Author's Note: Took forever, I know, but here's an update. Thank you to everyone who's reading!
The Tangled Webs We Weave – Chapter 5
Courtney sat patiently on the sofa and waited. Jason had been on the phone when he answered the door and told her it would only be a few minutes more. That was almost twenty minutes ago but she didn't mind much. It wasn't as if she had anywhere else to be, she didn't want to go to the hospital until she had any information she could give to Steven about Rachel's family. She didn't mean to eavesdrop but certain words kept snagging her interest. Her eyes roamed the room and settled on the mantle over the fireplace. The same pictures were there as always, but she noticed there was more of Michael than had been there before.
"Sorry about that," he apologized, putting his phone down and sitting down across from her. "I didn't think it would take so long."
"That's okay." Courtney smiled sadly at him. "It's hard isn't it?" she asked.
"What do you mean?"
"Michael." She sighed. "I didn't meant to but I heard part of your phone call, you were talking about Michael."
He nodded slowly. "I have people in New Orleans still," he admitted. "Carly's never going to believe he's gone if we don't have proof." He wasn't about to tell Courtney what he was really doing; he couldn't get her hopes up as well.
"What about you?" Her soft voice broke through his thoughts and he looked at her again. "Do you believe it?"
"Yes," he lied quietly, turning to grab some papers off of the coffee table. He couldn't lie to her face.
She took his silence as sadness and decided not to press the issue though she still wanted to talk to him about Michael. She had made a mess of things with Sonny, and Carly was far too grief-stricken to turn to, and Jax, well, he had no connection to Michael at all.
But she wasn't going to force it, not today. "You said Stan found something?" she asked, hoping the transition wasn't too abrupt. "Did he find her family?"
"Yeah. Courtney, tell me the truth about Rachel."
Courtney looked down at her hands. "We aren't friends from high school," she admitted. "But you figured that out already, didn't you?"
"How did you meet her?"
Courtney laughed despite herself. "You're not going to believe me. I met her on my flight back from the Bahamas. She was in the seat next to me and somehow we started talking about AJ, and everything he had put me through." She shrugged. "I needed to vent about it, and she seemed sympathetic enough and she was willing to listen."
"And she just showed up on your doorstep after that?"
Courtney brought her eyes to level with his. "Rachel killed AJ. And she's going to frame me for the murder if I don't kill Steven Webber."
She took a deep breath. "It sounds crazy, I know. Believe me, I know. But it's true."
"Why Steven Webber?"
"Rachel and Steven were involved years ago, when they were both just out of medical school," Courtney explained. "She risked her career to save his when they almost lost a patient and soon after, he broke up with her." She smiled wryly. "Rachel didn't take well to that, and I don't know. I guess once she found out I happened to be from the same town Steven was working in, her twisted mind came up with this… this twisted plan of hers. She kills the man who ruined my life; in return, I kill the one who ruined hers. And if I don't, well, then she frames me for the murder. Which she's capable of, by the way." Courtney laughed. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't be laughing, but even just saying the words, I know how absurd it is."
"Well it isn't what I was expecting," Jason admitted. "I don't understand though, I mean, not that I think you'd ever actually do it, but hasn't she seen that you haven't done anything to Steven yet? What is she waiting for?" He searched her face, looking for any hint of knowledge.
Courtney lifted her shoulders in a slight shrug. "I honestly don't know. But with her in the hospital Jason, I'm a little scared. I don't know what happens to me if something happens to her."
"I think you're safe for now," he said as he tapped his fingers against the papers on his lap. "I have one more question for you though."
"Why didn't you come to me before now?"
Rachel sighed. She had been staring at the phone in her hands for almost twenty minutes now and she still had no idea what she was doing. Who was she going to call anyway? AJ? And tell him what, exactly? That she figured out his sick twisted plot and was going to tell on him? Yeah, okay. He'd be long gone before she even hung up the phone and then she'd have no way of finding him. She wasn't even sure what she was going to do to him.
She needed to be calm and rational about this. Calm and rational weren't adjectives ever used to describe her out of her professional life though and she wasn't sure how to go about this. She needed a plan, and she'd probably need help, but who was going to help her now? Courtney most likely wouldn't. Strike that. Courtney definitely wouldn't. She could charm her way into Jax's good graces again, but on the off chance of ever telling Courtney the truth, did she really want more drama between them? There had to be someone.
Of course! Rachel smiled at the figure in the doorway. "Hey," she said, surprised at how weak her voice sounded. She tried to cough, but her throat was dry.
Steven moved to the side of the bed and poured some water from the pitcher. "When did you wake up?" he asked, handing her the cup. "I was here not long ago and you were still sleeping. Are you okay? How do you feel?"
"Like I got shot," she remarked after the cool liquid slid down her throat. She smiled again. "It hurts like hell, but I think I can manage."
"Well, now that you're awake, we can give you something a little stronger for the pain." He sat down next to her. "You gave me a bit of a scare, you know."
"I did?" Rachel rolled her eyes. "And here I thought you would have been positive that I'd bounce back like nothing happened."
"Well, I was hoping," he shot back with a grin. "But I was still scared." She was surprised when his hand found hers but she put a smile on her face anyways.
"Weren't ready to say good-bye just yet?" she asked lightly.
"Not even close."
Rachel's eyes widened as his hand gripped hers tighter and she pulled away uneasily. "Well, it's good to know someone was watching out for me."
"Not just me, Courtney was here most of the day yesterday," Steven said. "She was really concerned, was asking about your family and how to contact them."
"She asked about my family?"
Steven nodded. "I thought she knew you were adopted, but apparently it was a surprise to her. I let her know that you had possibly found your parents though, and it seemed like she was going to try and find out if you had contacted them yet."
"I see." Rachel closed her eyes. When she opened them again, Steven was staring down at her almost adoringly and she wasn't quite sure how to handle that. She'd need him, she was sure; it wasn't as though she had any other friends in town. She highly doubted he would be much help, but all the same, a friendly face wasn't something she could turn away now.
His beeper went off, saving her from any further conversation and he looked at her apologetically. "I really need to get that. Do you want me to order something for the pain before I go?"
"That'd be nice," she admitted. She reached out and grabbed his hand before he could move and she swore he swooned in front of her. "You're such a sweetheart, thank you Steven." She smiled at him and winked as he left the room.
Well, that was going to be easier than she thought as she set the phone back down on the table next to her. Steven would most likely do whatever she needed him to do, if she could only figure out what that was.
She didn't have much time now. If Courtney knew that she had found her parents, as Steven had said, she was pretty sure Courtney would take it upon herself to do a little investigating, and then everything would be out in the open.
Rachel wasn't sure she wanted that at the moment. It all depended on what she was going to do about AJ. Letting Courtney in on everything might just complicate things.
As if they weren't complicated enough.
Courtney stared at Jason for a moment. "Why didn't I come to you?" she repeated slowly. "Let's see, why didn't I come to you? Maybe because we're not married anymore? Or maybe because part of our biggest problem was that I didn't want you fixing all of my problems. Maybe I didn't want to cause any drama between us and our significant others, because let's face it Jason, neither of them are comfortable with us being friends."
"Okay, well why didn't you go to Jax?"
She laughed. "Oh I did. I did go to Jax and do you know what good that did? He thinks I'm lying. He thinks I made all of this up because I'm actually guilty and trying to cover my tracks. He thinks Rachel's not capable of murder." Her voice dripped with sarcasm with every word.
"But you are?" Jason frowned.
"Apparently so." She shrugged again. "But, whatever my reasons were in the past, the fact is, I'm here now. I haven't come to you for help with that though, I came to you about Rachel's family."
"Right." Jason sighed. "Well, you were right, Rachel was adopted, and she had hired a private investigator to locate her birth parents, and they were found."
"Was Stan able to find out who her parents were?"
He nodded. "Here," he said. He hesitated before handing her the birth certificate that had been faxed over earlier. He watched as her eyes scanned it quickly. They widened and then squinted immediately, as she reread the document, more carefully this time.
"I—" She tore her eyes away and looked at Jason. "This is a joke, right?"
"No." Jason shook his head. "Courtney, I called the hospital and confirmed it. The doctor from the delivery was still there.
"Jason, this is my birth certificate. I mean, it's not, but well…" She looked down at the paper again. "This can't be possible," she murmured. "If it's true, it means—well it would mean that—" She looked up again.
"Rachel is my sister." Courtney's voice was full of bewilderment as she finally got the words out. "My twin? It's not possible. I mean, is it possible?"
"Yeah, it's possible." Jason came back to the couch with a glass of water for her. "I'm sorry, I didn't know how else to tell you, I—"
"No, it's fine." Courtney gripped the glass as she still stared at the birth certificate. "I don't understand, I mean… my mother's never said anything about this. And dad wouldn't have kept this from me after everything with Sonny. What happened? Why would she give up one baby and not me? I don't get it. I—"
The door opened then, breaking her off mid-sentence and Jason looked up to see Sam come in, her arms full of shopping bags. "Jason, can you give me a hand here, there was a really great sale at—oh, Courtney." She dropped her bags and looked at the two on the sofa. "I didn't know you were coming by today."
"Hi Sam." Courtney didn't look up from the piece of paper that still had her mesmerized.
"Sam," Jason ran his hand through his hair. "I didn't expect you home for awhile still. Do you think that you could give us a little more time?"
Sam stared at him for a long moment. "Yeah," she said finally. "Sure, I'll go pick up some lunch for us from Kelly's."
"Great." He smiled at her as he ushered her out of the room. "We won't be very long."
Sam raised her eyebrows at Jason before nodding. "I'll be back soon," she said, reaching over and kissing his cheek. "Bye Courtney."
"Bye." She didn't look up until the door slammed heavily against the frame and she jumped. Her trance was broken and she looked at Jason sympathetically. "You didn't have to send her away," she said finally, knowing from her own experiences with Jax what he would have to deal with later.
He shook his head. "You're still processing this, you didn't need an audience."
Courtney sighed. "Jason, what do I do now?" she asked.
He shrugged and sat next to her again. "I can't tell you that, but I don't think it's going to go away if you just ignore it."
"You're right," she said with a sigh. She pressed her hands to her face, rubbing her temples. "This was the last thing I expected to find out today," she said before uncovering her face. She was a little unsteady as she stood up and Jason was quick to catch her.
"Sit down," he urged.
"I need to get to the hospital," she said with a shake of her head. " I need to talk to Rachel, and see if she knows any of this. Figure out what's going on." She paused at the doorway and gave Jason a small smile. "Thanks," she said simply.
"Let me know if you need anything, okay?" He stared at her until she nodded. "We'll get this all sorted out, and I promise I'm not going to let you get dragged any further into this AJ thing."
She nodded. "I'll be in touch," she said. She smiled once more and left the penthouse, leaving Jason to watch as the elevator doors slid close. He shut the door and then walked back to the couch to retrieve the documents Courtney had left.
If there was more to Rachel than she was letting on, he was going to be the one to find out.
Her eyes were closed but Rachel was only pretending to sleep. A nurse had been in earlier to check on her and to give her the promised painkiller, and while the discomfort had subsided, the last thing Rachel wanted to do after waking up from a coma was to nap.
So she faked sleep. It was the only way to keep Steven at bay, as he was checking on her every fifteen minutes on the minute. As long as her eyes were shut, he didn't enter, he only poked his head into the room before resuming his rounds.
She was starting to seriously reconsider this keeping Steven as a friend idea.
Rachel was about to open her eyes but she heard the door open again and sighed inwardly. It hadn't been fifteen minutes yet, had he run out of patients to see? She tried to stay motionless, holding her eyes closed. She was surprised to hear footsteps entering the room but was pleased to note that they weren't heavy enough to be Steven's.
There was only one other person who would be there to see her, and honestly, Rachel wasn't sure how she would deal with that so she stayed as she was and hoped her visitor would leave quickly.
Courtney sat down and drew her chair closer to Rachel's bed. She stared at her for a long moment and chuckled in spite of herself.
"You're no better than pretending to be asleep than I am Rachel," she said quietly, leaning closer. She sat back to wait, folding her hands in her lap.
Rachel pressed her lips together and then opened her eyes slowly. Looking at Courtney, she knew there was no use in lying. "I guess it runs in the family then," she said, making direct eye contact.
Courtney took a deep breath, exhaling slowly. "So it's true," she said finally. Rachel nodded at her.
"Ironic, isn't it?" she asked.
"It's definitely something," Courtney agreed. "When did you find out?"
"About an hour before I was shot," she answered. "I think I was going to tell you when I came to the Metro-Court."
Rachel nodded. "I don't want to lie, I wasn't sure if I was or not. I wanted to, but at the same time I knew it probably wasn't the best idea. I think I would have told you though."
"Steven told me about the adoption," Courtney explained. "I had Jason check into it because I didn't like the idea of you being here without family, but Rachel, I had no idea that this was going to be the result."
"It's a lot to take in," Rachel agreed.
"To say the least!" Courtney shook her head. "What happens now Rachel? I don't know what you thought when you found out but, all I could think was, 'my sister is going to frame me for a murder she committed.' You can't honestly expect me to say welcome to the family after that. I don't know what to do now."
"If it makes you feel better, I'm dropping the plan against Steven," Rachel said, trying to keep her voice light. Courtney didn't relax any, not visibly anyways. "And I'm not going to go to the police and have you arrested for AJ's death."
"You're going to tell them you killed AJ?" Courtney's voice was full of disbelief.
"No," Rachel said with a shake of her head. "But Courtney—"
"Unbelievable." Courtney stood from her chair and shook her head at the other blonde. "I can't do this. I can't sit here and make jokes like you are. I can't pretend that the last two months haven't happened. I just can't."
"Courtney, please. Let me explain. I—"
"Please. Just stop." Courtney held up her hand. "I came here to see if you were awake, and you are. I wanted to know if you knew about us, and you do. I don't know where to go from here and I don't know that I even want to." She picked up her purse and headed for the door.
"Courtney, just listen—"
"I can't." Courtney sighed and paused in the doorway. "I'm glad you're awake Rachel, I really am," she kept her voice even and didn't turn to look at her. "But that's all I can say right now." She left quickly, closing the door on any response Rachel had for her.
Rachel stared at the door and was surprised at the sensations in the pit of her stomach. She shook them off, chalking them up to residual effects from the painkillers.
"AJ's alive, Courtney," she whispered to the now empty room. She felt tears stinging at her eyes and angrily brushed them away, hating that they were even there.
This wasn't her. Rachel Adaire was anything but weak. She never cried and she never let her emotions get the best of her. Behavior like that only ruined things, it created messes, and it only furthered her beliefs that complications would arise.
If there was one thing she didn't need right now, it was any more complications.
"He's alive Courtney," she whispered again. "But I'll be damned if I let you know that now."