Chapter Forty-One

This entry is part 22 of 31 in the series All of Me

Today was gonna be the day
But they’ll never throw it back to you
By now you should’ve somehow
Realized what you’re not to do
I don’t believe that anybody
Feels the way I do, about you now
Wonderwall, Oasis


Saturday, September 13, 2003

Warehouse: Jason’s Office

Jason held Carly’s elbow as she slowly lowered herself to the dingy sofa in his office. “I would have come to you—”

“I’m eight months pregnant, not dying,” Carly muttered. “And Dr. Meadows thinks it’s a good idea if I keep active for as long as I can stand it.” She sighed. “And since Courtney left for Manhattan last month, Sonny spends a lot less time here in the mornings so I knew it would be clear.”

“Yeah, one of the guards told me you’d taken a suitcase and Michael to the Brownstone,” Jason told her, taking a seat next her. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize things were so bad with Sonny.” He shook his head. “I should have. All I do with him is argue these days and it’s always the same thing.”

“Yeah, well, I guess we both thought he’d eventually come around.” Carly bit her lip. “Has Sonny tried to go after Ric? Did he—he did tell you—I mean, I know I’m not supposed to ask about business—”

“Once,” Jason asked after a long time. “I told him no. He gave the order to Johnny who also refused.”

Carly closed her eyes. “And neither of you got in trouble for that?”

“I sent Johnny to the island to deal with security down there for a while until Sonny cools off, but no. At the end of the day, even if Sonny wanted to, there aren’t a lot of the guys who are willing to—” Jason shook his head. “Why does it matter?”

“Well, for one, all this time I thought he was angry at me because he couldn’t go after Ric. It turns out he was already ignoring what I needed from him, and he was angry with everyone else.” Carly exhaled slowly, trying to gather her thoughts. “He’s not well, Jason. A year ago, I thought he trusted me. He brought me into the plan to fake his death and he gave me a role to play. He listened to me. He took suggestions to get through that. But—”

“Yeah. He’s been having a rough time of it since you went missing, but I don’t know. Maybe it started when he found out about Ric and his mother.” Jason rubbed his chest. “He always blamed himself for his mother’s death, you know. And then you get kidnapped because of him. Elizabeth nearly dies because she’s trying to help him. He always takes on the weight of the world.”

“I know that, Jason. I do. And I’ve let him get away with it. You and I—we’ve made him a priority in a way that I just…don’t want to do anymore, you know?” She absently rubbed her belly. “Michael deserves better. This new baby deserves better from me. And Jason, you deserve better, too.” She looked at him. “What did the doctor say yesterday?”

Jason sighed and got up to pace across the room. “That Elizabeth should be able to carry the baby to term without a lot of problems as long as we monitor her health and avoid stress. The doctor seemed to think most of the risk would come after delivery.”

“Well, that’s good news, isn’t it?” Carly asked. “I mean, she and I are never going to be friends, but I know what she went through. She did it for you mostly, but I’m still free because of her.” She bit her lip. “Jason, we have to stop letting what Sonny needs be the most important thing in the world to us. You need to put Elizabeth first. I need to put my kids first.”

“Yeah, I know. I know that.”

“But doing it is a lot harder than it looks.” She hesitated. “Listen, there’s something else you should know. Sonny made some threats against Scott Baldwin.”

Jason blinked, shook his head, and looked at her. “No. That’s not—he wouldn’t—”

“Exactly. He wouldn’t. If he were thinking clearly. He wants Ric to go away, and right now, you and I are standing in his way. He can’t do anything to us, and I don’t believe he ever would. So, he’s blaming the next best thing.”

“Going after a DA—that’s suicide. There’s not a man alive in this organization—” He shook his head again. “No one is going to agree to do that. Not over something like this.”

“And the fact that he couldn’t even get anyone to go after Ric gives me a lot of relief, because that means Scott will be safe. I know you guys gave Courtney grief when she called the police, and I get it, but Scott means a lot to my mother and he’s—”

“He’s never once treated you and Elizabeth differently because of me and Sonny,” Jason finished. “Yeah, I agree. I don’t think Baldwin’s in any danger, but it makes me nervous Sonny isn’t getting better.”

“He’s the father of my children, Jason, but I’m just…I can’t do this anymore.” She started to get to her feet, so Jason took her elbow and helped her.

“We’ll figure this out, Carly. But right now, you worry about the baby. Let me worry about Sonny.”

“That’s what I’m worried about,” Carly muttered on her way out the door, but Jason didn’t answer her.  

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

 “I am so glad to see you,” Elizabeth said as she embraced Nikolas for a tight hug. “I feel like we didn’t have enough time to catch up in July.”

“Well, you were busy trying not to die,” he said dryly as he drew back and kissed her cheek. “But I’m happy to see you out of the hospital and…” He looked around the room. “I think I’m not entirely surprised to find you here.”

“I’m moving my things in here officially this weekend,” Elizabeth told him as they sat down on the sofa. “But I’ve been staying here since Wednesday—Sarah was here overnight, and I let her stay in the condo.”

“Sarah?” Nikolas repeated. “Why—” He shook his head. “Why was she in Port Charles? She left last year without so much as a word to the rest of us—”

“Yeah, well, she finished her residency in California and Mercy is interviewing her for a fellowship. It was fine. She stayed at my place, and Jason and I took her to Eli’s for dinner. It was weird but fine.” Elizabeth scratched her temple. “How’s your mother? You were hoping to bring her home soon. Is that still happening?”

“Yeah, yeah. She’ll be at Shadybrooke for few weeks, and then they’re going to do some outpatient therapy.” Nikolas’s smile was full of relief. “She should be home for good by Christmas as long as there aren’t any setbacks.”

“I’m so glad,” Elizabeth said, reaching out to squeeze his hands. “I know Lucky could use her in his life. He told you about the investigation and what happened to Brooke Lynn Ashton?”

“Yeah. It’s—” Nikolas shook his head. “It’s brought back some rough memories for him. Have you talked to him?”

“A little but not in a few weeks,” Elizabeth admitted. “But he seems happier than he used to be. Have you met Kelsey?”

“I did. She came with him to pick me up. I liked her. And you’re right, he seems happy. But I’m worried about this case.” Nikolas paused. “He said he talked to you about his memory issues.”

“A few weeks ago, yeah. He said he was remembering it now,” Elizabeth replied.  “I thought about checking in with him again, but…” She looked down at her hands. “I don’t know. We have this shared trauma of that night, and I’m dealing with a lot after what happened with Ric—what’s still happening because of him…”

“Are…are you okay?” Nikolas asked, concerned.

“I’ve been seeing Gail Baldwin and digging into a lot of crap that happened, so it’s been painful. Jason and I have fought maybe a hundred times about him worrying too much about me taking risks with my health, so that’s been fun.” Elizabeth pursed her lips. “And then, to top it off, ELQ apparently can’t make decent condoms, so it turns out I’m pregnant.”

To his credit, Nikolas merely nodded. “Okay. So that’s a lot.”

Elizabeth exhaled slowly, shaking her head. “The doctor says there’s a good chance I’ll be okay, and the baby will be okay, but instead of being excited, Ric gets to play a starring role because of the drugs he fed me for months.” She squeezed her eyes shut. “I’m sorry. That’s not why you came over—”

“Hey. We agreed this summer we were going to do better by one another, right?” Nikolas squeezed her hand again. “I’m glad you felt like you could tell me that. Have you talked to Jason?”

“To a certain extent, yeah, he knows all of that but…I’m tired of everything being about Ric. Between what happened to Brooke and the memories it brought up for me because of Ric, the trial, and now the baby—I just want my life to stop being about Ric Lansing.”

She got to her feet and paced the length of the room. “I wanted the chance to testify against him. To see his face so he could know that I’m not weak. I wanted him to know who put him there.” She stared out the window over the harbor. “But mostly, I just want it all to be over.”

“It will be.” Nikolas got to his feet and joined her. “At the end of all it, you and Carly will put that sociopath away for the rest of his life, you’ll have your baby, and in a few years, this won’t even make the top ten list of things you think about.”

“I wish I could believe that,” Elizabeth murmured. She smiled at him. “But it gives me something to look forward to, you know? The idea that if I just concentrate on that moment—my baby’s fifth birthday or something—I want to be able to dream again, Nikolas.” Tears slid down her cheek. “But I’m not sure I remember how anymore.”

“Well, then dream about this. Next week, let’s get together with Lucky and Emily and have dinner. The Four Musketeers.”

Elizabeth laughed through her tears. “You know, the last time we all had dinner together, Lucky was kidnapped. I guess it can’t get much worse than that. Okay. It’s a deal. Dinner with the Musketeers.”

Brownstone: Living Room

 “Hey, Lucky,” Bobbie said as she embraced her nephew. “It’s been a few weeks since I saw you around.”

“Yeah, well…” Lucky grimaced and followed his aunt to the kitchen where she started a pot of coffee. “I’ve been busy with the case—”

“And Kelsey,” his aunt said with a smile. “Don’t think I haven’t noticed how little you come by Kelly’s and your room.”

“Things are…” Lucky shook his head, with a bit of a surprised laugh. “Things are good. I’m not really sure how it happened, but she’s amazing. And I feel—” He looked at Bobbie. “I feel like I’m finally the person I’m supposed to be. With her. With Dante and Cruz. And sometimes, at my job.”

“I’m so glad.” Bobbie squeezed his shoulder. “You were so lost. Even when we thought you were found, you still didn’t seem comfortable in your own skin.”

“Nikolas likes her.” He shrugged. “Dad might not since she’s an ADA and he’s not that great about my job choice, but I guess we’ll find out.”

“I can’t believe your mother will finally be home next month,” Bobbie said. She placed the coffee carafe underneath her faucet and turned on the water. “Lulu is excited to be moving back to the house—she said Lesley is coming home next week, then Luke will come back with Laura.” She threw him a smile over her shoulder. “It’s been a hard year for the Spencers, but we’re coming out of it.”

“Yeah.” Lucky sat on the stool by the counter and unpinned his badge from his uniform shirt. “What do you think Mom is gonna say about me being a cop?”

“I think it might surprise her,” Bobbie admitted as she switched on the pot to brew, then turned to fully face him. “But do I think she’ll react like Luke? No. She’d be proud of you for going after what you want.” She tipped her head to the side. “You’ve been at this for four months on duty. Is this still something you want?”

“I don’t know,” Lucky admitted. “I got into it because of Scott—because of how he and everyone went after Mom and Dad last year for what happened to Rick Webber. He made it sound like I couldn’t do it, you know? I went into the academy just to prove I could. Then I met Dante and Cruz—” He looked at Bobbie. “But ever since I actually started doing the work…”

“Well, I guess it doesn’t help that literally the day you started was Carly’s kidnapping. Then this rape investigation with poor Brooke. It’s probably been hard on all three of you. Especially you and Dante—”

“Yeah…” Lucky sighed. “The thing is, Aunt Bobbie, this rape case—it’s bringing back a lot of stuff. You know where the papers are saying it happened, right?”

“The park,” Bobbie said with a nod as she took two mugs out of a cabinet. “That’s where Brooke was.”

“The papers don’t have the whole story yet, but you’re going to be hearing it soon enough because Taggert is supposed to tell her today.” Lucky waited until Bobbie stopped to meet his eyes. “Brooke and the other three women—it’s not the first time this guy has hit Port Charles.”

Bobbie stared at him for a long moment, then closed her eyes. “Oh, God. Tell me when you say her—tell me—”

“Taggert had this hunch that something about this case seemed familiar, but I think he already knew. I think he was already told he wasn’t allowed to reopen her case because he told me, Dante, and Cruz to go down to the archives and bring up all the cold cases that were similar. He knew what we were supposed to find.”

The drip of the coffee was the only thing that punctuated the silence as Bobbie said nothing. Lucky continued. “We found two other cases. Two other women, in April 1999 and January 2000. But Aunt Bobbie, Elizabeth’s case wasn’t in cold storage.”

Bobbie frowned. “I thought Taggert put it on the inactive list. That’s what he told Elizabeth back then. Even though Baker had confessed—”

“That’s where Taggert put it. Mac Scorpio told him they would run the rape kit, but until then it had to come off the active case list. He told Taggert the kit came back negative.”

Bobbie clutched at the edge of the counter as if to maintain her balance. “Lucky—”

“But we found the file in closed storage. It was marked as solved. The lab report was in the file, just like it was in the DA’s file—but it wasn’t created until December. And the lab said it didn’t come from them. And her dress never got tested.”

“I—I can’t—” Bobbie shook her head. “How—”

“We couldn’t understand it either. Taggert talked to Mac. He said it was some kind of clerical error—that the lab got it wrong, but I don’t think so. I think Floyd pressured Mac to close any case that would screw up Baker’s trial. We all thought Baker was the guy. Maybe Mac didn’t even think he was doing anything wrong.”

Bobbie rounded the counter to sit at her table. “Why would Floyd care—” She twisted in the chair to look at Lucky. “Because Baker was on trial for what happened to Emily. You think Edward was behind this.”

“I think it’s entirely possible the Quartermaines were the source of that pressure, yes,” Lucky said. He turned on the stool. “We ran the kit finally—and all the other kits. They’re all linked. Baker was excluded. And Elizabeth’s rapist went on to brutally beat and rape six other women, including Brooke Lynn.”

Bobbie pressed a fist to her abdomen. “I feel sick to my stomach. They…they swept her case under the rug and—Oh, God. You said Taggert is telling her today?”

“Yeah. She’s the only previous victim we haven’t interviewed. He held off until he had no other choice. He was almost hoping he wouldn’t have to tell her at all — Elizabeth’s case is five years old — older than that now, and the statute of limitations ran out in February.”

Bobbie frowned. “Then—”

“Elizabeth was sixteen,” Lucky continued, “and in the state of New York, the clock on limitations doesn’t start until the victim turns eighteen.”

Bobbie pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes. “And now, after everything she’s been through, Taggert is going to reopen all of this.”

“Aunt Bobbie—”

“I don’t think Edward had anything to do with the cover-up,” Bobbie cut him. “I buy that he leaned on Floyd to protect Emily, to go after Baker. Edward’s always been ruthless, but he’s not cruel. He respected Steve and Audrey too much to do that to their granddaughter. He wouldn’t have done it.”

“Maybe, but at the end of the day, instead of running the rape kit and officially clearing Baker, Mac let this case die. And six other women went with it.”

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

“What do you think is going to happen to Sonny and Carly?” Elizabeth asked as she handed Jason his takeout container from Kelly’s. She settled herself on the sofa next to him and grimaced at the roasted vegetables and plain chicken breast she’d ordered. The least she could do for her baby was eat better, but damn if didn’t hurt to watch Jason sink his teeth into a burger.

“I don’t know,” Jason admitted. “Carly seems tired of dealing with it, and I can’t blame her. Not after everything she’s been through. I guess…we’ll just have to see how it plays out.” He eyed her as she listlessly stabbed a fork into a piece of zucchini. “Did Nikolas stop by today?”

“Yeah, and then I went to see Gail when he left for our usual session.” She sighed. “Gail said that one of her support groups is looking for someone to lead it.” Her stomach twisted. “A rape survivor’s group. She thought I might be interested.”

He just tipped his head to the side. “Are you?”

She said nothing for a long moment as she ate a few bites of the vegetables. As she chewed, she tried to think of a way to express exactly what she was thinking. “I don’t know. I think about talking to Brooke and what I’ve been through this summer, the idea of talking about my rape, listening to other people talk about theirs…I almost can’t stand it. But…”

“But?” he pressed when she trailed off.

“I went to a few group meetings while I was seeing Gail the first time around. And…I don’t know. It sucked knowing I wasn’t alone. That men were out there doing this to women all the time.” Elizabeth looked away, towards the fireplace. “But…I wasn’t alone. And that helped sometimes when I was sitting in my room and couldn’t sleep.” She jerked a shoulder. “That summer, I used to get really upset that I would never know. Lucky and I were trying to find the guy, but our own investigation never went anywhere.”

She set her takeout container on the coffee table. “But then I’d remember some of the stories I heard in group, and I’d think…maybe it’d be worse if I did know the guy, you know? Someone’s boyfriend raped her when she told him no. Another had been…her father. Someone else’s uncle.”

She looked at Jason whose expression hadn’t changed, even as one of his hands had clenched into a fist. “Gail thinks I’d be good at it, and it might help me let go of my guilt about not doing enough for Brooke. I’ve been complaining about not having any passion, any direction…And I don’t think it would be all that stressful. I mean, it would be painful, but—”

“Not stressful the way we need to worry about,” Jason offered when she furrowed her brow, trying to articulate the difference.

“Yeah. If she thinks it’s a good idea, she’s probably right. But I don’t know. I’m trying to get away from all of that. I was just telling Nikolas how much I want it all to stop, to go away. If I did this, I’d have to live with all the time.”

He paused for a moment as if searching for the right words. “But you already do.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know. I don’t know. I guess it’s something to think about.”

The phone on Jason’s desk rang, so he got up to answer it. “Yeah?” He grimaced, looked at Elizabeth. “Hold on a second.” He put the receiver down. “Taggert is here to see you.”

“Really?” Elizabeth bit her lip. “Send him up, I guess.”

Jason gave the directive, then hung up the phone. “What do you think he wants?”

“I don’t know. It’s almost eight.” Elizabeth got to her feet to clear away their dinner, but Jason stopped her and did it instead. “I went to see him and Scott yesterday—you don’t think Ric already knows, do you?” she called after him as he went into the kitchen.

“I don’t know.” Jason reappeared in the doorway. “I guess we’ll find out.”

When she opened the door to Taggert a few minutes later, she hoped neither the fear nor the panic swirling in her stomach showed on her face. “Lieutenant, this is a surprise.”

“Hey, Elizabeth,” Taggert said as she stepped back to let him. He had a slight grimace on his face when he saw Jason standing at the bottom of the stairs. “Sorry to come by so late, but I didn’t want to wait another day.”

She gestured for him to take a seat. He did so, sitting in the armchair next to the sofa where Elizabeth tugged Jason to sit next to her. “What’s up? Is it Ric?”

“No, no. Everything is still where we left it there. Um, you know I was promoted this summer and took over Major Crimes. That’s why I was on Brooke’s case.”

“Do you…have a lead?” Elizabeth asked. She looked at Jason who looked unhappy. She frowned before looking back at Taggert. “Did you find him?”

“No. We—the papers already reported that she was the fourth young woman in the park. We…There’s no easy way to say this, Elizabeth. But these four women—they weren’t the first.”

The chill began in her fingertips and she idly started to rub her hands together to keep them from freezing solid. Silly to wonder if the ice was real or just in her head. “They weren’t.”

“There were three other earlier attacks,” Taggert continued, looking down at the carpet. His voice started to sound far away. She felt Jason take one of her hands, hold it tightly. “January 2000. April 1999, and—”

“February 1998,” she said softly. “How can you know that?”

“We ran the…we ran the forensics, and there was…a DNA match linked all seven cases.”

“Seven—” Elizabeth shook her head. “No, no, then there’s a mistake. Because my kit was run. Back in 1998. After Baker confessed. Because he confessed—”

Thank God she was sitting down because her head started to swim. Jason turned and wrapped his arm around her, bringing her closer to him. He was so warm. She wanted to crawl inside of him and hide.

Because she knew what was coming next and she couldn’t stop it.

“Elizabeth, I can’t—the kit wasn’t—there were some issues. But—we now know the profile excludes Baker. And links you to the later cases.”

She closed her eyes, swallowed hard. “Jason.”

“I’m right here—”

“The letter. The letter he sent—is that what he said? Is that what you’ve wanted to tell me?”

“Letter?” Taggert asked, his brows lifted. “What letter?”

She couldn’t speak. Couldn’t get the words out over the pounding of her heart. So, Jason took a deep breath and told him.

“In July, when we were packing her things at the house…she got a letter from Tom Baker. She didn’t open it.” His features were pained as she met his eyes. “I did. I read it. He’s up for parole in a while and he—”

“Wanted to clear his conscience?” Taggert asked sardonically.

“Make sure that no one was waiting for him when he left prison,” Jason said flatly. “He saw the same tabloids that Ric Lansing saw. Thought he had reason to worry.”

Taggert left it at that. “I no longer work in Organized Crime,” Taggert said. “I am supremely uninterested in anything that has to do with arresting someone who is not the asshole who—you can trust me. At least on this.”

“What did the letter say? Do you still have it?”

“It’s upstairs,” Jason said, but it was clear that he wasn’t going to leave Elizabeth alone for a minute to retrieve it. “She didn’t want to read it, and I never told her what was in it.” He looked at her, regretful. “You didn’t want to know. Every time I tried—”

She touched his face, understanding. After her reaction from just knowing he’d been to see Baker— “Taggert, can we trust you?” she asked softly. “I mean, really.”

“After we got the letter, I went to see him. To warn him to stay away from Elizabeth and Emily if he got out on parole,” Jason said, not looking away from Elizabeth. “But he said something that…he said something about what he wrote. So, I went home and read the letter. He said it wasn’t him. Then, after Brooke and the other stories in the papers…”

Taggert narrowed his eyes, lunged to his feet. “Is there, ah, a reason you didn’t think to tell the cops—”

“Tell the same department that almost got her killed?” Jason demanded, also rising and meeting Taggert’s glare, fury in his eyes. “Yeah. There were reasons.”

“Don’t—” Elizabeth stood up between them. “Don’t. Jason didn’t tell you because we didn’t trust you. And after everything that came out about Brooke’s case, I’m not sure he was wrong. Because I know for a fact I was told five years ago that my rape kit came back negative, Taggert. How were you able to exclude Baker this time?”

“I can’t get into that, Elizabeth—”

“When Jason told me he’d been to see Baker, I fell apart. I had a panic attack. I continued to have panic attacks and breathing problems until three weeks ago. And then we found out we were pregnant. He didn’t think I could handle knowing. And I don’t blame you.” She turned to look at him. “I don’t blame you.” Elizabeth returned to Taggert.  “But this guy—he’s raped six other women. And he’s responsible for Brooke’s death. So, I just…I want to do what I can to help.”

Taggert exhaled slowly. “I’m sorry, Elizabeth. For all the ways we’ve failed you. But I’m trying to do right now. What happened to you, to Brooke, to everyone who should have been safe makes me sick.” He looked at Jason, who was still breathing hard with anger. “You said you believed him. Why?”

Elizabeth gave him a pleading look, so Jason sighed and sat back down, pulling her with him. Taggert also retook his seat.  “He said that he knew he was getting out, and he wanted to make sure I didn’t have a reason to come after him,” Jason related as though there wasn’t a world of meaning in that statement. “Once we found out about the other attacks—it just seemed it fit. He said that she had said something, and he’d run with it.”

“Yeah, that’s about what I thought might have happened. I looked at the transcript of your original statement and it looks like—”

“He told me not to say a word, and—” Elizabeth took a deep breath, shaking her head. “Yeah, I guess maybe. I accused him, and I must have looked so freaked out. Thinking back, that makes sense.”

“I’d like you to come in,” Taggert told her. “I’d like you give us an updated statement for our files. We never conducted a second full interview.”

“Do you have any leads?”

He hesitated. “We have some things to look at, but at the moment, we don’t have a suspect. The DNA isn’t in the database. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be. Other jurisdictions are still getting online. He was inactive for nearly all of 2000 through 2002. He might have been somewhere else.”

“I guess…” Elizabeth sighed. “I guess yeah. Where did you keep the letter?” she asked Jason.

“I can get it—”

“I need a minute,” she told him quietly. “Please.”

“It’s in my top dresser drawer.” He watched as she slowly climbed the stairs before turning back to Taggert. “You’re not going to hassle me about going to see Baker?”

“I already know it was off the books because you’re not listed in his visitor log. So, I could…” Taggert looked at the stairs. “Knowing what she’s been through, Morgan, I waited until the last possible minute to bring her into this. I wanted to protect her. So, I can put myself in your place. Woman I cared about whose life was shattered gets a letter like that? I’m gonna get her some answers anyway I can.”

He tilted his head. “And now that I’m thinking back to it, it seems to me that after Brooke was attacked, I got a tip from an anonymous source that these weren’t the first attacks. That I should look at similar cases.”

Jason didn’t look at him, stared straight ahead at the television where the news was running, muted. “If I had come to you, she would have known. And she didn’t want to know.”

“Fair enough.”

Elizabeth came down the stairs and held out the letter, still folded. “Here. When do you want me to come in?”

“Tomorrow. Whenever is good for you.” Taggert took it and carefully slid it into a plastic bag he kept in the pocket of his suit jacket for times like these. “Thanks.”

Jason walked him to the door as Elizabeth sank back onto the sofa. When he closed the door, he looked back at Elizabeth. He didn’t know what to do for her. How to even…begin to understand how to make this okay for her.

“I think maybe part of me has wondered since the moment Emily called me and told me it was in the park,” Elizabeth admitted. “When you put that letter in front of me, and I had to face it, I still pushed it under the rug. I’ve avoided it. Concentrated on Brooke and what happened to Ric, and then the baby—I didn’t think I was strong enough to face the idea it wasn’t Baker.”

Her cheeks were wet when she met his eyes again. “But Taggert said it…and I realized I already knew. I had already accepted it. Somewhere inside. I just didn’t…Did you hear what he said? It wasn’t just me. I wasn’t alone.”

The echo of her words from earlier that evening slammed into him because they were no longer comforting but filled with horror. With terror.

He was rooted to this spot in front of the door, afraid to come near her. To touch her. What if he did, and it happened again? If she went back to that place—

“I wasn’t alone,” Elizabeth repeated. “And he just…” She pressed a fist to her mouth, closed her eyes. “He kept on doing it. He kept hurting women. April, January, February, May, July—and then, oh, God, Brooke. He’s the reason she’s gone. He’s still out there, Jason. Not five years ago. But now. Tonight. And these are just the women we know about. What if…”

He moved just one step towards her, then she flew into his arms, burrowing her head into his chest. He exhaled slowly, wrapping his arms around her and held her.

“What do you want to do?” he asked after a moment.

“I have to do it. I have to help. Six other women. Brooke. If I don’t, and I knew something that could have helped, even a little…and then someone else…I couldn’t live with myself, Jason.”

“Okay.”

She drew back to look at him. “I know you and Taggert aren’t…on most days, you don’t like each other, but I was hoping…you would come with me.”

“Taggert and I agree on one thing — you.” And he knew Taggert had transferred to Major Crimes over the handling of Elizabeth and Carly’s case. He’d been the only cop on their side while Carly was gone, responsible for the rookies who had sat outside her house every day. And now he’d done what he could to keep this case from touching Elizabeth. “If you want me there, then that’s where I’ll be.”

“Thank you.” She was quiet for a moment. “I’m going to tell Gail I’ll do it. The support group, anyway. I think—I think I need to deal with this once and for all and put it away for good.”


Comments

  • Another amazing chapter. I am very pleased that the letter didn’t put a chink in Liz and Jason’s relationship and that she understood that she hadn’t wanted to know what it said. I am glad Taggert and Jason are going to be somewhat allies in this. They are both team Elizabeth.

    I liked Carly and Jason’s conversation. It reinforced that that men may know Sonny is their boss, but they look to Jason for guidance first. Which does mean that if Sonny is going to go rogue, he is going to go outside the organization, which won’t be good.

    Lucky and Bobbie’s conversation was well done and needed. As always, can’t wait for the next update.

    According to nanci on October 14, 2019
  • I like Carly in this story she has the voice of reason, Lucky I feel sorry about he is going through so much right now that I hope he remembers what happened

    Sonny is going crazy and I hope Jason takes him out I wonder if Ric is the one that is doing the rape or someone close to Liz or a cop.

    According to Shelly W Samuel on October 14, 2019
  • I have to admit Elizabeth is handling this better than I thought she would. I really liked the talk between Lucky and Bobbie.

    According to Carla P on October 14, 2019
  • Whoa, I am so surprised by Elizabeth’s reaction but so happy she is dealing so well. I really thought the letter would cause an argument, so happy you wrote the discovery this way. Jason doesn’t know how he’s suppose to act. I can see Lucky is so uncertain about his life except Kelsey. I really feel for Carly, she’s pregnant and Sonny is so over the edge. Thanks

    According to Sandra on October 15, 2019