Miss You Most At Christmas Time

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the Noel

Baby I miss you
Most at Christmas time
And I can’t get you
Get you off my mind
Every other season comes along
And I’m all right
But then I miss you, most at Christmas time

Jason sat straight up and rubbed his eyes. He looked around at his dark and desolate penthouse. The tree was not lit, the lights not switched on and the fireplace was empty and dark. It had been a dream, Jason told himself. Just because he’d never dreamed before, it didn’t mean he would never dream at all.

But he remembered every detail about this dream. The way Robin had looked, the way she had changed. The words she’d spoken, the places she’d taken him to.

He stared at his hands for a long moment before dragging them through his hair. He just needed to sleep. Jason lay back down and wrapped his arm around his head to rest it on. He closed his eyes and told himself once again it was a dream.

He could feel someone looking at him. He could feel someone very close. His eyes snapped open and he jerked back, startled.

“Who the hell are you?”

A tiny brunette was straddling his waist and peering at him with her amused brown eyes. “I know I was the wife from hell, Jase, but you really don’t have to be so rude.”

Jason frowned. Had Courtney died her hair? A more disturbing thought occurred to him–had he had yet another marriage that hadn’t lasted?

“Who are you?” he demanded.

The brunette stood up and planted her hands on her hips. “I am the Ghost of Christmas Present!” she declared. She cocked her head to the side. “Actually, I’m a representative–”

“I should have known,” Jason muttered. He tried to remember if he’d eaten or drank anything out of the ordinary before going to sleep. Maybe it was indigestion.

“To you, however, I am Brenda Barrett. I am your first wife and your worst nightmare all rolled into one,” Brenda said with a hand waving in the air for emphasis. “I was once engaged to Sonny and I was married to Jax. Do I ring any bells now?”

“Not really,” Jason said. “And from this short meeting, I’m beginning to think memory loss isn’t so bad.”

Brenda gaped. “Did you really just crack a joke? Things really have changed!” She shrugged and held out her hand. “Let’s go–we’ve got a lot to do and not so much time to do it in.”

Jason sighed and decided that he would avoid Kelly’s coffee for a while–that had to be what was going on. He touched her hand and was prepared for the swirling mess around him.

When it cleared, he was standing in the middle of the Quartermaine living room. The tree was lit and his sister was curled up in an armchair next to the tree. She was staring at a row of pictures on the shelf above the desk.

“What’s wrong with Emily?” Jason asked quietly, wanting to comfort his sister but knowing he couldn’t.

Brenda was subdued when she answered. “Alexis called her tonight and told her that her divorce papers had been filed and that her marriage to Nikolas was officially over. Emily thought that’s what she’d wanted. She’d thought she’d been moving on with her life.”

Emily sighed and twisted her wedding ring around her finger. She got out of her chair and crossed to the pictures, removing the one taken of she and Nikolas on her wedding day. Her fingers traced her ex-husband’s face.

“Two failed marriages in two years,” Brenda sighed. “It was two years ago this month that she’d asked for Zander for a divorce because she wanted to spend her life with Nikolas.”

“Why did you bring me here?” Jason demanded.

“Emily went though the breakup of her marriage alone,” Brenda said. “You were too busy with Sam and then you didn’t remember her at all. Even before you lost your memory, you were too busy with your own life to visit her. Emily had to seek you out to see you. You never came to her. Just another person who let her down. She’s going to spend her Christmas pretending she’s over Nikolas. Pretending it’s okay that Courtney and Nikolas are happy together. Pretend that she doesn’t mind doing things with them and with Lucky and Elizabeth.”

Brenda held out her hand. “She’s going to spend Christmas alone because there’s no one who cares to share it with her.”

Jason hesitantly touched her hand and told himself he’d check on Emily in the morning.

Their next stop was an apartment that was also familiar to him–not the furniture or the possessions within it, but the layout. He frowned and realized his reason for the destination when he saw Elizabeth curled up in a large chair, Cameron on her lap and A Christmas Carol in her hands.

“I wonder where Daddy is,” Elizabeth murmured to her son, kissing him on top of the head. “He should be home by now.”

Cameron giggled and smacked the book. “Cookie!”

Jason found himself smiling and decided that no matter what feelings he may have had for her, they were obviously better off now.

“You’re wrong,” Brenda said in a sing song voice. “You know this apartment because Courtney used to live here and you used to spend time here guarding her. Being here is what cost you Elizabeth in the first place. You had just told her poor girl you wanted a relationship with her and then you disappeared on her. You faked Sonny’s death and let her mourn him. You let her feel terrified that you were out hunting his killer. Instead, you were guarding Courtney and you were guarding me. Is it any wonder that when she found out you were seeing Courtney that she wondered when it had started?”

Jason swallowed. “I didn’t…”

“No, you didn’t. But you never assured Elizabeth of that. So she was replaced again in her mind. Never coming first, never really mattering.” Brenda waved that away. “Anyhow, that’s all in the past. Can’t change the past. Elizabeth here is living week-to-week trying to support her baby and her new husband, who hasn’t yet made it home for Christmas. She can’t imagine why because he’s supposed to be out on medical leave until after the new year.”

The telephone rang and Elizabeth leaned towards the coffee table to grab the cordless receiver. “Hello? Lucky!” Her face brightened. “You’re not out doing any last minute shopping are you?” Her face dimmed and she looked away from her son. “Oh. Oh. Well…I understand. You need–we need the money. I wish you had–right.” She swallowed. “I love you too, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

She hung up the phone and sighed. “Well, Cam, Daddy has to work tonight so why don’t we put this book away for next year and get you to sleep.”

She lifted her son into her arms and went into the back bedroom.

“He’s not working, not really,” Brenda said. “He just told her that so she wouldn’t worry. He’s not officially on the clock but Lucky feels like he has a duty to track Manny Ruiz down. He caused the train wreck and he kidnapped Elizabeth only days before their wedding.”

Jason looked at her. “What? Why?”

“When Sam shot him, he needed a nurse. He grabbed the first one he saw, who happened to be Elizabeth. She escaped because she’s got a good head on her shoulders but Lucky wants his blood. So he’s going rogue and determined to bring Ruiz in on his own.” Brenda shrugged. “He obviously doesn’t understand his wife very much if he’s thinks its both okay to lie to her and to miss their first Christmas as a family.”

She held out her hand again. “Let’s go.”

Jason eyed her apprehensively. “I’m not sure I want to,” he said.

Brenda narrowed her eyes and wiggled her fingers. “Hey look, pal, this is not my first choice for spending the holiday but I got a job to do here so just take my damn hand and let’s get this over with.”

Jason sighed and reluctantly took the brunette’s hand.

She had taken him to the bar he’d bought for Sam in Hawaii and Jason frowned. Sam was supposed to be with her brother, not hanging out in some dingy bar this late. He scowled when he saw his fiancée tossing back a shot of whiskey–and from the line of shot glasses in front of her, it was not her last.

She turned to the man sitting next to her and raised another small glass in the air. “To Jason Morgan, the man who doesn’t understand holidays!” she announced in a slurred voice before tossing it back.

Jason flinched and tried to remember that she was drunk and feeling a little frustrated. It had been a rough few months for her and she was blowing off steam, he told himself.

“Man, she does know that you lost your memory right?” Brenda scowled. “I mean, I make fun of you, but I’m entitled. I’ve known you longer than five minutes.”

“Sam’s just upset,” Jason attempted to explain but his words were drowned out by the catcalls at the men around the bar. Sam was leaning back, her collarbone exposed. The man she’d toasted with poured his liquor into the hollow of her throat and licked it up. Sam giggled and called for another round for the entire bar.

Jason swallowed hard. “Is this really happening?” he asked huskily. “Or am I just…having a vivid dream?”

“You don’t dream,” Brenda murmured. “I wish I could tell you that you can avoid this but unfortunately, by the time you wake up, it will have already happened.” She wriggled her shoulders. “Anyway, there are worse things happening in the lives of the people around you.”

“Like what?” Jason demanded. “What could be possibly worse than this?” he gestured at the bar where Sam was now sitting in the guy’s lap, continuing to giggle as he nibbled at her throat.

“This.” Brenda snatched his hand and Jason was thrust into the next scene.

Carly’s room at Rose Lawn. He recognized that immediately. Carly was curled up in her bed, staring out the window–the new bars glimmering in the moonlight.

“What…” Jason frowned. “What’s with the bars?”

“She was treating this place like a hotel,” Brenda shrugged. “So they took away her privileges. They barred her windows, locked her doors, took away her radio, her computer, her television. She leaves the room only for therapy sessions and even then, it’s under strict supervision. She can’t go home for Christmas and she can’t have any visitors.”

Carly turned to her other side to peer at a picture of her children. She reached out to trace their faces.

“But she was doing so much better,” Jason said quietly.

“Sure,” Brenda shrugged. “But Carly when she’s normal is abnormal on most people’s scales. Sonny refuses to help her get out of here and Lorenzo will have nothing to do with her. They’ve blocked her calls to everyone else. She’s trapped in here until the doctors say she’s well enough to leave.”

“What if they never do?” Jason demanded.

Brenda shrugged. “She’ll never leave.” She held out her hand. “You ready to see more?”

“No,” Jason said darkly.

“Chill. There’s only one place left and it’s quick.” She wiggled her fingers and finally Jason took them.

It was a dark alley now and Jason didn’t recognize this place at all. He saw someone crouch behind a dumpster as he watched two people in the distance. “What’s this?”

“That is Lucky Spencer,” Brenda said gesturing the man crouched, his gun drawn. “And that is Manny Ruiz. Lucky’s managed to track him down but he’s about to pay the price for interfering in a world he does not understand.”

Jason watched with a sick feeling in his stomach as he remembered Elizabeth. First in the diner, looking forward to her first family Christmas and then in her tiny apartment with her little boy and her disappointment when she’d put the book back on the shelf.

He watched a man silently stepped up behind Lucky Spencer and put the tip of a gun to the spot just behind his ear.

Lucky never even saw him coming, never even felt the gun. Jason could do nothing to stop the inevitable. The man pulled the trigger and Lucky slumped to the ground.

“The last thing he thought about?” Brenda murmured. Her sad brown eyes found Jason’s horrified blue ones. “He was thinking about the promotion and raise he’d be sure to get when Manny was brought in. That Elizabeth would be so proud of him for finding a way out of their financial mess.”

“She’d be devastated if this happened,” Jason said quietly. “She loves him.”

“She loves the idea of him,” Brenda corrected, but not unkindly. “Of having someone to come home to, of having a family. But yes, she will be devastated when his body is found tomorrow morning and Mac Scorpio and Lucky’s partner come to tell her the news. She’ll be devastated because he is dead and betrayed by the fact that he lied to her.” Brenda sighed. “Your sister is having thoughts about suicide, your best friend Carly is heading towards another nervous breakdown, Manny Ruiz is about to widow a woman you once loved more than anything and I didn’t even show you Sonny–who’s so lonely now he’s kicked your sister out. But yeah, Sam living up to her reputation and making out with strangers is the worst thing that could happen.”

She rolled her eyes. “Let’s go.”

“I never said that was the worst thing,” Jason said, frowning because he’d forgotten about Sam’s betrayal during this moment. “What will happen to Elizabeth? To Emily?” He swallowed. “To Carly, Sonny and Sam?”

“That’s not for me to answer.” Brenda sighed and held out her hand. “Let’s go home, okay?”


  • Another great part. Hopefully, Jason will see his friends as they really are especially Sam. Elizabeth is going to need him. Brenda as a ghost was a wonderful idea.

    According to arcoiris0502 on June 18, 2020