him but I also remember what it was like when he wasn’t here and we were really sad. And like before Dad came to live with us. I remember the unhappy stuff, and sometimes it makes me sad that Jake didn’t get to be with us all the time.” He hesitated. “But then I think maybe I’m a better brother because of it. Because I know how hard life was without Jake, and I don’t wanna be without my brothers.”
“Yeah, I think it’s something like that. I remember what it was like when it was still fresh and new—and sometimes that comes back and makes me unhappy. But I think I’m a better person for what I went through.” She smiled at him. “You’re an amazing brother, did you know that? And an even better son.”
“Well, I have a pretty good mom to help me do things right.” That terrible, aching feeling had dissipated. His mom really was okay. This terrible thing had happened to her—all the terrible things that had happened — and she’d come out being who she was. “I gotta go remind Jake and Aiden who rules at Call of Duty.”
“You do that,” Elizabeth said with a smile.
General Hospital: Locker Room
Tom carefully slid the combination lock out of the slot and opened it, glancing around to make sure he was still alone. Then he took out the wallet and rifled through the photos, hoping that the doctor was still old fashioned enough to carry them.
The first in his collection, he thought, as he lifted out a photograph that looked crisp and new. The pretty little girl who had run into his earlier that day beamed back at him—and what was this—
Tucked behind the pretty little girl was a photo of the girl’s father with Elizabeth. Tom smiled down at the woman the vibrant girl had grown into. She really was very lovely, but old now. With children.
No, he preferred a fresher prey to hunt. Still, knowing that his pretty girl was connected to his first love?
Well, wasn’t that sweet?