Alexis ushered Cameron into her apartment. She offered to fix him a drink. "I'm drinking vodka," she told him. She had felt the need for it after reading Peter's journal through twice.
Cameron nodded. "Scotch, if you have it."
"I have it." Alexis gestured to the couch then moved to the wet bar. She poured a measure of scotch into a chunky glass, grabbed her own glass of vodka, then moved to the couch. She sat down next to Cameron and gave him his glass. "I’m sorry," she stated.
Alexis took a sip of her drink before replying. "It must have been hard to read the truth. To face the fact that Peter wasn't the perfect son you thought he was. And perhaps it was even harder for you to accept that Zander wasn't the worthless screw up you thought he was."
Cameron downed his scotch in one swallow, banged the empty glass down on the coffee table, then stood up and began to pace. "I don't know if I believe any of it," he stated. "Did you notice that the entries end a month before Peter died?"
"I noticed." Alexis swallowed the remainder of he drink and had to force herself not to get up and pour another. She needed a clear head right now. For both their sakes. "Several pages were ripped out. Given how progressively horrific the entries were, I shudder to think what it was Peter tore out."
"Maybe Peter didn't," Cameron countered. "Maybe Alexander did it."
Alexis felt a headache coming on and she rubbed her temples. "Bullshit!" she shot back. "You know what you read was the truth, Cameron. Peter was a manipulative, scheming, deceitful and malicious young man. He used Zander to keep himself out of trouble. He set him up to take the fall with you over and over again and just sat back to watch the show. And you performed brilliantly...didn't you?"
Cameron rubbed a hand over his face then dropped into a nearby chair. "If it was true, why didn't Alexander come to me?"
"Are you kidding me?" Alexis laughed, a bitter sound. "How can you even ask that after the way you treated Zander? Why would he tell you anything? And if he had...would you have believed him?"
"No." The admission was forced out of Cameron and he nearly choked on it. "No…I would not have believed him."
Alexis sighed. "So what do we do now? How are we going to help your son? Or do you even want to help him?"
Cameron shrugged. "Would it matter if I did? Alexander hates me. He would never let me help him."
"So that's it? You're not even going to bother to try?" Alexis let anger wash over her. "You're pathetic. You're a fucking psychiatrist but you can't help your own child? Why do you hate him so much, Cameron? What the hell did Zander ever do to you to make you treat him the way you do?"
"He was born!" Cameron snarled, then he buried his face in his hands.
Alexis was stunned. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
Cameron didn't reply for a long moment, then he lifted his head and locked eyes with Alexis. "I didn't want another child. Peter was enough. He was everything I had hoped for in a son. But my wife...she wanted a child for herself. She would tell me that Peter was her gift to me but she wanted a son she could spoil. I told her we didn't have the time, or the need, for another child. But she tricked me. She was taking birth control pills, or so I believed. When she told me she was pregnant I hit the roof. I ordered her to get an abortion."
"Oh god!" Alexis was horrified. "You wanted to kill your own child? What the hell kind of monster are you?"
"I'm not a monster!" Cameron shot back. "I just...I wanted a perfect family and another child would ruin that. But my wife refused to do what I wanted and, once I calmed down, I realized how wrong I had been to ask that of her."
Alexis shook her head at what she was hearing. "What about your wife? What kind of mother was she?"
Cameron sighed. "You see...that's the rub. She really didn't want to take care of another child. She wasn't really mother material. She liked the idea of having children more than the reality of it. Planning parties and doing charity works was more her thing. She was a social butterfly and in her glory when she was involved with such things. With Peter and Alexander she was short-tempered when she had to be with them for more than a few minutes at a time. Once they were older and self sufficient it was better. But her love for them was superficial. All show."
"So from the moment he was born, Zander wasn't wanted," Alexis whispered. "Do you know how heartbreakingly sad that is?" Alexis found herself blinking back tears. "It does help to explain why Peter was able to manipulate him so completely though. It's like he would say over and over again. Zander just wanted to be loved. You wouldn't give him that so he took whatever his brother offered him. Even when that meant sleeping with Peter's girlfriend." That part of the journal had horrified Alexis the most. The entries just before the journal ended were mostly about how Peter would force Zander to have sex with Peter's girlfriend while Peter watched. And Peter had enjoyed describing how he had forced Zander into obeying him. How he had threatened to leave home and attend an out of state college if Zander didn't do as he was told. What sickened Alexis most was how Peter had taken such delight in recapping how desperate Zander had been to please him. How he had begged Pete not to leave him and how he would promise to do anything Peter asked. And Peter had used Zander's fear and desperation against him. Alexis moved to stand before Cameron. "Do you love Zander at all?"
"Yes...I love my son," Cameron whispered.
Alexis wanted to believe him, for Zander's sake. "Then find a way to show him," she stated.
Cameron shook his head. "I don't know how."
"You can start by accepting the truth," Alexis replied. She grabbed the journal off the side table and held it out to Cameron. "Peter was not perfect and Zander was not a mistake. You have to believe what you know to be true, Cameron. You have to believe it if you want to help Zander believe it."
"Will you help me?" Cameron asked.
He looked so broken that Alexis couldn't help herself. She nodded. "I'll do anything for Zander," she replied, then she wrapped her arms around Cameron and held on tight while he cried.
* * * * *
Zander left town for a few days. Alexis had started calling him until he was driven to unplug the phone. Then Lorenzo Alcazar kept calling on his cell until Zander threw it off the docks. He knew if he stayed in town, Alcazar would send someone to find him, and no doubt Alexis would too, so Zander simply disappeared. When he came back home he was half drunk, which was his perpetual state of late, and his clothes reeked of the perfume the woman he had slept with had been wearing. Zander hadn't noticed it so much at the time, but now it made him wrinkle his nose. So he dropped his duffel bag on the floor and headed straight into the bathroom. He showered and shaved, more out of habit than because he cared about the stubble, then he dressed and combed his fingers through his hair. He figured he would head out to Kelly's for a burger.
But the moment he entered Kelly's, Zander was waylaid by Alexis.
"You missed your last session with Dr. Baldwin," she stated, in lieu of greeting.
"Nice to see you too," Zander drawled back.
Alexis wasn't smiling. She pulled a sheaf of papers from her briefcase and held them out to Zander.
He frowned at them. "What's this?"
"The paper work that will be filed in court, stating that Dr. Baldwin recommends that you be placed in a rehab for no less than six months, unless you resume your sessions immediately. As in today," Alexis explained. "And I assure you, Zander, that whatever judge reads them, they will sign off on them without even having to think about it. You'll be locked up and the key will be thrown away, before you can blink."
"Bullshit!" Zander didn't believe her. "You're bluffing."
Alexis shrugged. "Fine. I suggest going home to pack. Someone will be coming to take you away in about two hours." She made to leave.
Zander grabbed her arm, wincing a bit as his ribs pulled. They were better but still sore. "Wait a minute. Why are you doing this?"
"Because you need help, Zander. And if you won't help yourself, I'll do it for you." Alexis softened, one hand lifting to smooth a lock of hair out of his eyes. "That's what friends do," she whispered.
"They lock people up in the nut house?" Zander shot back, with a shake of his head. "I don't need friends like that."
Alexis nodded. "Okay then. Goodbye, Zander."
He blocked her exit. "Wait. If I go to a session today, you'll tear up the paperwork?"
"I won't tear it up," Alexis countered. "But I won't go to the courthouse. For now."
"Fine. I'll call Dr. Baldwin. But don't blame me if she doesn't have time to see me."
Alexis smiled. "She's expecting you in an hour. I called for you."
Zander frowned. "How did you know I was back?"
"I have my ways," Alexis countered. "I am a Cassadine after all." With that she patted his shoulder then headed off. But she called back, "Don't be late. I can still file the papers an hour from now."
"Fuck," Zander hissed under his breath. He headed for the counter and ordered a large coffee, black. To go.
* * * * *
Zander was pacing. He paced around the twin chairs in front of Dr. Baldwin's desk and then into each back corner of her office, stalking back and forth like a caged lion, then he would repeat the circuit. He had been there for barely fifteen minutes and he was ready to climb the walls. He didn't want to talk to her about anything. So, for the moment, a heavy silence filled the air.
Gail shattered it. "It's not enough to simply be here, Zander," she stated. "Alexis Davis can still file the paperwork to have you committed to rehab if you don't start participating."
"Fine. So what do you want me to talk about?"
Zander stopped pacing and turned and shot Dr. Baldwin a glare that would have melted stone. "Peter is dead. I killed him. End of story."
Gail shook her head. "I know and you know there is so much more to it than that, Zander. Things that you need to deal with."
"Bullshit!" Zander started pacing again. He waited for Dr. Baldwin's snappy comeback but was saved by a knock on the door. He watched her open it and was stunned when she ushered in Alexis and his father. "What are they doing here?" he demanded, moving to confront them.
"They're hear to help me help you," Gail replied.
Zander shook his head. "Not happening!" he hissed, then he made to shoulder past them to head out the door, but strong fingers gripped his arm, holding him fast. Zander glared at his father. "Let go of me!" he snarled.
Cameron held his son's gaze and shook his head. "I won't let you run away this time," he said softly. Then he firmly closed the door.
© Shelly 2004