Part 3

“I think I know what I’m supposed to do!”

Jason regarded her suspiciously. “I’m not going to like this idea, am I?”

Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “You know, I forgot how paranoid you used to be.” She frowned. “You know you’re still paranoid, you just weren’t as annoying as you are now.” Her frown deepened. “Well…you’re paranoid in a really annoying way three years from now…”

“Right,” Jason said, hopelessly lost.

Anyway,” Elizabeth drawled. “I think I understand why I woke up here instead of like next April.”

“Next April?” Jason asked. “What did you do next April?”

“Uh…I chose Lucky over someone I really wanted to be with…anyway–”

“Over who?” Jason asked, a wicked gleam in his eye. Elizabeth folded her arms and glared at him.

“You know who, so don’t be so irritating,” she retorted. “You know, this has got to be the strangest conversation I’ve ever had.” Elizabeth snorted. “Then again, you manage to carry on conversations with Carly, so maybe it’s not all that strange for you.”

“So,” Jason asked, unable to resist. “How long did it take before we got together?”

“What?” Elizabeth asked, blinking in surprise.

“I’m just kind of confused by the timeline of events,” Jason replied. “So, I’m just curious–in next April, we were obviously at a point where we had feelings for each other or there’d be no reason to choose Lucky over me.”

“You know, you’re a lot quicker than some people give you credit for,” Elizabeth said. “You know, I never asked you that. I assumed it was because of all the time you spent in my studio that winter.” She eyed him. “Do you have plans to leave town?”

He looked startled. “How did you know that?”

“You little stinker,” she said, punching him in the arm. “You were already thinking about it?”

“Wait, wait, do I leave town or something?” Jason asked. “I’ve only thought about it in passing. I didn’t really give it any real consideration.”

“Oh…well, you leave town next month. You come back in August, but then you leave again. You come back next January, but you leave in April. You finally came back in May of 2002–”

“Why did I come and go so often?” Jason interrupted.

Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “How in the hell should I know? You have crazy reasons, sometimes.”

“Oh, really?” Jason asked. “You know, you avoided my question.”

“What question would that be?” Elizabeth asked innocently.

Taking a chance he never would have yesterday, Jason leaned forward just a little, bringing his face within a few inches of hers. “So tell me,” he said, lowering his voice. “If we dated for…eight seconds, as you say…where was our first kiss?”

“Uh…” Elizabeth blinked, trying to clear her thoughts and concentrate on the question rather the nearness of the man in front of her. “Our first kiss?” she repeated a little faintly.

He resisted the urge to smile. He’d actually thought about kissing Elizabeth for weeks, but she was so young and still mourning Lucky. If her story was to be believed, she was three years older, no longer cared about Lucky and if her behavior the entire morning so far could be trusted, she was definitely attracted to him.

He closed the distance a little–another inch or so. “Yeah,” he confirmed. “Our first kiss. I assume we’ve had one.”

“We’ve had one or two,” Elizabeth replied softly.

Their lips were now two inches apart and he could tell it was affecting her–her breathing was a little shallow and slightly erratic. “So where was it?” he asked, completely amused by the entire situation.

“Here,” she breathed, her eyes locked on his lips. “In the studio.”

“Really,” he replied. “So, how was it?”

“It was okay,” Elizabeth replied, not really paying attention to his questions.

“Okay?” he raised his eyebrows. “Is that it? Well…I should try to be more memorable in the future.” Without waiting for any kind of answer from her, he closed the distance and kissed her.

It was strange set of coincidences. Elizabeth had kissed Jason before, but he’d never kissed her.

He meant for the kiss to be short–as just a way to prove to both of them that the attraction three years from now had started here in this studio while he was recuperating from the gunshot wound. He’d never dreamed she’d seen him this way–not now, while she was still mourning Lucky.

But Elizabeth must be telling the truth, because the girl sitting in front of him was no longer the girl who’d lost Lucky. She was the woman who’d lost him, found him and apparently thrown him back.

But just like everything else between Elizabeth and Jason, the kiss was out of control the second their lips touched. Her eyelids fluttered shut and her fingers threaded through his hair. She kissed him back with an intensity that surprised him. She matched every thrust of his tongue.

When he finally pulled back, Elizabeth licked her lips, smiled and then opened her mouth. “You know…that works so much better when you’re not walking away afterwards.”

“I walked away after kissing you?” Jason asked, startled. “What, was I nuts?”

“Probably,” Elizabeth replied. “No, the last time we kissed, it was during your entire it’s too dangerous to know me much less date me phase. Although,” Elizabeth continued, frowning, “I notice that doesn’t seem to apply to Courtney,”

“Sonny’s sister again,” Jason said, nodding.

“Yeah, well, I think you’re just using her for sex,” Elizabeth joked, looking away. She looked towards the tree. “I forgot how much fun I had this Christmas.”

“I’d never do that,” Jason said, sounding insulted.

“Do what?” she asked, swinging her eyes back to him.

“Use someone for sex,” Jason said. He frowned. “Well…not again. And definitely not Sonny’s sister.”

“Not again?” Elizabeth repeated. “Oh…Carly.” She shrugged. “Well, I’d never sleep with someone who drugged me, but hey, we all do things we wouldn’t normally when things are going crazy.”

“You were drugged?” Jason asked.

“Um…” Elizabeth bit her lip. “Maybe.”

“And you slept with him?” Jason asked. “What, before or after?”

“After,” Elizabeth answered reluctantly. “But it was like two years after and he’s a completely different person now,” she said, defensively. “And it was just that one time because I was really scared–”

“Who was it and why did he drug you?” Jason demanded.

“You know what?” Elizabeth said, “This is getting us nowhere.” She was not about to tell him it was Zander. “None of this stuff has actually happened.” She frowned. “You’re not…jealous…are you?” she asked, smiling at the thought.

“No,” Jason said, scowling.

“Right,” Elizabeth replied, clearing not believing him.

“So, you said you knew what you had to do?” Jason prompted.

“Oh, right. I completely forgot about that,” Elizabeth replied. She shifted on the couch. “Well, it’s actually really simple. I’m surprised I didn’t think of it before.”

“You gonna tell me?” Jason asked.

She grinned. “I either stop you from leaving town or go with you.”

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