Sonny studied his daughter carefully the next morning at breakfast. She was quiet, withdrawn and had brushed off Brenda’s attempts to talk about the previous night.
He’d spent most of the morning on the phone with John Castellano discussing the events and what the future would hold for everyone. After breakfast, he would talk to Jason–and to Ric, who’d come back early. They would discuss it and then he would speak to his daughter.
Sonny cleared throat and stood. “Jason, Ric. We should go to my office now.”
Elizabeth glanced up at her father, as if waiting for an invitation but he just left the room and she stared back at her plate.
Jason, seated next to her, wrapped his hand around hers and squeezed it gently. “It’ll be okay,” he told her softly. He stood and exited the room, Ric on his heels.
Brenda cleared her throat and glanced at Adela. “Honey, what happened last night?”
Elizabeth shook her head. “I don’t want to talk about it.” She stood abruptly and left. A few moments later, her bedroom door clicked shut, echoing through the empty and silent house.
Brenda pursed her lips and set her napkin aside. “She’ll marry that man over my dead body,” she scowled.
“I spoke with John this morning,” Sonny began, his back to them, his eyes focused on the window that faced the street. “He was gravely disturbed by Alexander’s actions last night and wanted to offer his apologies.”
Jason snorted. “A little late for that. I want the job, Sonny,” he said bluntly.
Troubled, Ric silenced Jason with a look. He recognized his brother’s tone, his posture. He had no intention of putting a hit on Alexander Castellano. “Sonny, what exactly did John say?”
“I expressed to him my doubts about this marriage occurring,” Sonny replied. “I told him that despite our previous arrangement and what good would come out of it–I couldn’t in good conscience, sentence my only daughter to a life with a man who holds no respect for her.”
Jason’s foot began tapping against the floor, a sign of his obvious impatience. “Let me guess. He made you an offer you couldn’t refuse.” Sarcasm dripped from his voice and Ric winced at the lack of respect Jason was showing.
Sonny glared at his foster son. “You forget Jason that you exist in this house, in this world only by my say so and my generosity.”
“If you make her go through with this, I won’t need either,” Jason retorted.
Ric held out a hand to silence his friend. “Sonny, while I disagree with Jason’s phrasing, I have to agree with his point. Elizabeth can’t marry Alexander. He tried to rape her last night. He’s notorious for sleeping around and no amount of land or power is worth sacrificing her.”
“John assured me that his only wish for this union would be an heir to join our two families permanently. He’s agreed that after a son is born, he would consent to a divorce for Elizabeth.”
“That’s unacceptable,” Jason spat.
“You don’t get to make that decision,” Sonny replied coldly. “She is still my daughter and it’s in my power to provide for her future. There is no other suitable man to marry her.”
“What about Jason?” Ric suggested. “If you’re so hell bent on marrying her off, just do that.”
Sonny shook his head. “I said suitable. Jason is merely a foot soldier. You are not good enough to marry my daughter,” he told the young man.
Though he suspected Sonny felt this way, it still stung to hear the words and Jason lowered his head.
“When I take over–and I will be doing that,” Ric reminded his brother, “Jason will be my second-in-command. And you know that Lily–”
“Don’t speak to me about what she wanted,” Sonny cut in sharply. “She was a good woman–I loved her–but she knew nothing of this world and only of the fantasy world she lived in. It’s out of the question. You haven’t taken over yet, Ric. Don’t be making plans to do so.”
“I love your daughter,” Jason blurted out, surprising both brothers. “I love her,” he repeated. “And I want to marry her.”
“And you don’t have my permission,” Sonny said firmly. “Elizabeth is my only daughter–the only way I will ever get my hands on Staten Island or Long Island–”
“She’s not a piece of property you can shove around–she’s a human being,” Jason shouted. He lunged to his feet. “And I think we should call her in here and ask her what she wants.”
“Whoa, whoa.” Ric stood and put a hand on Jason’s chest. “Let’s just take a step back here, okay? Look, we all care about Elizabeth and want what’s best for her. Sonny…Jason…let’s just…take a day or two and think this over.” He grabbed the shirt sleeve of Jason’s right arm and dragged him towards the door.
Once they were outside the office and down the hallway, Ric let him go and threw his hands up in frustration. “Have you lost your mind?” he demanded.
“Look, I didn’t…” Jason muttered something under his breath. “How can he sit in there and even consider letting this go on? He saw her last night–she was terrified. She was on the floor, crying her eyes out and shaking so badly–” he drug his fingers through his hair. “Ric…what am I supposed to do? Sit back and let him sentence her to a life of that?”
“No, but telling him to bring Elizabeth in so you can make her decide whether she’d rather marry you or that asshole isn’t the way to do it. Come on, man, do you really want to propose to her like that?”
“You’re right.” Jason let out a frustrated growl. “He’s never gonna let me marry her.”
“She’s been pretty pissed at you since you left–would she even let you?” Ric asked, thoughtfully.
“In a heartbeat.”
Her voice was wistful and it surprised both men who turned to see Elizabeth standing in the hallway, just off the kitchen. She crossed her arms. “I heard what my father said…from talking to Alexander’s father to…just now,” she informed them.
“I’m sorry you had to hear it like that,” Jason sighed. He started towards her, Ric obviously forgotten. “That’s not the way I would have gone about it at all.”
“I didn’t expect it to begin with so it’s okay,” she said softly. “Jason…I don’t want to marry Alexander.”
“And you won’t,” Ric assured her. He shook his head. “I don’t care what it takes–we’re not doing it. Not even with the new divorce clause.” He put a hand on Jason’s shoulder. “I’m gonna go back in there and talk to him. Distract him. Give you two a chance to talk and all.”
He disappeared back down the hall and into Sonny’s office.
Jason took a deep breath. “Elizabeth, I meant what I said last night. I love you.”
“I know,” Elizabeth replied, her voice trembling. “I heard you telling my father. Oh, Jason, you shouldn’t have said those things to him. He’s going to be so angry.”
“I don’t care,” Jason said stubbornly. He smoothed a hand over her jaw. “I’ve waited most of my life to be able to say those words to you. He’s not going to take them away from me.”
She couldn’t fight a tiny smile. “I’ve waited all of my life to hear them,” Elizabeth whispered.
He pressed a brief kiss to her lips–too brief for both their tastes but it was too risky so close to Sonny’s office. “Will you marry me?” he asked softly, his breath still on her lips.
“Yes,” Elizabeth agreed. For the first time since he’d been home, he saw a spark enter her eyes–a little fire. It was damn good to see. “When?” she asked eagerly, careful to keep her voice so as not to echo in the empty hallway.
“You got a free couple of hours?” he asked. “We could get down to the justice of the peace and do it today.”
Elizabeth bit her lip. “My father would kill you,” she remarked with a tiny smile. “Are you sure about this?”
“I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life,” he vowed. “What do you say?”
“Let’s do it.” She grabbed his hand and tugged him down the hall.
Go girl. Run away and get married. Sonny could only kill Jason and then you would kill him.
I LOVE IT!!! Go Jason and Liz!