Said I don’t know if I’ve ever been good enough
I’m a little bit rusty, and I think my head is cavin’ in
And I don’t know if I’ve ever been really loved
By a hand that’s touched me
And I feel like something’s gonna give
– Push, Matchbox 20
Monday, January 11, 2000
Corinthos & Morgan Warehouse: Jason’s Office
Jason thumbed through a stack of invoices. At the sound of heels outside the office, he looked up, wondering if it might be Elizabeth—before remembering she was still working and she never wore heels anyway.
But she was never far from his mind, and he’d rather be at home with her than sitting at this desk, wrestling with paperwork.
It was Alexis who stepped inside, her briefcase in hand. “I’m not interrupting, am I?”
“No. Far from it.” He gratefully shoved the invoices to one side. “What’s up?”
“Nothing urgent, but just some paperwork to finish off the legalities.” Alexis set the briefcase on his desk, flipped open the top. “The insurance company sent the forms to add a beneficiary, so you can fill those out—”
“More forms,” he said, with a sigh, but accepted them. It was important that if anything happened to him, Elizabeth wouldn’t have to worry about anything. “What else?”
“Here are the forms for the partnership you have with Sonny—a survivor’s agreement,” she clarified. “Stating that Sonny becomes active partner, but your interest goes to Elizabeth—” She handed him that. “It was in the prenuptial agreement, but we still need some specific contracts—”
“Can’t you just tell me where to sign—”
“Hey. You’re the one that ran with my stupid idea,” Alexis reminded. “I was just making conversation. You also told me to do everything I would normally do if you or Sonny got married.” She held up the contracts. “This would be what gets done. You’re just not some pauper who lives in a boxcar anymore. You and Sonny entered into a partnership last year that’s worth millions of dollars.”
Jason made a face. “Yeah, but—”
Alexis sat down. “Look, I know you hate all of this. I know Elizabeth hates all of this, but it’s my job to protect you both. Things happen, Jason. And God forbid, something terrible happens and Elizabeth ends up having to do all of this herself. Because that prenuptial agreement protects you in the event of divorce. Your will leaves your estate and property to Elizabeth. Without the right forms in place, all of that gets tied up in probate—”
“All right, all right.” Jason picked up a pen. “I’m sorry.”
“And Elizabeth’s had her own paperwork to fill out. Do you know how many forms there are to change your name? Social security, DMV, bank forms—”
Jason’s head snapped back up. “What? She—she signed them?”
“Yes. Last week. And by the way, I don’t know if Elizabeth passed this on or not, but you are not to get divorced before the end of the year. The PCPD needs evidence to break the spousal privilege, and that’s—”
Jason scribbled his name at the bottom of the insurance form and went to the next page. “She told me.”
“Oh. Good. Don’t take legal advice from Sonny.”
“Not planning on it.” He moved on to the next set of contracts, then hesitated. “This…survivor agreement—it makes Sonny the acting partner.”
“Yes. And Elizabeth would be a silent partner, in the event that you were incapacitated or not, uh, alive,” she said, a bit awkwardly. “It also gives Sonny the option of buying your half of the company for full-market price. It protects her interest. I’m sure Sonny would take care of her, but it’s always best if—”
“Could—” Jason met her curious gaze. “Could you draw up another one of these? Not for Elizabeth. For me.”
Alexis studied him for a long moment. “Are you thinking about stepping back from the warehouse?”
“I’m thinking about giving myself options,” Jason said after another moment. “When it looked like I might have to leave Port Charles, I thought about where I could go. Places I’ve only read about.”
“A lot of places around the world Elizabeth could paint.”
He’d thought of that, too, and maybe it was a crazy idea, but…what if it wasn’t? “Could you do that? The contract?”
“Do you want the same one? With Sonny able to buy you out?”
“Yeah. I do. Thanks.”
Quartermaine Mansion: AJ & Carly’s Suite
Carly leaned over the toilet, her stomach pitching and rolling, and she heaved, coughing and nearly choking. She’d already puked her guts out, and now it was just dry heaves, her wretched body putting her through the exhaustion of vomiting without the mess.
She finally leaned back against the cool tiled wall, her sweaty hair sticking to her forehead, hanging limply around her shoulders. It had been hell hiding her nausea from everyone, especially from AJ, but it would be nearly a month before she could safely tell AJ she was pregnant.
He’d never believe it now. Before last week, they hadn’t been together in months, and he was already feeling terrible about her mother’s visit earlier that day. He’d gone into the office, and Carly had headed straight for the stairs.
She didn’t want to disappoint Bobbie—she’d tried so hard to be a good daughter, but Bobbie would never, ever forget who she’d been once. There would always be that small kernel of distrust and hatred inside.
Elizabeth Webber, Carly thought bitterly. That’s what had made Bobbie so angry. Not just that Carly might have had to snitch on Bobbie, but that Elizabeth had actively been in trouble. Why did everyone want to protect that stupid little girl?
Lost in her own misery, she didn’t hear the bathroom door open — but she did hear the soft click of shoes on the tiles. She twisted her head to the side and watched in a sort of detached horror as AJ knelt down beside her, his head tipped to the side.
“Food poisoning,” she managed. “Something I ate—”
“Must have been hell,” AJ murmured, “finding out you were pregnant after Jason married someone else.”
She drew her brows together, confused by this opening. “What?”
“Before that,” he continued, conversationally, as if he hadn’t just caught her, basically red-handed in her infidelity, “you probably could have guilted him into finding you a way out of the prenup.”
She cleared her throat. “I—”
“You could still tell him,” AJ said, “but I bet he wouldn’t help you the same way now. He’d just give you child support and ask for visitation. And you’d lose Michael and all of my money, too. Not exactly what you’d want, huh?”
She couldn’t fight back. Couldn’t argue. And what would she even say? He was right. Even if the truth was out, Sonny would just take the baby from her. And she’d lose everything.
“I can explain—”
“Michael is not going to lose his family,” AJ said. He looped a nearly boneless arm over his shoulder and lifted Carly into his arms, taking care not to jostle her. “He loves you and you’re an okay mother.”
She wanted to slap at him, tell him to stop saying words, she was an amazing mother—
“And I think you and I have an understanding now,” AJ continued. He set her down on the bed, tugging off her shoes. “Jason’s not an option for you. And if you told him now, you’d just make him unhappy.” His face tightened. “He’d never be rid of you.”
She closed her eyes, the tears slipping down her cheeks. If this had been Jason’s baby, AJ would be right. Jason would be miserable and trapped with her. He hated her now, and he’d never stay with her for the baby. That bitch had ruined everything. Why hadn’t she gone away? Why couldn’t Carly get rid of her the way she’d chased away Robin?
“And he owes me for what he stole from me. What he put me through,” AJ continued. “This is my child, Carly. We’ll raise it together, and Michael will get to keep his family together. He’ll be a good brother, and I’ll be a good father. Do you understand?”
“Y-Yes,” she managed. “Yes. I understand.”
Corinthos Penthouse: Living Room
“Hey.” Jason folded his arms as Max pulled the door closed behind him. “You wanted to see me?”
“Yeah. Yeah. Um—” Sonny scratched the back of his neck. “I wanted to let you know that I finalized some of the details for the reception.”
Sonny winced at the short, clipped reply but forged ahead. “It’s, uh, this Friday at the No Name. We’ll take the limo,” he continued. “There’s gonna be some dinner and dancing. Vega wants to say some nice things, and then there’s the favors part—”
“Favors?” Jason echoed. “Why—”
“They feel as though I didn’t deliver on my part—” Sonny closed his eyes. “When I married Lily. I was supposed to make up for it later, but—”
But he’d walked away, leaving Brenda at the altar. He couldn’t say it. Couldn’t think of it. The tragedy, the pain of her death still felt too raw. “But this is why Sorel is on board. Why he’s buying it, because I owe this. I’ll grant a couple of requests. Elizabeth will spend some time with Vega’s wife. Tagliatti is between wives—”
“And then we leave,” Jason said. “I don’t want to be there more than two hours—”
“Yeah, yeah. You and Elizabeth will take the limo home, and it’ll come back for me. I’ll head out after another hour or so, and when Sorel goes, there’ll be the shooting. But that’s the deal. The three of us are out of range.”
“And you think Sorel doesn’t see this coming?” Jason demanded. “So close to the rest of it—”
“He’ll be suspicious,” Sonny admitted, “but he knows I’ve got tension with the others because of these last two years. It’s me getting in good with the rest of them. And he wasn’t invited at first. They let it slip in conversation to him, and he forced his way in.”
Jason didn’t like that, though he understood why it made sense. “Fine.”
“The only time you won’t be by her side is during the favors when she’s with the women and during some of the dancing. Vega’s calling for the dance, and she’ll be safe with him,” Sonny added when Jason scowled. “He’s old school. You know that. He helped broker your deal with Moreno.”
Jason exhaled slowly. “I remember. He was angry that Mac had been hurt and that Michael and Robin were in the line of fire.”
“If there were another way—”
“There’s always another way,” Jason bit out. “This is helping you, not me. Not Elizabeth. You said it yourself. You made these guys angry as hell when you dipped out of town and left everything to me. You need to get back in with them. If this was really about getting rid of Sorel, I’d just go stake him out and bullet in his head. You assholes want the circus.”
“I told you. We’ll do this, but don’t expect me to be happy about it. You didn’t give me a choice.”
Jason didn’t slam the door as he left, but Sonny flinched all the same. Putting Elizabeth in even the slightest of danger had been the final crack to their friendship, and Jason was right. Sonny had seized this opportunity, telling himself it was the only way. He’d agreed too quickly, seeing the benefits to them all.
But if he’d taken even a minute, he’d have known Jason wouldn’t agree. Not under these circumstances. Not after he’d torn his hands apart to get to Elizabeth on New Year’s, and she’d still been shaking when he’d brought her to the Towers.
Sonny had, once again, thought more of himself than anyone else, and just like always—he’d be the one left alone in the end.
And he would deserve it.
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
“I smell like grease,” Elizabeth grumbled when Jason leaned in to kiss her that evening. She flattened her hands against his chest to hold him back slightly. “Some kid threw a plate of fries at me just before my shift ended—”
“I like fries,” he reminded her, and kissed her anyway. “Work was okay, then?”
“As good as it ever gets.” Elizabeth unzipped her jacket and tossed it over the desk chair. She kicked off her shoes and wandered over to the sofa. Behind her, Jason used his foot to push her shoes closer to the desk, then hung up her coat. “Tips are good.” She flashed him a grin. “I think they’re worried if they stiff me, I’ll complain to you.”
“Happy to be useful.” He sat down and lifted one of her feet in his lap, rubbing a thumb against the arch. Her eyes fluttered closed and she sighed happily. He hated to mess this moment up, but— “The reception is set for this Friday,” he told her.
She opened her eyes and sat up, bracing herself on her elbows. “Oh. Okay.”
“We can go over the rest of it later,” he told her. “But in case you need to get off work—”
“Yeah, I can. Um, if we’re talking about dinner plans then—” Elizabeth bit her lip. “Gram came by the diner. She wants to have us for dinner this week. Should I tell her maybe another week would be better?”
He was nervous about this reception, but the thought of sharing a meal with Elizabeth’s grandmother who thought dirt on her shoe was better than him was more intimidating, he realized. But—
“No, we can do it this week. Um, pick the night,” he told her. “Whenever.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah.” He cleared his throat. “You’re doing something for my—” He squinted. “My side,” he said finally. “I should do it for you, too, right? And I…like your grandmother.”
“She’s trying, isn’t she?” Jason pointed out. “Maybe it’ll be a disaster,” he continued and she sighed. “But maybe it won’t be. We’ll see what happens.”
“All right.” Elizabeth reached for a magazine on the coffee table, and started to flip through it. “What did you do today?”
“Paperwork, actually.” Jason sat next to her. “Alexis came by to finish the last of it. From the wedding,” he added, and she glanced over.
“I thought we did all of that already.”
“I had some insurance and forms related to the warehouse,” he said, determined to remain vague. He didn’t really want to talk to her about the insurance policies or that. He was more interested in what he’d learned from Alexis. “She said you’d turned in the forms for a name change.”
Elizabeth raised the magazine to cover her face. “Yeah. We, um, talked about that. Before the wedding—”
“And then we talked about it again,” he said gently, putting two fingers on the edge of the magazine to lower it. “I didn’t know you’d decided.”
“Well—this was after you told me about Sonny. About not needing a full year. I—” Elizabeth shrugged one shoulder, looked down at her chipped nail polish. “I guess I asked if I should go through with it to see where your head was at. And if you told me not to bother, then—”
He’d told her that it didn’t matter to him. “When you asked me that,” Jason began carefully, “I meant what I said. It doesn’t matter to me.”
“No, I know. It’s silly. It’s a name, it doesn’t—”
“It’s not silly,” Jason corrected, and she looked at him now. “But it’s your decision. It would be your decision even if we were making it under other circumstances. I just—names don’t matter to me.”
“Well, if that were true, you would have kept being Jason Quartermaine, so they matter a little.”
He grimaced, looked away. “Yeah, okay. I guess you have a point.”
“I—” Elizabeth tucked her hair behind her ear. “But I get what you mean, and I appreciate it. It’s just—I signed those forms because I realized why you’d told me what Sonny said. You know, that you wanted me to have a choice. So I made it. The choice, I mean.” Her cheeks flushed.
Jason leaned in, kissed her softly. She traced the line of his jaw. “I’m glad you did.”
He kissed her again, pulling her into his lap. “Did you want to get something for dinner?” he murmured.
“After.” She tightened her arms around his neck. “Definitely after.”