Written in 55 minutes.
Friday, January 14, 2000
Bobbie had kept quiet for days, arguing with herself about things that were not her business. It wasn’t her place to blow up lives with truths that no one asked for, was it?
But if she didn’t say anything now, would she really be able to hold on for months? Years? Forever?
If there was one thing Bobbie had learned living in Port Charles, it was that the truth always came out. All that mattered was where you stood when the pieces fell. Where did Bobbie want to be?
With that in mind, as soon as Carly walked into the diner late that morning, Bobbie pulled her into the kitchen, into a back pantry and closed the door.
“Oh, I guess we’re talking to me now,” her daughter grumbled as Bobbie pulled her. “What’s your problem now?”
“My problem,” Bobbie said, her teeth clenched and her voice pitched low, “is that Monica asked if I was happy about another grandchild.”
Carly stared at her for a beat, then offered a careless shrug. “I hadn’t had a chance to tell you, and I didn’t know if you’d even care. You were pretty mad at me—”
“I still am.” Bobbie planted her fisted hands on her hips. “You might be pregnant but we both know that AJ Quartermaine isn’t the father.”
Carly lifted her chin. “Says you—”
“Says anyone with a brain. I don’t know what the hell game AJ’s playing now, but I don’t care. I want to know what you’re doing—”
“I don’t see the problem—”
“A few weeks ago, you’d have jumped to tell Jason about this baby. Jason can’t be with Michael, but a baby that’s his?” And it sickened Bobbie that she was doing this. If Carly did blow up everyone with the truth, Elizabeth would be one of those casualties. It would crush her — just as it had crushed poor Robin.
But Bobbie couldn’t stay quiet. “Why haven’t you told him?”
“Because I don’t want to.” Carly folded her arms. “And it would mess things up for Michael. AJ is a lot of things, but he’s a half-decent father, and my children are better off as Quartermaines. Jason doesn’t want me. He made that clear. So I’m going to leave him and his pasty angel alone. You should be happy—”
“I would be if I thought for one second you weren’t up to something—”
“You’ll never trust me, will you?”
“Do you blame me?” Bobbie scoffed. “You nearly had me taken in for aiding and abetting a fugitive. You don’t care about me, Carly. Not really. Not when I might be in the way of something you want.”
“What a terrible thing to say—”
“It’s still true. What’s going to happen when Jason finds out about this baby? Do you think for one second he’s not going to demand a paternity test and visitation?”
“Jason is going to leave this alone,” Carly said flatly. “Because we’re all better off. He’s going his way, and I’m going mine. I tried to get him to love me. To take me away from this, but he said no—”
“He would have if you’d told him about the baby—”
“I deserve more than that,” Carly hissed. “I deserve someone who loves me. AJ doesn’t but at least he’s got something to show for it. Jason didn’t want me, so he gets nothing. And if you want Michael to have any happiness, you’ll keep your mouth shut.”
Carly yanked open the door and stormed out, Bobbie staring after her, troubled. Jason would find out Carly was pregnant at some point, but would he think to ask for the test? Or would he also, maybe, tell himself it was better off this way?
She just didn’t know.
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Elizabeth tossed aside her sketchbook and padded over to the desk, her socks silent against the hardwood. She picked up the ringing phone. “Hello?”
“Elizabeth. Thank God you’re home.”
“Hey, Em.” Elizabeth took the cordless with her and returned to the sofa. “Are you okay?” She heard boots on the steps and looked up to find Jason turning the corner around the landing.
“Mom didn’t call me right away, I think she wanted to think the whole thing was a terrible joke or a nightmare. I don’t know. But now that bitch is in my family forever and there’s no way to make it stop—”
“Em—” Elizabeth frowned. “What are you talking about?”
“Is she okay?” Jason asked. He sat next to her, his brows furrowed. “What’s wrong?”
“Carly,” Emily spat. “She’s pregnant. There’s no way we’re getting rid of her now.”
“What?” Elizabeth repeated, dumbfounded. “Are you sure? Are they sure?”
“AJ seems to be, but he’s a moron,” Emily huffed. “I don’t know, but it seems to be. I’m going to have to see her at every holiday for the rest of my life, aren’t I? Can I come to your place instead?”
Elizabeth just shook her head, met Jason’s eyes. “Emily, I have to call you back—”
“But you agree. This is terrible news, right? This is apocalyptic—”
“It’s not good news, that’s for sure. I’ll call you later.” Elizabeth tossed the cordless aside. “Jason, Carly’s pregnant.”
His eyes widened and he drew back. “What?” he repeated, his voice rising slightly. “Pregnant?”
“Pregnant.” Elizabeth exhaled slowly. “The Quartermaines apparently know, and I guess they’re accepting AJ as the baby’s father, but—”
“It’s not mine,” Jason said in a rush. “I told you—”
“No, I know.” She reached for his hand, smiled to reassure him. “You told me you haven’t been together in years, and I believe you. And I’m sure there’s a chance AJ is the father, but—”
“There’s also a chance Sonny is,” Jason murmured. He looked away, troubled. “Carly could be faking it.”
“She could be. It’s a risky trick to pull,” Elizabeth pointed out. “With a family that basically runs the hospital. AJ could insist on a blood test run by Alan or Monica, and she’d have no choice.” She wrinkled her nose. “And AJ certainly knows she can hide test results if he’s not on top of it. That’s what happened with Michael.”
“Yeah.” Jason rubbed the side of his face. “If AJ finds out about Sonny, he’ll file for divorce. He made her sign a prenup — infidelity means she surrenders full custody of Michael, and any other divorce cause was automatic joint custody.”
“Ah.” Elizabeth nodded. “I wondered—” She paused when he looked at her. “She married him to stop him from going for full custody in the first place, but I wondered why they were still married. Since…” Since it was clear that Jason and Carly were involved emotionally—why hadn’t it tipped over physically?
“She made her choice. I told her that months ago,” Jason said, uncomfortably. “I mean, maybe I thought—” He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. Things are what they are, and I’m glad.” He brought her hand to his mouth, kissed it when she smiled weakly at him. “I mean it. I’m glad to be done with her.”
“I know.” Though he’d never have looked at her if Carly hadn’t slept with Sonny, Elizabeth knew. Better not to dwell on that. “Are you worried about Michael?”
“Yeah. Carly’s…she’s not a good person,” Jason said, “but I don’t—”
“You don’t think she should lose her son,” Elizabeth finished, and he nodded. “No, I guess not. But she knew what she was signing, Jason.”
“I know—” Jason got to his feet and paced over to the mantel. “It’s not that I want to protect her—”
“You do,” Elizabeth said. He turned, stared at her wordlessly. “You care about her, even after everything she’s done. And you still love Michael. You don’t want them to lose each other.”
“No,” Jason admitted. He rubbed the back of his neck. “But what if it’s not Sonny’s baby? What if it’s AJ’s? Why would I screw everything up for Michael on a maybe?”
There was a point, but Elizabeth couldn’t help but wonder how much of Jason’s reluctance to say anything was about Michael or it was about Carly. Jason had told her he hadn’t really been in love with Carly, but maybe it was wishful thinking. Maybe he didn’t want to be in love with her. You couldn’t always help the way you felt.
“It’s none of my business,” Elizabeth said, when Jason remained silent. “I’m not going to say anything, if you’re worried. I don’t owe Sonny any loyalty, and I can understand staying quiet until you know more. Maybe we’re wrong, and Carly does know.” Maybe the timing was wrong. Women knew those kinds of things, didn’t they?
“Maybe,” Jason murmured. He exhaled slowly. “I can’t say anything right now anyway. With the reception tonight, I want Sonny focused on that. I don’t want anything to go wrong.” He grimaced. “I have to get going. I’m going over to the No Name to check the security.”
Elizabeth glanced at the clock on the mantel behind him and winced. “And I should start getting ready.”
“Now?” Jason reached for her hand, stopping her from getting too far. She turned back to him, a brow raised. “You have three hours—”
“I have to wash and dry my hair. Some of us can’t just slap on some gel and go,” she teased. He rolled his eyes and drew her against him, kissing her long and deep, savoring. No matter what was in the past, she had him right now and that was enough for her.
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Jason tugged at the tie around his neck, grimacing. He hated getting dressed up. He hated suits. He might be able to put up with it if he was at least interested in where he was going. He’d worn a suit the day of the wedding and had barely noticed how uncomfortable it was.
He’d rather toss on a pair of jeans, a jacket, and be on the cliff roads with Elizabeth, feeling the wind rush past—
Instead, they were getting ready for a party neither one of them asked for and couldn’t avoid. He didn’t want Elizabeth anywhere near his job, but now she’d be walking into the viper’s nest.
There was a light knock on the door, then Sonny came in, dressed in a suit of his own. “Uh, hey. I thought we could go over the game plan one more time—”
“I know what we’re doing,” Jason snapped, but he closed his mouth when he heard the click of heels on the steps above them. He didn’t want Elizabeth worried that the tension between he and Sonny tonight had anything to do with Emily’s phone call earlier that day. He knew she had her doubts about his past with Carly, and he wasn’t going to do anything that would make it worse.
He’d keep his damn mouth shut until he knew more. He wanted to get out of this reception unscathed, which meant keeping everyone focused. Sonny played games with Jason’s life all the damn time—why couldn’t Jason do it for a few days?
“Sorry, I’m late.” Elizabeth wrinkled her nose as she came down the steps, wearing a soft purple dress that looked like it floated around her, held up by thin straps. She draped a darker purple shawl around her shoulders and smiled at them both. “I hope I didn’t hold anyone up.”
“No, no.” Sonny smiled at her. “You look beautiful, doesn’t she?” He elbowed Jason who glared at him. He could compliment his own wife, and Elizabeth always looked beautiful—
“Yeah.” Jason cleared his throat when Elizabeth looked at him, her brows drawn together with worry. “You look great.”
“So do you.” Elizabeth’s smile had dimmed slightly but she stepped forward and adjusted his tie, loosening it slightly. “You hate ties.”
“I know, but—” He sighed, kissed the tips of her fingers, hating that she’d picked up the tension anyway and absorbed it. “They’re pretty formal at these things.”
“Still.” She adjusted the lapels of his suit jacket, then turned to Sonny. “So what’s the plan?” she asked him. “I’m sure you want to go over it one more time.”
Sonny shot Jason a told you so glance, and Jason suddenly had the urge to growl. “I’m glad you asked.” He cleared his throat. “We’ll go over together in the limo. Max will drive. It’s a show of unity before Jason opened his mouth to protest. “I know you’d rather drive yourself, but you’ll be offered drinks tonight, and it’ll be rude not to accept them.”
“Is it always this exhausting?” Elizabeth wanted to know. She folded her arms. “How do you guys have time to commit crimes when you’re worried about rules and expectations?” she added on a mutter, and Jason smirked. She was back on his side. Not that there were sides, but it was still reassuring.
Sonny made a face. “There’s a protocol. We’ll arrive together,” he began. “There will be cocktails. You’ll have to schmooze with the wives,” he told Elizabeth. “Did Jason—”
“I got the pictures and the bios from Alexis,” Elizabeth said dryly. “Jason had more important things to do than quiz me. I’m ready. I’ll make nice with the women while their husbands give Jason alcohol. Got it.”
Sonny narrowed his eyes, as if unsure she was taking him seriously. “After cocktails,” he said slowly, “we’ll do dinner. There will be toasts. Sorel might be one of them. You can’t punch him,” he reminded Jason, and Elizabeth scowled. When she opened her mouth, Jason tightened his arm around her waist and she said nothing.
“Then a few dances. You’ll dance with each other. Then Elizabeth will dance with Daniel Vega. You’ll dance with his wife,” Sonny told Jason. “After that you’ll be able to leave. I’ll stay another hour or so. The limo will come back for me.”
“If Sorel comes near her, he’s going to leave in a body bag,” Jason said. “Does he know that?”
Sonny wrinkled his nose. “Yes, but remember—that’s the object of the entire night.” He offered Elizabeth an apologetic glance before looking back at Jason. “So whatever crime you think he’s committing, do your best to let it go. We’ll make him pay later.”
There would never be enough payment for the fear Sorel had inflicted on Elizabeth on New Year’s, but Jason nodded. “Fine. Let’s get this over.”