Chapter Three

Jerry stared at his daughter. She had her arms crossed, her eyebrows raised and she was looking for him for answers. He had a feeling he shouldn’t have lied to her–or to Jax for that matter. Because it was obvious that both were able to pick up on it.

“You know, you and my brother would get along fabulously,” Jerry said, moving away from the door and towards his desk. “He gets that look in his eye when he’s calling me on something as well.”

“You’re stalling,” Elizabeth remarked. Her foot started tapping. “I don’t like lies and I hate secrets. I learned the hard way when to cut my losses. You get one more chance. I want the truth.”

Jerry smirked. Yeah, she was a member of his family, all right. “All right. Take a seat.”

Elizabeth looked around and settled for the desk chair. “Let’s hear it.”

Jerry started pacing. “I told you I was assigned here as an agent for the WSB right?”

“Right,” Elizabeth replied. “Do you still work for them?”

Jerry nodded. “But you never heard a thing,” he said. “Anyway, I met a girl. Very lovely girl. We fell in love, she got pregnant. We had every intention of getting married.”

“What happened?” she asked, uncrossing her arms. She rested them on her thighs and leaned forward.

“When she was nine months along, she was in a car accident,” Jerry continued. He looked away. “She was killed. But they managed to save the baby–you.” He cleared his throat. “I was devastated of course, but I brought you home. I named you for her.”

“My mother’s name…was Elizabeth?” she asked quietly.

“Yes,” Jerry replied. He paused. “You look like her. A lot, actually. I don’t know why I didn’t see it the last time I was here. Maybe you were too young.”

Elizabeth tried to speak over the lump in her throat. “I look like her?”

“Are you all right?” Jerry asked.

“I’m fine,” she answered faintly. “I just…all of my life…the Webbers are all blonde and green-eyed. I’m the only person with brown hair and blue eyes. I always wondered why I looked so different.” She shook her head. “What happened after that?”

Jerry scratched his head. “When you were about two months old, I found that your mother’s death wasn’t an accident. That she’d been killed, her brake lines cut. I wanted to find her killer and…take care of him. I left you in the care of a friend and went after them. After about two years, I gave up. I don’t know why it took so long, but I decided you needed me more. But my…friend…had sold you. He’d run into trouble with the local mob and selling you apparently saved his life.”

“So why did the Webbers think I was their child?” Elizabeth asked, confused. “I wasn’t a newborn…”

Jerry frowned. “See, I have my theories. The most logical one is that they switched you with the Webber’s real child. I don’t know why and I don’t know where the real daughter is either. But I think that’s the most plausible.”

Elizabeth bit her lip. “Who was this friend?” she asked curiously.

“It doesn’t matter,” Jerry said. “He got into trouble again with the mob and they eventually killed him. Look, I’m sorry I lied to you. I lied to my brother yesterday when he came by. I spun a pretty tale for him as well.”

“Why not tell either of us the truth?” Elizabeth asked, recrossing her arms. She shrugged. “Why keep it to yourself?”

“I wanted some time to find out if my theory was correct. Now that I know which family you grew up with, I can try and track down why that was the family. The Webbers were already living in Boulder when you were born. Why that family?” Jerry shook his head. “I don’t know why yet.”

“I want to help,” Elizabeth said. At Jerry’s surprised expression, she went on, “Look, I want to get to know you. And I guess you’ll be spending most of your time trying to find out. I’ve done some investigating–helped my best friend catch her blackmailer once.”

“Emily Quartermaine,” Jerry remembered. “I read about your involvement when it happened.”

“I also hate being left out,” she said, stiffly. “This also has to do with me–with my past. I want to help.”

“That’s fine with me,” Jerry replied. He grinned. “So, is there anything else?”

“Yes,” Elizabeth said, hesitantly. “You said you lied to your brother about this…how long has he known?”

“Jax has known since yesterday. He had no idea before then,” Jerry said. “I think the two of you would get along.”

Elizabeth smiled. “I’d like to get to know your family. What about your parents?”

“Oh, they’re going to adore you,” Jerry said firmly. “I can tell already.”

—-

Sonny entered the penthouse in a worst mood than when he’d left. Carly saw the look on his face and grimaced.

“What’s with you?” she asked. “How’d your meeting go?”

“The meeting was fine,” Sonny replied, stiffly. He poured himself a Scotch and downed it. “I got confronted with the mistake again.”

“The mistake?” Carly echoed. “And I thought only Jason talked in circles.” She crossed her arms and frowned. “What’s going on?”

“I saw Elizabeth,” Sonny explained. “I tried to explain to her…tried to convince her to let Jason at least explain–”

“He’s better off,” Carly interrupted. “Elizabeth made a decision–she couldn’t handle the secrets and left. It’s better she realized this now instead of a year from now. She saved Jason a lot of heartbreak.”

“She walked away because the way Jason handled the situation,” Sonny reminded her.

Carly shrugged. “Then she didn’t love him enough. Michael’s Christmas pageant is–”

“Carly, do me a favor?”

“What?”

“Don’t say anything like that in front of Jason.”

—-

Nikolas headed towards the launch, his hand over his eyes. Since Elizabeth had left the office earlier, everything had started to go wrong. The search for the new Face of Deception wasn’t going well, the new ad campaign wasn’t developing…sometimes he wished he could just sell Deception.

But he’d made a promise to his family to keep the company going until Laura could take over again.

He hoped Elizabeth would come to work with him–it might make this a little more bearable.

“Hey!”

Nikolas turned at the sound of her voice. “Hey, what are you doing out this late?”

Elizabeth grimaced as she came down the steps. “You sound like–” She stopped and sighed. She’d been about to say Jason. “I saw Jerry.”

“Did you get the whole story?” Nikolas asked sitting with her on the bench.

“Yeah.” Elizabeth looked out over the water. “He told me my mother’s name was Elizabeth–that I looked like her.”

Nikolas gave her a small smile. “I know how much that must have meant to you.”

She stared at her hands for a few moments and then looked back to the water. “He’s going to call his parents and see if they’ll come down for Christmas. And he wants me to meet his brother.”

“Jax?” Nikolas said. “That should be interesting.”

She nodded. “It’s nice, Nikolas.”

“What is?”

“Having someone who wants to be part of my life, who wants me to be in theirs.”

—-

“You know, sometimes I wonder why I bother asking you questions,” Jax remarked handing Jerry a drink. “I never get a straight answer.”

Jerry shrugged. “Not my fault. Where’s the wife?”

“She’s at the club.” Jax stared at his brother. “So, how did she take it?”

“Surprisingly well.” Jerry grinned. “She’s a member of this family. She looks just like her mother but she seems to take after you.”

“After me?” Jax repeated. “What makes you say that?”

“She knew I was lying to her. Called me right on it. I think the two of you will get along rather well.”

Jax shook his head. “So, when do I get to meet my niece?”

“Part of the reason I came here. I called Mom and Dad. They’re flying down next week.”

“And how did they take the news?”

Jerry shrugged and grinned. “They’re used to surprises from me. Anyway, they’re coming to meet her, but I was wondering if you and Skye would have dinner with us tomorrow at the Grille.”

“Sure. She always seemed like a nice girl–I wonder how she ended up being your daughter.”

—-

“I’ll see you, tomorrow,” Nikolas said. He kissed Elizabeth’s cheek and got onto the launch.

Elizabeth watched as the boat headed across the water until she couldn’t see it anymore. She folded her arms over her chest and turned away towards the steps. She stopped when she saw Jason leaning against the bottom of the steps.

“Hey,” he said.

She sighed. “Hello.” She walked towards him, intent on going up the stairs and continuing home. As she passed him, he caught her arm.

“Are you ever going to listen to me?” Jason asked quietly.

She rubbed her eyes and turned around. “Jason, I can’t do this right now. There’s so much going on and I just…I can’t do this.”

“What’s going on?” Jason asked, picking up on her frustration. “Elizabeth-”

“No,” Elizabeth said firmly. “Look, I told you before. I can’t deal with your loyalty taking priority over promises you make–and there’s nothing you can tell me that’ll make this okay. I’ve listened to your explanations and you know what? They’re not good enough for me. It’s not that you didn’t tell me–Jason, you shut me out. You stopped talking to me. You wouldn’t come home for days and when you did, you barely looked at me. I can’t deal with that again. And you can’t promise me it won’t happen again. You can’t tell me that you won’t be put into a position where you’ll have to lie to me–” Elizabeth stopped and looked away. “I can’t deal with this right now.”

He let go of her arm and stepped back. “I’m sorry, Elizabeth. You know–”

“Goodbye, Jason.” She looked at him another moment and stepped up another stair before he put his arm out to stop her.

“No,” he said. She turned and crossed her arms.

“Jason-”

“We don’t say goodbye, remember?” Jason said. “I’ll see you later.” His eyes searched hers. “If you need me, you know you can come to me, right?”

“I did need you, Jason.” Elizabeth bit her lip and looked over the water. “I needed you to be there–to be part of my life. But you–” She stopped. He’d done it again. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Look, maybe one day, I’ll come find you and you can explain to your heart’s content, okay? Maybe. But I don’t want to hear it right now. I have other things going on–I don’t need this. Please…don’t do this anymore.”

“All right. Fair enough.” Jason took another step back.

She hesitated another moment before turning and continuing up the stairs.

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