The Path to Power
Chapter Thirty Eight
Maxie yawns in the back seat of English class while fighting to stay awake. The consequence of not getting a full night's sleep the night before worrying about Mac.
"Are we boring you, Miss Jones?"
"Sorry. I didn't sleep well last night." Maxie replies with a grimace as she straightens in her chair.
"I bet she didn't. Maximum Maxie gettin busy." One of the too kewl kids holds out his hand for a quick five from one of his moron buddies. The teacher seems to be deaf to the comment and continues on with his lecture with his back to the class.
Maxie flushes at the comment. It wasn't exactly quiet. Everyone had heard it. Hell it was probably going to be under her yearbook picture. They wouldn't even have to complete the thought just make her the Girl Most Likely. Not to succeed. Not to travel the world-- just the Girl Most Likely To. Luckily the bell rings soon after, just long enough for her to go from embarrassed to ticked and time enough to run the script thru her head a few times. As soon as the classroom clears she goes up to the teacher. "Thanks for your help back there. It's teachers like you that have kids dropping out. Great Job, humiliation is such a great motivator." Maxie slowly claps her hands in mocking applause.
"Miss Jones, I will not tolerate this kind of disrespect."
"But you expect me to put up with it?! What are you going to do?! Suspend me? Please make my day. Can I make it easier? Yes, I'm fucking bored in your class cause you are a fucking suck up to the A crowd in this school because you want to be the kewlest teacher. It's be a far, far better place I'd go than I've been in this fucking class." Maxie gives a sarcastic twist to the current reading assignment to suit her rant.
Georgie had come running between classes when she'd heard what happened in Maxie's English class and grabs her sister by the arm. "She doesn't mean it. Sorry. Maxie, come on."
As Maxie is being dragged away by her sister. "I do mean it. I mean every word of it. You must have a really small dick that you can let those jocks take control of the class like that. Or maybe they have pictures of you on the internet?"
"That's IT! Report to the office. NOW!" Mr. Lawrence snaps.
"Thank. You." Maxie clips her words off sharply from the doorway. "But don't worry. I'll take you down with me."
Georgie finally gets Maxie away. "Gawd. What were you thinking? Mac is going to freak. You were trying to get suspended."
There is a scandalized whisper off to the side. "Did you hear her? She said she went down on Mr. Lawrence."
"You stupid cow." Georgie snarls. "She said TAKE down not GO down."
"I wish your parents never had!" Georgie interrupts. "It would have been better for the gene pool. Come on, Maxie, we're leaving."
"I'm supposed to stop at the office."
"So what? What are they going to do? Call a cop? They were planning on doing that anyway."
"You guys need a lift?" Dillon offers.
Georgie nods wanting to get her sister out of this place as soon as possible. Things weren't getting better they were getting worse. Maxie never talked like that. Didn't even think like that. "Yeah, that would be great."
"Don't think I'm staying." Lucas chimes in. "Let's go."
"I don't want you guys to get in trouble." Maxie bites her lip. "This is all my fault."
"No, It's Kyle and his stupid friends' fault. There is chocolate cheesecake haagen-daz at home calling our names." Georgie asserts and then she winces. "Sorry Lucas."
Lucas sighs dramatically. "I'll just drink water, maybe a slice of bread. And watch you pig out in front of me." He puts an arm around Maxie's neck and gives her a quick hug. "I'd say that was the final bell for the day... what do you say?"
"Lets go." Maxie agrees.
As soon as Jake's opened and the morning gal had arrived to take over, Kyle and Cole move up to the second floor of the bar. Between the cleaning needed up there and getting the room ready for the next tenant, there is enough to keep them both busy. Since Cole is called down to assist in putting a delivery away, Kyle takes a minute to make a phone call. "Hey. How zit going?"
The person on the other end of the phone answers in a whispered hiss. "Dude! You wouldn't believe it. Maxie Jones went down on Mr. Lawrence and then she left school when her sister caught her doing it. Mr. Lawrence has been in the Vice Principal's office all afternoon. They're calling witnesses to see if anyone knew about them hooking up."
"That's a load of crap!" Kyle explodes.
"I'm just saying what I heard."
"Then tell them this. It's a load of crap! Maxie isn't doing Mr. Lawrence. That's just twisted."
"Maximum Maxie was saying she didn't get any sleep last night. This suspension working out for ya, buddy?" Beavis asks slyly. "I tried to call your house and nobody was there."
"No, it's not working out for me. I'm sick of it. The VP knows I didn't have anything to do with the internet deal. I tell him you were behind it and you can find out what it's like to be suspended!"
"Dude, that is so bogus. I can't believe you are talking this way. I thought we were buds."
"Believe it. I can't believe you're being such a dick and letting me take the fall for your stupid scam. Dude..." Kyle says sarcastically. "...I know too much about you for you to leave me hanging like this. Fix this! And leave Maxie out of it."
"Man, you are so whipped." Beavis mutters. Kyle had just closed down one avenue of him fixing it. "I'll call you later."
"No, I'll call you." Kyle disconnects the call and then punches in another number quickly.
"Prynne residence, Hester speaking."
"Maxie? Is that you?" Kyle asks hesitantly. He checks the number. "I was trying to call the Scorpio residence?"
The phone is snagged out of Maxie's hand. "Haven't you done enough?!" Georgie snarls in the phone. "Leave my sister alone, you freak!" Then all he hears is the disconnect tone.
Cole is standing in the door leaning against the jam. "Maybe the Commissioner's daughter needs a restraining order on you."
"They're giving her a hard time at school... she ditched..." Kyle says hesitantly.
"Are you surprised? I need a hand in the kitchen putting stuff up. Lets go."
"Uncle Cole, I really screwed this up royally."
"Yeah. You did."
"How do I fix this?"
"I don't think you can." Cole shrugs. "An apology doesn't undo the damage. It's done. The only thing you can do is make sure it doesn't happen again. You couldn't have trashed this girl's life any more if you had tattoo'd slut onto her forehead. You made her fair game for any guy with itchy pants thinking he's going to get it scratched."
"Maxie isn't like that!"
"Been a long time since I've been in high school, kid. Long time. I kinda remember it as being a different kinda school... sharks." Cole nods. "And the only thing to do when sharks are in a feeding frenzy... stay low and feed them something else. Break's over."
"Grandmother, may I borrow you?"
Lila looks up at Skye who is hesitating at the edge of the community garden. "Of course, Darling. Dawg?"
"Yes, Mrs. Q?" Dawg looks up from where he is inspecting the irrigation system of the raised beds. They are so trick and he thinks he can apply some of it to his own operation. Mrs. Q might even be willing to give him some of the scrap so he can add to his system.
"Would you be a love and keep an eye on things for me?"
"I gotta go to work soon." Dawg warns.
"I know you have to leave soon. But they know where to find you."
"I don't like the customers coming around the garden, Mrs. Q. It's for the neighborhood." Dawg reminds his mentor.
"You're right of course. What was I thinking? Just let me know when you're leaving." Lila wheels away toward the gazebo on the far side of the garden. Skye follows her and then takes a seat on one of the steps. "What's bothering you, my dear?"
"I want to run a couple of things by you for a sounding board..."
"Edward or Alan..."
"I can't, Grandmother. Not on this."
"Very well." Lila lifts her chin ready for whatever news isn't fit for her son and husband's ears.
"Someone is trying to blackmail me." Skye watches Lila's face closely for any sign of strain. Lila doesn't even flinch. That is really no surprise with the Quartermaines. "They said if I don't pay them five million dollars they will say I'm not a Quartermaine."
"Who is it, Darling?"
"That doesn't matter." Skye dismisses. "They just sounded so sure. I'm not going to pay it, Lila. Even if it ends up being true. I won't. I've already contacted Rae and told her to come to town. I'm sorry if that... peeves Monica but hey she might get good news out of the deal."
Tracy Lila knows her daughter too well. She holds out an arthritically twisted hand to Skye. Skye reaches out to support Lila's hand but is careful to not put any pressure on it that might cause the older woman pain. "Darling, I am your Grandmother and that is how you will refer to me." She admonishes. "Are we clear?"
"Yes, Grandmother." Skye answers a weight already lifted. If Lila is on her side she can handle a lot more.
"It is always lovely to see your mother. I think you should bring her down here to see the gardens... it's such a peaceful space."
Skye laughs. "It'll surely keep the mansion a lot more peaceful."
Lila sighs. "The tension at the mansion...." She shakes her head. "And that is my doing I'm afraid. I have been slow to forgive Edward. I really am going to have to make my peace with him." So we can be a united front where Tracy is concerned.
"Oh no you don't. Grandmother, this is all on him. He is the one that caused the wedge in the family."
"Yes, Darling, but that is what he does. It's up to us to keep the peace. Even Faith in her... own way.. has brought Ned more peace that he's ever had before by focusing him, and AJ too, on what is really important."
Skye's brows go up at that. "You like her."
"Our little secret, Darling." Lila pats Skye's hand. "Our little secret. But what is no secret at all is that my son loves you. Alan respects you, and he values your good opinion. You've given Alan so much just by letting him be a father to you, by needing that from him and letting him give that to you. I think you do him a disservice by suspecting his love in the face of this... poison."
"Was very young, Darling. And ill treated by the family. Gretal did not have an easy path and losing you changed the whole fabric of her life. I don't know what Edward was thinking." Lila shakes her head. "Maybe it's a sign of his respect for Alan's choice to become a doctor that he would have protected Alan's potential career."
"Oh now there is a silver lining." Skye suggests wryly.
"If you look hard enough you can normally find them." Lila smiles at Skye. "But you know that already. Your father is impressed with Mr. Radcliffe."
"Coleman needs a little help with his clothes and manners, Darling."
Skye doesn't even attempt to deny that one. "I'm working on it."
"But your father says he's observed how protective and supportive, Coleman is. Now that is not to say that if Coleman ever hurts you in any way that your father won't drop a house on him." Lila warns. literally
"I'll warn him." Skye smiles. "Which brings me to the second thing. Cole being supportive wasn't exactly the segue I was planning but he was asking what the he..ck I was doing trying to run ELQ when what I really want to do, what I'm good at, is writing."
"Of Course! How obvious! You were editing a newspaper in Llanview before you came to Port Charles."
"Grandmother, The Herald needs help. And I tried talking to the editor and getting my foot in that way..."
"Waste of time, my dear." Lila nods. "And now I understand you coming to me. Even if you had been successful going that route, Edward would have managed to put his foot print all over it."
Skye winces. "So you think I should buy it too, not junior partner just flat out..."
"Buy it." Lila agrees with a nod. "Darling, Edward shows his love by being... involved in what his grandchildren are interested in."
"Oh that's one way of putting it." Skye mutters.
"And with Ned being so stern about ELQ, Edward has been at loose ends lately and this is just the thing that would bring him out of his funk." Skye groans at that and puts her head in her hands "I know, Darling. I know." Lila pats Skye on the back of the head. "If you do need a financial partner I do have a little set aside, but please no board meetings. I have a tough enough time getting out of ELQ's."
"Between my divorce settlements and years of Adam's guilt money, I have the money covered, Grandmother. But I need to move quickly. This is going to have to be a handshake deal with no opportunity for Grandfather, or Adam, getting wind of it until it is a fait accompli. Both of them and the owner of the Herald have done deals together before. I can't even get my foot in the door."
"Do you have a phone on you, Darling?"
"Sure." Skye pulls out her cell phone.
One of the necessary adjustment to not being able to write everything down, and despite what others might have observed, Lila's memory had actually improved as her body had begun to fail her. She calls out a phone number and then takes the phone from Skye. "Rupie, Darling, It's Lila Quartermaine. I know; it's been too long... Yes, I'm still with that scoundrel. But he has annoyed me lately and I do know just the thing to twist his tail. Would you be interested?" Lila winks at Skye.
Skye's jaw has dropped in disbelief. Lila has Rupie's private phone number memorized?!
Bobbie Spencer lets herself into the Scorpio house with her own key. She'd been receiving phone calls from all over this afternoon. First the school but that had been followed closely by a call from Mac who is up to his eyeballs in a cop shooting and can't get away. "Ollie, Ollie, Oxen free! I know you're here. Come out now. Lucas, Maxie, Georgie... FRONT AND CENTER! NOW!"
"Hi Mom." Lucas says sheepishly as he comes out of the kitchen.
"But you don't know what happened!" Lucas protests.
"Yes, I do-- which is why it's only a week instead of until school lets out. NEXT!"
Maxie is the next one out of the kitchen. She has her back straight as if expecting a firing squad and her face is a uncaring mask that is frayed around the edges. "Yeah?"
"We need to talk, Maxie." Bobbie says softly. "Why don't you go up to your room and I'll clear this place out." Bobbie's soft voice does what the day hadn't. Maxie bursts into tears and runs up to her room.
"Mom!" Lucas is ready to go toe to toe.
"Lucas, you need to go back to school. Georgie and whoever else is in there who is driving the Lincoln town car." Bobbie says the last sentence loud enough to be heard in the kitchen. Georgie and Dillon slink out of the kitchen.
"Hi, Aunt Bobbie."
"Your dad will deal with you when he gets home from work. You and your friend need to go back to school now. Expect detentions for skipping."
"But Aunt Bobbie," Georgie protests. "We couldn't stay after what happened. It was just wrong!"
"And this isn't a right." Bobbie counters. "Go back to school. Hold your head up high and tell anyone who disrespects your sister that they can go straight to hell. I'll take care of Maxie. You go do damage control."
That puts a different spin on it. Georgie straightens like a soldier prepping for battle. "Let's go guys." Dillon follows Georgie out.
Bobbie catches Lucas at the door and putting a hand up to his face makes sure that they have eye contact so there will be no misunderstandings. "You should have called me." Lucas slowly nods as he realizes the truth of that, and knows that is the reason he is grounded. "Make sure if there are any fights they are fair."
"I've got her back."
"I know you do, Lucas." Bobbie gives Lucas' cheek a quick caress not wanting to embarrass him when his friends are waiting and watching.
"Maxie is a mess, Mom. Georgie has already tried Haagen Dazs therapy. Maxie didn't sleep last night. Georgie says she never does when a cop gets hurt and Mac is called out."
"Alright. I'll take it from here. I'll talk to your dad if there is any fall out getting detention."
"This one he can't blame on the Spencers. It's all Jones." Lucas suggests wryly.
"He'll find a way." Bobbie can't resist and gives Lucas a quick kiss on the cheek. "I'll see you at home."
"Oh don't thank me. I mean it; you're grounded." Bobbie can't resist a quick maternal finger shake in her son's direction. She waits until she sees the town car pull away and then shutting the door goes up to check on her niece. She finds Maxie face down on the bed crying her eyes out . Bobbie sits down next to Maxie on the bed and just rubs her niece's back. Her voice is a low murmur. "Get it all out, Baby. Get it all out."
"How much trouble are you in with Aunt Bobbie?" Georgie turns around in the seat so she can look at Lucas who is sitting in the back seat.
"You heard her. Week grounded. Not for the ditch but because she thinks we should have called her. What do you think your dad is going to do?"
Georgie sighs. "I don't know. He's got his hands full with this investigation, because of that detective who was murdered. I'm going to have to come up with a plan though otherwise he'll put me and Maxie on the first plane to Texas." Georgie sees the truth in Lucas' eyes. "I know, I know. That might be the best thing for Maxie. But this isn't going to blow over, Lucas. If she goes to Texas, if we go, then we might as well never come back. This is our home. I'm not going anywhere. And Maxie won't either."
"School year is almost over." Dillon interjects. "A lot of things can change over the summer."
"How much trouble are you going to be in?" Georgie asks.
"That all depends on who shows up at school. If it's Ned I'll be okay-- probably. If it's my Mother or Faith..." Dillon winces remembering Bruno's words of advice from that first meeting that seems so long ago. "...then I'll just have to apologize, swear to never do it again and take whatever she dishes out straight up and not like a whiny little bitch."
"Sorry. Advice that Faith's security guy gave me when I moved in with my brother. Bruno kinda has a way with words."
"I guess." It doesn't take them long to be back at the high school and pulling into the parking lot. "Dillon."
"I see it." Dillon says with a grim dread. The black Porsche is parked in the fire lane so it's the first thing he sees. "Don't get between me and Faith." He warns Georgie.
"What is she going to do?" Georgie whispers. Faith intimidates the hell out of her and has ever since that day of the park when Faith had looked at her like she was something to be scraped off the bottom of her shoe. And if anything, Faith's opinion of her had gotten worse and she doesn't know what she'd done to deserve Dillon's sister's ire.
"You're not going to find out." Dillon looks in the rear view mirror making eye contact with Lucas. "Both of you just get whatever slips you need to get back into class and keep going." Together the three of them walk into the school and into the front office. Dillon sees Faith sitting in the Vice Principal's office and he walks straight there standing in the doorway and blocking Faith's access to the rest of the office. "Veep, Faith." Dillon announces his presence.
Faith stops the rhythmic tattoo she'd been keeping on the wooden arm of the chair as she waited for Dillon to make his appearance back at school. She looks at him with a laser hot stare and lets him know he's in for it. "I trusted you." Her voice is low and too controlled.
"I'm sorry, Faith. It won't happen again." Dillon says simply. He doesn't break eye contact.
"You know what is at stake. You're not stupid."
"Mrs. Ashton," The Vice Principal gets a feeling there is more going on than what he's used to and attempts to take back control of his office.
"Shut the hell up!" Faith screams at the Vice Principal; she rises to her feet.
Dillon gets between Faith and the Veep. Faith might beat the tar out of him but killing the VP isn't entirely out of the question when she's this ticked and he'd promised Bruno to keep Faith out of trouble. "I'm sorry, Faith. I screwed up. It's my fault you were called down here."
"Bruno is out of town. Your mother is looking for any fucking excuse. ANY excuse, Dillon, to cause trouble. I had to leave the baby to come down here. All because of the Commissioner's little slut and her cocktease sister?!"
Dillon winces. "Georgie didn't ask, Faith. I offered."
"Then you are being lead around by your dick. Tie a knot in it or I will." Faith threatens.
"Mrs. Ashton," The vice principal tries again to intervene, becoming worried about the physical well-being of his new student.
"Veep, please." Dillon pleads. "You did what you were supposed to do. You called Faith. I screwed up. I get it. Everything is fine. It's not going to happen again."
"Damn straight it's not. You've got so much time on your hands. You're getting a job. Because you aren't getting any allowance from Ned. And I swear on my Grandmother's grave, if you take a penny from your Mother or Edward I will charge you rent!"
"And no car either. One of the guys will pick you up and drop you off at school."
"Yes, Faith." Dillon agrees with a nod.
"If I ever have to come down here again..." Faith leaves the threat unfinished.
"You won't. I'm sorry. It won't happen again." Dillon agrees quickly.
Faith stalks out of the Vice Principal's office. All of a sudden there is a rush of movement as everyone finds something to do. Dillon lets out the breath he'd been holding. The Vice Principal comes up and puts a hand on Dillon's shoulder. "Son, do you want me to call your Mother? What just happened here..." He shakes his head in dismay and disbelief.
"No, please. You can't call my Mother. I'm sorry Faith was... rude to you. Everything she said was right though. Calling my Mother would make everything so much worse. Look I'll do the detention. I'll be a model student. Just let it go."
"You just need to let it go, Maxie." Bobbie suggests softly. "I know it seems like the end of the world. But it's not."
"You don't know." Maxie rolls over and wipes at her reddened eyes.
"Don't go anywhere." Bobbie gets up and goes into the bathroom wetting a washcloth and comes back and folds it up and puts it over Maxie's eyes. "Maxie, you think nobody knows. I think I probably know better than anybody. I'm really sorry this happened to you but do you remember a certain nurses' ball? Emily doing video interviews...."
Maxie pulls the washcloth off her face as she sits up. Her eyes are wide. "You and Jerry."
"Yep. And let me tell you-- General Hospital... just one big extension of high school. Amy Vining? I rest my case."
"What did you do?" Maxie asks curiously.
"Well there are plenty of differences too." Bobbie reminds. "I loved Jerry and knew he loved me. We were engaged to be married." Bobbie leans in and whispers. "I have a few um... decades on you." Then her voice returns to normal. "I knew it was an accident. Emily was horribly embarrassed. Oh and Carly..." Bobbie rolls her eyes. "Oh the drama! How could I ruin her life like that?
"Oh I know. She's had plenty of her own notoriety but never pictures. She leaves that to me or Eddie's Angel." Bobbie reminds as the thought occurs to her. "I bet Alexis is glad she doesn't remember that."
"That's a little drastic." Maxie says wryly. She reaches for a tissue and gives a good blow.
"Yes, it is." Bobbie smiles but then gets serious. "Tell me about the boy, Maxie."
"His name is Kyle, Kyle Radcliffe and he didn't know about this, Aunt Bobbie." Maxie says defensively. "It was his stupid friends and now everybody knows. Kyle got suspended. He said he was sorry. He must have heard what happened because Kyle tried to call but Georgie hung up on him."
"Do you love him?" Bobbie asks hesitantly.
"I like him." Maxie answers softly. "I liked him a lot. I thought he liked me too. Before everything was wrecked."
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