Written in 60 minutes
Port Charles High: Hallway
Cameron leaned a shoulder against a bank of lockers. Emma glanced at him, then resumed packing her backpack for the bus ride home.
“Are you still mad at me?” he asked.
“No,” she replied. She scowled. “Yes. I shouldn’t be, I know that. I’m the one that did something wrong, but—” Emma closed her locker and looked at him. “We’ve always been able to talk about anything, you know? You’ve never left me on a read. Even when you were mad at me for real.”
“And I only texted you twice. You didn’t even tell me you were okay or got home from the hospital.”
“I was worried.”
She narrowed her eyes. “Are you just repeating yourself to irritate me?”
“No, but it’s a fun side effect.” He straightened. “I’m sorry—”
“Oh, my God, don’t apologize to me.” She slid her backpack strap over her left shoulder and started down the hall.
“I thought that’s what you wanted.”
“Didn’t I just explain to you that I was the one who was wrong and should apologize?”
“I thought you were listing the reasons I was supposed to say sorry—”
“Now you’re just being an idiot,” she grumbled. She stalked down the steps, towards their bus. Cameron followed, feeling strangely upbeat for the first time in days.
They climbed onto the bus and Emma headed for the back, slumping into the last seat, glaring at him when he sat next to her. “I’m the one that’s sorry.”
“Because I am.”
“I know you are.” He cleared his throat. “Really,” he added. “And once I had time to think and work things out, I wasn’t that mad anymore. I wasn’t even mad at all.” He stared at the brown pleather seat in front of him. “I was just…I don’t know. I couldn’t process it.”
Emma remained silent as other students gathered on the bus. It wasn’t until the driver started the engine and pulled into the line of buses to exit the lot that he spoke again. “I know a lot of kids have a hard time thinking of their parents being people, you know? Like, that they exist outside of just being their mom or dad. But I never did.”
“Never?” she asked skeptically.
“Mom was always dealing with outside crap and it was always messing things up,” he continued, “I remember Jake getting kidnapped. Not the first time, but the second time. And Lucky being around, always making her cry. I knew when I was a kid he was screwing around on her. She tried really hard to hide it but not everyone did.”
“And when that stuff happened with Spencer’s dad—” Cameron’s throat tightened. “I never told her, but I knew what people were saying to her. About her. I heard Lulu calling her names all the time back then. She didn’t even bother checking to see if anyone was listening.”
“I’m sorry—” Emma frowned. “Wait, is that why you wanted to gag her when we tied them up? I always thought that was a step too far—”
“Someone needed to make her shut her mouth,” he muttered darkly. “My mom made mistakes, but I always knew she wasn’t just my mom, you know? I never thought about her being my age though. She was sixteen when it happened. That’s only two years older than us.”
“But she’s okay now.”
“I asked her about it,” Cameron told her. “And she told she was. Mostly, anyway. That she doesn’t really think about it anymore. Lucky helped her. After, she said.”
“It’s hard to picture him as someone that could take care of someone, especially with how much he hurt my mom. But she said it was before that fire.” Cameron looked past her, out the window as the roads passed her by. “I hate the Cassadines. They destroy everything.”
Emma nodded. “Yeah, I know. I really am sorry, Cam.”
“Me, too. But it’s okay now. It happened a long time ago, and she said the guy who did it went to jail for something else, so he can’t hurt anyone else.”
General Hospital: Nurse’s Station
Elizabeth clenched her jaw when the elevator doors slid open and an old, familiar face stepped out. Marcus Taggert.
There was only reason the DEA agent and former PCPD detective would be at the hospital, and she really did not want to have this conversation.
“Elizabeth.” Taggert’s mouth stretched into a smile. “I haven’t seen you in a long time.”
“Not since the last parole hearing,” she murmured. She tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. “You don’t get back a lot to see Trina, I guess.”
“Not as much as I want,” he said, wincing. “But she’s in good hands, and I know she and your son are friends. Wild to think of that, isn’t it? Considering—”
“Taggert—” Elizabeth sighed. “I know why you’re here—”
“It’s not what you think,” he said, putting up a hand. “You’re probably tired of being checked on, and I know you’ve got a family to handle that. Jordan said you and Laura are still close, and—” His jaw tightened. “Well, there’s the husband.”
“Yeah, I’m good, so if it’s not that—”
“I just wanted to tell you—if you’re interested—how we got blindsided by this,” he told her. “I promise you — I checked a year ago and his parole hearing wasn’t scheduled for this soon. I knew the PCPD wasn’t going to tell you if he got out, so I’ve been keeping tabs on it. But I went undercover on an op last spring, and I missed something important—” He grimaced. “The New York legislature pushed through some parole reforms. It took time off his sentence, and his hearing got moved up automatically. I didn’t think to look again. It’s been so long—”
“And his hearings have been like clockwork, I know. He’s been denied every four years since he was eligible in 2006,” Elizabeth said. “I was keeping up for a while, too. And I appreciate you finding out what happened.” She paused. “Really. I know that you and I don’t exactly see eye to eye on certain things, but you’ve always been supportive with this case. I lost track of it, Taggert, because it doesn’t suffocate me anymore.”
She looked down at her wedding ring, twisted the slim gold band. “I’m happy,” Elizabeth continued. “I have three absolutely beautiful boys who keep me busy. I have an amazing mother-in-law who’s been more of a parent to me than my own. I have amazing friends. I’m having another baby—and yes, I have a husband who loves me. Tom Baker can’t hurt me anymore.”
“I can see that,” Taggert told her. “And I’m happy for it. I am,” he insisted. “I don’t care who you married, Elizabeth. I remember where you started, and I know how hard you worked to get here. Congratulations on the baby. If Cameron is any indication, you’re an excellent mother who deserves the peace of mind you fought for.” He tapped his hand on the desk. “Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.”
Robinson House: Backyard
If Trina was careful in how she organized her argument, she was absolutely sure that she could convince her mother to let her go out tonight and have dinner at Charlie’s with her friends.
Portia Robinson just had to be approached in just the right way, and Trina was so busy organizing her thoughts that she didn’t see the car in the driveway when she got home that afternoon.
She tossed her backpack on the sofa and went to the kitchen to get some water. Would it be better if she talked about studying? No, because then her mother would want to know who was going to be there, and Spencer wasn’t known for his studious habits—
Trina blinked, finally registering the muffled voices from the back patio. She leaned up to peer out the kitchen window to find her mother in deep conversation with Jordan Ashford. They weren’t friends—in fact her mother had blamed Jordan for all the time her dad put into work.
Curious, Trina slowly edged up the window, careful not to let it squeak as it slid up in the casement.
“I can’t believe he rushed back for this,” Portia said, her tone clipped. “He never came home when I needed him—”
“That’s not true, and it’s not fair—”
“Please. You and I both know differently—”
“He just wanted to check on things. I told him how things are, and I’m sure he’ll be leaving town soon enough.” Jordan paused. “Maybe. I came over to ask you about something he told me. He said the reason he left the PCPD was because of Sonny and Jason, but he never really talked about any of that before.”
“Why does it matter now? That was almost twenty years ago—”
“Just because no other commissioner has ever managed to nail them doesn’t mean I’m not still trying. Did they threaten him, did they—”
Trina wrinkled her nose. It was so hard to remember sometimes that Cam’s dad worked for the local godfather. Jason Morgan was so nice when she was around and was obsessed with his family.
“God, no. Nothing like that. He was just burnt out on hitting his head against the wall.” Her mother sounded disgusted. “And don’t you dare try to drag him back into it—”
“I’m not. I’m just looking for a fresh angle. This Baker thing—this might be something.”
Baker? Trina leaned closer. Who—or what was Baker?
“What are you talking about, Jordan? How can you possible use Tom Baker against Jason or Sonny?”
“What Baker did to Jason’s wife—he’s going to want revenge—”
“Are you kidding me? You’re going to try to—God, I knew you were a cold bitch.”
“Tom Baker raped that girl when she was sixteen years old and never paid a single day for it. He deserves whatever happens to him—”
“That’s not how this works—”
“No, that’s not how it works in your small little mind. You’re all about the job, just like Marcus, but at least he has a heart. You dumped your kid to go undercover, sending him away to Shawn and telling him you couldn’t handle raising him anymore—” Trina’s eyes bulged. “No wonder Tommy was going to leave you. Just like Shawn left. And Curtis—”
“No, I don’t think I will. You can’t get Jason Morgan on any actual crimes, so you’re going to, what, follow him around, and hope he takes a shot at his wife’s rapist? Waiting for him to commit a crime? I hope he does. I hope he takes that evil bastard and puts him six feet under—what do you care what happens to a guy like Baker?”
“Because the system—”
“Just stop. Stop. You don’t care about the system. You just want to get Jason and Sonny. That’s why Marcus left the PCPD. It’s what happened to Scott Baldwin. And all the others. This is why people hate fucking cops. You have zero evidence that Jason Morgan has ever committed a crime—”
“I’m not going to help you, and neither is Marcus. Get out. I never should have let you in the first place.”
Trina winced and ducked behind the counter just as the sliding door opened and Jordan Ashford stalked past her.
Morgan House: Kitchen
Jason came home that night through the back door, having gone through garage, and frowned when he found the kitchen empty and Elizabeth sitting at the island with a pizza box in front of her. “Where are the boys?” he asked, hanging his keys up on a hook.
“Cameron begged to go to Charlie’s with Emma, Spencer, and Trina, and I didn’t have the heart to say no. I think Emma’s trying to get Spencer and Trina together,” she confided with a shrug, “and apparently this was crucial.”
Elizabeth always did a better job of keeping up with the drama that the kids created, so Jason just nodded. “Okay—”
“And Aiden begged again to go over Rocco’s tonight, so I let him. And once Jake heard I was breaking the school night rule—”
“He got in on the deal.” Jason nodded and leaned over to take a slice of pizza for himself. “What made you break the rule?”
Elizabeth wiped her hands on a napkin and sighed. “I really just wanted Cameron to be okay,” she admitted. “And he seemed mostly there. I thought a night out with his friends might help.”
“Did you talk to Patrick and Robin about what Emma overheard?”
“No. I will, but I want to do it in a way that doesn’t make them feel bad. Patrick’s part of my family, and I know that he was worried about me. Plus — ” Elizabeth smiled at him wryly. “I don’t want to snitch on Emma. However she heard about it, she was eavesdropping and, you know, that’s a time honored tradition. As her aunt, I’m duty bound to protect those methods.”
Jason laughed at that, and went to grab a beer from the fridge. “Okay. You usually know better when it comes to this kind of thing.”
“I do want to talk to Robin about it though, because it upset Cameron, and I’m sure Emma’s trying to deal with it, too. I want her to have some support if she needs it.” Elizabeth winced, pressed her hand to her stomach. “Oh, maybe the grease was a mistake.”
“You okay?” Jason tensed, but she shook her head.
“No, no, just indigestion. I had a craving for pepperoni pizza, and I was starving — I ate too fast.” She smiled. “I can’t wait until I start showing and I can feel the baby kicking. It’s my favorite part, you know? I’ll never forget the first time I felt Cameron.” Elizabeth pressed both hands to her belly now. “I was so scared about everything that was going on around me, and then there was this—” She closed her eyes. “There was this flutter, and I could feel him. It made everything else worth it.”
He laid a hand over hers, even though there was nothing to feel yet. “I can’t wait either,” he told her.
“This time, it’s going to be perfect,” Elizabeth assured him. “You and me, from day one. Just the way it should have been with Jake.” He leaned down to kiss her. “And we have the house to ourselves for a few hours,” she murmured. “Cameron’s curfew isn’t until eight.”
“Then let’s not waste any time.”
Charlie’s Pub: Parking Lot
Patrick pulled into a parking space and braked. “Okay, call me when you’re ready to leave,” he told Emma and Cameron.
Emma unsnapped her seatbelt and kissed his cheek. “Thanks for breaking the school night rule. You and Aunt Elizabeth are the best.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Patrick grumbled as Cameron climbed out of the backseat. He watched for another minute as Emma and Cameron found Spencer waiting outside, then Trina joined them.
He traded a smile with Trina’s mother in her own care, then put his car into reverse, heading for home and some quiet time with his wife.
His BMW drove past a battered dark blue car that had pulled into another spot after following Patrick from Lexington Avenue.
Tom picked up his camera. He’d missed the feel of a camera in his hands. It felt like being at home. He zoomed in on the cluster of teenagers at the door, and focused on the pretty brunette. How lucky that his pretty girl not only knew his first love, but her son?
Some things were just fated.