"No," Carl told Rachel.
"Why not?" She shot back. "You wanted revenge so badly you were willing to break your word to me. Now I'm giving you permission, I am asking you to make sure Donna pays for her crimes. Why the sudden lack of enthusiasm?"
"It was one thing working behind the scenes. I cannot go public with my connection to Donna and the compound."
"I see," Rachel said. "So you're willing to hurt me and my children in order to punish Donna, but when it comes to putting yourself on the line...."
"How dare you accuse me of such an obscene thing? I played no part in Jamie becoming embroiled in this calamity. You can't hold me responsible for that."
"I hold you responsible for standing by, watching him, and his sons, and me suffer, and not doing a damn thing about it."
"I did what I could, within the parameters I was given."
"You started this whole thing! And now you won't finish it. Go to Chase Hamilton and help him verify the truth about what Donna did. It's the least you owe Felicia and Lucas."
"Impossible. For God's sake, Rachel, don't you realize that revealing how Donna gained access to the compound will open a Pandora's Box to my own past crimes? You talk about Jamie's suffering. What about Cory and Elizabeth?"
"Don't you dare hide behind them."
"Do you want our children to know everything about me?"
"Considering their facility with Google, I'm going to presume they already do."
"No," Carl told Rachel, his voice deadly. "They do not."
"What about me, Carl? Do I know everything about you?"
He held her gaze for an interminably long moment. "No."
"So that's what this all boils down to," she guessed. "Protecting yourself."
"Protecting us," Carl corrected.
"I don't believe you," Rachel said. "I don't believe a syllable coming out of your mouth anymore. You promised me. You gave me your word. And you lied."
"For only the very noblest of reasons."
Rachel snorted. "Well, I've got some noble reasons of my own. One of my best friends lost her daughter. She needs to make the woman responsible pay. And I intend to help her with that. If you won't go to Hamilton and lead him to the compound, then I will."
She stormed out before Carl had a chance to stop her. But he'd had no intention of doing so in any case.
As soon as Rachel was out of hearing range, Carl crossed to the phone and dialed Spencer's number.
"Our mutual dilemma has unfortunately grown further out of hand. We may need to resort to a spot of drastic measure in order to right it again."
"Gregory," Kevin stretched an arm forward in order to shake the younger man's hand. "How are you feeling?"
"Been better," Gregory admitted.
Kevin indicated Allie, who'd come into the hospital room with him. "She told me about your situation. I I'm so sorry."
"I know. You've mentioned it before." Gregory reminded with a smile.
Kevin pulled up a chair. "Allie thought I might be able to help you with some legal matters. I'll tell you right up front, this isn't precisely my area. But I can talk you through a few of the options you have."
"You mean like a DNR?" Gregory asked, explaining to Allie. "It means a Do Not Resuscitate order. If my heart stops beating or I stop breathing, a DNR keeps the doctors from shocking me with their paddles or stuffing a tube down my throat."
Allie nodded mutely, again unsure of how to react.
"A DNR, yes," Kevin agreed. "But there is also alternative wording. It's relatively new, so it's open to interpretation. It's called Allow Natural Death."
Gregory chewed on the phrasing. "I like it," he said finally.
"How can you like it?" Allie blurted out, unable to restrain herself any longer. "You're talking about dying without even putting up a fight!"
"I've been putting up a fight for almost ten years," Gregory told her. "I'm tired, Allie. And on top of that, I know it won't do any good. What's the point of buying me another day or another week, if I have to spend it hooked up to machines, unable to move, being hurt? It hurts, Allie. Every one of these tubes and these wires, they're hurting me. I don't want to hurt anymore, can you understand that?"
Gently, Kevin said, "Allie tells me there's an experimental treatment your father "
"No! Especially not that. Do you know how many clinical trials I've been in? How many experimental treatments? When I was a kid, I didn't have any say in whether they could do them to me or not. I didn't get to vote on whether I wanted to lose my ability to speak for weeks. Or make my vision so blurry I couldn't raise my head without getting dizzy enough to pass out? I took their medicine that made me throw up, and my skin feel like it was on fire. I took it all and I didn't complain then because I knew it wouldn't help, no one was listening. I'm not a kid anymore. I can make them listen."
Kevin hesitated, then corrected, "You can make them listen up to a point. I'm not going to lie to you, Gregory. Like I said before, the authorized language is deliberately very, very vague. If they choose to, your doctors can interpret it to mean no interference should you heart or lungs stop functioning on their own. But if you were to say, lapse into a coma with your vital signs intact..."
Gregory grasped what he was getting at, "They could still do anything they wanted to me on the grounds that I wasn't critical yet."
"Yes. I'm afraid so."
"They'd ask my parents what to do, right? As the next of kin?"
"And my dad could authorize..."
"He's your dad, Gregory. In his position, if you were my child, I'd probably do the same thing."
"Even if you knew I didn't want it?"
"I'm not sure," Kevin confessed. "Being a parent, it makes you a little nuts."
Gregory pressed, "Will you draw up the document anyway?"
"Of course. We can outline your wishes down to the last detail, and I will do my best to see that they're honored when the time comes. But there are no guarantees, Gregory, I just want you to be clear on that."
By the time Cass finally made it out of the interrogation room to see Frankie and Felicia, he was escorted on one side by Chase Hamilton, and on the other by an armed guard. He did step into the waiting area alone, however; both his ushers keeping a respectful, albeit watchful distance from several feet back.
Before turning to Frankie, Cass told Felicia, "I've made a deal. In exchange for my pleading guilty and waving my right to a trial, the charges against Lucas will be dropped to accessory after the fact, and the remainder of his jail time waived to time served."
Felicia covered her face with both hands. "Does that mean..."
"He should be out by tomorrow morning, right after my allocution and sentencing. They'll even do it back to back."
"My God, Cass... How can I thank you?"
"Don't. I was only making things right again. I blackmailed Lucas, you know. I forced him to help me with Cecile in exchange for my not standing in the way of your reunion. I always wanted only the best for you. Turns out that's Lucas, after all. I'm sorry it took me way too long to realize it."
In lieu of an answer, Felicia simply grabbed Cass and hugged him desperately, letting go only when she realized that Frankie was hovering along the periphery, waiting her turn.
Wanting to give them their privacy, Felicia stepped aside, moving closer to Hamilton and the armed guard, glaring at them both, receiving a response from neither.
Frankie asked Cass, "Tomorrow?"
"You could have gone to trial. Explained why and how..."
"I'll get a chance at the sentencing. Maybe it'll help. And this was the only way to get Lucas his deal. Hamilton's pretty mad. He wasn't feeling particularly magnanimous towards any of us at the moment."
"How long do you think..."
"Depends on the judge. I'm pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Reckless disregard. Not murder. That should count for something."
"I'll be there."
"I'm counting on it."
"You're the bravest man I've ever known. I am going to do my best to make sure that Charlie and Lori Ann understand that."
"Don't bring Charlie, okay? I don't want her to see me.... Maybe later, when she's had some time to get used to the idea."
"I meant what I said before, Cass. We are still going to be a family. Geography is just a small part of that. We will be together. We'll make this work, no matter what."
"You're an amazing woman, Mary Frances."
"I love you," Frankie stressed as the guard moved forward, handcuffs out.
Cass smiled at her over his shoulder. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"You better believe it."
Frankie waited until her husband had been cuffed and lead away, until she was certain he could no longer see or hear her, before allowing Felicia to embrace her. And before allowing herself to finally succumb into all the many weeks' worth of tears.
"How did you know where to find me?"
"Elementary, my dear, Donna. I stopped by the house. Marley said she refused to let you move back in. So I came here."
"To say hello. To say Welcome Home. Can I come in?" She took a step to the side and allowed him to brush by her, asking, "Where's John?"
"At the hospital. Gregory is very sick."
"Oh. I didn't know."
"They're keeping it private for now."
"Is he going to be alright?"
Donna deflected to politely tell him, "I'm really not in the mood for small talk."
"What are you in the mood for?"
"Being by myself, finishing my recovery, staying out of sight until that happens."
"That's a good idea. I had a run-in with Lorna earlier. She's still... I was going to say flaming mad, but I guess that's a little gauche under the circumstances."
"If Lorna is still foaming at the mouth, I can't imagine what you'll eventually face with Felicia. Or Lucas. Or Carl."
"I deserve anything they might have to launch at me."
"And you think John can protect you?"
"John has his own problems right now. He's my friend, not my defender."
"Yeah. He made that pretty clear the last time we talked. Right before he accused me of rushing to fill the position in order to fluff up my own ego."
"I'm sorry about that. He had no right to be so cruel."
"Do you agree with him?"
"I'm in no shape to be passing judgment on anyone, Matthew."
"Oh, come on... for old time's sake."
She smiled faintly. "What do you say to an un-seasonal round of Should auld acquaintance be forgot?"
"And never brought to mind?"
"I think that would be for the best, yes."
"I don't get you, Donna," Matt shook his head. "I just don't get you."
"That makes two of us," she agreed.
"I'm afraid we don't understand," a baffled Sharlene held up in front of Gregory the legal document Kevin had cranked out and express served to the hospital that same afternoon.
"It's a living will," Gregory clarified, though he was certain both of his parents knew that, and that they knew what it signified, too. "I wanted to make my wishes clear."
John stressed, "This says you refuse any further medical treatment."
Gregory nodded. "That's what I asked for it to say."
"But why?" Sharlene was obviously minutes from breaking down completely. "Gregory, honey, we've been through this before. I know how hard it was for you."
"No. You don't."
"Alright, maybe I don't. I wasn't the one who had to go through it ultimately. I just stood on the sidelines and watched. Maybe it didn't hurt me as much as it hurt you. Though, I swear, it sure felt like it did. But, in any case, we made it. You recovered."
"Tell her, Dad," Gregory ordered.
"Tell her what?"
"Tell her: Not this time."
"You don't know that," Sharlene insisted. "Doctors aren't infallible. There could be something new at any moment. There's this drug your father told me about "
"I don't want it. That drug will turn me into someone else."
"But you'll still be alive," his mother pleaded. "We'll still have you with us."
"It won't be me."
John said, "The fact is, we don't know what effect the drug will have on you. It's too new."
"Has there ever been anyone who survived it without losing their memory?" Gregory challenged.
"No," John admitted. "But we can adjust the dosage. We can try and "
"I don't want to be your guinea pig. I just want to die. On my terms."
At that, Sharlene's faltering self-control fell away. "You have no right to say that. This isn't just about you. What about your father and I? What about Allie? Forget about us for a moment. You claim you love her. How can you do this to somebody you love?"
"Allie understands," Gregory said softly.
"Oh, so this is her idea then. She'd rather see you dead then actually stand by and "
"Leave Allie out of this," Gregory hissed, his anger both unprecedented and daunting. "I was a good boy years ago. I did everything you told me to. I put up with everything you made me. I'm done, Mom. Just let me go."
"I will never let you go," Sharlene swore.
"Dad," Gregory attempted to reason with John. "Please explain to her what that document means. I know you've seen a bunch of them before."
John hesitated, and then, instead of addressing Sharlene, pointedly told Gregory, "I know exactly what documents like those mean. And I know precisely what they don't mean, too."
The Fasten Seatbelt sign had barely blinked off inside their plane's main cabin the next morning before Steven turned to Jamie to ask, "Is that it? Moratorium over? Can I turn my phone back on now? We're technically back in Bay City."
Seated in the back row, Jamie craned his neck around to note that they still had a good while to wait before they'd be allowed to exit, and took pity on his oldest son, "Knock yourself out."
Steven exhaled as if Jamie had been withholding his insulin or his methadone, and reached for his BlackBerry. While waiting for it to boot up, he teased, "I'm surprised you were able to make it, Dad. You didn't call Ms. Devon once. Not that I saw anyway."
Jamie couldn't help smiling giddily at the sound of her name, but nevertheless reminded, "A deal is a deal. This trip was for just the three of us. Lorna understood that."
"Dad?" Kirkland asked from his seat by the window.
"What's up?" Jamie shifted his weight and pivoted awkwardly in his direction.
"Does Ms. Devon.... Does she know about you and..."
"Yes," Jamie said softly. "She does."
"And she's okay with it?" Kirkland asked cautiously.
"No. She's not okay with it. I'm not okay with it. But Lorna understands how it happened. She's a remarkable woman. I hope you and Steven will give her a chance, get to know her. She would really like to get to know you."
"You look really happy when you talk about her."
"I feel happy."
"Dad..." Steven suddenly tapped Jamie on the shoulder.
"What is it?" He turned around and, taking in Steven's stunned face, repeated with more urgency. "What's the matter?"
Wordlessly, Steven handed Jamie his phone. And pointed to the headline announcing that Cass Winthrop had just confessed to Cecile's murder.
"My parents wouldn't listen to me." Gregory held Allie's hand in his, stroking it gently, wincing slightly every time it drove the IV needle deeper into his skin. "And my dad all but said he intends to disregard any arrangements I've made."
"They love you," Allie said. "They don't want to lose you. I don't want to lose you, either."
"I wish," Gregory hesitated. "I wish things were different."
"Yeah." Allie blinked. "I wish a whole lot of things were different."
"Thanks for sticking around," Gregory offered.
"It's no big deal. Not like I'll need to do it for long."
He smiled. She tried to do the same, but couldn't quite pull it off.
"I wish," Gregory said. "It could be just you and me, nobody else."
"I I actually had a thought about that," she ventured tentatively. "Yesterday, when you asked Kevin if your mom and dad would get to make all the decisions for you, because they were your next of kin. I thought, what if... if you and I got married, then I could..."
Gregory shook his head. "I wouldn't do that to you. I wouldn't pit you against my mom and dad. Especially my mom."
"It's the least I owe you. I owe you everything. You stood up to them for me. And you stood up to GQ about Hudson. I want to do something to make up for "
"There is something you can do for me, Allie. But it's not get married."
"What is it?"
"I want you to break me out of the hospital. Without anybody knowing where I've gone. I want to hide somewhere where it really can be just the two of us. And then I want to die. Without any doctors, without any machines or needles or tests. Quietly. My way. Will you help me do that, Allie?"
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