You only see what your eyes want to see
How can life be what you want it to be
When your heart’s not open
You’re so consumed with how much you get
You waste your time with hate and regret
When your heart’s not open
– Frozen, Madonna
Saturday, January 15, 2000
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
“You know, I could get used to this,” Elizabeth decided as Jason carried her towards the sofa. “But it would probably be harder to serve chili if you were always carrying me everywhere.”
Jason laughed, carefully lowering her to the cushions, making sure he didn’t brush her feet up against anything. The cuts and scrapes looked better this morning, but she hadn’t been able to put any weight on them. Hopefully by the time Monday rolled around—
Jason disappeared into the kitchen and emerged a little while later with coffee in one hand and a hot chocolate in the other. “Here—”
“Thank you.” He sat next to her, and she brushed her fingertips under his cheek where there was still a small cut and bruise from whatever he had hit his head on the night before. “How’s your head? You were out for so long—”
“It’s fine. I’ve got a hard head.” Jason caught her hand and kissed it. “You don’t have to worry about me.”
“Okay, well that’s not going to happen.” She studied the rapidly melting whipped cream as it sunk into the dark chocolate. “Um, there’s something I wanted to talk to you about but I don’t really know…how.”
Jason stretched his arm across the back of the sofa, angling his body towards her. “You can talk to me about anything. You know that.”
“I do. It’s—” She nibbled on her bottom lip. “Last night. Um, we didn’t—” Her cheeks heated and she looked away. “We didn’t use anything.” She glanced up quickly to see his smile fade.
“No. We—” He grimaced, sat up and set his coffee on the table. “I’m sorry—”
“I didn’t—I didn’t bring that up because you did anything wrong. And it’s—last night wasn’t like the other times, so it’s fine—”
“Hey.” Elizabeth felt suddenly at ease with the conversation—maybe because Jason seemed flustered, and it made her feel better. “It’s both of us, right? Just because you have more experience—and it’s okay. I just—want us to be careful. I thought, on Monday, I could make an appointment and go on the pill.” She paused. “So, you know, we can be spontaneous and all.”
“I—” Jason scratched the end of his brow with his thumb. “I’m usually—I haven’t been with anyone since Robin,” he said suddenly, and she frowned. “You don’t have to worry—”
“No, and I wasn’t. Jason, it’s just something that happened, and I don’t want to be stupid about it, you know? So we’ll just be more careful until I’m good, and then we can do what we want when we want.”
“What if—” Jason made a face, then forced out the rest of it. “What if it’s—I mean, is it the wrong time? I—”
Her eyes widened as she realized what he was asking. “Oh. Um. No, we’re probably okay.” Probably.
“What if it’s not?”
Oh, God, wasn’t that a thought? She tightened her hands around the mug. “Then we deal with that, I guess, but there’s no point in worrying about it until we have to.” She saw the question in his eyes and realized he wouldn’t ask it. “And by deal with it, I guess we’d talk about what it meant. I, um, guess you probably want kids. Right? Or at least one. After—I mean you were such—I’m sorry.” Elizabeth shook her head. “We don’t have to talk about it.” They’d barely been together for three weeks—but then again, they’d been married for nearly the entirety of their relationship— you had to start talking about these kinds of conversations when you got married—this is why you didn’t just drift into marriage—
“I hadn’t let myself think about it,” Jason said finally. He sat back again, reached for one of her hands. “But, I guess, yeah. I’d want to.” His eyes searched hers. “But you don’t.”
“Not yet. No. I just—there’s so much I want to see and to do, and I know that kids don’t have to slow you down, but I always wondered if maybe my mom felt like that — you know, if she had done all the things she wanted to do before she had me or my sister, would she have…” Elizabeth wrinkled her nose. “But maybe one day. I guess.” It was the first time she felt the age difference between them. He was seven years older than her, and maybe he wouldn’t want to wait around three or four years until she wanted to have kids—and what if she didn’t want them then—
“I get that. And you know, talking with your grandmother last week — I thought about the places I’ve read about. I always thought I’d go one day, but I never did. I’ve been to the Caribbean for Sonny. And South America. Paris. But there’s a lot more out there.” He tipped his head. “I don’t blame you for wanting to wait to have kids. You’re…I mean we don’t talk about it, but you’re eighteen—” His mouth tightened, and he hesitated. “I don’t—I only really remember the last four years, so I don’t notice it. But—”
“Four years of being an adult,” Elizabeth said, and he nodded. “Yeah, I get it. It’s not that I don’t want them. I just…know there’s a lot more I want to do first. And I don’t want to ever be my mother, looking at a baby, and thinking of all the opportunities they cost me—”
“That wouldn’t be you,” he told her softly. “Hey. Can you look at me?”
She met his eyes. “It might.”
“No, it wouldn’t. You wouldn’t punish a child who never asked to be here in the first place,” he told her. “You know what’s it like. You’d never do that.”
“Yeah. I guess not.” She took a deep breath, then swiped at her eyes. “Why are we even talking about this?”
“Because we were irresponsible last night. It’s my fault—” She opened her mouth to argue, but he shook his head. “It is. And we both agree now isn’t a good time, so we’re on the same page.” He leaned forward, kissed her gently. “The rest can wait, okay?”
“Okay.” Elizabeth nodded. “I’ll make the appointment, and we won’t be stupid again.”
“Sounds like a plan.” He stroked her leg, then got to his feet. “I have to make a few calls. I want to check on Max. You want something to eat?”
“Yeah. I’m actually starving,” she admitted. “I didn’t eat much last night at dinner. Too nervous.”
“I’ll be back.”
Kelly’s: Dining Room
Bobbie set down her purse and smiled at Tammy. “Hey. How’s business this morning?”
“Not bad, not bad.” Tammy handed her the receipts and the accounting book. “We’re going to need to advertise for another full-time waitress,” she told Bobbie.
Bobbie frowned, tipped her head. “Are we losing someone?”
“I haven’t heard back officially, but—” Tammy checked the coffee pots, eying the levels in each. “I imagine Elizabeth will be giving her notice soon. Her classes start this week, and I can’t see her balancing work, classes, her art, and a new marriage—”
Bobbie set down her pencil. “She’s managed before—”
“Oh. Well, yeah, but it’s different now, and I want to see her spend a bit more time on herself, you know?” The pretty blonde focused on Bobbie. “What, you don’t think so?”
“I just—I’d hate to see her give up her job without a better plan. She’s, uh, well, a lot of marriages end in divorce the first year.” She grimaced. “And I should know that they end in divorce even after the first year.”
“There’s a point, but it’s not like she’s married to the local idiot at the dive bar.” Tammy frowned. “I thought you liked Jason. You don’t think they got what it takes?”
“I think,” Bobbie said carefully, thinking of the conversation she’d had with her daughter a few days earlier, “that even the best relationships can hit a bump in the road. I do like Jason, but Elizabeth’s awfully young—”
“That gave me pause, I’ll tell ya,” Tammy said. She planted one hand on her hip, the other on the counter. “But the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. I mean, on one hand, I’d love to see her go out and have a wild couple of years. I think maybe she’d benefit from it. But who’s to say she can’t still have that? It’s not like Jason Morgan’s the sedate kind of guy. She was just talking the other day about plans they got to go traveling this summer—another reason I think she’s considering her two-week notice.”
“Oh, yeah. And man, I’m a bit envious. They’re both young. He’s got money and she’s got a list of all these places she wants to see for the art. And apparently he wants to go to Egypt.” Tammy grinned. “It was nice, listening to her. She sounded excited. And she’s had too much tragedy in her life.”
“Yeah, I know that.”
“He’s good for her. And she’s good for him. Makes him smile. Keeps him light. Don’t you think?”
“I had trouble adjusting to the idea,” Bobbie admitted. “Because it was supposed to be my nephew for Elizabeth. And maybe it was harder to let go of that than I thought.” And it still took her breath away sometimes to think of the bright, brash, vibrant life lost. Oh, where Lucky might have gone in life if he’d just had the chance?
Where would her BJ have gone?
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bring up bad memories. I just—I wasn’t even talking about losing Lucky, though, yeah. I was talking about what happened to her before.” Tammy paused. “Lucky came to visit me once when I was still walking the streets.”
Bobbie blinked. “What?”
“Sweetest thing. He was starting to have feelings for Elizabeth and wanted to make them go away. Because of what she’d been through,” Tammy continued. “He didn’t want to hurt or scare her. I sent him away, of course. He was underage for one thing, and for another, I think it might have helped her to see a life past what happened to her.”
“That’s certainly true.” Bobbie exhaled slowly. “I just worry. There’s so much out there they don’t know about yet. And so much that could go wrong.” So much damage Carly could do with a child that was biologically Jason’s, which was what Bobbie feared was happening. Carly might be content to let the situation lie for now but she wouldn’t forever. Bobbie didn’t want to see Elizabeth walk Robin’s path.
“That’s true for anyone, Bobbie. I think they’ll surprise you. But, like I said, I just want to be ready when she gives notice.”
“Yes, of course.” Bobbie put her things back into her purse. “You know, I’ll take the books with me today, Tammy. I have somewhere to be.”
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Jason brought out another mug of hot chocolate and a bagel, along with a new cup of coffee for himself. “I made some calls,” he told her, “And I figured you’d want to know that Max is recovering.” He settled himself back on the sofa, draping her legs over his lap. “Doc says it’ll be a full recovery. He got lucky.”
They didn’t talk about it again until she’d finished her food and set the empty plate on the coffee table, but she could tell his mind was somewhere else. On their conversation earlier? She hoped not.
“About last night—” Jason said, then broke off. “Not that—I mean, at the restaurant. The limo—I’m sorry.”
Elizabeth frowned. “For what?”
He traced the edges of her knee through her sweatpants, not meeting her eyes. “It was my fault.”
“I want to blame Sonny. I do,” he added, “but he’s not the reason last night happened.” Jason cleared his throat. “I didn’t check the car.”
Elizabeth pressed her lips together, taking in Jason’s words. Remembering the night before as he’d hustled her out of the club and into the waiting limo. “You mean to make sure it was Max driving.”
“Yeah. If I’d done that—if I’d done the sweep I’m supposed to do—” Now Jason met her eyes. “That’s what happened to Lily, you know. They were celebrating at Luke’s and Sonny had too much to drink. She took the keys. They hadn’t brought any guards, but Sonny would have checked the car. He was too tipsy, and so no one checked. And Lily died.”
And so had Sonny’s unborn child.
“I didn’t do a bomb sweep,” Jason muttered. “I didn’t check the driver. I didn’t do anything. I just want you out of that restaurant. Away from all those people.”
“Away from Sorel.”
She exhaled slowly. “You know that’s why he cut into the dance.” Jason frowned, met her eyes. “Well, I mean, other than to be an ass. He had to know it would irritate you. He waited until we were supposed to leave, and got you mad.”
“And I got careless,” he bit out. He shoved himself to his feet, careful not to jostle her. “I let my anger take over. You could have died. You almost did.” He stalked over to the balcony doors, staring out into the gloomy and overcast January morning.
“You almost did, too,” Elizabeth pointed out. She set her feet down, wincing as she stood and hobbled over to him. “On the trail—”
Jason turned, scowling to find her standing behind him. “You should be—”
“I’m fine—” Elizabeth put her hands on his forearms as they reached out to her. “Look, I’m not going to lie to you. I was scared last night. We’ve already talked about it, and I’m not interested in rehashing it. It happened, and I was scared. And it’s not going to do either of us any good to pretend you’re not right.” She took a deep breath. “You made a mistake. Letting Sorel to get you like that. Not checking the car.”
Jason fell silent, his expression stony, his body tense.
“But I made mistakes, too. I didn’t ask about things going wrong. I didn’t ask about security protocol. Not all of it. I know now that cars should be swept. Checked for drivers.” Elizabeth paused. “I’m new at this, and I’m not always going to get it right—”
“None of this is your fault—”
“If you get to take responsibility for what you did wrong, then I get to take it, too. I was so relieved to be out of there, I didn’t think either. But it makes sense. We just got into the car that was outside because Sonny told us it would be there. We’re both smarter than that, Jason. But Sorel annoyed us.” She tightened her hands on his arms. “So we learn from those mistakes, right? We get to be grateful that we get another chance.”
The tension eased from his body then, and Jason sighed, meeting her eyes. “I wouldn’t blame you if you walked away,” he admitted.
“I’d blame me. I knew who you were, Jason, when we got into this. When I signed that marriage license—nothing here is new.” She made a face. “Except that you were right. I shouldn’t be standing.”
Jason scowled, then scooped her into his arms to take her back to the sofa. “I told you so.”
“Yeah, yeah,” she grumbled, settling back against the pillow. There was a knock at the door, and she sighed, letting her head fall back. He went to answer it.
Jason’s scowl deepened when he found Sonny on the other side. “What?”
“Uh, I wanted to see how Elizabeth was feeling this morning—” Sonny tipped his head around to look at Elizabeth. “Her feet looked pretty bad—”
“I don’t want to deal with this right now,” Jason told him, his fingers gripping the edge of the door tightly. “Because last night was my fault, too.”
“You put us in the middle of everything, but I’m the one that put her in the car.” Jason lifted his chin. “We tried dealing with Sorel your way. Now we’re going to do it mine.”
“I want a meeting,” Jason cut in again. “Tell me when it’s scheduled.” Then he closed the door and went back to Elizabeth.
A little while later, there was another knock which Jason saw almost as a relief since they were both starting to get bored by watching television. He hoped it wasn’t Sonny, but he definitely wasn’t expecting—
“Do you have a minute?” Bobbie asked. Jason nodded and let her enter. Bobbie hesitated, spying Elizabeth on the sofa, her feet bandaged. “What happened?”
“Broke a glass last night and sliced up my feet.” Elizabeth shrugged. “You know I’m a klutz.”
Bobbie pursed her lips, then turned back to Jason. “I don’t know if you’ve heard about Carly—”
“About her being pregnant?” Jason wanted to know. He slid his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Yeah. Emily said something.”
“I—” Bobbie cleared her throat. “I debated whether I even wanted to do this. If Carly was right, and I should leave well enough alone. It’s better the way things are,” she continued. “Michael gets to have his parents, and you get to move on.”
“Bobbie—” Jason began, his brow furrowed.
She turned away from him to Elizabeth, who was also frowning. “And I wouldn’t want to hurt you for the world. But I can’t go through this again. I can’t hold this in and wait for another grandchild’s life to get blown up in a year or two.” She turned back to Jason. “You need to tell AJ he’s not the father.”
Jason frowned. “I don’t—”
“And you need to step up. I know it might hurt Michael in the short-term, but it’s the right decision for the truth to come out. It always does,” Bobbie added. “Demand a paternity test, tell AJ it might be yours. I don’t know. But we can’t just pretend. You can’t do this again, Jason.”
Jason closed his mouth, a bit helpless. Bobbie thought that he was the father? How— He glanced at Elizabeth who had dropped her eyes, staring at her lap. If he told Bobbie there wasn’t a chance it was his, would she believe him? Would she keep investigating? Damn it—
“I’m not going to say anything. Not right now. I know that you don’t want to rock the boat. I know that you’re happier without her. Believe me, Jason, I don’t want this for any of us. But this is where we are. And I want to know what you’re going to do about it.”
“I hear what you’re saying,” Jason said finally. “Elizabeth and I need to—we need to talk about it. I’ll handle it.”
“Then do it.”
When Bobbie had left, Jason looked at Elizabeth with some worry. “She’s wrong. It’s not mine. I promise—”
“I know,” Elizabeth said. “You told me that already, and I believed you then.” There was a half smile tugging at her lips, but it was a sad one. “It could have been. You know that.”
“It wouldn’t—” Jason winced, then looked away. He didn’t want to touch that topic with a ten-foot pole. “I still meant what I said before. There’s no point in blowing anything up until we know if it’s Sonny’s or AJ’s, and whatever Bobbie thinks, there’s a chance it’s AJ.”
She didn’t sound particularly convinced, and that irritated him. “If it’s AJ, what’s the point in getting everyone upset?” he wanted to know. “It’s none of my business then.”
“Do you think Bobbie’s the only one wondering?” Elizabeth asked. “You think no one is going to say anything to AJ? I just—” She shrugged. “It’s your choice at the end of the day, and I’m not telling you what to do.”
“I’ll figure something out. I promise,” he added. “It doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks, does it?” he asked, sitting back on the sofa. “You and I know the truth.”
“I know.” Elizabeth forced a smile. “You’ll handle it. And whatever you do, I’ll support you. We can drop it.”
Jason knew they weren’t really dropping it, but there was nothing left to say if he didn’t want to get into the murkiness of his relationship with Carly or the way he’d felt about her only a short time ago.
And he had no intention of ever opening that door.