Prologue

She went to bed on Christmas Eve 2002, she was completely sure about that. The studio had been cold–she’d been the only person there.

And there’d been no Christmas tree. She hadn’t had the heart to put one up. Because then she’d either have to break out the paper chains or buy new decorations.

And to buy new decorations, she’d have to think about the reason she wasn’t going to be using her old decorations.

And then she’d think about Jason.

Which defeated the purpose of her entire life right now.

So, she knew it was December 24, 2002 when she went to sleep that night.

But when Elizabeth Webber opened her eyes the next morning, she knew right away something was different.

The ceiling she was looking at was further away. She was sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag.

And someone was sleeping on her couch. She sat up, avoiding the couch. She turned to look at her tree.

And blinked. It was the Christmas tree she’d decorated three years ago. With the paper chains and the angel topper. There were the gifts she’d put under the tree.

Elizabeth closed her eyes and turned her head back towards the couch. She opened her eyes slowly.

Jason Morgan was lying there, sleeping.

Elizabeth exhaled slowly. She looked at her left shoulder and shoved the collar of her blue sweat shirt aside to look at her shoulder.

The scar that had been present since the shooting in August was gone.

Okay, no reason to panic, Elizabeth told herself. You’re just dreaming. This was one of the happiest holidays of your life. Of course you’d dream about it during one of the most miserable ones.

She stared down at her arm, studied it for a second and then she pinched herself.

She looked back up, expecting…some sort of change. When the scene around her didn’t change, she bit her lip hard.

“Ow,” she hissed, drawing blood. She touched her fingers to her lip, studying the couch again.

Nope. Still a sleeping Jason.

She looked at him, then and realized that this was the Jason she remembered from then. He had shorter hair and Elizabeth realized he must have been working out since then because the Jason of the present day was more muscular.

Not that this Jason was all that bad, she noted, drinking in his sleeping form. After all, this was the Jason she’d fallen in love with in the first place.

And as if on cue, Jason opened his eyes.

“Hey,” he said, shifting on the couch for a second before sitting up. “I can’t believe you didn’t wake me up before now.”

She just stared at him. “Elizabeth…” he prompted.

When she didn’t answer, he frowned. “Elizabeth?”

“I think I’ve lost my mind,” she murmured. She blinked and shook her head. No…there had to be some sort of catch. This had to be a dream. There had to be some reasonable and logical explanation for this.

“What’s today?” she asked him.

“Is this some sort of test?” Jason asked, warily. “Because your birthday was in November. I know it’s Christmas.”

“What year?” Elizabeth asked, almost desperate to hear 2002. Please don’t say 1999. Please don’t say 1999.

“1999,” Jason answered. “Elizabeth–”

He stopped as she laid back and jerked the blue sleeping bag over her face. “Elizabeth, are you all right?

“No. I’m not,” her muffled voice said. “I’ve fallen into the twilight zone and I would like go home now, thank you.”

“What’s the twilight zone?” Jason asked, confused.

“I’m going back to sleep and when I wake up, I want to be back in my miserable life!”

Jason sat up and reached for the sleeping bag. He pulled it off her face. “Are you mad about yesterday?” he asked her.

Her forehead creased. “What are you talking about?” she asked. “I’m not mad about yesterday.” She frowned. “What happened yesterday?”

“Now I’m worried,” Jason said. “Nikolas…the Christmas party…?”

“Oh…that…” Elizabeth shook her head and cringed when she felt the curls fly around her face. She hadn’t curled her hair like that since…well, since Jason left town that first time. “No, that has nothing to do what’s wrong with me.”

“Oh.” He frowned when she reached for the sleeping bag still in his grip so she could pull it back over her face. He kept his grip on it. “What’s wrong?”

“What’s wrong?” Elizabeth asked. “Now you ask. Figures. Let me sleep.”

“Elizabeth, what’s wrong?” Jason repeated.

She sat up so quickly, she startled Jason who leaned back and somehow managed to slip off the couch.

“Oooh, I’m sorry,” Elizabeth said, pulling her legs out from the sleeping bag and crawling over to him. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” Jason said, adjusting himself so he was sitting on the floor. “You gonna tell me what’s wrong? It’s Christmas, I figured you’d be up at dawn…”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” Elizabeth said, honestly.

“Try me,” Jason said.

“All right, you asked for it. When I went to sleep last night,” Elizabeth began, “It was 2002…like three years from now. You and I aren’t talking and you’re sleeping with Sonny’s sister.” At his skeptical look, she smirked. “See, I told you wouldn’t believe me.

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