Chapter Twelve

Elizabeth was the midst of pulling on her shoes while trying to brush her hair at the same time when someone knocked on her door. Swearing, she unbolted the door and pulled it open.

“Sonny.”

“Is this a bad time?” Sonny asked.

“Actually, I’m heading to lunch with my grandmother and Skye,” Elizabeth replied. She hoisted her feet and leaned it against the table so she could tie the laces. “What can I do for you?”

“Roy called,” Sonny said. “He’s flying in and he’ll be here tomorrow. How do you want to handle it?”

“I’ve talked it over with Jerry and he agrees I’ll get more answers out of him since Roy likes me,” Elizabeth replied. She pulled the brush through her thick brown hair and then slipped a headband in her hair. “So, I want to talk to him. Do you want to be there?”

“Actually, if it’s all right with you, I’d like Jason to be there.”

Elizabeth paused for a second while putting a few things in her purse. She straightened and turned to him. She eyed him warily. “Is there an ulterior motive?”

“Ulterior motive? Me?” Sonny grinned. “What makes you say that?”

“Sonny, you’re still not off the hook for lying to me, so you’d better knock off the matchmaking thing. I know you think by getting us back together, you think you’re making it all better. Well, forget it. I’m not going back to that–so you’d better find another way to soothe your guilty conscience.”

“It would be different this time,” Sonny said, feeling the need to plead Jason’s case. “It was my fault this time–not Jason’s. I asked him to lie–I gave the order.”

“Uh huh,” Elizabeth murmured. She tossed a pack of gum in her purse and pulled her keys out. “So you told him not to call me and not to come home like ever? You told him to let me worry and stay up at nights because I hadn’t heard from him? That was you.”

Sonny shifted. “Okay…so maybe it wasn’t entirely my fault. Look–you got to understand. Jason…he’s a good person but he’s not…he’s not real good with relationships. Robin and Carly. That’s it.”

Elizabeth grimaced. “Sonny, do not try and explain Jason to me–I’m not stupid. I know him better than you ever will. He did what he did because he didn’t know any better. That’s what you say. Well, it’s bullshit. Jason knew I was worried–he knew I was staying up–I told him as much. But he still never called. He still didn’t come home. It didn’t matter to him. I didn’t matter to him.”

“No, what I’m trying to say is Jason…it’s been a long time since he had someone to come home to–someone who worried about him before me. Carly loves him–she worries about him, but she worries about me first. You don’t–you’re all about Jason and he didn’t know how to handle that.”

“Sonny,” Elizabeth said, her voice nearly desperate. “Stop this. Stop trying to make things better.”

“I can’t help it, Elizabeth,” Sonny insisted. “Because I’ve been a rotten friend to him and all he ever did was follow my wishes. This is my fault. I wasn’t there when he needed me and I wouldn’t be any kind of friend if I didn’t try to make this better.” Sonny paused and studied her. “You’re scared.”

“I think you should leave,” Elizabeth said. She pulled her leather jacket on and zipped it halfway.

“You think I’m gonna say something to convince you to go back,” Sonny realized. “Elizabeth–it’s a risk–”

“Do not…do not lecture me on risks,” Elizabeth said angrily. “Don’t you dare! I know relationships are a risk–I know that love is a risk and I know that choosing to love Jason is a risk–I know that being with him is a risk I can’t take. Because when it comes down to it, Sonny…you come first. He is your enforcer…first, last and always. That’s all he knows how to be. He doesn’t want to change–he likes being that way and I can’t survive like that.” She put her purse over her shoulder and held the door open. “Jason can be present for the meeting with Roy. That’s fine. I want to be friends with him–I want to keep that if it’s possible. So, why don’t you set the meeting up–I’ll go whenever. It doesn’t matter to me.”

Sonny’s shoulders slumped. “For what it’s worth, Elizabeth, I’m sorry.”

“Yeah?” Elizabeth smirked. “Me, too.”

—-

“Skye, darling, why don’t let you him explain?” Jane asked. “I know you’re hurting but–”

“I don’t want to,” Skye said, stubbornly. “Because every time I let him, he starts talking about how much he loves Brenda. And it’s just ridiculous. I shouldn’t have to listen to that.”

“You’re right,” Jane agreed. “You shouldn’t. I love my son, but he can be an idiot.”

“Who can be an idiot?” Elizabeth asked, slipping into a chair. “Sorry, I’m late.”

“Not a problem,” Skye said. “Jax can be idiot.”

Elizabeth nodded. “All men are idiots,” she said.

“Damn right,” Skye agreed.

“Oh, dear, what happened?” Jane asked, concerned.

Elizabeth waved the waiter over. “I need a Gin and Tonic.” She looked to Skye. “I’m sorry–but I need something.”

Skye nodded. “It’s fine.” The waiter left and Skye leaned forward, interested. “What happened?”

“I hate men,” Elizabeth grumbled reaching into the bread basket in the middle of the table. “They think they know everything.”

Jane and Skye exchanged looks. “Is this about Jason?” Jane asked.

“Isn’t it always?” Elizabeth muttered. She looked up. “I can’t forgive him–why can’t people just understand that? I was hurt really badly and I can’t–no I refuse to put myself through it again. And why the hell should I?”

“Exactly,” Skye agreed.

“Forgive him for what, dear?” Jane asked.

“Lying to me, letting me worry myself silly,” Elizabeth replied. “Sonny says it’s because Jason isn’t used to someone caring about him like me. He’s probably right. But when did his insecurities my problems?”

“The second you fell in love with him,” Jane said. “Perhaps he doesn’t think he’s worthy of your love.”

“Probably not,” Elizabeth replied. She tore the bread in half and started to butter it. “But how the hell do you convince someone that they are?”

Skye raised an eyebrow. “Why, do you want to?”

Elizabeth glared at the redhead. “No.”

“Liar.”

“You know, Jax loves you.”

“Ah, the change of topics,” Skye murmured. “I’m sure he thinks so.”

“Look, I’m probably overstepping my boundaries–thank you,” Elizabeth said as the waiter placed her drink down. She took a big swallow. “Anyway, Jax is an idiot–men never know how to express themselves without sounding like asses. He loves you and he loves Brenda. The difference? He’s in love with you and not with Brenda.”

Skye’s featured softened. “Do you really think so?”

Elizabeth nodded. “Yes. He’s trying hard to put Brenda in his past. He says she belongs there, but it’s hard to put her there. I know how that feels–when you’re torn between your past and your future. It’s a difficult thing to do and you’re so lucky Skye, because Jax knows what he wants. He wants you–I lost my chance. Don’t lose yours.”

Skye sighed. “You’re probably right.”

“That’s my girl,” Jane said, patting Skye’s hand. “So you’ll let him explain.”

“Yeah,” Skye grumbled.

“Now, darling, back to you,” Jane said, turning back to Elizabeth.

“There’s nothing to get back to,” Elizabeth argued. “Jason and me…we’re done.”

“Who are you trying to convince, us or yourself?” Jane asked.

“You,” Elizabeth said, uncertainly. “I think.”

Jane smiled. “You love him very much don’t you?”

“How can you tell?” Elizabeth asked.

“It’s only written all over your face,” Skye said. “Even I’m not that self-absorbed.”

“So what if I do?” Elizabeth asked, leaning forward. “Love–it’s not enough.”

“No,” Jane agreed. “It’s not.”

Pleased, Elizabeth sat back and smiled.

“But it’s a start,” Jane finished.

“Where’s Nikolas when I need him?” Elizabeth asked. “Even Jerry would help. They’re always good for a Jason’s a thug or whatever.”

“I don’t know what you see in Jason,” Skye said, “but I’m going to give you your own advice. Don’t lose your chance. Don’t throw away your happily ever after.”

“Where’s the cynical Skye who was on my side?” Elizabeth asked.

“Look, you love him right? He loves you. He wants to make it work and you know you do, too. So, you’ve been hurt. Deal with it and grow up. Life is full of pain–you can avoid Jason and believe me, you’ll have something else thrown at you. It’ll probably be worse than this. At least with Jason, you’ll get some good memories.”

“You people and your making sense. You all suck.”

—-

Skye closed the lakehouse door behind her and crossed her arms. “Jax, we need to talk.”

He sprang up off the couch. “You’re gonna let me explain?”

“I’m gonna let you try,” Skye corrected.

Jax ran a hand through his hair. “I love you–I want you to know that. You’re my wife and you’re who I want to be with. And, it’s true. I do love Brenda–but I’m not in love with her anymore. She’s part of my past–it’s just hard keeping her there.”

Skye took a deep breath. “So, you expect me to sit back and let you figure this out? And hey, if you need to kiss her while you’re at it, sure why not?”

“No, that was a mistake. It won’t happen again.”

Skye shook her head. “You can’t promise me that and I don’t want you to either. I don’t like people making promises they can’t keep.” She looked down at the ground. “We’re gonna take this one day at a time. I’m a selfish person–but you knew that. I know she’s dying and I know you want to be with her and believe me, I even understand that.”

“Skye–”

“I’m not saying this will be easy,” Skye cut in. “Because marriages aren’t. But I don’t want to give up on this. Okay?”

“Okay,” Jax agreed. He sat back down on the couch and patted the seat next to her. “So, what did you do today?”

Skye smiled and sat next to her husband. “I had lunch with your mother and Elizabeth.”

“Ah, and how is my lovely niece?” Jax asked, putting his arm around Skye. She leaned into the embrace.

“She is quite possibly just as confused as I used to be,” Skye replied. “She’s one of those people who can help others with their love lives but is useless when it comes to her own. She convinced me to let you talk.”

“She hasn’t taken Spawn back?” Jax said, surprised.

“Not yet,” Skye said. “I think your mother might have convinced her.”

“Oh, lord, don’t let Jerry hear about that.”

“Doesn’t Jerry want her to be happy?” Skye asked.

“Of course. He’s new to this father thing and his instincts are screaming not to trust him. He’s probably right but Liz is the only person who can make that call.”

“She’ll take him back,” Skye said. “It’s only a matter of when.”

—-

Roy DiLucca entered Sonny’s penthouse later that night. “What was so important?” he asked.

Sonny studied him. “Do you remember Frank Smith?”

Roy nodded. “Yeah. Why?”

“Do you remember Jerry Jacks?” Jason asked.

Roy frowned. “What does one have to do with the other?”

“Roy.”

“Sonny, I don’t know what you want me to say–”

“The truth, Roy,” Jason cut in. “We know about Jerry, Frank, Beth Robinson and her daughter. What we want to know is your role in it.”

“That’s all ancient history,” Roy said. “I don’t even know what happened to the kid–”

“I do,” Jason replied. “She’s Elizabeth Webber and she wants answers.” He smirked. “And you’re gonna give them to her.”

Roy shifted. “I don’t know–”

“You’re going to answer her questions,” Jason repeated. “Truthfully.”

“Is that clear, Roy?” Sonny asked.

Roy looked away. “Yeah. Crystal.”

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