Chapter Eleven

Emily knocked Carly’s office door at Deception. She heard Carly yell for her to come in and she opened the door the rest of the way.

Laura Spencer, the other owner, was arguing with Carly. Between them stood a beautiful girl with mocha colored skin and braided hair—along with the snobbiest face Emily had ever seen. Gia Campbell was the new Face of Deception and Emily hadn’t liked her since the moment she’d met her.

“Hey, Em,” Laura greeted warmly. “How are you?”

“I’m fine. How is the family?” Emily asked, hoping Laura would drop some mention of Lucky and Luke. She hadn’t seen either for almost a year and she was beginning to miss her surrogate father and brother.

“Luke and Lucky are still overseas,” Laura said sadly. Her face brightened. “But Lulu’s headed for the second grade next year.”

“That’s great,” Emily said, grinning. “If you hear from Luke and Lucky, tell them to give me a call.

“Sure.” Laura turned back to Carly. “We’ll finish this later. Come on, Gia.” Laura and Gia left the office.

Carly wrinkled her nose. “God, I hate that girl.”

Emily sat down. “Well, she’s beautiful. That’s all that matters.”

Carly shrugged. “Whatever.” Her eyes brightened. “I talked to Jason last night.”

“I didn’t get a chance to check in with Beth.” Emily couldn’t help the wide grin that spread across her face. “But I did see her asleep in Jason’s room this morning. I think she finally opened up to him.”

Carly grinned. “They spent the night together?”

Emily nodded. “I think it was platonic, but that’s a far cry from where they were last week.”

Carly nodded. “But don’t worry, Jase has got it bad for Liz, no doubt.”

“I think Beth feels the same way,” Emily agreed. “I meant to talk to her, but my own love life set in. I’ve been ignoring Nik and I feel really bad. Of course, he understands but that’s just because he’s sweet.”

Carly nodded. “So what’s the plan for today?”

“Well, Nik’s coming over to watch Law and Order and then he’s leaving because I gotta order out and get the apartment set up. AJ and Jason are having dinner with me and Beth tonight. We’re going to catch up, reminisce and …. See exactly how close Jason and Beth really are,” Emily replied.

“Call me as soon as possible,” Carly ordered. “I want to know how it went.”

Emily nodded, “Will do. How’s the Deception launch party going?”

“Right on schedule. So, we’ve gotten the bike ride – which Jason tells me Liz absolutely adored. They’re friends enough to spend the night in same bed – which is saying quite a bi,t if you ask me,” Carly said. “And we all see the attraction. The thing is – do they?”

“I don’t know,” Emily said plainly. “But I’m going to try and find out tonight. If they’re attracted and they both know it, we might not want to do anything overt. We don’t want to do anything that will hurt our cause.”

Carly nodded, “Definitely. We don’t want to cause any miscommunications or problems. So, maybe once we know what’s going on, we can invite them out for dinner…make the reservations for two and not show up.”

“That’s a good idea. We can have roses or something waiting at the table. Ooh, and AJ and I have decided that Beth probably works for Sonny, so we can have flowers delivered there for her.”

Carly’s eyes were practically glowing with happiness. “I think this is one scheme that might actually.”

“There’s always a first time,” Emily replied. She checked her watch. “I’m going to head to the florist before going home. Beth likes lilies so I’ll have those delivered. With no card. Jason won’t take credit – but maybe he’ll just keep his mouth shut and let her give him credit.”

Carly shook her head. “No. Probably not. Maybe, we can convince him to deliver flowers to her.”

“Jason? Flowers?” Emily asked doubtfully. “I don’t know.”

“You never know,” Carly pointed out.

“That’s true. Last night, AJ and the family took over the apartment, so I went to Jason’s to crash. I hinted to Jason that Beth was working late and he was out the door. Flowers…might do the trick. Always made me feel good. One time, Nikolas had them delivered to me right before a final. Just made my whole day better – I passed the final, too,” Emily said, grinning. “All right. I’ll make a note to talk to Jason then. I’d better go.”

“See ya,” Carly said.

—-

Emily leaned against Nikolas on the couch and sighed with satisfaction. “I’ve missed this.”

Nikolas leaned over slightly to grab the bag of Doritos, “Me, too.”

She leaned her head back to give him a teasing glare. “I think you like coming over for the food,” she grumbled.

Nikolas crunched on a chip, “That, too.”

Emily shrugged, “S’okay. I like you because you’re cute, not because you’re smart.” She snuggled in deeper. “No talking, show’s on.”

They sat watching the show in silence until the first commercial – and then the arguing began. “He killed three people,” Emily said, shaking her head. “Throw the book at him.”

“You know McCoy’s gonna go nuts on him,” Nikolas said, reaching for a can of soda. “This was what…like a season after Claire was killed?”

Emily nodded. “He’s probably gonna cheat.” She frowned. “Haven’t I seen this episode before?”

Nikolas shrugged, “Probably. I think we had the same conversation last time.”

Emily grinned, “Yeah. But it’s still fun.” She leaned back to look at him adoringly. “No one else understands the obsession but you.”

“Hey, good to know I’m good for something,” Nikolas replied, trailing a finger down her cheek.

She closed her eyes and sighed happily. “You’re good for a lot of things.”

“Oh, really?” Nikolas asked, curiously. “Like what?”

“Oh, no. We’re not turning this into what Emily Loves about Nikolas.” Emily shook her head. “That would take too long.”

“Hey, just give me the top five,” Nikolas suggested. She propped herself up and giggled. “What? I’ll give you my top five.”

Emily considered this, “All right. Top five. Five,” Emily reached out and wrapped her arms around his neck. “I like the way we fit together.”

“Five,” Nikolas said. “I love the way your eyes sparkle when you’re arguing with me.”

“Four,” Emily continued, “I love the fact we can sit around all afternoon and not have to do anything at all…and we’re still happy.”

“Four, I love waking up with you in my arms.”

Emily allowed herself to kiss him lightly, “Such a sweet guy. Four, I like the way you smile at me when I first open my eyes in the morning.”

“Three, I love the way your hair curls around your ears.”

She wrinkled her nose. “You’re insane. Three,” she took an arm from his neck and wrapped her hand in his. “I love that my hand fits so neatly in yours.”

“Two,” Nikolas said, his voice growing serious. “I love that even after two years of dating, you’re still the only girl I want to see when I wake up and when I sleep. I love that I can tell the second you enter or leave a room.”

“That’s two things,” Emily whispered. “Two, I love that my day isn’t complete until I hear your voice or see your face. I can’t sleep without that.”

Nikolas brushed her hair out of her eyes. “One,” he said, staring into her eyes, “I love that I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

Emily gasped. “Y-you w-what?” she asked, trembling.

“I want to spend the rest of my life with you,” Nikolas repeated. Suddenly he felt a little nervous. Maybe their relationship wasn’t ready for that.

“One,” Emily said, her voice suddenly firm. “I love that there’s no one else I want to be with. I love that I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

Nikolas grinned and pulled her face towards his. “I love you,” he said.

“I love you, too,” she whispered just before their lips met.

—-

Elizabeth smiled as she watched Emily humming her way across the kitchen. Elizabeth continued to stir the sauce. “Someone had a good day today,” she said, grinning.

Emily started sprinkling garlic on the rolls. “Nikolas told me he wants to spend the rest of his life with me,” she reported happily.

Elizabeth dropped the spoon and spun around, “Oh my God!”

Emily twirled in a circle. “Nothing can bring me down. My life is finally making sense. I’ve got the world’s most amazing boyfriend, you and Jason are getting close again, AJ’s in town, its summer…” she stopped, her eyes gleaming. “Tell me, Beth. Can it get any more perfect than this?”

Elizabeth hugged her friend. “That’s amazing!”

Emily pulled away. “I need you something, and you have to promise that you’ll tell me the truth.”

Elizabeth frowned, “Of course.”

Emily took a deep breath. “I saw you and Jason this morning, in his penthouse, in his room.” She watched the flush cover Elizabeth’s face. “Now, I know you didn’t sleep with him. Did you tell him…?”

Elizabeth nodded and returned to stirring the sauce. “I told him everything – more than what I told you.”

Emily flinched. “You didn’t tell me everything?” she asked, hurt.

“It’s not that,” Elizabeth assured her. “There were just parts of the story that it didn’t feel right that anyone but me and Jason would know.”

Emily bit her lip, “All right. Will you tell me one day?” she asked hesitantly.

Elizabeth nodded, smiling, “Definitely.”

Emily started putting the rolls in the oven. “So…how do you feel about my brother?” she asked not looking up.

Elizabeth sighed. “I have no idea.”

Emily shut the oven and straightened. “How can you not have an idea?”

“It’s confusing,” Elizabeth murmured. She stared into the red sauce. “I was crazy about him before the accident. And now…” She looked up and turned her face towards Emily. “And now I think I’m falling for him all over again. But I don’t know who I think he is. Jason Quartermaine, Jason Morgan or something in between. And I can’t make any decision because I’m so wrapped up in these damn memories that I don’t know what’s going on in my mind.”

Emily got the iced tea mix out of the cabinet and started scooping it into a pitcher. “All right, quick test.” She put the pitcher underneath the faucet and started filling it. Once she was satisfied, she turned off the water and pulled the pitcher out. Stirring it, she continued, “What did you like best about Jason Quartermaine? Don’t think too long. Just answer it.”

“The way he protected me,” Elizabeth said instantly, “And not just from my father, from everything. When my grandmother died, when the kids at school picked on me…” she trailed off. “He made me feel safe when no one else could.”

Emily smiled. She adored her brother, but part of her still missed the boy he’d been. “What do you like best about Jason Morgan?”

“He doesn’t push me,” Elizabeth replied. “I honestly think he would have been satisfied with me not telling him. He wouldn’t be happy – but he wouldn’t push. He’d wait until I was ready to tell him.” She smiled. “He’s also a good kisser.”

Emily dropped the spoon into the pitcher. “Shit.” She dug it out and laid it on the counter. “Did you just say…?”

Elizabeth bit her lip and looked away. “You see what I mean, Em? The things I like best about them are…things they did for me. How selfish is that?” She shook her head. “I’m better off staying away from him.”

Emily sighed. “You said that Jason made you feel safe when no one else could. That’s not selfish at all, Beth. It was the way he made you feel, and that’s important.” She went to the refrigerator and opened the freezer. “And you basically said that Jason gives you space…time to deal what’s going on without him demanding answers. That’s important, too. You know?” She grabbed a tray of ice cubs and shut the freezer. “So, it’s not cut and dry. Part of Jason is still who he used to be, there’s this whole other person inside of him now that’s nothing like the boy we grew up with.”

“How I do I figure out who I want?” Elizabeth asked. She filled another pot with water and set it on the stove to boil. “I knew the old Jason inside and out. I knew the arrogant parts he showed to everyone else, and the way he’d hold me after a nightmare. I remember him at parties where he lorded his popularity and I remember playing games in the garden.” She opened a cabinet and took out some boxes of pasta. “This Jason…I’m getting to know him. I never really gave him a chance before. But again, I’m getting two sides. The way he is around Sonny when he’s working and the way he was last night. He sat with me while I explained my terrible life and do you know what? He apologized for not being there. He blames himself.”

Emily put the pitcher into the fridge and opened another cabinet to grab some plates. “I knew he would. And he probably will for a long time.” She headed to the small dining room and started setting the table.

Elizabeth sighed, frustrated. “Why is it so hard to let him go?” she asked. “It’s been five years. I should be over him.”

Emily reentered the kitchen and opened the silverware drawer. “Maybe you have.”

Elizabeth looked up. “What?”

“Maybe you got over Jason Quartermaine and the reason you think you didn’t is because you’re confusing the feelings you have for Jason now with the ones you had then.” Emily frowned. “Did that make any sense?”

Elizabeth nodded. “Yeah, in a roundabout way.” She put the pasta in the water. “I care about Jason, I really do. But I’m scared to open up again like that. I lost him once – I don’t know that I could survive it again.”

Emily pulled some glasses out of the cabinet. “Jason Quartermaine was great,” she said. “And I’ll always miss him.” She eyed her friend. “But, Beth. Jason Quartermaine and Jason Morgan are two different people. Yeah, there are some similarities – that’s to be expected, but the sooner you realize that Jason Quartermaine is dead and that he’s never coming back, the happier you’ll be. Don’t use Jason as a substitute. He deserves more.”

Elizabeth crossed her arms. “Is that what you think I’m doing?” she asked, tightly.

Emily paused for a few minutes. Finally, she shook her head slowly. “No. I know you didn’t want to open up to him again. I know how hard it was for you to trust that Jason wanted to help. And I know what it must have cost you to tell him the truth, but I know my brother very well. He won’t leave you on purpose. He’s going to be around for a long time.”

Elizabeth nodded. “I know.”

“If it’s any consolation, Beth,” Emily said, taking the glasses to the table. “I saw the two of you this morning. You were wrapped in each other’s arms and quite frankly, I’ve never seen either of you look that at peace. There’s something between you two, I can feel it. Anyone who’s in the same room with you can. And I’ve always felt it – even when you two were at each other’s throats. You just have to decide if you’re ready to put your memories in the past and look to the future.” Emily opened the oven and took out the finished garlic rolls.

“But, you know what, Beth? Tonight, let’s forget romance and forget the pain. They’ll be here soon and for the first time since the accident, I finally think…” Emily paused, searching for the right way to say it. She saw Elizabeth smiling at her gratefully. “I think it’s going be okay. We’re all going to find our way in life. AJ found his first. I’m getting there … and I think you and Jason might find your way together. We’ve been friends since forever, Beth. And nothing has ever changed that. Not AJ’s drinking, our family problems or even Jason’s accident. We’re still all here. We’re still friends – hell, we’re still family.” She put the garlic rolls on the counter and swept her friend into a tight hug. “And no matter, what Beth-”

“-we’ll always be family,” Elizabeth replied, softly returning the hug. “We have been since the day we dared Lucky Spencer to eat glue in the first grade. Since I spilled that juice on Jason and since AJ tackled me to the ground and ruined my favorite dress.” She pulled away and wiped at her eyes. “You’re my best friend in the entire world, Em, and all the boyfriends, sisters, brothers in the world can’t change that. You were my sister first. You were the first person to look past my sister and like me for me. You didn’t become Sarah’s friend and then invite me along out of pity.” She smiled. “We invited Sarah because we pitied her.”

“You are my best friend, too,” Emily said, her eyes watery. “And nothing can come between us. All the secrets in the world will never change that.” She laughed. “AJ and Jason will think we’ve lost our minds.”

“Nah,” Elizabeth said, reaching for the Kleenex. “They’ve seen us cry over silly things before. Remember Forrest Gump?”

“And Willow?” Emily said. “They’re good sports, though aren’t they?”

“Yeah,” Elizabeth grinned widely passing the box to Emily. “Man, I lucked out the day they put me in your first grade class.”

“Me, too,” Emily pulled a Kleenex from the box and blew her nose. “Come on. Let’s get dinner ready so we can clean up.”

Comments

  • loving the friendship between Em and Liz

    According to Nicole Barnes on April 14, 2014
  • Some good memories and some very bad one. that is what life is about

    According to leasmom on April 14, 2014