Phoebe had predicted Jeff Martin's fall from grace when he married Erica Kane. She remembered how Erica used to cling to Chuck. It was clear then she was only interested in their money, so she was grateful when Chuck had the good sense to marry Tara Martin. Charles had no patience with Phoebe’s penchant for gossip. He knew the idea that Jeff murdered anyone was preposterous and wanted her to stop her speculation. Phoebe reminded him of the scandal Jeff had brought on the hospital. As chief of staff, Charles was not the least bit concerned with any problem Jeff’s arrest might cause. He knew the hospital would weather this storm. He was certain Jeff would be exonerated. Besides. he worried more for Mona, who was consumed with anguish over her son-in-law and her daughter’s effect on Jeff’s life.

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As Jeff’s lawyer, Paul Martin wouldn’t stand by and let his nephew get convicted for a crime he didn’t commit. Paul had plenty of time to devote to the case. His marriage to Anne was over. He intended to ask her for a divorce as soon as she returned to Pine Valley. But clearing his nephew’s name was the most important job he had now.

As Paul began looking into Jason Maxwell’s affairs, one name kept resurfacing: Margo Flax. Paul decided he should get to know her. Margo was at loose ends. Her modeling career was long over, and her lover Jason was gone. As many times as Jason had hurt her by flaunting his affairs in her face, the finality of his death devastated Margo. But she recovered when she decided good-looking, honest and successful Paul Martin would be a change of pace from the Jason Maxwells of this world. So Margo packed her bags and moved to Pine Valley, renting a room from her dear friend Erica’s mother, Mona Kane.

Paul found Margo refreshing. She knew he was vulnerable and on the rebound after the recent loss of Anne. She created reasons to see him. offering little tidbits about Jason that she thought might help his case. They began spending time together. Then Paul’s wife Anne returned with her brother Linc. They had stayed long enough in Seattle, and both decided it was time to return home.

When Paul asked Anne for a divorce, Phoebe urged her daughter to fight for her marriage. This time Anne heeded Phoebe’s advice. But Margo would not let Anne back into Paul’s life so easily. She told Anne of Paul’s condition shortly after Anne’s departure. She had left him a hollow, broken man who made work his entire reason for being. But things were better now. For the first time in a long while Paul was happy. Margo wondered if Anne could take that away from him again. Margo cleverly used Anne’s love for Paul to persuade her to give him a divorce. With the same tactics, Margo convinced Paul he loved her as much as she loved him.

As Jeff’s trial got underway, Paul was shocked to discover that the gun that had killed Jason Maxwell belonged to Margo. On that fateful night, she had followed Jason to Pine Valley, planning to shoot him for rejecting her in favor of Erica. Jason just laughed in her face and took away her gun. But Margo insisted she left the room without killing him. When Margo pleaded her innocence under oath, the question of who killed Jason remained unsettled.

Erica was devastated by Jason’s death. The scandal of her husband’s being accused of killing her lover in a jealous rage had ruined her modeling career. She was insulted when accused of sleeping with Jason, but in the end she would tell the truth to save Jeff–for a price. In exchange for testifying on her husband’s behalf, she asked for a payoff from Jeff’s father, Joe Martin. She didn’t think it was too much to ask after the humiliation she would go through when people learned her husband wasn’t jealous at all. Scared by what could happen to Jeff if Erica didn’t testify, Joe gave in to her demand.

Mona, who stood by Jeff throughout the ordeal, was backing up her daughter’s testimony on the witness stand when it all came back to her. She realized she had also been in Jason’s hotel room the night of the murder. To help her remember more clearly, Mona agreed to an injection of sodium pentothal. With the help of the truth serum and with Charles at her side, she recalled the events of that terrible night. She’d gone to Jason’s room to tell him to leave her daughter alone. He laughed and told her Margo had just been there with the same request, waving a gun around. He showed Margo’s gun to Mona. According to Jason, no one would stop him from having Erica if he wanted her. He asked Mona if she wanted to give it a try. Then he pushed the gun into her hand. They wound up struggling and the gun went off. Mona broke down and admitted she had killed Jason Maxwell. Charles cradled her in his arms. The accidental shooting had been so traumatic she had blocked it from her memory. Jeff was cleared of all charges. Paul won his case.

The trial over, Margo went to extremes to make Paul fall in love with her, even resorting to having a face-lift without telling him. To explain her absence while recovering, she fabricated a trip to visit her grown daughter, Claudette Montgomery. This lie almost blew up in Margo’s brand-new face when Claudette unexpectedly showed up in Pine Valley. But Margo’s plan worked, and she finally persuaded Paul to marry her.

Jeff wasted no time divorcing Erica so he might marry his beloved Mary Kennicott. Blissfully, the newlyweds began talking about adopting young Tad Gardner, who had been living with Joe, Ruth and Kate. They all knew it would take time to work out the legalities. Aside from that, things seemed to be working out for everyone in Pine Valley.

Except for Erica. She was left with nothing. Everything she’d worked so hard to acquire was gone: her marriage, her career, her prospects for the future. Now it looked as if she’d be stuck for good in Pine Valley. Phoebe Tyler and her mother would surely hold over her head forever everything that had happened. Erica was alone. Everybody she knew had somebody to share their life with: Jeff had married his dear, sweet, plain Mary Kennicott; Margo, who Erica considered over-the-hill, had managed to catch the prominent Paul Martin; even Chuck and Tara were still together. Erica had never expected that marriage to last after Phil Brent returned to town. Erica began to think about Phil and got ready for her next acquisition.

With his mother married to Tara’s father and strangely quiet about Tara’s marriage to Chuck, Phil spent most of his time confiding in his father, Nick. Phil didn’t understand how Tara could have married Chuck considering the way she and Phil felt about each other. Phil and Nick both seemed to be on the losing side of their respective love triangles. But Nick encouraged Phil not to give up on Tara as he had refused to give up on Anne. He now believed Anne had truly loved Paul and realized if he had never met Kitty Shea, things might have turned out differently. He and Kitty managed to remain friends as their marriage ended, and, though he doubted it could happen, Nick truly hoped Kitty would find happiness. She had begun seeing Anne’s brother Linc, further exasperating Phoebe. Nick could well imagine Phoebe’s fevered brain plotting how she could stop that coupling. Nick soon realized Phoebe was Phillip’s nemesis as well. She would never allow her grandson’s marriage to end in divorce and would do all she could to preserve it.

Phil took Nick’s advice and did everything in his power to win Tara back. But she remained faithful to Chuck for the sake of their baby. She couldn’t confide the truth to Phillip. The lie she and Chuck had told was going to stand. The old friendship the three of them had once shared was gone now. And Phil was odd man out. Even in Vietnam, he hadn’t experienced the loneliness he was experiencing.

Erica and Phil had run into each other at the hospital where they were both visiting their mothers. Phil gazed at Erica and wondered if she wasn’t even more beautiful than in high school. He remembered how jealous Tara had always been of her. Then he recalled how Erica had told him the news that had changed the course of his life. She tucked her arm in his and let him take her to dinner at McKay’s. For the first time in ages, Phil was having a good time. It wouldn’t be hard to fall for Erica. Nothing was holding him back.

Source: All My Children: The Complete Family Scrapbook

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