August 16, 2003
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
“Hey—where’s Elizabeth? We’re supposed to go shopping this morning,” Carly said, entering without knocking as usual.
Jason stood up from the couch and rubbed his eyes. “She’s at the Spencers. She called last night to let me know she was staying the night. I don’t think she plans on coming back here.”
“At all?” Carly frowned. “Well—that seems a bit odd. I could have sworn…” she trailed off. “Did you call Dara?”
Jason glanced up. “No—that—I didn’t even think about that. We haven’t talked since—since I told her about the adoption.”
“Uh huh.” Carly leaned against his desk and watched him cross the room, not missing the way he reached into his pocket and withdrew the wedding ring Elizabeth had taken off. “She’d probably forgive you, you know.”
He turned and looked at her strangely. “Forgive me for what?”
Carly smirked. “Yeah—you didn’t do anything wrong. Except—you know, marry an ex-girlfriend that you weren’t completely over but that’s neither here nor there. I’m just saying she’d want to get back together.”
Jason frowned, unsure which part to address first. He settled for the easiest one. “I don’t want to get back together with Courtney. She—she and I wouldn’t have worked in the long run.”
“Right, because you were still in love with Elizabeth, but, hey those are the breaks.” She shrugged. “Too bad this whole thing didn’t last a little longer considering Liz was my dealer.”
“Dealer?” Jason questioned, deciding to ignore the other remark.
“Junk food,” Carly replied. “So is she going to be at the Spencers indefinitely? Is she going back to the studio or what?”
“I don’t know. We haven’t ironed out all the details.”
“How long are you going to keep that ring in your pocket?” Carly asked.
“What ring?” Jason asked with a frown, sliding his hand in his front pocket—wondering how she’d known.
“Okay, we’ll play dumb. If she calls, tell her to call me because she and I got a few things to iron out ourselves. I knew she was a wussy.”
“A wussy?” Jason questioned. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Well—I mean, she had what she wanted right in her grasp. I thought she—you know—loved you or whatever. She certainly acted like it. She was married to you, in the perfect position to convince you to stay married to her—what with your breakup with Courtney and her pregnancy.”
Jason stared at her for a moment. “Elizabeth would never try to trap me with the baby. She knows I wanted to be Laura’s father. She’s the one who changed her mind.”
“Whoa, whoa—I didn’t think you guys had actually discussed that. When did you tell her that?”
“Yesterday, at the ultrasound,” he mumbled. He leaned against the pool table and sighed. “We were looking at the picture on the screen and I guess the whole thing just really sank into her and she looked at me and just blurted it out. Just asked me to be the father and she no sooner got through asking me than I agreed.”
“Well—that’s great—how did she change her—” Carly stopped and nodded. “Right. When Sonny mentioned the adoption papers, she said there was no need. Well—to be fair, she might have thought you agreed because you were already married and would be for the foreseeable future. You two should talk about this—”
“I can’t make her do anything she doesn’t want to do—”
Carly narrowed her eyes. “Listen here—”
Whatever she was about to rant about was cut off by the sound of the door opening. Elizabeth stepped in and closed it behind her. “Hey.”
“Good. You’re here. Let me tell you something, Miss Elizabeth,” Carly began hotly. Jason stepped up behind her and clamped his hand over her mouth.
Elizabeth frowned. “What’s wrong, Carly? I thought we were supposed to go shopping—I just need to shower—”
Carly bit hard on Jason’s fingers and he hissed in pain. “Tell Jase you want him to be Laura’s father so he can stop moping already.”
“Carly,” Jason muttered, closing his eyes.
Elizabeth looked at him sharply. “You—you still want her?” she asked softly.
Carly rolled her eyes. “Good God, the two of you are enough to give me a headache. I’m going to leave before I get a full blown migraine.” She pushed past Elizabeth and left.
“You’re the one who said that the adoption wasn’t necessary anymore,” Jason pointed out.
“Well, you brought up the annulment five seconds after we found out Ric and Faith were dead,” Elizabeth protested.
“What does us being married have to do with Laura?” Jason asked, confused.
“I—you didn’t answer Sonny when he said the adoption wasn’t necessary,” Elizabeth argued.
He sighed and scrubbed his hands over his face. “Elizabeth—do you want me to be her father or not?”
“Of course—I asked you remember?” Elizabeth asked. She sighed and looked away. “I meant what I said yesterday. That if I sat down and thought of the best father I could give her, you’d be first choice all the way. I just didn’t feel comfortable asking you—I mean, we were barely friends before all this started and I don’t feel like we’ve made a lot of progress since.”
“If you don’t think we’re friends, why would you ask me to be the father of your daughter?” Jason asked a little baffled. “Why would you want that kind of tie to me? To this life?”
“Because there aren’t many men who wouldn’t think about her real father. If she’d been a boy…everyone who knows the paternity—they’d look at him differently and I think she might still get that kind of treatment and certainly any other man would hold it against her.” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “But I know—that when you look at her, you won’t see Ric Lansing’s genes in her. You won’t see Ric Lansing’s daughter. You’ll see Laura.”
“And that’s important to you,” Jason said simply. “That no one sees Ric in her.”
“No—I’m not saying that they’ll see him in her—I’m saying that no one would see anything but who she is—who her father is. But you wouldn’t care about that—you’d love her for who she is but I know that it’s too much to ask of you—and now that this is over, you’ll probably want to forget it ever happened—”
“Elizabeth, I’d be honored if you’d allow me to be in her life—as her father or anything else,” Jason assured her. “I just didn’t think you’d still want it. You walked away from this life once and this is your chance to leave it behind completely.”
“I didn’t walk away from this life,” Elizabeth said firmly. “I walked away from you.”
“And this is my life—walking away from me was walking away from the life—”
“No—it was walking away from you—it was never about your job or those things—it was about trust. You trusted Carly with this plan—but not me. Carly—who I will admit has her good points and pulled it off perfectly—but since when did she become more worthy of your trust than me?” Elizabeth asked pointedly. “I would have told you this a long time ago but I didn’t think you cared anymore.”
“I always cared, Elizabeth…I just didn’t think you’d want me to come after you.”
A long silence followed his statement and she cleared her throat. “I guess you’d better call Dara and tell her we’re ready to sign the adoption papers.”
He nodded. “Yeah—we can sign the annulment papers after the adoption’s finalized so that nothing is called into question.”
“So—where do I go?” Elizabeth asked. “Laura offered me a room at the Spencers but that’s not a good long term plan and I had to give up my studio and with the way things are with my grandmother, I can’t live with her and I can’t go back to work—Bobbie won’t let me until after Laura’s born.”
“There’s an apartment on the floor below us—Sonny owns the floor under and above this one for security reasons and those apartments are empty,” Jason replied. “So there’d be no rent or anything and—anything you’d need—I hope you’d let me take care of it—think of it as me providing for Laura. I know you hate taking things from people but I really don’t see an alternative.”
“I do hate charity and having to be in this position where I’m depending on you and Sonny for everything but…” Elizabeth smiled at him weakly and shrugged. “I love my baby more and truth be told, I’d rather live in an apartment with an actual bedroom and bathroom than my studio.”
“All right—I’ll talk to Sonny and get started on it.” He pulled her wedding ring out of his pocket and held it out to her. “I thought you might like this back.”
She stared at it for a moment before raising her eyes to his. “Why?” she asked faintly. She belatedly realized that he was still wearing his and her heart leapt into her throat.
“It’s yours.” He extended his hand out further. “It’ll just sit in my desk gathering dust—why should it?”
“Right.” Elizabeth took it from her hands and glanced it at briefly before closing her fist around it. “Thanks—I’ll—I’ll start packing then.”
August 20, 2003
Elizabeth’s New Apartment
Carly held up a package of curtains. “I couldn’t decide which color I liked so I got four of them.”
Elizabeth smirked and reached for another package. “Well—the cream would go okay in here and the pink would work in the nursery, I guess.”
“This place isn’t so bad…” Carly moved to the windows. “You have the same view we do upstairs so I guess that means you’re under us, huh?”
“Yeah.” Elizabeth twisted her wedding ring around her finger. Once she’d put it back on, she hadn’t had the heart to take it back off. Maybe she’d be able to after the annulment was signed and she’d become Elizabeth Webber again.
“Did you sign the adoption papers yet?” Carly asked curiously.
“Yeah, on Monday. It’s finalized so Dara filed the annulment papers yesterday,” Elizabeth said softly.
“I thought so—Courtney’s flying back from the island next week—just an FYI.” Carly ripped open the cream-colored curtain package and tossed the plastic on the couch. “You didn’t take too long to unpack here.”
“Nope, didn’t have more than some clothes and a few other things. I lived in a one-room studio so I didn’t exactly have the room to collect anything more.” She sighed. “She’s coming back, huh?”
“Yeah—she’s staying with us at first. I think she’s hoping Jason will come to his senses—well actually, what she told me was—I know Jason will understand that I was just upset and I’m sure we can work out a compromise.” Carly shook her head. “Her idea of a compromise is that Jason does whatever she wants and what she wants is you out of their lives.”
“Well—the adoption’s final—there’s not much Courtney can do to change that. I mean, if Jason wants to pull out, I’ll deal with it, but—”
“He’s not going to pull out and as soon as Courtney realizes that, all hell will really break loose so the next few weeks ought to be interesting.” Carly tossed the curtains aside. “I think I’m in the mood for ice cream.”
“How are you going to get that past the guards?” Elizabeth asked pointedly. “You know Andrew will just tell Sonny.”
“Ah—so much I have to teach you about the art of being guarded and getting away with things. C’mon, let’s go.”
Quartermaine Estate: Emily’s Bedroom
Emily toyed with the hem of her tank top. “Zander—did you ever do something you wished you could take back?”
Zander glanced up from his magazine with a smirk. “Constantly. Why?”
“I—” Emily hesitated. She shook her head. “Never mind.”
Harborview Towers: Hallway
Carly frowned when she and Elizabeth returned to Elizabeth’s apartment after getting some ice cream at Kelly’s. Andrew’s shift had been over and he’d been assured that Marco was on Elizabeth’s door, waiting for them.
But there was no one. “I wonder where Marco is,” Carly murmured.
“Probably got some wires crossed. I’ll call Jason when I get inside.” She held up her sundae. “You’d better finish yours on the elevator.”
“Yeah—and stuff the trash in my purse. Not that Andrew won’t tell Sonny. Oh well—too late for him to stop me.” Carly ate another bite with a mischievous grin. “I’ll call you tomorrow about finishing up the nursery.”
“Okay.” She waited until Carly was safe on the elevator before unlocking her apartment door and stepping inside. She closed the door and reached over to flick the light switch on.
When the overheard light failed to come on, Elizabeth frowned and flicked the switch again. A second later an arm shot out in the inky darkness and clamped over her mouth. Startled, Elizabeth tried to cry out but no sound was heard.
Her attacker swung her around so that her back was pressed into his front. He placed his mouth near her ear—his heavy breathe echoing loudly. “Hello, Beautiful.”