This entry is part 18 of 18 in the series Flash Fiction: Signs of Life

Written in 60 minutes.


Quartermaine Mansion: Master Bedroom

Carly’s voice was filtering out from the bathroom as AJ went into their bedroom that afternoon. He’d slept in another room the night before, still seething over Carly’s humiliation. Everyone knew his wife preferred Jason to him, and AJ put up with it to keep his family together. To give Michael both his parents. For all her faults, Carly was a decent mother and AJ didn’t want to lose his son, even to partial custody.

He was ready to make another attempt at convincing Carly to give their marriage a chance. So he went towards the bathroom and gently pushed on the slightly ajar door to hear whoever she was talking to better.

“I can’t tell you anymore than that,” Carly said, her teeth clenched. “Can’t you work with what I’ve told you? He was shot at the same time that Moreno guy went missing! No, you can’t have my name you little cretin—just do your damn job—” She slammed the phone down and whirled around, stopping dead when she saw AJ leaning against the door frame, his arms crossed. “When did you get here?”

“So my little brother got shot at the same time Anthony Moreno went missing?” AJ repeated. “And you knew about it. How?”

Carly glared at him, her lips pressed together. AJ shook his head. “You’re not going to be able to keep this to yourself, Caroline. How did you know Jason was shot?”

“Jason got pissed at me for some reason,” Carly bit out, “and I couldn’t get a hold of him. Not because I was sleeping with him, so don’t get any ideas—”

“That’s not answering my question—”

“I followed that little twit,” Carly retorted. “She was ducking out of work, claiming to be sick. I followed her back to her studio and confronted them both. Everyone thinks they were sleeping together, but she was taking care of him. He got shot.”

“And you kept the secret because it suited you.” AJ straightened. “Now, because you were wrong about his relationship with Elizabeth Webber—”

“I wasn’t wrong!”

“Obviously you were since they got married yesterday,” AJ said coolly. “Now that Jason has married someone else, you decided to pay him back.”

“Why do you care?” Carly said sullenly. “I would think you’d want me to hurt him—”

AJ wasn’t that wild about Jason these days — not after months of being lied to and then having to go to court when Jason sued for visitation. But at the end of the day, Jason had loved Michael and been a decent father. He’d walked away from the visitation, and to the best of AJ’s knowledge, walked away from Carly. No way she was this angry if Jason had still been giving her hope. Still —

“You’re trying to have it both ways,” AJ said. “You’re doing an anonymous tip, Carly. If you’re ready to make Jason pay and put him in the past, go to the PCPD and make a statement.”

She clenched her jaw. “But—”

“But what?” AJ asked pleasantly. “It doesn’t suit you? You don’t want to burn all the bridges with my brother?”

“You’re deliberately twisting all my words—” Carly exhaled slowly. “Fine. Okay. Will you stop accusing me of sleeping with Jason every other minute if I go to the PCPD?”

“Yes. You go on the record turning my brother in, and I’ll believe it’s done between the two of you.”

General Hospital: Waiting Area

Elizabeth could feel the weight of the stares from nurses, doctors, patients—practically everyone she passed as she went up to the doctor’s offices and towards Gail Baldwin’s office, but she ignored them.

It wasn’t like the way everyone had looked at her after the Christmas party when they’d been snickering and waiting for Jason to get tired of her. Now, they were twisted and turned around — Jason had married her instead of breaking it off. No doubt they were probably going to be counting down the months and waiting for a baby.

Unless the immaculate conception took place, they’d be in for a rude awakening.

She arrived at Gail’s office and waited to be let in by the receptionist, her pulse fluttering. She’d called Gail after Jason had left this morning, mostly on a whim, never expecting her grandmother’s best friend to move around her morning and agree to see her immediately.  Elizabeth thought she’d have more time to put together her thoughts, but now —

“Hello, darling.” Gail smiled, then kissed her cheek. “I had breakfast with your grandmother, so I know congratulations are in order.”

Elizabeth bit her lip. “Do you mean that?”

“Of course.” Gail squeezed her hands. “Two years ago, you were wondering if you’d ever be able to get this point, and now look at you.”

“That’s why I’m here. Um—” Elizabeth set down her jacket. “The thing is — I mean, Jason and I are married, but we haven’t—and we weren’t—” She closed her eyes. “I know what the rumors were saying, and I know the new ones think I’m pregnant. But I’m not. Jason and I got married, but we haven’t—we haven’t had sex.”

“All right.” Gail gestured for her take a seat. “Let’s talk about it, then.”

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

Still irritated after the meeting with the leaders of the syndicate, Jason was disappointed to find out Elizabeth had left not long after he had. Had she mentioned going on? He didn’t remember, but it wasn’t his business. She could do whatever she wanted as long as she took Francis, and she had.

But he’d been looking forward to coming home and then taking her out on a ride. Getting away from all of this. They hadn’t been able to do that since before New Year’s, and he was starting chafe at all of this. He hated going to those meetings, hated being in this penthouse day after day.

He just wanted to feel the wind rushing past him, the roar of the engine in his ears—

The door opened behind him and Elizabeth came in, her cheeks flushed from the cold. She smiled at him. “Hey. I was hoping I’d get back before you. When did you get here?”

His mood instantly improved, Jason shrugged. “Just now. I didn’t know you were going anywhere.” He winced. “Not that you have to report to me—”

“No, but I’m sure knowing my schedule, especially right now, is useful. And it’s not like you want to call Francis,” Elizabeth said. She cleared her throat. “I didn’t know I’d be going anywhere, honestly. I called Gail Baldwin to make an appointment later in the week, and she had a cancellation this morning, so I went to the hospital.”

“Gail?” Jason echoed, remembering that Baldwin’s stepmother was also a therapist. “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah. It’s fine. It’s just—well—” Elizabeth exhaled in a rush of air. “I know we talked about it this morning, and I know you’re okay with it taking as long as it takes, but I still wanted to get…I don’t know. Some perspective.”

Jason drew his brows together, unsure. “Perspective?”

“Yeah.” She stripped off her coat and tossed it over the desk. “You know, like I trust you. Obviously—” Her cheeks flushed, and he knew she was remembering the night before. Standing in front of the mirror. He wasn’t that great at picturing things — but he didn’t think he’d ever forget that moment.

“At the same time, I guess I just need to understand what exactly I’m afraid of. Because if I can figure that out, we can—or I can—I don’t know, it made sense when Gail and I were talking.” She wrapped one arm around her waist, then used her other hand to bite her thumbnail. “I also don’t know how much you want to talk about any of this—”

“I want to talk about anything you want to,” Jason told her. He took off his jacket because it didn’t look like they were going to the cliffs anytime soon. He grabbed her jacket and then hung them both in the closet, wanting something to do with his hands. “You can tell me anything.”

“You say that, but I’m not sure if you—” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “Part of working through this means acknowledging what happened to me. In more detail than I think I was ready for when I was in therapy two years ago. And maybe it’s not you. Maybe it’s me. I’m afraid to say these things to you. I don’t—” Her voice thickened and she looked away.

Jason approached her, reaching for her hand, sliding his own fingers over the ragged thumbnail she’d bitten nearly to the quick. “You’re afraid that if you talk about what happened to you, it’ll change the way I feel about you,” he realized. She bit her lip, looked away. “That I won’t want to touch you. Or that I’ll be afraid to.”

“I don’t know. Yes. Okay, that’s—I mean, God, Jason, how am I supposed to tell you that the thing that scares me the most if that it’ll feel the same way? Like I’m being ripped apart, and that all I’ll feel is pain, and I’ll never—” She broke off in a rush, her eyes wide. “Oh, God.”

“You tell me like that,” he said roughly, forcing the words. “You just say it. Because you don’t have to live with it by yourself.” And how the hell did he actually handle that? The power and the responsibility of knowing that if he screwed this up — if he took one wrong step — he could bring it back to her — put her in that moment — “I’m scared, too,” he admitted in a low voice.

“You are?” Elizabeth asked. She wiped at her eyes, using her other thumb to dash away the tears. “I don’t want that—it shouldn’t be like this—”

“No, maybe not, but it is. And I care about you. I want this to be good for you. I want to make you feel—” Jason didn’t even know how to put it into words. “I don’t want you be scared of me. At any point.”

“I’m not. I’m really not.” Her voice caught on a sob as she said the words. “I’m not. But I’m afraid I will be, and I think it’ll just kill me.” She placed a hand on his chest as she said it and he drew her closer, clasping her hand in his.

“You need to know that there’s nothing you can say to me that’s going to make me stop wanting you,” Jason pledged and she met his eyes. “What you’ve been through—what you still go through every day—you never have to be scared you’ll say something that will change how much I want to be with you. It’s separate for me, okay? I don’t know how else to explain it. It doesn’t change how I see you.”

She rested her forehead against his chest, and they stood there for a long moment, their breathing the only sound in the room.

“G-Gail said that it’s normal for me to feel this way. That this coming up now makes sense. This is the closest I’ve been to a sexual relationship since the attack.” Elizabeth stepped back, but he kept her hand in his. “And that even if we—if I can do this—it doesn’t mean it won’t come back at times. Part of me just—God, wants it to be over with. To just get through it and—” She sighed. “But that’s not fair to you. To tell you just to do it and then I grit my teeth—”

“I wouldn’t—”

“I know—” She managed a weak smile. Then stepped back more, using both hands to wipe the tears from her cheeks now. “And she told me that. She said there’s no one way to get past this. That I can just do what we’ve been doing. Going as far as I feel comfortable with, but what if that takes months?”

“What if it does?” Jason asked, frowning. “You think I’ll change my mind in six weeks?”

“N-No, but I don’t want it to be like that. I’m tired of waiting to get my life back. I’m tired of feeling like what happened to me two years ago—something that took ten minutes—that’s all it was, you know? I was sitting on a bench, minding my own business, trying to think of how I’d get myself out of that stupid lie I’d told—and then I was on the ground, fighting and choking on my own screams—” She pressed her hands to her eyes. “I couldn’t make it stop. I couldn’t make him stop. And then it was over, and he was gone. Ten minutes of my life. It doesn’t get to ruin the rest of it.”

He felt helpless to help her sort through this. He’d done what he could — he’d reassured her, he thought he’d said all the right things, but at the end of the day — he couldn’t get inside her head and change anything. So Jason stood there, remaining silent, waiting.

“It doesn’t get to define who I am,” Elizabeth said, sounding stronger now. “I am not the girl who got raped, and I don’t want to be her forever. I can’t be the girl crawling out of the snow forever.”

“You’re not—”

“I’m more than that. I don’t know who I am all the way yet, but I think—” Elizabeth paused. “I need to be in control. I think that’s what this is. I was okay last night because I—I think I was in control. And then I wasn’t.”

Jason tilted his head to the side, trying to parse it out, then understanding. “Because you made the first move. And then I started to steer you towards the bed. I didn’t see it as taking control, but—”

“I know you didn’t,” she said quickly. “And I wasn’t scared. I just—I couldn’t go any further. But I wasn’t nervous or scared.”

“Okay.” He could live with that. “You need to be in control. That’s not a problem.”

Elizabeth blinked at him, a bit surprised. “It’s not?”

“No. Why would it be? If this is what you need, then that’s good enough for me.” And if at the end of the day, if letting Elizabeth be in complete control, meant he’d get to put his hands on her, then it was a win win situation. “We both get what we want, don’t we?”

“Um, yeah. I guess.” She chewed her lip. “I don’t actually know I’m doing then—”

Jason arched his brow. “You knew what you were doing last night,” he reminded her, his voice low again. Her cheeks flushed, but her eyes were sparkling now, her breathing just a bit quicker. “You took what you wanted. What do you want now?”

“Um—” Elizabeth drew her bottom lip between her teeth. “Really? I can say whatever I want?”

“Whatever you want.”

She cleared her throat. “So if I tell you to take off your shirt, you’ll just—you’ll just do it?”

As an answer, Jason reached for the hem of his black sweater and drew it over his head, tossing it behind him. Her eyes were as wide as saucers now and her tongue darted out to lick her lip.

“And you’d—if—I mean, if I asked you to take everything else off—” Her cheeks were flaming now, her voice a bit less sure. “You’d do that, too? You’d stand here in front of me naked?”

“If that’s what you want me to do.” He put his fingers at the buckle of the pants, undid his belt. “Is that what you want?”

“Um. Yes. That’s—” Her voice nearly squeaked as Jason stripped off the belt, tossed it with the shirt, then unzipped his pants. He paused when he was just in his briefs because he wanted her to be sure. Her breathing was even quicker now—

And then there was a knock at the door. Not just a knock, but an aggressive pounding. “Open up! It’s the PCPD! And we have a warrant!”

This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series Flash Fiction: Scars

Written in 55 minutes.


General Hospital: Waiting Area

When Emma, Joss, and Trina stepped off the elevators doors the next day, Elizabeth was waiting for them. Joss’s eyes widened. “Oh, no, Aunt Liz, what did I do now?” she groaned. She planted her hands on her hips, then glared at Trina. “What did you snitch on me for this time?”

“Cool it, Barbie—”

“You have a guilty conscience,” Emma said with a roll of her eyes. “You’re always up to something so you’re always on the defense—”

Elizabeth hid a smirk — Joss got that from her mother, of course. Carly had spent so much time plotting, planning, and manipulating that any time anyone looked at her sideways, she went on the attack to hide her own misdeeds.

“No one is in trouble,” Elizabeth said, holding up her hands. “I just wanted to grab Emma for a few minutes. Epiphany knows you’ll be late to your shift,” she told Emma.

“Yeah, my mom always says no one is in trouble, and then I get grounded anyway,” Joss muttered. But they continued down the hall to get the assignments, and Emma hung back.

“Aunt Elizabeth, what’s up?” Emma asked. She shoved her hands into the pocket of her jeans jacket, then wrinkled her nose. “Did Cameron tell you to talk to me? Because it won’t work. He was wrong, and he needs to apologize.”

“Oh.” Elizabeth shook her head, steering her niece towards the sofa in the waiting area. “No, Cameron didn’t say anything. What happened?”

“He thinks he doesn’t have to ask me to Homecoming.” Emma flopped onto the sofa with all the drama a fourteen-year-old girl could muster. “Honestly! He’s taking me for granted and we’re not even married—”

“I—”

“And so I told him he had to put in the work, and then he got mad at me for taking him for granted, like why didn’t I ask him?” Emma demanded. “Does he think I’m not worth the trouble? Don’t I deserve to be asked?”

Elizabeth’s hands felt clammy. Hearing Emma and Cameron arguing about a dance — God, it took her back to nowhere she wanted to go. “I think,” she said carefully, “that maybe you both have a point.”

“Aunt Elizabeth—”

“You absolutely do not deserve to be taken for granted, so no, I don’t think it’s fair for Cameron to just assume you’re going to the dance together. But—” She forced a smile. “Cameron’s not wrong. If you want to go so much, why didn’t you ask him first?”

Emma folded her arms, then kicked at the floor. “I dunno. Maybe because I always have to do everything,” she grumbled. “He’s so slow. I kissed him first. And I asked him out first. I make all the plans. And he just shows up.” She bit her lip. “It’s okay because I like to plan things and I like being in charge. But, like, sometimes I just wanna be asked.”

Elizabeth smiled, squeezed Emma’s knee. “That doesn’t sound unreasonable at all. And in another day or so, if you tell him like that, he might listen.”

“Maybe. I never told him any of that, so maybe I should. Anyway, if you didn’t know about our fight, what did you want?”

“Oh, I just wanted to check in with you,” Elizabeth said. “We haven’t talked since, well, since you found out and told Cameron what happened to me as a teenager.”

Emma’s eyes widened. “Are you mad?”

“Of course not, sweetheart. Never,” Elizabeth assured her. “I just wanted to talk to you. Cameron was upset about it, and I know you told your mom you felt okay, but I still wanted to know for myself.”

“Oh. Well, I guess I’m okay. It was more like—you know, you see it on television and stuff, and sometimes we see women at the hospital, and like—” Emma shrugged a shoulder. “It’s weird to think of you going through it. But, also, I know you. And you’re okay. Better than. You got a family and a job, and I don’t know—once you get past feeling bad about it, I don’t know. I didn’t think about it.” She frowned. “Is that okay? I mean, should I be feeling another way—”

“Absolutely not. I want you to feel whatever way you want. I just wanted to us to have a minute.” Elizabeth smiled. “You’re right, though. I am okay. I have an amazing family. Not just the boys and my husband, but I have your parents, and I have you. You all make my life so much better.”

“Same, Aunt Elizabeth.” Emma’s smile was more genuine now. “I remember when Mommy was gone. You helped so much and you let me cuddle and hug you when I missed her so much. Sometimes, I pretended you were my mom. I’m glad I have her back,” Emma added quickly. “But I know it was easier for me and my dad because we had you.”

“We’re all better off for your mom being back in our lives.” Elizabeth smiled and they both got up. “But I’m even more glad that we didn’t lose each other.” She pulled Emma in for a quick, brief hug. “And I’m glad you’re not settling for less than you deserve. Cameron might be my son, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be wrong. Keep standing up for what you want, baby.”

“I will, Aunt Elizabeth. Thanks. It helps to hear that I’m not overreacting. At least, not a lot.” Emma grinned at her. “I better get to work before Epiphany tracks me down.”

General Hospital: Patient Room

Robin fidgeted in the chair, twisting her hands in her lap. Patrick leaned over, placing a hand over hers. “Relax—”

Robin slitted her eyes at her husband. “You keep saying that, and it just makes me want to bash your head in—”

“If it doesn’t take this time, we’ll try again—”

“I know, but—” Robin huffed. “I’m already forty. How much longer do I even have?”

“Saw a woman in Spain get pregnant at sixty-five—”

“Shut up,” Robin muttered, but cracked a smile. “I just want this so much. I want to do so much better with this baby—” She broke off when the door behind her opened, and her doctor came in.

Britta Westbourne took a seat behind the desk, setting a chart down as she did so. Then smiled widely. “Congratulations. The test came back positive.”

Robin exhaled on a whoosh of hair as Patrick grinned. “I’m pregnant? It’s not a mistake?”

“Absolutely not. We’ll monitor closely for a few weeks to make sure the embryo has fully transferred and we’ll continue some of the hormone shots—” Britt picked up a pen. “But you’re pregnant.”

Robin turned to Patrick, her own smile spreading. “We’re pregnant.”

“We are—”

“We’re going to have another baby!”

“That was the plan,” Patrick laughed as she pulled him up, hugging him tightly. “I love you,” he murmured into her hair, still marveling after all this time that she’d come back to them. That he got another chance to be the best husband and father he could be.

“And I’ll get to do this with Elizabeth.” Robin swiped at her eyes, as tears slid down her face. “We get to do it together—oh, I have to call my parents. And Brenda! Brenda will want to know!”

“We can take it one step at a time,” Patrick told her. “Dr. Westbourne, what do we have to schedule next?”

Morgan Home: Kitchen

Elizabeth swirled a spoon in the spaghetti sauce. “I made an appointment with the OB,” she told Jason as he came into the room and headed for the fridge. “Two weeks from Friday.”

“I’ll be there.” He cracked the top from the bottle of beer. “You hear from Robin yet?”

“No,” Elizabeth muttered, staring at her phone as if it were the enemy. “Not yet. I hope the IVF took. She was so excited when she was telling me about it, and I know how much Patrick wants it, too. And it’ll be so much fun to go through this together without any of the drama.”

Jason leaned against the counter. “You mean like being blown up in a explosion?” he said, dryly, referring to the Metro Court Hotel hostage crisis when she’d been pregnant with Jake.

“Not to mention the hotel fire—standing outside, hoping that everyone I loved came out—” And worried that the fire wouldn’t eliminate the evidence of Zander’s body inside. God, it felt so strange to remember that now. She’d believed him dead at her own hands while she’d waiting behind the police lines, a hand on her belly, knowing she’d murdered her son’s father. “And they did,” Elizabeth said finally.

At least that time. Then the hostage crisis at the hotel had cost Jason his father, while the Black and White Ball — “If we have a daughter,” Elizabeth said, “I don’t want to name her Emily.”

“You don’t—” Jason frowned. “I thought you would—I mean, I haven’t thought about it—”

“Emily wouldn’t want that for her,” Elizabeth said. “But I was thinking we could find another way to honor her memory. Maybe we could name her Paige. For Emily’s biological mother. And it was Em’s middle name.” She paused. “Unless you think that would hurt Monica.”

“I don’t think so. Monica always said she and Paige were close, and I think she’d understand.” Jason stroked the small of Elizabeth’s back. “I like the idea of Paige.”

“Paige Audrey.” Elizabeth paused. “I don’t know why I’m picking girl’s names,” she muttered. She turned down the heat. “What do you think about Drake for a boy?”

Jason shrugged. “Sounds good to me. You know that doesn’t matter to me. I mean, it matters—” He paused. “It’s a name. You put some letters in order, and then you write it on a piece of paper. The person makes it their own. I know how important Patrick’s been in your life.”

“I can just hear Steven now,” Elizabeth muttered, “asking where his namesake is. I keep telling him Cameron and Jake have middle names from our side of the family—” She rolled her eyes.

“And that’s why we only visit your brother for Thanksgiving,” Jason reminded her. “It was nice when he lived here, but we like him in Memphis better.”

“Drake Morgan sounds distinguished,” Elizabeth decided. “Or like a name from a soap opera.” She checked her phone again and made a face. “Still nothing from Robin. Ugh, I hate waiting—that reminds me—” She pointed the phone to Jason. “You need to talk to Cameron. If I do it, he’ll think I’m taking Emma’s side.”

Jason scowled. “What did he do?”

“Lets Emma plan all the dates and do all the work, then threw a hissy fit when she told him she wanted to be asked to Homecoming.” Elizabeth poured a glass of water. “Typical guy. Makes the girl make all the first moves, then pretends it was his idea—”

“I never did that,” Jason said, slightly insulted. “Did I?”

Elizabeth peered at him. “Uh, who showed up at who’s penthouse in the middle of a blackout?”

“Yeah, but I kissed you,” he reminded her. “And then after Sonny’s last wedding—I kissed you then, too—”

“Because I asked you to dance.” Elizabeth’s eyes sparkled. “I create the opportunities for you to make a move, and then let you think it was your idea—”

“Oh, yeah?” Jason grinned, then reached out to snag her arm and pull her flush against him. “Is that how it was?”

“Absolutely—” She smirked. “But it was nice of me to let you think it was you—”

“Sounds like we made a good team—” He leaned down to kiss her, sliding his fingers along her jaw, then through her hair. “Any complaints about how it turned out?”

“Not a one,” Elizabeth said, fisting her hands in his shirt, still smiling as he kissed her again. She really did have the best life — and she wasn’t going to let anyone or anything mess this up for her—especially not memories from before.

Kelly’s: Courtyard

 “I have about thirty minutes before Dr. Rob sends out the dogs,” Trina told Emma as they headed towards the doorway. “Why did I have to come anyway?”

“Neutral third party,” Emma said. She stood on her tiptoes to peer inside the diner, then found Cameron sitting at table with his cousins, Michael and Morgan. “He needs to see that I’m not thinking about him or waiting around.”

“But you are, and you’re making me do it, too—”

“Yes, but he doesn’t need to know that! Honestly, Treen—”

Emma turned away from the window at the sound of footsteps behind them, freezing when a man walked into the courtyard. He stopped, too, then smiled at them.

“Hello, ladies. I hope I’m not interrupting anything.”

Trina scowled. “No. And who asked, anyway? Go about your business.”

The man’s smile dipped slightly at Trina’s attitude, but then brightened again as he looked at Emma. “Have a nice evening. Stay out of trouble.”

He went past them into the diner, and Emma swallowed hard. She rubbed her arms — they felt itchy all of a sudden, like she had insects crawling all over her.

“Adults are so weird,” Trina complained, drawing Emma’s attention back to her. “Right?”

“I’ve seen him before,” Emma said. “Um, at Kelly’s. A few days ago—” And somewhere else, hadn’t she? She couldn’t pick it out just yet, but— “Let’s go home before your mom starts calling and demanding to know where you are.”

She wanted to be as far away from Kelly’s as possible.

This entry is part 17 of 18 in the series Flash Fiction: Signs of Life

Written in 73 minutes. Went over again, but some of the Liason scenes are taking longer than usual because I want to make sure they’re just right.


Morgan Penthouse: Kitchen

Elizabeth lingered outside the kitchen for a long minute, playing with the cuffs of her white sweater, still feeling terribly awkward after the night before. After that…incident in the bedroom, they’d had a mostly silent dinner, and then they’d gone to sleep, though she wasn’t sure how much sleep either of them gotten. She remembered laying in bed, staring up the ceiling, feeling Jason next to her, and wanting to set herself on fire from humiliation.

But they should talk about it, right? She chewed on her bottom lip, debating. He obviously wasn’t going to bring it up, but she had started it, so she should finish it right? Maybe. Or she should never speak of it again and run away to join a convent—

“Now you’re being insane,” she muttered to herself. She drew in a deep breath and went into the kitchen, finding Jason by a counter, sipping coffee. “Good morning.”

“Good morning,” he replied, but stayed where he was, his eyes on hers. “Did you, uh, sleep okay?”

“Not really,” Elizabeth admitted. She folded her arms, unsure what to do with them. “I, um, wanted to apologize, I guess.”

Jason set his coffee on the counter, his brows drawn together in confusion. “For what?”

Oh, he’d make her say it, wouldn’t he? Because there was no end to this embarrassment. “Last night. Um, I know it’s not fair for me to…” She rubbed a finger against her bottom lip, then dropped it with mortification when she saw his eyes drop to her mouth. “It’s not fair for me to, like, lead you on like that. I’m sorry.”

“Lead me on,” Jason repeated. “When did you do that?”

Elizabeth squinted. Was he being deliberately obtuse or — “Last night,” she repeated. “I asked you to, um, help me with my dress—” And she knew her cheeks were flaming red. The heat was practically turning her insides into an inferno — which was what had happened last night only it hadn’t been embarrassment. “And then I, um—”

She’d practically stripped for him, and even now she didn’t understand what had been going through her head. She’d been standing there, feeling his fingers trail down her back as he unfastened the buttons, and she’d been practically trembling by the time he was finished. Then she’d lost her damn mind.

“I remember.” His voice had changed, gone deeper, and the blue of his eyes were darker. Was that— “That’s not leading me on.”

“I—” Now she didn’t know where to go with any of this. “It wasn’t? But—”

Jason closed the distance between them, reaching for her hand, lacing his fingers through hers. “We’re going to take this as slow or as fast as you want,” he told her. “And last night, you stopped when you weren’t comfortable moving forward.”

“Yeah, but—” Elizabeth searched his eyes. He really wasn’t irritated or annoyed with her. She’d been so sure — “You’re really not mad? It doesn’t bother you? Because I know you were, um—” Interested, but she didn’t say it.

“Did I want to go further?” he asked. “You know I did.” Jason brushed his knuckles down her cheek. “And yeah, I needed a minute after we stopped, but that still doesn’t mean I’m angry at you for stopping.”

Elizabeth exhaled slowly, the tension sliding out of her body like a receding wave. “I thought I might be able to—” She touched the fabric of his dark shirt where it had folded slightly over hist chest. “I wasn’t thinking about anything but you until—” Until she’d felt her knees against the bed and knew what was next.

“Good.” He dipped his head and captured her mouth with his. She relaxed against him, sinking into the familiar taste of him mixed with coffee. She’d never liked the flavor until Jason had kissed her.  “You’re what matters,” he murmured against her lips, sliding his fingers through her hair. “There’s going to be stops and starts, but as long as you trust me, we’ll get there.”

“I do trust you.” Elizabeth sighed, then frowned as she touched his shirt again, then drew back realizing he wasn’t just wearing a black t-shirt. It was a thin black sweater, and he wore a pair of dark trousers — not jeans. Not his normal hanging around the house or going to work clothes. “Are you going somewhere?”

Jason grimaced, kissing her one more time before reaching for his coffee. “Yeah, Sonny set up a meeting with some people. We have to tell people about this.”

“This,” Elizabeth repeated, then it clicked. “Oh. That we got married.”

“Yeah. Part of the reason was your protection,” Jason reminded her. “Now we have to go negotiate it.” His eyes iced. “I’m not convinced Sorel wasn’t behind the bomb, but even if he wasn’t—someone was.”

She shivered slightly, folding her arms again. With everything that had been going on with Carly and then getting married, she’d nearly forgotten how this had all started. The bomb on New Year’s felt like another lifetime ago. “Oh. I—Do I need to be there?”

“No,” Jason said firmly. “Sonny and I will go, tell them that you’re my wife, and that changes how they see you. It better,” he muttered as an afterthought and she flashed a hesitant smile. “And then we’ll get Sorel to pledge protection. It’s just—it’s nothing you have to worry about, I mean.”  He paused. “We haven’t really talked about what I do.”

“We don’t have to,” Elizabeth said quickly, but he shook his head.

“We do. You live here,” Jason continued, “and you’ve already dealt with the police because of this. You’re doing fine,” he added. “And you’ve got good instincts, so I’m not worried. But there’s still some things we need to talk about.”

“Okay. I mean, isn’t it basically a don’t ask, don’t tell sort of thing?” Elizabeth asked skeptically. “I don’t ask you anything, and you don’t tell me anything.”

“Well—” Jason frowned. “Yeah, I mean that’s how it’s supposed to be, but—” He looked away. “I don’t know how well that works. That’s how Sonny tries to handle things, and I tried to do with it with Robin.” And Carly, but they both left her name unsaid. “But there are times when you need to know things to keep you safe. You need to know who people are.”

“Like this guy Sorel,” Elizabeth said. “I know about him—”

“But there’s others. You need to know who they are and what they look like,” Jason continued, “and what our relationship is to them so you know who to trust and who not to.”

“Okay,” she said slowly. “That sounds fine.”

“But yeah, most of the time, I can’t tell you anything. And it’s easier if you don’t ask,” he admitted. “Because then—”

“Then you don’t have to lie or refuse to tell me,” Elizabeth finished. “I get it, Jason. I do—”

He still didn’t look quite convinced, but before he could say anything else, there was a knock on the door. He grimaced. “That’s probably Sonny. Or Alexis. Anyone else has to be called up from the front desk by Wally.”

Elizabeth followed him out of the kitchen, her head still spinning a bit. She managed a smile at Sonny as he entered, carrying a manila folder. “Hey, Sonny.”

“Good morning. Jase? You about ready?”

“Yeah.” Jason went over to the closet to draw out a black suit jacket. “What’s that?” he asked Sonny, nodding at the envelope.

“Oh, the photographer developed some of the shots we took after the ceremony yesterday,” Sonny said. “I wanted to have a few in case we got, uh, visits from the PCPD over the next day or so.” He handed the folder to Elizabeth. “You might want to toss some up in a frame or something around the place.” He glanced around the mostly barren penthouse. “I thought you brought your things over from the studio.”

“Um, most of them. There are a few more things I need, but I didn’t really live there long.” Elizabeth shrugged. “Does it really matter? Jason only just moved in here, what—” She looked at him. “A few months ago? And I’ve only been here a few days. If we change everything too fast, wouldn’t that look more fake?”

“Maybe.” Sonny made a face. “Yeah, probably. Still.”

“Jason doesn’t like clutter,” Elizabeth said, “and as long as I have somewhere to paint, I don’t need anything else. I know I can’t go back to the studio until it’s secure,” she told Jason, “so I hope it’s okay if I use one of the rooms upstairs.”

“Yeah, no problem. Let me know if you need anything to make it work.” He turned his attention to Sonny. “You want to get this over with?”

“Yeah, I know how much you like this stuff,” Sonny said dryly.

“I got shot at the last one,” Jason muttered, grabbing his leather jacket off the hook. He ignored Sonny’s flinch and crossed over to Elizabeth, kissing her one more time, then holding her against him. “When I get back,” he said, dropping his voice lower, “do you want go for a ride? The roads should be clear enough.”

“That sounds good.” Her cheeks still flaming because Sonny was right there, she kissed him again. “Um, good luck, I guess.”

Jason and Sonny were gone long enough for Elizabeth to brew herself a cup of tea and settle down in the living room to look over a list of things she needed to make a guest room into a temporary studio. She hoped one of them didn’t have a carpet, but if they all did—she’d need a tarp—

Then the phone rang, jarring her.

“Yeah? Hello?” Elizabeth asked, bracing herself for another diatribe from Emily. She really hadn’t figured out how to say anything about the situation to her best friend, so —

“Hey, Mrs. Morgan—”

Mrs. Morgan. Holy crap.

“Uh, your grandmother is here. Should I send her up?”

“Oh.” Elizabeth bit her lip, then rubbed her forehead. “Yeah, I guess so.” Audrey had barely just started to accept her relationship with Jason — how the hell was she going to react to a quick wedding? Which just reminded her that she still had to deal with the rest of Port Charles — when she went back to work in a few days, her section would be overflowing again with busybodies wondering why Jason Morgan’s wife was still waiting tables —

Elizabeth opened the door a few minutes later to her grandmother. “Uh, hey, Gram.”

“Hello.” Audrey’s face wasn’t giving Elizabeth much to go on, but she didn’t look angry. “How are you?”

“Uh, all right. Come on in.” Elizabeth closed the door after Audrey had passed her. “I guess you, um, heard.”

“I have.” Audrey set her purse on the desk, removed her coat and scarf, draping them over the purse. Then she reached for Elizabeth’s hand, tilting it back and forth. “It’s a lovely ring. Did Jason pick it out?”

“Yeah, he did. Gram—”

“When I was reconciling with your grandfather,” Audrey said, letting Elizabeth’s hand fall away, “there were some parts of our relationship that were a bit difficult.” She paused. “I had trouble trusting anyone after my marriage to Tom Baldwin ended.”

Elizabeth folded her arms. “Gram—”

“Considering the time period we were in,” Audrey continued, “and the fact that Steve and I had already been married once—we certainly weren’t strangers to one another. Still, it took me time to feel…” She hesitated, searching for the right word. “Safe, I suppose.”

Elizabeth’s throat tightened. “Was Gramps kind?”

“Steve was the best of men,” Audrey said softly. “And he never once made me feel like any of it was my fault. Until you, he was the only person I ever told.”

“I’m glad, Gram. Um—”

“When I heard from Lila yesterday,” Audrey continued, “I took a minute to hear the happiness in her voice. Lila adores her grandson, and she genuinely likes you. She wanted to welcome you to the family, and hoped I felt the same.” Audrey’s smile was a bit thin. “I don’t think it will surprise you that, at the time, I didn’t. She shamed me with her graciousness. It’s easy to forget that Jason Morgan isn’t just…well, he’s not just the man in the newspaper, is he?”

“He’s not, no.” Elizabeth paused. “I know you might not understand—”

“There are two kinds of safety, I suppose,” Audrey continued. “There’s the external safety. The world around you. And then there’s the feeling of safety you feel inside.” She pressed a fist to her heart. “And I think I had forgotten that. Sometimes one of those feels more important than the other. Particularly when the world fails you. And the world has failed you, darling, repeatedly. With your parents, with that terrible night in the park, with the loss of Lucky—”

Elizabeth’s eyes burned. “You never have.”

“Of course I have, sweetheart.” Audrey paused. “Does Jason—is he kind?” she said finally.

“Yes. More than I ever thought anyone would be. I feel…not just safe,” Elizabeth continued, “but like there’s a future again. I didn’t think I would after Lucky died.”

“Well, I’d hope you believed in the future if you married him. Of course I have my reservations by how fast this seems to be happening,” Audrey admitted and Elizabeth sighed, “but I’ve been known to be hasty in my own time, and impulsive,” she added. Elizabeth smiled. “I certainly don’t want to pretend that I was perfect.”

“But you…you’re okay with this,” Elizabeth said, almost questioningly. “Or at least, you’re not going to cut me out for getting married.”

“I would be denying myself a lot of joy if I did that, wouldn’t I?” Audrey said. “If it doesn’t work out—and it might not—I want you to always know you have a home with me.”

Elizabeth wrinkled her nose. “Are you here because you hope it doesn’t—”

“No, and I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it that way. I just—even your grandfather and I divorced for a time,” Audrey reminded her. “Love doesn’t solve everything, and we often let our own pride get in the way. I just—you might not always have my understanding, but you will have my support.”

“That—” Elizabeth almost couldn’t speak. “That means so much to me, Gram. Thank you.”

“Well, I missed the wedding, but I certainly hope there were photos—”

“Oh—” Elizabeth wiped the tears from her cheek. “The photographer gave us a few. I think we’re getting more, but—” She reached the folder. “Sonny dropped them off this morning, and I almost forgot.” She opened the folder, surprised when she saw more than just the posed shots they’d taken after Carly had crashed the wedding. There was one of her standing alone at the end of the aisle, then another of Jason walking her down — and then one of them speaking their vows.

“Oh, how lovely—” Audrey beamed as Elizabeth handed them to her. “And you look wonderful. That’s such a beautiful dress—thank you. I hope to get a copy of some of these when you get the full package.” She paused on the posed portrait. “He really is a handsome young man. Your grandfather thought highly of Jason before the accident, and he hoped he would recover.” Audrey’s eyes sparkled now as she returned the folder. “You know, he once thought one of his granddaughters would end up with one of Alan’s boys, and I think he secretly hoped it would be Jason since he wanted to be a doctor.”

“Well, I guess Gramps got his wish a little bit,” Elizabeth managed, surprised. And then they both laughed.

No Name Restaurant: Private Dining Room

Jason didn’t think much of any of the men he and Sonny worked with, but Joseph Sorel might be one of the worst. He’d almost believed someone else had set the bomb that night in the studio, but Sorel’s stupid, smug smile made Jason think differently.

“I’ve mostly controlled the internal problems in my organization,” Sorel said coolly as he leaned back in the chair. “Whoever went after Ms. Webber—” He paused. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Morgan,” he corrected with a smile that indicated it had been a deliberate slip. “Whoever went after the young woman—he took a shot and it didn’t work.”

“Well, as a sign of a good faith,” Sonny said, “I expect you’ll be making it clear that if anything happens to Jason’s wife, you’ll be the first person I blame. And Jason will have free reign to handle it as he likes.”

That put a hitch in Sorel’s step because it wasn’t the way of things. “Without evidence?” he demanded. “Without proof—”

“Those are concepts for a court of law,” Sonny murmured. “If I wanted to live within that system, I wouldn’t be here.” He flicked his eyes to Sammy Tagliatti, seated next to Sorel. “What do you think, Tagliatti?”

“I think that’s a very fair deal,” the man said with a silky smile. “I support that. Clearly, the culprit came from your organization,” he said to Sorel. “That makes it your problem—”

Sorel clenched his jaw. “She wasn’t his wife when it happened—”

“Which is probably you’re still breathing,” Daniel Vega proclaimed from the other side of the table. He gestured at Jason. “And why he hasn’t ripped your throat out at this meeting. Shameful, shameful, going after such a young woman just to keep her from cooperating with the police. After Jason eliminated Moreno for you, you try to take something from him?”

Sorel’s face was florid with fury. “That’s not what happened—”

“No, it’s not,” Jason said flatly, drawing their attention as he hadn’t spoken yet. “You and your boss ambushed me at a meeting that was negotiated in good faith to make a deal, and then you finished Moreno off and dumped him. You wanted me framed for the murder, and you tried to use Elizabeth to do it.”

Sorel met his eyes, pursed his lips. “That’s one way to frame the story—”

“I’m in agreement,” Daniel said. “Anything happens to the young Mrs. Morgan, you’ll have my support to handle it however you like,” he told Sonny. “I don’t believe in collateral damage and using women and children. Extra bodies just draws the authorities to us. That’s how they got in trouble in Manhattan and Philly,” he continued. “We don’t give them an inch to come after us here.”

“Tagliatti?” Sonny said.

“Agreed. Sorel will be held responsible if a single hair on the woman’s head is touched. I’ll help dismantle his operation.” Tagliatti smirked. “And enjoy taking pieces of it.”

Accepting that as a price, Sonny nodded, then focused on Sorel. “Any questions?”

“No,” Sorel said tightly. “As I said, I had nothing to do with the bomb. And I’ll make it clear that she’s off limits.”

“Good.” Sonny got to his feet. “I’m glad we understand each other. Elizabeth Morgan is under the protection of the entire syndicate. Harm her and we’ll destroy you.”

This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Flash Fiction: Scars

Written in 55 minutes.


Morgan Home: Master Bedroom

Elizabeth sank down onto the mattress, her eyes wide. “Are you kidding me? Jordan’s really—” Her mouth pinched, and she looked away. “And Cameron and Trina…”

“They looked miserable about it,” Jason admitted, sitting across the room to pull of his boots. “I didn’t feel much better. I hate that he knows who I am.”

“Jason—”

“And that he had to come warn me that the police—” Jason shook his head, sat back. “I don’t want this for them. I’d get out if I could—”

“But it would mean leaving Port Charles and everyone else,” Elizabeth finished. She smiled wanly at him. “We’ve talked about it, Jason, and I’ve always accepted what you do, and I don’t think any of the boys are interested in going into the business. Sonny might have a battle with Morgan—” She sighed, moved to sit at the vanity table. “But our kids, Michael and Joss, Dante and Kristina, I think we’re safe on that score. None of us want this future for them.”

“I hate that a choice I made before I even understood what I was giving up—” Jason paused. “I didn’t care about the future. I didn’t think about having a family, kids—” He stopped. “That’s not the point of any of this,” he muttered. “I don’t know if I can add the extra guys at the hospital that we talked about.”

Elizabeth’s hands stilled as she reached to unfasten her necklace. “Jason.”

“And I can’t have anyone following Baker. Sonny called a little while ago to confirm what we suspected. Our guys at the PCPD said they’re focusing surveillance. Baker’s being watched. Not because of who he is,” Jason said, his jaw clenched, “but because they want to tie anything back to me or Sonny. And they’re watching new hires at the hospital.”

“They care more about you watching a rapist than a rapist working there,” Elizabeth said softly. She stared at her reflection in the mirror. “Laura won’t cooperate—”

“The board is going over her head. I called Monica. They get funding for this parole program Baker’s in. Anything happens to Baker on their watch, the state might pull the funding. And as far as the system is concerned—”

“He’s nothing more than a blackmailing piece of a shit who served his time.” Elizabeth exhaled slowly. “You have guards on me at the hospital. I want them on the kids.”

“Elizabeth—”

“I’m never alone,” she told him. She twisted in her seat to face him. “I’m on Patrick’s team in the OR and when I’m not with him or one of the other nurses, I’m with Epiphany and Bobbie doing paperwork. Emma, Joss, and Trina—they’re sent on errands all over the place. I’ll talk to Laura. They need a buddy system or something.”

Her hands were shaking as she tried to remove the necklace again. Jason came over behind her, brushed away her hands with his own. He handed her the chain a moment later. “Baker knows the reason he served every possible second of his sentence was because of you.”

“Because of me and Taggert,” Elizabeth said, tightly. “Taggert went to more of the hearings. What if he finds out Trina is his daughter?” She shook her head. “I’m too old for him now—”

“You have zero evidence that he has a preference,” Jason argued. “We don’t know if it was you at age sixteen or opportunity—” He grimaced as color slid from her cheeks. “I’m sorry—”

“No, you’re right. You’re right.” She rubbed a fist against her heart. “Maybe it was just the way he talked about it,” Elizabeth murmured. “He liked the hunt, and he talked about the dress I was wearing. He blackmailed Emily, remember? And we were the same age.”

“I know.”

“I just—I would never forgive myself if I had guards watching me and one of those girls got hurt. Or any of the girls in the program,” Elizabeth continued. “Thanks to the PCPD, you’re limited by just the people who are already at the hospital. I don’t want Cam to be unprotected, either. But those girls—Emma, Joss, and Trina—they’re mine, too. They’ve grown up here. They’re our babies just as much as the boys are.”

“I know,” Jason said. He put his hands on her shoulders, gently kneading them. “All right, I’ll look at what we have in place at the hospital. Get me a schedule for the program. But don’t ask me to leave you unprotected.”

“I’m not. I just—” She closed her eyes. “Ten years ago. After Manny kidnapped me, and I told you it reminded me of Baker, you asked me if I wanted you to do something about it. I should have said yes. I wanted to.” She swiped at the tears sliding down her cheek. “But I wanted it to be weak. I thought it made me stronger to walk away from him. And now it’s too late. I’ll be damned if the PCPD comes after you because of me.”

“Eventually,” Jason said, “the pressure will be off. The PCPD can’t keep up this surveillance for long. And they don’t know I’m aware of it. When it cools down, all you have to do is say the word.”

“Maybe by then I’ll have change my mind again. I guess it’s just knowing it’s off the table that’s making me feel this way.” She smiled at him in the reflection of the mirror. “I don’t want to think about Tom Baker anymore.”

“Then we won’t.”

Kelly’s: Dining Room

Emma sipped her milkshake, then pursed her lips as she watched Trina behind the counter. “The Homecoming dance.”

Cameron tore his eyes away from his Switch and frowned at her. “What? Wait. That’s not for another month, is it? Oh, man. Is it sooner?”

“No, relax, I’ll warn you,” Emma promised absently. “I’ll make sure you remember to ask me.”

“I have to ask you?” Cameron scowled. “What’s the point of dating if I still have to do that? Can’t you just assume we’re going?”

Emma looked away from Trina, then matched his scowl with one of her own. “You have to do the work, Cam! You can’t just take me for granted!”

“I kind of think that’s wrong.” Cameron shook his head. “We’re dating. We go to movies every Saturday and I don’t ask you—”

“That’s different! And this is our freshman year!” Emma was positively scandalized. “This is our first Homecoming! How can you not want to ask me?”

Sensing the trap he’d walked into, Cameron decided it time to back up. “Okay, it’s not that I don’t want to,” he said carefully. “Because, like, sure. We gotta talk logistics. You know my mom and your mom are going to spend an hour with photos, and then there’s the car—and do we go with people? You know Joss is gonna wanna go and make eyes at that new kid, and Trina—” He stopped. “Oh, man that’s what started this.”

“Don’t change the subject, Cameron Webber.” Emma was incensed as she shot to her feet. “You think I don’t know what you’re doing?”

“Listen, I am on board with this whole get Spencer and Trina thing together—”

“No, you’re not.”

“Okay, I’m not. I think Spencer is a moron and Trina can do better, but you want them together, and I don’t care enough—” Cameron hissed, sat back and folded his arms. “I’m gonna shut up. There’s no winning here.”

“You don’t think I deserve to be asked out like any other girl?” Emma demanded. “We’re not married, you know! You have to put in the work!”

“Well, what about you?” Cameron shot back. “How come I gotta do the work? Why aren’t you asking me?”

“What?”

“Yeah! How come I gotta ask you! You wanna go to the dance more than me. You should ask me!” Almost gleeful because he’d found the loophole to get him out of trouble, he was sure of it, Cameron jabbed a finger at her. “This is the twenty-first century, and women are equal, right? We split the paychecks and all that crap. You know what?” He got to his feet, folded his arms. “I’m not asking you anywhere. You wanna go to Homecoming, you gotta put in the work, too!”

Emma was positively incandescent with fury as she snatched up her coat and purse. “You don’t get it, and I’m not going to explain it to you!” She stalked out of the diner as Cameron stared after her dumbfounded.

“So, I only overheard like every other word,” Trina said, coming up to his side, “but I did get enough to know you’re a moron.”

“Ah, shut up.”

Out in the courtyard, Emma was still fuming as she headed for the bus stop. The absolute nerve of that dumb boy not to just ask her? Why was it so hard? Why did she have to do everything?

Still wrapped up in her rage, Emma ran straight into someone coming around a corner. “Oof! I’m sorry!”

Someone’s hands went to her elbows to keep Emma on her feet. “You okay, little girl?”

“Fine, fine. Sorry—” Emma looked up at who she’d run into, then frowned. The man was average height, a bit stocky. A ski cap was drawn over his head, and he wore a much thicker jacket than most people did in late September, but there was something about him — “Sorry,” she said again. “I need to watch where I’m going.”

She edged away from him, then continued down the block — stopping to take out her phone and text her parents, hoping for a ride home instead of taking the bus.

Tom watched her go, smiling as he drew out the new phone he’d picked up. What a lovely thing — the photos and videos it could take — technology was a beautiful thing. He snapped a few photos of his sweet girl as she stopped at the corner, then walked away, starting to whistle.

Robinson Home: Living Room

“Why I am not surprised?” Portia muttered, as she started to rearrange the magazines on her coffee table — a nervous habit that Taggert recognized. Portia was keeping her hands busy because she really wanted to slap him.

“I came because it was an emergency, but I’m on a case—”

“You’re always on a case.” Portia got to her feet, folding her arms. “When was the last time you spent meaningful time with Trina, huh?”

“I don’t want to—”

“A year ago, she saw you for a week. You come in for a day or two, then zip off again. She deserves more than phone calls, Marcus—”  She hissed. “And you’re leaving after I told you that Jordan Ashford is going to use this case to be the complete bitch she’s always been—”

“What am I supposed to do?” Taggert demanded. “I warned Jordan not to get wrapped up in taking down Corinthos and Morgan. She doesn’t listen to me. She never has. I was a DEA agent when you met me. You knew my schedule and you said you wanted to get married and have a family anyway. You can’t blame me—”

“I thought you’d change—” Her mouth twisted. “And if it hadn’t been for Jordan—”

“Don’t start this shit with me—”

“Well, if you didn’t want to hear about it, then you shouldn’t have had an affair—”

“I never—” Taggert growled. “You know, the nice thing about being divorced, Portia? I never have to listen to this bullshit from you again. I never touched her, but you couldn’t believe I spent all that time away from my family with another woman without sex.” His eyes burned into hers. “I always wondered if you were so sure because you were having an affair of your own.”

Portia stalked over to the door. “You can go.”

“Don’t have to ask me twice.”

General Hospital: Break Room

“Real talk,” Patrick said, setting down his coffee and sitting across from her. “You’ve been around Jason for like, two decades, right?”

“About that.” Elizabeth narrowed her eyes. “Why?”

“And also the Cassadines.”

“Where are you going with this?”

“What I’m thinking is between the supervillains and the gangsters—” Patrick leaned forward. “You know how to get away with a crime, don’t you?”

Elizabeth pursed her lips. “Patrick—”

“I’m just saying. I know Jason can’t do shit about this guy, but you and me—” Patrick nodded. “Yeah. I think that’s what we need to do. We’ll make him disappear, you make sure the husband has an alibi. We’re golden.”

“You’re insane,” she replied, forcing a smile on her face. “You have just as much to risk as I do. As Jason does.”

“Yeah, I know. Doesn’t change how much I want to rip off his face or hire it to be done,” he grumbled.

Her stomach rumbled, and she winced. “Oh man, I want those Doritos,” she muttered, looking at the vending machine. “I have lunch packed, but I just—”

“Cravings.” Patrick nodded sagely. He took out his wallet and flipped through it. He found three dollars — “Highway robbery what they charge us—” Then he stopped, frowning at the photos. “Hey, the one from Aiden’s party is missing.”

“The one of Emma and Robin?” Elizabeth leaned forward. “I saw you put it in there.”

“Yeah, it was in there last week.” He wrinkled his nose. “Probably fell out at home. I’m just used to seeing it when—” He handed her the money. “Go get the Doritos, Webber. I won’t be responsible for what happens if you don’t.”

November 14, 2021

Update Link: Signs of Life, Part 16

Noted: Rated R if you care about those kinds of things. Nothing explicit, but suggestive anyway. I’m really trying to push myself with this story, so I hope you guys are enjoying it. I just don’t think I can write about this time period in Elizabeth’s life by leaving everything off the screen like I usually do, lol.

Continue reading

This entry is part 16 of 18 in the series Flash Fiction: Signs of Life

Written in 78 minutes. You’ll understand when you get to the last scene why I went over time, and I hope you’ll forgive me.

Oh, and, uh, rated R if you care about those kinds of things.


Quartermaine Mansion: Foyer

Carly didn’t care who saw her or what they thought as she slammed her way into the foyer and tossed her coat over the banister, preparing to storm up the stairs — until her husband stepped out from the front parlor, his face set like stone.

“We need to talk.”

His anger cut through her own, and Carly remembered that she was limited in her choices. Jason had made his that day in the church, choosing that simpering little waif over her, and now she was stuck for good.

She highly doubted that he was willing to even entertain the thought of getting her out of town now. She’d overplayed her hand, underestimated just how angry he was over Sonny — and she never should have made those remarks about Elizabeth’s rape in front of Jason.

AJ was the only thing that stood between her and losing everything.

Carly turned, her finger gripping the railing. “Why?”

“Did you really think I wouldn’t find out?” he demanded. “I’m not going to have this conversation with you in the middle of the foyer.” He jabbed his finger over his shoulder. “Get in here and let’s settle this.”

Carly grimaced, but obeyed. What choice did she have? Jason had made sure of that, hadn’t he?  And what exactly had AJ learned? Her trip to the church?

“You practically ran out of this house after Grandfather made that announcement this morning,” AJ said, closing both the double doors. “I followed you.”

Carly’s face paled, her heart pounding in her chest, in the throat, almost as if it was going to leap out of her mouth. “What?”

“I followed you to the church. I didn’t go in, so God only knows how you humiliated yourself,” AJ bit out, “but I waited. And then you came out, angry and upset. Jason came out later. With Elizabeth. So I guess you didn’t stop the wedding.”

Carly folded her arms, remaining silent. She’d give him nothing.

“I don’t know what the hell my brother is thinking, but I don’t care. I have my son,” AJ continued. “And the prenuptial agreement made it clear — if I get proof you’ve had an affair,  you walk out of here with nothing and I get full custody of Michael. Do I need to remind you of that?”

“No,” Carly growled. “You don’t. I know what I signed—”

“Do you?” AJ demanded. “Because I wanted my son to have a family. His mother and his father. I know you love him, you know that I love him. I’ve given you everything, Carly! Everything! Unlimited access to every cent I own, and what have you done?”

She lifted her chin, said nothing.

“I have never, not once, done a single thing to deserve the way you’ve treated me,” AJ said. “I didn’t have to marry you, you know that. All of Jason’s money wouldn’t have changed what you did to me. What you both did to me. You tried to destroy my life so I wouldn’t suspect Michael was my son. I have proof that you drugged me, that you tried to break my sobriety.”

Carly gritted her teeth. Damn that Lorraine Miller for turning traitor then fleeing town. “I know that.”

“This is the last time you humiliate me, Carly. The absolute last time. Because I don’t need the prenuptial agreement to destroy you. If you think I won’t drag you into court and divorce you, you’re demented. I have all the cards here, Carly. And you have nothing.”

And she knew it. God, she knew it, and she had no one to blame but herself.

“You and my brother—whatever it was—it’s done. Let him go. If he wanted you, Carly, he had his chance. He married another woman. That’s his answer, isn’t it?”

“You—”

“The next time I find you rushing out after Jason, I’m filing for divorce. Michael is young enough to forget you.”

He left then, slamming the double doors behind him as Carly flinched.

She had no choice now. She had to find a way to make her marriage work, to make AJ think this baby was his.

But Jason couldn’t be allowed off the hook so easily. He was going to have to pay for abandoning her.

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

Had Jason just…had he…

Love doesn’t seem like enough, but it’ll have to be.

Elizabeth’s hand fell from the railing and she stepped down, off the step. She swallowed hard. What did she say to that? How could she respond? He hadn’t even really said it, had he? But wasn’t it nearly the same? Oh, God, she didn’t know what to do—

But she couldn’t keep standing here, staring at him like an idiot. He was trying, wasn’t he? Trying to explain the twisted, complicated relationship with Carly—and honestly, what did he really owe her? They were married for reasons that had nothing to do with their feelings. Would she expect him to be in love with her after a week of dating if she wasn’t in a wedding dress?

Elizabeth took a deep breath, then went over to him, his eyes staying on her with every step she took. Whatever he meant by what he said, whatever was swirling around in her head or his—

She curled her fingers in the lapels of jacket, then tugged him down to her, kissing him with everything she had inside of her, everything she wanted and dreamed and fantasized about, his mouth warm and sweet against hers, his taste as addictive.

His fingers dug into her hair, tugging her head back to deep the kiss, crushing her against him, her feet nearly leaving the ground. Blood pounded in her brain, leapt from her heart, made her knees tremble, and something was ringing—did she hear bells? What was that?

Jason broke away, breathing hard, his eyes glazed slightly. He brushed her bottom lip with his thumb. “It’s the phone,” he murmured. “Ignore it.”

No argument there, and Elizabeth dove back in, shoving his jacket off his shoulders, hearing it drop to the floor. But Jason didn’t kiss her again, not like that—instead, he kissed the hollow at the base of her throat and everything shivered, tingled, then burst into flame as his mouth moved across her skin, to the curve of her neck and shoulders, his fingers sliding gently beneath the straps of her dress. One slid off her shoulder—

“If you don’t pick up this phone right now, I am getting on a train, and I will use my key and I will come to that penthouse, and I don’t care—

Emily’s voice burst into the room like a gunshot blast and Elizabeth shoved Jason away, confused and startled. Then focused on the answering machine. “What—”

“I’m going to count to five. One, two—”

Her fingers trembling, Elizabeth jerked the phone off the hook. “Emily.”

“Elizabeth Imogene Webber,” Emily said, “you have a lot of explaining to do.”

It was like a bucket of cold water had been dumped over her head. Elizabeth pressed her other hand to her forehead, then looked at Jason, his face still flushed—and had she done that? Unbuttoned his shirt halfway? She drew her hand from her face, staring at it like it was alien to her.

“Elizabeth,” Emily repeated. “Are you listening to me? What is this message? And my mom called me, too. She said you got married. To my brother. What the—I just left for school—”

“I—” Elizabeth’s mind blanked. She had a story, didn’t she? She met Jason’s eyes in a blaze of panic. “I don’t—”

Jason, taking pity on her, pressed a button to put her on speakerphone. “Emily.”

“Oh, no, it’s starting already,” Emily said, with some disgust. “I don’t think I’m insane for wanting to know what the hell is going on—”

“You know what’s going on,” Jason said, with a patience and evenness that Elizabeth envied. “Elizabeth and I got married this morning.”

“Oh, for crying out loud—”

“We got married because we wanted to,” Jason continued, “and we didn’t wait because we didn’t want to. That should cover it.”

“It absolutely does not—”

“Emily,” Elizabeth said, out of patience. “We got married this morning. Which means you are calling on our wedding night.”

There was a silence on the other line as Emily digested that information. “Listen—”

“And Elizabeth already told you our sex life is none of your business. We’ll call you tomorrow.” Jason hung up on his sputtering his sister, plunging the room into silence as Elizabeth’s brain skittered and jumped.

We got married because we wanted to…our sex life is none of your business…

“She’ll probably stay in New York at least tonight,” Jason told her.

“Maybe. I’ll leave a message for her when I know she’s in class.” Elizabeth absently drew the sagging strap of her dress back over her shoulder, and his eyes followed the movement. She flushed. “Um, I was gonna go and change. I don’t—” She bit her lip. “The fabric is kind of delicate—I just don’t want anything to happen to it.”

Jason dragged a hand through his hair, then nodded. “Yeah, okay. I’ll go—I think there’s some lasagna or something in the freezer. I’ll go defrost it.”

They stared at each other for another long moment, then went their separate ways.

Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room

“I think we should be discussing damage control,” Alexis declared as she accepted the glass of wine Sonny handed her. “Carly might already be at the PCPD—”

“She’s impulsive and stupid, but I don’t think she’s going to the police tonight.” Sonny sipped his bourbon, then wandered over to look over the skyline of Port Charles as the sun dipped behind the buildings, plunging the downtown into night. “Tomorrow. Tonight, she’ll be cursing Jason’s name. We have time.”

“Sonny—”

“And we’ve done the damage control,” Sonny reminded her. “Jason and Elizabeth got married in a church with a priest. We’ll have wedding photos of them, there’s rings. They’re living together, and half the town already suspected they were together before this. Carly crashing the wedding did us a favor.”

Alexis grimaced. “Maybe—”

“Because now when she tries to turn on Jason with no corroborating evidence but her word, the PCPD might go after us, but it won’t get to court. You said that, remember? She’s got nothing but her own testimony. Bobbie will lawyer up just like we will.”

“I suppose you’re right. All we have to do is tell the PCPD Carly vowed revenge on Jason and was cruel to Elizabeth about the rape.” Sonny growled the last part as the memory burned. “She barely had credibility before this, and now—it’s gone. She’s destroyed it.”

“Fair enough. I just—I put this idea into Jason’s head, and Elizabeth seized on it to keep Jason in town. I feel responsible. I don’t want either of them hurt.”

“Neither do I,” Sonny said. “I’ve already done enough.”

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

Jason had put the lasagna in the microwave to defrost, then went into the living room to wait for Elizabeth to come back downstairs. He went over to the desk and picked up his suit jacket where it had dropped to the ground earlier—

None of this was turning out the way he thought it would, but wasn’t that the story of every day since he’d met Elizabeth? Since he’d really and truly met her that night at Jake’s? Wasn’t that part of the reason he’d been drawn to her? Her smiles, her laughter, the twists and turns of conversations—

He hadn’t meant to tell her all of that tonight, hadn’t even known it was inside of him, but he’d desperately needed to explain how he could have done something as stupid as tell Carly he loved her only a few weeks ago without making what he felt for Elizabeth seem wrong or too fast.

He’d believed what he had said to Carly in the moment, but it had already been fading and shifting and turning into something else. Not even hatred, but apathy. The only good Carly had ever brought to his life was Michael, and he couldn’t think of that little boy without the pain that followed.

Jason just wanted to be done with Carly forever, and he wanted Elizabeth to understand that she was the key to that—to his realization that he’d been punishing himself by letting Carly stay in his life, clinging to a hope he could have Michael back.

Michael—and Carly—were in his past. Robin was in the past. And for the first time in a long time, Jason wanted to look to the future.

When the microwave timer went off and Elizabeth still hadn’t come downstairs, Jason went upstairs to check on her. Was she upset? Had he pushed her too hard? Was she still thinking about Carly—

The door to his—their—room was partially ajar, but he still knocked. “Elizabeth? Are you okay?”

“Um, yeah. I forgot—you can come in,” she said. Jason pushed open the door, surprised to find her still in the wedding dress. She was standing in front of the full-length mirror, twisting and trying to reach—”

“It’s buttoned,” Elizabeth said miserably, turning to face him. “I forgot when Alexis put it in. It’s..got all these little tiny buttons, and I can’t—” Her face flushed and she bit her lip. “Can you help?”

“Uh—” Jason nodded, his throat tight. He crossed the room and Elizabeth faced the mirror again, her back to him. His fingers fumbled as  he reached for the small, pearl button. There were at least a dozen, maybe more.

Slowly and carefully, he slid each button individually from the loop, painstaking avoiding the bits of lace and fabric around each. She looked so beautiful, and he didn’t want to make a single rip or tear into it.

As each button came undone, the bodice of the dresser became looser and the two pieces in back gaped, revealing the soft, pale skin of her upper back. The bare skin without a single piece of clothing beneath it. He focused on the dress, ignoring the way her skin felt as his knuckles brushed it, or the way her breathing had changed.

The final button was at the base of her back, and reluctantly, Jason slid the last one out of its loop. He probably could have stopped halfway down—the dress would have been loose enough for her to shimmy out of it, but he hadn’t wanted to stop touching her—and she hadn’t asked him to.

He remained standing behind her, raising his head until he met her eyes in the mirror. She had hands pressed to the front of the dress, holding the bodice in place so that it hadn’t slipped and slid while he’d been unbuttoning the dress.

Then Elizabeth moved her hands, letting them fall to her side. The bodice had been sitting higher on her chest as she held it against herself, but when she let go, the straps on her shoulder loosened first, sliding down her shoulders.

As if in a trace, Jason raised his hands to her shoulders, sliding his fingers beneath the straps. Maybe he meant to pull them back up, to put the dress back into place so that he could leave and give her a chance to change in private—

But Elizabeth raised her hands, sliding a thumb beneath each strap, their fingers brushing. And she gently pulled. Her dress fell from her shoulders, to the ground in a soft rustle, leaving her in nothing but a pair of white panties.

His chest felt eight sizes too big as their eyes remained locked together in the mirror. Elizabeth kept one of his hands in her own, raising it until it cupped one of her breasts. She was biting her lip, and Jason could feel her entire body had tightened, tense from something. Was it desire? Fear?

He wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he did anything that frightened her, that brought back those memories, so even though it took everything inside of him, Jason didn’t move his hand, just stood there, feeling the weight of her in his hand. Then he dropped his head down to brush his lips against the curve of her neck. Her body loosened and she sighed, slumping back against him.

Jason carefully lifted her from the surrounds of the wedding dress, aware that she’d been grabbed and lifted during her attack, and scared beyond words that he’d trigger something. But if he had, Elizabeth never let on, turning to him and wrapping her arms around his neck, then kissing him.

Jason pulled her against him, his fingers sliding across her soft, silky skin. His shirt fell off his shoulders, their skin bare against one another now. He started to gently steer her towards the bed, but when her legs brushed the comforter, Elizabeth was startled, jerking away, her body tensing all over again. Her breathing was choppy, her eyes squeezed shut. “I’m sorry. I—”

“It’s okay,” Jason said immediately. He kissed her one last time, soft and lingering to reassure her. Then leaned down for his shirt, drawing it over her shoulders even as she started to use her hands to cover herself. “It’s okay,” he repeated. She met his eyes, still biting her lip. “I’ll go put the lasagna in the oven, okay? I’ll see you downstairs.”

She nodded, the motion little more than a jerking motion. Jason closed the bedroom door behind him, but instead of going downstairs, he went into one of the guest bathrooms and splashed some cold water on his face.

It was going to be a long night.