And I can’t see that thief that lives inside of your head
But I can be some courage at the side of your bed
And I don’t know what’s happening and I can’t pretend
It’s a long, long get away, it’s a long, long get away
Make it home again, make it home again
It’s a long, long get away, it’s a long, long get away
– Thief, Our Lady Peace
Tuesday, May 9, 2000
Spencer House: Living Room
Laura enveloped her into a tight hug, then stepped back to let Elizabeth get all the way into the house. “I didn’t mean to jump you as soon as you came in.”
“It’s okay. I missed you, too.” Elizabeth followed Laura into the kitchen. “Thank you so much for taking care of Gatsby.”
“It’s no trouble. Lulu’s been asking for a pet,” Laura added, “so this has been good practice. Do you want some tea or something else to drink?”
“Water is fine.” Elizabeth checked her watch. Jason hadn’t called her back last night, and he hadn’t picked up again this morning. She told herself it wasn’t a big deal. There was a three-hour time difference, and maybe the message hadn’t saved. Or something had happened to the phone. Maybe Jason didn’t even know—
If she didn’t hear from him today, she could always call the hotel—
“You all right?” Laura set a glass down and took a seat at the table. “You look a million miles away. Or maybe just three thousand?”
“Jason—we can’t seem to connect—by phone, I mean. He wanted me to call him last night, but it went to voicemail, and I still haven’t heard from him.”
“Oh, well, that could be a thousand things,” Laura said, squeezing her hand. “I’m sure it’s all right.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Your last few phone calls seemed happier,” Laura said. “You and Jason are on the same page now?”
“It was hard at first. Awkward, which you know—I was so scared and unsure of myself before we went out there, and then things were weird and strained for a while, but then Jason and I—we just found our old rhythm again. A better one,” Elizabeth corrected. “We made plans. Talked about the future. He bought a pregnancy book. I think he’s read more than I have.”
“I’m so glad.” Laura paused. “You won’t have to worry about Nikolas,” she told Elizabeth. “He and I had a pretty bad argument after the scene he made—”
“I can’t believe—I don’t even know how he found out,” Elizabeth said. “Emily said he was angry because we were all lying to him.” She bit her lip. “I didn’t really want to get into it, but we had a huge fight in January. Like massive. He said some really cruel things, so I told him then I was done. I wanted to be civil for you and for Emily—” She sighed.
“He’s having a very hard time letting Lucky go,” Laura said. She sipped her tea. “They only had each other for a few months, so I think that’s made it even more difficult. When you factor in Katherine, I can certainly understand some of what he’s feeling, but to take it out on you the way he has—”
“He told me in November that he had feelings for me,” Elizabeth confessed. “He tried to kiss me, but I had to—I had to turn him down. I told him I wasn’t—I wasn’t ready. I wanted to let him down easy, Laura. I didn’t want him to feel bad.”
“But I guess he decided I was lying after he found Jason at my place — and maybe he overheard us talking that night at dinner.” She looked towards the door, then back at Laura. “He’s your son. I don’t want to make things hard for you—”
“You are part of my family, too. He just feels like I’ve picked you, and maybe he’s right.” Laura sat back. “It’s always been hard to connect with him. He’s never let me in. I can’t blame him for that, but—” She shook her head. “Either way, that isn’t your problem. Stefan called me yesterday — he suggested Nikolas go to Greece for a few months,” Laura continued. “To clear his head a bit.”
“Maybe being away from everything will help. I hope it does. And on that subject, Jason and I are staying in Portland for a while.”
“Oh?” Laura raised a brow. “But—”
“Jason needs more time before he comes back, and I need to get back to work. Plus, I need to think about prenatal care, so it just makes sense to put down some roots.” She hesitated. “So I actually need to know if you’ll keep Gatsby.”
“Of course. Lu adores him—” Laura forced herself to smile. “I’m happy you and Jason are on the same page, though I’ll miss you.”
“I hope you’ll come visit,” Elizabeth asked hesitantly. “You and Emily and Bobbie. And we’re going to make sure we come to see Lila, though we’ll have to do that under the radar. But I don’t…I don’t want to lose anyone I’ve found here. I just…I need to do this for a little while.”
“Of course,” Laura squeezed Elizabeth’s hand. “But when the baby comes, don’t hesitate to ask for help. You’ll both be tired. You know Bobbie and I will jump at the chance to fly out and give you a week or two every few months.”
“It’s not permanent,” Elizabeth said with a shake of her head. “It’s just—”
“It’s okay. Whatever you and Jason choose will be right for you.”
“Thank you.” Elizabeth smiled, then looked at her watch again. “I should get back to the house. Emily’s coming by, and I want to check my messages.”
“Call me if you need anything.” Laura hugged her tightly. “I’m so glad it all worked out.”
“So am I.”
Hardy House: Living Room
Elizabeth frowned at the answering machine. No messages. She’d left Portland twenty-four hours ago. How could there be nothing—She picked it up and dialed into the machine at the studio, but there weren’t any messages from Jason there either.
She held the phone to her chest for a long moment, jolting when the dial tone started to echo.
“Hey—” Emily knocked as she opened the door. “I’m not late, am I?”
“No, I just—” Elizabeth picked up the phone and dialed the cell again. “Hey, it’s me again. Um, I don’t know if something is wrong or the phone isn’t working, but—I need you to call me.”
“Liz?” Emily asked when Elizabeth set the phone down and then went over to her purse to start rummaging through it. “What’s wrong?”
“Probably nothing,” she admitted. She sighed. “I don’t have anything with the hotel number on it—” Elizabeth turned back to Emily. “It’s just—Jason hasn’t called me since I got here.”
He’d left a postcard for her, wanting to hear her voice. And yet—
“Well, maybe the cell broke or something. You know how they can be a pain to connect—especially if it’s roaming. Is it?” Emily asked.
“That’s what I thought—” She bit her lip. “That’s probably it. Luke gave it to us — maybe it’s running low on minutes, and he doesn’t realize it. He could be just as worried—” She picked up the phone, dialing the number for information. “Hello, can I have the number for the New Imperial Hotel in Portland, Oregon?” She repeated it slower for the automated service. “Yes—” she said, agreeing to be connected directly.
“New Imperial Hotel,” someone chirped. “How many I direct your call?”
“Room 414,” Elizabeth said, folding one arm across her chest. She waited. The phone rang. And rang. Then rang again. Finally, she hung up. “He didn’t pick up in the room.”
“What time is it in Portland—” Emily checked the clock. “It’s like breakfast there, isn’t it? Maybe he ran out for coffee. He might not even realize anything’s wrong yet.”
“I know, I know.” She called information back, and this time wrote down the number for the hotel before calling it again. “Hello, can I leave a message for Room 414? Yes — tell him it’s Elizabeth, and that something’s wrong with our cell phone. It’s not connecting, so could he call me at my house? Not the studio, the house. As soon as possible.”
She set the phone back on the receiver. “He might not even ask the desk for his messages.” Elizabeth sat on the sofa, fighting the urge to call Sonny and get the jet in the air.
“He will,” Emily said patiently. “He’ll come back from getting coffee, realize he still hasn’t heard from you, and then he’ll call you or check with the desk. He might have thought you were just too tired when you got home and overslept. We’re three hours ahead, too—”
“Yeah, I guess. We did get to Port Charles pretty late—” Elizabeth managed a smile. “Thanks. I’m going back tomorrow anyway. Laura said she’d make sure my mail got put on hold.”
“And Jason will probably call you in an hour or so.” Emily dropped onto the sofa.
But Elizabeth couldn’t stop herself. She went back over to the phone and dialed the hotel again, adding the room number as an extension. No one picked up.
“I know. I’m insane. But—” She thought again about the postcard. “If he thought I was too tired, he would have left me a message.”
“You seem really sure of him,” Emily murmured. “Even after he didn’t give you a way to contact him for months—”
“It’s—” Elizabeth whirled around but saw her friend’s face was only concerned. “It’s different now. He’s—it just is. He knows about the baby. We’re planning a future together.” She turned back to the phone, and this time, she dialed Sonny’s number.
“Hey, Sonny. It’s me—”
“Is everything all right?”
“Um, fine. Listen, I got everything taken care of sooner than I thought I would. Can we leave earlier than noon tomorrow? Like a lot earlier?”
“Uh—sure. I’ll call you back with a time. Are you okay?” he asked again.
She wanted Emily to be right. She wanted to believe nothing was wrong and because she wanted that so much, Elizabeth didn’t say anything. Sonny would worry for nothing, and he might try to help—and the last thing she wanted was to create more problems because she was impatient and overreacting. “No, just eager to get back.”
“I get it. I’ll take care of it.”
“Thanks.” She turned back to Emily. “I need to get out of here for a little while. Do you want to go grab some lunch?”
Emily got to her feet. “What if you miss Jason’s call?”
“Well, then he’ll know what it’s like to wait on me,” Elizabeth muttered, irritated with herself. “Honestly, Em, if I sit here staring at this phone, I’m going to scream.”
“All right, all right. Let’s go. I guess Jason won’t ever miss a call from you again, huh?”
Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room
Sonny hung up with Elizabeth, keeping his finger pressed against the button longer than needed. Something wasn’t right.
He ignored Alexis in the background, released the button and waited to hear the dial tone in his ear. Then he dialed the number to the airfield. “Hey, Stu. It’s Sonny Corinthos. I need to know how early the jet can be ready for another trip to Portland. Yeah, just one passenger. Not me this time.” He leaned against his desk. “Thanks.”
“Elizabeth heading back earlier planned?” Alexis asked.
“Yeah, uh—” Sonny rubbed the back of his neck. “There was something in her voice,” he murmured. “She says everything is okay, but—” He exhaled slowly, then reached for the phone again, dialing the cell phone Jason had given him. It went to voicemail, and Sonny hung up without leaving a message. He glanced at the card next to the base. “Room 414,” he told the receptionist when the line connected.
The phone continued to ring and ring, and finally Sonny hung up. “Jason didn’t answer either line,” he said after a long moment.
“He might be out,” Alexis pointed out. “It’s still early in Oregon, and Jason’s a morning person. If there was something wrong— really wrong—you know Elizabeth would tell you.”
“She came to you to find Jason, didn’t she?” Alexis reminded him. “Before she went to the Spencers.” She flipped through a contract. “She probably misses Jason and doesn’t see the point in wasting time here.”
“You’re right,” Sonny decided. It was as simple as that. Elizabeth was eager to start her new life with Jason and didn’t feel like hanging around her old one.
“I hope Laura took a minute to reassure her that Nikolas won’t be an issue,” Alexis said, waiting for Sonny to rejoin her at the table to continue reading over the contracts. “He’s been in Greece for over a week, and I don’t think Stefan expects him to return.”
“Good,” Sonny grunted, flashing back to the bitter, possessive angry man Jason had tried to beat into a bloody pulp at Christmas. “I’m sorry for you, but—”
“But he wasn’t happy here and was taking his misery out on all of us,” Alexis finished. “I want the best for my nephew.” She slid her reading glasses on. “Now, we need to finish this paperwork before the next meeting.”
Bobbie beamed when she saw Elizabeth and Emily turn the corner into the courtyard. “I was hoping you would come by—” She stood to hug Elizabeth. “Can you stay for a while?”
“Yeah, we came for lunch.” Emily pulled out a chair and sat down. “And to keep Liz busy. Jason’s taking his sweet time to call her back—”
“Oh?’ Bobbie frowned as Elizabeth sat down, picked up a menu. “Is everything all right?”
“It’s fine. Luke gave me a phone when he was out there, and I guess it was either a burner or one that needs minutes added to it. Jason and I probably used them all and didn’t realize. We’re having trouble connecting.” Elizabeth forced herself to smile. “Um, speaking of Jason—”
“If you are going to apologize for not telling me—” Bobbie squeezed Elizabeth’s hand. “You just forget all about it. Laura told me you’d only just found out, and the priority was Jason. I’m just happy you found him.”
“And he was happy about the baby, wasn’t he?” Bobbie questioned.
“He started with stunned,” Elizabeth confessed with half a laugh. “We didn’t really know what to say to each other for a while, and it was a bit awkward. But then we just—” She flashed back to the postcards. To the way he’d looked at her when he’d come back into the room and saw her reading them — “We just figured it out. And it’s been great. We’ve been traveling down the Oregon coast.”
“It sounds like a lot of fun. And you’re heading right back, Laura said?”
“Um, yeah—” Elizabeth paused while they ordered something to eat. “Especially with the news being blown up like this. We’re going to stay around Portland for a while.” She fiddled the paper from the straw she’d put in her water. “I’m not sure when we’re coming back.” She checked her watch.
“Why don’t you go use Kelly’s phone to check your machine?” Emily asked, gently. “Bobbie doesn’t mind, do you?”
“Of course not.”
Elizabeth was already out of her seat before Bobbie had answered. Emily watched her go inside, then sighed. “She’s really antsy about this. I keep telling her it’s fine, but I bet it’s just worry that he’ll leave again.”
“You think?” Bobbie twisted in her seat to watch Elizabeth through the window. “It sounds like Jason’s committed—”
“I didn’t say he’d leave, but you know how sometimes your mind can know something, but your heart is too scared to believe.” Emily jerked a shoulder. “I could kill my brother for not getting his own cell phone or using the room phone—”
“Well, you know, sometimes men don’t think these things through. I’m sure as soon as Jason realizes how worried she was, he won’t make this mistake again.”
Inside, Elizabeth listened as her machine reported no new messages. It had only been maybe twenty minutes since they’d left the house. There was still time.
She’d fly back, and he’d be there, and there’d be a reason for all this.
Wednesday, May 10, 2000
Portland International Airport: Arrivals Hall
True to Sonny’s word, they were wheels up by seven that morning. With the time difference, Elizabeth landed in Oregon around eleven. She’d left a message on the cell and with the hotel with her flight information.
But Jason wasn’t at the airport.
He wasn’t at the gate. Or at the baggage claim where she got help from one of the workers to put her suitcases onto a cart which she dragged towards arrival hall, sure that he’d be there, waiting.
But he wasn’t.
She wasn’t ready to admit something was wrong, so she started to tell herself stories — to construct perfectly rational explanation for why she’d been able to get in touch with Jason since she’d left Portland.
Maybe he’d gotten the messages, but not the flight time. Maybe he was at the airport and couldn’t find her, so she decided to stay in one place. She sat on a bench, with the luggage cart next to her. But he didn’t find her.
He’d have her paged, Elizabeth decided. So she went to the counter to wait for him to approach. But she never heard her name on the loudspeaker, and he never came near the counter.
He hadn’t received her messages yet. As soon as he did, he’d rush to the airport. She’d give him more time. It wasn’t fair of her to jump to conclusions or to start worrying about calling hospitals—No, she’d give him some time to get her messages.
So she went to get something to eat, and then she shopped on the concourse, checking her watch, continuing to listen for her name to be paged. Finally, around two, she went to a pay phone and called the hotel to leave another message—
Only to learn that Mr. Morgan hadn’t picked up any of her messages.
She’d been out of contact with him for two straight days. He’d never contacted her or Sonny, and he’d never checked with the desk. It was like he’d dropped off the face of the Earth. She could go to the hotel, start calling hospitals, but—
But somewhere inside, she finally accepted what had been whispering in the back of her mind for days. She picked it up again, and instead of putting more change in — she dialed 0 to start a collect call because thirty-five cents wouldn’t get her anywhere near New York. When the operator asked for her name, Elizabeth gave it, her brain already numb.
“Elizabeth? What’s going on?”
She swallowed hard. “Sonny, something’s wrong.”