Lord make me a rainbow, I’ll shine down on my mother
She’ll know I’m safe with you when
She stands under my colors, oh and
Life ain’t always what you think it oughta be, no
Ain’t even gray, but she buries her baby
The sharp knife of a short life,
Well, I’ve had just enough time
– If I Die Young, The Band Perry
Sunday, July 20, 2003
“I wish I knew what to do with all this anger,” Bobbie said as she leaned back to allow Penny Ramirez to place her salad in front of her. “I almost hope the Quartermaines take on the city for what happened to Brooke, and maybe you should go after them, too—”
Elizabeth grimaced. “Jason and I talked about it again last night. Justus called me to ask if I was interested in changing my mind. He said he was looking over my paperwork and with what happened with Brooke—but I can’t see myself using Brooke that way and—I was angry about what Capelli did—”
Restless, she swirled her straw in her glass of ice, swishing it from side to side. “He was suspended, and I know Taggert put Lucky and those other rookies on the house. What happened to me isn’t even the same league—” She rubbed her eyes. “I can’t believe they’re still investigating rapes the same way they were five years ago. It seems insane to me.”
“The rape kit?” Bobbie huffed. “When I think of how hard it was to convince you to turn over your dress and go in for that exam at all—” She shook her head. “To think that it sat for months—”
“I mean nothing came of it, but—” Elizabeth shrugged. “They couldn’t have known that. And how many other women’s cases sat on a shelf, going colder and colder.” She bit her lip. “How is Lucas? He was upset yesterday—”
“Well, that’s at least one good thing that came from all of this.” Bobbie managed a smile. “He said he spoke to you yesterday, so I know you know. He came home yesterday and introduced me to Felix.”
“Felix,” Elizabeth said slowly, not entirely willing to assume how much Lucas had told his mother. “His friend from college?”
“His boyfriend from college,” Bobbie corrected. “To be honest, I suspected for the last year or so—he’s never really had a girlfriend and, well…I’m glad he felt like he could finally live his truth. I don’t know if he’s coming out to anyone else right now, but thank you, Elizabeth. For being there for him yesterday.”
“I’m glad he was able to talk to you. I wish everyone would be as kind to him, but…” Elizabeth picked up her fork. “The world is a terrible place.”
“And I worry about him,” Bobbie admitted, “but at least he doesn’t have to hide from me anymore. And I’m sure Tony will be understanding. I encouraged him to open up to his father, so hopefully…” She scowled as a woman passed by them, heading into the diner. She carried a tote bag that with a sticker proclaiming I’M WITH FLOYD 2003. “I wish someone were running against him.”
“Can’t believe in a city this size we’re stuck with one guy running. Floyd’s been mayor since I moved here. How is that possible?”
“Money and connections.” Bobbie shook her head. “And with ten days left to register for the election, we’ll probably be stuck with four more years of corruption and cronyism. And don’t—” She stabbed her fork in Elizabeth’s direction. “I see your wheels turning. I’m not running against him.”
“Well someone has to and since I’m currently dating a coffee exporter, I’m not eligible.” Elizabeth bit her lip. “I just—I hate that Brooke’s family has to deal with this. I hate that this happened. I wish I could have been there for her—”
“You were there, Elizabeth. She called you, she reached out—it’s tragic you missed the call—” Bobbie pressed her lips together. “BJ nearly missed her bus that day. I called for her to hurry up. You went on a ride with your boyfriend. It’s terrible, but it’s human.” She paused for a moment. “Was this—did you ever think of…”
“You mean did I ever think of just doing something to make it all stop?” Elizabeth asked. She folded her arms on the table. “I don’t know. I spent a lot of those first days laying in bed, wanting the world to leave me alone. But I also—I had a goal. I didn’t want anyone to know, and I started measuring my days that way, congratulating myself every day I got through where I kept my secret. I had you to lean on in those first few days—you, Luke, and, of course, Lucky. And then once my grandmother found out—it just started to get easier to breathe.”
She bit her lip. “But if I’d gone through what Brooke did? She was beaten, Bobbie. Given pain pills to cope with her injuries. It was so hard to sleep those few days, and sleep was the only time I could really make it go away. If I’d had something to help me sleep…I don’t know.” She leaned back in her chair. “I hope those rape kits come back and they find this bastard in the system somehow. I want this to be over. I don’t want another girl to go through this.”
Port Charles Hotel: Jax’s Penthouse
Jax put a glass of water down in front of Ned as his friend sat on his sofa, pouring over paperwork spread out over the dark coffee table, but Ned didn’t even look up.
There had been no question of returning to the gate house after leaving the hospital the night before—Lois had gone back to the suite she was sharing with Olivia, shell-shocked and devastated. And Ned?
Ned hadn’t yet slept. Hadn’t eaten. And would likely not even touch the water at his side.
Jax knew grief — though both of the women he had mourned had turned out to be alive, it hadn’t changed the years of suffering, the lingering ache of sadness. He had watched Brenda’s mother drive that car over the cliff, had searched for her for days, had chased her image around the world, desperate for any hint of her existence.
He would have gone to the ends of the earth to bring back either Miranda or Brenda, but he could not imagine the devastation of losing a child.
Alexis touched his shoulder, jarring him from his thoughts. She tipped her head towards the kitchen, so Jax followed her, leaving Ned engrossed in the newspaper clippings and legal statutes. Brooke’s death had only increased his resolve to go after the city in some way.
“I don’t know how to get him through this,” Alexis confessed, her voice hushed. “He’s been through so much this year—when we lost Kristina last year, then my daughter born prematurely—he had to take care of her—” She shook her head. “I don’t know how to help him.” She looked towards the doorway. “He’s looking for revenge.”
“It’s all he knows,” Jax murmured. He leaned against the kitchen island and dragged a hand through his unruly blonde hair, disheveled from his own lack of rest. “He’s like me. Raised to locate the vulnerability and exploit it for my own gain. It’s what makes us good at our jobs—”
“But shit at personal lives. I know.” Alexis scrubbed her hands over her face. “He’s going to sue the city, but it’s not going to make it better. It never does.”
“Planning revenge gets him through today,” he offered. “And maybe tomorrow. But yeah, he’s gonna look up one day and realize it didn’t get him anywhere.” He crossed his arms. “Have you thought about distracting him with Krissy?”
Alexis heaved a sigh. “I’m thinking it might be selfish to keep asking Ned to maintain this lie.” She chewed on her bottom lip. “He was never supposed to be involved with raising her. It was just a fiction to keep Sonny away from her. But once—”
“Once you faked a mental illness to get out of paying for tossing that pissant over the balcony, the game changed. Yeah, I know.” Jax tipped his head to the side. “Nothing’s changed, Alexis. And it might be good for Ned. He’ll be a better father to Krissy than Sonny ever was.”
“I guess. I don’t know. I just—I wish I knew how to help him.”
“We’re going to help him get his revenge,” Jax said plainly. “However it has to happen, that’s what we’ll do. And then we’ll be there to pick up him when it’s over. We’ll stick together. Just like we always have.”
Lucky hesitated when he entered the courtyard, finding Elizabeth sitting at one of the tables, sipping an iced tea. He hadn’t seen her since his memories—and his emotions—had started to return. They were still a jumble of visions and images that didn’t feel like they made a lot of sense — but the time before the fire, that was starting to feel crystal clear.
And those memories—which had been damaged even before the last round of brainwashing—had him taking a deep breath and approaching her table. “Hey. Do you mind if I sit down?”
She glanced up and offered him a hesitant smile. “Yeah. Sure. I just had breakfast with Bobbie, but she had to run to the hospital. Actually, I’m glad you’re here. Emily landed this morning and we’re meeting for drinks.”
Lucky wasn’t entirely sure she meant that, but he took the seat across from her. “There are some things I have to say to you—things I didn’t tell you the last time we really talked. Or…after the wedding.”
Elizabeth set the menu down and leaned forward, folding her elbows on the table. “Is something wrong?”
“No, I mean—yes. Sort of.” He scratched his temple, trying to figure out exactly how to explain himself. “You know that Helena used the Ice Princess on me to…mess with the way I felt about you. The way I remembered you.”
“I do.” She tipped her head. “Are you starting to remember?”
“What I never told anyone is that…” He hesitated. “Is how far back she’d messed with my memories. When I came home, a lot of my life was…it was like swiss cheese, you know? Holes everywhere. I had trouble remembering my childhood, the people in my life—and you—she hadn’t figured out how to erase emotions but memories—those were messed up.”
“When you came home originally?” Elizabeth asked. She blinked. “But—”
“I loved you—I knew I loved you—but I couldn’t remember why.” He fisted his hands on the table. “And then last year, she wiped all of my memories with you. Nikolas knew the memories were gone, too. Not just the emotions. But everything.”
He finally looked up to meet her eyes. They were soft and deep with sorrow. “Elizabeth—”
“I wish you could have told me that,” she murmured. “I’m sorry we were so far apart by then, Lucky. I’m glad Nikolas could be there for you.”
He exhaled slowly, feeling like his lungs could expand fully for the first time in years. “I tried at first to pretend it was all okay. But I couldn’t. And I started doing a lot of dumb things. I hurt you. And I wasn’t there for my mother when she needed me—” He looked away, pressure building behind his eyes. “I’m good at running away. I ran from you. I ran from my mother. After we rescued my dad last year, I couldn’t pretend anymore. My family was gone. You were gone. I didn’t have anything left.”
“But you’re doing better now,” Elizabeth said softly. “Aren’t you? Bobbie said you liked your job.”
“I met Dante and Cruz at the academy, and they didn’t know me before. They just know me now.” He hesitated. “It made it easier.” He managed a smile. “And then I met Kelsey.”
Elizabeth returned his smile. “Kelsey Joyce? From the DA’s office?”
“Yeah. It’s…new, but it’s nice.” He sat back. “And everything that’s good about my life right now—the things that are working—it just reminded me how things ended with you. How horrible I feel about all of that—”
“I think of how much damage we did to each other,” she murmured, tilting her head to the side. “Trying desperately to recapture those moments before the fire. Everything seemed so perfect, you know? I was in love with my best friend, planning an incredible future. I kept searching for that boy, Lucky. I hurt you. I hurt myself. I hurt people I cared about. I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry,” Lucky said with a fervent shake of his head. “Because I know I made it worse. I made you feel like you were responsible for me. And you weren’t. We were all young and we were dealing with something that just…had no easy answers.” He leaned back in chair. “It’s been coming back this last week. Since I got to the park. I interviewed Dillon and I just—I knew the way he was feeling. The guilt, The anger. I could feel it boiling in my veins.”
He grimaced, looked away. “What happened to Brooke was—it was terrible, but we made it worse. We could have stopped it. They knew there was a serial rapist. The DA’s office made the link after the third attack, and Taggert officially took over the cases just before Brooke was attacked, but the mayor decided to block the warning. Couldn’t have it screwing up the summer tourism—” Lucky shook his head. “I’m sorry. This—”
“I was thinking about the pain Brooke must have been feeling and remembering how much I wanted the whole world to go away back then. Bobbie asked if…” Elizabeth stared down at her glass, feeling the condensation with her fingertips. “She asked me if it was something I dealt with. I mean, taking something to make it go away. And I just—I had you. And I had Bobbie, and your dad in his own bumbling way.”
A tear slid down her cheek even as she smiled. “The first day I didn’t go back to school, you came over and—my window was right over the front door? Remember? I was laying in my bed, curled up, with the blankets pulled over my head. Blocking out the world. But I could hear you. I knew I wasn’t alone.”
“I should have taken you to the dance, Elizabeth. We had a deal—”
She laughed, shaking her head even as she wiped at her years. “God, Lucky, no. You had to know I thought it was a date, and you were probably excited at a chance to make it seem like it wasn’t. You liked Sarah. You had your chance. I don’t blame you. I never did.”
“I know. And I tell myself all the time it’s not my fault, but—” He sighed. “I just want to do better. I want to do better by the women this asshole has hurt because it’s the right thing to do, but now because I remember how angry I was when we found out Baker wasn’t going to jail for what happened to you—”
“If I could have been more calm about the whole thing,” Elizabeth said, “if I hadn’t caused a mistrial, Dara Jensen never would have had to make a deal with him.” She bit her lip, drawing it between her teeth. “Baker’s up for parole soon. He sent me some sort of letter last week. I didn’t—I didn’t read it. But he’ll be out soon.”
“Well, that’s one thing Jason’s good for—” Lucky said with a rueful smile. “You’ll probably have a bodyguard.” He blinked. “Do you not have one today?”
“Cody’s inside watching me.” She twisted and gave her guard a little wave. “Jason doesn’t think Ric will approach me in public. Especially since he got permission to go to Crimson Point and stay with his father until the trial. It helps knowing he’s not in Port Charles.”
“It doesn’t worry you?”
Elizabeth jerked a shoulder. “Maybe it should. But what can he can he do to me that he already hasn’t? I have a restraining order, at least for a little while longer. I have a bodyguard. I’m out in public.” She lifted her chin. “I lived my life in fear for months, Lucky, back after my rape. I’m not going to do it again. I can’t let fear run my life.” She raised her brow. “Plus, Justus agreed to come back and take Jason and Sonny’s job offer, and he’s already set me up with the best divorce attorney in the state to handle my case. Ric isn’t going to run my life. Not ever again.”
Emily came into the courtyard, then and Elizabeth hurried to her feet to hug her best friend. Lucky also got up and hugged his oldest friend. It was good to have her back. Especially now that he was starting to feel like himself for the first time in years.
“I’m so glad to see you, even though I wish you weren’t coming home for this,” he said as he drew back, leaving a hand on her shoulder. “I’m sorry about Brooke.”
“It’s terrible,” Emily agreed, but she managed a smile. “But we’ll get through it. We always do.”
Port Charles Hotel: Suite
Lois placed the phone back on the receiver, then leaned back against the sofa and closed her eyes. It was easy to focus on the details of arranging for her daughter to be taken home to Bensonhurst, to purchase a plot in the cemetery, arrange for a viewing with her family and friends back home.
It was easy as long as Lois told herself it wasn’t real. That it was someone else who had died, that everything she had done so far today was for someone else’s child. Not her baby.
Not her Brooke.
In the armchair adjacent to the sofa, Olivia sat with her own lists and papers. She had spent the morning in her bedroom, making phone calls. Olivia Falconieri was more than her best friend, she was family. Her mother was Lois’s godmother, and Gloria Cerullo was Olivia’s. They were god sisters, and in their heavily Catholic neighborhood, that meant something.
Annoying as Olivia often was, Lois knew she couldn’t get through this without her. Olivia had volunteered to call extended family and relatives to tell them about Brooke, leaving Lois to have to tell only her parents. Not having to repeat the devastation over and over again herself—
That was something.
But maybe if she had been saying it over and over again, it would feel real. Olivia had gone into the bedroom to spare Lois from having to hear her say it, but she could imagine it in her head. She’d barely managed to get the words out to her mother — telling her that Brooke had taken too many of her pain pills, medication given to her to lessen the agony she suffered from her injuries.
As if the only thing wrong with her little girl were the visible cuts and bruises.
No, Brooke had been suffering inside and Lois hadn’t been able to reach her. Hadn’t been able to solve her problems. The last time she’d spoken to her daughter before the attack, Brooke had had an attitude, had snarled at her about being sent to Port Charles like she was being exiled to freakin’ Siberia—and Lois had hung up on her.
She’d have to live with that for the rest of her life. She’d hung up on her daughter. Hadn’t listened to her, hadn’t taken her complaints seriously. She’d snapped her cell phone shut and gone on with her day, not once knowing that was basically the last time she’d speak to her daughter—Brooke had barely even spoken to her after she’d woken up.
“Lois,” Olivia said hesitantly, “Monica called me while I was—in the bedroom,” she said after a brief pause. “She understands if you don’t want to come, but she and Lila would like to have something at the house for Brooke.”
Lois squeezed her eyes shut. She didn’t want to go back to that house. Not to the main house where her life with Ned had fallen apart, and certainly not to the gatehouse where Brooke’s despair had led her to the dark abyss.
But Lila had always been kind to her, and she knew from Ned that Monica and Dillon had reached out to Brooke during her time in Port Charles.
She’d come to Port Charles on Wednesday, angry and ready to burn down the world. And she’d been so angry she’d missed her daughter’s pain.
“I don’t want to go,” Lois said slowly. “I can’t—I can’t do it, twice, Liv, and my parents—they need to have something for her at home. I can’t—” Her throat squeezed shut. “I can’t say goodbye twice. But it’s okay. If they have—they can do it.”
“Okay. Do you—” Olivia joined her on the sofa and squeezed her hand. “Do you mind if I go? I’m sure Dante will, and I’m worried about him. I was thinking of hanging around Port Charles a few more weeks, just to make sure he’s okay.”
“Okay.” Lois drew in a shuddering breath. “Okay. Yeah. Yeah, that’s okay. You go to the service here, and then I can take Brookie back home—and I can never set foot in Port Charles again. That works for me.”
Scorpio House: Living Room
Felicia squeezed her youngest daughter tightly, pressing her lips to the top of Georgie’s head. “I’m so sorry, honey, for what happened to your friend.” She looked at Mac, frowning at her ex-husband as he sat the table, his head in his hands.
Since Mac had picked her up from the airport an hour earlier, he had been quiet. Withdrawn. She knew the press was digging at him, making it all his fault. She’d come home for her girls, but also for Mac. She thought he deserved someone who was in his corner.
“Is it okay if we go out?” Georgie asked, pulling away from her mother. She swiped at her eyes. “We didn’t know you were coming today, and Maxie and I were going to check on Dillon.”
“Of course, baby.” She kissed Georgie’s cheek, then hugged Maxie before the girls left. Once they had, she turned her attention to Mac and sat next to him at the table. “Spill it.”
“It’s been a long month, Felicia.” Mac pulled away from the table and went into the kitchen. He took down a container of instant coffee and started to make himself a cup. “I’m tired.”
“Look—” He turned to meet her eyes. “The newspapers aren’t wrong. I screwed up the case. I knew some of my guys weren’t doing the job right, but there was a lot going on this year. Alcazar’s murder trial, then Maxie’s overdose last spring, then Carly was kidnapped—I can’t be on top of every case.”
“Of course not—”
“But I should have told the mayor to shove it when he refused to let us issue a warning. I’m—” Mac turned, stared at the cabinets. “I’m not the commissioner this town needs.”
“Oh, come on, Mac, that’s not fair—”
“I’ll never be as good as Robert or Anna. Or even Sean.” He shook his head. “I know that’s what people think. I’m just the lesser Scorpio brother.” He looked at her. “The lesser husband.”
“That’s not fair and it’s not true.” Felicia took his elbow and forced him to turn back towards her. “I messed up our marriage. Not you. And yeah, maybe this case got messed up, but you can’t do it all. The mayor could have fired you—”
“Well, I’m done letting Floyd run my office,” Mac said as he shoved the cup into the microwave to heat it up. “This is the last time I’m going to let him make the call.”
Felicia hesitated, then furrowed her brow. “Does…are there are other times Floyd has asked for a favor?”
Mac was quiet for a minute as the sound of the microwave filled the room. “No,” he said finally. Felicia knew he was lying to her but didn’t call him on it.
If he wasn’t ready to talk about it, there was nothing she could do to force him. He looked like he was wallowing in self-pity, and she knew that wasn’t like him. She would just have to drag him back to reality before she could figure out exactly what he’d gotten himself into. It was her turn to offer unwavering support, for all the times she hadn’t done right by him.
Warehouse: Sonny’s Office
Jason shifted uneasily in his seat as Sonny signed the last document Bernie set in front of him. Once their business manager had left, he took a deep breath. “Elizabeth still doesn’t know what Tom Baker said. I started to tell her, but—” He hesitated. “I can’t tell her, but I also can’t let it go.”
Sonny grimaced, then stood. He crossed to the minibar and poured himself a drink. “Why?”
“Because Brooke Lynn Ashton was raped at a fountain in the park.” Jason frowned at him. “And she’s dead now. She’s the fourth young woman raped near a fountain this year. Baker’s saying he didn’t attack Elizabeth. It’s gotta be the same guy.”
“Then it’s the cops’ problem isn’t it?” Sonny turned to him, squinting. Jason realized belatedly that this obviously wasn’t his first drink of the day. “I told you, the cops already know about Elizabeth’s case—”
It probably wasn’t even his third. Sonny was drinking heavily again—that was never a good sign. But Jason took a deep breath. “It’s Lois’s daughter, Sonny. And maybe the cops still think Baker’s confession stands. If he was lying that day, it means the scumbag who hurt Elizabeth is still out there—”
“When the cops find him, you can take him out.” Sonny shrugged. “Just like we’re going to do to Ric when the heat dies down. But nothing you can do until then—”
Jason shook his head. He was getting nowhere with this. He was never going to get Sonny’s approval. Good thing he hadn’t planned on waiting for it. “I already did something. I left a tip on their hotline, telling them to look at their cold cases.” When Sonny scowled at him, Jason clenched his teeth. “Look, I know all the reasons we don’t trust the PCPD, but I think Taggert can be trusted—”
Sonny sneered. “Listen to yourself — you’re telling me after everything the PCPD has done this month, you want to give them more ammunition against Elizabeth? What if they take what you give them and put it in the papers, like they did with you going to the house? Those rookies must have told the cops you were there. They twisted it. They gave it to the tabloids—”
“I know that—”
“And you want to give them a reason to discredit Elizabeth?” Sonny shook his head. “You’re not thinking clearly, Jase.” He took a seat behind the desk. “You said Elizabeth still doesn’t know what he said?”
“No.” Jason sat down. “She didn’t want to know.”
“Is that how you want her to find out? The cops leaking to the papers? And look, I get it. Taggert’s always been good to Elizabeth.” Sonny shook his head. “But you know better. She’s connected to you now. And Taggert’s been after us—” He jabbed a finger at Jason. “You tell the cops what Baker told you, it’ll be in the Sun the next day, and then Liz finds out what else you’re not telling her. You think it’ll matter that she told you not to tell her? Once it’s out there in the world? You want to put her on display again?”
“Look, I made some inquiries at the PCPD. A guy on our payroll is keeping an eye on the case. Right now, Liz’s case isn’t on their radar. If you’re right, and it’s the same guy, maybe they’ll get him, and he’ll be off the streets. You could tell her then.” Sonny leaned forward. “You broke up with my sister because she cooperated with the cops. How is what you’re doing any different?”
Jason couldn’t answer that. Couldn’t explain why it felt different. He just knew that it was, and he knew that Sonny was wrong about waiting for the PCPD to take care of it. Still, he wasn’t wrong that the wrong cop might hear this information and leak it to the press.
The press fervor over Elizabeth and Carly had only just begun to die down, mostly because of the serial rapes. If Jason went to the police now, he’d just make her part of it all over again. And hadn’t Monica told her to avoid stress? Hadn’t he put her through enough by just saving that damn letter, going to see Baker, and then decided keeping the secret was more important than what she’d asked him to do?
He’d promised her he would put her first and she’d told him to leave it alone.
“They might not pull Elizabeth’s case,” Jason said, finally. “Like you said, they believed Baker’s confession. I did—” He shook his head. “I did what I could to help, and I guess I’ll just let it be enough.”
For now. He looked at Sonny, who was already refilling his glass. Jason had a lot of other things to worry about.