I know I let you down
Again and again
I know I never really treated you right
I’ve paid the price
I’m still paying for it every day
– I Don’t Know You Anymore, Savage Garden
Friday, June 6, 2003
Kelly’s: Dining Room
Another tense dinner shift with Courtney. Elizabeth wished she could find another job—she wished Courtney would find another job. Something to keep her from having to see Jason’s ex-girlfriend three times a week for hours on end. Courtney’s earlier apathy towards the entire situation had begun to wane this week, since Elizabeth had tied her apron and they had both realized that her waist had thickened. Just a little—but enough so Courtney realized that this wasn’t some sort of lie. Elizabeth really was pregnant.
In the two weeks since she and Jason had come their sort of agreement as to how to go on in this situation, he’d been true to his word. He had come by Kelly’s twice for lunch, and once for breakfast, letting the people see them together. He asked after her health in general, but he’d never asked about the baby again.
She was going to take what she could get. There was still no sign of Ric or Faith, or least none that Sonny or Jason were reporting to her, so Elizabeth was keeping her head down and trying to do this one day at a time, but she knew that she had decisions to make. She was in her fourth month—only five left before she was going to be a mother.
The only bright spot had been her burgeoning friendship with Nadine Crowell. The vivacious nurse had invited her out for dinners at Eli’s that still drove Cody and Marco, her evening guards, insane, but Elizabeth loved bonding with someone who was completely unconnected to Jason Morgan, since it appeared that her friendship with Emily was on permanent hiatus.
“I think Table Six wants their check,” Courtney said shortly, setting the coffee pot back on the burner. “They’ve been making those faces.”
“I’ve got it.” Elizabeth reached into her apron pocket to withdraw the check from her final table of the night. “Thanks.”
“Quicker you get them out of here, the quicker I can go home.”
“No argument here,” Elizabeth murmured. She smiled brightly at the couple seated just inside the doors. “Can I get you anything else?”
After dispatching the table and collecting their payment and her tip, she returned to the counter. “I think we can close up.”
“Great.” Courtney untied her apron and shoved it in her purse. “If you don’t mind, I’m going to go. You can get Cody to help you clean up, can’t you?”
“I…” Elizabeth blinked. “It’s not really his job—”
“Like I give a crap.” Courtney swung her purse over her shoulders. “Or maybe you want to be alone with me so I can be reminded some more of how much I hate you.”
Elizabeth could see her future at Kelly’s spread out in front of her—Courtney using this terrible situation to duck out of any work possible, and Elizabeth’s guilt at the lie preventing her from arguing the point.
“Fine.” Elizabeth glanced at Cody, who was seated silently at the counter, nursing a glass of iced tea. “Do you mind, Cody?”
“No problem, Miss Webber.” Cody straightened. “Good night, Miss Matthews.”
“Go to hell,” Courtney tossed over her shoulder as she left through the back door.
Elizabeth’s shoulders slumped and she took a brief moment to collect herself. “I’m sorry, Cody. I know it’s not your job description, but honestly, it’s just easier—”
“No problem, Miss Webber,” Cody repeated. He stood and came around the counter to retrieve a plastic bin and wet a washcloth for the tables. “I’ve sat here enough nights to know how it’s done.”
Elizabeth smiled and called into the back to let the cook know he could switch off and clean up the back. She began to organize receipts and the deposit to put in the safe for Bobbie in the morning. “Are you ever going to call me Elizabeth?” she asked.
“It’s unlikely, Miss Webber.” But Elizabeth heard the humor in his voice and decided that it wasn’t worth arguing at the moment. Her guards were sweet teddy bears who still bristled when Jason was around, and she knew Jason hated the dirty looks from the three men entrusted with her safety.
“I’m sure Courtney will calm down eventually,” Elizabeth said, “and she’ll stop forcing the extra work on me, so I hope this…that this doesn’t go in any report to Sonny or Jason.”
Cody remained silent as he washed down another table. She narrowed her eyes. “Cody, I’m serious. Courtney has a right be upset—”
“With all due respect, Miss Webber,” Cody said, stacking a chair on a table. “She had a right two months ago. It’s not as though she and Jason were engaged. She’s only holding on to the anger because she knows how guilty you feel.” His cheeks flushed slightly and he moved on to clear, clean and stack another table.
Elizabeth rubbed her eyes. “She’s just…upset this week. I knew when I began to show…it would make things worse.” She dumped the last of the coffee pots. “But you’re right, Cody. I can’t let her get to me. It’s not like Jason and I are dating now. I didn’t steal her boyfriend.” She hesitated. “I guess I merely…borrowed him.”
Cody snorted. “You’re not kidding,” he muttered.
“What was that?” Elizabeth arched an eyebrow. “Cody, you, Marco, and Francis have got to stop irritating Jason. He’s doing the best he can—”
“Again, with respect, Miss Webber, Jason Morgan is a good man. I am extremely loyal to him,” Cody said, stacking up the last table. “And I would give my life for him. That being said, he’s goddamn moron who doesn’t understand how lucky he is.” He coughed. “Such as it is.”
“Still.” Elizabeth couldn’t fight the small smile. At least there were people still on her side—even if they were paid to be.
Elizabeth waited for Cody to do a sweep of the courtyard before she followed him outside. “Just let me lock the door,” she said, turning with her keys in hand.
Just as she slipped the key into the tumbler, she heard a muffled swear and a gloved hand slid over her mouth, an arm around her waist. She tried to force out a scream as she was lifted into the air. As her captor swung her around—probably trying to make a quick escape to the parking lot—she saw Cody struggling with another man.
Get away. Get away. Have to get away. Can’t let Ric get my baby. With all her strength and visualizing the courtyard in her mind, she launched her weight against the man holding he, cracking the top of her head against his jaw, and kicking back w ith her legs. They went sprawling into the tables, his grip released enough that Elizabeth could scramble away. She started for the door, but somehow…
She knew she would never make it in time. Kneecaps. Kneecaps. She whirled around, stunned by how close the hulking shape was to her, but she couldn’t let the fear freeze her. She kicked out with her leg toward his knees and with a grunt, the man crumpled to the ground. He started to rise, but Elizabeth grabbed one of the nearby chairs and swung it over his heard, crashing it over his head.
“Elizabeth, run!” She heard Cody grunt, but Elizabeth just…couldn’t. A piece of the chair was still in her hand, so she just started hitting her would-be kidnapper. She kept swinging and swinging, as pieces of it continued to break off, until the man stopped moving.
“Miss Webber…” Cody was breathing heavily. “I got this.” He put his hand on her shoulder and Elizabeth stumbled back towards Kelly’s, her eyes wide, her breaths shallow. “It’s all right.” He gestured towards the end of the courtyard. “My guy is out, too. I gotta get them tied up and inside the restaurant, out of sight. Can you call Sonny and Jason? We need a cleanup crew. I gotta get this done.” He held out his cell phone.
Elizabeth closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Yes. Yes.” She took the phone from him, and then looked up. “I didn’t…I’m sorry I didn’t run.”
“Well…” Cody looked down at the incapacitated man at their feet. “I guess it worked out this time. Call Jason, Elizabeth. It’ll be okay.”
She nodded and punched in the number. Jason’s voice came over the line, sounding worried. “Cody, what’s up? Is Elizabeth all right?”
“J-Jason, it’s me. Cody and I were…attacked outside of Kelly’s.” She took a deep breath.
“We’re, um, okay, but he’s dragging the guys inside and he says he needs a clean-up crew.” She dragged her free hand through her hair. “I went for the knees, just like you told me.”
“I’ll be right there. Sonny and I will be right there.” The line went dead, and Elizabeth hurried to hold the door open for Cody as he started to drag the first man in.
Harborview Towers: Penthouse Level
Jason had been home when Elizabeth’s harried phone call had reached him. He’d taken only a second to tell Max outside Sonny’s door that they were needed at Kelly’s before jabbing at the elevator. He wanted to take the steps, but he knew the elevator was quicker. All he could hear was Elizabeth.
I went for the knees, just like you told me.
That meant the bastard had been close enough to grab her. He swore and jabbed the button again. Sonny’s door was yanked open and he was soon joined by Max and Sonny, Rocco stepping out and taking up Max’s post.
“What happened?” Sonny demanded as the elevator finally arrived and the trio were able to get inside for the parking garage.
“Elizabeth called me from Cody’s line. They were attacked at Kelly’s.” Jason wished he’d taken the steps just to have something to do. “She says they’re fine but they need a crew. I already called Johnny. He’ll meet us there, but damn it.” He punched the side of the car. “I should have doubled her guards. One wasn’t enough—”
“One is all I send with my own wife, Jason,” Sonny said, his voice level. “Unless we’re positive of a heightened threat, we don’t raise the security. The cops will get involved when they see that many men following one of us around. No way to know for sure Ric or Faith would come after her.”
“She told me she went for the knees,” Jason muttered. “Like I taught her. You know what means, Sonny. If she had to go for the knees, the piece of scum had his hands on her.”
The doors opened and Jason was about to go for his bike, but Sonny tugged him towards a waiting limo. “We’ll need to bring Elizabeth back here. We’ll call Harry to take a look at her, and if she’s cut up or hurt, you can’t bring her back on the bike.”
Hating that Sonny was right, he followed the other men into the limo.
“Did she say anything else?” Sonny asked, as the car pulled out of the garage and started the five minute ride to the docks and Kelly’s.
“No.” Jason squeezed his eyes shut and searched inside for the focus he was going to need to see this through. “She sounded shaken up.”
“Jase…” Sonny hesitated. “I’m sure it’s all right. We didn’t know what the threat level was. Now we know and can take precautions.”
“I promised to protect her,” Jason murmured. “How is letting her almost be grabbed protecting her?”
Kelly’s: Dining Room
By the time Jason and Sonny arrived at Kelly’s, the cleanup crew had arrived. Sonny swore when he saw the broken tables and chairs outside. He was going to have to get them replaced before morning or Bobbie was going to know exactly what happened here.
Cody and Johnny were inside, standing by the table where Francis was examining Elizabeth’s hands. Jason ignored everyone and went for her, crouching in front of her. “Are you okay? What happened?”
“We were leaving,” Elizabeth said. She straightened and took a deep breath. “I turned to lock the door and I’m not really sure how it happened—”
“One guy grabbed me from behind,” Cody growled. “I swept the parking lot and the courtyard before I brought her into the open, Jason, I swear, but they must have been waiting somewhere—” When Sonny just gestured for him to get on with the events and skip the excuses, Cody huffed. “The guy got me from behind and I was struggling to get rid of him, but the other one grabbed Eliz—Miss Webber.”
“I remembered my self-defense lessons,” Elizabeth said softly. She looked at Jason and tried to smile. “I threw my weight against him to get him off balance, hoping he’d stumble into the tables. When we fell, I started to run, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to get the door unlocked in time and I wasn’t sure I could get past him to the parking lot. And you…last summer, you told me not go for the head because I’m too short, so I kicked him in the knees.”
“And then you ran,” Jason prompted, but scowled as she looked away. “Elizabeth, I told you that you need to get him on the ground and run—”
“I grabbed a chair and swung it at him,” she said softly. “And I kept hitting him with pieces of the chair until he was passed out and Cody stopped me.”
Jason closed his eyes, torn between relief that she’d had the presence of mind to not only fight her captor but use his advice and anger that she hadn’t acted with a sense of self-preservation. “Elizabeth—”
“I’m sorry. I should have run, I know…b-but I was afraid I might not get away or that Cody would be hurt a-and I d-didn’t know if I could get inside—”
“Jase…” Sonny touched his shoulder. “We gotta clear out of here.”
“Right.” He took Elizabeth’s hands in his own, and flinched at the nicks and cuts from the chair she’d wielded. “We have a doctor coming to the penthouse. Are you okay? Do you feel any cramping?”
“Just sore.” He stood and drew her to her feet, wrapping an arm around her shoulders.
Sonny looked at Cody. “All right, where are the sons of bitches?”
“I locked them in the pantry closet until Johnny got here with the cuffs. They’re in the van on their way to the warehouse,” Cody answered. “I’m sorry, Jason. Miss Webber. This is my fault—”
“No,” Jason said, roughly. “No. I asked you to protect Elizabeth a-and you did that. It’s my fault. I should have put more men on the building.” He looked at Sonny. “I know I should go to the warehouse and wait for them to wake up, but—”
“No, no, you’re right.” Sonny shook his head. “I’ll go with Cody and Johnny to the warehouse. Max,” he looked at his bodyguard. “Give Marco a call. He’s supposed to be at Elizabeth’s studio waiting for the switch off. You go back to the penthouse with Jason and Elizabeth, and tell Marco to go on the door there. Rocco will stay on my door and you make sure the rest of the building is secure.”
“All right.” Jason steered Elizabeth toward the front doors and then to the waiting limo.
After they were gone, Sonny turned and looked at Cody. “Tell me, how close did they come to getting her out of here?”
Cody closed his eyes in disgust. “Too goddamn close, Boss. If she hadn’t known how to take him down, he could have had her out of here before I got loose. Lucky for us, Miss Webber’s a fighter. She knocked the bastard out cold.” He rubbed his forehead. “I hate that she had to do that—”
“Better than the alternative.” Sonny heaved a sigh. “All right. Get in a call in to replace the furniture in the courtyard.” He looked to Johnny. “Make sure this place looks like it did before this incident.” He looked at Cody. “You ready to go get some answers?”
“Looking forward to it.”
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Jason opened the door and stepped to the side to allow Elizabeth to enter. She looked like she was in one piece, but he didn’t know if the fall to the ground had injured her. “Our doctor will be here soon to check on you. Are you sure you don’t feel any cramping or—”
“I don’t.” Elizabeth turned to him and bit her lip. “Are you mad I didn’t run? You told me to run, but I just—”
“Hey.” Jason stepped forward and brushed her hair back from her face, letting his thumbs drift down her cheeks until they fanned over her jaw line. “I wasn’t there. I know that you’re standing in front of me and not missing, so at the end of the day, I don’t care.”
“I just…” Elizabeth leaned forward until her head rested against his chest. “I just kept thinking that I couldn’t let them take me, because they’d take me to Ric and my baby would be in danger. I had to protect her, Jason. I couldn’t let him near her.”
“I know. Instinct takes over in moments like that.” He drew her over to the sofa where they sat down and he examined her hands. “I’m just…I’m sorry you had to go through this. I promised you I’d keep you safe—”
“What did you just say to me five seconds ago?” she cut in with a wan smile. “I’m sitting here. I’m not missing. So I don’t care. Jason, if Ric had sent two men to grab me, and Cody hadn’t been there, I’d be gone. I just…I got lucky we were in the courtyard and I know it like the back of my hand. If we hadn’t been so close to the tables, I’m not sure it would have worked.”
“You’re right.” He couldn’t let go of her hands, couldn’t stop looking at her, as if to reassure himself that she’d come through this experience unscathed. If Ric had succeeded tonight, they may never have found her. He might never have seen her again. “We got lucky.”
There was a knock on the door. When Jason opened it, Marco nodded. “I just wanted to let you know I’m here, on duty for the night and that Harry’s here for Miss Webber.” Marco edged around Jason just slightly, as if trying to look inside the room. “Is she all right?”
“Marco?” Elizabeth leaned forward as Jason stepped to the side to allow their doctor through. “I’m glad you’re here. And I’m fine.”
“We’ll let the doctor be the judge of that,” Jason told her. He looked back at Marco. “Thanks. Let Sonny and whoever he brings to the door get through, but no one else. Elizabeth needs rest.”
“Understood.” Jason closed the door and turned to see Harry Lowenstein taking Elizabeth’s blood pressure.
“So how far along are you, Miss Webber?” Harry asked. “You said you’re not feeling any cramps?”
“I’m fourteen weeks,” Elizabeth said, casting an uneasy glance at Jason. “And so far, I’m not. That’s good, right?”
“Well, based on the details Max gave me over the phone, it should be. You said you fell backwards but got up right away? Did you fall on your stomach? On anything hard?” Harry asked.
“No.” Elizabeth winced as the pressure increased on her arm. “No. I think I was maybe three feet in the air, but I fell on the man I was trying to get away from. After that I just kicked him and hit him with a chair. I never hit the ground again.”
“Hmmm…” Harry hesitated. “Your blood pressure’s pretty high, Miss Webber.”
“Well, that’s not news,” Elizabeth sighed. “It’s been high at my last two appointments. Dr. Lee said if I came in again that way, she’d prescribe bed rest to prevent hypertension.”
“Well, she’d be right.” Harry looked at Jason. “Other than some bumps and possible bruising, I’d say she’s in pretty good shape, all things considered. I’d recommend getting an ultrasound as soon as possible to be sure, but I’m more concerned about her blood pressure.”
“But after what happened tonight, it should be high,” Elizabeth said. She looked at Jason. “That just makes sense, doesn’t it?”
“It does, but you just told me that it’s been elevated for most of your pregnancy.” Harry started to pack up his instruments. “That’s a bit disconcerting.”
“I’ll make sure she rests,” Jason said. Elizabeth scowled at him. “At least until she can go see Dr. Lee. If it’s just high because of tonight, Elizabeth, then it’ll go down. Your next appointment is in what, a week, two?”
“Two.” Elizabeth leaned back, her face pale. “All right.”
There was a knock, then Marco pushed open the door. “Mr. Corinthos to see you.”
Sonny strode in, Max, Johnny and Cody on his heels. “Hey, Harry. What’s the prognosis?”
“Bed rest.” Harry stood. “At least a week of light bed rest, and then just taking it easy. She’ll see her regular OB by then who will have more specific instructions. Keep an eye on yourself, Miss Webber. If you feel any stomach cramps or pain, get to the hospital. Don’t bother with me.”
Jason watched as Elizabeth clutched her abdomen. “Is it likely?” she asked.
“No, no. Just as a precaution.” He smiled at them, said his goodbyes and headed for the elevator. Marco closed the door behind him.
Elizabeth eyed the men gathered by the door. “Should I go upstairs?”
Jason immediately went back to her side, worried that she might overdo it. “Do you want water or anything?”
“You can stay down here a moment, Elizabeth,” Sonny told her. “It didn’t take more than a few minutes to learn that the men who went after you tonight were Faith Roscoe’s soldiers, which likely means it was Ric. We assumed that, but it was good to get confirmation. Ric is apparently pissed that you left him for Jason.”
Elizabeth flushed, and Jason squeezed her hand, knowing that she hated to perpetuate the lie in front of men who were protecting her. “It’s because he hates me,” he told her. “You know that.”
“Yeah.” Elizabeth looked back at Sonny. “So what now?”
“Doubling your guards,” Sonny responded. “You can’t go back to Kelly’s. It was one thing when we weren’t sure you were in danger, but it’s a nightmare to secure it hour after hour, so you’re going to have to stop working.”
Jason could see the tension in Elizabeth’s shoulders, and he knew she hated the loss of her independence, of her ability to provide for herself. She raised an eyebrow. “And what else?”
“You’ll have to stay here,” Sonny said. “It’s more secure than anywhere else we could house you, and we can control access to it.”
Elizabeth looked at him, and Jason tried to keep his expression neutral. It was difficult enough to keep himself detached from her pregnancy when she lived apart from him. To know that she would be living here again, for an indeterminate length of time, as her body changed and her pregnancy advanced…
Jason finally nodded. “It makes the most sense,” he told her. And only half for the benefit of the men watching, “And I want you close anyway. With the baby…” He rubbed the back of his neck, uncomfortable. “It…works, Elizabeth.”
She bit her lip and then looked back at Sonny. “You’re right. At the end of the day, I should do whatever you guys think will keep my…our child safe.” She flicked her eyes back him, full of nerves. “So…I’ll move in.”
“Good.” Sonny nodded. “Jason, why don’t you get Elizabeth settled upstairs, and then we’ll…” He coughed and shrugged. “Talk.”
Jason stood and helped Elizabeth to her feet. “I’ll be back down in a little while,” he told Sonny as he led her to the stairs.
“Take your time,” Sonny called.
Once they were upstairs, Jason left her in one of the guest rooms while he went for a shirt for her to wear that night. While she changed, he grabbed a bottle of water from the mini-fridge in his makeshift gym and returned to the guest room to find her sitting up in bed, her legs covered by a sheet and his light blue shirt listing to one side, baring one of her shoulders. “Here,” he said gruffly, holding out the water.
“Thanks.” Elizabeth hesitated. “Jason, I know this isn’t an ideal situation—”
“It’s the best solution,” Jason interrupted. He had to get out of this room and not dwell on the fact that she was only wearing his shirt. He sighed and sat on the edge of the bed. “Elizabeth, I told you. Nothing matters to me more than keeping you and the baby safe. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to make that happen.”
The corner of her lip curved up as she held the plastic water bottle in her hands. “Yeah, I’m getting that, considering you lied to everyone you love and you’re letting me stay with you until this over. I know you hate when I thank you but…” She looked up, her eyes filled with something he couldn’t quite define. “The fact that I can look forward to raising my child with any sense of…safety and freedom from my horrible choices…it’s because of you. So, thank you.”
He nodded, because he didn’t know what else to say. “I should…I should get back downstairs. If you need anything—food or…anything, just let me know.”
Jason left the room, and headed down the stairs. Johnny, Max and Cody had left, leaving Sonny seated in the armchair adjacent to his sofa. “So what do we know?”
“Not much more than I came in with,” Sonny sighed. “The men are pissed. Cody was ready to hand me his gun and tell me to do away with him. He’s sick over this.”
“I-I don’t blame him for this happening.” Jason sat on the sofa. “You were right, earlier. We didn’t even know if there’d be a threat to Elizabeth, if Ric hated me enough to come after me when his life was at stake.” He hesitated. “Do we know why they came for Elizabeth? Does Ric believe the child is his?”
“They weren’t forthcoming,” Sonny replied. “But the men assume it’s due to Ric’s hatred of the situation, of you. I’ve let it circulate that my mother picked me over him, and that now he thinks I picked you over him as my brother, and Elizabeth picking you is just another stack in his crazy pile of shit. They buy it.”
“Good.” Jason clasped his hands together. “We don’t know where they were taking her?”
“To a van that was a long gone by the time we went looking for it.” Sonny leaned his head back, looking weary. “She all right? I know she must have been scared.”
“She’s holding together.” Jason shook his head. “After last summer, I never wanted her to go through that again, to feel that fear.”
“The one whose head she bashed?” Sonny said. “She knocked him out good. Would have had a nasty concussion if we’d let him live long enough. Word’s gonna spread to anyone else Faith Roscoe might send. If you mess with Elizabeth Webber, your life isn’t worth much.” He sat up. “You taught her well, Jase. She went for the kneecaps, and kept herself safe. I hate that she went through it, but she did and she’s going to be all right.”
“Sonny…I—I know you wouldn’t give the order, but…” Jason paused. “If I see Ric, I’m not gonna care he’s your brother.”
“After this?” Sonny grimaced and shook his head. “I don’t care much either. You see him, you do what you gotta do. He signed his death warrant the moment he came after Elizabeth. I was willing to keep her safe, look for him so I could deliver him to the Families, but after tonight? I hope I can personally remove that psychotic son of a bitch from her life. No one is going to get that close to her again, Jason.” He pressed a hand to his heart. “And not because that’s my niece or nephew she’s carrying, but because I can’t see her go through it again.”
“Good.” Jason got to his feet. “Then you go to tell the Families to get off their asses, stop pretending to help, and hunt this son of a bitch down. We can only do so much if they’re not fully cooperating. Tell them to get the word out to anyone who matters, Ric Lansing went after my family. He’s a dead man walking.”