Jax shifted in his seat at the Port Charles Grille. Across the table, his obviously irate wife had her arms crossed and a pissed look in her eyes. “Skye–”
“I don’t want to hear it,” Skye snapped. She glared at him. “It’s only out of respect for your family that I’m even here right now.”
“The hell I did,” Skye bit out angrily. “You. Brenda. Lips. Attached. You want to clarify the situation? Be my guest.”
Jax rubbed his face, irritated. “I thought we were going to trust each other.”
“We were,” Skye replied, stiffly. “But I saw the entire situation. And you kissed her. So you know what? Don’t pull the trust issue with me.” Her eyes flicked around nervously. “Where are they?”
“Um…hi…” Elizabeth said, hesitantly approaching the table.
Jax stood, glad for a distraction from his wife. “Hello, Elizabeth. Where’s Jerry?”
“I guess he’s not here,” Elizabeth replied, nervously clasping her hands in front of her. She bit her lip. “Um…”
Skye glared at her husband one last time before taking pity on the girl. She stood. “We haven’t been introduced, not formally anyway. I’m Skye Jacks,” Skye said, extending her hand.
“Elizabeth Webber,” Elizabeth said, shaking the woman’s hand.
“Sit,” Skye directed, pointing at an empty chair. The three sat and another uncomfortable silence fell. Skye decided she had two choices–she could stew over Jax and Brenda or she could try to get to know the brunette sitting next to her. “So, Jax tells me you’re an artist.”
“I try,” Elizabeth said. “I haven’t sold anything, but I’ve done some work for the Nurse’s Ball.”
“The Nurse’s Ball,” Skye murmured. “Are they going to have that again or is it permanently off?”
“I think it’s on the schedule for this year,” Elizabeth said. “Why? Would you perform?”
“Heavens, no,” Skye said, shuddering at the idea. “Have you?”
“Twice,” Elizabeth reported. “The first time I was absolutely terrified–”
“I remember that,” Jax spoke up. “You were with the Spencer kid and Dara Jensen…and that utterly irritating police officer…”
Elizabeth nodded. “Taggart. We did Jailhouse Rock.”
“You were good,” Jax assured her. “Brenda-” he stopped. “You were good,” he repeated.
“Sorry, I’m late,” Jerry said, pulling a chair out. “An appointment that couldn’t wait.”
Jax muttered something under his breath before giving his brother a weak grin. “We were just getting to know one another.”
Elizabeth smiled as Jerry took his seat next to her. “Hi.”
“Hi.” Jerry looked at his brother and his wife. “Are we interrupting a family dispute?”
Skye glared at Jax. “Why don’t you tell your brother where you were when I picked you up for dinner?”
“Skye, don’t do this,” Jax warned.
“By all means, Skye,” Jerry said, sweeping his hand as if to give her the floor.
“Jerry-” Elizabeth tried.
“He was with Brenda,” Skye snapped. “Kissing Brenda.”
Jerry turned to his brother. “Is that true?”
“Skye, this isn’t the place–”
“I’ll decide where the place is,” Skye hissed, leaning forward. “I came here to support you. To meet your niece and your brother. And how do you repay me for months of compassion and understanding? You kiss her!”
Elizabeth’s eyes darted between the arguing couple. As sick as it was, she already liked this family more than her own. At least they were passionate people.
“Skye, you don’t understand,” Jax said, almost pleading.
“No, you know what? I do understand. For the first time, I understand completely. You were settling for me–because Brenda was dead. But now that she’s alive, you–”
“Damn it, Skye. I married you. I’m with you. I love you,” Jax argued.
“All right, time out,” Elizabeth spoke up. Jax and Skye turned to look at her, stunned. “Hey, I’m sorry for interrupting but I think you both need to take a deep breath and calm down. You don’t want to say things you don’t mean.”
Skye stared at the woman and took her advice. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. “She’s right.”
Jerry stared at his daughter, his mouth opened wide. “You just–” He shook his head. “Wow.”
Jax looked at his brother amused. “She’s your daughter all right.” He looked to Skye. “Look, can we talk about this at home? Please.”
Skye nodded. “That sounds like a good idea to me.” She put a smile on her face and looked at Jerry and Elizabeth. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine,” Elizabeth said. She took a deep breath. “I know how awkward this is. It’s a weird situation for me as well.”
“Hey, this family…we give new meaning to the phrase awkward situation,” Jerry said. “Isn’t that right, Jax?”
“Always the comedian,” Jax said, his grin back full force. He looked to Elizabeth. “Elizabeth, welcome to the family. I think my parents are going to adore you.”
Elizabeth smiled nervously. “I hope so.”
Skye studied her thoughtfully. “What are you doing tomorrow?”
“What?” Elizabeth asked startled. She shifted to look at the redhead. “Nothing.”
“We’re going shopping,” Skye announced.
Jerry and Jax exchanged glances. “That’s probably not a good thing, is it?” Jerry asked.
“She’s with the Jacks’ brothers,” Sonny said, staring across the room. Carly looked over her shoulder to see Elizabeth sitting with Jax, Jerry and Skye. “When did Jerry get back in town?”
Carly turned back to Sonny and shrugged. “Don’t know. More important question…what’s she doing?”
Sonny frowned. “I don’t know–but it can’t be good.”
Carly glared at him. “You always think it can’t be good. What’s wrong with Elizabeth having friends that don’t include Jason?”
“She’s not including Jason at all,” Sonny said, testily. “She’s not giving him a chance–”
“She gave him plenty of chances,” Carly cut in. “Two months, she kept coming to me and asking if I’d heard from him–if he was okay. Where he was, what was he doing. He wasn’t telling her anything. She waited for two months. Don’t blame this on her because she’s taking control of her life.”
“I thought you hated her. What happened to her not loving Jason enough?”
Carly frowned. “I don’t hate her. Do you know what she did after you supposedly died? She made me brownies. She cleaned the penthouse–you know what…if you want to blame this on Elizabeth, go ahead and do that. But you know you’re wrong.”
Sonny swore under his breath and looked away. “I know that. I know I should have let Jason tell her–you think I don’t know that? But I need to know how I can fix this.”
“Sonny–some things…they’re not meant to be fixed. Yeah, so he loves her. She probably loves him, too. But they’re the only ones who work this out. And as guilty as you feel…it’s not going to change that.”
“When did you get so smart?” Sonny muttered.
Carly glared at him. “You know what? You’ve been in a bad mood all night. And I don’t think I should have to deal with this anymore.” She threw her napkin down and pushed her chair back. “Get over yourself, Sonny. This isn’t about you.” She stood and stalked angrily out of the restaurant.
The temporary truce that Skye and Jax had called lasted until dessert when Jax mentioned Brenda again. Instead of making some bitter comment or snapping at him, Skye threw him an angry glare and left.
Jax, in an uncharacteristic move, dropped his head to the table and started slamming gently down. “I just can’t win,” he muttered.
Jerry shifted. “You want me to go after her? Make sure she gets home all right?”
Jax raised his head. “Would you? Because I think she might hurt me right now.”
Jerry grinned. “Might?” He stood. “Elizabeth, thanks for your help, but I think the two of them are hopeless.” He turned to Jax. “Make sure Elizabeth gets home?”
“I’ll be fine,” Elizabeth protested.
“Sure,” Jax said, pulling his wallet out. He put a few bills on the table. “It’s no problem. Except…well, I think Skye may have taken the car, so I’ll have to walk you.”
“There’s no need,” Elizabeth said, standing. Jax and Jerry both stood. “Really.”
“You live in a building next to the docks,” Jerry pointed out. “It’s not a safe place this late at night.”
“You know–” Elizabeth stopped. She had this new family that seemed to care about her–the least she could do is let them. She smiled. “Thank you. I’d appreciate it.”
Elizabeth pulled her coat tighter around herself as she and Jax came down the dock steps. “I’m sorry about your wife,” she said, breaking the silence.
Jax looked at her. “Yeah? Me, too. You’d think I’d learn not to mention Brenda in her presence.”
“Does she think you’d rather be with her?” Elizabeth asked curiously. She shook her head. “I’m sorry, it’s none of my business.”
Jax stopped walking and looked out over the water. “She thinks that I still love Brenda. And I do.”
“Oh.” Elizabeth bit her lip, not sure what to say.
“Have you ever been in love with someone…you thought they were the love of your life and had things been different, you would have stayed with them the rest of your life?”
“Actually, yeah,” Elizabeth responded, a bit surprised.
Jax turned to look at her. “Really?”
“Yeah.” Elizabeth put her hands in her pockets. “My ex, Lucky Spencer. We were inseparable before this fire that I thought killed him. And we wanted to be together forever. But he’d been kidnapped and I was forced to move on, find a way to survive without him. And I did.” She sighed. “But Lucky came back…but he wasn’t the same and neither was I. We both refused to see it and we tried to recreate the past, but it didn’t work. And I ended up hurting the person that I really wanted to be with.”
“I’ll always love Brenda,” Jax said, shrugging. “But Skye’s my wife. I don’t take those vows lightly. I wouldn’t have married her if I didn’t love her. Brenda’s…she’s part of the past. I just haven’t learned to put her there.” He looked to her. “How did you finally get out of your situation?”
“Lucky slept with my sister–and Helena used this diamond to make him lose any feelings for me, so it was really a moot point by then anyway. I don’t think that’s going to help your situation.”
“Probably not. But you did end up with the person you really wanted right?” Jax asked.
“In a matter of speaking,” Elizabeth remarked bitterly.
“Ah, Morgan,” Jax said.
“You know about that?” Elizabeth asked curiously.
“When I found out Sonny faked his death, I got curious. You remember…Alcazar was after me as well. I made it my business to keep an eye on Sonny and Jason. I couldn’t ignore that two days after Sonny returned home–you moved out of the building.”
“I got tired of being treated the way I was,” Elizabeth replied softly. “I knew he couldn’t tell me Sonny was alive–I got that. But he never came home. He never called. I didn’t know if he was dead or alive. When he was around, he didn’t talk to me. He spent a lot of time protecting Sonny’s sister. I just…I can’t be in a relationship where his loyalty to someone else takes precedence over a promise he made not to hurt me intentionally.”
“I don’t blame you–I would have removed myself from a situation like that.”
“Now, Jason wants to explain,” Elizabeth remarked bitterly. “I don’t know what he’s so adamant on explaining. He hurt me so he didn’t have to lie. I caught that much. I don’t understand how that logic works.” She looked up at Jax. “Does it make sense to you?”
“Depends,” Jax said. “On how he was thinking. He obviously thought lying to you was the greater of the two evils.”
She bit her lip. “I guess I can see where he’d get the impression. When I found Lucky in bed with Sarah, it was after a lot denials that they were even attracted to one another. They’d lied to me. I was in a car accident last March where…” she stopped. “I remember telling him that I couldn’t handle him lying to me, too.” She grimaced. “I guess he took that seriously.” She rubbed her eyes. “I just don’t want to go to that place where my life revolves around him. I did that with Lucky and it took me so long to figure out who I am.”
Jax studied Elizabeth thoughtfully. “Well, now you’re a part of our family…trust me, being Jerry’s daughter will keep you busy.”