Written in 60 minutes. No time for spell check or typo check.
Cosmpolitan Suite: Sitting Room
“….this, uh, marriage thing…which was impetuous and funny about an hour ago now looks like a cover-up…”
Brenda Barrett prided herself on being observant. She didn’t care that most people thought she was self-absorbed to the point of narcissism because she knew the truth. She understood people.
And right know, she understood that Sonny Corinthos was a jackass who couldn’t read a room. The minute he’d called Jason and Elizabeth’s marriage impetuous and funny, Elizabeth Webber’s face drained of color, all life left her colors, and she stared down at her lap.
Five minutes earlier, this same woman had been sparkling with irritation, with amusement, even happiness—and now all of that emotion had blinked out of existence.
Because Sonny had called her marriage impetuous and funny—and Jason hadn’t said a word in response.
“But it’s not,” Brenda said, hoping to bring the conversation and give Jason an opportunity to speak up. But her ex-fiance (she was going to love calling him that for the rest of her life though she’d probably wait until Elizabeth thought it was funny because Brenda’s almost marriage was impetuous and funny—why couldn’t Sonny see there was a damn difference—idiot) was just frowning at Sonny.
“I don’t understand,” Jason said slowly. “What happened last night?” He looked at Elizabeth, his light brows drawn together in confusion. “How did—why were you on the pier?”
“I didn’t want to go home after work,” Elizabeth muttered, staring at hands like they had the answers to all of life’s questions. And Brenda wondered if Elizabeth’s reluctance to go home had anything to do with the beach blonde bimbo Barbie she’d threatened with the box cutter—
“But the pier—why the hell did Marco let you—”
Sonny frowned. “Marco wasn’t with her last night. He’s been guarding Courtney—”
“No, he isn’t,” Jason argued. “He’s been Elizabeth’s guard since the shooting at the hospital—” He looked at Elizabeth. “Where—”
“I—” Elizabeth finally looked up with a squint of her eyes, a little impatient. “Jason, I haven’t had a guard since I left the penthouse.”
Left the penthouse? Brenda filed that away for later. So much for no one being back in Port Charles who would mind if he got married.
“I—” Sonny cleared his throat. “When you told me on the plane,” he said to Elizabeth a bit painfully, “that Marco had taken you to work while you were there, I didn’t—I didn’t make the connection—”
“What connection? I don’t—I don’t have a guard,” Elizabeth said. She looked back and forth between Jason and Sonny, and Brenda was surprised to see fury flash in Jason’s blue eyes—fury directed at Sonny.
She leaned back, crossed her legs, and smirked. “Oh, I see. Jason thought you had a guard this entire time, and it looks like Sonny reassigned him.” Brenda just lifted her brows when both men turned to scowl at her. “Or did I get it wrong?”
“When did you reassign Marco?” Jason bit out, shoving himself to his feet. “Didn’t he tell you—”
“He told me that—” Sonny winced, rubbing his temple. “He told he was working on something, but I—I told him I’d take care of it—I never—I forgot—”
“Damn it, Sonny—”
“Wait—” Elizabeth looked at Jason, her eyes wide. “You thought I had a guard this whole time?”
“Of course I did! You were living with me, Elizabeth! You think Alcazar didn’t know that? I didn’t—” Some of the anger drained out of him and he sat back down, his head in his hands. “I didn’t ask Marco. He’s not there to spy on you, so I figured—no report was good news. That you were okay.”
Brenda saw Elizabeth’s hand tremble as she lifted it, nearly reaching out to Jason, but it fell into her lap at the last minute. Oh, man, they were both idiots. “I think we’re getting off topic,” she murmured. “Elizabeth didn’t have a guard. Jason can smack Sonny around about it later—”
“Right,” Elizabeth said slowly, focusing on Brenda, then flicking a quick, confused glance at Jason who wasn’t looking at her. “Um, I was just gonna walk on Bannister’s Wharf, but I wasn’t paying attention—”
Jason muttered something under his breath Brenda couldn’t make out, but whatever it was had Elizabeth narrowing her eyes into slits. “I’d just been told something that made me feel very violent,” she said, her jaw clenched.
The boxcutter. Brenda nodded. “Fair enough. We’ve all been there.”
“I realized where I was, but before I could get out of there, I heard voices. I recognized Alcazar’s,” Elizabeth said, “because of that time I’d heard him at Kelly’s with Roy. He was angry with someone—I didn’t see either of them. I ducked behimd some boxes. Then—” Elizabeth rubbed her wrist, restless. “I heard a gunshot. Something dropped to the docks. I tried to get out of there without being heard, but I tripped—” She paused. “Alcazar thought it was you,” she murmured to Jason who looked at her. “And he shot at me. That’s why there’s footage of me running away from the pier.”
“Could it have been Zander you overheard with Alcazar?” Sonny asked.
“I—” Elizabeth bit her bottom lip. “Maybe. I didn’t hear the other guy. He wasn’t as loud—Alcazar was really angry—the guy had lost sight of his property—” Her face paled as she focused on Brenda. “And he said she’s gone. I think—”
“This would have been around the time you and Jason started this whole jaunt to Vegas,” Sonny said dryly. “So whoever Alcazar had watching you, Jason was able to lose him long enough for you to get to the airport.”
“But—if that was Zander—” Elizabeth sighed. “That means he got his memory back and went back to work for Alcazar. I just saw him two days ago,” she muttered. “He didn’t say anything about his memory being back—”
“Of course not. You’re more useful to him in the dark,” Sonny said. Elizabeth scowled at him as Jason winced.
“Yeah, that’s how you like your women,” Elizabeth retorted. “Out of the loop, walking around like idiots.”
“Elizabeth—” Jason began.
“It doesn’t matter. Look, can’t I just tell the PCPD what I saw?” Elizabeth asked.
“No, because you’re not credible,” Sonny said. “The PCPD knows you’d lie for Jason. You’ve done it before.”
“Funny you remember that now,” Elizabeth said, acid dripping from her words. Well, at least that cleared something up — Elizabeth had been left out of the whole Sonny not being dead secret, too, and she was still pissed about it.
“Sonny, can you just shut up?” Jason demanded. “You’re not helping—”
“So if I can’t tell the PCPD what I saw,” Elizabeth said, cutting off Sonny’s bewildered reply, “what do I do?”
“Honestly?” Sonny shrugged, leaned back, and studied the two of them. “The best option for all of us is to pretend this Vegas trip never happened. Or at least that you never came here,” he told Elizabeth.
Elizabeth blinked at him. “Wait, what?”
“We go back to Port Charles,” Sonny said. “Liz goes back to her life, Jason goes back to his. Their breakup was well-known. People commented on it—”
“Oh, you are a lot dumber than you used to be,” Brenda breathed as Elizabeth closed her eyes and Jason winced.
“We can prove Jason was in Vegas,” Sonny continued ignoring her. “We can prove he was at the airport, and I’m betting—based on when you got to the Towers—that the plane had just taken off when the shots were fired.”
Sonny looked at Brenda. “You can alibi him, and I can give a statement about the flight taking off because I was tracking it, trying to charter another plane. I stalled you at the airport—”
“I knew something was off,” Brenda said.
“But Elizabeth, you just went home. And if Jason’s not a suspect, they’re not going to care about you,” he told her. “You guys lay low, just keep acting like you’ve been acting for the last few weeks, and this won’t be an issue.”
Except Elizabeth had come to Vegas, and Jason had practically marched her to the altar. Brenda watched Jason and Elizabeth absorb Sonny’s plan. “You mean,” she said, deciding to help them when Jason kept his mouth closed, “pretend they never got married.”
Or spent the morning locked in hotel’s master bedroom.
“Yes,” Sonny said. “I think it’s the best way to get Jason clear of this as quickly as possible. Then we can get back to focusing on Alcazar.”
Jason opened his mouth, looked at Elizabeth who was staring at her hands, then sighed. “It keeps you out of it, too,” he said softly.
Brenda closed her eyes. Absolute idiot.
“Okay.” Elizabeth’s lips trembled slightly, but she pressed them together, then nodded. “Okay, Sonny. You should—you should probably make sure I get separate transportation home from the airport or something. I can’t be dropped off in the limo or anything.”
“Right, I’ll call Benny—” Sonny got to his feet. “We’ll work out everything else—” He stopped when Elizabeth shoved away from the table and disappeared into the master bedroom. “On the plane,” he finished.
Jason exhaled slowly, looked at Sonny. “She came to you at the Towers after she was shot at—”
“She came to you,” Brenda corrected Jason quietly. She turned back to her other ex-fiance. “Didn’t she, Sonny? She was nearly killed, and came looking for Jason. And you patted her head, told her Jason was on the brink of death, loaded her on the plane because, obviously, you knew he’d never go through with marrying me if she was anywhere near it.”
Sonny slid his hands into his pockets. “You’re making it sound more calculated than it was—”
“No, I think I’ve got it right. And now, because you don’t want Jason to be distracted by someone else when he should be dealing with Luis, you want her to pretend that the last twelve hours didn’t happen. Which, in case you forgot, includes her getting married to Jason.”
“I—” Sonny looked at Jason. “You see it the way I do. She’s safer this way—”
“As safe as she was without the guard I assigned her,” Jason bit out. He got to his feet. “The only reason I’m doing this is because I don’t want the PCPD harassing her—”
“That isn’t your decision,” Brenda said bluntly. He turned his attention to her, frowning. “I don’t know the history, Jase, but Sonny seems to think Elizabeth has had run ins with the cops about you before. And she’s clearly still standing. I swear—” She took a deep breath. “I swear to God, if you leave her standing in the rain, I will never, ever forgive you.”
And with that, Brenda stalked into the other bedroom, slamming the door.
Sonny scowled after her. “What the hell crawled up her ass—” He turned when he heard another door, catching Jason just as he followed Elizabeth.
“How the hell did I end up as the bad guy?” Sonny muttered.
Jason closed the door behind him, Brenda’s words echoing in his head.
If you leave her standing in the rain… The way Sonny had left her, walking away over and over again, leaving Brenda to doubt how he felt about her—leaving her to wonder what she’d done wrong—
Jason was a literal man, but even he understood the metaphor Brenda had been trying to make.
Elizabeth was sitting on the bed, staring down at her hands. At her fingers. She was twisting a small silver ring she wore on her right hand, and he found himself wondering if they should have stopped somewhere so he could buy her a wedding ring.
It’d be something small, that wouldn’t get in the way when she painted or sketched—
“Are we leaving for the airport?” Elizabeth said, her voice empty. He knew that tone—he’d heard it before. When she’d talked about modeling and the dreams Lucky had wanted for them —
“I dont know,” Jason said. He glanced past her, at the bed and the sheets that were still all over the place. They’d spent hours in that bed earlier—he’d learned every inch of her body and he finally learned how she tasted when she laughed—
She didn’t even look like the same woman.
“I agreed to Sonny’s plan because I don’t want you in the middle of this,” Jason began. “But—”
“Same old story.” Elizabeth got to her feet and walked over to the window, yanking back the blackout curtain, sunlight streaming into the room. Jason blinked, stepped out of a direct beam. “Fine. Whatever.”
“When are we leaving?” Elizabeth interrupted. She folded her arms, lifting one of them so that her hand could rub her lips. “I’m tired, and I want to sleep on the way home.”
“But it’s not my decision to make,” Jason finished. “If we go back and tell everyone that we got married, the PCPD won’t care that I have an alibi. They’ll still think we got married because of what happened to Zander. Alcazar will come after you harder because he’ll know you came to us.”
“And Carly will make my life a living hell, my grandmother will be disappointed like she always is, and everyone will look at me, wondering what I was thinking,” Elizabeth said. “What’s your point?”
“My point is that since you’re the one that has to deal with all of that,” Jason said, “then you should be the one to decide if it’s what you want.”
Elizabeth frowned at him, then took a few steps forward, finally pulling herself out of the sunlight that had blocked her face from his view. “What do you mean?”
“I mean that it’s going to be harder for you this way, but if you don’t want to go with Sonny’s plan, we won’t.”
“If I want?” Elizabeth snorted. “You’ve never cared what I wanted—”
“That’s not true—”
“No, you’re right. You don’t care about it when it looks like I want you,” she said. “Because every single time I’ve given you the signal I want more, you run as fast as you can in the other direction.” She held up a finger. “And yeah, I’ve done it, too. But this is different. Because when I ran, it was because I was scared of getting hurt. When you run, it’s because you pretend the danger is too much for me.”
“I pretend—” Jason sighed, then dipped his head. “Yeah,” he admitted. “I know.”
“And I’m really tired, Jason. I can live with you pushing me away because I’ve hurt. I wouldn’t blame you. God knows, I’ve dragged you through the mud and run over you a few times—” Her voice faltered. “I deserve to be pushed away for that—”
“Hey—” He strode forward, took her hands in his, drawing them away from her waist. “No—”
“But when you tell me it’s too dangerous when Sonny gets to have a wife and you hang around with Carly and Michael and you nearly marry another woman, and kiss Courtney—” A tear spilled down her cheek. “It’s starts to feel like it’s me you don’t want—”
“I didn’t kiss Courtney—” He paused. “Is that what she told you?” When Elizabeth just wrinkled her nose, looked away. “Is that why you threatened her with a boxcutter?”
“No,” Elizabeth muttered. “I did that because she wouldn’t stop talking. I just wanted her to leave and to stop talking about how I’d been wrong, and how you’d fallen in love with her while you were guarding her—I just wanted her to shut up and go away—”
“She was wrong—she kissed me,” Jason told Elizabeth. “Half the reason I agreed to Brenda’s insane plan was to get Courtney stop—” He shook his head. “Never mind. That’s not—I don’t want you to get hurt. But if you’re willing to take that risk, then—”
“I’ve always been willing,” Elizabeth reminded him. “You’re the one that keeps changing his mind.”
“Then I’ll tell Sonny we need a new plan.” Jason grasped her chin in his fingers, lifting her eyes to meet his. “And you’ll come home with me. If that’s where you want to be.”
“Yes.” With her free hand, Elizabeth fisted her hand in his shirt. “Is that where you want me?”
“It’s where I always wanted you.” Jason cut off anything else she had to say with a kiss, and if Sonny hadn’t banged on the door a minute later, telling them the plane would be ready in fifteen minutes, they might have gone back to bed.