"Stupid, stupid!" Pamela muttered to herself. Remembering her earlier conversation with Edward, she was deep in thought as she left the elevators and headed to her apartment. Scolding herself for lashing out instead of stringing him along to find out what he really wanted was more urgent than watching her footsteps that she walked straight into the man who waited for her at her door.
"Watch yourself," advised a deep familiar voice. "Didn't Granny Mae always tell us to walk with our heads up and our backs straight? Keep your chin up, little girl."
Pamela rolled her eyes as she looked at her older brother. "Little girl? Justus, please."
She unlocked her door and went it inside, leaving it open so that he made the decision to enter or not on his own. He followed her and closed the door behind him. "Is that the best you can do? I remember a time when a crack like that would have gotten me at least one lick upside my head."
After shrugging out of her long, wool coat, she tossed it over a chair. High-heeled ankle boots were removed just as quickly. Padding to the bar in stocking-covered feet, she poured ginger ale into a tumbler and sipped the cool liquid before she spoke again. "We're too old for childhood games, don't you think? To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit? Please, make it quick. I'm tired and I have a lot to do before I can even think about going to bed."
"Ouch!" Justus wagged his finger at her as he joined her at the bar. He added ice to a glass and then poured the remainder of the ginger ale into the glass. "I came over to invite you to a party. I didn't realize that the Grinch had replaced my sweet, loving sister. Maybe I should leave and come back later when she returns."
"Touché," she mumbled as her footsteps led her to her sofa where she sat down and patted the space beside her. "I'm sorry about that. Work is intense these days and I just had a meeting with that insufferable, pompous windbag!"
Justus frowned as he sat beside her. Shifting so that he could see her face, he said, "You say that I like should know whom you're talking about. The only person I can think of who fits that description is Edward Quartermaine. "
"Bingo!" She patted her brother on the back. "You win the prize for getting it on the first try. Somehow, I don't think he got it. Keesha warned me about his thick skull. I'm glad I was listening."
"What happened?" Justus asked, his voice filled with concern.
Pamela shrugged. "I'm not sure exactly. He tried to play the grandfather card, but it didn't work. I left soon after that. I don't have time for that old man's games. He's about as sincere as a rattlesnake. He must think I'm a fool if I'd believe anything that came out of that man's mouth-"
"Whoa!" Justus said. Pearly white teeth flashed as he started to grin. "He's made quite an impression on you. But what did you mean by the grandfather card? What's that?"
Pamela placed her glass on a nearby end table. "He said that Mr. Quartermaine was too formal and that I should call him Grandfather. I almost threw up."
"So, what happened?" Justus questioned. "What did you tell him?"
"I told him that I wouldn't play his little game, of course!" She rose quickly from the sofa, grabbed her empty glass from the end table and stomped back to the bar. "I know that he's up to something and part of me wants to know what, but I really don't have the time to find out. "
Justus joined her at the bar. He reached for her hands and held them lightly as he asked, "Want me to find out for you?"
She looked at him in surprise. "Aren't you kept busy bailing your gangster cousin out of jail?"
He released her hands and shook his head. "You've been hanging with Keesha too much. Listen, do you want my help or not?"
Chuckling softly, she nodded. "Sure, bro. I do."
"Good," he said with his broad trademark smile. "Now, what about the party? Do you wanna come or not? It would be a good chance for you to meet some people outside of that stuffy, perfume-smelling office of yours."
Pamela stabbed a well-manicured finger at his chest. "How many times do I have to tell you that we were sampling fragrances that day and the office doesn't usually smell like that? You never listen!"
Still grinning, he shrugged. "Some things run in the family, I guess. So, what's the deal? Yes or no?"
"I haven't decided, yet," she said as she reached for another bottle of ginger ale. "Who's giving it? Who will be there? I'm not in the mood for a bunch of stuffy lawyers."
Her teasing laugh was joined by Justus' deep chuckle as he said, "I'm ignoring that crack about lawyers. Jasper Jacks is the host and I'm not sure who will be there. His friends and business associates, I assume. Interested? Yes or no?"
Her eyebrows rose in amazement. "Jax is throwing a party?" Biting back a smile of delight, she set the bottle on the bar and headed towards to her bedroom. She called out over her shoulder. "Yeah, I'm interested! Give me some minutes to get ready and make yourself at home."
After an unfortunate meeting with her grandfather, she didn't think the evening would improve. Leave it to her big brother to turn things around for her. A party and another chance meeting with the Golden Boy. Hot damn! Things were looking up.
The Port Charles Grille appeared to be filled with many of the town's citizens Keesha thought as she relaxed at a table with AJ. A few tables away, Ned and Brenda sat together deep in conversation. Tony Jones sat at the bar next to a woman that he introduced to them as Virginia. One look into his sad eyes and Keesha knew that he had been there for a while. She decided to keep an eye on him just in case he got it into his mind to drive. Jax appeared in the doorway for a second and then whirled away, cell phone in hand. As he left the doorway, Jason and his entourage replaced him, and against Keesha's wishes, her heart skipped a beat at the site of him and the stroller that he pushed. "Damn."
"What is it?" AJ asked, twisting to see the newest arrivals at the restaurant. "Jason and his cronies. Do you think there will be trouble?"
"Trouble?" Keesha repeated. She pulled her gaze away from Jason, the stroller and his friends to look at the man in front of her. His hazel eyes were filled with so much concern that any anxiety at seeing Jason quickly faded away. "Why would I think that?"
AJ shrugged. "I dunno. Your reaction maybe. Do you think he knows about you and his new girlfriend? If he says anything to you, I'm gonna-"
"You're not gonna do a thing," she said, cutting him off before he could come up with something. "He doesn't have a clue and if he does, so what? He can't prove anything and I doubt if he'd come after me in a crowded bar. "
"You don't seem worried about it," he said slowly.
A frown of confusion crossed his face. "Well, why did you get tense when you saw him?"
Keesha glanced away from his questioning eyes. Her gaze fell immediately to the stroller and then her eyes moved up to see Jason lovingly cradle the baby within his strong arms. Residual emotions from the past swept over her and she remembered how safe she had felt when he held her. She also remembered the plans they had made when they still loved each other. Correction. Before he had forgotten about her and the love they had shared. She thought back to when he still loved her and envisioned a life with her as her husband and the father to their children. Here it was a year later and the memories were as vivid as if it had been yesterday. Her vision became blurred with bittersweet tears and she blinked them away.
"Keesha?" AJ reached for her hand. "What is it?"
"I'm sorry, AJ," she said, turning back to look at him. "Sometimes, I get caught up in the past. So much has changed lately that I find it hard to keep track of who I am. "
"I know," he said with compassion. "I look over that at him and he looks just like my little brother. The same height, the same build and the same voice…but he's not. One look into his eyes and I know that my brother is gone. Don't be fooled by the outside shell. It's the inner lining that counts. And that Jason over there is nothing like the one we loved, Keesha. You can count on that."
"I'm not fooled," she answered quietly. "I know exactly who he is and what he's become. I won't let the past prevent me from doing what I have to do."
"They're not here!" Carly quickly informed Bobbie as soon as the older woman entered the penthouse.
"Where are they?" Bobbie asked, unable to hide the frown of distaste that crossed her face as Carly poured bourbon into a good-sized tumbler. "I know you're not breast-feeding, but that can't be healthy for you or Michael."
"What do you know about it?" Carly asked. Some of the liquid spilled on her hands as she brought the glass to her lips and took a long swallow. "You gave away your kid. What do you know about breast-feeding and what could be healthy for a mother and her child?"
Without giving Bobbie a chance to answer, Carly continued on with her tirade. "You know, the best part about being gone for a month was that I didn't have you breathing down my neck and I didn't have a crying baby screaming at me. I could drink as much as I wanted without worrying about whether or not I'm passing any of your stupid little tests. "
Bobbie stiffened at the mention of her precious child, Caroline. Ever since the truth came out about Carly and Tony and the baby's paternity, she had wanted to confront the little wench for wrecking havoc on her home. Many times, she had stopped just short of the line that her respectability as the head nurse of GH dictated that she dared not cross. But the angry girl in front of her provoked her time again. Once again, she drew a deep breath and willed herself to stay calm. She was there for the poor child who had the misfortune of being born to the blonde wretch. Carly was damned and could go to hell for all Bobbie cared.
"Apparently, I know more than you," Bobbie told the sullen woman. "I completed my nursing training and I'm certified. Even with someone else footing the bills, you didn't make it that far, did you? But that's neither here nor there. I stopped by to see Michael and that's what I intend to do. When will he and Jason be back?"
"I don't know," Carly informed her. "I'm not psychic. Turn on the set. Maybe Dionne and friends can give you a clue."
"You are one piece of work," Bobbie said, just barely holding in the anger that was boiling inside of her. "The forecast predicts that we're about to have one helluva storm and you don't even give a damn that your son and his father could be caught in it. You're standing over there making idiotic wisecracks like you're auditioning for Star Search. Grow up, Carly!"
"No!" Carly slammed the empty glass onto the bar marble countertop. "Who the hell do you think you are, coming into my home and insulting me-"
"No! You just shut your mouth!!" Carly spat. "You come riding over here on your broomstick pretending to be all concerned about the baby. We both know that you don't give a good damn about babies. All you care about is yourself! You're such a selfish witch, Bobbie, and a hypocrite, too! Don't pretend with Michael. He's not yours. You had your chance and you blew it. You threw your kid away. You don't get second chances, Bobbie, when you choose whoring over being a mother to your child!"
The slap that reddened Carly's cheek came from so deep inside Barbara Jean that she reared back after impact. Her hand stung from the force of the blow and rage exploded inside of her, spewing out before she had time to consider the protocol for respectability or otherwise.
"DAMN YOU, Carly!" Bobbie ground out. "Time and again you throw that up it in my face and I've had it." Suddenly hot, she shrugged off her coat and purse and stormed towards the younger woman who backed away. "This is it," Bobbie said, pointing her finger in Carly's red, frightened face. "This is the last time. You wanna know so much about it. Okay, then I'll tell you. I'll tell you what it was like to be a sixteen-year-old hooker who is impregnated by an unknown john. I'll tell you how frightened I was when the doctor confirmed it and how determined I was to have the baby even when my aunt and my brother tried to convince me to do otherwise.
"Having an abortion would have been easy, I guess. I could have gone to old Miss Sallie's backroom and let her do the deed there, but I said no. And it wasn't because I was afraid. No, that wasn't it. It was because I was in love! I was in love with my precious little girl that I carried inside of me. You see, I always knew she was a girl. From the very first moment, I knew. And the love I felt for her wouldn't let me get rid of her.
"It's real easy for you to throw your asinine accusations up in my face, but you have no idea what it feels like to carry a life inside of you, feeling it grow and loving it more and more each day, only to always remember in the back of your mind that she wouldn't be yours to keep. Someone else would have the honor of being called Mommy and watching those first steps and seeing her grow and become a beautiful person. The joy of having all of this is yours, but you refuse to accept it. You make jokes. You ignore your child. I know enough about post-partum depression to wonder if this what fuels you, but we're not talking about you right now, right? This is about me and my past. The past you think you know so much about…
"So, there I was, in the room and I had just had the baby. I wasn't supposed to see her. They usually don't allow you to, but the nurse was kind to me. When the doctor left, she said that I'd only have a few minutes, but I could hold her…for a just a little while. So, I did. I held her. I memorized everything about her. Her large brown eyes…her little pug nose…and the way her little body squirmed in my arms. I memorized everything and I then I told her I loved her. And that this was best for her because a home with two parents who could take care of her and love her was a helluva lot better than life on the streets with a young mother who turned tricks to earn a living. I kissed her and held her to me one last time, and the nurse returned and took her from me. There's not a day that doesn't go by that I don't think about her and there's not a damn thing that you can say to me that will make me believe that I wasn't a good mother. Not to her and not to Lucas."
With that said, Bobbie spun on her heel and bent to pick her coat and purse off the floor. Then, Carly called out to her, "Bobbie. Wait."
Raw emotions swelled inside Bobbie. Facing Carly so soon after speaking so honestly about her little girl was too much for her. She kept her back to the younger woman and said in a harsh whisper, "What?"
"I-I want to hold my baby. Can you take me to Michael? I need to see him now."
Surprise left Bobbie speechless for a moment. Swallowing down the lump in her throat, she nodded and slowly faced the younger woman. "Yes, I can do that."
"I thought you wanted to stay here for a while," Peter O'Rourke said to his baby sister. "What the hell are you doing? You can't leave now. Where will you go?"
Lynn paused in packing her backpack to look outside the window at the pale blue cloudless sky off the Kauai coast. Running to her big brother had been a mistake, but she couldn't pass up the solace that his home and his love would give her. He wanted to help her and she wished he could, but even with his large bank account, Peter was no match against Mancusi and their uncle. He was a good man who believed in truth, honesty and logic. None of those things mattered to the underworld. Not when power and control fueled their every whim.
The faint whirring of a helicopter interrupted the quiet. Lynn immediately tensed and then started shoving items into her bag again. "It doesn't matter where I go. I have to get out of here-"
"Lynn," Peter said, clearly exasperated, "that's Mac's friend. Mac hired him to check out security for me."
"So says Mac," she muttered. "I don't trust that guy. He talks like a used car salesmen. All flash and no depth."
Peter chuckled. "And you don't sound like any nineteen-year-old kid either."
She pulled the straps of the backpack over her shoulder before tying a sweatshirt around her waist. Her shoulder-length curls had recently been cut to just below her ears. Lynn missed her hair, but the new style was a necessity. She could pass as a boy if the need arose and she could easily hide behind the brim of the Detroit Tigers cap that she grabbed and shoved onto her head. With the cap firmly in place and a pair of Ray Bans perched on her nose, she offered her brother a faint smile and said, "I'm not a kid. I stopped being one when Mom's brother sold me."
"Sis, I'm sorry." Peter pulled his sister into a warm hug. "I'm sorry about this mess and I don't think you should go. Regardless of what you think, you are safe here."
"Every day that I stay," she said as their embrace ended and they simply held hands, "I put you in danger. I ran out on the greatest guy because I didn't want to see him hurt because of me. I wouldn't do any less for my brother."
"That Hardy guy…you said he loved you-"
"He did love me," she said with certainty, "and I love him."
"Okay," Peter conceded, "he loves you. That being the case, you gotta let him know somehow that you're okay. If it were me, I'd be dying inside. You should at least let him know that you're alive."
"You're such a romantic, Pete," she said with a catch in her voice. "I tried to email him when I first returned to the States. It bounced back. He could be with his parents or back on the East Coast. Either way, I can't risk contacting him. Bobby knows about him and he threatened to hurt him. I'd never forgive myself if he made good on his threat. Peter, I hate good-byes, but I have to go."
"Please, just one more day. Give me another day to figure this thing out. They can't make you marry the guy and if he's threatening you, we can use it against him and put him away."
Lynn shook her head. "You know it's not that easy. Uncle made me a marked woman when he promised I'd marry that creep. There are only two ways I can get out of it: die or run. So, I'm running. I'll be okay. I promise and I'll get word to you somehow. Okay? Check the classifieds. I'll leave a message for you there. I love you. Bye."
She swept through the patio door before he could stop her. He watched her maneuver down the rocky path until she was out of sight. When he couldn't see her any more, he released a deep sigh and then went to meet Mac's friend, Thomas Magnum.
[Author's Note: Some of the lines in the Bobbie/Carly scene were from the show, but most of them weren't. :)]