Emily Quartermaine hung up the phone and leaned back on the couch, a wide smile spread on her face. She couldn’t wait to share her amazing news.
She didn’t have to wait long. Elizabeth Webber flung their apartment door open a few minutes later. Her blue eyes were sparkling, her cheeks flushed and her curly hair all over the place. “Em, I have the best news!”
“I’m so glad you’re back, Beth!” Emily jumped to her feet. “I have amazing news!”
Elizabeth grinned. “Let me go first!” She dropped her book bag and closed the door. “I’ve passed my finals!” She twirled in a circle. “My summer can officially begin!”
Emily hugged her room mate tightly. “That’s great! You even passed Calculus?”
Elizabeth pulled away and wrinkled her nose. “Please don’t remind me.” She grinned again. “So what’s your news?”
“My brother’s coming to visit!” Emily blurted.
“Which one?” Elizabeth asked warily. Emily had two brothers, AJ and Jason. AJ was the elder of the two—and in Elizabeth’s opinion, the more likable. He was living in New York City with his wife Courtney and their two kids. AJ and Elizabeth had always gotten along.
Jason was a different story. The last time Elizabeth had seen him was four years ago before she’d graduated from high school. He was perfect – nice to everyone, perfect behavior and never been in an ounce of trouble. He’d been in a car accident two years ago and Emily had told her Jason was a changed man, but Jason Morgan disliked her as much as Jason Quartermaine had. It seemed the only person that ever got on Jason Q’s nerves was Elizabeth. All they ever did was bicker and argue. He was always traveling somewhere and Elizabeth rarely saw him.
Emily’s face fell a bit. “Oh…it’s Jason.”
Elizabeth sighed. “Well, I suppose I can…always… avoid…” Elizabeth trailed off. “What’s that look for?”
Emily shifted her feet. “I sorta told him he could…stay…here.”
“Emily!” Elizabeth wailed. “You know we don’t get along!”
“Honestly, Beth, it’s been two years. You’re not nearly as annoying as you used to be and I’m sure Jason isn’t interested in picking up your rivalry where you left off.”
Elizabeth shook her head. “Em-”
“Come on! You know whenever Jason’s in town, I rarely see him. This way I get to spend time with him!” Emily pleaded. “Please!”
Elizabeth sighed. “Well, it’s your apartment too. Of course he can stay.” Her eyes hardened. “Just keep him away from me!”
Emily nodded eagerly. “Not a problem.” She flung her arms around her best friend. “Thank you, thank you!”
Elizabeth shook her head and smiled. “Don’t thank me yet. He’s not here, after all. You may regret this.”
Emily settled on the couch late that night with a glass of soda and large photo album in her lap. Whenever she missed her brothers too much, she always dragged the album off the shelves. It happened more when she’d first moved out of the Quartermaine mansion last year but it had been almost two months since she’d looked at the pictures.
She opened the album and smiled. She and Elizabeth had been best friends since their first day of first grade. She grimaced remembering the first time Elizabeth had visited the mansion. She’d accidentally spilled an entire glass of red punch on Jason’s shirt. AJ had thought it was the funniest thing ever but the way Emily figured, Elizabeth and Jason had disliked each other ever since.
She giggled at the picture of the entire group on the first day of school. She and Elizabeth had been third-graders, Jason fifth grade and AJ had been starting seventh grade. Elizabeth’s sister Sarah had been in the same grade as AJ but she hadn’t been close to Elizabeth and therefore wasn’t in this picture. Elizabeth and Emily were hugging and laughing, AJ was scowling and Jason was glaring at the girls.
She sighed. Before Jason’s accident, the three Quartermaine siblings were closer than most families. AJ and Jason had been best friends and Emily hadn’t ever felt left out. Even though Elizabeth and Jason fought all the time, the four of them were still inseparable. She couldn’t begin to count the amount of times Edward had bellowed after them as they ran through the gardens.
AJ had begun drinking shortly after he graduated from high school and it had spiraled out of control quickly. Jason was seventeen when he’d tried to stop his brother from driving while drunk. They’d gotten into a car accident and Jason didn’t remember anything before the accident. He’d broken ties from the family and changed his name to Jason Morgan. The only people in the family he’d remained close to were Emily, their grandmother Lila and at times, Monica. The accident had forced AJ to see what was happening to him and he went into rehab. He’d been clean for five years and married for three to Courtney Matthews.
The only thing that had seemed to survive the accident was his apparent irritation for Emily’s best friend. Elizabeth and Jason were the most important people in her life and she knew there had to be a way for them to like one another. They weren’t the same people they’d been five years ago.
Emily was determined to make them friends.
Elizabeth rolled over in her bed. She hated that the animosity between her and Emily’s brother brought on tension in her friendship with Emily. When she and Jason had been younger, it had always been teasing and pulling hair. She smiled as she remembered the way Lila Quartermaine had told her that the only reason Jason pulled her hair and called her names was that he liked her. Elizabeth had been eight at the time and didn’t really understand that. But as they’d grown older, the teasing had remained and she’d even developed a crush on him.
But it had changed after his accident. The teasing was gone and she believed it’d been replaced by genuine dislike. She’d tried to accept Jason as he was now and it hadn’t been going that badly. She’d been visiting him one day after school when it’d taken a turn for the worse.
“What was I like before?” Jason asked quietly. Elizabeth studied him for a few minutes. It’d been the first time he’d asked about the past. He’d been more concentrated on what was going on today– like he hadn’t wanted to remember.
“Well, most people think you walked on water,” Elizabeth said dryly. She hadn’t meant for it come out that way but she and Jason had always communicated using sarcasm.
“You didn’t?” Jason asked curiously.
She shrugged. “You always seemed a bit stuck-up, like you were too good for anyone.” She grinned. “Except me. I know what a jerk you were.” Usually Jason would have laughed with her but his jaw had just clenched and he looked away.
Since then they hadn’t spoken to each other unless the words were cutting or insulting. Thankfully, Jason had taken off from town shortly after high school graduation and Elizabeth hadn’t seen him in four years.
And now Jason was coming back and he was staying at their apartment. Elizabeth was planning on spending as much as possible with her sister-in-law, Carly Corinthos. If she could avoid Jason Morgan, maybe it would be that bad.
Carly Corinthos peered at herself in the mirror. “He can’t be that bad, Lizzie.”
Elizabeth grimaced and put the messages on Carly’s desk. “Don’t call me that and yes, he is. You hadn’t even moved here before Jason took off.”
Carly looked up. “You’re the best secretary I’ve ever had, but you also exaggerate more than normal people.”
Elizabeth plopped in the chair near Carly’s desk. “We can’t be in the same room with one another before someone tosses an insult. It’s like when he irritates me by just being in the same area.”
Carly wrinkled her nose. “Yeah, I know how that works. Had the same problem with this guy I know.” She jotted something on a pad. “He was an arrogant son of a bitch who thought he knew everything.”
“So what did you do?” Elizabeth asked curiously. Carly raised and met her eyes. She grinned.
“Well, Lizzie, I married him.”
Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “That’s not a lot of help. I’ll be the first to tell you my brother is an annoying and irritating son of a bitch.”
Carly shrugged. “Yeah, well, people who can’t do anything but fight generally end up attracted to each other.”
“Carly, you’re full of shit.”
Carly shrugged. “Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.”
“Whatever. Your three o’clock will be here soon. I’m back to my desk before you try to give me more advice.” Elizabeth stood up and exited Carly’s office.
“Em!” Elizabeth called entering their apartment. She dropped the folders and keys on the table in the entry. “Hey, I’m home!”
“She went out,” was the gruff answer she received. Elizabeth turned to see Jason Morgan leaving the kitchen. She paused. He looked completely different than he had four years ago. He seemed taller, his hair was short and spiky and he… definitely had a better body.
She blinked. “When did you get here?” she asked. She could be civil. After all, she’d known Jason since she was seven. Just because he didn’t remember didn’t mean Elizabeth had forgotten.
“About an hour ago. Emily went out with Nikolas.” Jason crossed his arms. “She told me not to fight with you.”
The corners of her mouth twitched. “She did, huh?” Elizabeth grinned. “Well, we’ve already made it five minutes.” She clasped her hands in front of her and they stood in silence for a few minutes. “Did Em mention when she’d be back?”
“No. I didn’t ask,” Jason replied, tersely.
Her eyes narrowed. “You don’t have say it like that. I was just asking a question,” she snapped.
“Still the same kid.”
“Kid?” Elizabeth raised an eyebrow and put her hands on her hips. “I’m twenty years old. I stopped being a kid when I was fourteen.”
His eyes swept up and down her body. “All right, still the same brat,” he drawled. She flushed and crossed her arms over her chest.
“And you’re still the same jerk,” Elizabeth bit out. She took a deep breath. “I’m going to my room. Let me know when you decide to remove that stick from your ass.” She grabbed the folders she’d just dropped and stalked towards her room.
Jason heard her door slam and winced. He really hadn’t meant to fight – he usually didn’t let anyone get to him. But put Elizabeth Webber in the same room with him for five minutes and he couldn’t help it. Something about her just grated his nerves.
His cell phone started to ring. Jason dug it out of his jeans pocket and flicked it on. “Morgan?”
“It’s Sonny. You in town?”
“Where you staying?”
“My sister’s apartment.”
“Good. Come by in the morning and we can discuss my offer.”
“Okay.” Jason hung up. He’d started working for Sonny Corinthos shortly before he’d left town and had quickly moved up the ranks. He’d spent a good part of the previous four years doing odd job for him. Now Sonny had called him to Port Charles. Wanted to offer him a partnership. Jason had come to town intending on turning him down—but after seeing his sister, he was thinking of taking Sonny up on it. He’d like to be around Emily more.
A few hours later, Emily entered the apartment. She noticed Jason sitting on the couch reading one of his travel books. Her eyes flew to the entry table where she saw Elizabeth’s keys. She groaned making Jason look up.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
She closed the door and put her hands on her hips. “You did it, didn’t you?”
“Did what?” Jason asked, immediately on the defensive.
“You fought with Beth.” Emily rolled her eyes. “Jesus, Jason. How long were the two of you in the same room before one you started it?”
“It wasn’t my fault,” Jason said.
“No, it never is.” Emily shook her head and sat next to him on the couch. “You know, Jase, sometimes I wonder about this whole dislike thing you have with her. You never let anyone else get to you. I’ve seen that police detective—what’s his name…? Anyway, he goads you and goads and you never give in. Beth makes one remark and you dive right in.” She pulled her boots off. “I will never understand you.”
Jason shrugged. “I don’t know. It comes naturally.”
Emily smiled sadly. “It always did,” she said softly. She looked away, tears suddenly springing to her eyes.
Jason caught the tone in her voice. “Hey, what’s the matter?”
Emily shook her head and wiped the tears from her eyes. “Nothing. Sometimes I just miss the way things used to be. We used to have so much fun, Jase. You, me, Beth and AJ.”
“I find it hard to believe that I ever got along with Elizabeth,” Jason replied.
“You didn’t. But…it wasn’t fighting,” Emily said. “It was teasing.” She sighed. “Jason Quartermaine liked her.”
“What?” Jason asked, startled. No had ever told him that.
“He was going to ask her to his senior prom,” Emily told him. “But the accident happened and…well…” she shrugged. “I’m sorry. I know you don’t like to talk about that.”
“He liked her?” Jason repeated. “I just can’t believe that.”
“I know.” Emily sighed. “He was working up the courage for months and I just know she would have said yes.” She shook her head. “I’m going to bed.”
Jason put a hand on her arm. “I swear, Em, I’ll make more of an effort.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Emily said, avoiding his eyes. “You won’t be in town long and Beth said she was going to spend time with her sister-in-law, Carly-”
“Who?” Jason said, dreading the answer.
Emily paused, confused. “Her sister-in-law, Carly Corinthos. Sonny’s Beth’s half-brother…” she trailed off. “I never mentioned this to you?”
Jason shook his head, speechless.
“About two years ago, Beth’s dad basically told her that now that she was eighteen, he wasn’t financially responsible for her anymore. She was just his wife’s bastard daughter.” Emily watched his jaw clench. “Her father was Mike Corbin, Sonny’s dad. Beth was depressed for weeks, but she and Sonny are close… oh my God,” Emily breathed. “You work for Sonny.”
Jason nodded. “He offered me a partnership in the coffee ware house.”
Emily shook her head. “Sonny never mentioned his sister?”
Jason shifted uncomfortably. “Well, he mentioned his sister, Liz. But I guess I never made the connection.”
“Are you going to take it?” Emily asked.
Jason nodded. “I’m going to be sticking around for a while. So really, I’m only staying with you long enough to find a place to stay.”
“I guess Beth won’t be able to avoid you after all,” Emily said, a small smile spreading on her face. “She doesn’t know you work for Sonny, I guess.”
Jason shrugged. “I guess it never came up.”
Emily giggled. “This is gonna be fun.”