Suzanna sat in the out of the way coffee shop awaiting the arrival of her lunch date. Looking around, she wondered once again why Jared had called and asked to meet. No, she had a good idea, and she didn't like the possibilities that came to mind. As she pondered the problems that were threatening to rear their heads, she spotted Jared Andrews. Speaking of problems, she muttered, forcing a smile to her lips.
"Suzi!" he greeted, the smile that had once warmed her heart now chilling it.
"Jared." Suzi studied him, smiling but wary. "You asked me to meet you."
"Yeah," Jared said, sliding into the booth, seated across from her. "You may have an idea why I'm here."
"Considering the one thing we share, and considering the length of time it's been since you contacted me, I'd say I have a pretty good idea." She regarded him coldly. "You aren't thinking about telling my daughter that you're her father, are you?" Before he could answer, she continued. "I won't have that, you know."
"We may not have any choice," Jared told her, wondering why she had to be so hostile with him. "Look, Suzi. I don't know why you're so angry with me. It wasn't as if......." He paused, the silence between them electric. "Suzi, I heard that you'd married Peter and were happy. Surely you wouldn't have wanted me coming back and causing problems there."
"You couldn't have caused problems," Suzi told him. "Peter loves me. Unconditionally. And, I love him the same way. Chrissie believes him to be her father, and I won't tell her any different unless it's a matter of life or death."
"How about incest?"
The word reverberated between them, and she stared at him, her dark brown eyes wide in shock. "Incest?" Swiftly, her mind wandered over the conversations she'd had with her daughter in the last couple of days, taking inventory of all references to young men. "Jack? No. Please, say no. Damn you, Jared! He's such a nice young man, and Chrissie is looking forward to their date....damn!" Biting her lip anxiously, Suzi asked, "Why don't you tell him to stay away from her? Doesn't he know?"
Shaking his head, Jared admitted, "He knows. He just found out after he'd asked her out."
"Then have a little father/son chat with him. Explain that it's not socially acceptable to date your half-sister."
"He knows that. He said that nothing will happen that shouldn't, but I'm afraid that he may tell her."
"Why?" Suzi was angry, and concerned. "Why would he do that?"
"Damned if I know," Jared told her. "He's really angry about this. He's quit his job, and told me that he doesn't want to have anything to do with me. Still, he knows that Chrissie is his sister, and she's the only sibling he's got. I think that he'll want to get to know her, and that could cause problems. Look, Suzi. I'm sorry that I had to upset your perfect little world, but I thought I might be doing you a favor by letting you know what may happen. At least you can be ready to deal with the situation if it arises."
"Thanks," Suzi responded coldly. "You know, Jared, just the other day I defended you to Chrissie. I told her that you were a man of integrity. She was asking about the accusations by Frank White."
Jared slumped down in the booth, his eyes troubled. "It keeps coming back to that, doesn't it? Okay, Suzi-what happened was an accident. But yes, there was a shooting and I was involved. I can't say more than that, but it wasn't murder."
Suzi stared intently into his eyes, reading the anguish and despair, and for the first time since she'd met him this afternoon, she saw something of the youth she'd loved so long ago. "I believe you, Jared, but I hear something in your voice that says you don't believe yourself." Moving her hand, she covered his with hers. "I know that you couldn't have intentionally killed a young girl. You're not that kind of a man."
"You don't know me, Suzi. You don't know where I've been, what I've done."
"I knew the boy, and the man is the fulfillment of that boy. You may kill, Jared, but you don't murder. There's a big difference. Big difference! I don't know why I'm saying this-but I still believe what I told Chrissie. You're a man of integrity."
Taking her hand in his, Jared nodded. "Thanks, Suzi. I'm sorry I had to bring this up today-I've always thought that I'd done the best thing by staying away, after I'd heard. But, you have my permission to tell her anything you think she needs to know, and if she ever wants to get to know me...it's okay." He chuckled wryly, and added, "Maybe if I'd told my son years earlier....."
Suzi shook her head. "No, Jared. You did whatever you did for reasons that were valid to you in the past. Circumstances change, and we react to those changes. Maybe when your son has time to digest what he's learned, he'll feel differently."
"I hope so," Jared said, rising. "Thanks for not shooting me on the spot."
"I reserve the right to change my mind as circumstances change," Suzi grinned at him. "I don't know what I'll tell Chrissie, or if I'll tell her anything."
"Do what you think best."
As Jared walked away, Suzi stared down at the diamond bracelet Peter had given her, remembering the smile on his face as he'd seen the delight on hers. Would he feel the same for her when and if he learned the truth?
"We really should tell Luke," Lucy told Kevin as they both got dressed for the day. She was going shopping, and Kevin was planning to spend the day with Tom.
"We can't," Kevin told her. "This is one of those incidents where we can't afford to let it slip to the others that we know."
"But Luke and Laura may be in danger! I mean, Laura was just pretending to be dead, so they already think that they are in danger, but they think that they can trust Tom whom, you recall, accidentally, if he's to be believed, led the authorities to find Luke and Laura and the rest of the family. We know that he's a liar and not who he appears to be, but what if Luke really trusts him? I mean, what if something happens to them because of Tom and we could have prevented it because we knew that Tom wasn't really Tom but an impostor?"
"Don't worry about it," Kevin told her. "I'm certain that Marty has already considered that contingency and made plans for it. Besides, if Tom has already screwed up the plans once, you have to know that Luke won't rely on him again. But, he won't tell him that."
"Lucy, don't even consider calling Luke. I promised Marty that you could be trusted, and calling Luke would be a violation of that trust." Kevin was adamant. "Just do something to take your mind off of this. Hell, I'll mention your misgivings to Marty. Just don't do anything that will tip our hand to the other Tom, and whoever he's working with."
With a sniff of disapproval, Lucy agreed. "Okay, but this okay is for today only. I mean, Luke is my friend, and I know that he's having problems with the Cassadines right now. What if this Tom is working with the Cassadines?? That would mean that the Cassadines are responsible for our Tom being in the condition that he's in....
"Kevin!!! Think about it!! Lesley, Laura's mother is in a bad way-almost as bad as Tom was when he was found. What if they've been given the same drugs? I mean, isn't it a bit strange to have a couple of people, both from Port Charles turning up as just back from the grave all at the same time? Course, Tom wasn't supposed to come back-we weren't even supposed to know he'd been there...but, he was dead, at least sort of-what is that?? Partially dead?? Semi-dead? Maybe a tad dead?? You know, like zombies-aren't they victims of some sort of puffer fish, or something like that? Anyway, they were both dead and now they're both alive, though only we know that Tom is alive...that is, only we know that he was supposed to have been dead while the other guy is alive...whoever the other guy is. Which means that the other guy knows that Tom was supposed to have been dead, which means that he's some sort of accessory after the fact-except that he has his facts wrong, because we know that Tom is alive while the other Tom doesn't."
She took a deep breath and plunged back in. "So, we really have the advantage in knowing that Tom is alive, while the Other Tom, doesn't. And, if he doesn't, then the people he's working with don't know, either. But, one thing, Kevin..."
"Yes?" Kevin was smiling now, ever astonished at the lightning fast leaps Lucy's mind took.
"You lost me. Why what here?"
"Why bury him here? Why, with so many places to choose from, why bury Tom Hardy in Andrews' Vineyard?"
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