Elizabeth didn’t contact anyone the entire day and she didn’t come home that night either. Emily came home after dinner with her grandparents that night to find a message on her machine.
Em, it’s me. I’ll be out until tomorrow. I’ll see you when I get in.
Emily frowned as she rewound the tape. She doubted that she was at Jason’s.
When Elizabeth resurfaced the next day, she asked Jason to meet her at Kelly’s. She hadn’t been back there since seeing Jeff but she felt she was ready to face the place again.
Jason was waiting when Elizabeth arrived. He was seated at the same table outside that they’d sat at almost a month ago, agreeing to take things slow. She took a seat across from him and smiled.
“Hey.” He hesitated. “Em was worried about you yesterday.”
Elizabeth looked away. “I’m sorry I missed AJ’s homecoming. I woke up yesterday and felt like I needed to write. So I packed my laptop and two spare batteries and went up to Vista Point.” She smiled at him. “I wrote until my batteries quit and then I just stayed there. I think I just needed some time by myself.”
Jason nodded. “Next time…give her a head’s up. Or someone.”
The waitress came then and the two ordered. When she’d gone back inside, Elizabeth leaned forward. “Emily told me you saw Edward and Lila. How did it go?”
Jason folded her arms across the table. “It was a bit awkward at first—Grandfather’s not the same at all. He’s….” he searched for the right word but finally shrugged. “I don’t know exactly—but he’s a far cry from the guy I met after the accident. But AJ and Grandfather agreed to put it behind them. He even said welcome home to AJ.”
“I’m glad you’re getting along again,” Elizabeth said sincerely. “I told you that I’ve always liked Edward, even if I didn’t agree with the way he handled the situation.”
Jason hesitated. “Do you remember what you said about him knowing?”
Elizabeth nodded. “Yeah. Why?”
“I think you’re right,” Jason replied. “He’d seen Jeff. Jeff’s been looking for you.”
Elizabeth’s face froze and she looked at the table quickly. “Why?” she whispered.
Jason reached across the table to squeeze her hand. “I don’t know. But he’s not going to get to you. He went to the mansion to get Emily’s address. Alan gave him Harborview Towers, but Edward stepped in before he could say anything else.”
Elizabeth was visibly relieved. “I guess he does know.”
“He suspects something,” Jason agreed. “But it’s up to you to ask if he knows for sure.”
“Did my father show up at the Towers?” Elizabeth asked softly.
Jason nodded. “Carly headed him off. Made it clear who she was and that if he didn’t stay away, I’d keep him away. She told him we were close—that there were no secrets.” Jason gave her small smile. “If it helps, he looked absolutely terrified or so Carly tells me.”
“He hated that you knew,” Elizabeth said quietly. “I think that’s the only reason he didn’t lay a hand on me after the morning we were caught. You were Quartermaine, after all. He knew that if you said anything, your word would be taken over his. He was terrified you’d say something.”
“He should be terrified now,” Jason growled. “I’ll do more than report him if he comes near you.”
Elizabeth smiled weakly. “Thanks. But he lives in town and he’s looking for me.” She frowned. “Please…don’t get into any confrontations with him. I don’t need him to give Taggart a reason to haul you in. And you know he wouldn’t think twice.”
“I won’t,” Jason assured her.
Elizabeth tensed suddenly. She heard footsteps behind her and a shiver went down her back. He was behind her—she knew it.
At Elizabeth’s stricken expression, Jason looked around before settling on a man behind her. He’d never seen Elizabeth’s father, but from her face, he knew it had to be him.
Jeff Webber stepped further into the courtyard. “Hello, Lizzie. Jason—it’s good to see you.”
Jason stood so quickly Elizabeth didn’t see him move. But he was out of his chair and between Elizabeth and Jeff almost instantaneously. “Don’t come any closer.”
Jeff stopped and looked around him to Elizabeth. “Lizzie-”
Jason stepped to the side to shield Elizabeth from his view. “Don’t speak to her.”
“You can’t tell me what to do,” Jeff said, angrily. “She’s my daughter!”
Elizabeth hesitantly stepped to Jason’s side. ‘”I’m not your daughter,” she all but whispered.
Jason looked down, surprised to hear her speak. He put his hand on the small of her back, as if for encouragement.
“The hell you’re not!” Jeff snapped, taking a step closer. “I paid for you, I raised—”
“Stop right there,” Jason growled. “Don’t talk to her like that.”
Jeff ignored him and took another step. “You obviously haven’t changed a bit, Lizzie. Still as ungrateful as ever—”
As Jeff came closer, Elizabeth shrank back. Jason grabbed Jeff by the shirt collar and shoved him back.
“Stay away from her!”
Jeff glared at Elizabeth. “So you went and told him again, didn’t you Lizzie? He can’t help you—not now anymore more than he could then.”
Jason’s jaw twitched. He wanted to slam the man through a brick wall but he’d promised Elizabeth he’d avoid a confrontation and it was taking all of his self-control to keep him in line. “Get out of here.”
“Who else did you tell?” Jeff demanded, his fists clenched at his side and his face twisted in fury. “They’re lies and you know it!”
Elizabeth took a step back, the sound of his angry voice bringing back memories she had no inclination to face again. “They’re not lies,” she whispered, covering her ears. “They’re not.”
“We’re leaving,” Jason said. He took Elizabeth’s arm, grabbed her purse from the table. “I’m warning you—make one step in her direction again and you won’t live to regret it.”
He led Elizabeth out of the courtyard and towards his bike. As soon as Jeff was gone from view, her knees buckled and Jason had to act fast to catch her before she hit the ground.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered, clinging to him. “He got to me again…I let him…”
“Let’s go.” Jason helped her onto the bike. “Do you want to go anywhere?”
“I don’t care,” Elizabeth whispered, her voice thick. “I just have to get away from here.”
He brought her back to the penthouse. Jason practically had to carry her from the parking garage to his apartment. He helped her to the couch.
“Is there anything you need?” he asked, crouching in front of her. “I can get Emily or Sonny or Carly.”
She hugged herself and shook her head. “No. I just—I just need a few minutes.” Elizabeth looked up. “I didn’t fall into my habit.”
“I didn’t pretend to be the perfect daughter,” Elizabeth said softly. “That’s the first time I ever…that I didn’t pretend he was the perfect father.”
“You see…you’re already stronger,” Jason said gently. He moved to sit next to her. He wrapped his arms around her and she leaned into him. “You did so good—I’m proud of you.”
“But I still cowered…” Elizabeth said, feeling the tears well up in her eyes. “He was yelling and all I could do was stand there—I was so scared, Jason. I don’t know what would have happened if you hadn’t been there.”
“I’m glad I was.” He smoothed her hair down. “I just wished I could have smashed his face in.”
She smiled despite her tears. “I wish that, too. But it wouldn’t solve anything. His voice would still terrify me. Why can’t I let this go?”
He didn’t know how to answer her—so he just held her as she cried.
Sonny was whistling when he entered the penthouse later that afternoon. He called for Carly immediately.
Carly came down the steps with a curious look on her face. “What are you up to?”
“I need you to plan a party,” Sonny announced. “I talked to Jason this morning. The partnership has been officially filed with all the right parties. And I think a good party would cheer us all up.”
Carly’s face lit up. “Really? You want me to plan it?”
Sonny could see the ideas forming in her head already. “Yup. I’m going over to his penthouse now—I want to see if he’s heard from Liz.”
Carly frowned. “She’s been staying with him hasn’t she?”
Sonny shook his head. “She went home yesterday night. And she was gone on some errand all day. I want to see if she’s okay. I don’t want to ask her—she might try and hide it.”
Carly nodded. “I’ll give Elton a call while you’re gone. He’s the best at this, you know.”
Sonny grimaced. “Elton annoys me.”
Carly waved her hand in dismissal. “He’s still the best.”
Sonny raised his hand to knock on Jason’s door just as a scream ripped through the air. Without hesitating, Sonny threw the door open.
Elizabeth was on the couch, her face pure white. She was sitting straight up, her eyes practically bulging out of her face. Jason was seated next to her, trying to calm her down.
“What’s going on?” Sonny demanded. Carly arrived about then—nearly crashing into Sonny’s back.
“Elizabeth, it’s okay,” Jason said, ignoring the couple in the door. He gripped her shoulders. “Look at me. You’re safe, you’re with me. Look at me.”
Finally, Elizabeth’s eyes focused on him and they lost that glazed look. Her breathing started to even out and her eyes returned to normal shape. “Jason?”
“I’m here,” Jason said, gently. He rubbed her arms, trying to warm the ice cold skin. “It’s okay. You’re all right.”
She nodded numbly and pulled her knees up to her chest. “I hate him,” she whispered.
“Jason?” Carly asked hesitantly. She took a step forward. “She saw him again didn’t she?”
Jason didn’t turn to look at them. “It’s okay. I hate him, too.”
She looked at him and laughed weakly, the laughter turning to tears almost instantly. “It’s not fair,” she whispered, brokenly. “Why does he scare me like this? I’ve faced down people with guns—I laughed in Verruchio’s face—why does Jeff Webber terrify me?”
Carly was at the couch by now. She took a seat. “Honey, what’s going on?”
Elizabeth looked at her with sad eyes. “I saw him,” she breathed. “He was at Kelly’s…and he was yelling at me…”
Sonny looked to Jason. “Where were you?”
Jason gritted her teeth. “Standing between them. She made me promise not to get into a confrontation with him. I got her out of there as quickly as possible.”
Sonny nodded. “I want a permanent guard on her.” He pulled his cell phone out to make the call. “I want her notified if he’s within fifty feet of where she is.” He stepped out into the hall to finish the call.
Carly rubbed Elizabeth’s shin, trying to be of some comfort. “I wish I’d been there. I’d have smashed his teeth in.”
Elizabeth shook her head. “It wouldn’t have done any good He would have done it anyway.”
Carly traded looks with Jason. “Sweetie, you know…you know you can get this taken care of.”
Elizabeth bit her lip and looked away. “I know. But I think my method’s going to be a little different than what you have in mind.
“Liz?” Carly questioned curiously.
Elizabeth stared at the kitchen doorway. “This town…it’s not big enough for me to hide from him and I can’t…I can’t be around him. I’ll go insane if I have to be.” She met Carly’s eyes but avoided Jason’s. “I think I have to leave Port Charles.”
The next day, Jason knocked on the door to the Quartermaine mansion. He was still running Elizabeth’s words through his mind.
I think I have to leave Port Charles.
No amount of convincing from either of them had deterred Elizabeth’s way of thinking. She only promised to think about it a little more before she made any permanent decisions. She couldn’t leave. Jason knew she’d want to go alone and he couldn’t stay in this town without her.
The door swung open and Jason saw Alan Quartermaine for the first time since returning to Port Charles.
“Jason!” Alan’s face was delighted but Jason’s remained impassive.
“Are Grandmother and Grandfather here?” Jason asked.
“They’re out on the terrace.” Alan stepped aside to let his son in. “You’re looking well.”
Jason turned to face him. He studied the man who was biologically his father. He’d hated him since the accident—since he’d tried to have AJ thrown in jail and had pushed Jason to be someone he couldn’t be. But after meeting Jeff Webber head on, Jason was ready to consider that no father could be as bad as Jeff.
“Thanks,” Jason said finally. He shifted. “How’s Monica?”
Alan’s face tensed. “As far as I know, she’s good. How’s Emily?”
“Emily’s fine,” Jason answered shortly. He hesitated. “And since you didn’t ask—so’s AJ.”
“He still sober?” Alan demanded.
“Yeah,” Jason said. “Four years now.”
Alan’s face showed his surprised. “He still married?”
“Yep. Three years,” Jason replied. “I’d better go.” He turned towards the terrace entrance in the living room.
Jason turned towards Alan. “Yeah?”
“Tell Emily and AJ I said hello.”
Jason stared at him for a few moments then finally nodded. “I’ll do that.”