It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Soon the bells will start
And the thing that will make them ring
Is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart
– It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas, Michael Buble
ELQ: Jason Morgan’s Office
The moment his younger sister waltzed into his office with a bright smile, Jason Morgan should have known she was up to something.
“My wonderful brother!”
Jason rose to his feet. “Emily, I’m kind of in the middle of something, so if you need something—”
Emily draped herself elegantly in the white chair in front of his desk and waved him away. “This won’t take more than a minute. I have the most incredible news!”
“Your Christmas parties aren’t going to cost this company a single cent?” Jason cautiously resumed his seat and set aside the projected quarterly earnings. “Because that would be news.”
“My parties, as you so generously term them, are the reason people work at ELQ, the reason why we have such an amazing public reputation. At a time when huge corporations are seen as the Anti-Christ, ELQ is—”
“Yeah, yeah.” Not in the mood to deal with his sister’s impassioned defense of her position as the event planner for ELQ, Jason leaned back. “What’s the news?”
“I’ll be spending the entire month in Greece,” she declared, clasping her hands to her chest with a dreamy sigh. “White beaches, cabanas, a private island—”
Jason set down his pen. “This month?” he asked. “You’re going to Greece this month?”
She blinked her caramel colored eyes with a practiced innocence he did not believe for a minute. “It’s the best time, you know—”
“This month,” he repeated. “December. The month in which ELQ is committed to throwing no less than five ridiculous events in the span of two weeks.”
“Well, yes, I do feel bad about that,” Emily said. “But so much work has already been done that I feel completely confident leaving those details in your hands.”
“In my hands—” Jason stopped and took a deep breath. His sister was a wonderful, warm, and witty person, but unfortunately, she was also a bit ditzy. “Emily, did you happen to notice the paperwork on my desk?”
She blinked at it. “You always have paperwork on your desk.”
“What about the title on the damn door?”
Emily actually twisted in her seat to look. “Jason Morgan, Chief Financial Officer. So? It’s not like you’re totally in charge. You, AJ, Ned are all kind of the boss. They thought it was a fantastic idea.”
His half-brother and cousin would absolutely find this hysterical, but Jason wasn’t in the mood for their jokes. “Emily, this is the busiest time of the year for me. End of the year earnings, projected earnings for the next year—and that’s not even the majority of what I do—”
“I’m not leaving you completely by yourself.” Emily rolled her eyes. “Honestly, Jason. You have no eye for design. I have an assistant, you know. She’ll do quite a bit, but you’re best suited to approve and sign off on contracts.”
“Your assistant.” Jason exhaled slowly. “And that’s still Elizabeth?”
“See, I knew you’d remember meeting her. She’s only been with me since Labor Day, but my God, she is an incredible designer, with such an attention to detail. She’s—”
“Fantastic,” Jason finished dryly. “I remember her.” Particularly at the company Halloween party when she’d been costumed as Helen of Troy.
And afterward, when she’d been costumed in quite a bit less.
“I knew you’d understand.” Emily rose to her feet. “I’m already late meeting Nikolas at the airstrip, and Elizabeth is waiting outside to go over the details—”
“Right now?” Jason demanded. “Emily, you cannot do this.”
“Are you going to tell me I can’t take a vacation?” Emily planted a hand on her hip and arched a brow. “Jason, when was the last time I took time off?”
Jason pressed his lips together. Never. Emily threw not only the lavish events that garnered them such public attention, but smaller events at their subsidiaries all over the world. At any given moment, she’d be zipping off to throw charity events or even plan retirement parties for long-time employees.
His sister, while flighty and occasionally ditzy, worked her ass off.
“If I do this, you have to promise you will never do this again without warning. I’m talking like a thirty days notice.”
“You are fantastic.” When Jason rounded the desk to walk her out into reception, she pressed a kiss to his cheek. “The best of brothers.”
“Don’t let AJ hear you say that.”
Emily waved that away as they emerged from Jason’s office where his executive assistant was behind his desk and Elizabeth Webber was perched in a chair, a slim leather portfolio in her hands.
“It’s all settled, Elizabeth. Have an amazing holiday!”
With another wave, Emily had disappeared into the elevator. Once the doors closed, Jason turned his attention to her assistant. “Ah, Elizabeth, do you want to come in?”
“Sure.” The petite brunette rose. “I suppose she didn’t tell you anything about her grand vacation until five minutes ago?”
“That would be correct.” He gestured for her to head into the office. “Did you want something to drink? Coffee?”
“Oh, no.” Elizabeth stood there, the folder in her arms acting almost as a barrier between them. They stood there, just inside his office, for nearly a full minute before she cleared her throat. “So maybe we should go over the basics or did you…” She shifted. “I mean, I can technically handle the majority of this—”
“No, no.” Jason indicated that she should take a seat. “Listen, I promised my sister I would do this, and the holiday season is pretty important to the company, so…”
“Right.” She waited for him to take his seat before flipping open her folder. “Well, there are five events planned at the moment. There are two Christmas parties, one for the shareholders and their friends and families on the twenty-third. Another for the local Port Charles society, the usual—that’s on the twenty-fourth. There’s also the Christmas party ELQ sponsors on Christmas Eve for General Hospital and Mercy Hospital during the day. And then New Year’s Eve gala, for shareholders and Port Charles society alike.”
“That doesn’t…seem like a lot.” Jason reached for a pen. “What’s been done so far?”
“Well, the venues have all been secured and the hospitals have signed the contracts. I need to develop themes for all the parties, which Emily tells me is usually done that last moment for…” Elizabeth wrinkled her nose. “I suppose that’s for spontaneity.”
“Christ.” Jason shook his head. “I’m no good at any of that—”
“No, I mean, I can deal with all of that. Honestly, I’ll mostly just need you to sign paperwork and contracts with the various vendors.” Elizabeth pursed her lips and looked down. “Emily manages to juggle all of this all the time. I can do it once.”
“Right.” Jason cleared his throat. “So, um, how about we set up a daily meeting to go over the details. To stay on top of things. Emily’s reputation as an event planner is important to her, so I don’t want to damage that.” Even if she did decide to abandon him during their busiest and most high profile season.
Leaving him alone with her assistant.
Whom he had not spoken with in four weeks.
Since the morning after Halloween.
“Daily meetings,” Elizabeth repeated. “That—that sounds fine.” She closed her portfolio. “Um, Emily signed the contracts for the venues before she left, but should I have them sent over?”
“Uh, yeah, just so I’m familiar with the clauses in case it becomes important.”
When she stood, he followed suit. “I guess I’ll see you tomorrow,” she said as she moved towards the door.
“Right.” He coughed lightly. “Ah, Elizabeth, is there anything else maybe we should talk about?”
She blinked at him, much the way his sister had earlier. “No. Nothing I can think of.”
She closed the door behind him, and he sat back down.
This was going to be a long month.
The Loft: Living Room
Elizabeth collapsed on the sofa with her hand covering her eyes. “Oh, my God.”
“I sense a disturbance in the force,” one of her roommates murmured to the other. Shuffling ensued as Robin Scorpio and Nadine Crowell crowded around her.
“I hate the world.”
“Boys?” Nadine said to Robin, who nodded sagely. “I’ll get the Rocky Road.”
Elizabeth propped herself up on her elbows. “No…this calls for the Godiva.”
“Whoa…” Nadine halted in her steps. “That is quite the disturbance.”
Robin sat on the end of the sofa, raising Elizabeth’s legs to place them in her lap. “Spill it, sister.”
“Not until I have passed out the goodies.” Nadine closed the drawer where they kept the emergency chocolate, handed one bar to each woman before sitting cross-legged on the sturdy wooden coffee table.
“Now that we’ve assumed our positions.” Elizabeth sat up and drew her legs underneath her body as she unwrapped the dark chocolate raspberry bar. “Remember Halloween?”
“Ooh, with Hottie McHotster and the Night of Passion.”
“Oh, hell…” Robin blinked. “You’re pregnant.”
“What?” Elizabeth shuddered. “God, no. This is worse.”
“There’s something worse than children?” Nadine asked Robin. “Like what? Death?”
“You’re a pediatric nurse,” Robin said. “Try and act like it.”
“Other people’s children are fine. I just don’t want any of my own. They stink. They’re smelly—”
“If we could,” Elizabeth said, annoyed. “I’m not pregnant. You know my boss Emily?”
“She’s Hottie McHotster?” Nadine gasped.
Robin and Elizabeth both stared at her until the blonde flushed. “What? It’s a reasonable question.”
“She took off for the entire month, putting all the holiday parties in my hands.” Elizabeth sighed. “And her brother’s.”
Nadine hesitated. “Which…one? I don’t want to leap to another conclusion.”
“You slept with Jason Morgan,” Robin said, her eyes wide. “The CFO of ELQ. Holy crap, Elizabeth. Don’t you think this should have been covered with a bottle of wine weeks ago?”
“Yeah. Talk about hot. He practically sizzles.” Nadine sighed, her blue eyes dreamy. “And those eyes. That smile.”
“Because it’s ridiculous.” Elizabeth pressed her hands to her face. “I mean, God. It was just…a moment of insanity.”
“Only a moment?” Nadine’s face fell. “Because I would have pegged him for more than a—”
“Nadine.” Robin rolled her eyes. “This is more than a Godiva.” She pursed her lips. “Liz, this is a Mount Eden moment.”
“Really? I would have thought it rated at least Elsa Bianchi.” Nadine got to her to feet. “Ooh, what about the Iron Horse? We were saving it for Christmas Eve, but—”
“Do you hear this? This is exactly what’s wrong with all of this. Do you think Jason Morgan and his family have to weigh every moment to make sure they’re worthy of expensive wine?” With a huff, Elizabeth fell back on the sofa. “And I want the Mount Eden.”
“Oh, well that’s a pile of phooey.” Nadine tugged the requested bottle from the wine rack in the kitchen and returned to the coffee table, clutching three wine-glasses by the stems.
“Seriously,” Robin agreed as she took her glass from Nadine. “I grew up in Port Charles, and the Q’s are not—” She pursed her lips. “Okay, this generation is nothing like the rest of them. Emily went to public school with me. I was like two years behind Jason. He’s a good guy. Money is incidental to him.”
“Wait, wait, before we dissect Elizabeth’s nonsense, I want all the details she left out of the Halloween story.” Nadine resumed her position on the table. “Let me recap for the audience. Elizabeth takes my fantastic advice and dresses up like Helen of Troy.”
“Didn’t Jason just go as a CFO?” Robin wrinkled her nose. “I can’t remember anymore. He hates to dress up.”
“He was in a Hugo Boss tuxedo, I pretended he was James Bond,” Elizabeth said. “So, after the Irish Trash Can cocktail Nadine dared me to drink—”
“Because you’re five and can’t turn down a dare,” Robin cut in.
“I may have slid up to him and…” Elizabeth moaned and bowed her head. “Listen. You have to understand. Emily’s department is on the same floor as his. I arrive at the same time sometimes. And I just…he’s so gorgeous. And nice. Ugh. I’ve wanted to jump him since day one.”
“And I helped,” Nadine said proudly, raising her glass in the air. “I rock.”
“So you hit on him first?” Robin asked. “Because I love that. Women should take charge of their sexuality.”
“Well, no. I approached him, and he said something about gladly launching a thousand ships if it meant I’d smile at him.”
“Oh, that’s so dorky. I love it. Fantastic opening line.” Nadine sighed. “You’re a lucky bitch.”
“And then you jumped him.” Robin said. “Because I saw you walk across the room and then I didn’t see you again until you did the walk of shame the next morning.”
“Well, I might have told him that I’d smile at him any time, anywhere, any place if he would just say my name again.” She closed her eyes. “He always drops his voice just slightly, like an octave. It makes me tingly.”
“I’m confused.” Nadine leaned forward. “Was the sex, like, bad? Because at the moment, I’d sleep with him.”
“No, the sex was fantastic. Ridiculous. Life-ruining.” Elizabeth took a hasty gulp. “I woke up the next morning and realized I’d nailed my boss—”
“Well, you technically nailed your boss’s brother—”
“Shut it you.” Elizabeth pointed her finger at Nadine. “Don’t help.”
“What did you say the next morning then?” Robin asked. “What did he say?”
“Um, I told him this was insane, completely unprofessional and that I was sorry. Then I booked it.”
Robin reached for the wine glass. “You’re a moron, you don’t deserve the Mount Eden.” To Nadine, she said, “Go get her the Arbor Mist.”
“Whoa, Robin is pissed. That’s a serious downgrade.” Nadine wiggled her eyebrows. “But you’re going to be working with Hottie McHotster, so you know…potential.”
“He has not said one word to me in the last four weeks,” Elizabeth said. “He’s moved on.”
“Because you ran.” Robin leaned forward. “Elizabeth, if he gives you the green light, I’m begging you as a single woman, have sex with that man.”
“Yeah, if we can’t, you should be.” Nadine nodded. “Agree you’ll go for it, and Robin will give back your wine.”
Elizabeth narrowed her eyes. “Do I have to list all the reasons why this is a bad idea?”
“Nope, just remember the one reason it’s a great idea.” Robin held out her wine. “Great sex with gorgeous, nice guys comes along twice, maybe three times in a lifetime, Liz. Throw it away once, you may not get it again.”
“Well, when you put it that way, how can I say no?”
Well I’m hooked. I love the Robin,Nadine and Liz convocation. Just how much drama/angst is going to be in this? Can’t wait for more!!
Compared to TBT and A Few Words? Almost none 😛
amazing, wonderful, fantastic start. liason still want each other and now that they are having regular meeting the spark will ignitr
Omg, Elizabeth and Jason hooked up, and then she runs. And he has not spoken with Elizabeth in 4 weeks. And when he asks about it, she says no nothing to talk about, I be like um yea. I’m so hooked, please update Sat.
Love the design, and love the song.
Wow is about all I can say. Loving how Robin and Nadine are telling Elizabeth to go for it.
Love the start of this! So happy Im able to read this finally on my nook, lol
Yes rereading this one also. Love it.