Prologue

There was nothing that the town of Port Charles loved more than a good old-fashioned funeral. They could gather, spread gossip and see people that they wouldn’t see any other time of the year.

There were few people in town that could be worthy of funerals so large but Lila Quartermaine had been one of their most beloved citizens, her family their wealthiest. No one threw a funeral like the Quartermaines.

Spend all your time waiting
For that second chance

The service was held in St. Mary’s Cathedral downtown and it was packed. Standing room only. There were lines of people to speak but in the end, Drs. Alan and Monica Quartermaine spoke of her, her granddaughter Emily and nephew Ned Ashton spoke.

The husband Edward sat in the front pew silent. For anyone who knew him, it was an indicator of his condition.

Afterwards, there was an invitation only reception though that didn’t stop the press and curious citizenry from trying to gain access.

Longtime friends Elizabeth Webber and Lucky Spencer escorted Emily from the long dark limousine. They kept her shielded from the press as they hurried her into the house. Behind them, Ned Ashton and Dillon Quartermaine helped their mother Tracy from the car to the house. Lila had been one of the few people to genuinely love Tracy and her mother’s death had devastated the normally cold and ruthless woman.

Grandson AJ Quartermaine came after them by himself. He’d driven in a car not sponsored by the family and it was generally rumored that he would leave soon after the reception.

Edward Quartermaine came last, held up by his son Alan and his daughter-in-law Monica.

For a break that would make it okay
There’s always some reason
To feel not good enough

Emily accepted the glass of water from Elizabeth and smiled thinly. “I’m fine,” she whispered. She fidgeted and looked around. She stopped after a moment, realizing she’d been looking for Nikolas.

Elizabeth patted her arm and smiled sadly. “I’m sorry he’s not here.”

“It’s all right.” Emily cleared her throat. “He—he would have been if he remembered. And he doesn’t. Let’s—let’s drop it.” She glanced around again. “So many people were here. So many people loved her.”

“She was a classy woman,” Elizabeth told her friend. “She always reminded me of one of those movie stars—the glamorous ones, you know?”

“There was no one like Lila Quartermaine,” Lucky remarked almost in awe. “The only person I’ve ever seen tell Edward to shut up and have him listen.” He caught the eye of his grandmother, Lesley and excused himself from the two women.

“I was almost hoping Jason would be here,” Emily murmured. “He loved her so much. But—this isn’t his scene. I just—I haven’t seen him since she died.” Her throat felt thick and her voice was hoarse from crying. “I don’t know how he’s handling it and you know that Sonny and Carly won’t give him five minutes alone to grieve.”

Elizabeth touched her arm and swallowed hard. “I could—I could check on him. If it would make you feel better. I have to go in a little while to relieve my baby-sitter. Do you want me to stop by the penthouse?”

Emily focused her tearful eyes on her friend and managed a weak smile. “Yeah—yeah that would be great. I just want to know he’s okay.”

And it’s hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction
Oh beautiful release

Nikolas Cassadine sipped his Scotch and stared at the roaring fire, the red and orange flames keeping his mind focused.

He knew that a woman named Lila Quartermaine had died, that she had been Emily’s grandmother. He’d found out that much from the newspapers. He had almost selfishly hoped it would make a memory flash in his head, it would create some emotion in his body.

But he was empty and the only thing he felt was the love for Mary, the woman who had lied to him.

He sipped the liquor and stared at the fire, wishing he knew how to rid himself of unwanted love.

Memories seep from my veins
Let me be empty and weightless
And maybe I’ll find some peace tonight

AJ Quartermaine was separated from the rest of the family, stood in his own little corner and sipped iced tea. He’d left Lydia behind in their island paradise. She’d felt sympathy for him but he had not brought her along. She didn’t know his grandmother.

His grandmother had loved him, had forgiven him for stealing most of the family’s fortune. He felt no guilt for that. Hadn’t they made it anyway? And after all the hell they’d put him through, he had deserved a reward.

He only hoped he could get out of here unscathed.

He smiled at an old family friend, nodded at a girlfriend from high school and shifted uncomfortably. Port Charles held no warm memories.

In the arms of the angel
Far away from here

Sara Evans hummed along to the Buffy theme song as she worked on her math homework. Baby-sitting for Cameron Webber was the easiest gig she’d ever landed and all she’d had to do was drop a hint to the mother at Kelly’s that she was looking for a job.

All Cameron did was sleep. He woke every once in a while but he just wanted to be held and fed. Mrs. Lansing had left a bottle of milk for him and Sara figured it was a pretty good gig all in all.

She frowned when she glanced at the grandfather clock in the corner of Audrey Hardy’s living room. She picked up the white baby monitor and shook it to make sure it was working.

Cameron hadn’t cried in nearly an hour. Hadn’t fussed. Hadn’t made a sound.

From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear

Samantha McCall tapped her fingers against the window restlessly. She hated feeling locked in, hated knowing that her life was in jeopardy, that her past had caught up with her.

She should have left town. She never should have come in the first place.

She looked around the large penthouse and exhaled slowly. Jason was prowling around the pool table, playing a solo game, trying to work out his frustration. She understood that—knew that his grandmother’s funeral had been today.

She wondered briefly why he hadn’t gone but did not ask. It was none of her business.

You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie

Emily sipped her water and moved to stand next to her brother. “I’m glad you were able to make it,” she said softly.

“I’m glad you called to tell me,” AJ replied. “I’m sorry—for Nikolas. I heard about his death and then—his memory loss.”

“I’ve been through it before,” she murmured. “I thought losing Jason was hard but losing Nikolas—” she looked at her brother. “I can’t—I can’t do this. This is about Grandmother. Not me.”

“And she wanted you to be happy—”

“I’ve been selfish enough.” She shook her head. “I have to respect Nikolas’s wishes. He doesn’t want to be around me, can’t forgive me, all right. I can handle it. I’m a big girl, AJ.”

You’re in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here

Elizabeth stepped off the elevator and glanced at her watch. She wondered if she should have called Sara, told her she was making a stop before coming home.

But Sara had baby-sat on more than one occasion. She was capable and she was responsible. If anything were wrong, she would call.

She moved as quietly as possible to the doorway to Jason’s penthouse and knocked, surprised when a pregnant Sam answered the door.

Elizabeth blinked. “Is Jason here?”

So tired of the straight line
And everywhere you turn

Sara took the steps too at a time and hurried into the nursery. Cameron lay on his back, his tiny little chest moving up and down. She sighed in relief and went to touch his forehead.

She yanked her hand back when she realized he was burning up. She whimpered. They so had not covered this in her baby-sitting class at the Y.

There’s vultures and thieves at your back
And the storm keeps on twisting

“Yeah, he’s here.” Sam stepped back. “Jase—Elizabeth Lansing is here.” She moved towards him. “You didn’t tell me you were friends with Ric’s wife,” she hissed.

“She’s not his wife anymore,” Jason murmured as he moved past the weirded out Sam and went to the door. “Elizabeth—”

“Could I come in?” Elizabeth asked. She cast an eye over her shoulder warily. “If Carly sees me, there’s no telling what’ll happen.”

“Yeah, yeah, sure.” He stepped aside and frowned at how different she looked since that last night at Kelly’s. She’d been about eight months pregnant, her hair had been different—everything about her had looked different.

“Emily was worried about you,” Elizabeth began but before she could get much further, her cell rang.

You keep on building the lies
That you make up for all that you lack

Nikolas crossed to the mini bar to pour himself another glass of Scotch but stopped dead at the sight of Mary standing in his doorway. He glowered at her but she didn’t wince or back away.

She had guts; he could at least give her that.

“What do you want?” he spat.

“I came to talk about our options,” Mary said faintly. “Our marriage wasn’t technically legal as you’re not Connor Bishop but you do have things at the house and I—” she faltered and looked away. “I just—I wanted to try and make this right.”

“Yeah—well you can’t.”

It don’t make no difference
Escaping one last time
It’s easier to believe in this sweet madness
Oh this glorious sadness that brings me to my knees

Dillon Quartermaine kept one on his grandfather and the other on his mother as he approached his girlfriend Georgie Jones at the buffet table. “Thanks for coming,” he told her.

“Yeah, no problem.” She shrugged and looked at her feet. “How’s your grandfather doing? My mother said he must be devastated.”

“He hasn’t said anything since she died.” Dillon frowned into his glass of soda. “You don’t know how weird it is not to hear him yelling about something. And my mother hasn’t argued with anyone. No one really has. It’s spooky, Georgie. It’s like—you want them to stop fighting but when they do…you just want them to start again.”

“They’re just in shock,” Georgie tried to assure him.

“Yeah…but it’s like…they’ve lost the will to be a family—to butt into each other’s lives.” He shook his head. “I don’t know how to deal with the Quartermaines if they’re not pushy and offensive.”

In the arms of the angel
Far away from here

“Sara?” Elizabeth said, a little surprised. “Is Cam okay…What? Wait—did you take his temperature—Oh my God, okay, okay, no, honey don’t panic. Just call—you already called 911? Okay, okay, I’ll meet you in the ER.” She snapped her cell shut, her hands trembling. “I have—I have to go. My baby—he’s got a 102.4 fever a-and Sara can’t get him to wake up.”

She moved past Jason towards the door but just as she reached the doorway, her legs gave out and she would have sank to the ground if he hadn’t caught her. Sam hurried forward and pulled out the desk chair.

“Take deep breaths,” Jason cautioned her.

“I really—I have to go. Cameron needs me.” Her hands were shaking so hard that she clenched them into fists. “I have to go.”

“You shouldn’t drive,” Sam told her. “Jason—maybe you should take her. I could call Emily to meet you all there.”

“That’s a good idea.” Jason looked back at an extremely pale Elizabeth. “We’re going to go now, okay? I’m going to take you to the hospital. Can you walk?”

She nodded numbly and he helped her to her feet.

From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear

“Maybe I can’t,” Mary allowed. “But it doesn’t matter where you spent these last few weeks. You didn’t remember when you were with me, you didn’t remember when you made love to Emily and you don’t remember now. Nothing I’ve done has kept you from remembering and I think you blame me.”

He stared at her for a long moment before she broke the gaze and looked at the ground. “There’s nothing at your house that I want.”

Mary nodded. “Fine. But I gave you a name, I gave you someone to be when you had nothing. Maybe I shouldn’t have. Maybe I shouldn’t have tried to fill the hole in my life with you. But I did. And you were happy.”

“I was living a lie,” Nikolas muttered.

“You were happy living a lie and now you’re back in your old life and you’re miserable,” Mary remarked. “Do you really think that this is an improvement? You don’t want to be around me, you don’t want to be around your family or anyone who loves you. Well, that’s fine. You can just be alone. I guess I’ll have to learn to do it again.”

“You were going to try to have a baby to keep me in your life,” Nikolas accused.

“Yes, I was and that made me realize how far I’ve gotten from reality.” Mary shrugged simply. “I’m starting grief counseling at the hospital. I’ve recognized my shortcomings, my problems and I’m looking for a solution. You’re just drinking yourself into oblivion.”

“What do you care, Mary?” Nikolas asked scathingly. “You’re nothing to me.”

The words had their desired effect and she looked away. “I accept that,” she whispered. “And it makes me glad. Because I love you. Not the man I tried to make you be, but I love you. And I can’t watch you destroy yourself.” She turned and disappeared down the hallway.

And he couldn’t decide if he was relieved or disappointed.

You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie

Emily slid her cell phone back into her purse and moved through the crowd to find Audrey. “Mrs. Hardy, I just spoke with Sam McCall. Elizabeth got a call while she was at the penthouse. Cam’s being rushed to the hospital.”

“Jesus,” Audrey murmured. She abruptly made her exit and Emily set out to find Lucky.

You’re in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here

A shaken and trembling Sara Evans was waiting for Elizabeth in the ER. “They brought Cameron into the back ten minutes ago and won’t tell me anything,” she said mournfully. “I was downstairs and I realized he hadn’t fussed or anything for a while so I went up to check on him—” She broke off. “I’m so sorry, Mrs. Lansing, I don’t know what I did wrong…”

“It’s all right,” Elizabeth said, trying to keep her voice strong. Her eyes were trained on the pink curtains separating her from her child. “You didn’t do anything wrong, Sara.”

“I’m so sorry,” Sara kept saying anyway and her crying was beginning to wear on Elizabeth’s control. Her lower lip started to tremble. Jason took Sara’s arm and gently led her away, asking her to give them a minute.

“Elizabeth, can I get you anything?” he asked softly.

“You can tell me Cam’s okay,” Elizabeth whispered fearfully, “and promise me that I’ll never lose him.”

He could but it might end up being a lie and Jason had recently decided he was going to stop doing stuff like that to make people feel better. “I think that the doctors here will do the best they can,” he said after a moment.

Elizabeth opened her mouth to reply but a doctor appeared from behind the curtain. “I’m looking for Cameron Webber’s family.”

“That’s me,” Elizabeth said softly and her heart began to pound as the doctor moved towards them.

You’re in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here

Song: Angel by Sarah McLachlan

Comments

  • This looks like it’s going to be really good. Way to leave it hanging, I need more.

    According to Lisa on November 9, 2014