"I am really getting sick of you people," Chase Hamilton looked over Cass' head to also address Frankie and Felicia, not to mention Lorna who, having caught wind of what was going on, bullied her way into the interrogation room, as well. "As long as I've already made the trip from my office down here, does anyone else want to confess to Cecile's murder? It would save me a hell of a lot of time and paperwork."
"This is the last confession," Cass said stiffly. "I did it. No one else."
"Is that a fact? Because the guy I've currently got locked up not to be confused with the one I already had to set free he sounded pretty convincing, too."
"Lucas came in after the fact. He helped me stage the scene, nothing more."
"What?" Lorna demanded, head spinning, only to be shushed by Felicia.
"I echo what the lady said," Hamilton crossed his arms, "And add the hell? What the hell, Cass? If this is some kind of overly clever Perry Mason slight of hand to help your client, I am not amused."
"I'd like to make my statement, please. And I want to talk plea bargain."
Hamilton burst out laughing. "You're kidding me, right? After everything your happy little group has put me through, you think I'm in the mood to cut a deal?"
"At least hear me out. Who knows, I just might have an offer you can't refuse."
"Shouldn't that be the thug's line?" He indicated the prison cell Lucas was currently sitting in, somewhere far, far behind Hamilton shoulder. "No offense, Ms. Gallant."
"Oh, offense definitely taken," she reassured him.
"Give me five minutes." Despite sitting in the defendant's seat, Cass kept his tone low, steady and calm, pure lawyer to the end.
"Fine." Hamilton shrugged and wagged his finger from Felicia to Frankie to Lorna. "Peanut gallery out. I think I've humored your posse long enough."
"We'll be right outside," Frankie patted Cass' shoulder.
"Actually, you'll be way out in the waiting area." Hamilton opened the door and beckoned a uniformed officer forward. "My friend here will escort you."
"I love you," Frankie mouthed to her husband. He smiled weakly back in return.
"Thank you, Cass," Felicia managed to squeeze in as they were all being ushered out. "I can't thank you enough."
"What the hell are you thinking him for?" Lorna demanded even before the three of them were unceremoniously dumped into the familiar waiting area outside the police station's bullpen.
"Cass turned himself in to save Lucas," Felicia lectured her daughter.
"If I understood what he was saying correctly, Cass is the reason Lucas is in jail in the first place! He doesn't deserve gratitude, he deserves a kick in the crotch." She whipped around to face Frankie. "How could you let him do that? You allowed first Jamie, then Lucas to take the blame for something you knew your husband did?"
"I didn't know," Frankie said softly. "Not at first."
"You leave her alone," Felicia grabbed Lorna by the arm and pulled her away from Cass' wife. "Are you so damn insensitive that you can't see what she's going through? The last thing she needs is you and your self-righteous attitude."
"What about what we were going through with Lucas? What about what your supposed dear friend Rachel and her whole family went through with Jamie?"
"As if you give a damn about Rachel or anyone else. This little fit of yours is about one thing and one thing only. The same thing it's always about you."
"Was that Donna?" Gregory asked John sleepily after she'd left his hospital room.
"Hey, look who's awake?" John had to turn his back on his son and furtively wipe his eyes before forcibly pasting an optimistic smile onto his own face.
"I thought she was still..."
"She's doing a lot better. Just like you." John indicated a nearby monitor. "No apnea episodes during the night. That's a great sign."
"And it looks like you might be completely weaned off the oxygen soon. Good going."
"Dad..." Gregory painfully pushed himself up to a sitting position with both arms. "Don't. Please. We all know..."
"Nobody knows a damn thing, alright? All those so-called neurological oncology experts were certain you'd never live to graduate high-school, and look at you now!"
"Yes," Gregory urged. "Look at me."
"There are still treatments we can try."
"I heard. The one they used on Frankie. The one that killed Cecile."
"That was an allergic reaction. A one-time fluke. Obviously, we'd take all the necessary precautions."
"That drug is illegal in the United States."
"I'll get around that."
"You could end up in jail."
"I honestly don't give a damn."
"I do. I don't want you going to jail, Dad. Especially over a treatment that probably won't even work."
"No. Because, even if it stops the cancer "
"Even if.... Gregory, what else is there?"
"Even if it stops the cancer I heard what you told Donna I'll lose my memory, like Frankie did."
John stared at him, dumbfounded. "But you'd be alive, son."
"My body would be alive. But, without my memory, I what's the point? I'd still be gone."
"Yes. I don't want the treatment, Dad. No matter what happens, I don't want it."
"Please don't do that again," Alice told Amanda politely but very, very firmly. "Do not interfere in my personal life, no matter how well meaning you believe yourself to be."
"Sorry," Amanda clicked the button to approve their latest digital issue of Brava and turned to give Alice her full attention. "I can't promise you that."
"Oh, really?" Alice appeared more intrigued than offended by the rejection. "You know, I always thought you favored your father more than your mother in overall looks. But, I swear, for a moment there, I definitely saw a flash of Rachel."
"Yeah," Amanda shrugged. "Happens to the best of us."
"May I inquire as to why you believe you have a right to meddle in my relationship with Spencer?"
"Couple of reasons. One) I believe you technically don't have a relationship with him at the moment. According to Spencer, anyway. Two) You, at least, would like for that situation to change. Three) You told me that, if I wanted Kevin, I should go after him. What's good for the goose "
"Hold it." Alice raised a palm. "I said that if you wanted Kevin you should go after him. I didn't say to send an unsolicited proxy."
"You offered to help me."
"Offered, not thrust upon."
"I just wanted to return the favor. Spencer likes me, I thought I'd put in a good word for you."
"Because Spencer does so enjoy being told what to do."
"He's still in love with you, that's obvious."
"And Kevin is still in love with you. I'd say with that and a token we could take a subway ride. But I don't believe they even make tokens anymore."
"So we both screwed up with the men in our lives. If we work together "
"We can no doubt make the situations even worse."
"Whatever happened to regretting that you never fought harder for Steve?"
"I was trying to inspire you, not me," Alice smiled ruefully.
Amanda reminded, "When we talked at Christmas-time, you said that Spencer was the first man who didn't put you on a pedestal and treat you like some untouchable angel. You said that Spencer treated you like a flesh and blood woman."
"Yes," Alice agreed. "I did say that."
"He wants you back just as much as you want him. He's just being stubborn, I'm sure of it. How can you give up on someone who made you so happy, without at least trying "
"I'm scared, Amanda," Alice interrupted, seemingly as shocked to hear herself admit the words as Amanda was to hear them. "There. I've said it. I'm scared. You'd think, at my age and after everything I've been through I've lost my child, for God's sake, I've lost more than one, there is nothing worse than that. You would think after everything, I wouldn't have the luxury of fear anymore. But, I do. Right now, I can tell myself that the reason I couldn't hold onto Steve was because I never tried my hardest. Well, what if I do try my hardest, and I still fail? What will I have to hide behind then?"
"You won't fail."
"And how do you know that?"
"Because Spencer doesn't want you to."
"How the hell do you figure I'm making this all about me," Lorna laughed in disbelief. "When I'm talking about the people Cass hurt?"
"You're talking about Jamie," Felicia countered. "Who, I hear, is currently off vacationing, having apparently bounced back no worse for wear from his allegedly horrible ordeal."
"Jamie is taking a few days to reconnect with his sons. Who, by the way, are also still reeling from having to deal with their father going to prison, courtesy of Cass."
"Jamie confessed to Cecile's murder of his own volition. That's why he was facing prison. Cass had nothing to do with it. Cass was ready to defend him. And as for Lucas," Felicia cut off her daughter's next, obvious argument. "He also confessed. Not because of Cass, but because of you."
"Lucas could have implicated Cass to save himself. He didn't."
"That's because your father is a real man."
"Jamie could have sicced the cops on Lucas. But he didn't do that either. I guess that makes him a real man, too." When Felicia merely waved her fingers dismissively at the comparison, Lorna pressed on, "So, tell me then, where does that leave your BFF? Keeping his gutless mouth shut and letting first his client, then your husband take the fall for him, while watching you suffer all the while? Real good pal you've got there. With friends like Cass Winthrop, who needs enemies like Carl? Or Donna?"
"Don't you dare compare Cass to those two animals. Those vermin. Cass had every reason to do what he did."
"Trust me, I know what kind of bitch Cecile was."
"You know Jamie's version. Twenty-five years ago, she was just warming up. She kidnapped Frankie. She threatened Charlie and Lori Ann. Cass did what anyone would have to protect his family. He was a saint for putting up with her as long as he did."
"You'll forgive me if I don't run out immediately and start lighting candles on his behalf. He stood by and watched you agonize over losing the love of your life... again. And he did nothing. How can you even look his way, much less make excuses for him?"
"I wouldn't expect you to understand."
Lorna cocked her head. "What does that mean?"
"When you've been to hell and back with someone as many times as Cass and I have, only then will you understand the true definition of loyalty and empathy and love."
"Right. How could I forget? You and Cass have the market cornered on all those virtues. The rest of us mere mortals can only fumble around in pale imitation."
"Judging by the way you're behaving, I'd have to say, yes, Lorna, that's true."
"You don't think I know what it means to truly love somebody?" Lorna asked, the blistering challenge in her voice exactly equal to the terror she felt at the suggestion of Felicia's being right.
The pause her mother took before answering told Lorna everything she wanted and didn't want to know. Without letting Felicia finish her thought, Lorna stormed out of the precinct.
"You came back," Gregory managed to make the observation sound like a given, rather than the genuine surprise it should have been.
"I'm sorry I freaked out before," Allie said. "Again."
"It's okay. I deserved it. I should have been honest with you from the start."
"Wouldn't have helped. Only difference would've been me freaking out months earlier."
"No. Because months earlier, we were... we kind of just knew each other in passing. If I told you I was sick then, you'd have said, oh, wow, Gregory, sorry, that's too bad."
"And then I'd have run away as fast as I could," she agreed.
"I definitely should have told you before we..."
"Is that what did it?" she asked, blushing furiously and all but covering her face with her hands. "I mean, you had your seizure-thing, right after we.... Was it my fault?"
"No." He didn't laugh at her. Allie was so sure he'd laugh at her. Either that, or tell her that she was right. "No, that had nothing to do with it. Just a rotten, sucky coincidence. I was feeling fine that day. And you made me feel more then fine. You made me feel fantastic. Before, I honestly thought that I would die without "
"So why did you wait?" Allie had to admit, she'd been wondering. "If you knew that you might die at any minute, like they said, not even finish high-school, why did you wait for... me?"
"I told you. Because I wanted to be in love first. Otherwise, what's the point?"
"A lot of guys wouldn't agree with you."
He shrugged. "So?"
"We wasted so much time. I wasted so much time. If I hadn't been pregnant "
"Then you wouldn't have needed me. And if you hadn't needed me.... "
"But that's not fair. To you."
"Neither," Gregory tugged on the oxygen prongs under his nose. "Is this."
"You're so calm about it."
"I've had plenty of time to get used to the idea."
"How much," Allie wasn't sure about the way to phrase it exactly. "How much do I have?"
"Not a lot," he admitted.
"My dad thinks there's this drug that could slow down, maybe even stop the cancer from spreading."
"Really?" Allie lit up. "Because I even went to see Jen, in case she knew something, but turns out she's not that kind of brain researcher and anyway, she said she couldn't imagine anything that your doctors wouldn't have also thought of. Guess she was right."
"I don't want it," Gregory said.
"Because, at worst, it won't do anything. And at best, it'll fix the tumors, but it'll make me forget everything that happened before I took it."
"Everything. I won't even know my name, much less yours."
"But... if it'll keep you alive."
"No! That's what my dad said, but, no. It won't keep me alive. I'll still be gone. Why doesn't anybody get that?"
"I get it," Allie reassured. Despite it being far from the truth, she felt it was precisely what she should say.
The look of relief on Gregory's face convinced Allie she'd made the right call. "I knew you would," he said gratefully. "I knew you'd understand. Because, if I forget us, it'll be like we never existed. And I don't want that."
"Did you tell your dad? About not wanting the drug?"
Gregory nodded. And then he admitted, "I don't think he heard me, though. He's convinced this is the only way."
"But you're an adult, he can't make you."
"He's a doctor. I'm a patient. This isn't my first time at the rodeo. I know who has the power."
"I think," Allie began slowly. "I think I can help you with that...."
"You swore on your children's lives," Rachel reminded Carl. "That you did not take the file Spencer gave me on Donna, and pass it on to Cecile. Now swear that you didn't give it to Lucas."
Carl held his wife's gaze for a long beat. Softly, he told her, "You know I can't do that."
"Damn it," Rachel cursed. "You were in on it! Right from the very beginning!"
"She stole my child from me, and then she got Jenna killed. Did you honestly expect me to just stand by "
"You promised me!"
"She was my child!"
"What about my child?" Rachel challenged. "What about Jamie? You knew he was innocent. You knew he had nothing to do with killing Cecile. That it was you and Lucas who set up the whole thing."
"I did not have a hand in Cecile's murder. I merely passed on the information to Lucas, one father to another, and trusted him to rectify the situation towards both our mutual satisfaction. The how of the matter was entirely his choice."
"Forget Lucas for now. We were talking about Jamie. You let him sit in jail. You let my son plead guilty and you let me nearly go out of my mind with worry."
"I offered you a solution. We could have spirited him out of the country."
"And I didn't allow it. Because I wanted to protect you."
"I, in turn, was trying to protect you."
"Oh, save it."
"What good would your finding out about my actions have done? The issue with Jenna and Donna didn't concern you. It was my affair to take care of as I saw fit."
"You promised no vengeance."
"You had no right to extract such a vow from me."
"I had every right. I am your wife. I dare you to name another person on this Earth who cares as much about you as I do. I know what the settling of scores does to Carl Hutchins. In due course, it turns you into a man even you can't stomach."
"Perhaps. But it cries out to be done. Grant murdered my son, and he is walking around free. I have to endure that burden each and every time he shows his insufferable face around here, sniffing after Kirkland. A boy who, by all rights, should have been Ryan's child, not his. And now you expect me to bear a similar insult from Donna? She hasn't paid an iota for what she did."
"You're right," Rachel said unexpectedly.
Unprepared, Carl merely stared at her, perplexed but intrigued.
"You're right," she repeated. "It may not have been the way I'd have chosen to go about it, but what's done is done. Cecile is dead I regret the havoc she left in her wake, but I can't say I'm particularly broken-up about it. And the file, for better or for worse, is in the hands of the authorities. Except that Felicia tells me they can't prosecute because they have no one to verify its claims. Now, obviously, Spencer would have been the logical person to turn to, but I suspect he's in no mood to do me any favors. Plus, he made sure there's no way to connect him to anything he gave me. You, on the other hand, you can verify the story those tapes tell. Donna, the compound. You can testify against her. You wanted revenge, Carl? Here's your chance. Tell the truth in court, and put Donna away. Legally."
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