When I pretend
Everything is what I want it to be
I look exactly like what you had always wanted to see
When I pretend
I can forget about the criminal I am
Stealing second after second just cause I know I can, but
I can’t pretend this is the way it will stay, I’m just
Trying to bend the truth
I can’t pretend I’m who you want me to be
Lying my way from you
– Lying From You, Linkin Park
Saturday, June 20, 2003
Bobbie kicked off her heels almost as soon as she walked through her front door and frowned when she saw the light filtering out from the living room and voices.
“What are you doing up?” she demanded as she crossed the threshold. “It’s after three—Lucky?”
Her nephew rose from the sofa where he had been sitting next to his sister. In the armchair under the window, Lucas sipped from a bright orange mug with the General Hospital logo. In her bewildered fatigue, Bobbie wondered when her son had started to drink coffee.
“Lu called me around midnight when you didn’t come back.” Lucky slid his hands in the pockets of his jeans. “I had already heard some rumors, so I called the station and they told me you were in interrogation.”
“What’s the deal?” Lucas demanded. “Monica told us the wedding was off and we should all go home. But Lucky says Carly is missing, and you were with the police.”
Bobbie hesitated, looked at Lucky. “What do you know?”
“Cruz Rodriguez is a friend of mine from the academy,” Lucky explained. “He was the uniform that went to the house.” His face was lined with worry. “He said that Ric Lansing is the primary suspect in Carly’s kidnapping, that Taggert and Capelli think Lansing drugged Elizabeth—” He shook his head. “What’s going on, Aunt Bobbie?”
Bobbie sighed and sat next to Lulu. “I don’t know,” she admitted. “They questioned me for hours but there was nothing to tell them. When we got to the house, Jason was checking Elizabeth’s pulse. Something is definitely wrong, but she refused to leave.”
“Yeah, Cruz said he was going to take the overnight shift in case she changed her mind.” Lucky hesitated. “I called in, offered to take tomorrow’s shift but Taggert doesn’t want me on the case. Dad’s partnership with Sonny and my relationship with Elizabeth—” His mouth pinched. “They’re going to keep me out of it, I know it.”
“Jason said he’s going to go back when they let him and Sonny go, but—”
Lucky shook his head. “They’re going to hold them until a lawyer forces their hand.” He scrubbed his hands over his face. “Why the hell would Lansing do this?”
“He hates Sonny,” Lulu offered. They all looked at her, frowning, and she just shrugged. “What? I hear stuff. I’m working at Kelly’s with Georgie, and Courtney came in after they found out about Sonny and Ric being brothers.”
Lucas rolled his eyes. “Lots of people hate Sonny—”
“Lansing accused Sonny of pushing Elizabeth when she had her miscarriage,” Lucky said. “I was signing paperwork for human resources when he came in, demanding an investigation. No evidence she was pushed, and Elizabeth refused to say anything on the record, so nothing happened.”
Bobbie closed her eyes. “God. I can’t. I don’t know where she is. Or how he could have—it was less than thirty minutes between Carly going missing and Jason and Sonny going to the house. They searched the house. Where could he have taken her?”
“Maybe he had help,” Lucas suggested. “Mom. Hey.” Bobbie looked up. Met her son’s eyes. “She’s never going to be my favorite person, but you love her. Carly’s too stubborn to go out like this. She’s going to fight tooth and nail, so we have to do what we can here.”
“Yeah, Aunt Bobbie.” Lulu stood and pulled Bobbie up. “We’ve been in these uncomfortable dresses for hours. Why don’t we go get into something more comfortable. Maybe get something to eat.”
“Try to sleep, Aunt Bobbie.” Lucky embraced her tightly. “You need to keep your strength up.”
Bobbie just sighed, shook her head. She was too exhausted, too terrified to argue, and allowed her niece to lead her out of the room.
Once he heard his aunt’s bedroom door close, Lucky released a long breath, and looked back to Lucas. “She’s too tired to think it through, but—”
“Lansing kidnapped a pregnant woman,” Lucas said with a shrug. “The wife of a man he already hated. The man he blames for the loss of his child. Yeah, I’m not an idiot, Lucky. I’ve seen this movie.” He shook his head. “I don’t like my sister, but I’m human. And this is…”
“Horrifying,” Lucky murmured. He and Elizabeth were no longer close…and the intimacy and passion he’d once felt for her had been all but destroyed by Helena Cassadine’s last brainwashing, but he objectively knew she’d been important to him. That she remained important to Emily and Nikolas.
That she had stayed, kept herself in danger…that she might have been drugged by the man who was supposed to take care of her…
“I’m going to try to keep my hand in,” Lucky said. “Take care of your mom. I’ll call when I know something.”
Harborview Towers: Parking Garage
Sonny scrubbed his hands over his face and looked at the head of security with disgust. “What?”
Francis Corelli winced at the scathing anger in his boss’s face. “The PCPD is searching both penthouses as we speak. We tried to keep them out but—”
“How the hell could they get a search warrant so fast?” Jason demanded.
They had been kept at the PCPD until dawn broke over the city and an exhausted Mac Scorpio had told Taggert and Capelli to let them loose. They had gone back to the Lansing home where a bleary-eyed Cruz Rodriguez still sat in a patrol car at the curb. No sounds from inside the house, and Ric hadn’t left.
Neither had Elizabeth.
With Rodriguez standing guard, Jason could hardly storm the house, pick Elizabeth up, and carry her out if she didn’t cooperate. Not without getting tossed into a jail cell, and that wouldn’t solve anything.
But he would get her out of the damn house today if it killed him.
Francis hesitated, and Sonny glared at him. “Answer the goddamn question. Did you see the fucking warrants?”
And then Jason knew why the other man looked so uncomfortable. He closed his eyes. “Courtney let them in.”
“Yeah,” Francis admitted. “I tried to keep them out of your place, Sonny, but she told Taggert she’d been staying there off and on—and her legal residence is your place, Jason—”
“And it’s not like the PCPD is going to argue with someone just letting them in,” Sonny muttered. “Did we not go over the rules with her? She called the police and we wasted hours—” He growled. “They’re not going to stop with the penthouses.”
“They’re probably trying to get warrants for the warehouse. For the other properties—”
“Damn it,” Sonny swore. “We haven’t replaced Benny or found a lawyer—” He clenched his fists. “My wife is missing. That sociopath has her somewhere and every time I turn around, my own fucking family is helping the police fuck me over—”
“I’ll find Carly,” Jason said, his voice tight. “You deal with the police. Get someone in here to look at the books. Get a lawyer on retainer. You keep the PCPD out of my face. I—” He took a deep breath. “Elizabeth offered to help us with Ric. If she’s still willing today when whatever he gave her wears off, I’ll have to let her. Because he did this, Sonny. I don’t know how, and I don’t know why, but he’s behind this.”
“Yeah.” Sonny exhaled slowly. “Where is my sister?” he bit out to Francis. “Helping the goddamn police go through our things?”
“She’s supervising, yeah,” Francis said with another wince.
“We’d better get upstairs and revoke permission for this fucking search.” Sonny shook his head. “I knew she wasn’t cut out for any of this.”
Jason ignored him as they got onto the elevator, but he knew his partner was right. He had intended to marry Courtney because he cared about her and because she understood his life.
But in the last twelve hours, she proved definitely that understanding his life and actively supporting that life were very different.
Lansing Home: Kitchen
Ric watched as Elizabeth pushed her fork around her plate, gently moving the pieces of her Eggs Benedict from one side to the other.
She had hadn’t much of an appetite in weeks—he knew that. It had been suppressed by the Valium he slipped into her meals and drinks. She rarely ate, rarely slept, and spent most of her time in that run-down studio. His jaw clenched at the thought she preferred that fire trap to the beautiful home he’d given her, but Ric forced himself to relax.
Elizabeth was just…she was grieving over their loss, just as he was. They were just handling it in different ways. He was going to get justice and give her a baby to raise, and she was just trying to survive.
They could start trying for a baby—or at least pretending—Ric told himself—in another few weeks. It took time to make sure the birth control he’d begun to give her was working effectively—and she still needed time to recover, her doctor had told them that.
And in a few months, when there was no baby, Ric could gently talk to her about adoption. She’d be ready for a baby when Carly was due in November. He would have laid the foundation.
It really was the perfect solution—Elizabeth wouldn’t even have to get pregnant and carry a child. It was better for them, and maybe they would always adopt. If he got a vasectomy, surely, Elizabeth would never question their lack of conception.
She’d blame herself, Ric knew that. He was counting on it. She would want to fix it and would never argue with his solution. But this morning, as Ric watched her barely eat anything, as she only drank half her orange juice—he worried that it was more than just her appetite keeping her from eating the food he prepared.
“You believed him,” he said without thinking. “You’re not eating.” He forced a hurt tone into his voice to mask his fury. How dare she believe Jason Morgan instead of him? “You think I’m trying to drug you.”
“What?” Elizabeth blinked at him, her eyes a bit tired. Shadowed. The circles were deep grooves beneath her eyes, a sickly dark purple. “What? N-No.” She swallowed hard. “No, of course—I just—” Her eyes filled, and she bowed her head. “They made me remember the baby.”
Oh. Of course. His angel. Ric sat next to her, touched her shoulder and if she flinched, he told himself it because she was so upset. That he had upset her by making her think about the baby again. “They’ll find Carly. Sonny has so many enemies, they probably just started with the last known conflict.”
Elizabeth nodded. She picked up her fork and ate a bite. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you. I-I should eat more.” She reached for her orange juice, took a long swig.
Ric grimaced—this was going to backfire. She was trying so hard to convince him now—she quickly finished the orange juice and most of her breakfast. Which meant she’d gotten double the dosage of the birth control he’d meant to give her—and he’d already doubled it up in case she only drank or ate one or the other. Not to mention the six pills of Valium he’d slipped into various elements of her breakfast. On top of the dosage from the night before…
He rolled his shoulders. Well, it was just once. He wouldn’t guilt her about eating again—clearly, she hadn’t believed Jason and Sonny. She could sleep off any bit of extra Valium at the studio—as long as he got her out of here before they kicked in.
Maybe he should offer to drive her—
“I should get going.” Elizabeth pushed herself away from the table. “I—I promised Emily—she’s going back today—and I wanted to see what happened last night. If they know anything.”
“Of course.” Uneasy, Ric watched as she left. Should he follow her to the studio? But…he had to stay here, to check on Carly—to make sure Jason and Sonny didn’t come by and search again. And…
She was gone before he’d made up his mind. He would call her later to make sure she got there, and he’d just have to be more careful in the future.
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Nothing had gone the way it was supposed to.
She was supposed to be married right now—she and Jason were supposed to be leaving for a honeymoon on the island. Instead, Jason’s mother had gleefully told everyone the wedding was off—her fiancé and brother were barely speaking to her, her nephew was all but traumatized—
And Carly was missing.
Courtney bit her nails as the last of the PCPD offices exited the penthouse. Jason and Sonny had arrived home only minutes earlier but the cops had already finished their search of the Corinthos penthouse, and were now here. Jason had tried to revoke permission, but the cops had already started their search and Capelli threatened to arrest Jason for interfering. Without a lawyer on retainer, Jason had probably not wanted to spend any more time with at the police station.
So, Jason had waited, glowering with rage as Taggert and Capelli had finished up, then left.
Sonny was across the hall doing damage control of his own, but Courtney couldn’t understand why they were so angry. They didn’t keep anything worthwhile at the penthouse, and if it helped them find Carly faster, what was the issue? Wasn’t that the goal?
If Ric had taken Carly, shouldn’t that come above all this other crap?
Jason slammed the door shut behind the cops and turned back to face her, his hair mussed, the tie of his tux undone, dangling against the creased white of his shirt. The jacket had long ago been discarded.
“You called the cops,” he said in a low, even tone. “Why?”
“Why?” Courtney stared at him. “Ric kidnapped her—of course I called them. Ric wasn’t going to let you in the house to search—the cops could make him—”
Jason laughed then, but it was a sour, angry sound that she had never ever heard from him before. A chill slithered down her spine. She hurried to continue. To explain. If he would only try to understand how scared and desperate she’d been. “I had to let them in here—they said getting warrants would just make them think we did something to Carly, and it was a waste of time—”
“I was so close to getting her out of there,” Jason murmured, shaking his head. “Five more minutes, we could have taken care of Ric, I could have gotten Elizabeth to go with Bobbie to the hospital—and we could have torn that house apart.”
Courtney scowled at the mention of Jason’s ex-girlfriend. “You’re more worried about her, aren’t you?” she demanded. “Carly wasn’t at the house—you heard the cops—”
“How hard do you think Taggert and Cappelli looked?” Jason demanded. “They didn’t think he had enough time—”
“He didn’t.” Courtney huffed. “Maybe Michael was wrong. He’s only a little boy, you know. Maybe the guy just looked like Ric. Maybe it was someone else who hates you.” There had to be a long goddamn list of people Jason and Sonny had pissed off.
“I thought you understood,” Jason said with another shake of his head. “There are no circumstances, ever, that we cooperate with the police. Not as a first resort, and we sure as hell don’t call them in when we haven’t secured the scene—”
“Listen to yourself,” Courtney scoffed. “Secured the scene. Who the hell do you think you are? My best friend is missing—”
“You know who the hell I am!” Jason shot back, his face red. “You know who your brother is.” He jabbed a finger at her. “What the hell did you think all this was about? Did you think it was a game?”
“Carly’s missing, so it’s hardly a game,” Courtney snarled. She crossed her arms and rolled her eyes. “And you’re just wasting time. You should be finding Carly.”
“I wish I could only worry about finding Carly, but now I gotta make sure our business papers are in order because I can’t do a hell of a lot if Sonny and I are fighting off warrants and raids.” He shook his head with a sharp jerk. “I’m getting changed. Don’t let them in again.”
“This is my home, too,” Courtney said. “You don’t have a right to tell me—”
Jason glared at her as he started up the stairs. “My name is on the lease. You’re a guest. I pay for everything. You let the cops in again, Courtney, and that’s it.”
Tears burned her eyes. “That’s the deal breaker? You said you loved me.”
He turned to face her, and the expression almost had her take an actual step back. “You know who I am. You said you could handle it. Maybe you’d better think about that. I got things that have to get done.”
“Damn it, Jason—” She almost followed him, but she was terrified that he was perilously close to just throwing her out entirely. Maybe she’d been wrong, but why wasn’t he even trying to see it from her side?
She was terrified—she just wanted to find Carly like the rest of them. She had to do whatever she believed was right, no matter what the cost.
She and Jason—they would just sort it out after it was over.
PCPD: Locker Room
Lucky took a seat next to to Cruz who was staring blankly at his open locker. “You look like hell, man.”
“Yeah.” Cruz rolled his shoulders, nodded to Dante to sat on his other side. “I just got off—I sat in front of the Lansing house until about—” He looked at his watch, then dragged a hand through his hair. “Twenty minutes ago.”
“Yeah? Why?” Dante frowned. “I thought the overnight report said there was nothing at the house.”
“Something’s not right,” Cruz insisted. “I got there last night, and Corinthos and Morgan are there—but they’re not tearing the house apart. They’re with Lansing and his wife.”
“You said Elizabeth looked like she’d been drugged,” Lucky said quietly. “How did you—”
“She looks a bit spacey, like maybe she’s high.” Cruz exhaled slowly. “Morgan’s sister, the mother-in-law—I guess that’s your aunt. They’re there. And they’re begging the wife to leave, but she’s refusing. And there’s this weird tension in the air. If Morgan wasn’t in a tux, if we literally weren’t only allowed in the house because she’s married to the asshole—there’s just something…Morgan wanted her out of the house. He came back today.” He managed a half smile. “And I gave him a report. I’m sure Taggert will cut off my balls if he finds out.”
“Jason and Elizabeth used to kind of date,” Lucky said. “Or something. I don’t know. It’s…it’s complicated.” And it brought him back to all the swiss cheese holes in his memory. He knew that there had been a romantic past for Jason and Elizabeth the same way he knew he’d once been engaged to Elizabeth.
But the memories were mostly gone and so were the emotions.
“Well, that explains it. Maybe both their marriages were just rebounds. I bet Morgan never walks down the aisle with the twit who called us in.”
“Yeah, I heard Taggert and Capelli when they got back from the searches.” Dante shook his head, changed into his uniform shirt and started to button it. “She actually let them search both penthouses.”
Lucky exhaled slowly. He couldn’t imagine his mother letting the PCPD just blindly search their home with Luke being part of the decision—but Laura Spencer had always had a better understanding of life and her husband’s place in the world.
“But there are no leads on Carly?” Lucky asked.
Cruz hesitated. “They really don’t want you involved, Lucky, but…” he shrugged. “No. Capelli isn’t sure Lansing did it, but I guess the wife’s condition convinced Taggert. He actually—he almost seemed to be on the same page as Morgan last night. They’re going to split the search — Capelli is going to look into all the other connections while Taggert takes on the Lansing stuff. They’re pulling his background now. I think Capelli is going to use this to go after Corinthos and Morgan. He’s trying to get warrants for the businesses.”
Dante frowned. “What is that going to prove? This is the shit I’m talking about. I don’t even know these people, but just from the reports I read—it’s clear that they’re not involved. I mean, why go right to searching their properties? If Carly’s on them, they’ll find her. They don’t need the PCPD to search for them—”
“Welcome to the PCPD, where truth, justice, and the American way are just words,” Lucky said. He sighed and pinned his badge to his shirt. “I have to go watch your cousin Vinnie do a lot of nothing all day.”
“See, if you just say his name that way, at least you get to have a small laugh.”
“It keeps me from crying.”
Elizabeth forced her eyes open—the chirping from inside bag had jarred her from a restless sleep—and now her head hurt. Her body felt heavy as if someone was sitting on it—
Someone was at her side. Saying her name. She could feel someone’s fingers at her wrist.
She tried to focus, tried to find the voice. It was Jason. He sounded worried. She missed the sound of his voice, the times when he smiled. Sometimes he even laughed.
“Elizabeth?” A hand cradled her neck and she felt herself being lifted into a sitting position. The movement caused her stomach to lurch and before she could stop herself—
Elizabeth rolled on her side and threw up. She was dimly aware of Jason edging out of the way quickly, and then dragging a trash can over for her to finish up. She kept heaving until her throat was raw, until her eyes were burning with tears, and her hands were shaking.
“You have to let me take you to the hospital,” Jason told her. “He gave you something this morning—I couldn’t find your pulse—” He swallowed hard, then shook his head. He got to his feet, then crossed to the sink and wet a napkin. He gave it to her.
Elizabeth pressed it to her face. God, everything hurt, and she was humiliated. Disgusted. She had just thrown up all over her floor—probably had splashed him—and she just wanted to go back to sleep.
She just wanted to sleep.
Her eyes started to drift shut again, but Jason took her shoulder and sharply jerked. “Don’t you dare,” he snapped, fear threading in his voice, making it higher than she remembered. “Stay awake, do you hear me, Elizabeth?”
Jason wanted her to stay awake. It sounded important. And—and wasn’t there something she was supposed to be doing?
“J-Jason?” Elizabeth coughed as his name was swallowed by the rasp in her throat. “What’s going on? What’s happening?”
“I’m taking you to the hospital,” he said with steel in his voice. She grimaced, shook her head, but he stood up, grabbed her purse, tossed it at her, and then lifted her into his arms. “This time, I’m not taking no for an answer.”
General Hospital: Emergency Room
Monica closed the curtain and stepped back out to see Jason who was pacing back and forth. He looked as if he hadn’t slept in days—his hair sticking up on end, his eyes wild—and his black shirt was stained in some places. She made a mental note to offer him a scrub top to change into as she suspected the stains were from vomit.
“How is she?” Jason demanded. “I know you can’t give me—”
“She told me to tell you anything you wanted to know,” Monica murmured. “Take a deep breath, Jason.” She held his hands up. “Look at me. You got to her in time. She’d already thrown up the worst of it, and we were able to pump her stomach.” Her voice cracked as she continued to speak. “The stick was positive for benzos. There was enough—it was quadruple the recommended dose. And that’s a few hours after she ingested it.”
His eyes glinted and narrowed until the pupils were nothing more than icy flints. “Quadruple.”
“I’m doing a follicle test.” Monica crossed her arms. “I know she’s been having a rough time, but I don’t think she’s the type to mess up her medication—and I’ve checked her charts. There’s no prescription for any Valium or anything else.”
“Ric. He’s been drugging her,” Jason growled. He dipped his head. Took a deep breath. “Can you keep her?”
“She’s resting now, but she already said she wanted to be signed out. That Ric couldn’t find out she was here.” Monica chewed her lip. “I can get Social Services involved if you’re sure—she’s declined it, but I’ll—” She lifted her chin. “I’ll do it anyway.”
“If Ric knows she was here, then—” Jason closed his eyes. “Christ. I knew I should have dragged her out of that house. I let her stay.”
Monica exhaled, took a chance, and put a hand on his shoulder. “Come with me. We need to figure out the best way to handle this.”
And it was a testament to how upset her son was that he followed her without a word. She led him into the break room and locked the door to keep anyone out. “Carly’s missing. I know that—it’s all over the news, and I talked to Bobbie and Emily. Ric is the top of the suspect list.”
“Yeah. We got to the house last night, and I found Elizabeth—not as bad as today—but she was drugged. Weaving around. She couldn’t keep herself straight. Talking in circles. But she started to come around the longer I kept her talking. She refused to leave. Because—”
“Because Ric wouldn’t let you or the cops search, but Elizabeth could give them permission.” Monica nodded. “Emily told me that when she came home. I’m aware of the situation, Jason. I know she thinks she needs to go back to the house to protect Carly. I cannot in good conscience let her do it. I took an oath, and she is not in her right mind if she puts herself back into that situation.”
“You think I like any of this?” Jason demanded. “Sorry,” he said immediately. He dragged his hands through his hair. “I went to talk to her today, just to figure out the next step—and she was barely breathing. I couldn’t find a pulse—I thought she was already—” He squeezed his eyes shut. “I let her stay in that house.”
“It appears to me that you weren’t left with a lot of choices.” Monica sighed. “If I call in Social Services or a psych consult, the odds are that she would probably just talk her way out of it. She seemed pretty adamant that she had to get back to the house to find Carly. That she could only be useful if she stayed.”
“He probably gave her too much last night to make sure she’d sleep through whatever happened,” Jason said, more to himself. “And then—I think he gave her more this morning. He probably put it in everything—she’s not eating, and—”
“If a lot of the drug was in her breakfast, she’d get some of it.” Monica nodded. “She must have eaten more than he expected.”
“Probably to convince him that she didn’t believe me,” Jason muttered. “She’s going to get herself killed.” He shook his head. “He’d only give her so much and risk her leaving if her staying was against the plan. Carly. She has to be in that house somewhere. It’s the only explanation.”
“I can get her ready to leave,” Monica said reluctantly. “But I’m going to have to talk to Bobbie. Between the three of us—and maybe Emily—we need to figure out how to make sure she doesn’t hurt herself. We all want to find Carly, Jason, but Elizabeth has to look out for herself. Her blood counts are all over the place—she is not in a good place, and it goes against everything I believe in to let her go.”
“Yeah. Yeah, I get that. Thanks.” He rubbed his eyes. “Can—Can I see her?”
“Yeah. Do you want a change of clothes—” She gestured at his shirt. “She’s feeling mortified that she threw up on you—it’s not important in the scheme of things, but I think—”
“Yeah, yeah thanks.” He met her eyes and repeated himself. “Thank you. For taking her case personally. For helping me. Elizabeth—she matters.”
“She matters to me, too, Jason,” Monica told her though her heart warmed at the gratitude in his eyes. “Since she lost Audrey—”
“Audrey?” Jason repeated. “What happened to her?”
“She passed away in January.” Monica tilted her head. “You didn’t—you didn’t know? Elizabeth was a wreck, but Ric Lansing was there for her. Helped her settle the estate. Sell the house. Stood by her side at the funeral. He was definitely in the right place at the right time.” She grimaced. “I should have kept a better eye on her for Audrey and Steve. I’ll never forgive myself if something happens to her.”
Emergency Room: Cubicle
Elizabeth sighed when Jason drew back the curtain and came into her examining area. Her cheeks flushed as she took in the bright blue scrub top he wore—she knew he’d changed his shirt because she’d vomited on him. God.
But her head felt clear—painfully clear—and Monica’s eyes had been sad as she’d delivered the preliminary blood results. She’d nearly died from an overdose of benzodiazepines, probably Valium. Whatever had been in her system from last night, plus whatever she’d eaten this morning—
Maybe she could have lived in denial about being drugged—but not now. There was proof. And the hair follicle test Monica had ordered would tell her just how long Ric had been poisoning her. Controlling her with drugs.
She shuddered. “Well. You were right.” Elizabeth closed her eyes as Jason came closer. “But you’re too nice to say so.”
“You’re not going back. We’ll figure out something else—”
“She’s in that house,” Elizabeth said flatly. “There’s no other reason he drugged me last night. He tried to confuse me. First, he told me I had barely dozed off, and then apparently, I came home and slept—but I know I came home at six. Carly only went missing around seven.”
“He didn’t have enough time to take her anywhere else.” Jason nodded. “Okay. So, she’s in the house. I don’t need you to be there—”
“You need me in that house. Because you can search his papers. You can know what he’s doing at all hours. I’ll let you put electronics in there. I’ll let you gut the fucking place to get her out—” Her voice broke. “You know why he kidnapped Carly, Jason. She’s pregnant.”
Jason shook his head. “We don’t know that—”
“He blamed Sonny for the miscarriage. He wanted the PCPD to arrest him for assault, for pushing me—Sonny would never do that, I told him that—but he was so angry, I was afraid of what would happen. It was all crushing down around me, you know, and I just knew something bad was going to happen—” Elizabeth forced herself to continue. “And then he came home with this house. It was a surprise. It was a new start. And that’s—I think the follicle test is going to tell you that I’ve been drugged for at least month. Because there’s a lot about this last month—I’ve got some holes. I thought I was sleeping too much—”
“He kidnapped Carly because she’s pregnant. I think he wants Sonny to suffer like we did when we lost the baby, but I just—it’s about that baby, Jason. We need to find Carly.”
He took her hand in his. “I know that,” Jason told her, his eyes locked on hers. “But I’m not going to let you kill yourself to do it—”
“You can’t stop me,” Elizabeth said. “You’ll have to tie me up and lock me away. Go tell your mother that I’m crazy and suicidal. She’s already halfway there. But you can’t stop me.”
“Carly’s already—I don’t know where she is,” Jason said, with a slight crack in his voice. “And about an hour ago, I found you without a pulse—I am not going to take any chances with your life.”
“It’s not your chance to take,” she said softly. She covered his hand with hers so that his larger hand was enveloped in both of hers. “I don’t have a death wish, Jason. I know Ric is poisoning me. He’s feeding me Valium to keep me under control. To keep me fuzzy and from asking questions. So that’s what I’ll give him. I’ll be the perfect wife.” She swallowed hard. “Whatever I have to do. I’ll find something to lead us to Carly. She’s in the house or there’s some sort of clue that will give us the answers.”
He closed his eyes. Took a deep breath. “You don’t eat any or drink anything he gives you, do you understand me?” he told her. “Promise me.”
“I promise I’ll try,” Elizabeth said. “I—I may have to, sometimes. But I won’t eat or drink a lot. I promise. This won’t last long. We’ll find her, Jason. And then you can help me find a divorce attorney.” She managed a wisp of a smile. “Unless I somehow become a widow.”
Jason shook his head slightly at her small attempt at humor. “I’m going to get you a cell phone. You use that phone and you check in every goddamn hour. If you can’t get a hold of me, you can call Monica or Bobbie. I’m going to talk Emily into going back to California. Ric will never believe this if she’s still here.” He stared at her, his eyes burning with exhaustion, fear, worry— “Promise me. You’ll check in.”
“I promise.” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “Go tell Monica I need to get out of here. Ric is expecting me back.”
He looked as if he wanted to argue, but mercifully he didn’t. She wasn’t sure she had the energy for another go around. If he kept looking at her—kept making her think of everything she’d thrown away last year—
She might not be able to do what needed to be done.