And life is a road that I wanna keep going
Love is a river, I wanna keep flowing
Life is a road, now and forever, wonderful journey
I’ll be there when the world stops turning
I’ll be there when the storm is through
In the end I wanna be standing
At the beginning with you
– At the Beginning, Richard Marx, f. Donna Lewis
They could hear muffled voices as Jason, Sonny and several of their men drew closer to the back room in the small warehouse on Van Ness Street. There had been no one guarding the exits, and Jason thought that Freddy had been jerking them around until they’d heard sounds from the back of the building.
“Johnny and Louie are on the back exits,” Sonny murmured in his ear, his own gun drawn and pointed toward the ground. “Francis and Marco are covering the left side, Ricky and Oliver are on the other side. We’re going in from the front. We’ve got it as covered as it’s going to get.”
“I don’t like it, Sonny.” He shook his head. “It’s too quiet.”
He slowly eased the door open and stepped gingerly towards the back room. He watched as the men they’d stationed on either side crept towards them. They met in the middle of the room.
“It’s Elizabeth’s voice I hear,” Jason almost breathed. “But where are Faith and her men?”
“Cut her losses maybe,” Francis replied. “Makes life easier if she just abandoned them.”
Maybe, but he wasn’t counting her out.
As they drew closer to the room, the voices became more distinct and he knew how that Elizabeth was in there, with Ric. They stopped just before the closed door, Jason motioning them to hold their positions.
“I don’t care what you do to me,” Elizabeth’s low voice floated through. “You’ll never get near my daughter, so you can kill me—”
“Stop saying that,” Ric growled. “I would never hurt you, Elizabeth. I love you.”
“Well, I never loved you. You were just a way to pass the time.”
Jason closed his eyes and muttered under his breath. Why Elizabeth was taunting the psychopath, he couldn’t imagine.
“That’s not how it was between us and you know it. You loved me, Elizabeth. Now, Jason made you forget that. He talked you out of it, made you feel guilty for moving on—”
Elizabeth’s laughter cut Ric’s words off. “You need to believe that, don’t you? Is that what you’ve been telling yourself all these months I lied to everyone I know and love, telling them Jason and I slept together? I mean, you understand that I blew up my life with that lie and I would do it again if it meant I could have him and you’d be gone. I never loved you, Ric. Not even for a minute.”
Sonny rolled his eyes. “This would be funny if it weren’t so serious,” he breathed.
“That was his idea and I know it,” Ric snarled. “I saw your face, Elizabeth. You were just as surprised as I was. You were faithful to me—”
“Faithful.” She snorted. “That’s a funny word. Because you certainly weren’t. But that’s fair, Ric, because I emotionally cheated on you every time I saw Jason and wished you were anywhere else.”
“Damn it, Elizabeth—”
They heard Ric’s footsteps moving further into the room. Jason nodded to the four other men. “Now.”
Jason kicked open the door, the first to move in, and before Ric knew what was happening, the eight of them had him and Elizabeth surrounded, Johnny and Louie having burst in from the back.
Ric had drawn his gun as soon as the door came down, but rather than training it on Elizabeth they’d expected, he’d pointed it right at Jason. The two men stood there in a silent stand-off.
Sonny and Marco quickly loosened Elizabeth’s knots and she stood, almost swaying from the hours of being tied down. “Francis, take her—”
“No,” Elizabeth shook her head. “Not without—”
“Elizabeth, go with Sonny,” Jason said without sparing her a look. His finger was on the trigger and he was going to pull it as soon as she was in the clear. She might accept what he did for a living, but he wasn’t going to make her see it. “Please. He’ll take you home to Cady.”
“You think you’ve got me, don’t you?” Ric hissed. “You think you’ve got me right where you want me. You may have my daughter, Morgan, but I’m not letting you have Elizabeth.”
“Look around you, Ric,” Jason jeered. “I don’t see you with the upper hand.”
And he saw in Ric’s eyes that the other man did know it. That he was not leaving this room alive.
Which made him dangerous.
“Elizabeth,” Jason began. “I need you to go. Please.”
And this time, she started for the door.
“I love her,” Ric said quietly. “More than you ever will. You didn’t love her enough to go after her. She had to come to you. Do you think she doesn’t know that? That she doesn’t know she was the default, the second choice? She’ll realize it one day, Morgan, and when she knows that you never loved her the way she loves you, it’ll break her heart.”
And then Ric’s eyes shifted past Jason and he knew Elizabeth and Francis were near.
“I’m going to save her from that,” Ric said, his eyes bright and wild. “If I can’t have her, no one will.”
And then he moved and changed his target.
The room exploded in gunfire.
Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room
Carly Corinthos was going to come out of her skin. Two hours since Jason and Sonny had left the penthouse with a cadre of guards, leaving her here with Max and Rocco on the door.
The kids were asleep and it was past midnight, but Carly hadn’t even bothered trying to lay her head on the pillow.
She would not sleep until her husband, her best friend and…well…damn it, her Muffin were back in this building safe and sound. It was the only outcome she was going to accept and she would be damned if anything would come between her and her family.
“If they have so much as a scratch on them,” Carly muttered, turning back from the door to pace towards the mantel, “I will…well, I’ll do something. I’ll figure out something and I will do it, and the world will be sorry they messed with me and mine.”
The door creaked open.
Carly whirled and saw the exhausted form of her husband come through the door first. “S-Sonny…”
And then the Muffin, who was hobbling a little on Jason’s arm.
“Oh, thank God.” She flew at them, hugging and kissing Sonny before moving to Jason and then she threw her arms around Elizabeth.
“What happened?” she demanded, drawing back from the uncomfortable experience of hugging Elizabeth Webber. “You can’t call me, tell me you’re alive? Where is everyone else? What the hell—”
“Carly.” Sonny held up a hand, and watched as Jason helped Elizabeth to the sofa. “We…had to get back in case the cops showed up. There…was some gunfire and we didn’t want to be on the scene too long once we cleaned it up.”
“Where’s Cady?” Elizabeth demanded. Her eyes were bleary, her shoulders slumped. “Is she okay?”
“Fine,” Carly nodded. “I haven’t let her out of my sight all day. Well, out of mine, Michael or Leticia’s sight. And you know Michael takes cousin duties very seriously. We haven’t left this penthouse since we realized you were missing.”
And then Elizabeth straightened and turned to Jason, her fingers clutching at his shirt. “Cody. He was shot when Dominic grabbed me. Is she…”
“He was alive when we found him,” Sonny said. “Harry got him to the private clinic, and the report we got before we left for the warehouse was that he was expected to recover.”
She closed her eyes. “Okay. Okay. He was…he knew something was up when the elevator stopped, but Dominic said there was a security issue, and I followed him because I was scared someone had gotten to the penthouse, but Cody…Cody wanted me to stay back. I thought about just going by myself, but what if I was wrong…and someone was up here.”
“We haven’t found Dominic yet,” Sonny bit out. “But we will.” He rubbed his eyes and headed for a bourbon. “And Faith was gone by the time we got to the warehouse.”
“She was angry,” Elizabeth murmured. “She came into the room as Ric was explaining to me that we should be a family, that he loved me.”
Carly snorted. “After he used her for a year, I’m sure Faith loved that. I’m surprised she didn’t shoot him.” Then she frowned. “But she probably would have shot you, too.” She hesitated. “Did…where is Ric?”
“He tried to kill me,” Elizabeth said softly, and Carly pressed her fisted hand to her mouth. “He was surrounded, and he knew…he knew he wouldn’t make it out alive. I thought…” She closed her eyes and Jason gripped her knee, as if to remind her it was over. “I thought he was going to shoot Jason.”
“But if he was going to die, he wasn’t going to let anyone else have you.” Carly nodded. “What a prince. Was anyone hurt?”
“Francis took the shot for Elizabeth,” Sonny muttered, tossing back the entire tumbler of liquor, “but it only got him in the shoulder.” She saw him stare into the empty glass. “If it weren’t for him…”
“He was aiming for my face.” Elizabeth pressed her fingers to her cheek. “I taunted him. I shouldn’t have, but I thought he was going to kill me anyway with Faith gone. I wasn’t going to beg for my life.”
“I hope he’s rotting somewhere,” Carly snarled. “You know what? Rotting is too good for him. We’ll come up with something else. Maybe we can blow up what’s left—”
“Carly.” Sonny touched her shoulder and she sighed.
“Right. I’m sorry.” She cleared her throat. “Cady’s asleep, and I have enough bottles to get me through tomorrow morning. Why don’t you guys go home and get some rest?”
And as Jason led Elizabeth out the door and across the hall, she realized Jason hadn’t said a word the entire time.
Carly looked at Sonny and frowned. “Is he okay?”
“He made the kill shot,” Sonny said quietly. “And he did it in front of Elizabeth. I think…he just needs to come to terms with the fact that unlike Robin or Courtney, Elizabeth knows exactly what he does as an enforcer, and…she loves him anyway.”
“I should think so, since he was rescuing her.” Carly eyed Sonny, stepping towards him. “You okay? I know…today was difficult for you. You…lost both your siblings.” Her skin crawled knowing what Courtney had done, how she had brought danger into all their lives. If Carly ever saw the bitch again, she would beat her death with a shoe.
A stiletto, even.
“No, I didn’t.” Sonny rubbed his face. “I lost two people who were genetically related to me. Courtney’s gone. Or she will be once I’ve made the arrangements for her house arrest in Puerto Rico. Ric’s already buried.” He narrowed his eyes. “You didn’t hear that from me.”
She raised her hands as if to say she understood. “Still, Sonny…”
“I think it’s more that…” He hesitated. “Jason is like a brother to me. I picked him for my family, like I picked Stone once. And you know, I’ve always had a soft spot for Elizabeth. Since she…dropped to the ground the night Lucky Spencer was in that fire. I caught her, and I…” He looked up and swallowed hard. “I held her as she absorbed the news, I sat next to her until we could get someone to take her home. And then…she came to apologize to me.”
Carly tilted her head to the side. “Sonny…”
“Luke and Laura were blaming me and Jason…which they had a right to, honestly. It was an obvious leap, but Elizabeth had heard the arson report. The fire was caused by candles, and she’d talked to him on the phone, you know. Asked him to light one for her. So it was her fault, really, not mine, she said. And she was sorry people were blaming me.” He paused. “And you know what she did for Jason that winter. She saved his life, and if not for her, if not for the way he felt about her, Carly, he could have held on to the anger and betrayal for much longer.”
“Yeah,” Carly muttered. She folded her arms and looked away. “That’s why I hated her for so long, because I knew I had ruined everything, and there she was, practically perfect for him.” She snorted. “Wench.”
“She was there the night we lost our son, and she sat with me while I grieved. So when I say I didn’t lose anyone important today, Carly, that’s exactly what I mean. Jason has been my brother for so long, and Elizabeth has always felt like family. So, today, Carly, I saved the people who mattered.” He flicked his hand. “And discarded the ones who don’t.”
“I thought I should feel more upset about Courtney,” Carly said slowly. “Because at one point, I thought of her as my best friend, but you know what?” She shook her head. “I forgot what it meant to have a best friend. I hadn’t had one since Carly Roberts in Florida, you know. I wanted you to have your sister in your life, so I forced her to fit. I told myself she was my friend and that she was perfect for Jason, that we could all be one happy family. But she never fit.” She wrinkled her nose. “But Elizabeth did. And does. So I’m with you, Sonny. The people who mattered came home tonight.”
And now Sonny grinned. “You called her Elizabeth.”
“Don’t push it. I’ll never call her that to her face. Never. She’s the Muffin. Forever. Because she has a muffin face.” Carly sniffed. “Bite me, Sonny.”
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Jason said nothing when he sat on the sofa and Elizabeth climbed into his lap, curling up into his embrace. They sat there, listening to each other breathe, her cheek against his chest, listening to his heartbeat.
“I told you that you could trust your guards,” Jason said finally. “And one of them betrayed you.”
She sighed, her eyes still closed. “He betrayed you, too. There was no way we could have known. He was friendly with me, not like Cody, Francis or Marco, but I never expected him to be. The other three guarded me before, and they talked to me.” Her throat was thick. “Cody was my friend, you know. He was the first person to see Cady’s sonogram, and he tried so hard to protect me when he thought you were hurting me.”
“He’ll be all right.” Jason’s hand stroked her back. “He was lucky.”
“I wanted to help him, but I knew what he would want me to do. He’d want me to run, you’d want me to run, so I tried, but maybe I hesitated too long—”
“He would have caught you regardless.” Jason exhaled slowly. “I didn’t…I didn’t see what Ric was doing until it was too late, until he went for you. I always thought the threat was to Cady—”
“Why would we think otherwise?” Elizabeth raised her head and looked. “Jason, he told me he didn’t want to be separated from his child. And I didn’t think he was all that attached to me. I heard him with you and Sonny, with Faith. The way he talked about our relationship. I saw his face that first time on the docks when he realized I knew the truth—”
“But we should have realized something was up—he didn’t try that hard to get to you before Cady was born. We thought it was because you were so well-protected, but…he didn’t want to hurt you or the baby. He didn’t take any chances until after Cady was born.”
“Jason.” Elizabeth cradled his face in her hands. “It doesn’t matter anymore. He’s dead. And if you think I give a damn that you were the one that killed him, you’re still not giving me any credit. If I’d had a gun, I would have shot him myself. Jason…” When he looked away, she gripped his chin and turned him back towards her. “He tried to kill me. He aimed the gun at my face and I would be dead right now if not for you and Francis. As long as Ric was on this planet, he was a threat to me, to you, to our daughter. This is the world we live in, and I accept that.”
“I just…” He tilted his head back and looked at the ceiling. “I never wanted you to see me like that.”
“I’ve always known who you were, Jason.” She hesitated. “The first time I saw you, it was at Brenda and Sonny’s non-wedding. I had to steal an invitation to get in, and Lucky still had to vouch for me because a man with a gun thought I might be a threat at the age of fifteen. I was in the club the night Nikolas was shot because he was standing next you. I remember how scared I was, because Lucky made me and Emily duck.”
He sighed but she wasn’t through. “Lucky worked as a courier for you until you quit. And I saw you twist Sorel’s arm behind him like it was nothing, because he talked to me. Jason, I have no illusions about you or your job.”
When his shoulders slumped, she thought he might finally have understood that there had never been a moment in their relationship, even when they’d been nothing more than people with mutual acquaintances, that she hadn’t known exactly who he was.
She slid her arms around his neck, letting her fingers play with the hair at his nape. “You know, Jason, I think I have a resolution for this problem we keep having.”
He frowned and looked at her, loosely wrapping his own arms around her waist. “What?”
“I think…” she began slowly, “we ought to sign some sort of contract that stipulates some sort of…punishment for breaking the terms.” She smiled, a little hesitantly. “Like…a prenuptial agreement.”
His fingers tightened at her hips for a second, and she saw in his eyes that he understood exactly what she was asking. “So…we’d agree on a certain amount of years,” he replied, his voice soft. “And if either of us reneged, there’d be…what…damages?”
“The worst kind,” she murmured, pressing a kiss to the corner of his jaw. “If I left, I’d forfeit something I can’t live without. And if you left, you’d forfeit something you can’t live without.” She swallowed hard. “Like…each other.”
“Hmmm…” His hands slid up from her waist to her torso, his long fingers wrapping around her back, his thumbs brushing under her breasts. “How many years would we…stipulate?”
“Oh…” She could feel tears clinging to her lashes, but these were not the kind of tears she’d cried over him once.
These were tears of joy, tears of disbelief.
“I thought we’d start with fifty years and include an option for more.” She brushed her lips over his, nibbling at his bottom lip until he opened his mouth, letting her control the kiss.
When she drew back, she rested her forehead against his. “Will you marry me, Elizabeth?” he asked.
Her lips curved into a smile. “I thought you’d never ask.”
Sunday, March 7, 2004
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Elizabeth stepped off the bottom stair, fastening her earring. “Jason’s meeting us at the church. He and Sonny wanted to go over the security one last time with Father Coates.”
Carly wrinkled her nose and peered at the boxes on the table. “How many of these are from the Quartermaines?”
“Only half of them.” Elizabeth smoothed her strapless white dress and then reached for the soft blue cardigan she was going to wear over it. “You know, Jason told me again last night he could pull some strings and get a marriage license for today. I told him no, because this is Morgan and Cady’s day, I wanted it be about their christening. It’s the third time he’s tried that.”
The blonde snorted as she peered at notes on the beautifully wrapped christening gifts. “Yeah, he’s worried I’m going to plan something ostentatious and completely against his style.”
Elizabeth frowned, stepping into the low kitten heels by the desk. “Jason doesn’t have a style.”
“Exactly.” Carly lifted a box and shook it a little. “And it’s not like you’d let me get away with anything he’d hate.” She set the box down and pointed at her. “It can be a small ceremony and reception, but damn it, you’re having a wedding where people are actually invited. I may not be the maid of honor—”
“Well, no,” Elizabeth allowed, but she arched an eyebrow. “Seeing as how you’re married, so you’d have to be the matron of honor.”
Carly paused and looked at her suspiciously. “Is this a trick? You’re friends with Emily again. There’s that nurse at the hospital. Why would you pick me?”
“Because,” Elizabeth said, joining her in the perusal of the gifts on the table. “I want someone to stand up with me who knows me and Jason, who supported us from the beginning and didn’t let us screw it up. That would be you, Carly.”
She scowled. “How is this our life, Muffin? A year ago, I would have cheerfully set you on fire, and now we’re decorating nurseries, being the godmother to each other’s kids, and now you want me be to be your matron of honor…” Her scowl deepened. “And I’m excited to say yes, I mean what the frick happened to me? I used to be hell on wheels, and now I’m this sappy bitch who…” She waved her hand. “Likes people.”
Elizabeth snorted, and examined a gift which had no note. “Calm down, Carly. I’m not particularly thrilled either, but you know, as you always tell me, we are where we are. Might as well suck it up and enjoy.” She grinned. “And you know it’ll drive Sonny and Jason crazy if we keep getting along. They’re both waiting for you to change your mind.”
“There is that,” Carly mused. “It keeps them on their toes. We have to stage some fights though. I don’t want them thinking we’re predictable.”
“That would take the spice out of life.” They both laughed as Elizabeth lifted the rather large box up.
“Who’s that from?”
“It’s not marked, but…” she frowned. “Francis said they swept all the gifts. No explosives or anything.” She hesitantly set it back on the table and began to unwrap it. When the paper was gone, there sat a large white box. She lifted the top and removed a bottle of champagne.
“Hey, that’s an expensive label.” Carly reached for the bottle, and Elizabeth handed it to her as she reached for a beautifully knitted white blanket. A note fell from the folds. Elizabeth leaned it down to pick it up and read the blood red words out loud.
Congratulations on the baby, Princess. I’m sure you and your fiancé are simply thrilled. Have a drink on me and don’t worry—I’ll see you soon.
I want to thank everyone’s who read this story over the last month. Writing this convinced me that I could still write for the show, for Jason/Elizabeth in way that writing Shadows didn’t. I wasn’t sure I had it in me to write long novels, anymore. Thanks for sticking by me through the angst and difficulties.
I’ve contemplated reposting the older version of Poisonous Dreams for people to see how far I took this version, but I’m not sure I want anyone to know how bad it used to be. I think that rewriting PD was the best decision I’ve made in my fanfiction career — this version is better written with a more solid plot and deeper characterizations, and writing the sequel, Burn in Heaven, will be easier when I get a chance to play with it a bit later this summer.
I also want to thank everyone who comes to this site, and keeps the stats up so much. I average between 500-1000 visitors a day, which I never expected when I started to move stories over. In fact, I wasn’t sure I would go back to writing when I started to move CG to this location. You guys made all the difference, and any writing I do from now on is always going to be dedicated you.
I hope you like my next efforts half as well 🙂