Counting Stars is set in January 2000, a version of what might have happened on the show after Jason left but if Lucky hadn’t come back.
For the most part, everything that happened up until Jason left that year has happened except Carly did not become pregnant with Sonny’s kid. It’s just a complication I have no use for in this story. I don’t particularly remember exactly what Luke and Laura were up to this at this point, but they’re still separated.
These are the first two scenes in the first chapter — I wasn’t able to finish the full four scenes I had planned in time but this gives you the gist of where the story is sort of going.
Friday, January 21, 2000
Harborview Towers: Jason’s Penthouse
Jason Morgan had never really moved into the apartment across the hall from Sonny Corinthos—it had been vacant after their lawyer Justus Ward had abruptly resigned earlier that year and moved to Philadelphia, and Jason had wanted out of the cottage he had shared with Michael and Robin.
The only furniture in the house was what Justus had left behind—a sofa, some desks, and a bed in the master bedroom.
There was very little of Jason in this penthouse, and that would make it easier for him to leave it behind when he left Port Charles later today.
But first…he had to do something else.
He zipped the last of the clothes he planned to take with him into a duffel bag and set it on the carpeted floor next to the closet, then turned back to the bed.
Nestled beneath the snowy white sheets and dark comforter lay a sleeping woman. She was sleeping on her side, one hand tucked underneath the pillow, chestnut curls spilling over her bare shoulder.
He didn’t want to leave her. Not after the last few weeks, not after last night. Carly had left him no choice. The longer he stayed in Port Charles, the more she’d try to use him. And anyone else he cared about.
Elizabeth Webber murmured something and then turned over to her other side, the comforter sliding down slightly, revealing her bare back.
“Oh, man,” Jason muttered, scrubbing his hands over his face. He could understand why some people just left a note and took off.
But Elizabeth trusted him—and he would never hurt her like that. He didn’t want to hurt her at all, but…
Jason sat on the edge of the bed, tucked her hair behind her ears, letting his fingertips slide down her cheek. She smiled, her eyes still closed. “Hey.”
Elizabeth opened her eyes, still blurry from sleep. But then her gaze sharpened, those dark blue eyes trained on him. She sat up, clutching the sheets to her chest, blinking. “You—you’re dressed—” Biting her lip, she sat back against the headboard. “Do you have to leave?”
“I—” Jason dipped his head. “Yeah.”
“Sonny is sending—”
“My plans haven’t—” He swallowed the lump in his throat. “I told you yesterday—”
“No, no. You—” She licked her lips, readjusted the sheet as a bright red flush crawled down from her cheeks to her shoulders. She met his eyes. “You changed your mind. Didn’t you?” She looked around the room. “I mean—”
“I’m sorry. I wish things could be different—”
“Don’t—” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “Don’t say that. Don’t pretend. If you wanted things to be different, they would be.”
He dipped his head, looked away. “I—”
“I need to get dressed. Can you please—” She gestured at the door. “I’m not—I’m not doing this when you’re dressed and I’m not. It’s just—I’m not doing it.”
“Okay.” He pushed himself to his feet and stopped by the door to lift his duffel bag. “Elizabeth—”
“Please just go.”
Downstairs, he set the bag down on the sofa and exhaled slowly. He never should have let last night happen. He knew he had to leave, but she’d been upset yesterday and he hadn’t wanted to leave her that way. He’d taken her on one last ride—
He wasn’t sure how he waited for her. Her footsteps on the carpeted stairs were soft, and he nearly missed them. Jason turned to see her, dressed again in the jeans and sweater she’d been wearing the night before, her curls pulled away from her face which had been washed.
Elizabeth stopped at the bottom of the stairs, her face pale as she spoke. “I spent the last ten minutes trying to remember exactly what made me think I had changed your mind about leaving, and I realize now there was nothing. Beyond the fact that you kissed me. You brought me here. And you had sex with me.”
Jason swallowed hard. “It wasn’t—” He bit back the protest that it hadn’t been the way she made it sound. “It wasn’t just sex-”
“Clearly it was—” She shook her head. “I’m tired. You obviously feel you need to go and I’m not enough to make you stay—”
“It’s not you,” he cut in, his voice rough. “If I could—if it were just you and me, I’d never—” He shook his head.
“Can you call me a cab or something?” she asked. She crossed to the desk where her jacket had been tossed over the back of the tall leather chair.
“I’ll take you—”
“You need to go, right?” She pulled her hair out from the collar of the jacket. “I don’t want to hold you up.”
“Elizabeth—I don’t want it to be like this—” He stepped towards her, but she shook her head, sharply.
“You decided it had to be like this. You could have left me yesterday. You could just left. But you—” Her voice broke. “Do you know what it took for me to trust you like that? To be with you—you knew I’d never been with—not since—” She bit her lip. “So I don’t know what you expected when you woke up and packed your bags while I was still—”
His skin felt like it was stretched too tightly over his bones. “I can get someone to drive you home. I just—I need to go. It’s not you—”
“Stop—just stop. Don’t explain yourself. You will never be able to explain how you could sleep with me and leave the next morning without making it worse. If I ever meant even a little to you, then you will just stop.”
“You know—” Jason didn’t go on because he could see how hard she was fighting to keep the tears at bay, and he’d done enough. “I’ll get someone to drive you home.”
He started for the door, then stopped. Without turning back to face her, Jason spoke quietly. “I was being selfish last night because I knew when I was gone, you’d find someone who deserved you. I don’t.”
He closed the door behind him and pulled out his cell phone to call one of the guys in the parking garage to give Elizabeth a ride.
Wednesday, April 5, 2000
Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room
Max Giambetti knocked lightly on the door, then pushed it open. “Hey, Mr. C, you got a minute?”
Sonny Corinthos, standing at the window looking out over the city, turned with a mug of coffee in his hand. “Yeah, sure. What’s up?”
“Elizabeth Webber wants to talk to you.” Max opened the door all the way so that the petite brunette could enter the penthouse. “Always nice to see you.”
“You, too.” Elizabeth waited until the guard closed the door before turning a guarded expression to Sonny. “I’m sorry to just show up.”
“It’s not a problem.” Sonny studied her for a long moment. He hadn’t seen her much in the two months or so since Jason had left Port Charles. He felt partially responsible for his hasty exit and had avoided Kelly’s, but he’d sent flowers when Audrey Hardy had unexpectedly passed away in her sleep in February. “How have you been?”
“Okay. I guess. Um, I meant to call you. Thank you for the tulips.” She swallowed hard. “It was nice of you.”
“I told you,” Sonny said, pressing his free hand to his chest. “Anything you ever need.”
“Well…” She chewed on her bottom lip. “Have you…is Jason in touch with you?”
“Uh…” he squinted at her. “To a certain extent. He—he hasn’t contacted you since he left?”
“Sort of.” She reached into the large canvas tote she had over her arm. “He’s sent me a few postcards, but there’s never a return address.” She held up. “Or anything at all really. We, um, didn’t leave things on good terms.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. Do you need something from him? He calls in every once in a while—twice since he left, but I never really know when—”
“Yeah, I—” Elizabeth sighed. “God, this is so hard. Why couldn’t he be normal and just have a damn cell phone or a way to—” She shoved the postcards back in her bag. “The next time he calls in, just tell him I need to talk to him—”
“Hey, wait a minute—” Sonny held out a hand to stop her from leaving. “Just wait. Can I help with something? I can track him down if you need—”
When Elizabeth just shook her head, folded her arms, he sighed. “Elizabeth, please. I feel like it’s my fault he’s gone. If you need help—”
“Look, it’s just—don’t go chasing after him. I don’t want him to come back because—” She paused. “I just wanted to tell him that I’m…I’m pregnant.”
Sonny stared at her for a long moment, his mouth slightly open. He had known Elizabeth for a little over a year, considered her someone he cared about—but that—that he hadn’t seen coming.
“Pregnant,” Sonny repeated. “Are—um—okay. So—” He exhaled in a rush of breath. “I didn’t realize—not that it’s any of my business—”
Elizabeth stared down at the ground. “It was just—it was a mistake. He left anyway. I don’t want him to come back because—I mean, I know that sound stupid because of course he’ll come back once I tell him, but I guess…I was hoping he’d come back without knowing.” She managed a half smile. “But it’s been about, oh, eleven weeks, and I’m pretty sure I can’t keep this secret forever.”
“Yeah, yeah—” Eleven weeks. Almost three months. Christ. “No, I get it. Um, so you don’t want me to run him down but—”
“Just ask him to actually call me the next time you talked to him, I guess.” She cleared her throat. “Thanks—”
“Do you need anything? Um, are you still in that studio?”
“Oh. No, no. I couldn’t—” She offered him a smile. “I found out for sure that I was—well—when I knew for sure, I knew I had to move. I promise. It’s much better. I’ve got everything I need. I got some money from my grandmother and I’m looking for a job with better hours.”
Sonny didn’t want to let her walk out the door, but she was already halfway there and he didn’t know what else he could do.
“Thanks, Sonny. I’ll—I’ll keep in touch, if you want.” She opened the door, then turned back to him. “Don’t—don’t say anything to anyone else. I haven’t really figured out what…I’m telling people yet.”
“Yeah, yeah, sure. You tell me if you need anything, okay?” Sonny followed into the hallway and watched as she stepped onto the elevator. When the doors had closed, he let out a rush of breath. “Do me a favor, Max. Can you get our best guy to look after her?”
“Sure, Mr. C. Everything okay with her?”
“That depends on your definition of okay.”