The next morning, Elizabeth breezed into the kitchen and flashed a bright smile at the cook who was busy with his morning prep. “Morning, DJ.” He saluted as she hung up her purse and went into the dining room to start the side work.
Courtney was already there, frowning at her smile as Elizabeth joined her and started making the coffee. “I thought you’d quit.”
“Why? Because I flaked my on shift yesterday?” Elizabeth shrugged, measuring the coffee. “I promised Penny I’d cover for her soon, and Mike said it was okay.”
“But—” Courtney edged away from her. “You…were mad at me the last time we talked.”
“I was,” Elizabeth said. She switched on the machine, then turned to fully face the other man. “But then I ran into Sonny, and he asked me to go to Vegas with him to see Jason.”
“Jason—” Courtney squinted. “Vegas? What—”
“And Jason and I talked about it, but it’s okay now. It’s easy to mistake a crush for something else,” Elizabeth said. “But I don’t have anything to worry about—”
“No, not since I moved back into the penthouse.” Elizabeth stared at her hand. “Jason and I decided to wait to get rings, but—”
“Rings? Penthouse—” Courtney held up her hands, her blue eyes wide. “Elizabeth, what the hell—”
“Jason and I got married in Vegas,” she explained patiently, enjoying the flash of anger in the other woman’s eyes as Courtney clenched her jaw.
“You—” Courtney cleared her throat. “You married Jason. Jason Morgan.”
“It was spontaneous, but—” Elizabeth went around the other woman to start unstacking the chairs. “But I’m glad you told me what you did. If you hadn’t, Jason and I might not have talked. At least not so soon. And once we’d sorted things out—well, we were in already in Vegas—”
“This is a joke, right? Or—or it’s business.” Courtney lifted her chin. “Taggert came in here yesterday, asking about you. Zander’s dead, didn’t you hear? Is that why Sonny took you to Vegas? Did you see Jason doing something?”
“No, believe it or not,” Elizabeth said softly, “Jason married me because he loves me. And I said yes because I love him.”
“No. No. I know what I felt, what he felt—”
“I’m sorry, Courtney,” Elizabeth said, attempting to keep her temper, “but you were wrong. And it would be best if you just forgot about it. You’re married—”
“This is a trick. You’re tricking the police, and you’re just trying to be mean to get back at me. You’re probably in the guest room again,” Courtney accused, her eyes flashing as she stormed out from the counter.
“No, Brenda’s in the guest room.” Elizabeth folded her arms. “I’m in Jason’s bed.” It might be small of her to enjoy this moment so much, but damn it—Courtney had pretended to be her friend.
Hurt flared in Courtney’s expression now as her lip trembled. “But he said—he told me—he told me it was over with you—”
“He thought it was. Now it’s not. Get over it.” Elizabeth walked away from her, and didn’t even flinch when she heard the bell over the door jingle as it swung open.
“Where did Barbie go?” DJ asked, leaning out from the kitchen. “We’re opening in ten.”
“She got some bad news,” Elizabeth said, returning to the counter to finish prepping for her shift. “I’ll take care of the morning rush.”
Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room
“You don’t have to worry, Carly already left for the club,” Sonny assured Jason as he handed him a cup of black coffee. “What did you find out? Can we get a line on Alcazar?”
“It might be easier than we thought,” Jason said, “since he’s in the hotel—”
They both turned at the sound of raised voices in the hall. Jason sat the coffee on the desk just as the door flew open and Max threw up his hands. He couldn’t stop the blonde who shoved her way in without tackling her.
“Sonny—” Courtney drew up short at the sight of Jason. She glared at him. “I hope you’re happy.”
Jason frowned, confused. “What—”
“If you’re here to tell me AJ dropped dead in the middle of the night,” Sonny said, “then, yes, I’m very happy—”
“I’m not talking to you,” Courtney snarled at her brother. “I’m talking to Jason.”
“Jason would also be happy with that news—”
“Sonny—” Jason said with a shake of his head. He looked back to Courtney. “I don’t know what’s going on—”
“What’s going on is that you lied to me,” she said, putting her hands on her hips. “You told me that you and Elizabeth were over, that it never really started—”
Sonny pursed his lips as Jason just stared at the other woman, baffled. “Uh, what am I missing?” He looked at Max who was waving his arms. “Max—”
“So why the hell did you marry Elizabeth Webber two days after you kissed me?” Courtney demanded.
“You know,” Taggert said from the doorway where he’d just appeared around the corner from the elevator. Max dropped his head with a sigh. “The universe is really on my side these days.”
Jason exhaled slowly and ignored the detective because there was no point in giving him any attention. Taggert reminded him of Michael as a toddler — if you looked at him when he was throwing a tantrum, it just encouraged him to keep going.
Instead, he focused on Sonny’s sister and one of the reasons he’d decided to get on a plane and marry Brenda Barrett. “You,” he said, deliberately, “kissed me.”
Courtney narrowed her eyes. “That is—”
“What happened,” Jason finished, bluntly. “I’m sorry if you thought there was something more. There wasn’t. There isn’t.”
“Is this because I’m married?” Courtney demanded. “Because—”
“You know, this is really fun and everything,” Sonny said, throwing Jason a dirty look, “but maybe we get should see what Taggert wants—” He offered his sister another look of his own, and Courtney closed her mouth.
“Well, I came to get proof of Morgan’s alibi,” Taggert said, with a shrug. “I thought you might want to take care of this without lawyers. You give me the flight records that prove you took off before the gunshots were heard—”
“If you want paperwork, then you tell Baldwin to get a subpoena,” Sonny said, darkly. He stalked over to the desk and grabbed a business card off the desk. He shoved it at Taggert who took it, holding it between his thumb and index finger. “Our new lawyer. Diane Miller. Call her from now on. Don’t come back without a warrant—”
“You sure I can’t stay and watch?” Taggert asked with a smirk as Sonny slammed the door in his face, then turned to his sister and Jason.
“What the hell is going on?” Sonny demanded. “Is this why Elizabeth said the thing about the box cutter?”
“She told you?” Courtney said, her eyes widening. “And you didn’t do anything? Sonny, she threatened me!”
“To cut off your hair with a box cutter. Yeah, I got that. You’d live,” Sonny said, dryly, dismissing her as Courtney squawked in protest. “Jason—”
“Nothing is going on,” Jason said, gritting his teeth. Hadn’t he just said that? “And you had no right to tell Elizabeth it was—” he said, turning his irritation on the blonde. “What is wrong with you? I didn’t kiss you back. I didn’t call you, and I immediately put another guard on you. How did you not get the point?”
“I thought—” Courtney pursed her lips. “So everything that happened between us meant nothing to you.”
“What else happened?” Sonny demanded.
“Nothing,” Jason repeated. He didn’t often lose his temper, especially with women, but there was something about this whole thing that was really pissing him off. If Courtney hadn’t told Elizabeth anything, she wouldn’t have been upset enough to wander down to the pier. She wouldn’t be in danger or even involved with the PCPD’s case.
“I’m leaving,” Jason decided. “I have more important things to deal with. I told you, Sonny, I’m done guarding your sister. You deal with this.” Then he left the penthouse, slamming the door behind him.
Sonny looked at his sister, shocked and open-mouthed at Jason’s hasty exit. “Well,” he said, slightly uncomfortable, “I guess you got your answer.”
“But I don’t understand. How did I get it so wrong?” Courtney asked, tears stinging her eyes. “I really thought—”
“This definitely sounds like a conversation I want nothing to do with, so maybe you go home and think about why you’re so angry about Jason not returning your feelings, and leave me out of it,” Sonny suggested. He opened the door. “Here you go.”
“You’re a real bastard,” Courtney snarled as she stormed out.
“I can live with that,” Sonny called after her. Then he closed the door and leaned his head against the door. From now on, he was staying out of everything.
“I can’t believe Courtney just ditched her shift like this,” Mike muttered as he dumped plates into the sink. “You know, bad enough you did it—”
Elizabeth winced. “Still really sorry—”
“But you’ve worked here forever,” Mike continued. “You’ve built a little credit, you know? She’s been here eight minutes. And she just left? No word on where she was going or why? I can’t just let this go because she’s my daughter—”
“I mean, she didn’t say,” Elizabeth replied, “but I have a pretty good idea she was heading over to see Sonny.”
“I thought she hated Michael,” Mike said, baffled. “Why would she—” He shook his head. “She and I are going to have to talk about this.”
“Well, you have a good time with that,” Elizabeth said, waltzing out of the kitchen and straight into her grandmother.
Audrey Hardy arched a brow. “Mrs. Morgan, I presume,” she said stiffly.
Elizabeth grimaced. “Well, I hadn’t really decided on that,” she muttered, then looked down at the ground. “Gram, I know you’re mad—”
“Mad is hardly the word I would use,” Audrey said slowly. “While I may not approve of the groom, I am very disappointed that you didn’t include me in any of this. I thought we’d come further than this, Elizabeth.”
“Wait, what—” Elizabeth snapped her head up, stared at her grandmother. “You’re…not mad?”
“As long as you assure me that it’s not what Scott told me,” Audrey said, drawing her brows together with worry. “You didn’t marry Jason to protect yourself or him from the PCPD.”
Elizabeth paused, then saw Jason come into Kelly’s behind her grandmother. She waved him over. Hesitantly, Jason approached the two of them.
“Mrs. Hardy,” Jason said with a nod. Elizabeth slid her hand in one of his. “Hello.”
“Jason,” Audrey said, before looking back at her granddaughter. “Elizabeth?”
“I married Jason because I love him,” Elizabeth said. She glanced up at Jason. “And he asked because he loves me.” His lips curved into a hesitant smile before she focused on her grandmother again. “I hope that’s something you can be okay with.”
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Brenda frowned as she stepped down off the bottom step and looked around the living room. “Uh, usually Jason is glued to your side,” she said as she sat next to Elizabeth on the sofa. “Where’d he go?”
“Across the hall,” Elizabeth said absently as she reached into the bowl of popcorn at her side, then furrowed her brow at the television screen in front of her. “Why?”
“I bet they’re discussing how to run my life,” Brenda muttered darkly. She flopped back against the back of the sofa. “What are you watching?”
“That 70s’ Show.”
“That’s still on? I remember it came on right before I died. I thought it was a really stupid idea for a show.” Brenda shrugged. “What’re you gonna do?”
Startled by her casual reference to her death, Elizabeth turned her attention fully to Brenda. “Uh, how are you, um, doing with all of this?”
“Being back from the dead? I could do without it.” Brenda bit her lip. “It’s weird,” she admitted, “because I knew everyone thought I was dead, but I guess I didn’t think about what it meant. I didn’t want to come back,” she told Elizabeth. “Because I’m going to die anyway.”
“But you could have had four years with your friends and family. And you still might have years, right?”
“I could,” Brenda said. “But my mother told me that her illness happened fast. And she—she actually did die in that accident.” She sighed. “If I had tried to come back sooner, obviously Luis wouldn’t have let me come. I didn’t know I was being held hostage until I tried to leave.” She was quiet for a moment. “I thought he loved me. That he was taking care of me.”
She picked at a loose thread on her black pants. “But that’s not love, you know. It’s obsession. I’m not a person to him, I’m just something he can own. A beautiful thing to put on a shelf. Going after Sonny and Jax because I loved them once—eliminating anyone who might be competition—”
“I’m glad you got away from that,” Elizabeth said. “Before it got worse.”
“Yeah. I mean, he was always kind to me, but that’s because I didn’t push him. Didn’t disagree. What if I had?” Brenda pressed her lips together. “I just wish this was over. I hate depending on Sonny and Jason for anything. After what they put me through—”
“But you knew they’d help. That’s why you came to them—”
“Old habits die hard. I really am sorry about asking Jason to marry me. Or blackmailing him into it,” Brenda added. “I didn’t know about you.”
“You don’t have anything to apologize for,” Elizabeth said. “And—” She made a face. “Neither does Jason. We weren’t dating. He could do what he wanted—even marry someone else—”
“Doesn’t mean it wouldn’t hurt. Sonny and I weren’t dating when he married Lily, and it nearly killed me anyway.” Brenda squinted at Elizabeth. “How did this happen anyway? I mean, you and Jason. I remember you from before, sort of. You were a baby though.”
“Sixteen,” Elizabeth muttered. “But yeah, it felt like it came out of nowhere. We connected after your accident. Robin had…well, Jason had lost custody of Michael and wasn’t handling it well. I thought Lucky was dead. And we just…I could talk to him and he’d just listen. It kind of grew from there.”
“That’s how it was with me and Sonny at first.” Brenda smiled faintly. “I was on the docks, with my suitcase, and there he was. And it just—pow. Like lightning. I messed it up, though. I didn’t trust him enough.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard about the wire,” Elizabeth said and Brenda closed her eyes. “But he forgave you.”
“Yeah, but I don’t think he ever trusted me again. Or maybe anyone else. I mean, look what he did to you. Dragged you across the country, making you feel terrified for Jason, and it was just so Jason didn’t marry me.” Brenda snorted. “Best day of my life was seeing you punch him. I wish I could have done that the day he abandoned me at the altar.” She closed her eyes. “Talk about humiliation. Standing there, so sure he was just late—”
Brenda’s eyes flew open and she looked at Elizabeth, surprised. “You were there? What, with the Spencers?”
“No, I, uh, stole Ruby’s invitation,” Elizabeth admitted with a sheepish smile. “I’d seen your picture in magazines, and you were so glamorous. I just wanted to be part of it.”
Brenda laughed. “Oh, man, that’s amazing! I can’t believe this.” Her laughter tapered off into snorting giggles. “The guards probably didn’t know what to do with you.”
“No, they really didn’t. Lucky vouched for me, but man, he was irritated with me.” Elizabeth shrugged. “It was a terrible day. I’m sorry.”
“Yeah, well, I held it against Jason for a long time, but I think he was just doing the best he could. He didn’t want to leave me alone, and I took it out on him. I hated him,” Brenda murmured, “but he just took it. It seems unfair now, you know. By the time I saw Sonny again, I don’t think I was angry enough for him for what he’d done. He could have found another way to handle it.”
“Yeah, he could have actually said words to you, but it might have broken his brain to try it,” Elizabeth said. “What is it about men and refusing to just tell the truth? Open a vein? They’d rather be stupid.”
“Honestly.” Brenda wiggled her shoulders. “Who’s this Zander guy anyway? I don’t remember him. Why does the PCPD think you or Jason killed him?”
“Oh. God. Talk about humiliating mistakes.” Elizabeth dragged a hand through her hair. “He was Emily’s boyfriend for a while, and then he worked for Jason and Sonny. He did something stupid—I think he was talking to someone he shouldn’t be. Jason beat him up—which I knew—and when he got out of the hospital, I let him stay in my studio.”
Brenda blinked at her. “Uh, why?”
“Pride. I went to see him in the hospital because I felt bad. I knew Carly had hurt him—and Lucky and Nikolas showed up, telling me that I needed to get out, leave him alone—trying to boss me around, and I lost my head. Then Jason came over, told me I couldn’t help him—”
“Oh, yeah, that’ll do it.”
“Still, it was stupid beyond the speaking of it.” Elizabeth chewed on her bottom lip. “Jason and I were just—I don’t know, we weren’t saying the words. I think we both knew we were interested, but Carly and Sonny were always calling, and Zander was being stupid—then I got kidnapped—Zander ended up in the crypt with me—”
“Long story short, after we got out, I slept with Zander. And Jason—apparently, he—well, he saw it. I mean, he saw Zander at my place, and left.” Elizabeth stared at her hands, rubbing one finger over her bare ring finger. “And we’ve been doing dumb things ever since.”
“But you’re better now.”
“Sure. I mean, better than July.” Elizabeth flashed her a hesitant smile. “But I don’t know. We promised not to make the same mistakes, but we’re just going to make new ones.” She shook her head. “Jason almost marrying you isn’t even as bad as the worst thing I’ve ever done to him. And I sort of get why he did it.”
“Really? Because it feels like a fever dream to me,” Brenda told her. She shrugged. “So they think one of you murdered the competition.”
“It’s more likely Zander went to work for Alcazar and got killed because of it.” Elizabeth frowned. “You know, it’s strange how I can’t even—I don’t know. He was someone I sort of dated, and I haven’t even really thought about the fact that he’s dead. What kind of person does that make me?”
“Well, you were accused of killing him,” Brenda reminded her. “It kind of takes you out of the moment.”
Morgan Penthouse: Master Bedroom
Jason frowned when he opened the door to find Elizabeth sitting up in bed, the lamp next to her switched on, as she thumbed through a magazine. “I didn’t think you’d still be up.”
“Oh, well you said you didn’t think you’d be too late.” Elizabeth set the magazine aside. “Thanks, by the way, for being nice to my grandmother earlier.”
“Well, she was being nice to you,” Jason said as he sat on the bed to pull off his boots. “I’ve always liked your grandmother.”
She snorted. “Okay. Well, the feeling isn’t always mutual, but still.”
Jason turned slightly on the bed so he was looking at her. “Courtney came over to the penthouse earlier this morning. I guess working with her didn’t go well.”
Elizabeth flushed. “Okay, so I definitely was getting back at her for—well, it’s not important. I’m sorry. Did she make a scene?”
“Depends on your definition of scene,” Jason admitted. “Taggert showed up—”
Elizabeth groaned and put her head in her hands. “Oh, no.”
“So he knows that Courtney kissed me a few days before Vegas—”
“This isn’t helping the whole we didn’t get married because of Zander,” she muttered. She flopped back on the bed, staring the ceiling. “The worst thing is that it’s the truth. We really didn’t get married because of that, but no one will ever believe us.”
“The PCPD probably isn’t going to let go of this yet.” Jason paused. “Are you sorry we didn’t go with Sonny’s plan?”
She sat up, frowning at him. “What? Where I go back to the studio and we pretend it didn’t happen? Are you sorry we didn’t do it?”
“I never thought the PCPD would go after you,” Jason told her. “I can prove where I was when it happened—”
“But I was on the pier and didn’t report it. They’re not going to believe me now.” She sighed. “Maybe Sonny was right,” she admitted. “If we could have kept this quiet—if I hadn’t come here after we got back, Carly wouldn’t have said anything—” She looked up, met his eyes. “Do you wish we’d gone back to the way things were?”
“I—” Jason hesitated. “No. Not—not like that. I want you here. I told you that. I just—I don’t know. I don’t want the PCPD coming after you.” He shook his head. “I’m the criminal, not you.”
“Well, I’ve been accessory to a few crimes,” Elizabeth reminded him. “Or at least an accessory after the fact, depending on how you look at it.” She drew a leg up, tucking her knee under her chin. “It just feels like there’s so much pressure now.”
He wanted to ask what she meant but he already knew the answer. What had seemed like a crazy, heat of moment decision to prove he wasn’t lying about loving her had turned into this complicated mess with Elizabeth right in the cross hairs of a vindictive police department who weren’t above going after people he cared about.
Any chance they had of figuring out what exactly this was between them or if they should even be married had been twisted into being everyone else’s business. If Carly had just kept her damn mouth shut—
“I was thinking about what you asked me yesterday,” Elizabeth said, drawing his attention back to her. “About a ring. Um, I still mean what I said then, but I also think—” She sighed. “People are going to ask.”
“Right.” He managed a smile at her. “Let’s just make sure this goes away, and we’ll—we’ll figure everything out later. Okay?”
Elizabeth blinked at the sound of someone—of Brenda’s sharp voice—just as the phone beside the night table began to ring. Jason got to his feet and went towards the door to deal with Brenda while Elizabeth reached for the phone.
“Mrs. Morgan, it’s Wally at the front desk—”
Elizabeth frowned as she heard footsteps on the steps and Jason disappeared down the hall. “Wally?”
“They told me I couldn’t call, but I wanted to warn you—”
“Where’s the warrant?” she heard Jason demand—and now there were other voices.
“Warn us about what?”
“Get out of my way, Anger Boy, or you’re coming with her—”
The bedroom door swung open as Taggert stalked in, Capelli on his heels and Jason following after him, a piece of paper clenched in his hand. Brenda trailed after them.
“They’re on their way up—”
“Thanks,” Elizabeth said numbly. She set the phone back on the hook, then climbed out bed, tugging the shirt she wore to cover more of her thighs. “I’m guessing this isn’t a social call.”
“Elizabeth Webber, you’re under arrest for the murder of Zander Smith.” Taggert went behind her and roughly pulled her hands behind her back.
“Can’t she get dressed?” Brenda demanded.
“It’s okay.” Elizabeth took a deep breath, looked at Jason, his face red with suppressed fury. “I’m okay. You’ll get the lawyer down to the station, and I’ll be home by breakfast, right? Bring, um, pants, or something—”
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say—” Taggert began, wrapping an arm around her forearm and pulling her towards the door.
She winced at the grip, but bit her lip—if she made a sound that even resembled pain or discomfort, she was worried what Jason would do.
“You have the right to an attorney,” Taggert continued as he all but dragged her towards the stairs. She looked back over her shoulders to find Capelli following them and Jason in the doorway of the bedroom.
“I’ll call Diane,” Jason told her. “And I’ll be right behind you.”
“Okay.” Then she closed her mouth, resolving not to open it again until she was in a room with her lawyer.
“Do you understand the rights I’ve just spoken to you?” Taggert demanded in the hallway by the penthouses. “With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
She locked eyes with him—this man who had always been so kind to her—and nodded. “Just one thing. I hope you rot in hell.”
Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room
By the time Brenda got across the hall to tell Sonny what had happened, he was already downstairs and on the phone with Diane. He waved Brenda in as he continued to speak. “Yeah, yeah, I don’t know anything, but get to the PCPD—okay—okay. Thanks.” He set the phone down on the receiver, then focused on Brenda. “What happened?”
“I was downstairs and they just came in—they had a warrant—” Brenda grimaced as Carly sauntered down the stairs, running her fingers through her hair and yawning. “They wouldn’t even let her get dressed—they dragged her out in cuffs—”
“What’s going on?” Carly asked, furrowing her brow. “Sonny—what was Wally calling about—”
“Elizabeth just got arrested for murder,” Sonny muttered. “Diane’s on her way—where’s Jason—”
“He grabbed some clothes for Elizabeth and was, like, ten seconds behind the cops.” Brenda folded her arms. “I thought you and Jason said this was under control—that she wasn’t in any danger—”
“Clearly I underestimated them,” Sonny said, his teeth clenched. “Look, just go across the hall. I’ve got it handled—”
“No, I’m going down to the PCPD—”
“Neither of us are going anywhere,” Sonny snapped. “Jason and Diane will handle this. We’ll just make things worse—” He turned to Carly who was opening her mouth. “That goes for you—”
“I was just offering to help Brenda find the door,” Carly said sweetly. Sonny rolled his eyes as Brenda scowled.
She yanked the door open and stormed out. She knew Sonny was right, that there was nothing she could do at the police department, but damn it—Brenda was tired of sitting back waiting for things to happen.
This was all happening because of her. She should be able to fix it.
PCPD: Interrogation Room
“Just tell me how Morgan managed it,” Taggert said, leaning in. “And I’ll get something for you to wear.”
“Lawyer,” Elizabeth said. She took a deep breath, trying to keep from shuddering. The room was freezing cold and she was wearing one of Jason’s t-shirts and a pair of panties. Her legs were bare from the mid-thigh to her toes—they hadn’t even let her grab shoes—
“You and me, we go way back—”
“Let me spell it,” Elizabeth said, narrowing her eyes. “L-A-W—”
“Have it your way.” Taggert shoved away from the table and stalked out of the room, slamming the door behind him. She closed her eyes and finally gave into the urge to shiver—her teeth chattering. They’d handcuffed her to the table so she couldn’t even rub her arms—
She could hear some sort of commotion in the squad room and raised voices—then the door opened again to reveal a woman with bright red hair cut in a stylish crop and an elegant suit. Behind her, Jason hovered—and she almost wept in relief to see the jeans over his arm with a pair of sneakers in his hands.
“You already searched the damn clothes!” the woman called over her shoulder. “Now shut up and let me meet with my client.” She turned to look at Elizabeth, then hissed. “Come get these cuffs off of her. Now—”
“Not with Morgan in the room—” Taggert began, but Mac moved past the detective with a roll of his eyes.
“You’re determined to get us sued, aren’t you?” Mac demanded as he slid a key into Elizabeth’s cuffs. “There. I’m sorry, Elizabeth. They should have let you get changed—”
“Oh, it’s going into the lawsuit I’m preparing. Leave us.”
Mac made a face, but then closed the door behind him. Jason came around the table to give Elizabeth the clothes as the lawyer set her briefcase on the table.
“Diane Miller,” the redhead said as Elizabeth shimmied into the jeans Jason had brought, then sat back down to pull on the socks and shoes. “You didn’t say anything did you?”
“Just the word lawyer. I said it in Spanish a few times,” Elizabeth said. “I started to spell it, too.”
“Oh, good. I like a smart client.” Diane flipped through her copy of the arrest warrant with a sigh. “All right, they have you in the area at the time of the murder with a history of knowing the victim. It’s flimsy, but the video of you fleeing the scene shortly after the gunshots will probably be enough to bind you over for a trial.”
“But you can get me out on bail, can’t you?” Elizabeth asked. “I mean—”
“They’ll set the bail pretty high,” Diane murmured. “And there’s a slight chance they’ll decide you’re a flight risk, so we’ll see.” She hesitated. “They might deny bail at the hearing in the morning. I’ll appeal — and most of the time, they overturn those decisions particularly when there’s no physical evidence, a clean record, and no danger to the community. But—” She slid her eyes to Jason.
“But I’m a problem,” he muttered.
“You are. I’m good at this, but Port Charles does not like you. Or your partner. And many of the judges in the criminal division would love a shot at you,” Diane told him. She glanced out the window. “Baldwin’s out there. I’m going to make sure he’s put this on the docket for the morning so you’ll only be here for the night. I’ll be back.”
When their lawyer had left and closed the door, Jason dragged his hands through his hair. “I’m sorry. I told you this wouldn’t happen—”
“I know.” Elizabeth bit her lip. “But I knew you didn’t believe that even when you said it. The PCPD is always looking for a way to get to you. Taggert still thinks you did this. He wanted me to tell him how you managed it even though he knows you couldn’t have.”
“I’m sorry.” Jason sat across from her. “I’ll make this go away. Somehow.”
“I know.” Elizabeth stared at her hands, then flexed her fingers. “I’ll be okay—”
“This is my fault,” he interrupted. “They’re coming after you because of me—”
“No, they’re coming after me because of me,” she told him. “You have an alibi, Jason. You did not do this. I’m the one that—” She took a deep breath. “I didn’t trust you. I didn’t listen to you. And I wasn’t paying attention. I was reckless, and I walked right out onto that pier. This is my fault. And the only reason they can hold me is motive. Because of what happened this summer.” Her voice faltered. “All of this—this is my fault, Jason. I put myself in this position, and I wish like hell I knew how to get out of it—”
“Yeah, they’re going to offer me a deal to testify against you or Sonny or something, but that doesn’t change the fact that if I had done a thousand things differently these last few months, I would not be here right now.”
“I could have done things differently, too,” he insisted. “We both made mistakes—”
“Not like me.” She closed her eyes. “You told me one lie. How many ways did I hurt you?”
“What I did—” He paused. “It wasn’t just one lie. It was weeks of lying to you. Don’t let me off the hook. I don’t deserve that. I lied to you, I didn’t trust you to keep Sonny’s secret, and then instead of trying to make you understand, instead of apologizing, I nearly married another woman.”
“You didn’t want to marry her,” Elizabeth said with half a smile. He reached across the table to take her hands in his.
“No, but I nearly did it anyway. I was standing at the altar, and I realized—” Jason waited for her to look up, to meet his eyes. “I realized that the only person I wanted to make promises to was you, and there was no way I could ever get you to listen to me if I came back to Port Charles with Brenda as my wife. I promise you, I was going to stop it before you and Sonny showed up.”
“Really?” Elizabeth asked. “I mean—”
“I hate that Sonny lied to you, I hate that you were hurt, but I’m glad you were there. That I could get you to listen. You deserve more than that stupid chapel,” he continued, “but I don’t regret any of it.”
“Me either.” She waited a beat. “I’ll be okay in here,” she promised him. “You and Sonny—you only hire the best. Even if she loses tomorrow—”
“But if she does,” Elizabeth continued, “I’ll be okay. I know you and Sonny will get me out.”
“Count on that,” he promised. He got to his feet and came around the table to pull her into his arms. She sank into his embrace, burying her face in his chest, his strength chasing the last bit of chill.
“I love you,” she said softly. Elizabeth tilted her head up to meet his eyes.
“I love you, too.” He leaned down and kissed her.
“Enough of that—”
They both jumped when the door opened and Taggert’s voice barked out the command. “Anger Boy, you’re done. She’s heading to booking and lock up.”
Elizabeth could feel Jason’s muscles tensing beneath her fingers. “I’ll be okay,” she reminded him. “And I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Let’s go,” Taggert said. He reached for Elizabeth’s arm. “Now—”
“You know, I used to respect you,” she snapped as she followed him into the squad room.
“Yeah, well, I used to think you were a good person,” he retorted. “I guess we’re both disappointed.”
Jason followed them out of the interrogation room, but wasn’t able to go any farther when Taggert took her into another room—to be fingerprinted and have her mugshot taken.
“I’ll get the fingerprints thrown out,” Diane murmured. “And the mugshot destroyed. There won’t be a record of this when we’re done.”
Jason gritted his teeth, then stalked out of the PCPD, irritated at the idea of Elizabeth spending the night in lock up. If Diane couldn’t get her out of here legally, Jason would get her out any other way he could.
She wasn’t going to spend a minute longer behind bars than necessary.
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Brenda jumped off the sofa and Sonny turned away from the terrace window when Jason came in. “Is she okay?” the brunette asked. “I wanted to come down—”
“Better you stay away,” Jason muttered, dropping his keys on the table. He glared at Sonny. “What are you doing here?”
“I wanted to see if there was anything I could do,” Sonny began. “Jason, we both knew there was a chance—”
“When she came to you after being shot at, why didn’t you take care of it?” Jason demanded.
“I did—I sent men down to the docks—”
“If she’d had Marco—if she’d had the guard I gave her, he never would have let her go down to that pier—” Jason growled. “He told you he was working on a job for me, but it didn’t matter to you, didn’t it?’
“Listen—” Sonny bristled. “If you hadn’t screwed up with her in the first place or just asked Marco—”
“Okay, okay—” Brenda stepped between them as Jason fisted his hands at his side. “This isn’t helping anyone. We need to focus because Luis is going to hear about this, and he’s going to know you’re distracted,” she told Jason. “Which means he’ll come after Sonny —and me. So while Diane is getting Elizabeth out—”
“Alcazar is your problem,” Jason told Sonny. “Take care of it yourself. Elizabeth is the only thing I’m worried about.”
“But—” Brenda began.
“I’ll take care of it,” Sonny said stiffly. “Make sure Elizabeth has what she needs.” He stalked out of the penthouse, slamming the door behind him.
Brenda wrinkled her nose, putting her hands on her hips. “Well, this was productive—”
“Go to bed,” Jason muttered as he went over to the sofa.
“What about you? You need some sleep, too—”
“Go to bed,” he repeated, turning back to face the other woman. “Please.”
“All right.” She hesitated. “Jason, you’ll get her out. I know you—”
“I’m going. Good night.”
Jason waited until he heard the door upstairs shut before he sank onto the sofa and put his head in his hands. Even if he could sleep tonight, he wasn’t going upstairs to sleep. Even after only a few nights, he knew that the room and the bed would feel empty without her.
“Last chance,” Taggert said as he pulled the cell closed behind her and slid a key into the lock. Elizabeth looked around at the small space, with the cot in the corner. She was the only prisoner in this part of the jail tonight—the only woman in lockup.
She turned to face him. “Good night, Detective.”
He scowled, then stalked out. A few minutes later, the lights in the lockup went out — the cell was now pitch black.
She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and felt her way towards the cot. It wasn’t the crypt. It wasn’t the same. She was safe.
She found the cot, laid down, and curled up in a ball. It wasn’t the same, she reminded herself again. Jason was going to get her out. Just like he had before.
But she still didn’t sleep.