Chapter 35

This entry is part 35 of 37 in the Counting Stars

This year’s love had better last
Heaven knows it’s high time
I’ve been waiting on my own too long
And when ya hold me like you do
It feels so right oh now
I start to forget how my heart gets torn
When that hurt gets thrown
Feeling like you can’t go on

This Year’s Love, David Gray

Saturday, May 13, 2000

Private Jet: Bedroom

Jason leaned back against the pillow, irritated with how tired he already felt. He’d done nothing more than climb the steps to board the plane and sit down. Once the plane had taken off and reached cruising altitude, he’d walked down the hallway with Luke’s help to lay in bed. Bobbie hooked up another bag of fluids and Elizabeth was watching closely, as if taking notes.

Now Jason’s chest felt sore, and he was tired again — it was like being back at the hospital after the accident with everyone working or talking around him, and he could do nothing but lay there.

“All right,” Bobbie said, spreading the tape over Jason’s arm to secure the IV. “The doctor said that this should be the last fluids he needs,” she told Elizabeth. “After that, it’s just rest—”

“I’m right here,” Jason interrupted sharply, and they both looked at him. “I can hear you.”

“I—” Bobbie’s hand fluttered up in front of her, and her cheeks flushed. “I know that—”

“And the doctors already told me that,” Jason continued, struggling to sit up against the pillows. “I heard them—”

“She was reassuring me.” They both looked at Elizabeth. “I wasn’t there when they talked to you,” she reminded Jason. “Plus, you are right there, but you’re still recovering. And Bobbie’s been up with you all night. She’s going to sleep—”

“Elizabeth—” Bobbie began.

“You are,” Elizabeth told her, before looking back at Jason who was starting to feel like an idiot. “So she was telling me what was going on and showing me how to change the IV in case you were sleeping, too.” She looked at Bobbie. “Thank you. I’ve got it from here.”

“Uh—” Bobbie nodded. “All right. I’ll check in later.”

“I’m sorry,” Jason said when Bobbie had closed the door behind them. “I just—”

“Hate people taking care of you and talking about you,” Elizabeth said. “I know.”

He held out a hand and was grateful when she took it and laid down next to him. Everything inside of him settled when she was back where she belonged, curled up in his arms, her hand resting over his heart. “You found me,” he murmured. “I didn’t know if anyone would.”

“Sonny was the one who brought Alexis to Portland,” Elizabeth corrected. “If she hadn’t been there, we wouldn’t have known about the Cassadine servant.” She exhaled slowly, and when she spoke again, her voice was shaky. “It was so close, Jason. Another day, another few hours, and you wouldn’t have been there.”

He knew it — as he’d laid on that cell floor, listening to Nikolas taunt him, praying for a chance to choke the life out of him — Jason hadn’t expected to live. He’d felt himself slipping away and just wanted to make sure Nikolas went with him — to protect Elizabeth. “I’m okay.”

“Yeah. You are. We made it.” She tightened her arms around him. “We’re going to have to stay in Port Charles for a little while when we get back. Just until you’re given the all clear, then we can go anywhere you want—” she paused. “I’m sorry. Your bike—it was—we never found it. It was taken out of the parking garage, and we couldn’t track it. We didn’t really try, though, so maybe—”

“It’s just a bike,” he said, though there was a small pang at losing it. He’d driven it across the country — had taken Robin on it, and it had been the first thing he and Elizabeth had shared. The bike had given Jason freedom, and while he could—and would—get another—it wouldn’t be quite the same. “It’s okay.”

“It’s not—he did this because of me, and I’m so sorry—”

“This isn’t your fault,” Jason told her, stroking her hair, sliding his fingers down the curve of her spine, grateful for the sensation, for the feeling of having her back in his arms. “You didn’t do anything to deserve this. Neither of us did.”

“Maybe,” she murmured. “But if this is the way you felt after New Year’s, after the bomb, then I get why you tried to walk away. I’d have done anything to keep you safe. To stop this from happening.”

“When I was laying on that cold floor,” Jason said, “all I could think about was you and the baby. That I wasn’t going to be able hold my child or protect you from whatever Nikolas would do next—” He exhaled slowly. “That we’d never get to take that trip to California. Or learn how to surf together.” He looked at her, then tilted her chin up so their eyes met. “That day before you left, I nearly stopped you as you started to board. Do you remember?”


“I wanted to tell you that I love you,” he said, and her lips curved. “I thought, laying in that cell, that I’d never get the chance to say it. I love you,” he told her again.

“I wanted to say it to you a thousand times,” Elizabeth told him. She raised herself up on her elbow. “I love you, too.”

He tugged her down so he could kiss her and taste her smile and happiness on her lips. “I love you,” he whispered again, and he’d never get tired of saying it.

“How are you, sweetheart?”

Emily blinked up in surprise as Laura sat next to her on the small loveseat tucked into a corner of the private jet’s main cabin. “Uh, fine. I mean—” She sat up, dropping her legs to the floor. “I should be asking you that. You’re Nikolas’s mother—”

“Taking care of other people is how I cope,” Laura told her, “and of all of us, I think you might be the most hurt—”

“What? No. I mean, you and Jason—and Elizabeth—”

“I was not blind to my son’s faults,” Laura said. “But you had a relationship with both Jason and Nikolas. Elizabeth had already closed that door months ago.” Her eyes were soft, considering. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to know that your best friend hated your brother enough to nearly kill him.”

“It’s going to be…” Emily considered the best word for the situation, but even her imagination failed her. “It’s going to be weird for a long time. Or maybe it just doesn’t feel real. None of this has felt real since the fire.” She absently wiped a tear clinging to her lashes. “Like a long, strange nightmare I’m not waking up from. I miss Lucky so much, you know. He’d know what to do or say.” She sucked in a breath. “But then I feel guilty for wishing he was here because Jason is so happy, and Elizabeth is happy, and they’re having a baby, which wouldn’t be happening if he were here—God, this is all so stupid, and it doesn’t matter. I don’t matter.”

“There’s nothing wrong wish wishing some things could go back and others could stay the same. I’m so proud of how Elizabeth handled this. There are women older than her that couldn’t have held on to faith the way she did. Nikolas did everything he could to make her believe Jason had left her, but Elizabeth never wavered. But that maturity comes from her life experience, and I would give anything to take away the pain she’s suffered.”

“I just…it’s scary, I think, to realize that someone you thought you knew could do something so terrible. Nikolas helped me track down Tom Baker last fall, you know? He didn’t hesitate to throw himself into danger — he didn’t even blink. I turned to him even before I’d told Lucky. I keep trying to square that with the man we saw these last few days—” Emily stared at her hands. “Was there something else I could have done? Some way I could have stopped him—”

“He wasn’t listening to any of us,” Laura reminded her gently. “I know from Elizabeth that you both tried to talk to him about Lucky. Bobbie and I wasted so many words. He couldn’t be shaken from his view of the world.” She closed her eyes, took a deep breath. “To admit that you were unable to save your child from death and destruction is paralyzing,” she murmured. “I couldn’t save Lucky, and I’ve lost Nikolas.”

“I’m sorry, Laura. This sucks. For all of us.”

Sonny knocked lightly on the slightly open door and stepped inside with a mug of coffee. “Hey.”

Jason set aside the book he’d been reading and pulled himself up against the pillows. “Hey—is—” He craned his head to look behind Sonny. “Is Elizabeth okay? She went to get something to eat—”

“She’s fine. Laura and Bobbie have her, and they started talking about the baby.” Sonny’s smile was faint as he handed the mug to Jason. “Thought I’d smuggle you some. They think you should wait longer since caffeine isn’t good for you—”

Jason was already sipping the coffee so Sonny stopped talking. “Thanks.”

“Good.” Sonny slid his hands into his pockets. “Uh, Liz said you guys were going to stay in town for a few days until you’re back on your feet.” He rocked back on his heels. “I wanted to let you know the jet is at your disposal if you go back to Portland or you wanna go somewhere else—”

“I’ve been thinking about that.” Jason gestured with the hand that held his coffee, indicating that Sonny should sit in the armchair near the bed. “Thanks. For everything you did. Uh, Elizabeth said you came immediately when she called—”

“I shouldn’t have sent her back alone,” Sonny muttered, even as he sat in the chair, leaning back. He put one leg over the other. “I didn’t know she hadn’t heard from you, but I still thought it didn’t feel right. I was just…I didn’t want to meddle,” he admitted. “Or push where I wasn’t wanted. I’m not in a hurry to make that mistake again.”

“She said that you…you were one of the only people who didn’t think I’d left her,” Jason said, and Sonny hesitated. “Or that I’d left her because I didn’t want the baby. You thought because of Brenda—”

“I wondered,” Sonny said with a nod, “but I never seriously entertained it. It’s just—the hours were drifting by, and the evidence wasn’t giving us anything, and Christ, thinking you were gone to protect her was so much better than the alternative which was that you were in trouble, and we might not be able to fix it.” He dragged a hand down his face. “When I think about the fact that I nearly didn’t ask Alexis to come with us, it’s gonna haunt me for the rest of my life.”

“Since that night,” Jason said, and this time when he said it, there was no lingering bitterness, no sadness — he was merely stating a fact— “I’ve struggled with trusting you. Even after you came to Portland, I still thought I couldn’t come back and do the job like I did before.” He paused, looking for the right words. “I want to come home,” he said finally. “I stood on the waterfront in Astoria last month, and it was almost…it was nearly physically painful to be away from Port Charles. To wish I was there, standing on the pier at Elm Street, or taking the cliff roads too fast—”

He looked down at his coffee. “I’m ready to come home and go back to the job. I never stopped trusting you, Sonny. That’s what I realized, laying on that stone floor thinking I’d die. I told myself that no matter what happened, you’d make sure Elizabeth had everything she needed. That she was safe. That our child was safe. And if I could trust you with them, then I can trust you with my life, too.”

Sonny swallowed hard. “That’s…” He bowed his head, took a quick breath. “That’s a hell of a thing to say to me right now.”

“I stopped trusting myself,” Jason said. “To set boundaries and make the right choices — because I’d done nothing but make mistakes for more than a year. I hurt and humiliated Robin because I was desperate to keep Michael in my life. I let Carly manipulate me for a year because I thought I might get him back. You destroyed my life that night in December, Sonny, and while I can’t be happy about it, I can’t ignore that you also shoved me out of the dark and forced me to see the truth.” Jason sighed. “I just didn’t much like what I saw, and I wanted to dive back into the pretense. To cling to the false hope I could have my son back.”


“I wish you hadn’t done it. That I could have figured it out for myself. I think I would have,” Jason continued, and Sonny closed his mouth. “I knew…my feelings for Elizabeth were changing—it happened faster than it would have because of the studio—but it was happening.”

“I know. I could see that. And I’m sorry. I will always be sorry for it.”

Jason nodded, then brought the mug back to his lips. “Elizabeth and I haven’t talked about it, but I know she’ll understand. I’m ready. I want to go home.”

“Hey, sweetheart. Do you have a minute?” Luke touched Elizabeth’s elbow as she started down the hallway towards the back bedroom. She hesitated, then turned back to him.

“Yeah. What’s up? Did you need to talk to Jason or—”

“No, I was just—” He glanced over at the main cabin, watching Laura and Emily in deep conversation with one another, Alexis reading over some paperwork in another corner. He looked back at Elizabeth. “I was thinking back to Portland, and how I was sure Jason left on his own—”

She tipped her head. “Were you? Sure,” she clarified when he frowned. “Because, yeah, you were questioning it pretty hard, but I don’t seem to remember a lot of certainty about it.”

“Ah, well, then I hid it pretty well.” Luke nodded. “I thought he’d gone on his own,” he told her, and she drew her brows together. “Because that’s how I handle threats. It’s how I’ve handled it since the day Laura came home from that damned island. For a decade, we went on the run to hide from the Cassadines and from Frank Smith. And even when we stood our ground, I always stood on someone else’s shoulders. Robert Scorpio back in the day, and then Sonny. I didn’t know why he’d left, but I was sure he had.”

“Oh.” Elizabeth cleared her throat. “Uh, well—”

“And I’m sorry for it. For not believing you. For making this harder on you that it had to be. It seems to be my main fatal flaw,” he murmured. He looked back at Laura. “Making life harder for the people that matter.”

“It all worked out, Luke, and even though you didn’t believe, you listened to me. And you realized the handwriting didn’t match. I don’t care that you had your doubts. You stayed and you helped save his life. You don’t owe me any apologies.” Elizabeth disappeared down the hall, and Luke looked back his estranged wife.

Maybe he didn’t owe an apology to Elizabeth, but he sure as hell owed that and more to Laura. He’d never be able to make up for the damage he’d caused.

Cassadine Estate: Study

“Madame has arrived.”

Stefan exhaled slowly, then raised his eyes to the house manager, then set down his pen. There was no asking who Madame was or how she’d managed to gain access to the island without Stefan’s knowledge.

His mother was impossible to predict or control. All you could do was grab on and hope you survived the storm. “Where is she?”

“Right here.”

Helena Cassadine swept in, her hair elegantly coiffed, her eyes ice cold. She sniffed at Arturo. “You may go,” she commanded with a sweep of her hand, dismissing the longtime servant without a second glance.

“Mother—” Stefan rose to his feet. “I was unaware that you were planning to visit—”

“Did you think no one would tell me?” Helena sneered. “Not everyone on this island has forgotten their loyalty to me and to your father. How dare you allow that woman to come here and imprison my grandson?”

“Which woman would that be?” Stefan asked coolly. “His mother, Laura, whom you kidnapped and imprisoned for Stavros? My sister, whose mother you brutally murdered? Miss Webber, whose child Nikolas planned to leave fatherless? I hardly know—”

“That woman has done nothing to raise Nikolas, and yet you bow to her whims,” Helena retorted. “Imprisoning him for the smallest of infractions—”

“Keeping an innocent man and attempting to starve him to death is no petty infraction—even your damaged moral compass should see that.” Stefan fisted his hands at his side. “I had little choice in the matter, Mother. I was outnumbered and outgunned. I had little with which to negotiate. Be glad that Nikolas continues to breathe.”

“Your father should have strangled you in the nursery,” Helena hissed. “I have failed us all by allowing you to retain any control—”

“My father,” Stefan said evenly, “left his state to his eldest surviving son or heir. Stavros himself left me guardianship of his children. Despite everything, no man in this family has ever trusted you, Mother. You have no control here—”

“We will see about that. I will not allow you to cage my grandson like an animal.”  Helena swept out of the study, and Stefan exhaled slowly. He should have known she’d learn of the incident — he’d merely hoped for more time.

Private Jet: Bedroom

“Hey…” Jason gently shook Elizabeth and she blinked blearily, rolling over to see that the door to the hallway had opened.

“We’re going to be approaching the airport in about thirty minutes,” Sonny said. “So you need to come up and get belted in for landing in about twenty.”

“Thanks—” Jason said, and Sonny pulled the door closed again, dropping the bedroom back into dim shadows.

Elizabeth sat up slowly, but her stomach still rolled. She pressed a hand to her stomach, but Jason had already leaned over to the nightstand and handed her a cracker and a bottle of ginger ale. It was warm, but carbonated —

She leaned back against the headboard, her eyes closed, sipped, and nibbled until the feeling passed. “A few more weeks,” she muttered. She looked over at him, smiling. “But I’ve missed this. Waking up with you, having you be ready with the crackers.”

“I’ve missed it, too.” He drew her head down against her shoulder, stroking her hair as her eyes drifted closed. “We’ll be home before you know it,” he murmured.

“Home.” She snuggled closer, draping her arm across his chest. “Until you’re steady again.”

“No, I’m ready to go home. To be there.”

She had nearly slid back into a light doze, but those words startled her, and she sat back up, trying to find his eyes in the shadows. “What?”

“I’m ready.” Jason brought her hand to his mouth, kissed her palm. “To go home with you. To start our life together. I want you to have your family around you, and I want mine with us. Emily, Lila—” He paused. “And Sonny. We can travel later, when the baby’s born.”

“If you’re sure—” Elizabeth nodded. “All right. Let’s go home.”


  • I should have known Helena would release Nikolas. I really liked the talk between Jason and Sonny.

    According to Carla P on January 16, 2023
  • Helena is back. Now all hell will break louse especially when she lets Nicholas loose and then when Jason kills him.

    According to leasmom on January 16, 2023
  • Stefan should have dealt with Helena. Thanks for the update.

    According to Shelly Samuel on January 16, 2023