More than angry words I hate this silence
It’s getting so loud
Well I want to scream
But bitterness has silenced these emotions
It’s getting hard to breathe
– Hold Me, Savage Garden
Saturday, June 7, 2003
Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room
If Carly hadn’t decided to keep her mouth shut and cooperate with this situation because it was simply the right thing to do, the added benefit of confusing the crap out of her husband and best friend might have been reason enough. Not flipping out when Jason broke Courtney’s heart, or screaming like a shrew at Elizabeth at every opportunity, pretending not to know the truth…Carly was enjoying this far more than she ought to have.
But that had been before. When Jason had been lying to make Ric leave town thinking he had nothing to stay for, not when this lie was keeping Elizabeth and her child alive. Now, as Sonny explained to Carly that Jason had decided he needed to support Elizabeth more so they were moving in together, she knew something terrible had happened.
It was time to stop playing around.
Carly stood in front of the fireplace, her hand braced on the small of her back. “Does Ric know the truth, Sonny? Do we know how much danger Elizabeth is in?”
Sonny blinked at her, and she wanted to roll her eyes. “Yes, yes, I knew all along. I’m not an idiot. I also know I’m the last person Jason would have trusted with this, considering my track record with trying to help him and then making everything worse.” She pressed her lips together. “Plus, I’m supposed to be Courtney’s best friend, so if he couldn’t trust prissy Robin Scorpio to protect the truth about Michael when she loved Jason, why should he expect me to do the same when I don’t even like Elizabeth much? So, let’s not focus on the reasons I wasn’t told outright because I’m not angry, Sonny.”
“I…” Sonny hesitated. “We thought you might know, you hinted at it, but we weren’t sure. Carly—”
“Paternity secrets work better when no one knows them. I know Jason tried to lie to you, but you never bought it either, and if this were Jason’s child, he’d be doing a better damn job of protecting Elizabeth. She would have been moved into the penthouse weeks ago, but instead, Jason let her out into the world, working and living in buildings that are far from secure,” Carly said. “He didn’t go to her doctor’s appointments and he couldn’t be bothered to fill out a simple medical form to keep the Quartermaines from sniffing around, wondering why the histories didn’t match. Sonny, I don’t know about the search for Ric, but I’m out there, and this story is falling apart.”
“It’s not the story we’re worried about so much right now.” Sonny rubbed his face. “He’s working with Faith Roscoe, and she sent two men to grab Elizabeth last night after she closed. One guy jumped Cody, and if Elizabeth hadn’t had the presence of mind to send her attacker crashing into the courtyard tables, she’d be gone right now. So I’m even less concerned with the lie at the moment.”
“We need to be concerned about it,” Carly said briskly. “I know you don’t want me to know about business, but I think a woman who’s ignorant in this world, who ignores details because it’s better to have plausible deniability is an idiot. You told the Families to go after Ric because he’s threatening Jason’s family. If they found out you lied, we’d have worse problems on our hands than Ric and Faith.”
The hands slid from Sonny’s face and he looked at her, apparently for the first time. “I told you, Sonny. I accept your life. So we keep Elizabeth safe from that psychotic twisted piece of shit, but we have to make sure this lie stays credible.”
Looking exhausted, Sonny lowered himself into the armchair in front of her. “Sometimes, Carly, you drive me insane. And then others, you remind me exactly why I married you. You’re a schemer, which means you always have to stay one step ahead of the person you’re manipulating. I should have…I should have thought of it, of what would happen if the Families knew…”
“That’s fine. Most of the time, Sonny, I could give two damns what you’re doing in your business beyond what it means for me and my children. But right now, this is personal. Ric Lansing came after you for personal reasons. He targeted Elizabeth because Jason’s stupid for her, so do not shut me out of this. I can help.”
“Yeah.” Sonny looked at her. “Yeah. So, her guards are doubled, she’s not going back to work, and the doctor told her bed rest because her blood pressure is too high anyway. She’s moving in with Jason because she can be protected better. I cannot think of a single thing to protect her more than that.”
“Me either, and I leave that stuff for you anyway.” Carly sat on the adjacent couch. “Sonny, I’ve spent the last two months thinking about this, trying to understand why Jason would agree to claim Elizabeth’s child to the entire world and then ignore her. Because if I could figure that out, I could figure out a way to tell him to knock it off. I could figure out how to fix any problems he was having, but Sonny…I think I know what the problem is…and I can’t fix it.”
Sonny looked at her, his eyes dark and pained. “I think I know too. He loves her, and he’s afraid she’ll walk out the door again.”
“And take her child with her,” Carly concluded. “And the last thing he wants is to watch another child walk out of his life. He knows the truth, and he knows what could happen when this ends. So I guess…he’s trying to protect himself. So how do we stop him from doing that?”
“I’m not sure we can any more than I think he can stop himself from getting hurt.” Sonny sighed. “Because the longer he tries to be detached, the more Elizabeth is going to think it’s because this baby is Ric’s. And she’ll walk out anyway.”
Her throat burning. “I can’t fix that, Sonny. I can’t take back what I did with Michael, what we did together. I can’t talk to Elizabeth about it, because I know better than to get involved in Jason’s life. I’ll probably mess it up even more. I can’t make Jason trust Elizabeth to stay because I don’t know if she will. How do I fix this, Sonny?”
Sonny closed his eyes. “We can’t. Talking to them isn’t going to make it better. They’ll never believe it coming from us. And, going by the last two months…they’re not going to talk to each other long enough to fix it themselves, which is the only way this gets better.”
“If they don’t fix this,” Carly said softly, “And Jason keeps avoiding this pregnancy, the seeds of doubt are going to be there. The Families probably don’t want to help as it is. It won’t take them much to want to turn on you, so you at least…have to tell Jason that.”
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Jason came down the stairs, and stopped in front of the sofa where he had carried her that morning. Apparently, Jason Morgan took light bed rest very seriously. No stairs for her. No further than the bathroom or kitchen.
“I swear I haven’t moved,” Elizabeth said, forcing a smile and holding up her hands. “Not even a single inch.”
“I know.” Jason sat in the armchair adjacent to her, his legs spread out and his hands clasped between them. “I…we should talk…about how this is going to work. I—I know you stayed here before, but things…things are…” He exhaled. “Well, it’s not the same and—”
He looked so uncomfortable, so pained and suddenly, she just couldn’t do it anymore. She drew her knees up to her chest and rested her chin on top, looking at him. “Jason, do you remember the night we met at Jake’s?”
Jason broke off his protracted and distressed speech to look at her, bewildered. “Yeah. Why?”
“From the moment I met you,” Elizabeth began, “you were so different from everyone else. You made me feel comfortable in my own skin because you just…let me ramble and then you would just talk to me. And we were so good at that, Jason. Even when things were difficult between us. When you pushed me away that first time, after the bomb in my studio, you listened to my argument and you acknowledged it. I knew you left Port Charles for your own reasons, and not just because geographical distance kept me safer. And every time you came back…it was like you’d never left.” She smiled at him, remembering the way she’d run to him that first time, on the docks.
“I…remember.” And he must have thought of those times as fondly as she did, because he was smiling now.
“I know…things started to get complicated between us that second time you were home, but, still, you were always honest with me.” She tucked her hair behind her ears. “Even when I wasn’t honest with myself. I always felt like you weren’t even angry with me, though you should have been. You were annoyed and irritated that I was lying to myself. I miss that, Jason. I really do. I miss having one person in my life that I could be completely honest with.”
“I miss…I miss it, too,” he admitted. And she watched as his shoulders slackened, as if the words themselves lifted weight and tension. “Elizabeth, I know things haven’t been right between us for months.”
“I know. I know I messed everything up,” she sighed. She stared down at her toes, wiggling them. “I thought…when you came home last year, that this…this was finally going to our chance. We were finally going to get our timing right. I wasn’t mourning Lucky or trying to make things work with him, and you weren’t…” She looked up and wrinkled her nose with a wry smile. “I don’t know, I never knew why you didn’t think it was the right time, but I could tell…even back in the studio that December, that you felt the same way I did.”
He looked away, but his mouth had curved into a slight smile and his eyes were soft. “I thought I did a good job at hiding it. You were…just getting past Lucky, and I know…we don’t have a huge age difference between us, but—”
“But it was a lot at the time,” Elizabeth acknowledged, and just sitting here, honestly discussing the fact they’d been attracted to one another even then made her feel as though they really could have this conversation. “So, I guess I understand it. And though sometimes I wished you had pressured me more two years ago, when I was clearly torn because I didn’t know how to explain to Lucky, the world, myself that I wasn’t in love with him anymore, that I wasn’t same the girl who’d buried him…I was glad that I eventually figured it out for myself. When Lucky slept with Sarah, I wasn’t angry because I was jealous. I was angry because they lied to me.” She sighed, remembering the pain and the hurt and thinking it all seemed so small now. “Because I had asked them and asked them, and they had denied it. But you were back, so it didn’t…hurt for long.”
“I hated to see you so upset,” Jason said. He stood and joined her on the couch. “But I…I was glad you were finally going to be away from Lucky.” He hesitated. “And I thought it going to be our chance, too.” His eyes darkened and he looked away. “But you were kidnapped.”
“I never…” Elizabeth crawled forward slightly, tucking her knees underneath her. “I never blamed you, Jason. Not once. In all those hours I was scared…I knew you were going to come for me. Somehow. I knew it.”
“Not fast enough,” Jason shook his head. “I wasted time because I thought it was about ELQ and Edward and AJ couldn’t help me—” He hesitated.
Elizabeth drew back and just blinked at him. “Edward…AJ?” she repeated. “You…You went to them?”
“I asked Taggart, too,” Jason admitted. “Because he always cared about you, and he…they all tried, but I wasted time going to dinner at the Quartermaine’s because it was the only way Edward would help—”
Her heart was going to leap out of her chest. “Jason, you went to dinner at the Quartermaines and you asked Taggart.” Was this reality? Was she dreaming this? “Why…”
“I would have done anything,” he said, fiercely. “Anything to bring you home safely. I would have asked anyone…” He turned on the sofa and surprised her by feathering the back of his hand down her cheek and tucking a piece of hair behind her ear. “Elizabeth, if I hadn’t found you…”
She was hallucinating. Pregnancy could create delusions, because he was looking at her the way he always had. “But you did find me,” she said softly. “Like I knew you would.” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “But I know…that I messed everything up after that. Like I always do. I know…I ruined things long before I said that you did.”
Jason frowned. “You didn’t…Elizabeth—”
“Don’t…we’re being honest now, aren’t we?” Elizabeth said, her breath hitching, because here was the difficult part. If they were ever going to get that friendship back, they had to discuss how she’d torched everything they’d had. “The night of the storm, when you got a phone call and you had to go. I should have told you…I should have told you how terrified I was to be alone right then. I know you had something important to do, so maybe you couldn’t have done anything, but I was so scared….” She closed her eyes when he brushed a tear away. “And then the lights went out, and I was in the stairwell, and I was back in that moment. I was praying that you’d find me…” Her eyes flew open. “I’m not…I’m not blaming you for Zander. I—I’m not because I made…well, up until this last spring, it was the worst mistake I’d ever made in my entire life.”
“But I was so terrified,” she rushed to explain. “I wanted…to feel something. And Zander kissed me, so I just…I let him. And I…” She shook her head. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I still can’t really explain it to myself. I don’t know if I would have told you if you hadn’t…seen…or if you hadn’t been there the next day…I like to think I would have been honest, but I felt so dirty and disgusting…” The tears were falling in earnest now, burning hot trails down her cheeks. “And you…you looked right through me. I thought…”
“Elizabeth, you and I…” He cradled her head in his hands, using his thumbs to brush away her tears. “We hadn’t said anything to each other—”
“Does that change anything?” Elizabeth asked. “Does the fact you and I hadn’t sat down and made promises change what we were? What we could have been? I thought I had lost my chance with you, so I clung to Zander so I wouldn’t be alone, but I just…I couldn’t do it. I didn’t care about him that way. I didn’t…” She hesitated. “But that day I was shot, and you looked at me that way…” The way he was looking at her now. God, if she could paint that look, she could keep it forever. “I thought maybe…maybe you didn’t hate me anymore, but you still didn’t want me. You kept telling me it was too dangerous, but I wish…you should have been honest with me.” She licked her lips. “I know I hurt you, but you wouldn’t just tell me that it was over, and I hated you for months for making me feel like I still mattered…”
“You mattered,” Jason said. “You…you always mattered. You still…” He frowned. “I was honest with you, Elizabeth. After you were…grazed by that bullet, I didn’t want you to be hurt because of me. Not again. It was too dangerous—”
“No, no,” Elizabeth pulled back, her breath hitching as sobs slipped out. “No, we’re supposed to be honest, Jason. You told me it was too dangerous and I wanted to meet in secret, but you said it wouldn’t work, but you…” She forced the words out. “You did all of that with Courtney, a—and you were with her during the trial even though you could have gone to jail, so I know you were lying to me. Because you didn’t want tell me how I ruined everything, how I was always ruining things, so you just…you told me that so I’d go away.”
“No, I didn’t.” Jason reached for her, but she shook her head again.
“No, because it wasn’t too dangerous to Courtney, so I don’t…I don’t understand it. You had to be lying, because you were with her all the time, you even walked her home before you came back to the penthouse the night I found out about Sonny. You went to the hospital to see Alexis, you went to the police station, you went to Courtney’s….and I kept sitting on the couch, waiting for you to call, to explain, but it was hours and hours and you let me sit there, thinking about how stupid I was, and how—” She closed her eyes, and forced herself to calm down. It did no good to get so upset. It was over…things had changed. “I ruined everything, Jason, and I know that, but you should have told me you had feelings for Courtney by then. You never should have sat on this sofa and promised me we could try.”
She turned away, and maybe would have stood to leave the room, but Jason gently took her elbow and forced her to look at him. “Elizabeth, I am not lying to you,” he said. “I didn’t lie then, either. Listen to me…” He took her by the shoulders, and Elizabeth forced herself to look at him. He’d sat there and let her pour her heart out, it was only fair he’d be granted the same courtesy.
“Okay.” She took a deep breath. “Okay.”
“When I said those things to you last summer, when I said it was too dangerous…” He hesitated. “It was. Because even though we didn’t know much about Alcazar at that point, we knew he was out there. He was a threat, and he’d already ordered you to be kidnapped. I don’t know…if maybe I thought after it was over, we could…try again. It didn’t work out that way. Elizabeth, nothing ever happened with Courtney while you were in my life.”
Her eyes flew to his, because how could that be anything but a lie, but he didn’t look like he was lying. He didn’t look as though the words were false. “M-maybe not physically, but—”
“I wanted to tell you about Sonny,” Jason told her. “But he…he gets these moods, and he snaps, and you can’t get through to him. He was questioning me a lot, especially after you were kidnapped. So when he told me you couldn’t know, I didn’t feel like I could argue, and if I went against him to tell you anyway…” He shook his head. “I should have. I should have handled everything better. You thought Sonny was dead, and you just…wanted to be there for me, but I could not accept your comfort, your worry because it was a lie, and I was trying so hard not to lie to you. It went on for much longer than I thought it would. And…when it came out the way it did, I knew it was on the news, I knew you knew the truth, so I delayed coming back here. Because I didn’t want to see how much I hurt you.”
She licked her lips, because all of that made so much sense. “Why…why didn’t you say that when you came in?” she asked. “If you…if you’d said that…”
“You told me I ruined everything,” Jason reminded her. “And you had that look in your eyes. You were already packed and ready to go, and you…” He swallowed. “You told me I was Sonny’s enforcer, that’s all I was—”
“Because that’s all you were acting like,” Elizabeth cut in. “It was like I wasn’t there, like I hadn’t been kidnapped or shot at, like I wasn’t living in this penthouse for my protection. After all those months of being lied to by Lucky about being in love with me, and then not being attracted to Sarah, I just…I couldn’t do it again. I couldn’t be ignored, placated, patronized. You told me it was none of my business.” She pressed a hand to her chest, her heart still breaking from those words. “Like I don’t get your life. I found you, bleeding in the snow and hauled you home where I proceeded to let everyone think you and I were lovers so the police wouldn’t suspect.” She laughed ruefully. “I’m not sure people don’t still assume that, now that I think about it. Because I never told anyone any differently. I lied to everyone in my life to hide you in my studio two years ago, and every time Sonny asked me to leave my own home, I walked out without another word.”
“I—I know all of that,” Jason said, his voice hoarse. “And you’re right. I can’t argue with any of that. Elizabeth, I can’t go back and make it different—”
“I know. That’s—that’s not why I wanted to talk about this.” She exhaled slowly and closed her eyes. “Jason, I want us to be honest with each other, so we can move forward and handle this situation. We have all this baggage between us, and I don’t…” Frustrated, her voice breaking, “I don’t want to look at you and regret not having you in my life anymore. I know I ruined any chance for us ever to be together, if not then, then certainly now, but to not even have you as a friend…” She hesitated. “I don’t know if it even bothered you that we weren’t friends anymore, but—”
“Every time I saw you,” Jason interrupted. “I thought about just talking to you, trying to…get back to that place, but I never could. I didn’t know how to start, how to handle it if…” He trailed off.
“If you didn’t want me around.” Jason exhaled slowly. “Because I knew you were hurt about Brenda, after that night at Luke’s. I should have tried harder to make you understand what had happened, but I kept…I kept leaving it up to you, because I was afraid if I told you what I wanted…you wouldn’t want the same thing, and I didn’t…I didn’t want to face that.”
“So, that night at Luke’s…” Elizabeth said slowly, “if I had just told you that we still had a chance…you would have still wanted one?” She frowned, and shook her head. “No, no, I don’t believe that. Because something was going on with Courtney by that point, I know. She’s told me that you guys…that it started while you were guarding her, and that you were guarding her while I was still living here—”
“No,” Jason said, firmly and with a slight irritation. “I don’t…maybe Courtney was having feelings, I’m not sure. I—I never asked. But I felt nothing for her when I was with you. I was thinking about you, even when I should have been concentrating on work, but—”
“I don’t…I don’t understand.” This didn’t work, this didn’t line up. “Courtney moved to that loft in December. You still wanted a chance with me at Thanksgiving, Jason, and you’re telling me two weeks later you rented that loft for her, for the two of you—”
“You tell me you can’t explain what happened with Zander?” Jason said. “Well, I know exactly what you mean because I don’t…Courtney was just there, and I…you wouldn’t talk to me.” He rubbed his forehead.
She just stared at him. How could she have been so wrong? She couldn’t have been. “Jason, I’m not trying to trap you or make you feel bad. I know…I know that it’s possible to be with someone you care about and develop feelings for someone else. I may not have loved Lucky the way I once had, but I still cared about him, but…you were there, too and I knew how I felt about you. So…I get it. I’m not asking you to make me feel better, but I know things with Courtney started earlier than that, okay? Courtney…and E-Emily have both told me over and over again—”
“Elizabeth, I don’t care what anyone else—” He stopped and frowned. “Courtney and Emily have told you what exactly? I don’t…I haven’t talked to my sister about what happened between us. I wouldn’t.”
“Maybe we should…just stop here—” Elizabeth started to unfold her legs, but he reached out and held her shoulders still. “Jason—”
“If the reason you’re so upset, that you think I lied to you about it being too dangerous, is because people are telling you things, I think I should know what they are,” he told her. “Until I know what you’re thinking, I can’t respond to it. You wanted to be honest, well I’m trying.”
“It’s…” Hoisted on my own petard, she thought bitterly. “Fine. Emily said…and I don’t know if she said this because you’d said anything or she just …knows you pretty well, but she said that if you had been that interested in me, it would been different, because…if you wanted to be with me, you would be.” Under his scrutinizing gaze, she lowered her eyes. “And I know that’s true. And C-Courtney told me I made up my relationship with you in my head…which made sense since you kept…you wouldn’t tell me how you felt. You…kept walking away, and…” She couldn’t keep going on, explaining. “Jason—”
The hand on her shoulder slide up her neck to cup the back of her neck and then she felt him drawing her forward. This was like an out of body of experience—she had the sensation of floating overhead and watching Jason kiss her.
God, she never thought this would happen to her again. She’d thought, for her mistakes, that two incredible moments with his arms around her and his lips hers would be it, but maybe…
Maybe it would be at least three, so she was going to make the most of it. She slid her hands in his hair, and rose up on her knees. His arms slid down her torso, wrapping around her back, and pressing her against him. If she could stay like this forever, if he never stopped kissing her…
The knock on the door roused her faintly, but she decided to ignore it, because damn it, this was her chance.
“Miss Webber?” Francis called. “Jason?”
Jason drew back, and she actually whimpered at the loss. He rested his forehead against hers. “They…” He cleared his throat. “They were packing up your studio and bringing things over.”
“Oh…” Elizabeth blinked, and drew back, her hand sliding from his neck down to his shoulder. “Oh. Okay.”
“Give us a second, Francis,” Jason called, not looking away. “There has never been a single moment since the day I met you that you didn’t matter to me. Tell me, at least, you believe me about that.”
“I do,” she murmured. Feeling brave, she leaned forward and kissed him briefly. “I do believe that.”
Port Charles Hotel: Grille
Carly glanced over the top of the menu to her sister-in-law and her friend. For two months, she had sat across from her and pretended she believed Jason had cheated on her, impregnated his ex-girlfriend, but she had never acknowledged the lie to her husband, so it had felt…not quite like a game, but not as serious as it did right now.
She felt guilty to be keeping the secret, but after what Elizabeth had gone through the night before, she understood better than ever why this secret had to be contained. As much as Carly enjoyed Courtney’s companionship, she simply couldn’t see trusting her.
She set the menu aside and sighed. “Courtney, there’s something I need to tell you and I wanted you to hear it from me.”
The other blonde’s fingers tightened on the menu, bending and wrinkling the paper. “They’re together, aren’t they?” Courtney asked, her voice tight.
“No…I…” Carly sat back. “Well, I don’t really know about that. Maybe.” She had to find her inner Carly Roberts, the woman who had sauntered into Port Charles and lied every time her mouth opened. “It’s…Elizabeth is moving into the penthouse.”
Courtney straightened and she narrowed her eyes. “And you’re telling me that doesn’t mean they’re together? I don’t believe you, Carly. Don’t lie to spare my feelings. I need to be prepared for this—”
“All I know is that Elizabeth has been required to go on bed rest,” Carly said, holding up her hands in protest. “She saw her doctor and her blood pressure has been too high for weeks. She’s leaving Kelly’s, and she’s staying with Jason, at least until her health has cleared up.”
“She won’t be back at work.” Some of the tension bled from her sister-in-law’s shoulders. “So I won’t…I won’t see her in there anymore. We don’t have to work together.”
“No, so at least there’s that.” Carly hesitated. “But Courtney, you might want to start preparing yourself because…they’re having a child together. That…might lead…it might not be long before you hear they are together again.”
“No, no…” Courtney shook her head. “The last time she lived there, he was never there. Maybe…” She squared her shoulders. “He didn’t like living with her before, so maybe he’ll remember why he left her the first time.”
“The first time?” Carly frowned. “Courtney, Sonny was faking his death, and Jason was running around trying to track down Alcazar and protect Brenda. He was with you very rarely. I know…I know you think what you guys had started then, but I just…I just don’t think so—”
“You weren’t there,” Courtney shot back, a smug smile on her face. “Jason and I kissed for the first time two weeks after she walked out on him, so obviously she didn’t mean that much.”
“Let’s…let’s just order.” Carly signaled for the waiter. She hadn’t realized how quickly Jason had started looking at Courtney that way, and while that information told Courtney that Jason hadn’t cared for Elizabeth all that much…Carly knew her friend better than that. Jason had a habit of going through a bad time and turning to something else to drown it out. He’d gone back to Jake’s after Michael was gone and Robin had betrayed him, staying there most nights and getting into bar fights and drinking a bit too much.
And she wondered if Courtney had been anyone other than Sonny’s sister…if she would have stayed a rebound relationship.
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Cody pushed the door open. “Miss Webber, Nadine Crowell is here.”
Elizabeth sat up on the sofa, setting her book on the coffee table and smiled at her friend. “Hey. I was hoping you’d stop by when I left you the message.”
“Seriously?” Nadine crossed the room and sat on the end of the couch. “I could not wait for my shift to end before I could get over here.” She hesitated and glanced around. “Um, is anyone else here?”
“No, Jason had to go to the warehouse.” Elizabeth’s cheeks flushed and she looked down. After Francis had interrupted them earlier, Jason had busied himself directing the guards who had packed her studio to put her art supplies in one of the guest rooms and then her suitcases and personal belongings in her room. After that, Sonny had called for him and there’d been no opportunity to continue their conversation.
“Oh, good.” Nadine grinned. “So, you’re moving in with your babydaddy. This is fantastic, right? And you thought he was regretting even being involved—”
“Well, it’s not exactly that simple.” Elizabeth sat cross-legged next to her. “Without going into details because I really can’t…there was an incident last night, so Jason had someone take my blood pressure.” She sighed. “And it was pretty high. He suggested light bed rest until I go see Kelly at the end of the month.”
“I won’t ask for any details.” Nadine held up her hands. “You look okay, so that’s enough for me.” She hesitated. “So you’re staying with Jason for a few weeks?”
“No.” Elizabeth dipped her head back and smiled lightly. “It’s for the foreseeable future. He’s worried about…danger. I’m leaving my job as well.”
“Well, hell…” Nadine blinked. “Things changed pretty damn quick.” She chewed her bottom lip. “Can you… are you going to be able to stay here? I know…we haven’t talked about your ex in any detail, but I can tell you’re still crazy about him and he’s been so MIA during this—”
“We’re…” Elizabeth hesitated, wishing she could really confide in Nadine. “We’re talking. Being honest for the first time…I don’t know…maybe ever. I don’t know if it means anything, or if it could go anywhere, but before we tried to be more, he was my best friend and if we walk out of this situation with just that intact, it’ll be worth it.”
“Well, being friends is good,” Nadine said, but her eyes were skeptical. “Raising a kid together always works better when you’re friends.” She paused. “But Elizabeth, I hope that while you guys are being honest about each other, you’re being honest about the baby.”
“Maybe the next time we talk,” Elizabeth said, but she was so hesitant to bring up the baby. If they had a chance to make things work again, of course the baby would be a factor but…wasn’t it implied? That if they were going to try to build something, her child would have to be part of the equation?
But maybe they weren’t. Maybe that’s not what the kiss had meant. After all, the last time he’d kissed her senseless, he’d walked away for days.
No. No, she wasn’t going to do keep doing this. She looked at Nadine. “It’s really complicated…this situation, I mean, but you’re right. It’s not enough that we’re honest about what went wrong before. We need to be honest about what comes next.”
Nadine smiled, but the gesture didn’t reach her eyes. “But you don’t think you will be.”
“It’s easy to be honest about what’s already happened,” Elizabeth replied, “Because those things are over, and all that’s left is to explain what happened. But…to talk about tomorrow, and the day after…that’s making plans.” She looked away, towards the pool table, towards the window where they’d once stood in front of and talked about yachts. “We’ve never been good at that. We talk about things we might do in the far future, months away, but never about tomorrow.” She looked back at Nadine. “Which I guess really says it all, doesn’t it? We never talk about tomorrow, which is probably why when it stops being today, we screw it up so much.”