Thursday, July 5, 2012

Endless Summer

From The No Name 


 by lillie
Who is Jake's father...
What was the reason for the secret at all?
Will knowing answer Jake's long-held questions?
And what will it mean to everyone involved now?

NEW YORK --- SPRING --- 2031He felt so free screaming around a bend in the road. The wind streaking through his blond locks chapping his cheeks and lips and banishing all his worries, but not all his thoughts. No, when he rode his bike at break neck speeds he had only one thought.

He missed his father.

Not the man whose last name he used or the man that married and finally stayed with his mother. No, he missed the man who was his real father. The man no one talked about. The man they thought he didn’t know existed.

Growing up he knew he was different from his brothers and not in the usual ways that brothers differ. Cam was so much like their mother. He was the artist she always wanted to be. Aiden was a cross of both their mother and father, at least the music side of their father. But he, Jake, was like none of them. And he’d known it from a young age.

It was commented on several times how much the four, his two brothers and two sisters were alike in so many ways, but not Jake. People always looked at him as if they were sorry for him and that made him feel all the more as if he didn’t belong.

He pressed the throttle sending the bike screaming down the straightaway memories flashing in his mind, his mother and Ewen on his tenth birthday. He could see himself standing on the stairs of their old house listening to the two of them as they cleaned up from the party.

Elizabeth picked up the die cast Harley-Davidson motorcycle that Jocelyn Jacks had given him and sighed.

“What’s the matter, hon,” Ewen asked stuffing the last of the streamers in the garbage bag.

His wife set the motor cycle back on the coffee table, a small chuckle escaping as she turned to her husband. “I was just thinking how ironic it is that Jake befriended Jocelyn.”

“Why? Because she’s a girl several years younger,” her husband remarked.

“No,” she smiled, “because she’s Carly’s daughter,” Elizabeth replied.

Ewen took her hand pulling her to the couch nestling her against his side. “Do you regret it,” he asked kissing temple, “not telling him.”

She sighed again. “No,” she said quietly, “it’s hard sometimes. He looks so much like his father. Every day I see something in Jake that reminds me of him.” Elizabeth linked her fingers with her husband’s and snuggled closer to him. “I can’t regret it. It’s kept him safe.”

Jake pushed his bike faster around another curve that feeling of not belonging sweeping over him again. No one seemed to understand how he could feel so out of place surrounded by all the family and friends he had. Jocelyn and Emma both thought they understood, but even his best friend and his wife didn’t truly understand what it felt like.

He slowed his bike as the morning sun brought the Adirondacks to life around him. He pulled off the byway taking a few moments to catch the light dancing over the surface of a lake, a lone loon’s haunting melody carrying in the quiet of the surrounding woods.

He closed his eyes breathing in the fresh air and listening to world around him as life began another day. His thoughts went to the last time he saw Edward Quartermaine. The old man had been sitting in the park watching the kids play. Jake hadn’t seen him lately and immediately went and sat on the bench next to him. Neither spoke right away they just sat quietly enjoying the others company.

So, Jake, my boy, how’s ELQ’s stocks today?” The older man’s voice didn’t boom quite as loud as it use too. Jake noticed his hands shook more each time he saw him even though he tried to hide it.

“They’re up,” the ten year old told him, “$71.04 a share.”

“Good, good,” Edward said patting the young boy on the knee, “and what else have you been up to?”

The little blond shrugged. “Not much, riding my bike, trying to keep Jocelyn from getting grounded for the summer. Not an easy task either,” he said looking up at the older man as he laughed.

“No, I don’t suppose it is,” Edward chucked, “Like father, like son,” he said quietly.

Jake narrowed his eyes and scratched, with one finger, his blond eyebrow over his right eye confused by the older man’s quiet words.

Edwards’s eyes shone brightly with unshed tears as he looked at the little boy. The look and gesture so much like his father. “You remind me of my grandson,” Edward told him his voice a little choked up.

“Michael,” Jake questioned.

Edward smiled, “No, Michael is my great grandson. I meant his uncle.”

“Do I know him,” the little blond asked.

The old man sighed feeling his age. “You probably don’t remember him. He doesn’t live here anymore.”

Jake only saw Mr. Quartermaine in the park. It was as if it was the only time the two were allowed to talk. He meet him the first time when he was five and his soccer ball rolled to a stop at the man’s feet as he sat on the bench and that’s how it began. Every spring and summer, weather permitting, for five years Jake would spend his afternoons in the park talking or just sitting with Edward Quartermaine.

He’d died several weeks after that and the park just didn’t seem the same without him.

The sun was nearly over the trees as Jake climbed back on his bike. He had another hour or so before he reached his destination.

His thoughts were once again on Edward as he raced down the byway. He was at the Quartermaine mansion after his funeral. Jake had escaped to what looked like the family room to avoid the crowd, he hated crowds, and most of the town showed up.

“He spoke of you often,” a soft voice from behind startled him, as he stood peering up at the pictures on the mantle, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“I’m sorry, Dr. Quartermaine,” Jake said turning to see the older woman smiling at him, “I shouldn’t be here.”

“No, it’s alright,” she said coming up next to him, “you know, I think he went to the park just to see you.”

Jake gave her a sideways glance. “Me? Why?”

“You reminded him of someone,” she said smiling fondly at the pictures on the mantle.

“His grandson,” Jake replied looking at her.

Monica tried to hide her surprise. “He told you about him?”

“Not really,” Jake said shaking his head, “he just mentioned it the last time I talked to him. Mr. Quartermaine said he doesn’t live here anymore.”

“He doesn’t,” Monica confirmed, “would you like to see a picture?” She didn’t wait for his response as she grabbed a frame off the mantle. “This was taken the last time we were all together for Christmas.”

Jake didn’t say anything as the two stood looking at the picture. He didn’t recognize anyone but her and Edward in the picture and he could tell by the tears in her eyes it was hard for her to look at.

“This was Lila, Edward’s wife,” she said quietly pointing to the gray haired lady in the photo. “This was my husband Alan, Edward’s son.” Her finger lovingly traced over his face. “Our daughter Emily,” she said next, “she and your mother were best friends. And this was our son A.J. and this,” she paused blinking her eyes as if she was holding back tears, “was, is Jason. You reminded Edward of him.”

Jake looked at the young man in the picture. He seemed familiar as if he should know him, but he didn’t.

Leaning to his left the young blond took the corner without breaking. His mind raced with all the conversations and pieces of information he’d learned over the years that brought him to this very day, to this scenic byway through the Adirondacks.

He’d often thought about Mr. Quartermaine through the years of his childhood. What he might say when he and Jocelyn got into one of their scrapes, well Jocelyn’s scrapes that he had to bail her out of all the time. He longed to ask him what he thought on certain topics as he studied history, economics and other subjects in school. Even though he had Luke he felt that the patriarch of the Quartermaine family had been more of a grandfather to him.

He remembered that day not long after his eighteenth birthday that he learned Mr. Quartermaine had bequeathed him half his ELQ shares along with those of his son, Alan. He was now a major stock holder in ELQ. No one seemed to be able to give him an explanation as to why, but there seemed to be an unspoken message behind it and he was pretty sure all the adults in his life knew what that was.

A smile lit his face as the warming air flowed over him. Joss’s laugh floated through his mind as they raced up her driveway her eagerness to tell her parents that he was now the largest shareholder of ELQ.

“Jake Spenser, millionaire at eighteen,” Joss laughed pulling him along, “ooooh, maybe you can spearhead a hostile takeover of Dad’s company.”

“That’s been tried several times, Joss, and your Dad always comes out on top,” Jake reminded her.

“Yes, well, that’s because he hasn’t come up against you before,” her smile was as wide as the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland. “Mom, Dad,” Jocelyn shouted, her eyes still alight with humor, “You’ll never guess.”

Jake wasn’t surprised, as he made his way down the stairs, by Mr. and Mrs. Jacks reaction to the news earlier. There wasn’t one. Once again it was if all the adults in his life knew something he wasn’t supposed to know. Like why someone like Edward Quartermaine would leave him his and his son’s shares of ELQ.

He always wondered, as he stopped in the foyer to wait for Joss, if he was invisible or was it that he could make himself appear that way by standing completely still and quiet. Because most of the time no one noticed him when they started talking about him as was the case with Mr. and Mrs. Jacks.

The teen was standing in the middle of the foyer pulling his keys from his pocket in plain view of the living room. But the two seemed too engrossed in their discussion to notice him.

“Why do you suppose Edward gave him the stocks,” Jax asked his wife, “do you think he knew?”

Jake’s hand was on the door handle as their voices wafted out into the hall. He knew he should just walk out the door but they were talking about him and Mr. Quartermaine.

“Anyone that knew him can look Jake and know,” Carly replied, “I’m sure Edward knew.”

“Has anyone told him, or is anyone going to tell him,” Jax asked sounding rather annoyed.

Carly sighed, “It’s not up to just anyone, Jax. It’s up to his parents.”

Jax laughed. “I honestly can’t believe you, of all people, just said that.”

“I have learned from my mistakes,” Carly replied a little miffed.

“I know,” Jax said chuckling, “and I’m proud of you."

Jake walked quietly into the Jacks’ living room. Carly smiled at him. “Are you and Joss heading out,” she asked stepping out of Jax’s arms.

“Yeah, she’ll be down in a minute. I’ll have her home by eleven,” he answered.

“I know, we trust you Jake,” Carly remarked, “have a seat while you wait.” She motioned to one of the overstuffed chairs as she settled on to the couch picking up a magazine.

Jax clapped Jake on the shoulder as he left the room. “Might as well, you know my daughter.” He smiled over at his wife. “She’s just like her mother. They seem to like to keep us guys waiting.”

“Hey,” Carly shouted throwing a pillow from the couch at him. It missed.

The young blond hesitated for a moment then moved and sat down. He ran his hands down his jean covered thighs gathering his thoughts and then asked, “Mrs. Jacks…”

“Carly,” his best friend’s mother interrupted.

He didn’t correct himself. “You said Mr. Quartermaine knew. Knew what?” He pierced her with his blue eyes, “And what is it I don’t know that my parents should tell me?”

Jake’s questions startled Carly. Lowering her magazine she looked at her daughter’s best friend, her best friend’s son. “Knew why he wanted to give you the stocks,” she replied thinking quickly. As badly as she wanted to tell him she was not going to betray Jason. “And why he gave them to you is what you should ask your parents.”

Carly panicked at first when she realized Jake had overheard her and Jax, but she was glad he had. He needed to know and maybe this would prompt Elizabeth to tell him.

It wasn’t the answer he was looking for, but maybe she would answer his next one. He rubbed his hands over his thighs again and looked away from Mrs. Jacks. “I’ve heard my mom, you, Dr. Scorpio, and others say I remind them so much of my father, but I don’t see it,” he said looking back at her. “It’s as if they, you, are all talking about someone else. Not Lucky Spenser.” He paused holding her stare, “Are you,” he finally asked, “talking about someone else?”

“Mom’s always saying that you remind her of Jason,” Joss said smiling at the two of them as she entered the room.

“Jason,” Jake asked. The only Jason he knew of was Mr. Quartermaine’s grandson.

“Yeah, you know, Jason, my godfather,” Joss rolled her eyes. “I talk about him to you all the time,” she said sitting on the arm of the chair that he occupied. “Oh, but you’ve never met him,” she pulled back to look at him, “Well,” she gave him a playful nudge, “next time he’s in town.”

“Why do I remind you of him, Mrs. Jacks,” Jake asked.

Joss answered before her mother could, “Oh, that’s easy! I mean, you both have blond hair. Though Jason’s is darker and you both have blue eyes. Come to think of it…”

Carly interrupted her daughter this time. “Jason is my best friend and I miss him,” she said, “you have that in common and when I see you sometimes I think of Jason when he was younger, but a lot of people and places here in Port Charles remind me of him.”

She smiled at the two teens. “You always remind me of him Joss, because he’s your godfather, and he loves you very much. Morgan reminds me of him, because he’s named after him. Michael,” she sighed wistfully, “because Jason raised him when he was a baby, and was more a father to him than Sonny.” She looked like she was going to say more instead she said, “And now,” she rose from the couch shooing them out, “you two should get going. You don’t want to be late to the movie.”

Jake shook his head as he stood. It seemed no one was going to tell him what he really wanted to know. And the more people danced around the subject the more he was beginning to believe that Lucky was not his real father.

“You know,” Joss said as they headed out the door, “it’s kind of funny. I never really thought about it until now, but I see how you could remind others of Jason.”

“How,” Jake asked as they stopped by his bike.

Jocelyn shrugged. “You’re both quiet, reserved. You both really listen to people and are observant. I don’t know,” she shrugged again, playing with her helmet, “I can just see why you would remind my mom of him.” She smiled slipping her helmet on over her blond locks and throwing her leg over his bike waiting for him to do the same.

After that conversation Jake tried once more to broach the subject with his mom, but she, once again, brushed it aside, as did he. Then life got in the way. Graduation, then it was off to college, his relationship with Emma and then his career with ELQ.

All and all his childhood and early adulthood had been good. Life had been good, but he could never quite relieve himself of the feeling of not belonging, or maybe it was more of a feeling that something was missing.

He tried to go on and pretend that the life he had, the family he had was enough. And it was. He had a loving mother and a stepfather who loved him and treated him fair. An older brother he admired, a younger one who annoyed him, but loved anyway, and two younger sisters that thought he was the best big brother, at least until he said ‘no’ to them. It wasn’t until two years ago just before he and Emma married that the feeling became almost overwhelming.

He finally had to know.

Jake waited for years for his mother to tell him that Lucky wasn’t his natural father, just like she told Cam when he was fifteen. But she never did and so he doubted what he felt, that was until he overheard his mother and Robin, Emma’s mother, two days before their wedding. It was amazing how much one could learn just by being quiet.

He came in through the kitchen from the garage feeling happier than he had in a long time. He was getting married and to everyone’s great surprise it wasn’t to Jocelyn Jacks. He smirked at that thought as he made his way to dining room where his mother and his soon to be mother-in-law were working on the center pieces for the reception.

Their voices drifted down the small corridor that connected the kitchen to the dining room.

“Do you miss him?” Robin’s voice stopped him just outside the door. He couldn’t see his mother but could hear the sorrow that tinged her voice.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t,” she sighed, “I see so much of him in Jake.”

“Have you had any contact with him at all,” Robin asked.

There was silence for a few seconds as he and Robin waited for his mother to answer.

“No,” she replied, “I’ve seen him a few times over the years when he’s come back to town. He’s sent Jake birthday and Christmas presents every year, but we’ve never talked. Never had any contact.”

There was silence again and then the rustling of paper and his mother’s voice sound terse. “That’s the way he wanted it.”

There was weariness to Robin’s voice when she spoke again. “I still can’t believe that he’d do that. It’s so unlike him.”

His mother didn’t answer. “Are you ever going to tell him,” Robin asked.

Jake had had enough. “Tell who what,” he asked nonchalantly as he walked into the dining room giving his mother a kiss on the cheek. He saw the look on the two women’s faces. Maybe now someone would tell him the truth.

“Oh no, I’m not going to ruin your surprise,” his mother smiled up at him.

Robin gave him a sympathetic smile.

Jake sighed inward. She was never going to tell him.

After that day he put knowing the truth out of his mind. He had a loving family. He was going to marry the woman he loved and one day they’d start their own family. Did it really matter if Jason Morgan was his father? It sounded as if the man in question didn’t care.

Maybe it was better not to know. Maybe his mother had done him a favor all these years by not telling him.

He turned off the two lane road he’d been on for the past thirty minutes onto a long paved drive. He stopped his bike half way up the drive when a two story Cedar-sided home came into view.

Michael’s directions led him here. Now, all he had to do was drive the rest of the way up the lane, ring the bell and come face to face with his father.

That day at the Jacks’ was the first time since he was ten that someone actually mentioned Jason’s name. And since that day he learned everything he could about the man. He scoured the internet, read past articles, asked Joss in the most benign way about him.

Anything he could learn without the adults in his life finding out what he was doing. Not exactly the acts of someone who wanted to let it go.

When he married Emma he told himself it didn’t matter, but once he became a father, he just had to know.

He wanted to ask someone, but who could he ask?

Who would tell him the truth and not dance around it. He knew he couldn’t go to his mother. He’d asked in so many different ways over the last seven years. She’d become so accustomed to deflecting his questions that he doubted she’d even tell him if he came straight out and asked.

He could have gone to his mother-in-law or Carly Jacks, but they were always very careful about what they said about Jason, as if they said too much they would be betraying a confidence. And from the few times he’d overheard them talking to someone about he and his father, they both seemed to think it wasn’t their place to tell him.

One of the only people he didn’t talk to about Jason was his dad, Lucky. One, the man was hardly ever around, and there was something about asking him that just didn’t seem right. Did he know? And if he did know, would he be hurt that Jake was seeking out his biological father? And if he didn’t know, what would that do to him to find out, and from the man he thought of as a son all these years? Jake had to wonder if it would even matter. Lucky was such an absentee father as it was, would he really be hurt by it. No, he couldn’t ask Lucky.

But maybe he could ask the woman who quite possibly was his grandmother.

Jake stood on the front porch of the Quartermaines and rang the doorbell. He waited patiently for someone to answer the door, surprised when it was Dr. Quartermaine herself that greeted him. The last time he saw her was at the ELQ Christmas party nearly six months ago. She looked older as if the last six months had not been good to her. He noticed a few more wrinkles etched in her face. Her hands thin, blue veins protruding. Her hair was silver and short, but her blue eyes still shone brightly as did her smile.

“Jake,” she smiled, “what a pleasant surprise,” Monica said holding the door open wider, “please come in.”

Jake returned her smile, “I’m sorry to come by without calling first.”

“No, that’s fine. It’s nice to have company,” she replied leading him into the family room, “How’s Emma and that precious daughter of yours,” she asked taking a seat on the couch waving him to a chair.

“They’re both doing great. Cassie is crawling all over the place and pulling herself up,” he chuckled.

“It’s been a long time since any of my children were that age, and I missed that stage with Michael,” a touch of regret laced her voice. “But I did get to experience it with his children.”

“And Michael is your only grandchild,” Jake asked. He was skirting the issue just like all the adults in his life had done. Just ask her.

She smiled again. A soft chuckle filled the quiet. “Is that your way of asking me if you are my grandson, Jake?”

His surprised blue eyes met her smiling ones. “I suppose it is,” he replied.

“Would it surprise you to know that I believe you are, but that no one has told me that you are?” Any humor in her voice was gone replaced with a hint of sadness.

“No,” he said frowning, “it wouldn’t surprise me. It seems my parents and others are determined to keep the truth from some of us.”

“It would seem so,” Monica said reaching over placing a fragile hand on his knee.

Jake looked over at her, his grandmother, he was truly beginning to believe that she was, and asked, “Aren’t you mad?”

“And you’ve never asked him or my mom?”

“No,” she said quietly, “I didn’t fully realize that you could be Jason’s until Edward died. You were ten then?”

Jake nodded.

“I didn’t see much of you when you were little. I’m sure if I had I would have put it together much sooner,” she sighed softly, “but when I did you were ten and if Jason or Elizabeth hadn’t told me by then, I could only assume they had a good reason. Or so I told myself.”

“You could have still asked one of them,” he said.

Monica sat back against the couch and watched her grandson. “Yes, I suppose I could have and
She patted his knee before removing her hand. “I was hurt more than I was mad that once again I was kept from knowing my grandson. That Jason, after what happened with Michael, would not tell me, hurt.   Maybe I was being childish by not asking, but a mother shouldn’t have to ask.”

They sat quietly for a few moments each lost in their own thoughts. “How long have you suspected,” Monica asked.

Jake sighed, “Since I was little.”

At her surprised look he continued, “I always knew I was different. That I didn’t quite fit in with my family.” He rubbed the back of his neck before going on. Monica smiled at the gesture. “I didn’t understand when I heard people say I looked or acted so much like my father. I couldn’t see it. I was nothing like my dad, Lucky. I didn’t start putting the pieces together until I was about eighteen and realized that it wasn’t Lucky they were talking about.”

“Why now, Jake? You’re what? Twenty five,” his grandmother asked with a small smile.

“Twenty four,” he replied, “I thought it didn’t matter,” he shrugged, “I thought my mom would tell me, but she didn’t. And from some of the things I’ve overheard her say; I believed Jason wanted it that way. That and what would happen if I started asking questions. How many people would I hurt if it was true? “

“But you were hurt,” Monica said sadly, “and it does matter.”

“Yes it does,” he replied solemnly, “but I don’t know where to find him and I don’t know who to ask. I honestly don’t think my mom knows where he is, or Mrs. Jacks. I know Joss doesn’t.”

“I think I might know who you can ask.”

 End, Part One

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