This chapter is a crossover with All My Children. Since we don't know much about Annie's childhood home, I decided that she grew up with our girl Rebecca. As for Caleb? I couldn't resist including another one of my favorite shows. Those who watch will see what I mean. Those who don't, look up Caleb's portrayer for further info. ;)
"This is incredible, Gloria," Rebecca told the older woman as she sampled some lasagna. "I wish I could cook like this."
"Now, I happen to know you can make some amazing cakes," Gloria Cerullo said to her granddaughter's roommate and surrogate big sister. "Brooke goes on and on about some chocolate cake you make with pecans and caramel."
"Brooke's slightly biased. I feed her sweet tooth," Rebecca smiled. "Thanks for putting the girls and me up tonight."
"It's nice to have the company. With Carmine gone and all the kids up and out of the house and the grandkids all scattered, it gets a little lonely sometimes."
"Monica told me to tell you that you're always welcome at the house."
"As much as I appreciate the invite, I'll stick to Bensonhurst."
"Yeah, Monica said you'd say that. She wants to know if she can come live with you," Rebecca smiled.
"Tell her as long as she doesn't bring my Brooke's other grandmother, she is always welcome."
"I'll pass it along," Rebecca nodded.
"So, when's your friend supposed to be here," Gloria asked.
"Now, apparently," Rebecca headed for the front door. She opened it up and smiled, "Hey Stranger."
Annie Chandler gave her childhood best friend a wobbly smile before she flung herself into Rebecca's arms.
"Annie, what's the matter?" Rebecca asked. Annie's only answer was a sob. "Alright, walk time. Come on."
Rebecca maneuvered Annie around and yelled a quick good-bye to Gloria before shutting the door behind them.
"So, are you going to talk or are you going to make me talk?" Rebecca asked as they walked down the street.
"How pregnant are you?" Annie asked.
"Almost four months," Rebecca told her.
"Ethan," Annie questioned.
"Yes," Rebecca nodded. "And before you ask, yes, he knows. He wants to be with us but I don't know that he really wants to be with us."
"What do you mean?"
"I know Ethan loves us, but there is so much of Luke and Holly in him. I don't know if a life with me is what he really wants, or if he's just saying he wants so he won't lose me."
"At least he's telling you that he wants to be with you," Annie shook her head. "That's something."
"Ann, what's going on?" Rebecca asked, stopping them both on the street.
"I'm two months pregnant."
"Oh my God! Annie, congratulations!" Rebecca hugged her friend. "Why didn't you tell me when you called?"
"I guess I didn't want to say it out loud yet."
"Right, the miscarriages. Did you tell JR," Rebecca asked.
"Why not?" Rebecca looked at her in amazement. "This is good news, right?"
"It's great or it would be if when I went to see JR to tell him I didn't find him in bed with Marissa."
"I'll kill him," Rebecca said evenly.
"Becca, you can't kill him. You are a federal agent, remember," Annie smiled sadly. "Though if anyone could kill for me, it'd be you."
"Of course because we are the original hoes over bros," Rebecca nodded. "Brooke and Peyton have nothing on us."
Annie smiled, "I have to get out of Pine Valley, but I can't leave without Emma."
"Yeah, I know," Rebecca nodded. "I understand the need to just get the hell out of whatever screwy situation you've made for yourself, and I know you won't leave your daughter behind."
"It's not just about not leaving Emma. It's about not leaving Emma to be raised by a woman who hates me."
"You mean Greenflea?" Rebecca asked.
"Yeah, her," Annie nodded. "I will not let that woman be my daughter's fulltime mother."
"We'll make it so you won't have to," Rebecca said. "I just have to make a small trip first."
"Coal Township," Rebecca said.
"If we want Ryan to let you take Emma out of Pine Valley, we need something to hold over him. I think my cousin might have the right information."
"Didn't you know? Greenflea and I have been related by marriage quite a few times."
"Aidan," Annie nodded in realization.
Rebecca sighed, "And now I get to go play the family card. First I'll play it with Aidan. Then I'll play it with Ryan. It'll most likely work with Aidan. But with Ryan, I'm probably going to have to resort to blackmail."
"What do you mean you're going to play the family card with Ryan?"
"Ryan's father and mine were cousins, so Ryan and I are cousins."
"I never put that together. I don't think Ryan ever knew Duke."
"Probably not," Rebecca shook her head. "I wish he had. It would have been nice to get a story out of him before I blackmailed him."
"I really missed you," Annie gave her an one-armed side hug.
"I missed you, too. I am going to have to call in a favor from Emily's brother to smuggle you out of Pine Valley before JR notices you're gone."
"You're going to the mob?" Annie gasped. "Isn't that kind of against all your federal agent morals?"
"It's family and it's not illegal," Rebecca sighed. "C'mon, let's get you fed and then me to Pennsylvania. Gloria was going to put you up for the night anyway, so you can stay with her and my girls while I go talk Aidan into giving me whatever information he has on Ryan. Then I have to talk Frisco into letting you stay with me and Brooke. I also have to get him to let me coerce Ryan into giving up Emma."
"And how do you plan to do that?"
"By reminding him of the fact that I have gotten rid of at least one potential threat to Port Charles, and I am the one who ultimately got Brooke away from the twisted sister, Carly Jacks."
"Look Frisco, she is my best friend, and she needs help. I can't leave her on her own. Have you ever dealt with the Chandler family? Except for Stuart, they're all nuts and probably going to hell."
"No argument," Frisco said running a hand over his face as he spoke into the phone. "But why do you need permission to go after this guy Ryan?"
"I paid a visit to Aidan in Pennsylvania. He gave me a file that he'd compiled on Ryan over the years. There are some things in it that Ryan wouldn't want revealed."
"Ah," Frisco nodded. "And you want to use it?"
"Only as a last resort," Rebecca said. "I'm hoping I can convince him to let us take Emma by reminding him that even if she's not in Pine Valley she won't be free of Lavery influence."
"And if that doesn't work?" Frisco asked.
"I'm pulling out the big guns. If he doesn't want all of Pine Valley finding out some very bad things about him, he'll let Annie take Emma and he won't say a word about why. If he does then we'll let him keep in touch."
"I don't like the idea of a civilian living with you and Brooke."
"What if she at least took the aptitude test?"
"She doesn't have the cleanest record," Frisco pointed out.
"Neither do Aidan or I," Rebecca came back.
"You two are legacies," Frisco reminded her.
"Oh yeah, we've got a great family history. The only other Devane who joined the WSB was suspected of being a traitor because Cesar Faison kidnapped her and tortured her for years. Aidan lost his mind and kidnapped a woman. I royally screwed up my first mission, first by involving a civilian and then I got pregnant by the person I was supposed to be using to lure out our main person of interest. I don't think Annie could screw up any more than Aidan and I did."
"You may have a point. Speaking of which, how is Aidan?"
"He's getting help and adjusting to his surroundings. Mom writes him, so that helps. He asked if I'd write him too."
"I think I will. Make sure he remembers that he still has family on the outside. I've heard rumblings that MI-5 might want him back after he gets out of jail."
"I've heard the same thing," Frisco admitted. "Wait a second, how did you know?"
"We had some British agents recovering at the hospital last week. They were old school, so women tend to blend into the background. By the way, does having it off mean what I think it does?"
"Ask your mother," Frisco responded after a moment's hesitation.
"Mom's Irish," Rebecca reminded him.
"Then have Ethan call Holly and ask her. I'm not talking about this with you."
"Coward," Rebecca teased.
"And proud of it."
Rebecca knocked on the door to Ryan's penthouse and waited.
"May I help you?" the woman who answered the door asked.
"I'm looking for Ryan Lavery," Rebecca said.
The woman studied Rebecca's stomach for a moment, and then looked back at her, "Just tell me that you and he have never slept together."
"Excuse me," Rebecca looked a bit offended.
"Your condition," she motioned to Rebecca's stomach.
Rebecca looked down at herself and then back at the woman, "Oh no. I've never even met Ryan, and I think what you're suggesting is illegal in Pennsylvania."
"Ryan and I are cousins," Rebecca said. "Second cousins, actually. My mom was married to Ryan's father's cousin a long time ago. Anyway, when she heard I'd be up here, she told me to make my introductions."
"Oh," the woman looked extraordinarily relieved. "Please come in."
"Thanks," Rebecca said. "I didn't get your name."
"Greenlee," she said. "And you?"
"Rebecca," the agent introduced herself as she entered the penthouse.
"Forgive me for saying this, but have we met before? I could swear I've seen your face before."
"I get that a lot. My mom didn't raise myself or my twin. We were separated at birth. Emily's adoptive parents were both gone by the time we were twelve and then she was adopted again by the Quartermaine family in Port Charles. You probably saw her picture over the years when their family made the papers," Rebecca took the seat Greenlee offered.
"She died a few years ago," Greenlee said quietly, remembering as she sat down across from her.
"She was strangled, yes," Rebecca said in a calm voice as she made a mental note to call Emily in the near future.
"Thank you, but it's not necessary. I never knew Emily."
"That might be worse than if you had," Greenlee said.
"Possibly, yes," Rebecca nodded. "Is Ryan home?"
"He'll be back soon. He just went to the store."
"Were you on your way out?" Rebecca asked noticing that Greenlee was holding her purse.
"I was, but I can wait for a bit."
"Right," Rebecca nodded. "Don't want to leave a complete stranger alone in your house. I could be an ax murderer for all you know." Rebecca giggled.
Greenlee stared at her.
"I'm not," Rebecca shook her head.
"Oh, of course. I'm sorry. It's just we've had some weird people enter our lives who at first appear to be completely normal."
"Oh," Rebecca nodded.
"Sorry," Greenlee said. "So, where do you live?"
"I call the south home these days but I'm originally from Washington State."
Greenlee nodded, "Wow, you were pretty extreme in your locale change."
"I wanted something different," Rebecca nodded. "What about you? Has Pine Valley always been home or are you a transplant?"
"I lived in California while I went to school but Pine Valley is home," Greenlee told her.
Rebecca nodded, "Your family's here?"
"My dad and my grandmother are but my sister and brother are off at school and I don't know where my mom is right now. What about your family?"
"My older sister and my niece live a few towns away and my mom's off on a business trip right now but she calls London home these days."
"And your dad?"
"He died a long time ago."
"Thank you," Rebecca nodded. She didn't bother telling Greenlee that she'd never known her father either. It was different to say the words when they were the truth.
"So," Greenlee began but stopped when the door opened and the man Rebecca assumed was Ryan walked in. "Hey, you're back."
"I am," Ryan nodded. He saw Rebecca, "Hello."
"Hi," Rebecca rose to her feet. "You must be Ryan. I'm Rebecca. We're cousins."
"What," Ryan stared as he came further into the penthouse, closing the door behind him.
"It's a long story, but I'm Duke Lavery's daughter and Mom told me to make my introductions since I was up here."
"And I'm late for an appointment," Greenlee told them. "So, I'm leaving. Rebecca, it was nice to meet you."
"You too, Greenlee," Rebecca smiled.
Greenlee kissed Ryan and then she was gone.
Ryan turned back to Rebecca, "I wasn't aware that Duke had any children."
"Neither were he and my mother. They thought Emily and I had been miscarried."
"A woman named Olivia Jerome was insanely in love with my father and wanted him for herself. When she realized she wasn't going to get him she tried to kill him by rigging an elevator to crash only my mother got on instead. My parents didn't know that the Jerome family paid a doctor to put my sister and me into the womb of another woman. After we were born, they took me and made it seem like I'd been sold to my adoptive family."
"This doctor's name wasn't Madden by any chance was it?"
"Not as far as I know," Rebecca shook her head. "But I'm not just here for a family reunion."
"Let me guess, you need a kidney," Ryan joked.
"No, I'm here about your daughter and her mother."
"Hey, Ann," Rebecca said as she closed the file in front of her.
"Hey, I've been wondering when you were going to call. How'd it go?"
"How did you ever stay married to him and not throw something pointy at his head?"
"Yeah, he's stubborn."
"And pig-headed and irrational," Rebecca shook her head.
"But did he sign?"
"Yes, but unfortunately I had to pull out the big guns so we can't trust him with unsupervised visitation. He's liable to take Em and run for the hills."
"I can't believe it worked."
"Grabbing a guy by his cajones and twisting until he says 'uncle' works just about every time."
"You know I think Amanda did that to JR at one point and I'm talking literally."
Rebecca giggled, "I like this girl already."
"Yeah, she's good people," Annie said. "So, I'm going to need a new last name."
"You can use the same one I am. We always said we were sisters."
"Thanks but I like the way Cerullo sounds."
"Annie Cerullo? I like that."
"Ann Marie Cerullo," Annie corrected. "It's after the Josh Gracin song."
Rebecca nodded, "You know Brooke's mom's middle name is Marie. Gloria still calls her that when she's being, oh what's the word Gloria uses?"
"Sassy," Annie said.
"That's it. So, how are you?"
"I'll be better when Emma's with me."
"It's being taken care of. Jason is sending in one of his employees to pick her up and bring her to you. Some of his boys are packing up the cottage and as we speak you are being checked of the inn. Spinelli's doing it for you via computer and he's gonna make it look like it happened this morning."
"I still can't believe you know Jason Morgan."
"I am going to owe him a very large favor after this," Rebecca shook her head.
"So, where are you?"
"Valley Inn Bar," Rebecca looked around her. "And I'm being stared at."
"A dark haired man who kind of gives me the creeps."
"That'd probably be David Hayward."
"Oh so that's my former step-father," Rebecca raised an eyebrow. "He's not bad but he's still kind of creepy."
"He's very creepy," Annie assured her. "He's also kind of an ass."
Rebecca smiled, "Yeah, I can tell just by looking at him."
"So, JR called," Annie said quietly.
"I ignored the phone call," Annie admitted quietly.
"Okay," Rebecca nodded.
"That's it? You're not going to call me a chicken for not talking to him."
"No," Rebecca shook her head. "I think you need to do what you need to do concerning him. I dropped your note for him off at the front desk of Chandler."
"That's probably why he's calling," Annie concluded.
"What did it say?"
"You didn't peek?"
"No," Rebecca told her. "How could you think I'd do that?"
"'Cause I know you," Annie giggled.
Rebecca laughed too and then she raised an eyebrow when she saw a familiar blonde man stalk past the door of the bar.
"Ann, let me call you back. I think JR just caught up with me. I want to see what happens when he finds out you checked out."
"Take notes," Annie told her.
"Done," Rebecca agreed as she put some money on the table and hung up her phone. She slipped the phone into her bag as she stood up. She casually strolled out the door and into the lobby. She walked towards the front desk and stopped at the rack of brochures, just within earshot of JR and the clerk at the desk.
"…do you mean she checked out," JR was saying. "When?"
"According to this, Ms. Chandler checked out sometime early this morning," the desk clerk said. "Is everything alright, Mr. Chandler?"
"No," JR shook his head as he turned around and pulled out his cell phone.
Rebecca watched him dial over the edge of the brochure she'd picked up on the shopping in Pine Valley.
"Annie, it's me. Whatever happened, whatever's going on, you have to talk to me about it. Just…call me back." JR hung up the phone and looked up, his gaze landing on Rebecca who's eyes averted immediately back to the brochure.
"Don't I know you," JR asked coming closer to Rebecca.
"Excuse me," Rebecca looked up into JR's eyes. His face was impassive but his eyes told a different story. One that said maybe she shouldn't be helping her friend run away without at least talking to JR first.
"We've met before, haven't we?"
"I don't think so. This is my first time in Pine Valley," Rebecca held up her reading material as proof.
"Are you sure?"
"I think I'd remember you. You look like my older brother." Rebecca mentally thanked Emily for allowing her to share Jason's kid sister status while she was here.
"A phrase every guy wants to hear from a beautiful woman," JR said ruefully.
"While I thank you for the compliment, don't you have a wife or a girlfriend or a same sex lover you should be worried about? You looked rather agitated just now. Only two things get someone that upset."
"Love or money. And going by your suit, I'm gonna say money's not a problem for you. So, it's gotta be love."
"As a matter of fact, yes, it is love," JR nodded.
"Well, whoever they are, I wish you luck," Rebecca told him before glancing over his shoulder and catching sight of someone she recognized immediately. "Uh, can you tell me who that is?"
"That man sitting with the redhead at the table in there."
JR turned his head and sighed, "That's Caleb Cortlandt."
"Cortlandt you say," Rebecca studied him. "That's funny, I could swear I've seen him before but his name wasn't Cortlandt."
"It might have been Cooney when you knew him."
"Sounds familiar," Rebecca lied. "It was nice to meet you and again, good luck."
"Thanks," JR told the retreating woman.
Once Rebecca was free and clear of the Valley Inn, she pulled out her cell phone and dialed.
Director Vance's office. How may I help you?
"Director Vance, please. Tell him it's Anna Devane's daughter, Rebecca."
One moment, please.
Rebecca waited and then heard the man's voice come over the line.
Rebecca, what can I do for you? Is something the matter with Anna?
"No, Mom's fine. Director, when was the last time you spoke with Director David?"
Eli? We spoke a few weeks ago. He was saying something about needing a vacation.
"Did he happen to mention anything about running an op in the states?"
No, he didn't. Why?
"I need you to look up the Pine Valley Bulletin online and search for a picture of Caleb Cortlandt and then tell me whether or not I'm out of my ever loving mind."
Alright, if you'll hold on just a moment.
"Of course," Rebecca nodded. She could hear the faint click-clack of computer keys as the director typed in his requests.
Oh my God.
"So, I'm not crazy."
Did you approach him?
"No, he didn't even see me."
Good. Get out of there. We'll handle this.
"Not a problem, Sir," Rebecca said.
And Sutton? Good job. If you ever want a place at NCIS, let me know. I'm sure Gibbs would like to have you.
"Thank you, Sir," Rebecca smiled before they hung up.
Two weeks later…
"Oh my God," Annie said as she looked at the copy of the Pine Valley Bulletin.
"Annie, what's wrong," Rebecca asked as she put on a pair of earrings while she readied for work.
"Caleb Cortlandt isn't Caleb Cortlandt," Annie shook her head.
"What do you mean," Rebecca asked coming around to look over her friend's shoulder.
"This guy claiming to be Palmer's nephew wasn't his nephew. He's an imposter."
"You're kidding," Rebecca studied the picture in the paper. "So, does it say who he is?"
"No, they're withholding the name until they can find someone who knows where the real Caleb is."
"I guess that means JR and Scott are going to get that nanotech thing back from Cortlandt?"
"I hadn't even thought of that."
Rebecca nodded and then smiled at the entering Brooke, "Hey."
"Morning," the younger girl said as she grabbed a piece of toast from the table and drank down the orange juice Rebecca had just poured for herself.
"Help yourself," Rebecca said with a cock of her head.
"Sorry. It's my last day of class, I'm running late, and I have no time to pour myself anything. See you guys later."
"Brooke, wait a second," Rebecca said. "It's your night to cook. Do you want to trade with me?"
"Damn. I forgot."
"I'll cook," Annie joined the conversation. "I finally found my grandma's old cookbook. It has all her recipes in it. You two have any problems with veal?"
"Not me," Brooke shook her head before she left.
"I loved your grandma's cooking," Rebecca smiled. "Veal meatloaf?"
"Yeah," Annie nodded. "And that crazy mac and cheese that she used to make with the Spanish onions."
"And the crushed up goldfish crackers," Rebecca smiled.
"Yes," Annie nodded.
"Sounds great. If you need to go shopping for food, the credit card for house needs is in the blue recipe box at the back of the cupboard in the dining room."
"Okay," Annie nodded.
"Ann, you gonna be okay?"
"Yeah," Annie nodded. "Take my car and I'll take the van. I'll probably need the room."
"Okay. Mrs. Carter will be here soon but I have to go now. I promised I'd take the last half hour of a shift."
"When do you go on maternity leave?"
"Six weeks," Rebecca smiled. "Just in time for me to help Brooke through the last month and half of her pregnancy."
"It should be an experience, all of us mothers to babies at the same time."
"We can pass on our wisdom to Brooke," Rebecca smiled. "Speaking of our babies, shouldn't Emma be up by now?"
Annie took a look at her watch, "Yes, she should. I'll see you later."
"Bye," Rebecca nodded and left Annie alone.
Annie took one more look at the paper in front of her. Faux Caleb stared back at her. She opened the paper and was faced with a picture of JR taken at a press conference regarding the revelation that Caleb wasn't Caleb. He looked composed and in control, just as he always did.
She smiled, putting a hand on her stomach, "Give him hell, my love."