The Path to Power
Chapter Eighty One
Awkward much? What do you say to the woman who left you a Dear Kyle letter when she ditched treatment. Hell scratch that. When she had ditched detox?! Hell he probably know more about recovery programs living with Skye and she wasn't pushy about her recovery, and her efforts. It just is. But here he is for the first Sunday Brunch with Mom at the Port Charles Grille. You can bet Marcos is going to be wanting a report come Monday morning.
"Kyle? Kyle? Over here." Margery makes an abbreviated wave from the table next to the window. As Kyle nears she stands up and gives him a hug. "It's so good to see you. Of course I wasn't expecting to see you in the Newspaper."
Things had gone to shit so fast with Dr. Alan's mom nobody had even looked at a paper. As far as he knows this is the first day since Skye bought the paper that she hadn't checked in. "Huh?" Kyle holds his mother's chair and seats her.
"Anything to drink?" The waiter comes over as soon as Kyle is seated.
"We'll have two Q specials please." Kyle says quickly before his Mother can answer.
"Very good." The waiter leaves without looking at Margery.
"A Q special?" Margery asks.
"It's like a Mimosa without the kick." Kyle explains. "You said something about me being in the paper... oh wait. The soccer game on Thursday."
"No, the Breast Cancer Fund raiser in the city. I guess they'll let anyone into those things now."
"Faith Roscoe. Of course when she was stripping for your Uncle, she was still Faith Flynn. Pretty, I guess in a... coarse way." Margery leans back from the table to make room for the waiter who sets down the two champagne flutes.
"Are you still doing drugs?" Kyle leans in as he hisses the question. He is only half kidding. "I don't know what Faith was and really I don't want to know. All I know is who she is now."
"Married to Ned Ashton? Please he marries the way most guys change the batteries on their smoke detectors."
"I was thinking more the woman who beat Lt. Taggart in a sharpshooting demonstration. Anyone that good with a pistol I don't think I'd be saying mean things about."
"Fourth of July picnic. Everyone saw it." Kyle tilts his head to the side. "And where did you see the fireworks, Mom?"
Dara checks with the concierge and looks longingly at the Grille. It would be so nice to hold this meeting in a public place. But it is a discussion of client information and has to be done in privacy. Her quick glance grows longer as she spies Kyle there with Margery Radcliffe. Lucky had done the investigation on her. Scorpio Investigations has been earning the money lately. About the time the uncle and Skye had come to her wanting the trust written, Dara had set Lucky loose. She didn't want any unknown factors trying to overturn the trust she'd built for the kid. And she wanted to be able to justify to any court picked why the kidís mother hadn't been picked as a trustee.
"Ms. Jensen? You're cleared to go up."
"Thank you." Dara walks slowly to the elevators. She would almost prefer to be singing at a nurses' ball with Katherine Bell. Almost. Damn Ned's efficiency in upgrading the hotel. Faith said he was doing a 9/11 upgrade and is in the process of upgrading just about everything. The elevators must have been first. She stops in front of the door and takes a deep breath, straightens her jacket and tucks that one lock of hair that always seems to fall forward back behind her ear. "Sooner you do this, the sooner it's over." She raps on the door and is somewhat taken aback when it's Dillon who answers the door. "Hello is your mother here?"
"Yeah, she's pretty much broken down and decided it's five o'clock somewhere." Dillon shrugs. "Don't worry but I wouldn't advise putting off anything that needs to have a rational response. Luckily Ned is pouring them and Mom told him earlier you were stopping by. Did you want anything?"
"Water is fine." Dara makes eye contact with Tracy. "Ms. Quartermaine, I appreciate you seeing me on a Sunday. I am sorry about the circumstances. Is there somewhere private we could talk?"
"I have nothing to hide from my boys." Tracy declares as she holds a hand out to Dillon bringing him down to sit next to her and keeps hold of his hand.
Ned comes over with his Mother's drink and hands Dara a glass of water. He indicates with a hand which seat for Dara and only after she has sat down does he take a seat. "What is this about, Dara?"
Everyone else flinches. Ned's voice is harsh. "She isn't dead yet, Dara."
"Thankfully and I hope she makes fools of all her doctors." Dara nods. "Lila came to me three months ago to make a will. This was just after the second confirmation of her diagnosis. She gave me directions for what to do when the family found out about her condition. I have already been over to the mansion and delivered all the original medical reports to your brother, Ms. Quartermaine. Lila believes the sooner he comes to terms with her diagnosis the sooner they will be able to enjoy the time she has left."
"Do you really think medical reports are going to pacify me, Miss Jensen?" Tracy is already shaking her head.
"Same goal; different method, Ms. Quartermaine. Lila wanted you to know two things. Faith is getting a dollar-- nothing more. No jewelry, no property. One dollar to show her presence as Ned's wife is acknowledged and it is her intention to leave Faith exactly that amount."
"What the hell!" Dillon protests as he jumps up from the couch. "Grandmother likes Faith. Why would she do that?"
"Sit down and shut up, Dillon." Ned says calmly. "Faith already knows about this. She told me about it last night. Faith also said that Grandmother had set things up so that she won't be making another will. The one she made is it."
"It's an iffy thing. Lila could write another will absolutely, but she doesn't want to. And she left a video tape indicating that any will after this one should be considered made under... undo influence. She wants to be surrounded by her family and enjoy the time she has left."
"Now that sounds like an oxymoron." Ned snarks.
"Shut up, Ned." Tracy takes Dillon's hand again. "And the second thing, Miss Jensen?"
"Your mother left you one thing in her will, Ms. Quartermaine. It's an apartment in New York and the contents. Everything she intends for you to have has already been moved from the mansion to the apartment. Everything there is yours. Lila told me it was a fight between Alan and Monica that gave her the idea. One more round of listening to -- it's my house..."
"I gave it to you." The other three chorus and roll their eyes.
"Exactly. Lila wants you to have a place that is yours and nobody elseís. You will receive the deed when the will is probated but here are the keys now and an inventory of the contents on disc. There is a trust set up that automatically pays the bills and taxes on the property. A life insurance policy for the assessed value of the property and contents so that IRS can't take it away from you either. Your mother wanted you to have a home, Ms. Quartermaine."
Dara repeats. "Everything your mother intends for you to have is already in the apartment." Her tone is a little more weighted as if to say listen to what Iím telling you. "Again everything in the apartment is yours to use, but cannot be sold, traded or exchanged until after the will is probated."
"What about my boys?"
"I am only authorized to tell you what information Lila has released. Lila did not ignore anyone and took great care in picking things she believed each family member would value beyond materially. If you have any more questions about your bequest please bring them to me. The time Lila has with you, she wants to have it be about the two of youĖ not her will." Dara stands up. She offers Tracy a business card. "Let me know if you have any questions after youíve reviewed the disc and seen the apartment. Iíll see myself out." Dara gathers her things and quickly leaves happy that this task is done.
"Well. Thatís a surprise." Ned declares.
"Iím surprised she didnít leave me an apartment in London or Timbuktoo." Tracy snarks as she throws the disc and the card on the coffee table. "Anything but something actually close to the family. Itís not enough to kick me out of the mansion now she wants to kick me out of town."
"I didnít know Grandmother has an apartment in New York." Dillon counters. "It would have come in handy this weekend when we were down there for the fundraiser. What is that, Ned? About an hour away by plane right? You can get there faster really than driving to Beechers Corner."
"Close enough to be close and far enough to be private." Ned agrees knowing that basically they are both working Tracy to ensure she is satisfied with the legacy and isnít going to make things more difficult.
There are benefits to being both nocturnal and a heathen-- benefits to being a Spencer. The business is growing geometrically. Port Charles is a city with too many adulterers and too few P.I.s. Daraís practice alone is going to be the jam on the bread and butter. All nighters on the weekend are a great time to get a lot of work done without interruptions.
"Lucky, did you see the paper?" Elizabeth comes in. The paper is tucked under her arm and she has a couple of coffee cups in one hand and a small box of butterhorns in the other.
He can forgive the interruption because she is bringing in a coffee for him too. "Nope, I leave the rag reading to you." He grabs the things she is carrying so she can take the seat across from the desk.
"The Intruder is the first to break a lot of stories!" Elizabeth defends her taste in tabloids. "Lila Quartermaine was in the hospital. The Herald is low keying it, which makes sense since Skye owns the place but the Intruder says she has cancer. Do you think Emily knows about this?"
Lucky winces. Heíd investigated a couple of oncologists. Not something he can tell Elizabeth though, he has a confidentiality agreement with Dara. But That had been months ago-- when he first opened the agency.
"You think itís true!" Elizabeth announces reading the truth in his face.
"I think that before we call Em we should call the Quartermaines and find out if itís true. Because if it is then Em shouldnít hear it on the phone."
Elizabeth winces. "So who do we call?" Then it hits. "Reginald. He knows everything." She reaches across Luckyís desk and calls the mansion. Itís a number sheís had memorized since 4 musketeers days. "Reginald, good. I was hoping youíd be the one to answer the phone. This is Elizabeth Webber. I saw the paper today and I need to know if I should be calling Emily or not." Elizabeth shakes her head in Luckyís direction. "Okay. Weíll wait a couple of days. Iíll tell Lucky and Nikolas too. Check in with you before we say anything. Has anyone told Zander though? I donít know if he has Emís number or not." Elizabeth sees Lucky tap on his chest. "Lucky says heíll touch base with Zander just to be on the safe side. Give Mrs. Quartermaine our best okay?" Elizabeth nods and then saying her goodbyes hangs up. "I think the Intruder is right. Emís Mom flew out to California this morning early, early."
"Damn." Lucky mutters.
"You know what this is making me want?"
"Brunch with the GramsĖ mine, yours, here at the Outback so nobody is risking getting sick from my cooking."
"Call them up." Lucky agrees. "Iíll finish up on this and then go see Zander. Heís has his hands full with Alexis but..."
"Okay what did you mean about Faith already knowing?" Dillon takes the keys from the valet and climbs in behind the wheel of Nedís car automatically.
"Exactly that." Ned hesitates taking the time to buckle his seat belt. Then figures itís better coming from him than gossip around town. "There are quite a few people who believe Faith had something to do with her Grandmotherís death. Itís part of the gossip along with her challenging the will." That and the fact she did it. "Grandmother knows about the gossip and talked to Faith about it. She didnít want any suspicion falling on Faith."
"Why should it?" Dillon shrugs.
"Because Grandmother made Faith promise that Grandmother wouldnít be in any pain."
Now is not the time to be driving. Dillon pulls over to the side of the road. Heíd barely gotten out of the parking lot when Ned shared that information. "Faith wouldnít kill Grandmother."
"Dillon, yes, she would. Faith promised and she keeps her promises... always. Think of it as Grandmother handing Faith an informal medical power of attorney. No, let me rephrase that. Itís like Grandmother just handed me medical power of attorney because you can bet your ass Iím going to be on the doctors to make sure Grandmother is lucid and pain free for as long as possible because the day she isnít...."
Dillon thinks about it for a long time. "Itís legal in Oregon you know. The Attorney General whatís his name... Ashcroft... made a big deal about it."
"Or it may be. There is a federal appeals court that is supposed to rule on it this session. Oregonís Death with Dignity LawĖ assisted suicide. Whatever."
"How the hell do you hear this stuff?"
"Social StudiesĖ Separation of powers in the constitution, Feds vs States."
"Remember this moment for the day when someone asks you what you learned in high school. Itís really legal?"
"Not in New York or 48 other states... just Oregon."
It is then that Ned notices the discreet camera in the car. The same type of camera that is in the Lincoln town car, all the cars except for Faithís. The same type of cameras that are all over the cottage. He grabs for this jacket for his cell phone and quickly calls back to the cottage. "Bruno... the tape from the cottage from last night..."
"Already gone." Brunoís voice is grim. "Mouse is working on tracking down who has it. Sorry Mr. A. I really wish I would have know about your fight with Faith earlier. She is going to kill me."
"Sorry, Bruno, right now youíre not the one Iím worried about."
Now Dillon is glad that he has already pulled over to the side of the road. He jumps out of the car and goes over to the sidewalk away from the car bugged for video and audio. Ned soon joins him. "How much? How much do they know, did they hear?"
Ned winces. "Well me throwing barware at my wife like Sonny Corinthos. But yeah, they know that Faith promised Grandmother no pain. She also made it more than clear that my head hasnít been in my marriage for the last three months. Have I really been at the office that much? If Faith is really running things at home?"
"Ned, sheís run things at the cottage for as long as Iíve lived there. Get over it."
"I didnít notice the ramp. Sheís really going to the Garden Club meetings?"
"Oh yeah." Dillon nods. "Itís almost worth going now-- better than a double feature." He grins at Ned. "Itís going to be a whole new Garden Club. Grandmotherís guy Dawg? Heís going to all the meetings too. Grandmother told him it was a condition of his scholarship. But he would have done it for Grandmother anyway. Manny goes to the meetings with Faith. He always ends up working when she is doing gardening around the house. Did you know that on the front deck... most plants higher than 4 feet are actually poisonous? All the edible plants are off the kitchen door: herbs, edible flowers and that."
"So she needs a greenhouse." Ned already starts working on his next guilt gift because he is so going to need one. "Winter is coming. And Grandfather?"
"You donít know about Grandfather?! I would have thought Jax would have told you at least. I bet Mother knows."
"Donít rub it in; Iíve been kind of busy running the company. Just tell me what she and Grandfather have been up to."
"Normally I donít go with them. Faith takes the Porsche."
Ned winces knowing that there is no monitoring in the car and Faith had used that on purpose. And normally he would have been glad that Dillon wasnít with Faith and Grandfather when they are scheming. The more time Dillon spends with Faith the less likely he is to want to be Spielberg and more likely to want to be Scorcese. "What is the damage?"
"Theyíve pretty much shut Jax out of Courtland street. The latest acquisition is down at the docks. Some warehouses down there. She wasnít happy about those but Grandfather wanted them."
"Why wasnít she thrilled?"
"They are right between the warehouse Alcazar uses and Morgan/Corinthos coffee."
"Shit. Iím going to kill that old man."
"Keep that brat away from me!" Faith snarls as she raises her hands away from Kristina not wanting the little girl to touch her, not wanting anything to touch her.
Kristina is crying and holding her arms out to Faith as she tries to reach for her Step Mother. Bruno grabs the baby up and shushes her with hugs and kisses and tracks down Alice. "Something is up. Take the kid." He races to the master bedroom and doesnít bother knocking before going in. "Faith?"
The shower is already running and the steam is rolling out. "Leave me alone, Bruno."
"Can I get you anything?"
"Bleach and a scouring pad." Faith mutters but then snarls. "Privacy. If you want a titty show then go rent yourself one."
Bruno backs off but he doesnít go far sliding down the door and sitting on the hall floor by the bedroom door. Something bad had happened. Something real bad. Faith was just supposed to be going over to the mansion then doing a few errands. Sheíd been flying solo. Something really bad.
"How is she? What the hell is going on?" Alice demands.
"Get the kid and go down to the stables." Bruno suggests strongly. "Faith isnít going to say anything while the kid is around and she definitely isnít going to say anything around the guys. Hell the guys canít see her like this. Do you think Mr. A?"
"No way." Alice is clear. "The cut on her face. Thatís it. Just the ricochet from that shard of glass. Whatever happened was today. Mr. Ashton has been with Dillon all day trying to get his mother under control. They just checked in a little while ago and said they were heading back over to the mansion to see the Old Man."
Bruno gets up from the floor and whispers in Aliceís ear. "Time to make those fucking cameras work for us. Take the baby down to the stables and have Mouse have a little chat with the eyes and ears. I know she was in the Porsche but they have a motorcycle tailing her at least we can know who she was meeting with. If they wonít cooperate then tell Mouse to get the information."
Alice nods; her voice is grim. "Iíll help him. This is all our fault. My car, your letter."
Bruno shakes his head and his voice is grim. "Worse. Itís our fault Faith couldnít defend herself. Fucking cameras watching every thing she did or said. I want the cameras out of the cars. All the cars. Faith is either in the town car or sheís riding shotgun on the Porsche. No more driving solo."
Alice nods. "Iíll tell the guys and have them watch the baby while I get on the cars." Alice goes back to the nursery and picks up Kristina.
Bruno gives the sniffly little girl a kiss on the forehead as she and Alice go by him. "Be good for Alice. And Manny knows where I hid the bubble gum ice cream." Both Bruno and Alice hear the shower turn off. "Go."
"Be careful." Alice says gruffly.
Inside the observation truck the tech is already cueing up vid from the motorcycle chase vehicle when Mouse doesnít wait to be invited into the van.
"Bruno and Alice donít know how powerful those mikes are in the cottage." The tech informs Mouse.
"Iím getting the tape cued up now. Nothing looked out of whack. But I didnít review all the tape either. The police are going to want a copy."
"You have to go to the police!" The tech counters raising his voice.
"Right. And when they take this tape are they going to take the one you made last night too? No police. Nobody is doing anything, saying anything until Faith says so."
"Look I get it. I see everything. I see what Faith shows to everyone else and what sheís like at home and I donít just mean that sheís a great cook. I know what she is like when nobody is around but her and the kid and I saw what just happened in thereĖ she never treats the baby like that. Never. She isnít going to be able to sweep this under the rug. Sheís going to need counseling or some such shit."
"Show me the tape." Mouse watches as Faith is on the sidewalk and a guy comes up and starts chatting with her. The clue that things arenít the way they are supposed to be is when he takes her clutch from her and hands her back her keys. The guy gets in the passenger seat of the Porsche. "And that seemed normal to you?!"
"No, just not out of whack considering itís Mrs. Ashton. He hasnít laid a hand on her." The tech fast forwardís the tape until the car stops again. This time the Porsche is in front of a luxury apartment complex.
Mouse murmurs "Alcazar." Then he asks louder. "How long was she in there."
The tech makes a note of the time on the stamp. "Rider turned off the camera after taking some location shots, for perspective. Save battery. See here she is coming out of the building. Time stamp resumes."
"A fucking hour and a half." Mouse closes his eyes. When he opens them again. "The cameras are coming out of the cars."
"There was a camera malfunction. This tape doesnít exist."
The tech winces.
"You owe us for last night. You owe us a hell of a lot more than this tape."
Knowing that all the guys are loyal to Faith even if they like Ned, the tech picks what he is saying next carefully. "Last night didnít make Faith look bad, Mouse. And itís a bad situation finding out about Nedís grandmother that way. None of this is going to air for months probably not until after she... I get it. The Lady wants to have her privacy and reality TV isnít the way she wants to announce her cancer. I mean itís CANCER. They were just talking about how they want to make sure that Nedís grandmother isnít in any pain. Nobody is going to think anything of it."
"Yeah, right. Maybe Joe and Jill Citizen wonít but you think that the Feds are going to feel the same way? They wonít just be crawling up our asses; theyíll be lubing you up too. Itís still the weekend. Get that tape back. Monday is going to be too late and you know it."
Knowing that Faith will tell him to go away, Bruno doesnít bother with knocking and instead quietly opens the bedroom door and comes bearing giftsĖ a double shot of bourbon. Faith is sitting in front of her dressing table. A bath sheet is wrapped around her and tucked between her breasts. Bruno comes over to the table and makes eye contact with Faith in the mirror as he hands her the drink. Even with the redness of her skin from the heat and the scrubbing in the shower he can see that she is already starting to bruise: back, shoulders, arms probably more covered by the towel. "Say the word, Faith, and heís a dead man."
"Itís just fucking. Not like I was a virgin or anything anyway." Not for a long, long time. Faith shrugs. "Men are so predictable. Itís all about power but hey itís not a manly thing to give a girl a proper beat downĖ just a few rounds of mattress tag, mattress optional. Better me than the old man right? You know what really pissed me off?"
Bruno canít even wrap his mind around about what pissed Faith off more than the battering sheíd taken. "What?"
"He called me by Sonnyís slutís name. When he was getting his rocks off, he called me Carly."
"Is he nuts?!"
"Yeah, maybe." Faith finishes the tumbler of liquor and sets it down on the dressing table. "It should have been business, you know putting me in my place. Intimidating me into selling the warehouse, hell giving it to him. Calling me by the bitchís name though. That says something about him. Heís obsessed. And there was something else. When I was leaving, there was a whore there, just arriving. He called her Marcella. And she looked real familiar."
"You think maybe Cole might recognize her?"
"Maybe, maybe not." Faith snaps her fingers. "She looked like Lily Corinthos."
"I wonder if Sonny thinks so." Faith murmurs. She meets Brunoís gaze in the mirror. "I fell on some steps in the parkĖ you know the ones by the fountain. Slipped. Nasty bruises. Thatís all anyone needs to know. Iím fine."
"Are you fine, Faith?" Bruno asks wanting Faith to lie to him.
"Peachy." Faith rolls her eyes. "Just make sure the same story goes out, Bruno. Slipped on some steps and boy do I feel stupid."
"Say the word, Faith and Iíll kill him. Iíll bring you his nuts in a to go bag. Just let me loose."
"Not yet. Not til we figure out what heís up to."
Back Home Next