Relative Business

A One Shot
FNF#3: "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." – Robert McCloseky

For what Edward Quartermaine lacked in height, he more than made up for with his physical presence and corporate stature. He was a man to be reckoned with, had been for more than half a century, and, as he stood before the floor to ceiling windows in his CEO suite high atop ELQ's Port Charles headquarters, he felt almost young again with hope and an ingrained sense of smugness. Things were finally falling into place. In fact, he could practically taste his long awaited victory.

The old curmudgeon knew that the fruits of his labor wouldn't immediately be harvested. It would take time and patience, careful planning, an air of indiffidence, and a sense of sentimentality that his daughter Tracy lacked entirely. That was why it had been a stroke of pure luck that she had taken off for parts unknown with her felon of a husband, providing him with the perfect opportunity to wrestle control of their family's empire away from her. And, now, he was back where he belonged – on the top, looking down at everyone and everything beneath him both figuratively and literally.

Not that he actually paid much attention to the working class scurrying below like ants on the streets. Rather, when he stood before his panoramic view of the city, hands clasped together before him, he simply liked to enjoy the general display of capitalism at work. The tiny, almost unrecognizable people below him weren't individuals to the aging business tycoon but faceless, nameless underlings that worked for him. They were his accountants, his janitors, his secretaries; they were the men and women who manned the machines in his factories, stocked the store shelves with his product, and then they were the consumers who went out and purchased his wares. In essence, they were his puppets, and, if there was anything Edward Quartermaine enjoyed, it was controlling other people.

However, his true joy came from manipulation, especially that of his family. Granted, the numbers were down among their blood lines, what with AJ, and Alan, and even little Emily's recent deaths, but he still had hope. After all, Brook Lynn would soon be of the marrying and reproducing age, and he'd be sure to find her a suitable husband of the right breeding and, more importantly, economic value, Dillon, surely, would also settle down one day just, with any luck, not with some ridiculous showbiz floozy, and, of course, there was also his favored heir, the once Golden Boy who, despite his lack of interest in ELQ and the family, Edward still wanted to inherit every single last nut and bolt of the conglomerate he had built, alongside his beloved wife, all those many years ago.

And Jason was slowly moving in the direction he wanted him to at that very minute.

If there was one advantage to old age, it was the fact that those around him, despite his past success and cutthroat nature, dismissed and underestimated him. That was their first mistake, and their second was arrogance, believing that he had given up on long since 

developed plans and, then, as a consequence, not paying him any attention when he, in turn, was certainly watching and observing them. Tracy had done just that. She had gotten comfortable in her position of power at ELQ, forgetting the very important fact that her father had always wanted a male heir to carry his family's business into the next generation upon his passing. And, as for his grandson, well, the town's once enforcer and now brand new mob boss was just too busy to mind his grandfather.

However, Edward knew. He knew that, despite the pretty nurse who worked at General Hospital, the one that had been Emily's best friend, declaring to the world, under oath in court, that her son was inarguably that ham-fisted, incompetent Detective Spencer's son, that there was a very good chance little Jacob Martin was, indeed, his great-grandson. He knew that the nurse was in love with his estranged, favored grandchild and that her feelings were returned and had been for quite some time now. And he also knew the details behind the recent power tradeoff that ass Corinthos had practically forced Jason into.

It wasn't because of greed or a thirst for power that his grandson was, now, in charge of the Port Charles mafia but because, accident or not, Quartermaine or Morgan, Jason had a deeply ingrained sense of family loyalty, and he would do anything within his influence to keep his family – sweet Elizabeth Webber and her two young boys, little Michael, Carly Jax and her son Morgan, and even his mother – safe and alive, and, even though Edward regretted the fact that he and his grandson were not close enough for the younger man to consider him a part of his family as well, he certainly wasn't above using Jason's feelings for the people he loved against him in order to reel him back into ELQ once and for all.

Plus, he also knew that his greedy daughter had changed his son's will, that Alan's stock in the family company was supposed to have gone to any child or children Jason had in the future, meaning that one year old Jake Spencer was, in all likelihood, the second largest stock holder on the board, giving his proud, undisclosed father quite a bit of control, especially since, in his recent transaction with his former boss, Jason had gained control of Sonny's shares in the Quartermaine business as well.

However, the patriarch of the most powerful, frequently legal family in town was sitting on all his knowledge, letting it fester, letting it grow, letting it build up to a point where he wouldn't have to go to his grandson; his grandson, instead, would come to him. Eventually, the life of a mob lord would grow burdensome to Jason, and he would want the chance to provide his son with a legitimate, respectable inheritance. When this happened and he came to Edward for his rightful place in the family business, he'd be waiting for him, arms open wide and with a knowing smirk on his face.

And he wouldn't ask for much in return either… just the chance to get to know his great-grandchild, or, perhaps, even, by that point, great-grandchildren. A few family dinners, holidays, invitations to birthday parties and school recitals – nothing any great-grandfather didn't rightfully deserve, and, after waiting years for his Golden Boy to return to him, he'd finally be getting everything he wanted, plus the few added bonuses that came with Jason Morgan's personality. While he would always love the memory of Jason Quartermaine, Jason Morgan was ruthless in business, decisive and logical, and he certainly wasn't slowed down 

by such trivialities as moral qualms or concern for his reputation, and, with those traits in mind, he was the successor Edward had been dreaming of for almost sixty years.

A knock at his office door interrupted his thoughts. Not turning away from his floor to ceiling windows or even acknowledging his young and surprisingly competent assistant as she entered the spacious, opulently appointed room, Edward effortlessly put forth the facade of a man distinctly industrious while simply doing nothing.

"Mr. Quartermaine, you… your grandson is here to see you."

Wrinkling his brow in distaste at the woman's stammering, he withheld his criticism for her, preparing to save it for later when they were alone. While he had absolutely no problem in reprimanding employees for their weaknesses, even he felt such things should be done in private and not when one had an audience. After all, such displays certainly wouldn't inspire company loyalty or productiveness. "Well, then," the old conniver instructed. "Show Ned in."

"It isn't Mr. Ashton, Sir."

Surprised, Edward finally turned around to look at his assistant, and he started to notice more odd idiosyncrasies about her behavior that afternoon. She was pale, her voice was practically a whisper, and her eyes were wide with some emotion he didn't, personally, distinguish himself. And, finally, it dawned on him. She, his formerly sensible, capable secretary was one of those Hollywood groupies, and she must have recognized his fledgling director grandson and was all excited about the prospect of meeting a D-list celebrity, t damn fool girl. "So, it's Dillon, then," he reasoned, shaking his heavily jawed face in frustration. But she just stood there, fairly trembling and unmoving. "What are you waiting for," the newly returned CEO demanded. "Tell him to come in. I don't have all day, you know. I am a very busy…"

"Leave her alone, Old Man," his guest ordered, striding into his private office suite without invitation. But Edward didn't care. In amazement, he watched as his estranged grandson thanked his bumbling, nervous assistant before turning cold, piercing blue eyes, eyes of the exact shade of his beloved Lila, onto him and pinning him to the windows with his direct gaze. "We need to talk."

However, he would not be cowed in his own place of work by his own grandson. "So I assumed, especially since you actually deigned us with your presence. How long has it been exactly, Jason, since you stepped foot in this building?"

His question went ignored, though, unanswered. "There is no us involved in this meeting. It's just you and me, and it's going to remain that way."

"Alright, then, what do you want?"

"I want ELQ."

It was a good thing that he still had all his own teeth, because, otherwise, he was sure that, in that moment, he would have choked on a pair of dentures. Not one to show astonishment, though, he gathered his wits about him quickly, smiled at his grandson, and stated, "I always knew you'd come around someday, Jason, and, of course, I will do anything within my power as the head of this family and the CEO of this company to welcome you back into the fold. It'll take time, but…"

"No," the mob boss argued, interrupting his grandfather with just that one harshly spoken word. "Like I said, no one but the two of us is going to know about this little deal."

"Well, I'm sorry, Jason, but I really don't understand…"

"I need a figurehead company for my business."

Blustering, the old man snarled, "you mean you need something clean to run your dirty money through."

The emotionless man standing across from him neither agreed nor disagreed with his accusation; he simply didn't react. "As far as the rest of the world will be concerned, you will still be in charge of ELQ, but, behind closed doors, I'll actually be running the company however I see fit."

"And, if I say yes," Edward wanted to know, "if I agree to this plan of yours, what do I get in return?" He knew that there would be no denying his grandchild. After all, not even he was influential enough to say no to the don of Port Charles, but the Quartermaine patriarch had never backed down from a fight or a negotiation before in his life, and he certainly wasn't about to start then.

Simply put, Jason answered, "I'll owe you a favor."

And, just like that, the elderly scalawag saw the light at the end of the tunnel again for his plan to take root, and, if there was a way, he was bound and determined to find it and then take advantage of it anyway he possibly could. Pushing himself away from the windows, Edward extended his hand to his grandson, shaking the younger man's thick and brawny palm in the age old display of partnership. "You have yourself a deal."

"Good," Jason nodded in accordance just once. "I'll be in touch." Without another word, he slipped out of the top floor suite just as quickly and just as quietly as he had first arrived, and, going back to what he was previously doing, Edward pivoted around on his designer heeled shoes to look back out his personal panoramic view of the city's skyline.

Off in the distance slightly, a few minutes later, he saw a black and chrome motorcycle come speeding out of the ELQ corporate headquarters' parking lot. It was a sight he knew he would be seeing more in the future now that he had a connection with his delinquent of a grandson, and, at that thought, the old man smiled to himself, because, despite his method of achievement, Lila would be proud.