Jason hit the water less than two minutes after Elizabeth, but he knew it might already be too late. He knew the odds, knew that she’d been tied up, unable to swim—
But he was never going to leave her behind. Either they both went home or neither of them did.
On his third dive beneath the frigid waters, his muscles aching and his lungs screaming, he found her. She was twisting and desperately trying to break free to the surface, using her tied hands like a shovel, digging at the water—
Jason used what energy he had left to drag Elizabeth to the surface and tug the gag from her mouth. He could have wept when he heard her drag in a long, desperate breath.
“You found me,” she managed. He looped her hands over his neck, using his legs to keep them both afloat. “You found me.”
He pushed her sodden hair away from her face, smoothing his thumb over her lips. “I will always find you,” he promised. He kissed her, just for a minute, just to feel her mouth against his.
Jason twisted them, trying to see how far they’d drifted from the yacht. He had to get her to shore before they both froze. The lights of the yacht looked distant, but he knew his eyes could be playing tricks on him. He didn’t know if Brenda had been able to pull the gun on Alcazar, but by now Sonny’s men would be in the water.
He had to believe that.
“Untie my hands. I c-can s-swim,” Elizabeth managed, her teeth chattered. He lifted her arms from around his neck to try to undo the ropes, but his fingers were fumbling and his legs were tiring from keeping them both afloat. If he couldn’t get these ropes undone, the ones around her ankles would be impossible.
He put her arms back around his neck. “Can’t waste time. You need to get to shore. She’d been shot and nearly drowned. A bullet in the shoulder, the waters of the lake—she’d die from blood loss and infection if he didn’t get her to dry land—
He ignored her protests and started swimming towards the yacht. He had to believe Brenda had been able to defend herself or that Sonny had been able to get on board—
Had to believe it—
His arms were screaming and his body felt numb, but Jason kept swimming, the feeling of Elizabeth’s arms around his neck reminding him that he needed to keep going. Needed to get her to shore.
His brain was foggy—he couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t hear the screams of his names—was that in his head?
A bright light blinded him, but then he realized it was the small boat that had ferried them between the pier and the yacht. He saw Sonny’s face dimly and Brenda’s just behind him. The boat was still maybe twenty feet away, but he’d know them anywhere. “Jason!” Brenda called again.
“Elizabeth—” Jason pulled her arms off his neck as Sonny threw a life ring out towards them. “Elizabeth, you need to hold onto this.”
“J-Jason—” Her voice slurred as her eyes drifted closed. “Y-You, too—”
“You first.” He fitted the ring over her. “I love you.”
“I love you, too—”
Then Sonny was pulling on the rope, dragging Elizabeth away from Jason, towards the boat. Towards safety.
Jason continued to tread water, but everything hurt and he was so tired. So cold.
“Get—Get Jason,” Elizabeth’s words were barely audible as Sonny and two of their men dragged her onto the boat. Brenda was sobbing as she frantically pressed gauze to Elizabeth’s shoulder and Max swiftly cut through her bindings.
Sonny threw the ring out back into the direction of where he’d last seen Jason, but there was no tug on the line to indicate it had been grabbed.
And by the time they reached the spot where Jason and Elizabeth had been sighted, there was no one.
Sonny sucked in a breath of horror he frantically pushed the light around the surrounding water.
“Jason—where’s Jason—” Brenda demanded, scrambling away from Elizabeth. “Jason!” she screamed. “Jason!”
“We—” Sonny sucked in a harsh breath. He traded a look with Max. “How is she?”
“Pulse is thready. Her body core temp is low,” Max told him. “And we can’t stop the bleeding.”
“Jason!” Brenda’s scream disappeared in the rough waters of the lake. “Jason!”
“Brenda, we need to get Elizabeth to shore—she needs medical attention—”
“No, no! We can’t—” Brenda’s breathing was labored and choppy, sobs breaking her speech. “No, I can’t leave him in the dark, in the water! Please—please—” She turned back to the water, and for a wild moment, Sonny thought she meant to throw herself overboard.
“I’ll go in, Boss—” one of the men offered. “Get the boat to the yacht and send it back out. We’ll keep looking for him. He must have drifted. I’ll find him.” The guard, Richie, Sonny struggled to remember, started to shove off his shirt and pants, revealing a wetsuit underneath. “Jason thought we might need to be ready for anything.”
“Okay, okay. Go in, Richie. We’ll come back for you,” Sonny promised, and the guard slipped beneath the waves. Sonny gave the order for the other guard to turn the boat back to the yacht while Sonny turned to the still sobbing Brenda.
“If Elizabeth dies while we’re searching for Jason, he’d never forgive me,” Sonny said. “He made it clear to me. She comes home.”
“I can’t stand leaving him in the water. I remember—I remember the accident. I remember hitting the water—” Brenda pressed her hands to her eyes. “I made it out of the car, and I swam for hours. Hours. It was so cold, so dark—I just wanted to close my eyes and sleep. I finally did. I can’t leave him here.”
“We are!” Brenda looked back to the spot where Jason had disappeared, where they could just see Richie diving beneath the water. “Promise you won’t stop looking until you find him. However you find him.”
“I won’t,” Sonny said, hoping like hell he wouldn’t be bringing Elizabeth’s husband home in a body bag.
Carly bit down on her nail as she watched Elizabeth twist and turn in the small bed, her face flushed. “How bad is the fever?” she asked the doctor who had bandaged and cleaned the gun shot wound.
“High,” the man said grimly as he pressed down on Elizabeth’s good shoulder to keep her from reopening the wound. “But we’ll get it down with the antibiotics.” He looked at her. “She was partially lucid when they brought her in, asking for Jason.”
“They haven’t found him yet,” Carly murmured, forcing the words past the lump in her throat. Oh, God, what if they didn’t find him? What if he had already drowned—what if she’d never see him again?
She couldn’t stand to think of him sinking below the cold, dark waters of the lake. Dying alone. Drowning, desperate for air.
She turned away from Elizabeth and went back into the outside room where Max was pacing, talking into the cell phone.
“Any news?” she asked him, even though she knew the answer. She could see it from his face. “Max?”
“Hey, Mrs. C. One second—okay. Okay.” Max closed the phone and slipped it into the pocket of his trousers. His suit jacket had been discarded somewhere, and his dark hair was still damp from being out on the water. “Sonny’s on the pier, and Brenda and Richie and the others are still looking.”
“It’s been—” Carly folded her arms tightly around her upper torso. “It’s been an hour. Almost ninety minutes.” She’d been counting down since the moment the call had come over the radio that Elizabeth had gone overboard. Sonny had snapped into action and left their car to start the rescue.
“The current is strong in the lake, Mrs. C. You know that. We think Jason just got caught up. Part of that current in some areas can bring him closer to the shore,” Max assured her. “He might even be on his way home now—”
“I want to be on the docks when Sonny comes back,” Carly said. “You can stay here with Elizabeth, can’t you? She’s—I’m not her favorite person on a good day, but, um—” She rubbed a finger across her bottom lip. “It’s my fault.”
“How do you figure that?”
“They weren’t telling anyone they were married because they knew the PCPD would go after her. She never would have been in lockup if it wasn’t for me.”
“Mrs. C—” Max stopped. He didn’t deny her statement, and somehow, that comforted Carly. “I’ll stay here, and have someone drive you down.”
Sonny paced from the cargo door of the Corinthos-Morgan warehouse to the pier where the rescue boat had launched, then back again.
Eighty-seven minutes. He, too, had started the count from the moment Jason had gone into the water after Elizabeth. It had taken almost twenty minutes to find them, another twenty to get Elizabeth to shore—
They’d been searching for Jason for almost an hour. He wanted to believe, like Richie and some of the other guards who seemed to understand these things better, that he might get lucky and get swept towards another part of the shore. He had men scouring the all the places Jason could have washed up—
But part of Sonny was terrified that the next time he saw his best friend, his partner, his brother, would be when his body floated to the surface of Lake Ontario.
He picked up the radio. “Any sign?” he demanded. There was a crackling and then an exhausted voice came back.
“No. Not yet. But I’m coming back without him,” Brenda said. “Elizabeth?”
“Holding her own. Doc says infection is setting in and so is a fever, but she’s on meds. I want Jason next to her when she wakes up.”
Brenda was quiet for a moment. “Sonny—”
“I know.” He released the button, pressed the radio to his forehead and forced himself to take a deep breath.
He turned at the sound of his wife’s voice. Carly strode out of the dark, her sweater pulled tightly around her. “What are you—”
“Max is at the clinic. I couldn’t stand—” She stared out over the dark water, the lights of Spoon Island barely visible through the fog. “I couldn’t stand being there. I was afraid she’d wake up and I’d have to tell her. I can’t—” Her voice faltered. “I can’t be the one to tell her.”
“She was on these docks the night Zander was murdered because of me,” Sonny said faintly. Carly frowned at him. “Jason thought she was still being guarded after she left the penthouse, but I reassigned Marco. I didn’t realize—”
“Jason was right. I was selfish. I didn’t care about Elizabeth. I didn’t think about who Marco was protecting, even though I could have asked. Weeks when Alcazar could have grabbed her.”
“It—it worked out,” Carly said weakly. “They went to Vegas—”
“Because I dragged her there and lied to her. Maybe it worked out—but at the end of the day, if I were a better friend—” Sonny stared out over the lake again. “I wouldn’t be waiting for his body to be brought back.”
Elizabeth’s throat was scratchy and dry, her eyes almost too heavy to lift—but she forced them open when she realized the man sitting next to her wasn’t Jason.
“Mrs. M.” Max’s smile felt forced, even as he squeezed her hand. “Your fever’s better. Good. Doc was worried—”
“Where’s—” She licked her lips, sweeping her tongue over the cracked and sore skin. “Jason. Where’s…”
“Uh, we’re, um, trying to answer that question now,” Max told her.
“He’s—” It came back to her in a rush—the freezing water, the way Jasons’ body had trembled under hers as he’d pushed the life belt over her head. He’d been so tired—he’d dragged himself and her towards that boat—
“Don’t you worry a bit, okay? Mr. C is out there, and Brenda and the guys—we’re not coming home without him. And you know, Jason’s like a cat. He’s got nine lives, and he’s only used like…” Max’s voice sped up. “Oh, don’t cry. No. We’re going to find him.”
He’d gone into the water with no wet suit, no life preserver, to save her life, and then had used every ounce of strength to drag her to safety.
She couldn’t lay here and wait for someone to tell her was dead.
“I need to—” Elizabeth twisted, reaching for the IV in her arm, tried to drag it out of her wrist with trembling fingers. “I need to go—I need to help—”
“No, no. Jason wouldn’t want this, okay? He made Mr. C promise he’d make sure you were safe.”
But Elizabeth wasn’t listening. She tore the tape off the IV, barely even feeling the sear on her skin, then pulled the needle out. “Clothes. I need clothes.”
“Jason is going to kill me,” Max muttered as he got to his feet, holding Elizabeth up as she stumbled out of bed.
“What’s going on in here?” the doctor demanded as he appeared in the doorway. “What are you doing out of bed? Max—”
“Uh, find me some clothes—” Max said, wrapping an arm around Elizabeth’s waist as she swayed.
“She needs to be back in bed—”
“No! No! If you don’t take me to the pier, I’ll just walk,” Elizabeth said, shoving away the doctor’s hands. “No—”
“Listen,” Max said as Elizabeth stumbled towards a closet, hoping to find clothes, “she means it. I’ll go with her, and bring her right back as soon as we know.”
“It’ll be on your head,” the doctor muttered but went to find some sweats to put the patient in.
Ninety-eight minutes since he’d gone into the water.
Then one hundred and five. One hundred and ten.
“She’s still out there,” Carly said as Sonny finished listening to Brenda’s increasingly weak voice say they’d cleared another part of the lake but were going to keep looking. “It’s almost two hours.”
“She blames herself.”
“A lot of that going around.” Carly rubbed her arms. “Sonny. It’s nearly one in the morning. I—I don’t know if—could he still be alive? If he’s still in the water—” Her husband turned to look at her. “It’s just—it’s so cold.”
“I can’t stop. He wouldn’t.” Sonny put an arm around her, drawing her into his embrace. “You’re freezing. Why don’t you—”
“So that you can get the news alone when they find him?” she shook her head. “No. If it’s the worst—” She cleared her throat. “No. We’ll face it together.”
There were footsteps shuffling behind them and they turned to find Max coming out of the darkness, carefully walking just in front of Elizabeth who looked like death warmed over.
“What the—” Carly blinked. “What you are doing here?”
“I couldn’t—” Elizabeth took a deep breath as the chill settled into her bones. Oh, God, the water was so cold. She knew Jason didn’t always feel the cold but it didn’t mean it didn’t effect him.
What if he was already—
“I couldn’t sit there and wait. I needed—” She winced as she moved her shoulder. “I needed to be here.”
“You could go,” Sonny said, “to the warehouse or something—”
There was a crackling over the radio as Brenda’s voice came in. “Sonny? Sonny!”
“I’m here,” Sonny said, raising the device to his lips. “What’s up? Where are you?”
“We—we found—just—” There was shuffle as Elizabeth’s heart began to pound and Carly clenched her hands into fists.
Sonny closed his eyes and Elizabeth’s knees buckled — because it was Jason’s voice, exhausted and faint, crackling over the connection now.
“Hey,” Sonny managed. “Hey. She found you.”
“We’re heading back in, but he wanted to know about Elizabeth—”
“I can do you one better.” Sonny held the radio up to Elizabeth’s lips.
Tears stung her eyes as the wind bit into her cheeks. She didn’t feel the cold anymore. She took the radio from Sonny with her good hand. “Yeah. Yeah. I’m okay. Are you?”
“….tired…” His voice faded out and Brenda came back on the line.
“He washed up about three miles out. We were right about the currents, but he’s tired. He swam a long time. We’re trying to keep him awake until we come back—”
“I can help. I can help. Jason.”
“Remember that winter at my studio? When you were always trying to sleep and I kept you up because I hum and talk to myself?”
She could almost hear the smile in his voice. “Yeah.”
“This time I can do it on purpose. Oh, come all ye faithful,” her voice warbled and Sonny laughed. Carly pressed her hands to her face as Elizabeth continued to sing off-key and hoarsely to keep Jason awake as Brenda and the guards brought him home.
PCPD: Commissioner’s Office
Mac knew—from the battle light in Diane Miller’s eyes as the redheaded lawyer sauntered into his office the morning after Elizabeth had disappeared from lock-up—he knew that whatever papers she pulled out of her briefcase would not be good for him.
“This—” Diane set the papers down. “This is a proposed order from the district attorney dropping all charges against Elizabeth Webber—her legal name,” she added coolly, “as she has not filed paperwork to change it.”
“We’re still looking for her—”
“If Baldwin declines to drop the charges, this—” She set down a thicker packet of paper next to the first pile. “This will be filed directly with the court, suing the PCPD for negligence and alleging corruption in allowing my client to be dragged and kidnapped from your custody, leading to Luis Alcazar putting a bullet in her shoulder and shoving her, bound and gagged, into Lake Ontario.”
Mac shoved to his feet, his stomach dropping as her words sank in. “What—” Elizabeth, shot and nearly drowned? “How—”
“He tried to trade her for Brenda Barrett. You get Ms. Barrett’s statement and an interview with Ms. Webber only when the charges are dropped.”
Mac hesitated. “She’s alive then.”
“No thanks to you and the others. You knew she didn’t do this, and you arrested her anyway. If you want to close your case in the Smith murder, you’ll make sure Baldwin drops these charges. Or I will sue you and Scott personally as well the city and the department for putting my client in danger.”
Diane arched her brow when Mac just stared at her. “What will it be, Commissioner?”
Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room
“What are you doing out of bed?” Carly demanded as she stalked down the stairs, finding Jason standing by the desk with Brenda and Sonny. “You nearly drowned—”
Jason frowned at his best friend. “Because I was tired. I slept.”
“For five minutes?”
“Until a half hour ago. Six hours is enough for me,” he told her patiently. “I’m fine—”
“—should be checking on Elizabeth,” Brenda interrupted smoothly. “You know, staying with her to make sure she’s recovering. The girl dragged herself out that clinic with an infection and fever.”
Carly narrowed her eyes, pursed her lips, and took a long look at her nemesis before looking back at Jason. “Okay. Yeah. That. And you can do it by being at home, resting.”
“If the two of you are done,” Sonny said dryly, “we’re waiting on Diane to tell us how things went at the PCPD—”
“Oh, and Jason can’t find that out, laying down and taking it easy?” Carly poked Sonny in the chest. “No. You can go tell him—”
Sonny scowled, but before he could respond, the phone on his desk rang. He snatched it up. “Yeah? Yeah. Okay. Thanks. Thanks. Yeah, worth every penny.”
“Well?” Brenda demanded when Sonny had hung up. He ignored the women and turned his attention to Jason.
“Mac got Scott to sign off on it. Charges are dropped. It’s over,” he added. “Zander’s murder will probably go down as a cold case, but unofficially, Mac said he’s willing to accept Alcazar was behind it.”
“That’s a relief,” Brenda said. “Luis is dead, you and Elizabeth are off the hook,” she said to Jason. “So if one of the guards can help me take my stuff back to the cottage, I’ll figure out what’s next.” Her lips twisted. “With what time is left.”
“You keep talking about dying,” Carly said with a roll of her eyes, “but you barely even seem sick. How do we know you’re not just making this up?”
Sonny growled. “Carly!”
“Why would I—” Brenda stared at the blonde virago, her retort ending abruptly. “I never opened the results.”
“Brenda?” Jason asked, putting a hand on her shoulders as she pressed her hands to her face. “What’s wrong?”
“Before the accident,” she said softly. “I never had a chance to open them. Jax said he threw them out. But I had them done again. With Luis. In the beginning. Before—” She closed her eyes. “Before I realized who he was.”
“You think he was lying?” Sonny asked.
“Well, of course he was,” Carly said, her patience at its absolute end. “Look what he went through to make sure Brenda never had any choices. He came after you and Jax. He tried to kill Elizabeth and Jason so he could get to her—he stalked her—you’ve been taking his word for it all this time?” she demanded, disgusted. “How stupid are you?”
“Carly—” Jason began.
“No—no—” Brenda shook her head, her voice thick. “No. Don’t—she’s right. God, she’s absolutely right.”
“Of course I am. Go take another stupid test with a reputable doctor. Honestly.” Carly stomped off towards the stairs. “Do I have to do everything around here?”
Morgan Penthouse: Master Bedroom
Jason left Sonny to deal with Brenda and getting her back to the cottage, still shaking his head over Carly and her bold, almost offensive ways of getting things done. It hadn’t occurred to him that Brenda would have learned about her illness through Alcazar, but trust Carly to see right through it.
“What’s wrong?” Elizabeth asked as Jason closed the door behind him. She struggled to sit up, wincing as she accidentally put pressure on her shoulder. He hurried over to help her sit up further, then felt her forehead.
“No fever,” he said. “But you should be sleeping—”
“I’ve been sleeping forever. Isn’t that what you said when you got dressed? Only one of us spent half the night swimming in the lake,” she muttered, but laid back against the pillows. Her skin was still too pale, but he had to admit that she was doing better.
“I took a long swim. You were shot and dumped in the lake—”
“Yeah, I think I liked the first kidnapping better,” she decided.
“You’re not getting a third to help you decide.”
Elizabeth cracked open her eye, one irritated slit of blue glaring at him. “You’re not going to try anything stupid like pushing me away again, are you? I will soak you if you try to divorce me. I’ll take everything.”
He gently smoothed her hair off her forehead, tucking a piece behind her ear. “I’d give it all to you if it meant you were safe,” he admitted. “But no,” he added when she growled. “No. We settled that in Vegas. You’re going to have to doing the walking.”
“Okay. Well, at least we don’t have to fight about that.” She forced her eyes open. “Did you hear from Diane or should I make sure I’m wearing pants in case I get hauled back to jail?”
“Charges are dropped. You—and I—are good. They didn’t want the lawsuit.”
“Good.” She stifled a yawn. “Do you have to go anywhere?”
“Even better. Take a nap with me.”
“A nap?” Jason repeated, even as he kicked off his boots. “I’m not tired—”
“No, but you’re comfy and warm, and I need my rest.” She tugged him down next to her. “So stop complaining.”
Cottage: Living Room
Brenda folded her arms. “It’s so weird,” she told Elizabeth. “I don’t even know what to do with the rest of my life. I was so sure I’d be dead in a few years.”
“It’s good news,” Elizabeth reminded her.
“I know. I just…I have to rethink. I can go back to work. I can have a life again.” Brenda bit her lip. “I don’t even know where to start.” She nodded at Elizabeth who rotated her shoulder and winced. “That looks like it still hurts.”
“Yeah, I know, it’s been a week but it’s still sore. Jason is finally letting me out of his sight again. I convinced him to go to the warehouse.” Elizabeth rubbed the spot on her shoulder where the bullet had dug through, grimacing. “Diane dropped off a bunch of paperwork for me. Financial stuff. Name changing.”
“Ah.” Brenda nodded. “Marriage stuff.” She tipped her head. “So you’re staying married, then.”
“I guess. I don’t know. She said Jason didn’t ask about any of it, but that Sonny had. So I don’t know. We haven’t talked about it. We were figuring things out, and then—” Elizabeth looked at her hand, still bare.
“Then you got dumped in the lake and Jason almost died saving your life.”
“Yeah.” Elizabeth met Brenda’s eyes. “I came over to hear about your results, but I also—you kept looking. I know Sonny had given up hope, but you stayed out there. Thank you. For bringing him back.”
“He promised me that you and I would get out of this alive,” Brenda said softly. “I knew he would have done anything to make that happen. Jason’s always taken care of me, even when I didn’t want him to. I wasn’t going to let him go. And you would have been right there with me if you were able to.”
“Still. Jason and I have a chance to figure things out because of you. And—don’t you dare tell Sonny this—but if you hadn’t started that insane marriage idea, then Sonny wouldn’t have dragged me to Vegas. Even with everything that happened—I’m grateful.”
“It’s kind of romantic if you forget why Jason was at the chapel in the first place,” Brenda said. “He looked so pissed when he dragged you through that door.”
“Very romantic,” she said dryly. “Glaring at me and asking me if I wanted proof or not—”
“But you married him.” Brenda tilted her head. “What made you go through with it? I would have jabbed the pen in his eye.”
Elizabeth just smiled at her. “Thank you,” she said again, getting to her feet. “For bringing Jason home.”
“Thank you for showing up in Vegas or I might be Mrs. Jason Morgan right now.” Brenda shuddered. “No, thank you.”
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Elizabeth grinned when she came in and found Jason lining up a shot at the pool table. “Hey. I thought you would still be at work.”
“I was, and then Diane asked if you’d signed the papers she dropped off.” He set the pool cue on the table and walked over to her. “I didn’t know she was going to do that today. I was going to talk to yo first.”
“Oh. Yeah.” Elizabeth bit her lip. “We haven’t really talked about it since before—well, before,” she added.
Jason leaned against the desk. “We can just let it sit,” he told her. “It’s just contracts. I mean, it doesn’t change anything—”
“But it would,” she said. “If I took your name and you put me on your bank accounts, it would change things. I don’t need or want the money—”
“But there’s other stuff Diane gave me. Life insurance from the warehouse, survivor’s benefits—” She folded her arms. “We can leave it alone and ignore it, but I don’t know. Maybe we shouldn’t.”
Jason was quiet for a minute. “What do you want to do?”
“I went to see Brenda today to thank her for bringing you home.” Elizabeth wrapped her arms around his neck and he parted his legs so that he could hold her against him. “And she asked me why I said yes. Back in Vegas. When you shoved that pen at me.”
Jason winced. “I’m sorry—”
“She asked me why,” Elizabeth repeated, “but I didn’t answer her. Because it’s your question to ask. You wanted to prove that you loved me. And I said yes because I believed you. Because of how it happened. I didn’t until then.”
“That’s…” Jason frowned. “You believed me because I was angry and rude?”
“You were angry, rude, almost offensive, and demanding I marry you because I’d been driving you crazy. Yeah.” She brushed her lips against hers. “You weren’t worrying about me anymore, trying to spare my feelings. Trying to say the right thing. I was terrified you’d regret it later.”
“I don’t.” Jason rested his forehead against hers. “I thought you would.”
“I don’t, either. It might not have been right for anyone else, but it was perfect for me. I’ve had the proposal before, I’ve had the white dress. But Lucky didn’t love me. You do.”
“I do.” Jason kissed her again, then gently pushed her back so he could reach into the top drawer of the desk. “While I was out…” He took out an envelope. “I picked these up.”
Elizabeth pursed her lips as she stepped back and slid out the plane tickets. Two round trip tickets to Venice, Italy, leaving in three days. “Italy,” she murmured.
“Starting in Venice, but you should see Florence. And Sicily. Naples,” he added. “I want to show it to you.”
She raised her eyes from the tickets to find him holding out a ring. It wasn’t in a box and he wasn’t on one knee. It was just a tiny little gold band with a few rubies and diamonds inset, held between his thumb and index finger. “I thought—”
“You wanted to wait to get rings until it was right.” Jason straightened and reached for her hand. He slid it on her finger. “Well?” he asked, and he grinned as he said, obviously remembering that he’d said the same thing to her that crazy dawn in Vegas when she’d hesitated and he’d snapped at her.
How different things were now, barely even two weeks later.
Elizabeth smirked, reached behind him for the folder that Diane had left and grabbed a pen, scrawling her name on the only piece of paper that mattered—taking Jason’s name and making them a family.
“Does that answer your question?”
Jason framed her face in his hands and kissed her, her smirk disappearing. “Yeah, it does,” he whispered against her mouth. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”