Sage eyed the baby monitor in her hands, almost hoping for some sound. She wanted something to do.
Something that didn’t include her psychology or history homework.
She set the white plastic monitor on the coffee table and stood up. She crossed to the large bay window that faced the street. She crossed her arms and glanced up and down the street, hoping Carly would come back.
With a long frustrated sigh, Sage turned away and surveyed the rest of the downstairs. As houses went, she guessed this one was pretty nice. It was kind of bare though, a box here and there that still needed to be unpacked. It didn’t really look like two small children and a woman like Carly lived here.
If she lived here, she’d paint all of these boring white walls bright colors. A bright green in the living room maybe–sunny yellow in the kitchen and she’d keep the dining room an eggshell color so it didn’t take away from the artwork Sage would hang.
Modern art, Sage decided. Abstract paintings with some bright colors. Discussion pieces. That’s what she’d hang here. Family portraits would go in the living room. Maybe a large framed one above the fireplace of Michael and Morgan.
It was so easy to picture the kind of home she’d create and she found herself aching for this situation to go past the temporary week. Her room was fantastic, this house just needed a woman’s touch. A woman not bogged down in raising children, fighting her feelings for different men and dealing with her husband’s trial.
A knock on the front door interrupted Sage’s fantasy of her as a bridesmaid in Carly’s wedding to her uncle. She crossed to the front door and pulled it open. She scowled immediately. “What do you want?” she demanded.
Lucas Jones sighed and slipped his hands in his pockets. “Look…this isn’t easy for me to do–”
“Just spit it out,” Sage remarked darkly.
“I’m sorry,” Lucas blurted out. “I didn’t know you went over there to apologize. I came into the cafeteria and saw you walking away from the table and I just…I don’t like people hurting my cousins. They don’t have an older brother and their dad’s busy a lot so I tend to step in and look out for them. I’m sorry.”
“Now that you’ve got that off your chest…” Sage gestured towards the walkway behind him.
He stopped her from shutting the door by bracing his hand on it. “No, I…I really am sorry. I don’t know you, Sage. I had no right to judge you before I even laid eyes on you–I’m not usually such an asshole, I promise.”
“Well…the only thing you knew about me was that I’d thrown myself at your cousin’s boyfriend so I guess you thought you knew exactly what kind of person I’d be,” Sage sighed. “I apologized to your cousin, I’ve accepted your apology. Can we leave it at that?”
“I should have considered the source,” Lucas protested. “That anything Georgie would told me would be colored by her anger towards you. I didn’t and I took what she said at face value. I was cruel to you.” He lowered his voice. “I know that I upset you a-and I really…I really am sorry.”
Sage glanced away. “You didn’t upset me,” she mumbled.
“I did,” Lucas argued. “I just…” he licked his lips and took a deep breath. “I didn’t show you around like I was supposed to and I’m sorry for that too.”
“It’s not a big deal.”
“Well…I’d like a second chance,” Lucas told her. “Maybe we could meet at your locker tomorrow and I can do it right?”
Sage hesitated. She didn’t want to open herself up to another cutting and cruel remark from him–but he seemed genuinely sorry and he had been just looking out for his little cousin after all. “Okay.”
“Okay,” Lucas nodded. “Before homeroom?”
“Yeah, sure,” Sage agreed.
“Okay.” He hesitated and gave her a little smile. “I’ll see you then.”
Despite herself, Sage smiled back. “Okay.”
“Okay,” he repeated. He backed up from door, sliding his hands into his back pockets. “Bye.”
Amused now, Sage laughed. “Bye.”
He laughed too and finally turned to finish walking to his car. He opened the car door and waved at her little before getting inside.
When he’d finally driven away, she laughed again and closed the door, leaning against for a minute. She wasn’t sure but if she didn’t know any better…he might have been flirting with a little at the end there.
Port Charles Hotel: Courtney’s Room
Courtney parted the curtains of her single room and waited for Brian to answer his phone. She’d decided to stay the night here before making the drive back to Haye’s Landing.
The scene in the penthouse had gone both better and worse than she’d expected. She’d presented herself as well as she was able to and she was proud of herself for holding it together, for not yelling and crying and just generally losing it. She didn’t want Jason to see how much it hurt–how much the knowledge of knowing Jason would get the child she knew he always wanted but Courtney wouldn’t be having it. No, the woman Courtney could never measure up to had that privilege.
But she’d hoped…she’d hoped Jason would at least argue with her. Not a whole lot because she’d been afraid if he pushed her, she’d back down. But he’d just…he’d agreed. She’d wanted the divorce, he nodded and said that was fair, whatever she wanted.
She hadn’t known how to deal with that answer. Hadn’t expected it. It didn’t change her mind about wanting one but it…it made her think a little more about Jason and whether he’d been happy in this marriage or not.
“Brian…hey, it’s me,” Courtney said. She sat down in an armchair and sighed. “I’m sorry I didn’t call earlier.”
“It’s fine. Where–where are you?”
“The hotel,” she answered. “I went to the penthouse already.”
“We talked. I almost…I almost–” she sighed. “I could feel myself making excuses for him. Saying that I knew he still loved her, that I had been a rebound for him–but I stopped. I took a step back and I got through it.”
“Did you get the answers you needed?”
“No,” Courtney kicked her shoes off and closed her eyes. “I was going to ask but…but I was afraid of the answer. Jason–why’d you sleep with your ex-girlfriend. It should be have been simple to ask–I mean, it’s a logical question to ask in these circumstances.”
“Of course it is.”
“I think I even have a right to ask.”
“But…what if he’d told me he did it because he still loved her? That one night, he’d seen her and he’d realized what he’d given up and he wanted to fix it–”
“Courtney, if any of that was true, he wouldn’t have come back to you,” Brian interrupted. “He still married you. He didn’t stay with her.”
“Maybe he felt guilty,” Courtney challenged. “Maybe–”
“Maybe you should just ask him,” he cut in.
“Maybe.” She bit her lip. “I told him…I told him I wanted a divorce and he said okay.”
“He said okay?” Brian repeated. “Is that all he said?”
“Just okay. Not…no, Courtney, I love you. Not Courtney, we can make this work. Just, yeah, okay, let’s end this marriage. He didn’t argue. He just sat there while I packed my stuff and called one of the guards to help me out with it.”
Brian sighed. “I’m sorry, Courtney. I don’t…I don’t know what I supposed to say to you.”
“There’s nothing to say, I guess. I need to find a lawyer, file for divorce and figure out what I’m supposed to do with the rest of my life.”
“Don’t worry about the rest of your life. One day at a time.”
“Easy to say, harder to do.” She ran a hand through her hair and sighed. “I’m gonna take a shower, get a nap. I’ll probably be back sometime tomorrow. Depends on what happens here.”
“Okay, yeah, I gotta go make some rounds. I’ll see when you get back then.”
She hung up the phone and sighed. Was it wrong to be disappointed Jason hadn’t protested the divorce? Or be relieved that he hadn’t?
November 25, 2003
Wyndemere: Elizabeth’s Bedroom
Elizabeth murmured something in her sleep and burrowed more deeply into the soft pillows of the guest room she was staying in.
“Thanks for walking me home,” Elizabeth said, tugging her keys from her pockets and turning to smile at the hazy shape of Jason leaning against the wall outside her studio.
“It’s no big deal,” he shrugged. “I mean…you nearly tripped and fell into the water,” he teased her. “Who knows the damage you could have done getting up the stairs?”
Elizabeth laughed and shook her head. “None with you only three inches away the whole time,” she retorted good-naturedly. She tried to fit the key into the lock but kept missing it as the hallway was rather dark.
“Stupid key,” she mumbled. She heard it scraping against the metal of the lock but it wasn’t fitting in.
Jason’s warm hand covered hers and gently moved it just slightly to the left where the key slid inside the lock. The tumblers clicked open and she tilted her head up to thank him.
He was so close to her she could make out the details of his face more clearly before. She licked her lips, a little nervous. It’d been some time since they were this close to one another. A year. More even.
And…he was getting closer. He pushed her hair out of her face and closed the last bit of distance between them with a soft, hesitant kiss.
“Jason,” she breathed against his lips, her eyes fluttering shut at the warmth and familiarity of his scent and taste.
“Shhh…” He kissed her again, harder this time. She dropped her keys on the floor and wound her arms around his neck.
Jason tangled one hand in her hair while fumbling blindly for the doorknob to open the door to the studio.
He found it and pushed it open, backing her inside, never breaking the contact between their mouths.
Jason’s hands shoved the jacket from her shoulders and hoisted her onto the nearby table, knocking some sketch pads and other various art supplies to the ground. Elizabeth speared her fingers in his dirty blonde hair, a breathy moan escaping her lips as he ravaged her neck.
She yanked his shirt up and over his head, dragging her nails back down the hard plane of his chest, eliciting a slight growl from Jason as he took possession of her mouth again, thrusting his tongue inside her mouth. They fought for control–for the kiss and for everything else.
He gripped the sides of her button-down shirt and ripped them apart, sending the tiny buttons scattering all over the studio. He slid the shirt halfway down her arms, restricting the movement of those limbs as his lips roved over the smooth expanse of skin he’d just uncovered.
“Jason,” Elizabeth moaned. She wiggled out of the shirt and wrapped her arms around his neck again, shifting her weight so that he was forced to take a step back and lift her back into his arms.
He stumbled backwards and his knees hit the couch. He went sprawling on his back and she landed hard on top of him. Elizabeth giggled a little and started to sit a little, bracing her hands on his chest.
Jason had other ideas–he wrapped his hands around her wrists and yanked, sending her crashing back on top him. He tugged her up a little and devoured her mouth once again in a searing kiss.
Her hands slid down the smooth skin until they reached the button of his jeans–
She jerked up suddenly, her face burning, her breathing shallow and fast. “What?”
Emily smiled a little and sat on the edge of the bed. “Must have been some dream,” she teased.
Elizabeth shoved her sweaty hair off her face and stood quickly. “What did you need?” she asked.
“Jason’s…downstairs. Apparently, you were supposed to meet him after your shift yesterday.”
Elizabeth’s face reddened further and she went over to her bag, yanking some clothes out. “I completely forgot,” she mumbled.
“So…what was the dream about?” Emily pressed, blocking her friend’s approach to the bathroom to shower.
“Nothing,” Elizabeth muttered. She darted to the left but Emily blocked her again. “Em–”
“Come on, if you can’t tell your very best friend in the whole wide world, who can you tell?” Emily demanded with a smile. The smile grew slightly wicked. “Was it about my brother?”
“Emily,” Elizabeth hissed. “Be quiet.”
“Oh please. He’s two flights down. He can’t hear you, trust me. Well, I guess it was.”
“It was…about that night,” Elizabeth admitted. “And you interrupted at a key moment,” she grumbled.
“Okay, enough about sex and my brother. Nasty,” Emily wrinkled her nose. “Anyway, he picked up some apartment listings so am I to understand you won’t be giving him a hard time about this today?”
“No. Nikolas pretty much killed the last of my stubbornness,” she sighed. “Look, I just want to get showered and changed.” She pressed a hand to abdomen suddenly with a grimace. “Oh…man, I don’t feel so well.”
“Excuse me.” Elizabeth dashed past her friend and slammed the bathroom door shut.
“She was still sleeping so she’s getting a shower and stuff,” Emily told her brother. “She forgot all about meeting you yesterday.”
“Yeah, I called and Penny told me she’d gone to the hospital.”
“With the newscast, she didn’t want to chance that her grandmother had seen it before she had a chance to tell her about it.”
“How did that go?”
“Not well at all,” Emily sighed. She turned to see Nikolas entering with a cup of coffee. “Hey.”
“Well…Courtney knows,” Jason told his sister. “She found out on Friday, avoided me until yesterday.”
“Oh…Jason…” Emily touched his arm. “How did that go?”
“Probably as well Elizabeth and her grandmother,” Jason said with a sigh. “She’s filing for divorce.”
“Oh…I am so sorry…” Emily wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah…I–I’ve been resigning myself to this possibility since I found out Elizabeth was pregnant,” Jason admitted. “I just want to get everything squared away with Elizabeth so I know she’s taken care of.”
Outside the door, Elizabeth sighed and leaned her head against the cool wall. An obligation. That’s all she’d ever be to him.
Someone to take care of.
“Michael, did you do your homework?” Carly shouted up to her son as she shoved his lunch into his Harry Potter book bag.
“Yes!” Michael shouted back. He started to hop down the stairs, tying his left shoe at the same time.
“Oh, tie your shoe and then come down!” she chastised. She turned to call for Sage who had been loitering in the kitchen the last time she’d seen her.
“I’m almost done!” the teen called back. The phone rang. “I’ll get it!”
Sage yanked the receiver off the wall. “Hello?” she asked hurriedly.
“Hey, honey, it’s me,” Lorenzo said.
“Oh, hey, Uncle Zo,” Sage grinned. “How’s the trip going?”
“It’s going great. I should be home earlier than expected. How’s school?”
“It’s okay,” Sage sighed. “I think it sucks but it can’t get worse can it?”
“That’s a good attitude,” Lorenzo remarked. “You behaving for Carly?”
Sage rolled her eyes. “Yes, Uncle Zo. She’s really great, you know. It’s good to be around another woman. Look, I so hate to cut you off but I’m like four minutes from being late–”
“Sage Alcazar, if you don’t get your butt out here right now, you’re walking!” Carly yelled.
Lorenzo laughed. “Sounds like you’d better go. I’ll call after school, all right?”
“All right,” Sage agreed. “I love you, Uncle Zo,” she said in a hurry before slamming the phone down.
At the other end, Lorenzo smiled and hung up the phone. “I love you, too, Sage,” he sighed. He glanced over at one of the men he was working with. “Let’s get this over with. I have a family I need to get back to,” he told him, slipping his cell phone into his pocket.