I don’t know what’s worth fighting for
Or why I have to scream
I don’t know why I instigate
And say what I don’t mean
I don’t know how I got this way
I’ll never be alright
So I’m breaking the habit
I’m breaking the habit tonight
– Breaking the Habit, Linkin Park
Friday, June 27, 2003
Brownstone: Living Room
Bobbie tapped her foot impatiently as she waited for the long-distance call to connect with Nikolas. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Lucas and Lulu bickering about what to pack, what not to take, and Lulu trying to get out of the trip altogether.
“Bobbie?” Nikolas’s voice seemed a bit faint. “Hey—”
“Hey. I don’t know how much you know about what’s going on here this last week,” she said as she cut off his greeting. “Has Lucky called you?”
“Ah…no.” Nikolas’s voice got a bit stronger. “But Emily did—Carly’s missing, and Elizabeth’s husband is the primary suspect? She called me a few days ago, but she said I shouldn’t come to Port Charles—”
“That was then. This is now.” Bobbie pressed her free hand to her temple. “We’re out of ideas. The PCPD can’t find Carly, Jason is frantic, and Sonny’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown—though I think maybe that’s actually more like he’s now recovering from some kind of breakdown. I don’t know. You’re the only person left in Liz’s life who gives a damn. And you—well the Cassadines are psychos, so—”
“Maybe I have some insight into other psychos?” Nikolas said dryly. “I can be there tomorrow, Bobbie. You can explain everything to me then and I’ll see what I can do.”
Bobbie closed her eyes. She hadn’t imagined he’d come right home. “You can leave Laura? It’s not going to mess her up? Elizabeth would never forgive me if I—”
“Mom is responding well,” Nikolas said. “And Lesley and Luke can handle things for a few weeks. And she’d never forgive me if I let something happen to Elizabeth.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow.” She and Nikolas said their goodbyes, and Bobbie hung up. She turned her attention to the bickering idiots in her living room. “Look, I get that neither of you want to go to the island with Courtney and Michael.”
“It’s not that I don’t want to go,” Lucas said. “I don’t know why she’s coming.”
“Hey, I can stay home—”
“Michael likes you, Lu,” Bobbie said, almost exasperated. “And I thought you’d have some sympathy for him. You know what it’s like to be missing your mother, to be worried about her.”
Lulu closed her mouth and frowned. “I do, Aunt Bobbie. I just…” She lifted her hands. “You sure you won’t need me here? Who’s going to take care of you?”
“Nikolas is coming back tomorrow,” Bobbie said, instead of arguing that she’d taken care of herself for her entire life and certainly didn’t need a teenager to look out for her. “Thank you.”
“Mom….” Lucas embraced her, and Bobbie hugged him back tightly. “Hey. I know you’re scared. If this is what is going to help you deal with this, then that’s what I’m going to do. I just….” He drew back, shaking his head slightly. “I hope everything turns out well.”
“Me, too.” Bobbie then hugged Lulu. “Jason said the plane should be ready in a few hours, so you guys better get going to the airport and meet Courtney there with Michael.”
Elizabeth stared at the sketch pad in her hand, the pencil lines little more than scribbles. She’d come to the studio today because she needed a break from the house—because she needed to pretend for just one minute that her life was okay.
But it was hard to hold up that pretense with the patrol car that had followed her car from the house to the studio—right behind the dark car which Cody drove. She had her own personal escort to keep her safe, but what did Carly have?
And where was Carly? Was she in the house? Elizabeth couldn’t imagine how she was, but maybe she wasn’t crazy. She felt like she wasn’t alone when she should be.
If Carly was in the house—was she alive? She had to be alive—why else would Ric kidnap her?
Elizabeth rubbed her head. She was tired of the headaches, the exhaustion she carried with her, the nausea—all of the things Monica had warned her she’d deal with for the next few weeks as she came down from the Valium Ric had been giving her for months.
Drugging her for months. Elizabeth still couldn’t wrap her mind around that kind of betrayal—couldn’t understand it—Monica had said the dosages had been low, infrequent, and hadn’t picked up until after the miscarriage. But knowing that there had been the possibility that her child had already been…. compromised…she almost couldn’t process that.
Had…had he drugged her when he wanted to sleep with her? Was that why she’d turned to him after her grandmother’s funeral? They’d slept together then for the first time…and then infrequently after that. She’d never really been able to find the comfort she sought—
Had Ric drugged her to sleep with her? God. Didn’t that mean she’d—
She cut herself off from that train of thought immediately because she really couldn’t process the logical next step.
Cody knocked on her door, then opened it slightly. “Jason’s here.”
“Oh.” Elizabeth frowned, let her feet fall to the ground from the sofa as she set the sketch pad aside. “Was—was I expecting you?”
“No,” Jason admitted, dragging his hand through his hair, leaving it to rest at the nape of his neck. He waited for Cody to close the door. “I—I was on my way to meet with Ned, but I wanted—” He hesitated. “Bobbie came by earlier, and—”
Elizabeth furrowed her brow. “You’re upset,” she realized. “What happened?”
Jason sat on the edge of the sofa—at the other end. He clasped his hands between his spread-out knees and stared down at them. “You know Sonny has been struggling…”
“I mentioned it to Bobbie—I hope that was okay—”
“Yeah. No, it was fine. She was there when—” He paused. “Sonny has dark moods. I don’t really understand them, but sometimes he…breaks down. And today…he was talking to Lily.”
“Lily…the wife that…” Elizabeth restlessly rubbed her hand against her jean-clad thigh. “Oh, God. Poor Sonny. This must bring that all back. He’s always blamed himself for that, right? And now…another pregnant wife he couldn’t protect.”
Jason nodded wordlessly. “I gave him a sedative, but—yeah. I don’t know. I knew he wasn’t doing well, but Courtney was supposed to be taking care of him.” He glanced at her quickly then looked away. “She’s taking Michael to the island tonight.”
“Oh.” Elizabeth chewed on her bottom lip. “It’ll be good for Michael to get away. I’m sure he’s been so upset by all of this.”
“I just—” He shook his head. “I wanted to make sure you were okay. I’ve—I’ve been able to see you every day, and I didn’t—we didn’t search the house today.”
“No, I guess we’ve gotten what we can from the house.” She sighed. “I still…I feel like we’ve missed something, you know? I don’t know how because we’ve torn the place apart, but there has to be something there.”
“I know. I can’t think of what could be there, but—it’s the only place where he spends any time, so…” Jason trailed off. Shook his head. “I meant to tell you that Bobbie called Nikolas to ask him to come home.”
“Nikolas?” Elizabeth repeated, leaning back a little. “She’s not trying to get him to talk to me about—”
“No,” Jason said. “We’ve both given up on that. But we’ve…we’ve gone in circles with what we know. Maybe someone who hasn’t been here—”
“And someone who has crazy in his DNA?” Elizabeth suggested with a half a smile. “Yeah, maybe that makes sense. It can’t hurt, and it’ll be nice to see him. He left a message last week on the machine while I was—” She blinked. “He left a message for me,” she repeated. “I must have been asleep when he called. And Ric would have picked up if he’d been home—”
“It could narrow down the time frame. Prove Ric didn’t have the time to take her somewhere else.” Jason got to his feet. “I’ll call Stan and Spinelli and get them on the phone records.” His eyes caught the clock on her wall next to the door. “I should—I’m supposed to meet Ned about his business dealings with Ric and Faith, so I should go.”
Elizabeth stood as well and followed him to the door. “I should be getting home,” she admitted. “The last thing I need is for Ric to show up here and—” She gestured at the door. “Find Cody.”
He turned to face her. “Elizabeth—I know I said I’d given up, but—” He swallowed hard, his eyes searching hers. “I hate you going back there.” He hesitated. “Back to him.”
“I know,” Elizabeth murmured. Without meaning to, her eyes filled, and her throat felt tight. “I don’t want to,” she admitted. “Everything in the last six months—it’s been a lie—and I keep thinking about why he started to give me Valium—every time I look at him, I know what he did to the baby—”
“I didn’t even—” Jason touched her shoulder, his face stricken. “Is that what caused the—”
“No, but Monica said it might have been a blessing,” Elizabeth’s voice trembled. “Because…it…there might have been defects and—” A sob slipped out and she turned away. “I can’t stand it. What kind of person am I to be glad I lost my baby? I wanted that baby. I know all the reasons it was wrong—that I’m better—”
“Hey—” Jason turned her back to face him, lifting her chin so their eyes met. “You would have been an amazing mother, but it’s okay to feel however you want to feel about it. I’m so sorry, Elizabeth. I wish I could have done something to stop it.”
“You tried.” She squeezed her eyes shut. “You warned me, but I didn’t listen. I was so angry with you, so hurt—I couldn’t breathe. And he kept saying all the right things—I don’t know why I couldn’t just let myself trust you.”
He gently kissed her forehead. “We hurt each other,” Jason murmured. She opened her eyes to look at him and saw the regret in his eyes. “But we’re going to find Carly and we’re going to make Ric pay for everything he’s done to you both.”
Elizabeth took a deep breath, nodded. “I know. I can believe it when you say it.” His thumbs gently wiped away her tears. “It’s stupid to wish I could turn back time, but I wish I could go back to that night I left you,” she said softly. “And just…not do it.”
“If I could go back,” Jason said hesitantly, “then I would have stopped you from leaving.” His eyes still on hers, he leaned down and brushed his lips against hers. Her knees nearly buckled at the softness of the kiss—even as he was already stepping back, letting his hands fall to his side.
Elizabeth cleared her throat. “You should meet—you should go talk to Ned.” Her hands fluttered in front of her, unsure what to do with them. “I mean…he might have something to tell us about what Ric’s been up to.”
“Yeah, I know, I’m already late—” Jason waited another a moment. “I—I know this isn’t the time, but I wanted you to know that before Courtney left, we—I told her it was over.”
“Oh.” Her eyes widened. “Oh—I didn’t—”
“We can—we can talk about it later. After we find Carly.” After another long, lingering look, Jason left, and Elizabeth stood there, her hands fisted at her heart.
“He always does this,” she muttered. “Kisses me senseless and leaves. Every time.”
Ned checked his watch for the fifth time and scowled. He’d agreed to meet with Jason against his own better judgment—the last thing he needed was for his erstwhile cousin to think that he was in any way involved with Carly’s kidnapping.
And now Jason was almost twenty minutes late. Had he changed his mind?
Ned was getting to his feet when Jason ducked under the archway of the courtyard and approached him. “I’m sorry,” the younger man said, looking nearly exhausted as Ned remembered him looking before he’d taken his MCATs, back in the day when he’d been Jason Quartermaine.
“You know, you asked to meet me,” Ned said mildly as he took his seat again and gestured for Jason to join him. “If you were running late—”
“I didn’t—” Jason shook his head as if to clear it. “I had to see someone.” He shifted uncomfortably in the seat, then leaned forward, his hands clasped together, his elbows on the table. “You’ve worked with Ric Lansing.”
“I asked him for some legal advice,” Ned said mildly. He pushed his glass of water restlessly from one hand to another. “Nothing all that interesting—”
“You met with him here and there was paperwork. Look…I know how angry you were after Kristina—” Jason swallowed. “That was a bad time. I know you were angry. I don’t care about any of that, Ned. If anything happened to—” He grimaced. “I get it. I just—I need to know about Ric.”
Ned tilted his head. “Before Emily left for California, she asked me to keep an eye on Elizabeth with Ric being the prime suspect in Carly’s kidnapping. You dated her, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” Jason said flatly. “And she’s—she’s in danger. You know that. You know Ric is crazy. He’s already—I need to find Carly and get Elizabeth out of this. So stop—” He sat back, shook his head. “You can be pissed at me and Sonny all you want. Come at us, I don’t care. That’s the business. But Carly and Elizabeth don’t deserve this—”
“I was approached last fall,” Ned said when Jason stopped abruptly. “Just after Luis Alcazar tumbled off that balcony. Faith Roscoe wanted to know if I hated Sonny enough to get revenge. I did. It was never about you. It was always him.” He sighed. “I can see how terrified you are for Carly and Elizabeth, so I think you can understand why I agreed.”
“What did Faith want to do?”
“Ric was a connection of hers,” Ned continued. “I don’t—I don’t know how they met or how long they knew each other. But he was set up in Kelly’s pretty quickly, sometime in November. He was supposed to get inside Sonny’s circle and find me something we could—I don’t know. I don’t know if I had an endgame.”
“Ric and Faith were working together?”
“They are were still supposed to be working together up until the last few weeks. And…” Ned frowned. “He and Faith were sleeping together. They might still be, I don’t know. But he started seeing Elizabeth because of you. He thought she’d be angry enough to help.”
“But she didn’t help.”
“No.” Ned rubbed his chest, uncomfortable. “I don’t know how—I don’t know why I didn’t step away when she got involved. I wasn’t thinking clearly—I hadn’t—I didn’t think about the fact that she was Emily’s friend which meant she was still so young. I just—I saw her as a pawn.” He’d never forgive himself for that. Elizabeth wasn’t that much older than Brooke, and he’d sat by while she got involved with a monster.
Jason nodded, dismissed that. “Could Faith be helping him with Carly?”
“I doubt it. Ric stopped returning phone calls in May—right about the time everyone found out he was actually Sonny’s brother. Faith didn’t know that either—she didn’t realize he had a personal stake. We didn’t know about Anthony Zacchara or Trevor Lansing. He might have come to Port Charles on their orders. He always seemed to be playing his own game.” Ned rubbed his chin. “I think he was obsessed with Elizabeth. And that pissed Faith off. When Ric married her—when Faith found out about the baby—she was livid. She’s still making threats about doing something to her, but I think—”
“You think Faith pushed Elizabeth?”
“I do,” Ned admitted. “She called me last week to complain about Ric not talking to her, to complain about Elizabeth. She made threats again a few days ago— she’s not happy with me either. My daughter moved to Port Charles, and time has…it’s cleared out my head. When Elizabeth had that miscarriage, Monica was upset. And I remembered who Elizabeth was to my family.”
Jason rubbed his hands over his face. “You backed out.”
“With Faith. I haven’t officially pulled the plug on Ric yet. I figure he pulled the plug on me first.” Ned waited a moment. “I don’t think Faith would have helped Ric, but if there’s anyone who knows where Ric might have taken Carly, it’s Faith.”
“Okay.” Jason shoved back his chair. “Thanks.” He hesitated. “You said Faith is still making threats. About Elizabeth?”
“About Elizabeth, mostly. A few for me and Brooke.” Ned rose to his feet. “Jason, Grandmother is, for some reason, very fond of Carly. I hope you find her.” The word alive hung between them, unspoken.
Jason nodded and left the courtyard. Ned watched him go and wondered if he was ever going to be able to forgive himself if something happened to Carly or Elizabeth because Ned had given Ric help once upon a time.
PCPD: Commissioner’s Office
Taggert tapped his pen against a folder. “There’s no way around it, Mac. Somewhere, we missed something.” He scowled, dumped the folder on Mac’s desk and pushed himself to his feet so he could pace. “Maybe we concentrated too fast on the Zacchara angle. Maybe we rushed into the situation too fast—if we had waited twenty more minutes before going to the Lansing house—if we’d watched him first—”
“You can second guess yourself until you’re blue in the face,” Mac said mildly from behind his desk. “I’ve been looking through your reports. Capelli might have cut some corners, but you didn’t. You followed the leads you had. Michael Corinthos told you he saw a man who looked Ric Lansing. You went to Lansing’s house and searched it. You looked into Ric’s background. You investigated his connections. You’ve had men watch him for the last week.”
“Maybe it wasn’t Ric,” Taggert muttered, rubbing his hand over his bald head. “I mean, it’s summer, so I guess we can’t say it was too dark Michael to know the difference. But he was a traumatized six-year-old, right? Maybe he just saw a dark-haired man. Luis Alcazar had family. A brother who looks a lot like him.”
“I saw that in your file, too — Lorenzo Alcazar was awarded custody of Luis’s daughter, Sage. They currently live in Caracas, Venezuela. No reports that Lorenzo has left the country.” Mac tipped his head. “Who else?’
“You’d think Corinthos and Morgan have a long list of enemies, but they don’t. Not anyone who would do this. The Families aren’t in for this, you know? Tagliatti and Vega like money too much, and this isn’t Ruiz’s style. Zacchara is a dead end. We got nothing to tie him to this. Maybe it goes back further than that.”
“Maybe even Frank Smith,” Taggert said restlessly. “Or revenge for the car bomb. What do we know about Hernando Rivera’s people?”
“All of those people are gone now,” Mac reminded him. “We’ve had reason to look into them before. You researched the Rivera connection when Juan was here.” He shrugged. “I hate this, too. I hate knowing that we’ve done everything we could have and we’re still at a dead end.”
“We could have brought Ric in for questioning.” Taggert resumed his seat. “Elizabeth had clearly been drugged—he was the only one who could have done it. We should have searched for medication. We could have nailed him—”
Mac hesitated. “You…you’re sure she was drugged?”
Taggert frowned at him. “Don’t tell me you’re listening to Capelli. He doesn’t know Elizabeth like I do. This is not a woman who turned to drugs after her miscarriage. That’s not who she is—”
“She’s had a rough year—between her botched wedding to Spencer a year and half ago — being kidnapped last year—being cheated on by Morgan with Sonny’s sister—her grandmother—the miscarriage—you don’t think it’s finally been too much?”
“Maybe I could see her using a prescription—leaning on it a bit too much,” Taggert said. “But I handled her miscarriage case—I have her medical records. She wasn’t prescribed anything then.” He leaned forward. “I know she’s had a bad year, Mac, but I’m telling you—that’s not what was going on last week.”
Mac exhaled slowly. “Then why is she still with Lansing? Capelli says Morgan has been in that house almost every day this week. He thinks it’s an affair—”
“And that means what exactly?” Taggert said, irritated. “So, the fuck what? Morgan is looking for Carly. The only reason we got into that house to search last week was Elizabeth giving us the go. As long as she’s in that house, we get to search it any damn time we please. You think she hasn’t thought of that with Morgan? Community property. He’s not getting arrested.”
“Damn it.” Mac closed his eyes. “Capelli had me half thinking she might have…helped Ric.”
“She didn’t—” Taggert frowned. “He’s been wanting to leak to the press—shit, Mac.” He shot to his feet. “Tell me you didn’t give him the go head to leak an affair to the tabloids?”
“It’s just the tabloids—”
“What exactly about the affair is he leaking?” Taggert demanded. “Did he tell the bastards Morgan’s been in the house?”
Mac hesitated. “It was supposed to be just a small line item, so no.”
“And you think Capelli is going to listen? You gave him permission to do exactly—” Taggert stared at his commissioner. “Haven’t you screwed with her life enough? Is this because of Floyd, too? I’m so sick of that asshole and his election year pressures.”
“Don’t bring that up—it has nothing to do with this—”
“If Lansing finds out Morgan’s been in the house, what the hell you do think is going to happen to Elizabeth?” he snarled. He sliced his hand through the air. “This has always been the goddamn problem in this department. We got no problem sacrificing innocent people to get ahead. You better hope I can get that story pulled before it hits the stands tomorrow.”
He stormed out of the office.
Lansing Home: Panic Room
The entire time her mother had been in the house, Carly had been glued to the screen. When she was rescued she was going to learn how to read lips. This was so damn frustrating.
She watched as Elizabeth and Bobbie talked. She could tell they were both agitated. Upset. Not with each other—she could see that Bobbie was worried about Elizabeth, that the younger woman shared the same concern in reverse.
Had she really ever known how close Elizabeth was to her mother? Had she cared to learn anything about this woman?
She watched Elizabeth make a phone call—something she did almost constantly, Carly realized. Five or six times a day, Carly had caught her taking phone out of her purse—except when Jason was there. This was the first day since Sunday—how many days had actually passed?—that Jason hadn’t come to the house and searched it from top to bottom.
She was calling Jason.
Why was she calling Jason so much? Carly squinted. She saw her mother leaving—the hug—and then Elizabeth was talking.
No one was home, but the brunette had her eyes lifted to the sky—almost to the camera—did Elizabeth know it was there? No…no that wasn’t possible—
But somehow, Carly thought Elizabeth knew she was in the house. Maybe should sense how closely she was being watched—that was a thing, right? People could tell.
“I’m here, Elizabeth.” Carly pressed her fist to her mouth. “Please. Find me. Tell Jason. Tell Jason I’m here. You know I’m here. You can feel me here.”
She got up, tried to get to the walls—but she couldn’t reach that corner where the door slid open. She wanted to pound on it, scream Elizabeth’s name.
This room was so dark—even when all the lights were lit—it was still so dim. The shadows were inching closer to her, and she was tired of her own company, tired of her own voice.
Why couldn’t they find her? How could they not know about the panic room? This was Elizabeth’s house, wasn’t it?
“Please, find me,” she murmured. “Please don’t let me disappear.”
Faith Roscoe’s Apartment
When Faith Roscoe turned on the light in her living room that night, she was tickled pink at the sight of Jason Morgan casually sitting in her plush white armchair. “Well, well, I have to admit, I’ve always wondered what it would be like between us,” she purred.
Jason’s face didn’t change. “You’ve been working with Ric Lansing and Ned Ashton since last fall.”
Faith wrinkled her nose. “Someone’s been talking out of turn.” She wagged her finger. “Ned is a very naughty man.” She sashayed over to her wine cabinet and selected an excellent white vintage. “I haven’t had time to take care of him, but he’s on my list.”
“Is Elizabeth Webber on that list, too?”
Faith nearly bobbled the cork at the thought of that insipid little mouse. “My, my, does the dear girl have another champion? I must ask her how she does it—”
She never heard him move. One second, she was smirking, pouring her wine—and then the next she was shoved back against the wall, Jason’s hand tight around her throat.
“I never thought you were into games,” Faith said breathlessly, trying to sound amused. She was a woman, so Jason was trying to scare her. Well, mission accomplished. Time to give him what he wanted so he’d go away. “You’re here about Carly. You want to find her.”
“Did you help Ric take her? Are you hiding her?”
“I have no interest in Sonny’s wife,” Faith managed, as Jason’s grip relaxed enough for her to draw in a full breath. “And Ric has been a very disappointing boy. No, I did not help him. And I do not know where she is, buuuut….” She drew out in a sing-song voice, careful to keep her eyes locked on his. “I know he was quite desperate to find a house for his little china doll. Just the right house. The house was all he could talk about.”
Jason narrowed his eyes. “He was looking for that house or a particular kind of house?”
“I don’t know, and I didn’t ask. I’m not interested in helping Ric start the perfect life with that—” Faith broke off whatever insult she was about to launch. Keep the eye on the prize. “There’s something about the house that made his plan complete. They moved in a week before Carly went missing.”
Jason nodded. Released her neck and started across the room. Faith rolled her shoulders, irritated. “If I knew where Carly was, I would have already found a way to make Ric pay for it. He’s become very boring, don’t you know?”
“Mmm…” Jason squinted at her. “You pushed her down the stairs, didn’t you?”
And the way he said it told Faith she’d already been convicted of the crime. Sentenced. Her palms began to sweat. How had she forgotten the reason they’d targeted the tedious little bitch in the first place? She was Jason Morgan’s ex-girlfriend—though maybe the ex was something he’d like to change.
“I did you a favor,” Faith said, spreading her hands at her sides. “Now you don’t have to take on Lansing’s bastard when you toss in him the harbor and take her back—and really—you’d be so much nicer to her, and he’s been just awful—” Her voice stopped abruptly when Jason drew his gun from where it had been tucked behind his back.
Faith swallowed. “I shouldn’t have done it, of course. I was angry, and I wanted to make Ric hurt. I didn’t even think about her. I should have. I should think more about other people. I will. I’ll enter a convent—” Her voice became more rapid as she watched Jason screw a silencer into the barrel. “I can help you,” she said desperately. “I can make Ric tell me—”
“Even if that were true,” Jason said slowly, meeting her eyes again. “It still wouldn’t save you.”
“Hey, you’re supposed to be the good one,” Faith retorted. “I’m a woman—isn’t there a code—”
“You don’t get to play in this world, Faith, and expect special treatment,” Jason said. “And this isn’t business. This isn’t about Sonny. This…this is personal.” He lifted a shoulder and looked at her without any expression in his eyes. “You knew who she was when you went after her. And as long as Ric wants her, she’s not safe from you.”
“Listen, that’s just not true—”
But she was dead before she could finish the sentence, the bullet hitting her just between the eyes. A nice, neat bullet hole between those wide blue eyes, still open—her mouth still forming words.
She hit the floor, her black sun dress pooling around her. Blood starting to soak into the carpet.
Jason stared down at her, then pulled out his cell phone. “Hey, Francis. Yeah, I got a cleanup for you to handle.”