Flash Fiction: Scars – Part 8

Written in 60 minutes.


General Hospital: Hallway

“Hey—” Elizabeth caught Patrick by the elbow as he left a patient’s room. “Do you have a minute?”

“For you, Webber, always.” Patrick returned the chart to the door, and then joined her. “What’s up?”

“It’s about Emma,” Elizabeth said, gesturing for them to head into an empty room for some privacy. “She, uh, found out about what happened to me when I was a kid.”

Patrick stared at her, then grimaced. “Eavesdropping at the door again, huh?” He scrubbed a hand down his face. “Did she come to talk to you?”

“No, but she told Cameron, and I’ve talked to him.” Elizabeth put a hand out. “I’m not angry with her. I couldn’t be. Cameron had a lot of questions and I know he’s struggling with. I was worried about Emma. I thought you might want to talk to her. Or Robin. Or I can if you want me to.”

Patrick sat on the bed, exhaling slowly. “I know I pretend not to notice that our kids are dating,” he told her, “but you know, secretly, I was thrilled.”

Frowning, Elizabeth sat next to him. “What do you mean?”

“I know Cameron. Hell, I half-raised him. And I know you and Jason. I know he treat Emma well, and that he’d never hurt her. Even though I don’t think she should stay with the same kid she liked at fourteen, part of me just wants her to never date anyone else.” He looked at her. “It’s terrifying. I mean, for all parents, you know that. But there’s something extra terrifying about letting a young woman out into this world.”

“I know.” Elizabeth pressed a hand to her still flat belly. “I worry about my boys, but I’ll always worry about Emma. And Joss and Trina, and all the other girls who’ve come through my house.”

“I’ll talk to Robin. She’ll probably want to say something to Emma, or maybe she’ll want you to. I don’t know,” he admitted. He looked at Elizabeth. “I’ve never been able to protect Emma from most of the bad stuff. She grew up around Lisa Niles and the Cassadines. Her uncle is still in prison—” He looked at the ceiling and closed his eyes. “But this feels different.”

He met her eyes. “What do I even say to her?” he asked softly. “How can you ever talk to your daughter about something like this? What would you say if Emma was  yours?”

“Sometimes she does feel a little bit mine,” Elizabeth confessed. “And I don’t know. You want to give her a list of all the things she shouldn’t do to protect herself, and it sucks. Because why does she have to worry about walking alone in a park or what boy she dates. She should never have to be scared.” She looked at the wall in front of them. “The rape took over my entire existence for almost a year. It was was my every waking thought, and I couldn’t imagine a time when it wouldn’t be the first thing I thought about when I woke up or my last thought before I went to sleep. On the nights I could sleep.”

She bit her lip. “And it was worse because for so long, I blamed myself. If I hadn’t lied, if I hadn’t gone in that park, if I hadn’t sat down at that bench—if, if, if—” Her voice faltered. “And sometimes I blamed Lucky, even though I wouldn’t have told him that. If he hadn’t liked my sister. If he hadn’t taken so long to notice I wasn’t there—why didn’t anyone even notice I was gone?” She rubbed her chest. “God. I was just a stupid kid with too much pride to admit I’d lied about having a date.”

“Elizabeth—”

“I didn’t deserve what happened to me,” she continued softly. “But it too so long to believe that. To understand that there was nothing I could have done to change what happened that night.”

She looked at him. “What I would tell my own daughter, what I’ve told Cameron and will tell his siblings—the world can be a dark and cruel place filled with people who want to do nothing but hurt you. And sometimes, they’ll win. Sometimes you’ll get hurt and it will feel like the end of the world. But it’s also a world filled with good. With people like your uncle Patrick and your aunt Robin, and Trina and Spencer and Joss, and Laura, and the people who love you. It’s filled with such light and beauty that if you let yourself be open to it, the dark can’t win.”

Patrick managed a smile. “And that works?”

“Most of the time.” She paused. “I  almost let the rape drown me and become the only thing that mattered about my life. I thought I’d never have a family. That I’d never find a man who loved me because I couldn’t imagine being touched.” She swiped at her tears. “I’d cry myself to sleep at night because I thought my life was over at sixteen and I didn’t even know I’d had any real dreams for myself until I thought they’d been shattered.”

She took a deep breath. “But Lucky kept me anchored to the future, and no matter what he’s done in the years since, I will always be grateful for that. I fought back, but he stood next to me while I did it. And then, later Laura was there for me. Emily and Nikolas. Jason. I pieced my life back together, painfully, like a shattered window. But I always felt a bit fragile. A bit jagged, like the pieces hadn’t been put together all the way or I’d done something wrong.”

“Do you still feel that way?”

“Sometimes,” Elizabeth admitted. “I had that panic attack when I saw Baker, and I just—it shouldn’t be like this all these years later, Patrick. It shouldn’t be this thing that can rise up and choke me from all this time later.” She got to her feet. “I keep telling everyone I’m fine, even Jason. I think they believe me.”

“But you’re not fine.”

“I’m—” Elizabeth looked at him. “Patrick, we don’t have to do this. I’m okay—”

“Hey.” He got to his feet. “You know you can tell me anything, babe. That’s how this works. You’ll tell me, and it’ll be easier to tell Jason. Because you have to. You know that.”

“I don’t want anyone to worry about me. I’m stronger than I look—” She pressed her lips together. “But the dreams are back.”

“The dreams?” Patrick echoed.

“The nightmares,” she corrected softly. “Jason probably knows about them. He hasn’t said anything, but I know he probably knows.”

She closed her eyes. “Before—before it was just reliving that night. I’m still sixteen, I’m still in that red dress, sitting on the bench—”

He took her hand, squeezed it. “Go on. If you can.”

“A-and he grabs me—” Her voice broke. “I fought so hard, you know? I tried to cling to the bench—I tried to bite down on his hand, but I wasn’t strong enough. I couldn’t fight back. I couldn’t stop it.” She pressed her hands to her eyes. “The nightmares when they’ve come have always been the same. I’ve always been sixteen.”

“But you’re not sixteen in the new ones,” Patrick said softly and Elizabeth shook her head. “It’s now. And you see Baker. The way he is now.”

“There should just be a point where it ends,” Elizabeth bit out. “Where I get to put it in a box and move on, and I don’t know why I can’t—”

Patrick enfolded her into a tight embrace, kissing the top of her head. “You do put it in a box, honey. You close the flaps and you put it in the attic for months and years at a time. When was the last time you even thought about it before Baker showed up?”

“Oh, God—” Elizabeth sighed in a rush of air. “Maybe last year? When Cameron took Emma to that dance at the middle school. Emma—I mean she looks like you and Robin, but she’s a brunette, and her dress—it just—I flashed to it. But before then, years maybe.”

“I think the fact that you can put it away for so long is the real victory. Because it happened, Elizabeth. It won’t ever be something you an erase. But you didn’t let it define you. You’re an amazing nurse, the world’s best adopted sister, the most generous and forgiving of women because you married Jason Morgan after all the crap he put you through, and the world’s second best mother because I’m contractually obligated to put my wife first.”

Elizabeth laughed, then dropped her head against Patrick’s chest. “I love you, you know.”

“I love you, too. Promise me you’ll go home and talk to your husband, okay? Despite all the reasons I shouldn’t, I actually like him most of the time. Thanks for giving me some thoughts for how to talk to Emma. We might still pull you in, Aunt Liz, so be on deck.”

Port Charles High School: Cafeteria

“Why are you telling me this?” Cameron demanded, setting his milk carton down with a thud so hard some of the liquid slopped out over the edge. He glared at Trina, one of his oldest friends. “What am I going to do with this?”

“Uh, I don’t know, keep your dad out of prison?” Trina retorted. She looked at Spencer for some backup. “Can you explain the facts of life to this fool?”

“I’ve been trying most of my life,” Spencer said, flashing her a grin that she only narrowed her eyes at.

“I think Trina’s right,” Joss said, which put the rest of the table into complete silence as everyone stared at her. “What?”

“I’m just waiting for the ground to shake,” Spencer said. He actually reached down to touch the floor of the cafeteria. “Hmmm, can’t tell if the linoleum is always that temperature or if hell is frozen over.”

“Ha,” Joss muttered. “Just because Trina and I hate each other—”

“Every day—”

“It doesn’t mean I can’t admit when she’s right. I mean, I know it’s crazy since it hasn’t happened ever before—”

“You wouldn’t know what being right would look like if your daddy bought it for you,” Trina shot back.

Emma put her head in her hands. “Don’t you guys ever get bored of this?”

“Not of watching it.” Spencer unwrapped a lollipop. “The real question is—” He aimed the pop at Cameron. “What is he doing to do?”

“You overheard the commissioner of police telling your mom that she’s gonna be on my dad like white on rice because she thinks this is going to be her big shot at finally taking down my dad and Sonny.” Cameron grimaced. “And this being my mother’s rape.”

That took some of the fun out of the conversation as even Spencer sat back, a bit white-faced. “No one said that this was a good thing,” he told his cousin quietly. “And I’m really sorry about what your mom is going through. What she went through. She’s always been good to me, even when I didn’t deserve it.”

“Which you almost never did,” Joss muttered, and Spencer glared at her.

“I almost got us to Greece,” he reminded her. “It was your crazy mother tracking you that got us caught—”

“Oh, let’s not re-litigate that,” Emma said, waving at the two of them. “Honestly. Focus.”

“Anyway,” Spencer bit out, tossing Joss another dirty look. “My point is that like it or not, Trina overhearing the conversation is a good thing. Yeah, it sucks you’re going to have say something to your dad because I know we all like to pretend we don’t know who Sonny and Jason are.”

“But this is more important,” Emma said to Cameron. “The police are gonna be watching your dad even more, and if anything happens to this guy, they’re gonna go after him. You know your mom doesn’t need that. Not with, um, everything else.”

“What’s everything else? What’s going on?” Joss demanded. “What don’t I know?”

“Call in the military, Joss Jacks is out of the loop,” Trina said with a roll of her eyes. “Ow—” she glared at Spencer. “Like you weren’t thinking the same thing.”

“My mom is pregnant,” Cameron told them with a heavy sigh. “She just found out, and, like, I know my dad is worried because she had some miscarriages before. One before I was born, and one after me. And I think she’s had other health issues. I don’t know. They don’t talk near the vent a lot anymore.”

Emma squeezed his hand. “So it’s even more important that your dad has all the information he needs to protect your mom. Even if your dad doesn’t do anything, the PCPD doesn’t always play fair.”

“Yeah, I know. Man, I really don’t want to have this conversation,” he muttered.

Scorpio-Drake House: Emma’s Bedroom

Later that night, Emma was seated at her vanity, brushing out her hair and keeping an eye on her phone. She was hoping Cameron would talk to his father tonight, but she knew he’d probably procrastinate.

She’d have to push him on it, otherwise it was going to eat her alive.

She turned at the knock on her door, finding her mother standing there. “Hey, Mom. What’s up?”

“Uh, nothing. I just—” Robin wrinkled her nose as she came in and sat down. “Listen, we need to have a conversation about something, and I don’t really know how to start it. Um, Cameron and his mother talked about this, and she was worried about you—so, I guess—I just wanted to know if you had any questions about what happened.”

“You mean about Cameron’s mom getting raped when she was a little older than us?” Emma said, and Robin’s cheeks flushed. “Mom, not saying the word doesn’t make it any less horrible. I’m okay. I’m sad for Aunt Liz. After everything else she’s been through with Jake and all that, this seems really terrible.”

“Yeah, yeah, it is. Um, so you don’t—” Robin tipped her head. “You don’t have any questions?”

“You mean, like about what happened to her specifically or like, rape in general.” Emma bit her lip. “I don’t know. Not really. It seems really scary, but I try to do all the things I’m supposed to. You and Dad don’t let me out on school nights, so that’s good. And I get rides to everything. I don’t walk home alone. I don’t do any super sketchy on social media, and I don’t talk to strangers unless I’m at the hospital.” She looked at her mother. “Am I supposed to have questions?”

“No, no. I just—um, if you did, you could talk to me. Or Aunt Liz said you can say something to her. She just—she loves you, baby.”

“I know. I love her, too.” Emma paused. “Are you okay, Mom?” she asked softly. “You look upset?”

“Oh, just—” Robin sighed. “I knew Elizabeth back when this happened. Not well, but I was aware of it at the time. And I just, I look at you—she wasn’t much older than you. It’s scary, I guess. But you’re right. You’re responsible and you’ve done everything we’ve told you.” She got to her feet. “But please. If you need anything or you want to talk about anything—”

“I know.” Emma got to her feet and went over to hug her mother. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

Morgan House: Master Bedroom

Elizabeth twisted her wedding ring around her finger as she went into their room that night after lights were out for the boys. Jason was sitting on the bed, kicking off his boots. “Hey.”

“Hey.” He got up and came over to kiss her lightly. “You okay? You looked a little nauseous at dinner.”

“Yeah. I hate that they call it morning sickness,” she muttered. “It feels like it happens all the damn time.”

Jason smoothed his hands up and down her arm. “You should have said something,” he told her. “I’ll get you ginger ale or something—”

“I got it, I’m okay—” She stopped. “I’m sorry. You’re right. I should have. I’m just—” Elizabeth hesitated. “I’ve never been with anyone at this stage of pregnancy. Or really at any stage,” she admitted. “Ric was barely there with Cameron, and Lucky was in rehab, then were separated, and well—” She met his eyes. “Even after all this time, it’s still hard for me to turn to you. I’m sorry.”

“I know.” He kissed her again, lingering. “And we’re not going to fix that overnight or even in three years,” Jason said. “It’s okay.”

“Thank you for feeling that way. Um, there’s something else.” She looked down at her hands. “I’ve…been having nightmares.”

From the way his body tensed, Elizabeth knew her suspicions had been correct. “But you knew that.”

“I’m not a heavy sleeper,” he reminded her gently. “So yeah, I knew. I also knew you’d talk about it when you were ready.” Jason brushed her hair back, tucking it behind her ears. “Are you ready?”

“Not really. But I just—tonight, can you hold me? I mean, you normally do,” she added, “but when I wake up, um, can I—can I wake you, too? Or—”

“Anything you need.” He kissed her forehead, then drew her into his arms, and she closed her eyes, feeling safe there but knowing that it wouldn’t last forever.

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Comments

  • Thanks for the update. I really hope Tom doesn’t rape Emma.

    According to Shelly Samuel on November 7, 2021
  • Really good update. While Liason are my endgame always, I simply adore Patrick and Elizabeth’s brother/sister ship. I like that the kids are trying to thwart Jordan and I’ll be interested in how Cam/Jason’s talk will go.

    According to nanci on November 7, 2021
  • I hope Cam tell his parent about what the PCPD is doing very soon and not wait to long. When Emma said the only strangers that she talk to is at the hospital I was hoping Robin would tell her to be careful of people who works at the hospital too or just tell her that the new janitor Tom was the rapist so she could be safe.

    According to Jamie Lee Ann Byrd on November 7, 2021
  • I love that everyone is so close. I hope Cam talks to both his mom and Dad about the PCPD.

    According to Carla P on November 7, 2021
  • This was such a deep chapter with Patrick and Elizabeth’s conversation as friends and as parents. It’s important that she talks to Jason. I feel so horrible for Cam but Jason needs to know what the commissioner is doing. Too bad that they aren’t focus on Tom. I’m so scared for Emma.

    According to arcoiris0502 on November 7, 2021