A Sam-centric piece... I will just say that this picks up in that horrible year of 2007. No death threat here though; no Jake-napping - just a story of Sam being tired of the lies and the pain, so she picks up and goes to find her connections. Will Jason follow? Stay tuned!
"A name, Alexis, all I need is a name," Sam said. "My father's name." She lowered her head for a moment, hugging herself around the middle. "I need to know who he is. I feel like I need something to hold onto and it's him."
"Sam, honey, what if he's not what you're expecting?" Alexis asked. Her eyes were wide and there was a measure of panic in the brown depths. "And for godsake, why can't you hold onto me? I'm your mother!"
"That's it. You don't feel like I'm your mother. You don't want me to be your mother."
Sam shook her head. "That's not true. But can you seriously stand there and say that I'm the daughter you want; the daughter you were expecting? After all we've been through, you can at least be honest with me."
Alexis reached out and grasped Sam by her slender shoulders. "Sam, you listen to me. And you listen good, alright? We've had some rocky moments … Okay, we've been through hell… But it doesn't change the fact that youare my daughter and I want you in my life. Can't you try to believe that and just give up this - this ghost chase?"
"I need to know who he is. You need to tell me. I have a right to know." Sam did not relish seeing the pain flicker in Alexis's eyes but she pushed ahead anyway because she felt she had no other recourse. "I am sure this is difficult but-"
"You're damned right it is difficult," Alexis said. She dropped her hold on Sam and Sam felt the loss acutely. She had wanted a mother; she had longed for someone to love her and to love in return, and things hadn't exactly turned out like she dreamed. Alexis wasn't exactly the picture of maternal warmth and Sam felt that she was always disappointing her.
"Why now?" Alexis said.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, why is it so important that you find him now?" Alexis said. "Maybe in a few years…"
"I don't want to wait a few years. I can't," Sam said. She sighed and tucked a soft strand of dark hair behind her ear. She looked at her hands. "The truth is... I'm leaving town."
"What?" Alexis said. Her voice held a measure of surprise and hurt and then some indignation. "I know you said you were having some problems with Jason, but to just cut and run like this-"
Sam felt her face flush with heat. "Cut and run?" She said in a low voice. "That is not what I'm doing. I am leaving for my own sanity's sake! So I don't keep making the mistakes over and over and hurting people and… getting hurt."
"But your job at the TV station… What about that? You can't just up and quit." Alexis was desperate, grasping at straws for reasons to make Sam stay but Sam's mind was already made up.
"Oh yes I can. I refuse to work for that bitch Amelia any longer. Do you know what she's put me through, what horrible memories she is always dredging up for me with a giddy, taunting smile on her face? I am done with her and I'm done with this town."
"Sam, you have a home here."
Sam shook her head. "Not anymore."
"If this is about Jason... Well, I am sure he doesn't want you to leave either."
"Don't. Don't pretend you care about my relationship with Jason when you've done everything to undermine it; to make sure I'm not with him. Just don't."
"His name," Sam said. "My father's name. I won't ask again." Her voice was steely. "Come on. I am asking you to be honest with me here."
"Sam, he's not good for you. When I knew him… He was a bad boy - reckless, dangerous... He did unscrupulous things to get what he wanted. What if he hasn't changed?"
"Did he hurt you?" Sam asked, dreading the answer. "Is that why you don't want me to know him?"
"No, he didn't hurt me," Alexis said. "Not the way you're thinking any way, but he was dangerous and impetuous. He doesn't even know you exist, Sam. Imagine the shock when you walk up to him and say you're his daughter."
"I have to take this chance. Now please tell me who he is."
Alexis sighed softly. "You're really going to find him?"
"Yes," Sam said. "I have to. I feel like there's … a missing part of me … And he's that missing part."
"He can't heal you, Sam. He can't fix you."
Sam shook her head. "Maybe I don't want to be fixed, Alexis! I am not some pet project. I am just a daughter wanting to know her father. I have that right. I have that damn right." Her eyes burned but she refused to give into the need to cry.
"Fine! I'll tell you." Alexis shouted in exasperation. Her fingers knotted at her sides. Her voice shook. "His name is Horatio. Horatio Caine and last I heard, he was living in Florida somewhere."
Sam nodded slowly. Something like relief flooded her chest. Hearing her father's name… There was a brief feeling of peace inside of her. "Thank you."
Alexis nodded. She moved to Sam and touched her cheek gently. "Are you really leaving?"
"I have to," Sam said. Again, her eyes burned but she didn't cry until Alexis pulled her into her arms, crushing her to her lithe body. She hugged Sam tightly and kissed the crown of her head. "You be safe, okay? And stay in touch."
Sam nodded, wiping at the tears that trailed down her face. She couldn't hold them back any longer. "I will. I promise."
She gently disentangled from Alexis's crushing embrace and moved for the door. She was glad to be leaving the Lakehouse behind. There were too many horrible memories there. Things had happened there that never should have. She reached out and touched the doorknob, slowly turning it in her small hand. She turned to look back at Alexis.
"Did you love him?" Sam asked. "Did you love my father?"
Sam saw a tear roll down Alexis's cheek. "I suppose it doesn't matter now," Alexis said. "We were young and clueless."
"That's not an answer," Sam said. She sighed as she pulled the door open. "Goodbye, Alexis."
"Goodbye, Sam. I hope you find whatever it is that you're looking for."
Sam slipped out the door and headed down the steps. Her legs felt weak and rubbery. She had to literally drag herself forward. She was leaving Port Charles tonight but there was one thing she had left to do first.
Sam stood at the window in the penthouse, looking out at the darkened sky. There was not one star out there tonight, not one single one to wish on. If she could, she would have wished she could stay in Port Charles with Jason, that they could make things work, that they could eventually track down her father together. She wanted her father to know the man she loved. And Sam would always love Jason. There wasn't going to be one moment in her life that she didn't carry him with her in her broken heart.
She dabbed at her face and turned away from the window. She walked into the kitchen, skirting past the pool table where she and Jason had spent so many hours making shots and love. This place was full of memories - a lot of them were good, but those memories somehow hurt the worst.
She had just splashed cold water on her face when she heard the front door open. Jason tentatively called out her name. "Sam? Sam, are you here?"
"For now," she murmured quietly. This was going to be the hardest thing she had ever had to do, but in her mind, there was no other alternative. She needed to go. She didn't want there ever to be a day Jason looked at her and hated her. She didn't want to ever look at him and resent him either.
She drew in a shuddery breath as she walked out of the kitchen. She found him standing over her suitcase, fingering the handle of the duffel bag sitting atop it. He looked over at her, his eyes searching. "What's all this?" He asked.
Sam folded her arms across her chest and rocked on her heels for a moment. She couldn't find the words at first. Then, she said, "I am … Jason, I think we both know it would come to this."
Jason's blue eyes darkened into a swirling storm of emotion. He had always had the most expressive eyes. "Sam… You're leaving?" He asked.
Sam nodded. "Yes, I'm leaving town."
"Why?" Jason asked, seemingly genuinely perplexed for a moment. Then, "Don't leave," he said in a quiet voice.
"I have to," Sam said. "This is for the best."
"Best for who?" Jason asked, his voice losing some of its perpetual steadiness. "For you?" he said.
"No, for both of us," Sam said. She dropped her hands to her sides in defeat. "I don't ever want there to be a day when you look at me and resent me for keeping you away from your son."
"I would never blame you for that, Sam."
"You wouldn't be able to help it. With me gone, you now have a chance to really get to know him… You don't have to keep your distance anymore for my sake. And you have been doing that. It's not just because you know there's danger surrounding your life. You've been trying to protect me by staying away. But all I want is for you to know your little boy… And for you to be happy, even if it's not with me."
"Sam, please. I know I hurt you. I know I lied-"
"It's not about that anymore. I mean, yes, it hurt like hell - it still hurts - that you couldn't be honest with me, that for months you carried around this huge secret that you couldn't let me be a part of … But me leaving … This is about how much we both need a new beginning. I just don't want us to hurt each other anymore so I'm going."
Tears slipped down her face now. "Please be happy, okay? That's all I can ask for."
"I'm not," Jason said. "I'm not going to be happy without you."
"One day, yes, you will be. Maybe you and Elizabeth can even -"
"I don't want Elizabeth!" Jason snapped. His voice was laced with frustration and hurt. She cringed hearing the pain in his voice. "The only person I want is you. And I am asking you to stay, Sam."
"I - I can't," Sam said. "I need … time. Lots of time. And I don't expect you to wait around for me. I don't expect you to follow me either. You can't. Just move on okay?"
Jason shook his head. He raked his hand down his face. "You don't have to do this."
"Yes I do. Please don't try to change my mind," Sam said. "I think this needs to happen."
"Think it needs to or want it to?"
"Of course I don't want to leave you. I've spent so much of my life loving you and needing you, clinging to you. Maybe this is my chance though to stand on my own two feet. To find my own strength."
"You already are strong."
Another tear dripped down Sam's cheek. "I have to go, Jason. Let me go." She moved for her suitcase but Jason blocked her path. He stood between her and her things. Things that didn't matter. They were just items that held no true significance in her life. There was only one possession she had now that meant something to her and it was time to give it up.
She reached up to unclasp the familiar star necklace from around her neck. Jason's eyes went wide and he shook his head. "No," he said. His voice was firm. "No."
"Take it. Please." Sam reached for his hand and unfurled his fist, placing the beautiful piece of jewelry into his palm. Her skin burned where it met his.
She nodded. "Yes." She closed his fingers one by one around the necklace. "This is for the best."
Jason shook his head. "No, it's not." He held out the necklace to her. "Put it back on. I'll put it back on for you. Just don't… Don't go. Not like this."
"I have to. It's too hard, Jason," Sam said. "Everything is too hard."
"So this is about what's best for you."
"Yes, because you have to know that I don't want this... I don't want you to go."
Sam's chest ached. She thought it might cave in on itself. The bottom of her box of dreams had fallen out and she didn't know if she would ever be okay again. But she had to go.
"I am going," Sam said with a resolve she didn't exactly feel.
"Where are you going to go?" Jason asked. "Everyone you know … Everyone who loves you … is right here in Port Charles."
"I'll be fine. I'll find my way; land on my own two feet … Somehow, I always do." She edged around Jason and reached for the suitcase. He just stood watching her for a long moment as she locked her tiny fingers around the handle of the bag. She tucked the duffel over her shoulder.
Jason shook his head. His voice was tight as he said, "At least … At least let me take that downstairs for you."
"No, it's okay. I can do it," Sam said. "I'm a lot stronger than I look."
She picked up the bags and moved for the door. Her hand went to the doorknob and she paused for a moment as she felt Jason come up behind her, resting his large hands on her shaking shoulders. "I'll miss you, Sam," he whispered.
"I'll miss you too, Jason," she said. She slowly tugged away from him and opened the door. She looked back at him for a moment. "Be happy, okay? There's nothing else I want more in the whole world."
Jason's eyes were murky and a solitary tear escaped his eye. "I want the same for you," he said.
Sam just shrugged and walked down the hall. She felt him watching her as she stood waiting for the elevator. When she finally climbed onto it and the doors slid shut, she let a little sob escape her lips. She told herself that this was what needed to happen, but it didn't make it any easier.
"Horatio, there's someone here looking for you," a tall, Hispanic man said, poking his head in a doorway of some room down the hall. He had introduced himself to her as Eric Delko when she came in and asked to see Mr. Caine.
"Mr. Caine. Oh he'll love that," Delko had said with a little smirk as he motioned for her to follow him.
Sam willed herself to stand still when she was feeling decidedly fidgety. This was surreal. She had tracked down her father and he was a police officer of all things. It felt ironic, that the bad boy Alexis had spoken of turned out to be an officer of the law. Jason would have thought -
No, she wouldn't let herself go there. She was trying so hard not to think of him. In the two days it had taken to drive to Miami and another three to track down her father there, Jason had been every thought in her mind. She had considered turning the car around and going back to him at least five hundred times before crossing the state border into Florida, but in the end, she wouldn't let herself do it. She and Jason… They couldn't be. She didn't want them to hurt each other anymore.
She forced herself to return to the present. She heard a decidedly gravelly and gruff voice say, "Who is this someone?"
"Petite brunette, maybe five-two at most, big brown eyes," Delko said, giving Sam a little smile. "Says she really needs to speak with you."
"Fine," the disembodied voice returned. Sam stared ahead as a man emerged from the room. He shut the door. A sign on the door read "Ballistics" but she barely registered it. She was too busy staring at him. He was of medium height and build with a shock of red hair. She never would have guessed that her dad would be a ginger. His eyes were a mixture of blue and gray - penetrating and hard. They seemed to miss nothing. A pair of sunglasses rested in his right hand, dangling at his side.
He stared at her. "You are?" His voice was gravelly and gruff.
"Um, hi," Sam said. She had rehearsed what she was going to say about twenty times but now she couldn't remember a word of the script that formerly ran through her head. "I'm - I'm -" Her voice trailed off. She was nervous. She couldn't remember ever feeling this nervous before.
Horatio noticed her shifting from foot to foot. "Stand still and tell me who you are."
Sam looked at Delko helplessly and he splayed his hands before hurrying through another door. She sighed. "This is probably going to come as a shock to you but-"
"Nothing shocks me," Horatio said.
"You once knew a woman by the name of Alexis Davis, right? Well, Davidovitch was her formal name but-" She broke off. "God I'm mangling this."
Horatio's expression darkened a bit. "It's been a long, long time since I heard that name," he said. "But let me guess … You're her daughter."
"Yes…" Why did she feel like he was leading her right into a trap?
"And that would make you … My daughter, right?" Skepticism laced his voice. This was definitely not going the way she had hoped, but then what did in her life?
Sam squared her shoulders. "Actually, it does," she said. "I know you probably have no reason to believe what I'm saying but I am your daughter. Alexis is my mother. When you were teenagers, you two had a relationship and I am the result."
Horatio nodded. "Of course you are."
Sam blanched. "You don't believe me."
"You could give me the benefit of the doubt," Sam said. "I didn't come all of this way to -"
"To try to con me?" Horatio said. "Good. I'm broke." He rested his hands on his hips. "I can't give you anything."
"I didn't want anything but to know where I came from," Sam snapped. "But you know what, maybe I'm better off not knowing after all. Fuck. You." She then spun on her heel and walked towards the bank of elevators. She didn't expect him to follow her and of course, he didn't.
She did hear him say, "She knows how to make a dramatic exit. I'll give her that much."
Sam had booked a hotel room at a three-star hotel. She checked into her room after driving aimlessly around Miami for hours, trying to decide what she would do next. Her meeting with her father had been horrible, like something out of her nightmares. There had been no kindness, no caring in his expression. He had called her a con artist and assumed that she was looking for a handout from him. It was ironic that she was telling the truth given her past history, but she had been honest and he didn't believe her any way.
She sunk down onto the mattress and dragged herself up to the pillow. Her eyes stung but she didn't cry. She refused to cry anymore. No more tears, especially for a man who wanted nothing to do with her. It hurt, it cut deeply, but she wasn't going to dissolve into a puddle.
If only Jason were here, she thought. There he was again. Right at the forefront of her thoughts. But he wasn't a part of her life anymore and she needed to learn to accept that.
She buried her head in her pillow, clutching the downy mass over her ears, trying to press all thoughts out of her mind. She fell asleep that way. In her dreams, she was with Jason, back in his strong arms, and there was none of the hurt, there was none of the pain, that had dogged them for so long.
She was jolted awake by the sound of a loud knock on the door. She jerked upright, looking around the bright room. It took a moment for her to remember where she was. She saw the clock atop the widescreen TV. 8 a.m. Maybe housekeeping was here.
"I - I can't come to the door right now," she called out. She didn't have the energy right now to even climb off the bed.
"Samantha, we need to talk," a gravelly voice came through the door, followed by another firm knock on the door.
She recognized that voice. It belonged to the man who had helped make her and then had turned her away.
"Go away!" she snapped.
"It's Sam!" She shouted. "And I said, go away."
"You said your piece yesterday. It's my turn," Horatio said.
Sam shot off the bed and stomped to the door. She pulled it open and glared at him. He wore sunglasses and she couldn't see his eyes but his expression was much the same as yesterday's. It said, hands off.
"What do you want?" She asked, folding her arms across her chest. "How did you even find me? I never got the chance to tell you my name before you were calling me a con artist."
"I am a detective. It was easy enough to find you," Horatio said. "I also found these, by the way." He held out a manila folder to her. She looked at is as if it were a snake poised to strike out at her.
"What is that?"
Horatio removed his sunglasses, tucking them into the pocket of his suit jacket. He opened the folder for her and she saw an old mugshot staring up at her. "You looked up my record?"
He nodded. "It's all in there - all of the con jobs you've pulled over the years. At least the ones that you were actually charged for."
Sam shook her head. "You are one cold bastard," she spat. "What I did before… I made a lot of mistakes, yes, but I am not going to stand here and justify myself to you. You can fuck yourself."
"You remind me a lot of her," he said. "Alexis."
Sam's hot glare faltered a bit. "Trust me, we don't have much in common other than that pesky DNA." She suspected that she had even less in common with Horatio.
"You're wrong about that. You are a lot like her, more than you'd probably ever would want to admit."
"Why are you here?" Sam asked. "You know I am a con artist by trade, that I bilked a lot of people out of a lot of money. You probably even know my shoe-size. So why are you here?" she asked again.
Horatio lifted one shoulder in a slow, brief shrug. "When you so eloquently told me to fuck off… I heard Alexis in my head. I heard her actual voice; I saw her in your eyes... Alexis and I did have a past. So I can't definitively say you're not mine."
Sam chuckled mirthlessly. "What do you want - a DNA test?" She asked. "I was prepared to do one but now it doesn't matter because I don't want anything to do with you. All I wanted was to know you. I had this crazy thought that maybe we could mean something to each other. Maybe I shouldn't have sprung the truth on you the way I did, but I just wanted to be a part of your world."
"And now you don't?"
"No. Not at all."
Horatio nodded. "Then I guess I wasted my time here."
Sam shook her head. "Yeah, I guess you did. I've spent my life trying to prove myself to people and I won't do it anymore. You don't like what you see, that's fine. I don't need you anyway."
Horatio closed the file and tucked it in his suit jacket. Sam watched him go, feeling that she was losing a big part of herself in the process. But she wouldn't walk through fire for a man who couldn't give her the benefit of the doubt. She was past ever doing that again.
Horatio walked towards the elevator and then paused in his tracks. Keeping his back to her, he said, "I believe you. If you ever want to talk, you know where to find me."
And then he was gone.
Sam battled with herself for two days, trying to convince herself that she didn't need or want a jackass like Horatio Caine in her life. But ultimately, one morning, she decided that she did need answers.
She popped up at the Miami-Dade Crime Lab just as Horatio was getting out of a cruiser with a man in handcuffs. He pushed the burly guy twice his size along as the man shouted obscenities at him.
The prisoner suddenly spotted Sam and shouted something decidedly disgusting at her. Sam's blood boiled but to her surprise, Horatio shoved the big man into a wall. "Don't you ever talk to a lady like that again."
Sam didn't know how to react. The burly prisoner screamed himself hoarse about police brutality as Horatio forcefully shoved him towards a waiting Delko and another man. "Get him away from me," Horatio said in an even voice, but there was a trace of anger behind his words.
Delko and the other man led the prisoner up the steps of the building and Horatio slowly approached Sam. "You came," he said simply.
"Yeah," Sam murmured. "You said we could talk so… I'm taking you up on that."
"Let's go to my office," Horatio said. He led her up the steps and down a long hallway which bustled with people, many in white lab coats. She followed him into a small office. Bright sunlight streamed through two windows high up in the ceiling.
"Do you want anything?" Horatio asked. "Coffee? A donut? That's a cliche about cops a lot of people seem to have."
Sam smiled thinly in spite of herself. "No. I just -" She sighed as she watched him lean against the edge of his desk. "Do you really believe me?" She asked in a soft, hesitant voice.
"Are you saying I shouldn't?"
"No. I am your daughter, like it or not."
Horatio pulled off his ever-present sunglasses and rested his hands on his slim hips. "Maybe I could learn to like it."
"Gee, how nice of you to be so accommodating," Sam said facetiously. She shifted in her chair as she looked at him earnestly. "Alexis says you were a bad boy back then but you're a cop now..."
"And you think we can't be bad?"
"No. I've known some cops who were worse than any criminals, but let's just say, I don't get that vibe from you. You walk the straight and narrow."
"When I can."
"I bet it horrifies you that I have a criminal record."
"I don't think you're that same person anymore."
"I'm not," Sam said. "I think I've changed."
"What made you change?"
"What do you mean?"
"Usually there's some impetus for someone to completely make themselves over, so what was yours?"
Jason, Sam thought. He had made her want to be a better person. He had helped her become that person without even trying, just by loving her. Her heart clutched in her chest. She sighed. "I just didn't want to hurt people anymore," she said honestly, swallowing hard over the lump in her throat. "What about you though? Why did you become 'one of the good guys'?"
"I don't know that I am all that good," Horatio said. "But I realized one day, I didn't want to be my father and that if I kept going the way I was ..." His voice trailed off. She could tell that he was not very comfortable talking about his feelings. In that way, he reminded her a bit of Jason. Ever so slightly.
"How did you and my mom meet?" Sam asked, changing the subject.
"I was fresh out of juvenile detention, looking for a distraction, and I found Alexis." His eyes took on a faraway look. "It's not all that complicated. I liked her and at first she hated the sight of me… She was the ultimate challenge."
"But in time you won her over with your charm," Sam said with a dubious laugh.
Horatio nodded. "I was pretty charming back then, smooth, knew the right things to say. We spent some time together and along the way, we made you. But I never actually knew about you, not until yesterday... Alexis left town abruptly, without saying goodbye, and I was too young and stupid back then to question it. She burned my ego just walking out the way she did, so I told myself to let her go."
"And if you had known about me back then…"
"I can't say things would have ended up any differently... I wouldn't have wanted a child. I wouldn't have known the first thing to do with one."
Sam nodded. Her heart thudded painfully against her ribcage. "And now…?"
Horatio sighed and stood, moving across the room to stare out the window at the palm trees with their leaves fluttering softly in the warm breeze. "I'm not an easy man to get to know. I am not an easy man to like. I am married to my job and that's how I prefer it. I don't let personal relationships hinder me."
Sam pursed her lips. "So I would be a hinderance?" She said. "This really isn't what you want - to know me, is it?"
Horatio turned to look at her. "It's not what I was expecting but now that you're here, I think we should get to know each other."
"I don't want to be some burden or some obligation-"
"You are a part of me," Horatio said. "I don't need a DNA test to know that though I could easily run one right here and now. I already know what you are to me, but maybe -"
"Maybe it's time for you to find out who I can be to you," Sam said quietly.
He just nodded. There was no slick comeback, no deftly delivered one-liner. It was just … him. And her. Father and daughter. Trying to forge something meaningful when neither was sure what to expect from the other.
TO BE CONTINUED.