Chapter 26

This entry is part 26 of 37 in the Counting Stars

This is a way
This is a way
That I’m learning to breathe
I’m learning to crawl
I’m finding that you and you alone can break my fall
I’m living again
Awake and alive
I’m dying to breathe in these abundant skies
Learning to Breathe, Switchfoot

Saturday, May 6, 2000

New Imperial Hotel: Jason & Elizabeth’s Room

Elizabeth sat at the table, towel drying her hair and watching Jason scribble something in the pregnancy book. “You’re studying more than I did in college,” she said, and he glanced up, distracted. “Sorry—”

“Uh, no, it’s fine—” Jason slid the pen into the book to mark his place and closed it. “Just making a list of questions. For a doctor. We should be thinking about making an appointment. You could call Bobbie to set something up—”

Elizabeth dropped the towel into her lap, the damp strands brushing her shoulders. “Things going that well with Sonny, then?”

Jason sat back in the chair. When he looked away, she nodded. “Yeah, I got the feeling that things were a little tense.” And they hadn’t been before she’d left them alone at the table to go see the Weather Machine sculpture. “Jason, if we go back to Port Charles…wouldn’t you have to go back to working for Sonny?”

“I could fight it,” Jason said. “Maybe I’d be able to steer clear, but there’s always going to be someone who thinks I’m involved. Or that I know something.” He brushed his thumb against his eyebrow. “It’s fine. I can make it work.”

She bit her lip. “That doesn’t sound that enthusiastic—”

Jason put a hand out. “I can do it. You want to be in Port Charles. You made that clear from the beginning. All of this—” He gestured at the room around them. “Being on the road—you don’t want this for the baby—”

“I hear a lot about what I want,” Elizabeth told him. “What do you want—”

“I want you to be happy, the baby to be healthy—”

“Why is it okay for me to want something so selfish?” she cut in, and he stopped talking, staring at her. “Being in Port Charles isn’t good for you. At least not yet.”

Don’t tell me what’s good for me.” Jason shoved away from the table, the chair siding so hard it smacked against the opposite wall. “I’m sick of being telling me what I feel—” He clenched his hand into a fist. “I get to make my own choices. My own mistakes. And if going back ends up being a mistake, fine. But it’s mine to make—” He turned back to glare at her. “I’m not going to run away from you or the baby. Or leave you like your parents did. So drop it. We’re going back—”

Elizabeth exhaled slowly, a bit unsettled. “I’m sorry. You’re right. You get to make your own choices. Your own mistakes. I didn’t mean to—”

“I’m sorry—” Jason winced.

“But I get to do that, too, don’t I?” Her throat tightened as she stared up at him. “I get to do what’s right for me. And going home right now isn’t. So go back if you want. But I’m fine right here.”

“Elizabeth—” He sat on the edge of the bed. “Listen—”

“Wanting to stay in Port Charles didn’t have anything to do with the place. Okay? I was scared to leave with you. I didn’t know who I was without Lucky, and I was terrified I’d wrap my identity up in being with you, and when you got tired or bored—” She shook her head. “I’d have nothing to come back to. And now I’m afraid you’ll come back for the same reasons. You’ll come back for me. For the baby. And no, you’d never resent the baby. You’re a better father than that. But you would end up hating me—”

“No, I wouldn’t—”

“You were already on your way before you left.” He flinched. “You jumped down my throat for being in a room with Sonny. You said it yourself. You could manage it for a while, but you were afraid it would get worse. That I wouldn’t be enough—”

“I didn’t mean it like—” Jason grimaced, looked away. “It’s different now—”

“Because we’re not there, we’re here. We’re thousands of miles away. I’m not telling you how to feel. Or what to think. Or even what to do. I’m telling you that I didn’t like the way you treated me that day. And I don’t like that you refuse to be honest with me now.”

“I’m not lying—”

“Are you ready to go back to Port Charles and everything else that it would mean?” Elizabeth challenged. “Forget me. Forget what I told you I wanted. You asked Sonny to come out here to see if things were better. Are they?”

He was quiet so long she almost thought he wouldn’t answer. “No.” Jason dragged his hands through his hair. “No. I tried to—I wanted to be. But—” He shook his head. “No. They’re better. But I don’t trust him.” He closed his eyes. “I never thought I’d say that. That’d I feel that way. But I don’t trust Sonny. Because he will always think he knows better. He did it with Carly. And today—” Jason scowled. “He told me he didn’t want me back if I wasn’t ready to trust him.”

Elizabeth’s cheeks heated, but she kept her expression blank. “He said that.” Arrogant son of a bitch—

“I want to be ready.” Jason met her eyes and she wanted to weep at the anguish. “I know how much you love Laura and Bobbie. I want my grandmother and my sister to be part of all this. But I made choices a long time ago that I can’t ever take back. Not if I want to be there.”

“Then we’re not going back.” Elizabeth folded her arms. “We can pick somewhere out here to stay. I can find a doctor here. You’re right. We should make an appointment.”


“Laura can come visit. And so can Emily and Bobbie.” She bit her lip. “But we’ll have to visit Lila. We can do that quietly. I can call my agency and figure that out, too—”

“Elizabeth, you don’t have to—”

Elizabeth sat on the bed next to him, took his hand in hers, lacing their fingers together. “I made a choice for myself months ago—” Their eyes met. “After that day in my studio. I could either try to make you happy in Port Charles — or I could encourage you to leave. It was hard, and you should know how tempted I was to be selfish and hold you there.”

“You could have,” Jason admitted. “Elizabeth—”

“It was one of the hardest things ever I did — going to the penthouse and telling you to go. Not begging you to stay or take me with you. But that’s not how you show someone that you care about them.”

His eyes softened. “Elizabeth—”

“You would have kept giving and giving, to me, to Sonny, even to Carly, because that’s who you are. You keep telling me you’ll go back for me. Why is it so hard for you to understand that I want to stay away for you?”

Jason laced his fingers through her hair and kissed her. “We’ll wait a little longer,” he murmured against her mouth. “Maybe in a few more weeks—”

Elizabeth rolled her eyes, planted her hands against his shoulders and pushed until he lay flat on his back, then swung a leg over his body to straddle him. “We’ll wait as long as we need to. I’m not in any hurry to share you with the rest of the world.”

He drew her down to kiss her again. “Me either.”

Sunday, May 7, 2000

Harborview Towers: Davis Penthouse

Alexis curled up on the sofa with a mug of coffee and a remote. She was going to take the entire day off, since Sonny was out of town and couldn’t get arrested, it was possible. He wouldn’t be around to be arrested.

She was halfway through a rerun of the Golden Girls when the phone rang. She sighed, set down the coffee and leaned over to the side table for the cordless. “Hello?”


She straightened at the stiff sound of her brother’s voice. “Stefan,” Alexis said, cautiously. Though their relationship was starting to thaw out, it was still rare for him to seek her out, especially at home. “Uh, good morning.”

“Good morning.” There was a brief pause, and Alexis furrowed her brows. Had he forgotten that he’d called her? “I wanted to inform you that I’ve convinced Nikolas to retreat to the island for a while.”

“Nikolas is going to Greece?” Alexis dragged her hand through her hair, considered the idea. “I didn’t…I wasn’t expecting that.”

“I’m not certain we had any other options. After the scene in Kelly’s, Nikolas has few allies left in Port Charles. His mother was quite disappointed.” And from Stefan’s icy tone, Alexis knew her brother wasn’t happy with Laura’s choices. “And, of course, Emily Quartermaine was unhappy.”

“I know neither of us wanted to see Nikolas sink so low,” Alexis said. “Perhaps some time away will offer some perspective. He’s too close to all the memories here.”

“Yes. Well, I’ll be going there myself in a week or so after he’s settled-”

“Oh, he’s already gone?”

“He left for the airport this morning. I thought you ought to know as the hospital’s attorney.”

As the hospital’s attorney. Not as Nikolas’s aunt or Stefan’s sister. She cleared her throat. “Thank you for keeping me informed. I hope you’ll let me know how Nikolas is.”

“I will. Goodbye.”

“Goodbye.” She hung up the phone and left it in her lap, thinking about the conversation, about the horror of the last year. How had it all gone so wrong?

New Imperial Hotel: Sonny’s Room

It was probably a mistake, Elizabeth told herself, but she knocked briskly on the door next to theirs. Sonny smiled when he saw her, but it faded when he read her expression. “Uh, is everything all right? Where’s Jason?”

“Getting breakfast. Can I come in?” She didn’t wait for him to answer but squeezed past him. He sighed, closed the door, then turned to face her.

“Can I do something for you? You look unhappy—”

“I don’t know how to have this conversation without doing the same thing I’m angry with you about,” Elizabeth admitted. “I don’t want to meddle in Jason’s life—”

“I’m not—”

“But I’m so angry with you right now I’m willing to risk it,” she bit out, and he closed his mouth. “Do you even know what you’ve done?”


“And I’m not talking about Carly. I’m talking about manipulating Jason into feeling like he owes you anything for where he and I ended up—” And that was how she’d thread this needle. If Jason owed Sonny for their relationship, for the baby, then Elizabeth did, too. “And don’t tell me you didn’t,” she said when he started to talk. “You think if you don’t screw Carly back in December, I don’t end up pregnant.”

Sonny pressed his lips together, took a deep breath. “There’s truth to that—”

“You do not get to take a terrible thing you did to Jason and slap some silver lining on it. Because we don’t owe you anything. How dare you try to use me to get Jason back into your life? Do you understand the level of arrogance you have to possess to think the choices I made—that he made—have anything to do with you?” She jabbed a finger at him. “You blew up Jason’s entire world. I used to think you at least had the grace to step back, but now I see it was just another manipulation. You watched him shove Carly out of his life because she wouldn’t stop—because she kept pushing. Then you kept your distance. But it didn’t work. So you tried to use me—”


“That day, at your penthouse, when Jason got so upset—you wanted to use me for information—or worse, maybe to keep Jason happy. Because I think you knew Jason was at the end of his rope. You used me, and you’re doing it again. You destroyed his life, and now you’re going to turn around and make Jason feel like he owes you everything, like I owe you something.” Her blood boiled as the truth of that sank in. “The absolute fucking audacity and arrogance is almost breath taking—”

Sonny shook his head. “That’s not what I meant by any of that—I just wanted to point out—”

“I am not a pawn for you to use. If Jason forgives you, that’s his choice, and I’ll support him. But you do not ever get to use me or our child against him Do you understand me?”


Do you understand?” she repeated.

“Do I get to talk now?” Sonny asked almost pleasantly. “Because I think you’re misunderstanding what I said to Jason—”

“You told him if it wasn’t for that night, maybe Jason and I aren’t out here together. Which means if you don’t decide to have sex with Carly and Jason doesn’t find out, I’m not pregnant. Did I misunderstand that?”

“Well, no, but—”

“I found him. Me!” She flattened her hand against her chest, her eyes burning. “And I made the choice not to give up on him. Just like he made the choice to let me help him. Everything we have—we built together. And it had nothing to do with you! We’ve worked too hard for you to come here and take credit for any of it. You wanted Jason to be in your debt. You wanted to have the power again. Because you have to be in control.”

Sonny’s face lost some of its color as he stared at her. “What?”

“That’s what this is, isn’t it? The power is in Jason’s hands. He doesn’t forgive you, he doesn’t come back to Port Charles. And you have to live with the knowledge that you’re the one that drove him away. You don’t get to come into our lives and take control. To write the narrative. Jason decides when he goes home—”

“Really? Because I thought you were deciding that?” he retorted scathingly. “He said you were the one keeping him here—he wanted to come back, but maybe you’re the scared one. Maybe you think he’ll go back to Carly—”

“If Jason wants to go back today, we’ll get on a plane. I’ve told him that. Jason gets to decide what he’s ready for. Not you. And not me.” She lifted her chin. “You’re not in control, Sonny. Not anymore. Get used to it.”

She stormed past him, slamming the door on her way out.

Kelly’s: Courtyard

Bobbie pressed her napkin to her mouth, then set it aside. “I hope Stefan is right,” she murmured. “That Nikolas finds some peace in Greece.”

“He grew up there,” Laura offered. “And I know his childhood was relatively happy—” Though he was quick to forget that when he wanted to guilt Laura for leaving him. She’d made the best choice for herself and would have to live with it for the rest of her of her life. She pushed her salad around her plate. “I may not have fond memories of my time there, but I can hope better for him.”

“Everyone grieves in their own ways.” Bobbie sat back. “And as I told Emily, it really is better that the news broke while Elizabeth and Jason are gone. The interest died down very quickly.” She hesitated. “I’ve been fighting a little resentment,” she admitted, and Laura frowned at her. “Elizabeth and I have always been close. And I tell myself that I’m glad she had you. That she could talk to someone—”

“You wish it had been you.”

“Yes.” Bobbie’s smile was small. “It’s a terrible thing to feel, and I would never bring this up to her. But I knew she tried to distance herself from me for a while, and I suspect Carly was part of it.”

“I can’t tell you why she told me and not you,” Laura told her sister-in-law. “Only that I suspect it was related to Lucky. She found out that weekend. I was just…I was there, Bobbie.”

“I know. I know.” Bobbie shook her head. “It’s not a fair way to feel. I just…I think you and I both let Elizabeth fill a bit of the missing space in our lives. I love Carly, I do. But Elizabeth…she’s special to me. And being part of her life, for the big moments—she’s not much older than BJ would be.” Bobbie closed her eyes. “My baby. She’d be fourteen this year.”

“I’m so sorry,” Laura said, leaving over to squeeze Bobbie’s hand.

“It’s silly to feel hurt. Elizabeth must have been so worried, so scared—” Bobbie flicked her eyes to Laura’s phone. “It was nice to hear from her. From both of them. They sounded all right. Happy.”

“I’m glad. It seemed tense when we were there—or maybe awkward is a better word. They needed some time alone—” Laura set down her fork. “Though now I’m worried for a new reason. What if they don’t come back?”

Bobbie exhaled slowly. “I’m not sure I’d blame them if they stayed away. What do they really have to look forward to here?”

New Imperial Hotel: Jason & Elizabeth’s Room

Jason set down the take out bag on the table where Elizabeth sat, furiously sketching. He stripped off his jacket and hung it on the back of the chair. “What’s wrong?” he wanted to know. He sat, unpacked breakfast.

Elizabeth sighed, set aside the sketch pad. “I’m irritated at myself,” she admitted. “And you’ll probably be irritated with me in a minute when I tell you I went to see Sonny.”

Jason paused in the act of lifting out a Styrofoam container. “You talked to Sonny?”

“I was just…I didn’t go to talk to him for you or anything. I wouldn’t do that,” she hurried to assure him. “It’s just—I’m angry that he was using me to manipulate you, using the baby—”


“The day at the penthouse, Sonny was trying to get me to talk about you. He used me then,” Elizabeth added and Jason sighed. “And then he tried to take credit for all of this, so you’d forgive him. I’m angry. And I just—I don’t know, I needed to tell him. But we started arguing, and it got away from me—” She slumped in her chair. “I’m sorry.”

“You don’t have to apologize—”

“I do. How you handle Sonny is your business, and I don’t want to be in the middle of it—”

“Hey.” Jason reached for her hand, waited for her to look at him. “It’s okay—”

“It’s not.” She drew her hand back, swiped at her tears. “Because I could see what he was doing, and it made me so angry—if I thought he was just desperate and wanted you to forgive him, I could deal with it, but I think he just hates not being in control. He can’t make you forgive him, so he needs you to owe him. He tried to guilt-trip you and it’s not fair—”

“I know—”

“I tried to tell him that you were the one who got to make the decisions—you’d go home when you were ready—and he—” The tears were sliding down her cheeks faster now, and Jason wanted to punch something. She swiped angrily. “We’ve had the same stupid fight, and I know you’d have already gone back if it wasn’t for me, so maybe he’s right. Maybe I’m doing it, too—”

“You’re not—” Jason got to his feet, then pulled her up and into his arms, pressing her against his chest. He kissed the top of her head. “We’re not fighting about it anymore. You just wanted me to be sure—”

“But I don’t get to decide that—”

“You didn’t.” Jason gently pushed her away, framing her face with his hands. “You didn’t. You listened to me. You knew even when I couldn’t say it out loud. I’m not ready to go back to work for Sonny. Until I am, I can’t go back. ”


“I’m not ready to take orders from him.” He kissed her forehead. “I’m sorry he upset you. I’ll take care of it—”

“I brought it on myself. I shouldn’t have talked to him—” Elizabeth stepped back, still brushing tears from her face. “I just…I was angry. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay.” He rubbed her arm. “Come on. Let’s eat.” He waited for her to take a seat and passed over her food. “It’s really okay,” he assured her, and she smiled wanly. “Sonny’s going back tomorrow, and we’ll be fine. We’ll look for a place. Do you want to stay in Portland?”

She sighed, took a deep breath. “I like it here,” she said, a bit more focused. “And we can drive to the coast in a few hours. Plus, I know you’ll be happy to be close to a lot of doctors. Um…” She sat back. “I was thinking maybe I should make a quick trip back to Port Charles. For clothes. And to arrange for some of my supplies to be shipped out, close down the house.” She held up a hand when he opened his mouth. “I know I can buy it out here, but some of my paints will go bad and there’s no point in wasting the money.”

“I wasn’t going to say that,” Jason told her. “Just that it’s a good idea. We could fly back with Sonny—”

“That’s the last thing I want to do,” Elizabeth muttered, wrinkling her nose. “There’s no point in both of us going. Maybe you can start looking for a place while I’m gone. Plus, I need somewhere to send the supplies, so if you check out of the hotel—”

“Yeah, that makes sense.” And he hadn’t really wanted to fly back with Sonny. Right now, he didn’t want to set eyes on his former business partner. All the progress Jason thought he’d made felt like it had slipped away. “I’ll find a rental agent. And maybe some doctors for you to think about?”

“Yeah.” She smiled again, and this time it looked warmer. More genuine. “Yeah, you do that. And when I come back, we’ll make an appointment.” Elizabeth set her hand against her belly. “I really want to hear the heartbeat.”

He couldn’t wait for that moment, so he grinned, and her own smile widened. “Then we’ve got a plan.”


  • Why do I have a feeling this trip back to PC isn’t going to be as smooth as everyone thinks?

    According to Michelle on January 2, 2023
  • Sonny is still selfish. I’m glad Elizabeth told Jason she talked to Sonny. I hope nothing bad happens when Elizabeth goes back to Port Charles. I feel for Bobbie.

    According to Carla P on January 2, 2023
  • Thanks for the update. Sonny and Carly are just users.

    According to Shelly Samuel on January 2, 2023