Would you know my name if I saw you in Heaven?
Jason’s office door is slightly open and Elizabeth peers inside, hoping that he’s doing something other than what he’s been doing since he arrived that morning.
But he’s still staring at the surface of the beaten up desk, his hands clasped in front of him, his body still. She sighs and pushes her away, closing the door behind her.
“Sonny said that if you didn’t want to…you didn’t need to come in.”
He raises his eyes to look at her and shakes his head slowly. “No. I need the distraction.”
Elizabeth sighs and leans against the door. “Jason–” She stops and looks down at the floor. “Zander called from the hospital,” she tells him instead. “The doctors say she’s not up for visitors tonight. Just family.”
He takes a deep breath. “I’ll…I’ll drop you off at home on my way there then.” He stands and reaches for his leather jacket tossed to the side of his desk.
She licks her lip nervously and meets his eyes. “Why don’t I go with you anyway? I’ll wait outside or something.”
“I don’t know how long I’ll be,” he warns her. He crosses to stand in front of her. He takes in her exhausted expression, the bags beneath her eyes, the firm set of her mouth. “Are you all right?”
Elizabeth nods. “Yeah. I just…I haven’t had a lot of sleep these last few days.”
“Why don’t you go home…try to sleep? Don’t worry about coming in tomorrow,” he tells her. He smoothes his thumb across her cheek bone.
She shakes her head. “I can’t sleep. It doesn’t matter how hard I try. I just…and I have to come in.”
“Elizabeth, you’re my secretary. You only work if I do and…” he trails off. “I just can’t concentrate on anything.”
“I worry about you,” she confesses. She looks down–she can feel the tears gathering in her eyes, stinging as she holds them back. She closes her eyes. “When I’m not with you, when I can’t see you o-or touch you, I’m worried because I know this hurts you so much a-and–”
He stops her rambling words by pressing his thumb against her lips. “Shh…”
Elizabeth takes a deep breath. “I’m sorry. I know…I don’t mean to put this on you right now. You have a lot to deal with–”
“Don’t ever be sorry for telling me how you feel,” he cuts in. “You don’t have to hide yourself from me.”
Would it be the same if I saw you in Heaven?
“I want to go to the hospital,” Elizabeth tells him firmly. She stands up straight. “Even if I can’t see her…I want to be there. So she knows I’m here and…so I can be there for you.”
“Okay. I probably…I probably won’t stay long. It’s…if she’s not up for regular visitors, I don’t want to tire her out.”
She nods and follows him out the door, pausing to grab her own jacket from her desk chair.
She’s been working here for six months but sounds of the men outside the wing of offices still startles her. It’s loud–the men, the machines…it’s just a jumble of noise and it’s always been her least favorite part of the job.
It makes her uncomfortable to walk past some of the men because sometimes when she’s alone and Jason isn’t there to intimidate them, they leer at her and there are catcalls. They don’t seem to think that she is anyone special to Jason other than being his secretary.
She says nothing to Jason because this is part of life and she’s worried it signify she can’t handle being around people. She thinks she’s made some progress these last few months but what if it’s all an illusion–just her pretending all over again?
She doesn’t realize that she’s stopped walking and only starts moving again when Jason places a hand at the small of her back and propels her forward. As they exit the warehouse, she can feel the eyes on her back and it sends shivers down her spin.
Instead of dwelling on that, she thinks about Emily. She’s been in the hospital for three weeks now–as soon as her family had discovered her illness, she’d been all but forced to undergo treatment. Her doctors had told them that it wasn’t going to do any good–that the cancer had spread–but the Quartermaines hadn’t listened and now one of the chemotherapy treatments had gone wrong and caused an infection in her body.
The cancer was slowly eating away at her best friend and part of Elizabeth’s exhaustion stemmed from putting a smile on her face and visiting every night. If she didn’t think about it, she didn’t have to remember that in a few weeks or even less, Emily would be gone from this world and it hurt to think like that so she avoided it at all costs.
It wore on Jason more–Emily’s illness. It was just something else in a long line of problems for him. Sonny’s anger over his breakup with Courtney had only ebbed with Emily’s illness. Carly’s pity for Elizabeth had faded into an intense dislike–seeing her as the reason Courtney moved back to Atlantic City. She never passed over an opportunity to tell the other woman exactly how she felt and much of Jason’s time had been spent playing referee.
And of course, there was Elizabeth herself. She knew that her suicide attempt and subsequent depression had been hard on him. He’d spent most of the last six months being careful around her. Careful not to upset her, careful not to anger her, careful not to jar anything about her. And he’d argued with her once she’d saved enough for her apartment–he’d argued briefly to keep her at the penthouse and they both knew why. He didn’t know she knew–but she’d overheard his conversation with Emily and Lucky and all three of them didn’t think she was ready for it.
It’d taken her a long time to trust him again and overhearing that he still thought she was weak and susceptible to well, trying it again…it had shattered that trust and once she’d moved out, she’d avoided him more.
But now that Emily was sick, she’d let him back in briefly. All too aware of the havoc she’s wreaked on his life, the least she can do is take care of him during this time. And then…then she’ll tell him her decision.
I must be strong and carry on
“Is something wrong?” he asks, pulling the car into the hospital parking lot. She shakes her head and exits the car. He knows there’s distance between them–not the same kind as before May, but distance nonetheless.
“Nothing,” she replies. She waits for him to get out of the car and then they head towards the front entrance.
This isn’t the first time Emily’s been too ill for anyone but family and just like before, she takes out a sketchpad and a pack of charcoals to sketch. Because just as Jason had said–he wouldn’t stay too long.
‘Cause I know I don’t belong here in Heaven
She’s pale but sitting up. There’s a faint smile on her face when Jason enters. “Hey.”
“Hey.” He sits next to her and takes her hand in his. “I won’t stay long–I know you’re tired.”
“Where’s Elizabeth?” Emily asks, casting her eyes towards the front of the room.
“Doctors are restricting visitors tonight,” Jason replies. He takes a deep breath. “But she’s outside.”
“How is she?” Emily asked. She sighs. “Every time she’s been here lately, she’s had that fake smile, that fake laugh, just…” she waves her hand a little–really just raises it a few inches above the bed before setting back down. “She was doing so much better.”
Jason nods. “She was. I don’t…something changed between us. After she moved out–I knew it was going to change things but I didn’t think she’d pull away from me.”
Emily touches his face with the tips of her fingers and he closes his eyes–they’re so cold, so dry. It was hard to look at her this way and treat her the same. “She’s been through so much. Maybe she’s just trying to prove she’s strong–that she can do it on her own.”
“I know it’s wrong but I can’t help but want to lock her in the penthouse and not let anyone or anything touch her.” He sighs. “I love her so much, Emily. I just wish I knew what she was thinking sometimes. I used to know–I used to be able to look at her and know, but now…”
“Don’t let her push you away,” Emily advises, her voice fading a little. She takes a deep breath. “She loves you just as much as you love her. But this hasn’t been an easy road for either of you. Give her time, give her space, just don’t let her get too far.”
“I won’t,” Jason promises. He brings Emily’s hand to his lip and kisses the palm. “I’m going to go, okay?” He stands and kisses her forehead. “Get some sleep–I’ll be in tomorrow.”
She’s asleep before Jason reaches the door and he takes one last deep breath to bolster himself before facing Elizabeth again.
Would you hold my hand if I saw you in Heaven?
She sets her sketching materials aside. “How is she?” Elizabeth asks immediately.
He scrubs a hand down his face. “She was tired–she’s already asleep actually.”
“This really isn’t fair,” she breathes. She shoves her things inside her bag and swings it over her shoulder. “I wish there was something I could do.”
“You’re doing it,” Jason tells her. He pushes a piece of hair behind her ear and lets his finger trail down her jaw. The feathering touch makes her stomach flutter and she closes her eyes.
She can feel his breath on her lips and she steps back hastily, opening her eyes. He’s looking at her oddly. Not once in the past six months has she pulled away from him. He’s kissed her on only a handful of occasions and not once had she done that.
But now that she’s made her decision, she can’t do this anymore. She smiles hesitantly at him. “We should go. I mean–there–we can’t just stand in the hallway.”
…just don’t let her get too far.
He focuses on her hasty retreat towards the elevators and follows her. Once they’re inside the car, he glances at her. “I’m taking you back to the penthouse.”
She frowns. “Why?”
“Because the longer we avoid this talk, the further away you get and I…I can’t do that again.”
“Jason, I don’t–” She takes a deep breath. He can’t force her to do this. “No. If you don’t want to take me home, I’ll get a cab.”
The doors slide open on the lobby and he shakes his head. “It’s not up for discussion.”
“Fine. If you want to have this discussion, we can do it right now.” She glares at him. “I’m quitting. I have enough saved to live for a few months and I’ll find another job.”
Would you help me stand if I saw you in Heaven?
He stares at her for a moment, not sure if he heard her right. Her expression is angry–her eyes cold. She was…she was really mad at him. Where was this coming from? “Elizabeth–”
“I can’t live on your charity forever,” she says. She pushes past him and stalks towards the entrance.
He follows her and moves in front of her just as she exits the building. “Elizabeth, what–”
“I know you didn’t think I was strong enough to live on my own,” she tells him suddenly. “I know you think I’m weak and that I can’t provide for myself but–”
“So this is my two weeks notice,” she cut in. “I wasn’t gonna do this until after…” she stops. “Look, I didn’t want to do it like this because you’ve been really good to me but you just keep–”
“When did I ever say you were weak?” he demands, cutting her off in mid sentence.
Her eyes burn with tears. “The day after I told you I was leaving. You said it to Lucky and Emily.”
I’ll find my way through night and day,
“Do you think she’s ready for this?”
Emily’s voice drifted up to the second floor where Elizabeth was standing out of sight. They’d been downstairs for almost ten minutes–gathered like a little war council.
“She says she is.”
A faint smile crossed her face at the sound of Lucky’s voice. Good old Lucky…he’d never deserted her.
“I don’t think she should leave. I don’t know if she’s ready to be on her own.”
Jason’s voice. Her eyes filled with tears and she took a step back unable to believe her ears. Not wanting to hear anymore, she went into her room and closed the door as softly as possible.
‘Cause I know I just can’t stay here in Heaven.
“You didn’t hear the rest of the conversation then,” he says. He reaches for her but she just pulls away. “There was more.”
“It doesn’t matter.” Her throat is thick and all she wants to do is get away. To get away from him, from this place and this moment. “You said it–”
“You were leaving me,” he blurts out.
Time can bring you down; time can bend your knees
She stares at him, unable to speak. It’s like the moment she told him she loved him six months ago. She’s stunned into silence.
“You were leaving me,” Jason repeats slowly. “A-and if you’d kept listening you would have heard Emily say so. She said that it wasn’t you who wasn’t ready, it was me.”
“I…” There are no words. All she can do is just stare at him.
“I wasn’t ready to let you go.” He drags a hand through his hair, horrified that she’d over heard part of that conversation and had spent all this time believing that he didn’t think she was strong. “I am so sorry that I said what I did or that I ever made you think for one moment that I think you’re weak or–”
“I was waiting for Emily to die before I told you,” she breaks in faintly. “It sounds horrible but I knew I couldn’t quit and leave you while she’s so sick.” She folds her arms tightly across her chest, almost hugging herself. “When I said I was going to quit and find another job, I meant in another town.”
Time can break your heart, have you begging please, begging please
“Elizabeth, you can’t…” he steps toward her and this time she doesn’t step away. “After everything we’ve been through…you can’t leave me.”
“You thought I was ready to go?” she asks softly. “That I was ready to do this on my own?”
He nods. “I knew you were. You’re strong, Elizabeth, you’re stronger than anyone I’ve ever known and I just…I need you to stay. Don’t leave again.”
She nods slowly. “I–I’ll stay.” She lets him pull her into his arms and she leans her head against his chest. “I’m sorry, Jason. I just…I get so scared.”
He slid a hand in her hair and lets the silk strands slide through his fingers. “I know. But promise me that you’ll come to me when you get scared. Or someone else, okay? I need you, Elizabeth, I need you to be okay, to be around…even if it’s not with me.”
She tilts her head up to look at him, tears staining her cheeks. “But I want it to be with you.” She licks her lips nervously. “I love you, Jason…a-and I’m ready to be with you if you still want me.”
He nods tremulously. The goal they’ve been working towards is finally here–to be together and this time, not to let anything come between them. She’d almost walked away again but this time he’d fought for her and here they are, just a little over a year after it had all gone to hell.
“I love you, too,” he whispered just before he kissed her.
Beyond the door there’s peace I’m sure
The sound of his cell phone breaks them apart and he fishes it out of his pocket. “Yeah?”
His face pales and he meets Elizabeth’s eyes. “We…we’re right outside. We’re on our way up.” He hangs the phone up. “That was Zander. She’s…” he struggled to get it out. “She’s going. The doctors don’t think she’ll make it through the night.”
Elizabeth gasps softly and shakes her head. “No. No!”
He grasps her elbow and steers her back inside.
And I know there’ll be no more tears in Heaven.
Zander is waiting outside Emily’s room. His hands are trembling, his skin is translucent. “She just…she started arresting,” he whispers as they approach.
Elizabeth gathers Emily’s boyfriend in her arms and hugs him tightly. “Where is the family?” she asks softly.
“Monica and Alan are in there. And they called home for everyone else. Lucky and Nikolas are coming too.” Zander pulls away and takes a deep breath. “You know it’s coming–you try to get ready and when it comes…” he shakes his head.
Monica exits the room, her cheeks streaked with tears. Her eyes are red and swollen. “You’d better come in a-and say goodbye while you can,” she whispers. She reaches out and Jason takes her hand. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
Emily is paler than she’d been only ten minutes ago. Her eyes are barely open and her breathing is labored. But when Elizabeth approaches the bed, she manages a very weak smile. “Hey…what…what brings you out…on a night like…like this?” she manages to joke.
Tears blur Emily’s face in her vision and Elizabeth gives her a watery smile. “Oh…you know. The usual. A boy. And a friend.” Her voice shakes. “A very good friend. Oh, God, Emily, I love you so much.”
“I…love you too. Come–come here.” Elizabeth lowers her face towards Emily and the other woman kisses her softly on the cheek. “Be happy. That’s…it’s all I ever wanted.”
“Please don’t go,” Elizabeth begs. “Please…Em–”
“It’s time.” Her eyes look to Jason, standing just behind her. “Hey…good-looking.”
“Hey, Em,” Jason greets, his voice trembling. “You just…you do what you need to do.”
“Right back at you,” Emily replies. She closes her eyes a little. “Zander?”
“I’m right here, babe,” Zander says quickly coming to her side.
“I wanted to wait for everyone,” Emily tells him. “But I just…I’m so tired.”
“It’s okay,” Alan tells his daughter. He puts a hand on Zander’s shoulder. “They’ll…they’ll understand.” His voice breaks and he clenches his wife’s hand tightly.
“I love you…I love you all so much,” Emily whispers, her voice barely audible but it almost echoes through the room. Her eyes close.
And her chest stops moving.
Would you know my name if I saw you in Heaven?
“Why are you standing all the way over here?” Jason asks as he enters the Quartermaine living room for the memorial. He nods towards Lucky and Nikolas who were standing around a worn-out Elizabeth.
“I’m giving them a few moments,” Zander replies. “You know…for so long I was so jealous of them. Of the relationship they had. The four musketeers. One for all, all for one. It just felt like I couldn’t break through.” He glances at Jason. “I bet you never felt that way.”
“By the time I came into Elizabeth’s life, Lucky was gone,” Jason tells him. “And everyone was in a different place. It wasn’t until after he came back that it clicked back together.”
“Anyway…I just thought that they might want a few moments to themselves.” With a bitter smile, he continues. “The last of the musketeers.”
Would it be the same if I saw you in Heaven?
The trio joins them a few moments later, Elizabeth slipping an arm around Jason’s waist and he around her shoulders. He kisses her forehead. “You okay?”
“I am now that you’re here,” she tells him. “We were just talking about that first Christmas. When Lucky gave Nikolas the ELQ hat,” she remembers with a smile.
“And we took that picture,” Nikolas continues. “The one that was at the memorial,” he tells Jason and Zander. “God…it was so long ago.”
“Feels like yesterday.” Elizabeth takes a deep breath and looks at the other two. “I’m sorry…we don’t want to exclude you.”
“It’s okay,” Zander tells her. “We all have our own memories of Emily and the point of today is to share them.”
I must be strong and carry on
“It’s so cold,” Elizabeth murmurs. It’s a month after Emily’s death–a cold and bitter January.
She kneels down, sinking her lower legs in the snow. She doesn’t feel the cold, she only has eyes for the marble stone that bears Emily’s name, her date of birth and her date of death.
She traces the etched letters with the tips of her gloved fingers and a tear crystallizes as it streaks down her cheek. “I miss you. So much.”
She closes her eyes, her wet lashes stinging her cheeks. “I know it’s not the same but I wanted to talk to you anyway. I don’t know why I’m crying because I’m happy.”
She hesitates. “As happy as I can be right now. I mean, you’re not here and even if something good happens, it’s never going to be perfect because you’re not here.”
“I know what you meant–about the race. And why you were so angry with me. But I want you to know that I think I’ve got it now. I still stumble sometimes. But I’m beginning to understand that everyone does.”
‘Cause I know I don’t belong here in Heaven
“But I’m winning now,” she whispers. “As much as anyone can win. Life isn’t about the times you stumble. It’s about the times you get ahead. And the stumbles…they get you there. Because if you didn’t stumble or fall behind–you’d never know what it feels like to pull ahead.”
She smiles then. A brighter smile, a happier smile. “He asked me to marry him last night. He thought it might be too soon but he wanted me to know how he felt–he thinks we’ve wasted too much time. And he’s right. We wasted almost a whole year. But this last seven months–it hasn’t been about wasting time. It’s been about finding ourselves and each other. I fell in love with him all over again and I know now that it’s forever.”
“So even though you won’t be here to watch us promise forever to each other…I know you’re watching out for us. Put–put a good word in for us, you know?”
She kissed her fingers and pressed them to Emily’s name. “I’m going to live this for the both of us. And I’m going to win it. I won’t you let you down.”
‘Cause I know I don’t belong, here in Heaven