August 21, 2003
Carly held the cookie over her head. “You’ll have to kill me to get this,” she threatened, shooting her husband a dark look.
“You try carrying thirty pounds on top of your bladder, have your feet swell and face the thought of squeezing a baby out of something the size of a lemon. Lay off the cookie if you want to live.”
“One cookie,” Sonny warned. “And I’m hiding the package.”
Carly snorted. “Yeah, like that’s gonna stop me.”
Jason pushed the door open and cleared his throat. Sonny looked towards his friend, relaxing his guard and Carly reached out and yanked the package of Oreos out of his hands. She was halfway up the stairs before Sonny even noticed.
“Haha, you’ll never find them!” Carly taunted. She moved the rest of the way upstairs a little more slowly.
Sonny shook his head. “She doesn’t understand the concept of nutrition,” he muttered. “I don’t even know where those Oreos came from.”
Jason knew Elizabeth had smuggled the package in three days ago but he kept mum and crossed his arms. “Elizabeth is taking a nap.”
“She okay? About Emily?”
Jason hesitated and moved across the room. “I think she is. She was trying to reason in her head Emily’s motives and comparing it to when Carly did the things with the Feds.”
“She wants to believe Emily’s still got some good in her,” Sonny deduced. “I wouldn’t argue with her—not right now. She may have a point and even if she doesn’t, it’ll probably help her get through it.” He cleared his throat and picked up his glass of iced tea from the table. “I met with Andrew while you were over there.”
Jason’s eyes hardened. “And?”
“He’s clean. He’s genuinely upset with himself for letting the girls go upstairs by themselves but in his defense, they had called upstairs and Marco was there and even if Andrew had gone upstairs with them, Ric had a gun and a knife. He may have gotten killed and it could have been a lot of worse. He sends his apologies and understands if we remove him from Elizabeth’s security team.”
“We are, right?” Jason remarked. “I mean, keeping Johnny on Carly is one thing but Andrew is too new—”
“But he’s protective of Elizabeth. If he’d been up there last night, he would have died to protect her. I’m sure of that and at this point, too many of our most trusted guards have been compromised. If we move Andrew, we’ll be forced to bring in someone new.”
“You’re sure he’s clean?” Jason asked dubiously. “Elizabeth’s safety is the most important thing right—she’s right in the middle of a high-risk pregnancy and—”
“Jason, Jason, you’re not telling me anything I didn’t already know.” Sonny shrugged. “Andrew’s clean. He’s loyal to us but more importantly, he’s loyal to Elizabeth. Anyway—I think it would make more sense that if Elizabeth leaves the penthouse, you’re with her every step of the way.”
Jason nodded. “That goes without saying. Did you take care of Francis?”
“Yeah. There’s no word on Faith or Ric yet and I’m agreeable for letting the families look for them rather than us waste our resources,” Sonny admitted. “I’m just grateful Elizabeth came out of it.”
Jason hesitated a moment before speaking. “Sonny—what would you think of us…not getting an annulment?”
Though Sonny knew exactly what Jason was saying, he played dumb. “Well, you’re not getting one. Not with Ric and Faith still out there. Maybe in a few more months—”
“No, I mean…at all,” Jason said uncomfortably. “I—I’ve been thinking about it for a while and I don’t—I don’t think I want one.”
“How long is a while?” Sonny asked curiously. “Since the wedding? Since you agreed to adopt the baby?”
“Since agreeing to the plan in the first place,” Jason admitted. “I like…I like being married to her and I’d really like to stay with her.”
Sonny nodded slowly. “Well—it’s not really up to me. It’s up the two of you except—” he closed his eyes. “I forgot to call Courtney.”
“Courtney,” Sonny repeated. “Her plane was due in today and I completely forgot with everything that’s been going on. She’s going to be coming back here. Today.” He glanced at a clock on his desk. “Now, in fact.”
Elizabeth started back down the stairs when she heard Jason leave. She wanted something to eat and drink and if she got it now, she could be back upstairs and pretending to nap before he got back.
She wanted to finish the conversation between them because she was beginning to think it wouldn’t be a bad one. But she still didn’t feel ready to do so.
She was halfway to the kitchen when the door opened and a hesitant Courtney walked in. “Jas—” she stopped her call for him abruptly at the sight of a sweat-clad Elizabeth in the living room. Her eyes narrowed. “What are you doing here?”
“Ah…” Elizabeth blinked. “Courtney—”
The blonde’s eyes zeroed in on the wedding band and pressed her lips together. “How pathetic can you be? You’re still living here, wearing that ring like you have a right to it?” Courtney snorted. “What the hell are you still doing here?”
“Courtney—” Elizabeth began again.
“Carly told me that the adoption wasn’t going to happen anymore and that you were getting this farce of a marriage annulled so you know, you can just drop the act,” Courtney said scornfully. “Now that this is all over, Jason and I are going to get back together—”
“It’s not over,” Elizabeth blurted out. “We’re not getting an annulment.” Out of spite, she kept mum on the fact that it was out of necessity and not love.
Courtney’s nostrils flared and she took a step towards the brunette. “What the hell are you talking about, Elizabeth? What lie are you telling now?”
“I’m not the one who lies,” Elizabeth shot back.
“The hell you don’t. You know—I bet you’ve been in on this all along,” Courtney remarked. “You knew Ric was Sonny’s half-brother and you probably concocted this whole plan to trap Jason into marriage. You’ve got my brother and Jason so snowed by your little innocent act that they’re probably not even going to see the knife in their backs—”
“What are you doing in here?” Jason demanded sharply.
Courtney whirled around. “Jason—I just got home—Carly told me the adoption off so—that just solves our problems—so I thought we could—”
“Didn’t you tell her?” Jason interrupted, looking at Elizabeth who just shrugged as if to say—I tried. He sighed heavily and looked back at Courtney. “The adoption is on. It’s already been finalized and the annulment is what’s off. Elizabeth and I are staying married. We’re over, Courtney.”
“No—Jason, look—please, just listen to me—okay, so you’re going to adopt the baby.” Courtney’s lower lip trembled. “You can just have joint custody. You don’t need to be married to her—”
“Yes, I do,” Jason interrupted. “Courtney, I’m not trying to hurt you—”
“I was right, wasn’t I?” Courtney accused. “You were just looking for a reason to get back together with her and this little—pregnancy—this little bastard she’s going to pass off as yours—”
“Wait just a damn minute,” Elizabeth interrupted. She crossed the room to face the blonde. “You leave my daughter out of this. You’re angry because you gave Jason an ultimatum and he didn’t perform the way you wanted him too so now you’re jumping down his throat. Get over yourself, Courtney, the world doesn’t revolve around you.”
“And you can’t have Jason,” Courtney retorted. “You threw him away and now you think you can get him back but—”
“Courtney, you’re leaving now.” He took her arm and steered her towards the doorway. “Goodbye.”
He closed the door on her outraged face and looked back at Elizabeth. “I’m sorry. Sonny didn’t remember that she was coming home today until her plane had already landed.”
“It’s fine,” Elizabeth said stiffly. She looked away. “How did it go with Sonny?”
“Fine,” Jason said simply. “Andrew’s going to remain your guard for now. There’s one else that we can really trust and he seems to have convinced Sonny of his loyalty.”
Elizabeth nodded. “Good. I like Andrew.”
Jason rubbed the back of his neck and sighed. “I thought you were taking a nap.”
She shrugged. “I felt hungry.”
“You want something to eat?” Jason offered. “I can make something—or send someone if you want something specific.”
Elizabeth hesitated. “Actually—I was hoping to make a peanut butter and pickle sandwich,” she admitted with an embarrassed smile. “I’ve had a craving for it all day.”
Jason grimaced. “Are you sure?”
“It’s weird,” Elizabeth sighed, “but I can’t help it, I guess.” She twisted her hands together. “Jason…about earlier…”
“We don’t have to talk about it until you’re ready,” Jason assured her. “You’ve been through a rough night and day. This is no time to be making major life decisions.”
Elizabeth tilted her head to side. “Just for conversation’s sake—what life decisions would they be?”
“Whether or not we stay married,” Jason stated as though it was the obvious choice. “I can understand if you’re not ready for that and that you’d want to keep your distance, but—”
“We’re not just talking about staying married through Ric and Faith are we?” Elizabeth interrupted. Her face drained of color as Jason’s words and intent sunk in. She’d never dreamed that remaining married to Jason would be a viable option.
Jason shook his head slowly, unsure if the shock written across her features was a good sign or a bad one. “No, I’m not.”
“Oh.” Elizabeth exhaled a shaky breath. “And to make it clear—you’re Laura’s father. You don’t need to be married to me to have that.”
“I know that,” Jason said simply.
“Oh,” she repeated. She shifted from one foot to the other as she thought about her next move. Jason had put himself on the line big time by just admitting he wanted to be married. There was no reason to push him for more right now. He wasn’t ready to say more and she wasn’t sure she was ready to hear it. “You’re right. This isn’t a time to be making major life decisions,” she said softly. “But just so it’s out there…it’s definitely something I want to think about.”
Somewhere In Port Charles
Ric slammed his fist down on the table. “Damn it.”
Faith leaned back in her chair and examined her blood-red nails. “Oh hell, I’ve chipped a nail,” she murmured.
“They’re going to triple her security,” Ric seethed. “I won’t be able to get near her.”
“So forget the little bunny so we can focus on something more profitable,” Faith sighed. She eyed him. “What would we do with a kid anyway?”
“It’s my kid,” Ric said coldly. “I won’t abandon him because his mother has no spine. I won’t do that.”
“Listen up, Sparky. He is a she,” Faith snarled. “It won’t be a boy, it’s a girl. And she certainly had enough spine to marry Jason Morgan.” Her lips curved into a smile. “I imagine he must be something else in bed.”
He leveled a withering glare in her direction. “Spare me, Faith. I don’t care if the kid’s a hermaphrodite. Jason Morgan is not raising my child, do you understand me?”
“Fine,” Faith huffed. “But you’ve got to step it up a notch. Take the gloves off, so to speak. You made a mistake trying to snatch her last night and I’ll tell you where you went wrong.”
Ric sank into a chair across from her. “Enlighten me, oh Great One,” he said with mocking reverence.
Faith ignored the tone and smiled in that way of hers when even the coldest man would feel shivers rolling down his spine.
“You can’t kidnap a woman like Elizabeth,” Faith informed him. “She’s under Sonny and Jason’s protection. Sonny feels guilty because you—his brother—has emotionally tormented her for months and Jason is in love with her. You’ll never get her through kidnapping.”
“Well, what the hell do you suggest?” Ric snapped.
“She has to come to you willingly. She has to surrender,” Faith said simply. “And the only way to do that is to prey on her vulnerabilities. Hit her where she hurts. Her family, her friends.” The smirk deepened. “Her baby.” She examined her nails again. “When she feels like the only way to save the people she loves is to come to you, then you’ll win and there won’t be anything Sonny or Jason can do.”
Ric nodded. “Sometimes, Faith—you surprise me.”
Faith snorted. “Men. You always underestimate me.” Her eyes hardened. “You need me, Lansing. Don’t ever cross me or you won’t live to regret it.”