Chapter Thirty-Nine

This entry is part 20 of 31 in the series All of Me

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head, I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow
Mad World, Gary Jules


Wednesday, September 10, 2003

PCPD: Squad Room

Vinnie shook his head vehemently as he read through the report Taggert had written, linking together the first trio of cases. “No way in hell,” he muttered as he flipped through the statements. “No way I could have made the connection. They were months, years apart. The profiles didn’t match—”

Taggert sighed, rubbed his eyes. “No one is blaming you for not linking these,” he told the younger man, patiently. It was a demoralizing feeling to know that you had failed the people you were supposed to protect, even when you were doing your best to do the job. “You were a patrol officer when the Webber and Lopez cases happened—”

“I—” Vinnie exhaled slowly. “But I should have seen it, I guess. All in the park. All near a fountain.” He shifted at his desk, uncomfortable. “And there’s DNA?”

“Yeah, I didn’t think we’d get hits on all the cases, but maybe this asshole is either dumb as a rock or too cocky that we won’t catch him.” Taggert shrugged. “After five years, he’s probably just used to getting away with it. That’s why he’s not changing his signature.”

“Signature?” Vinnie frowned. “What, the fountain?”

“He’s hit all four fountains almost twice. The only one he hasn’t gone after again is the Martin Memorial for some reason.” Taggert rubbed his chin.

“Well it wasn’t there before 2001.” Vinnie furrowed his brow. “Yeah — I think they built it after I moved to Buffalo. I remember coming home that summer and reading about it.”

“So, he hasn’t gotten around to it.” Taggert made a notation to double check that information. “Well, we got uniforms all over the park now. He won’t be able to do this crap again.”

Vinnie was quiet for a long moment. “I thought they caught the guy in the Webber case,” he said finally. “What’s the deal with that?”

“It’s a long story,” Taggert replied, leaving it at that. “Look, no one blames you—”

“You don’t blame me, maybe, but I bet when this hits the papers, the mayor is going to come for my ass. Ashton is kicking him up and down the street in the polls now.” Vinnie shook his head. “No, they’re going to make me the bad guy.”

“Maybe,” Taggert allowed, but he privately agreed. Floyd was nothing if not selfish and conniving. He’d already sacrificed innocent women to maintain his public profile. What were the odds a lazy, idiot cop like Vinnie would escape the pressure? “Look, I’ll do what I can. You’re not on this case officially which should smooth a lot of feathers. If they think you screwed up before, we’ll just remind them what you were working with. An understaffed unit without much of a budget for lab work.”

“Yeah, well, maybe it’s time to think about a transfer,” Vinnie muttered. “I never should have come back to Port Charles. What a goddamn waste of my time.”

General Hospital: Monica’s Office

Monica was both pleased and a little bit worried when her receptionist reported that her son was there to see her. In the months since Carly’s kidnapping and Elizabeth’s illness, she was happy that her relationship with Jason had taken a more positive turn but that didn’t mean he dropped in for no reason at all.

She’d been thinking about Jason and Elizabeth since Elizabeth’s appointment a few days earlier, worrying over them. She’d even spent some time with Lila and Emily as they worried together. She worried Elizabeth might make a decision she’d regret later—or that this might lead to a setback and another blood clot.

There was only so much Monica could control with medical treatments. So much of medicine was still up to the individual and the universe.

“Jason, hello. I wasn’t expecting you.” She embraced him lightly and quickly, which he allowed, and she savored. “I don’t have to guess why you’re here.”

“I know you can’t tell me anything about her case,” Jason told her as they sat on the small sofa in the corner of her office. “I guess…” He shook his head. “I don’t know why I’m here, not really.” He looked at her. “You were honest with me when Elizabeth was in the hospital. You told me it’d be a miracle if she survived after the cardiac arrest.”

“We were lucky,” Monica admitted. “I’ve had other patients under similar circumstances that didn’t make it.” She pursed her lips. “I hate telling you how much of this is a crap shoot, Jason. The OB/GYN she’s seeing Friday will hopefully have some more concrete information for you.”

“If she were anyone else,” Jason said slowly, as he stared down at his hands. “Would you recommend going through with the pregnancy?”

Monica bit her lip. “It’s not my position to say one way or the other, Jason. Have you and Elizabeth talked about this?”

“Yeah.” He sat back and scrubbed his face with his hands. “She brought up not having the baby, but—I know this is something she wants. It’s something I want. Just…not like this. Not when we have to think about what it might cost us.”

“Jason—”

He shook his head. “But I know I’ve come down too hard on making safe choices, and she doesn’t want to live like that. Maybe everything will be fine.”

“And it might very well be, Jason. She’ll have the best medical care money can offer,” Monica reminded him. “Access to the best doctors in the state, if not the country. Any medicine she needs. Any scans. Weekly visits if that’s what Dr. Lee recommends. I know you’re worried. Jason—” She touched his forearm, waiting until he turned to look at her. “I know what it was like to wait that night in the hospital. To watch her struggle for breath and her heart stop in front of you. I’ve been through it with your father and his heart problems. With Edward and his.”

“All the money in the world doesn’t make her body stronger,” he said quietly. “It doesn’t change the fact that she was drugged for months, had a miscarriage, an overdose, an embolism, cardiac arrest—Monica, is she really strong enough to do this?”

“I can tell you that her scans are clear for blood clots,” Monica said. “That while I worry about long term organ problems, we haven’t detected any damage to either her heart or her lungs. That doesn’t mean they’re in perfect condition, but Elizabeth recovered from all of that as well as anyone could after two months.”

Jason didn’t say anything, so Monica continued. “I understand being terrified for the person you love. Being afraid to hope for the best because you’re not used to the universe being on your side.”

“Elizabeth—” Jason took a deep breath. “She said we got a miracle this summer. When she didn’t die. And she’s afraid—I’m afraid that she’s right. How many miracles do we get? How many times does she get to risk her life without—”

“There’s another way of looking at what happened this summer,” Monica told him. “I have to believe that maybe Elizabeth was spared—if she fought back because this is what was supposed to happen. Maybe this baby—this child neither of you planned but both of you want—maybe this is the miracle you were waiting for.”

“I don’t know if I can believe that. If I can…” Jason shook his head, falling silent. “But that’s the kind of thing that Elizabeth could believe. I don’t really have dreams, not like she does. She’s always been able to look at things and see the good in them.”

“I will be here for you any time you want to worry without making Elizabeth upset,” Monica offered. “And you know that your grandmother and sister will be here for you both. I hope for the best after your doctor’s appointment, Jason, I really do. I want to see you happy—I want you to both be happy.”

Kelly’s: Courtyard

“I feel like I haven’t done anything except worry and think about this,” Elizabeth said with a sigh as Georgie served her and Bobbie their lunches.

“We don’t have to talk about it,” Bobbie offered as Georgie went back inside. “We can talk about something else. Anything else.”

“Like what?” Elizabeth muttered, stabbing at her salad. “The mayoral race? Where poor Brooke Lynn gets dragged through the mud every five minutes by Floyd and his team?” She sighed. “I’m sorry. I’m not good company today.”

“Sweetheart, you don’t have to be any kind of company for me,” Bobbie told her. “We can just sit here and eat quietly. We can talk about television. Bad music.”

Elizabeth set her fork down and looked at Bobbie. “The thing is that I think I know what I want to do. I’m just…I’m scared that this doctor will tell me something that will make me change my mind or that I’ll look at Jason and how worried he is—” She bit her lip.

Bobbie moved to the seat directly next to Elizabeth so she could take the younger woman’s hand in hers. “You have to do what’s right for you. And that’s such a useless thing to say because how do you even know what’s right for you?”

“I just…I’m scared of the risks, but part of me is…I’m really happy. Losing the baby in May—even with everything I know about how the drugs Ric gave me might have hurt her, even knowing it was Ric’s child—” Her voice was tight as she tried to force the words out. “I wanted that baby more than I ever thought I would. And now, to have another chance at being a mother, to create a family with Jason—this is everything I ever wanted in my life. And I can’t stand the idea that Ric might take this away from me, too.”

“Sweetheart—”

“I hate that he’s still in my life. Even when he’s not actually here in Port Charles, even when I’m not thinking about the trial, the reason I don’t get to be excited about being a mother is because he stole it from me. I can’t let him keep running my life.”

“That’s true,” Bobbie said slowly, “but—”

“I just want Jason to be happy, too. I don’t want him to spend the next eight months with that look on his face—I want him to be excited—” Elizabeth shook her head and shoved her plate away, her appetite disappearing. “Everything about our life together so far has been haunted by Ric. We couldn’t even have sex without an oxygen mask nearby—’” She broke off, flushed. “I’m sorry.”

“I’m sorry that this is happening,” Bobbie told her. “And you’re not wrong to worry that it will be difficult for Jason to see this as a blessing. But you’re seeing the doctor on Friday. And she might give you guys something more concrete to hold on to. You’re both getting yourselves so worried and caught up in something that might not end up being that serious.”

“I keep telling myself that, but it doesn’t seem to work.” She sighed. “And if we do go through with it, of course, I’m worried about what happens with the trial. I mean, Ric’s kept away from us, but—” She met Bobbie’s eyes. “He went insane after I lost the baby. I mean, he was already pretty far gone before that. I know that now. But he kidnapped Carly to get to her baby. He wanted to replace our child with hers. And now…”

“And now you’re pregnant.” Bobbie sat back in her chair. “I hadn’t thought about that.”

“Can I even keep this from him? It doesn’t feel like it’s relevant, but maybe…” Elizabeth bit her lip. “It’s just one more thing Ric is controlling, and I hate it. I should…if I go through with it and keep the baby, I should warn Scott. But then is he honor bound to turn it over?”

“I honestly don’t know,” Bobbie admitted. “But let’s take this one step at a time and get you through this appointment. We can cross all those bridges after that. And you know you’re not going through this alone. You or Jason. I’m here for you. Emily. Monica. I’m sure Lila. And Edward—” Bobbie pursed her lips. “Well, we’ll see what works out. Oh!” Bobbie snapped her fingers. “And I completely forgot — Nikolas is coming home on Friday.”

“Oh?” Elizabeth managed a smile. “I knew he was planning it soon, but that was more quickly than I expected. What about the rest of the family? Is Laura coming home, too?”

“Laura will be transferred to Shadybrooke in another month,” Bobbie said, “but Nikolas seems to think she’ll be on outpatient treatment soon. She might even be home by Thanksgiving.”

“Well, that’s good news. I know how hard it’s been for your family since she got sick.” Elizabeth grimaced as her phone rang. “One second.” She opened the phone and her scowl deepened. “Sarah. Hey—really? Okay. Okay. Sure. Yeah, I—I’ll figure something out.”

After the brief conversation, Elizabeth tossed her phone in her purse. “First time I’ve heard from her since Gram died.”

“What did she want?” Bobbie asked as Elizabeth started to search for her wallet. “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah. She’s interviewing for a position at Mercy tomorrow and her hotel reservation got lost.” She managed a humorless smile. “She wanted to know if she could stay with me.”

“With you?” Bobbie repeated. “That’s…”

Not something I need right now. The idea of my sister in the same city as me, even if it’s across town—” Elizabeth tossed some bills down. “Maybe Jason and I can avoid her, and she can stay at my place while we go to the penthouse or something.”

“Do you have to go take care of it now?”

“Yeah, I have to give her name to the guards in the front lobby, so they’ll let her in. She’s at the airport now.” Elizabeth got to her feet. “I’m…I don’t know how much she knows about what’s going on, so if you see her—”

“I won’t say a word.” Bobbie hugged her. “Good luck. And call me tomorrow.”

PCPD: Commissioner’s Office

Mac stared down at the report Taggert had prepared, including the lab reports and the more detailed statements from the victims who had agreed to be re-interviewed.

It was like a shot to the gut to realize just how badly he had handled the sexual assault cases during his tenure—how incredibly he had failed the women he had sworn to protect.

“Mac, I need to understand,” Taggert said, drawing his attention up to look at his lieutenant seated across from him. “I need to understand what happened with Elizabeth Webber’s case. Because she’s going to ask, and I can’t—” He shook his head. “I won’t lie to her. I won’t pretend that she wasn’t lied to. We told her that the dress came back negative.”

Mac exhaled slowly. “You have to understand that I honestly thought Tom Baker was the guy. I believed her—I still believe—that he said something to her, that he did something that convinced Elizabeth that he had confessed. I believed her.”

“I did, too,” Taggert admitted. “I went back and looked at the statement — based on her own words, she said it first. And he ran with it. He repeated a phrase her rapist had used—and Elizabeth accused him of being the guy. I think he ran with it to control the situation. To get her locked up so he could escape.” He rubbed his head. “Knowing now that he’s been excluded, that makes sense. But then—I wanted to believe it was him, too. Because I wanted that nightmare to be over.”

He shook his head. “That doesn’t explain what you did with the rape kit—”

“Floyd was concerned that Baker’s case would drag on,” Mac cut in with a weary sigh. “Edward Quartermaine was putting all kinds of pressure on him because of Emily’s involvement, and when I told him that we wouldn’t be able to fast-track the trial because of the rape investigation—because it would take six weeks, maybe more to get those results back—he hit the roof.”

“He wasn’t even up for election,” Taggert said, his lips curling in disgust. “Why the hell—”

“Because he was, and remains, terrified of pissing off the Quartermaines. He wants me to feed the department to the wolves and blame my officers for this rape case—he’s going to want Vinnie’s head on a stick so he can parade it around.” Mac rubbed his eyes. “But I thought Baker was the guy. And I thought—well, maybe I can spare her the trial. I can make it so this is easier for Elizabeth. She doesn’t have to go up and confront him. He was gonna go down for twenty-five years on the kidnapping charges. So, I told you I’d take care of the kit but that we were going to mark it for cold storage.”

Taggert shook his head. “That doesn’t explain—”

“At the trial, after Elizabeth accused Baker in open court—Edward Quartermaine made another call. He hadn’t known the rape case was part of this. Had no idea what had happened to Elizabeth. He wanted Floyd to do something to help her. To make it better.”

“So why—”

“Because of the mistrial. We were lucky to get that quick date in December. The next opening wasn’t until March — and a rape investigation might not have been done by then. Floyd did not want this case dragging through the spring and into the election season. He wanted me to make it go away. And by then, Dara Jensen was worried that she might not be able to convict him at a second trial. She wanted to make a deal.”

“So why falsify the lab report?” Taggert demanded. “Why bury her damn case, Mac?”

“Because Floyd needed the Quartermaines off his back.” Mac shook his head. “Making it look like that case could never get off the ground. Baker goes to jail for five to fifteen years and we give Edward Quartermaine the news that there simply wasn’t enough evidence to go after him on the rape. The report was supposed to back that up if anyone looked. And…”

“You made sure no one looked.” Taggert glared at him. “What the hell is wrong with you? You hid her file, you went out of your way—”

“I thought Baker was the guy. I was trying to protect her and Emily. And my job, yeah.” Mac’s stomach twisted. “Because I had a family, too. And Floyd threatened to fire me. I put it away. I had to. And then Sonny Corinthos was back, and the mob wars started again—I got distracted. The garage fire. The Cassadine crap.”

“You threw her away, Mac. You and Floyd. And you made me part of it.” Taggert shook his head. “Two more women were raped after Elizabeth. Then four more this year. All of that we could have stopped—”

“Could we have?” Mac demanded. “Doesn’t change the fact that we didn’t have the money to change the policy on testing rape kits. Didn’t change the fact that senior officers flee this town like their asses are on fire. That second part is on me—I’ll admit it. The PCPD isn’t such a great place to work. But I did the best I could—”

“Yeah, well, your best isn’t good enough.” Taggert’s mouth twisted as he got to his feet. “Six women were traumatized because you wanted to keep your job.” He raised his brows. “But you won’t have to worry about that for too long, will you, Mac? Latest polls show that Ned Ashton is going to clean Floyd’s clock in two months.”

“And until then, you still work for me,” Mac reminded him, getting to his feet. “I made mistakes. I’m not perfect. But don’t pretend that you’re any better than me. We’ve all been selfish. We’ve all ignored the oath we swore—so how about you stop standing in judgment of me and go do your damn job.”

Elizabeth’s Condo: Living Room

Sarah had left Port Charles the year before to take up a residency program in Los Angeles, and she and Elizabeth had barely stayed in touch. A few phone calls around the time their grandmother had died—mostly Sarah making her excuses for not being able to make it and sending her bank account information so that Elizabeth could transfer her inheritance.

She met her sister in the lobby of the building, finding Sarah eying the men behind the desk with an air of suspicion. “Sarah, uh, hey.”

Awkwardly, they embraced, then Elizabeth led her to the elevators. “What brings you back to Port Charles?” she asked as they stepped into the car.

“Oh. Well, after Gram died, I felt bad about not being around more,” Sarah offered, with a shrug. “I don’t want to work at General Hospital—too much pressure to live up to Gramps and Dad, I think. But Mercy offered a fellowship.” She glanced at her sister. “Last time I was here, you were living in that rat trap on the docks. This is an upgrade.”

“Yeah, Nikolas helped me find it,” Elizabeth said, as the doors slid open and they started down the hall. “I only have the one bedroom, so you can stay here tonight. Jason and I are going to his place.”

“Jason?” Sarah repeated. She waited as Elizabeth unlocked her door. “You guys got back together?” She set her overnight bag on the sofa and started to walk around the room, checking inside the bathroom before heading for the kitchen. Elizabeth rolled her eyes as her sister inspected her apartment like it was a goddamn hotel room.

Sarah would never change, and in a lot of ways, there was a comfort in knowing that.

“Something like that,” Elizabeth said as she took her own overnight bag out of her closet and started to toss some things into it, from both her drawers and closet as well as Jason’s drawer.

“I knew you got married and you were separated—is that someone else? Steven didn’t know the details.” Sarah wrinkled her nose. “But that last part didn’t sound like you.” She sat on the side of the bed, then frowned. She tugged on a piece of the plastic tubing that connected the mask to the oxygen mask. “What is this?”

Elizabeth sighed, wishing she’d had advance notice of her sister’s visit so she could have packed in advance. She took both pieces from her sister and tucked into the bag. “I got sick this summer—”

“Elizabeth—” Sarah sat on the edge of the bed, and just looked at her with those sad eyes Elizabeth remembered all too well. “I know we’re not close, but why didn’t you—”

“I couldn’t.” Elizabeth sighed. “I had a pulmonary embolism and went into cardiac arrest. Sometimes I have trouble breathing, but it’s mostly—it’s a long story, Sarah. I’m fine. Don’t worry about me.”

“Cardiac—” Sarah’s face was pale as she pressed her fingers to her lips. “Jesus, Liz. Are you serious?”

“Yes, but I really am okay now.” Elizabeth folded her arms. “Look, yes, I got pregnant and married the father. He turned out to be…not a great guy on a lot of levels, okay? I lost the baby, and then later, I found out he was drugging me with birth control pills to keep me from getting pregnant again. That’s how I got the embolism. It was rough for a while, but I got better, and I’m okay now. I also filed for divorce. Jason and I got back together because after all of that, the reasons we were apart seemed incredibly stupid.”

Sarah blinked at her, then shook her head. “That can’t be all of it, Elizabeth. Something like that—why didn’t Nikolas or Lucky call me? Why didn’t Emily?”

“Because they didn’t. It’s—” Elizabeth met her sister’s eyes. “It’s really not something I want to go into right now, but if you end up coming back to Port Charles — if you take the job at Mercy, then we can get into it. Okay? You’re only in town for a night. Do you want to get dinner? Jason and I were going to go to Eli’s.”

“Okay. If Jason wouldn’t mind me tagging along.” Sarah folded her arms, looked away. “I should have come home for Gram. I should have been here for you—for her. I just—it’s hard to be here and not at the house. To know she and Gramps are both gone—it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be. But I should have been a better sister to you.”

“Well, as I learned this summer,” Elizabeth said after a long moment, “it’s never too late. C’mon. Jason and I are meeting at the restaurant.”

“Thank you for letting me stay on such short notice,” Sarah told her as the sisters headed for the doorway. “Really. I knew I could count on you.” She smiled, a bit of bitterness underneath it. “And I can’t say that about pretty much anything else.”

Elizabeth frowned. “Sarah—”

“I’m only in town for one night,” Sarah reminded her. “We’ll get into it if I move back home. Let’s go. I’ve missed Eli’s ribs and I want…I want to actually get to know Jason.”


Comments

  • Really good update. Love Liz and Bobbie’s relationship. She is pretty much a mother to her. I am also enjoying the fact that Jason is seeking Monica out and slowly letting her back into his life. I’m hoping for half way good news at the OB appointment. Perhaps Carly and Elizabeth should just let Scott make a deal with Ric. Neither of them need the added stress right now. She can’t hide her pregnancy from Ric he will have legal access to her medical file. Interesting time for Sarah to pop up. Since I am not a fan, I’m pretty suspicious that all of a sudden she wants to move back and possibly be in her sister’s life. But, it could all be true. I’ll wait and see where you take her. Look forward to the next update.

    According to nanci on October 7, 2019
  • Great update! Uh oh Sarah…. she makes me nervous
    ….. but not as nervous for Ric to find out Elizabeth is pregnant…. can’t wait for the next one

    According to Michelle on October 7, 2019
  • I so love the relationship between Liz and Bobbie and how Monica and the Q will be rallying about Liz and Jason. I can’t wait for Targett to let Jason and Liz know how the Mayor and Mac damaged Liz rape just to be on Edward’s good side. Thanks for a great update.

    According to Shelly W Samuel on October 7, 2019
  • Another great chapter. Boy, Vinnie is a jerk. At first I thought he was the rapist, now he’s just a selfish jerk. Unfortunately Mac is too. Bobbie is the mother Elizabeth needs. So is Sarah going to go after Nikolas or Lucky or Jason. I’m hoping she’s not evil to Elizabeth. Jason is really growing, now he needs to speak about what he wants and what he thinks. Thank you

    According to Sandra on October 7, 2019
  • I don’t trust Sarah. I am glad Jason went to see Monica. I hope they recieve good news with the ob/gyn. I hope Nikolas is going to be a good friend to Elizabeth.

    According to Carla P on October 11, 2019