Chapter Twenty-Seven

AJ barely waited until the penthouse door was completely open before barreling in. “All right, I’m here. What’s going on?”

He stopped in his tracks at the sight of the people around him. Jason had opened the door for him, so AJ couldn’t see his face. But from Carly’s tearstained cheeks, Emily’s sobs and Sonny’s disheveled appearance, he didn’t need to.

He swallowed hard and took a deep breath. “Where’s Liz?”

“She’s at her apartment,” Sonny said quietly. “She had another nightmare—and it was bad.”

Carly hugged herself tightly. “She was screaming so badly, we couldn’t make her stop. Nothing made her stop. She had to be taken to the hospital and sedated before she’d calm down.”

Sonny touched his throat. “She has these deep scratches on her throat. She was digging at it while she was screaming—like she was trying…”

“Like someone was strangling her and she was trying to stop them,” Carly finished quietly.

AJ’s eyes were blazing. “Anyone got a shotgun?” he barked.

“She wants to leave town,” Emily said, wiping at her eyes. “She thinks it’ll be best for everyone.”

“Tell me you didn’t agree, right?” AJ asked.

Carly shrugged. “Of course not—but how are we supposed to stop her?”

Sonny started to pace. “If she wanted to, she could disappear. She’s got the resources and she knows the people.”

“How?” Carly asked, suddenly suspicious. Her eyes narrowed as she rose from the couch. “I knew it! Liz works for you!”

Sonny shot her a look and sighed. “Not exactly.”

“What do you mean not exactly?” AJ demanded.

“She’s a silent partner,” Emily supplied softly. Jason and Sonny looked at her, surprised. “I figured it out after the Deception party. When you both didn’t come home—and with all the time Beth spends at the warehouse…I don’t know. I guess it just made sense. So, I asked her.”

“So, she can disappear if she wants to,” AJ said, bringing the conversation back to the main topic. “How do we keep her from doing that?”

Jason ran a hand through his hair and spoke for the first time. “I don’t know that we should.”

AJ whirled to look at his brother. “What? Why not? We should just let her run?”

Jason glared at him. “Do you think that’s what I want? Do you think I want to let her go? To tell her it’s okay? But when she makes up her mind about something, you can’t just stop her. And I don’t that we should try—I know…I know I can’t.”

Carly glared at him angrily. She stalked across the room and shoved him hard. “What? Are you insane? You’re willing to let her leave town and leave us behind because of that animal? And you’re supposed to love her?”

“Carly,” Sonny said, grabbing her arm and pulling her back.

“I promised her that I’d do anything she needed. How can I do what I think is right and keep that promise?” Jason asked, frustrated. “I promised her Jeff wouldn’t come near her, and that I could keep her safe. I’ve already broken those promises, how can you ask me to break another?”

“This isn’t about promises,” Emily said, standing. “This is about Beth and that she thinks she’s ruining our lives—yours especially—because of this. And I don’t know how to convince her it’s not true. Because she’s not going to listen.”

AJ muttered something unintelligible under his breath and took a deep breath. “We need to get Jeff Webber out of town. Before Elizabeth can leave. That’s…that’s our only and best course of action.”

“And how are we supposed to do that?” Carly asked, irritated. “She’s made it clear that we can’t get rid of him—how do we run him out of town?”

AJ didn’t say anything for a few minutes. God, he’d never wanted a drink as badly as he did right now. Without meaning to, his eyes strayed to Sonny’s small bar. He jerked his eyes as soon as they landed on the Scotch. Concentrate on Liz. You got her into this mess, you need to get her out. Suddenly it came to him.

“ELQ,” AJ said. He looked at the confused people around him. “We buy out Webber Industries here in Port Charles. If we can do that, then maybe he won’t have a reason to stay.”

Sonny scratched his chin thoughtfully. “Not a bad idea. And a few well-placed threats from some of my men could move it along. She said I couldn’t have him taken care of—there was nothing said about threats.”

Carly took a deep breath and felt calm for the first time in days. She turned to Emily. “We need to find a way to convince her to stay until we can do this. ”

Emily nodded. She leaned down to get her purse from the couch. “Let’s go to the apartment.”

When Carly and Emily were gone, Sonny looked at Jason. “What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know,” Jason said quietly.

AJ took a deep breath. “I know how much you love her—I’m sorry I jumped down your throat.”

Jason shrugged. “I don’t blame you—I would have done the same thing.”

AJ nodded. “All right. Well, I’m heading to see Grandfather. I’m going to see if he’ll cooperate.”

“He knows about Elizabeth,” Jason said causing AJ to turn. “He’s always known. He’ll help.”

“How did…?” AJ trailed off. He stopped and shook his head. “It explains quite a bit. He always went out of his way to be nice to her—even after we all left home. It was so unlike him…but it makes sense now.”

Jason looked away. “He saw Webber hitting her one day. He just didn’t know what to do about it. So, trust me. He’ll help.”

“Good.” AJ opened the door. “Because we’re not letting Liz go without a fight.”

Once AJ was gone, Sonny headed to the phone. “I’m calling in Francis, Max, Zander and Johnny. They’re the best—they can take care of Webber.”

—-

Emily bit her and exchanged a look with Carly. “Beth…let us in!”

“Leave me alone.” Elizabeth’s voice was quiet, but firm. She’d locked herself in the room and the two of them had spent the past fifteen minutes talking to the door.

“Beth, we think we know a way to help,” Emily argued.

“You can’t help. No one can.”

Emily swore under her breath and turned away. “What are we going to do?” she asked Carly in a low voice.

“Maybe…maybe Jason can get through to her,” Carly whispered. She moved into the living room and pulled her cell phone out. She dialed Jason’s cell and had a quick conversation. She turned back to Emily. “He’s coming.”

Emily sighed and dragged her fingers through her hair. “I can’t—” her eyes caught the VCR clock. “Shit! I forgot to cancel lunch with Nik.”

Carly waved her hand. “Go. Jase and I can handle this.”

Emily sighed and grabbed her purse. “Beth, I have to go. But I’m coming back!”

She opened the apartment door just as Jason entered. “Hey. She’s in her room and she’s not letting anyone in and she’s not coming out.”

Jason nodded and headed for the hallway without giving Carly a second glance. He knocked on Elizabeth’s door. “Elizabeth?”

Inside, Elizabeth raised her eyes from her bedspread. “Go away, Jason.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” Jason replied. “Let me in or I’ll open this door myself.”

Elizabeth launched off the bed and sat on the floor, her back against the door. “I’m leaning against the door—you open it with force, you’ll hurt me.”

Jason closed his eyes and muttered something unintelligible under his breath. Carly sighed and settled on the couch. This was going to be a long day.

—-

Emily rushed into Kelly’s and practically flew into her chair. “Hey!”

Nikolas frowned. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” Emily lied. She pulled a menu out. “Let’s order.”

Nikolas sighed and took the menu out of her hands. “Emily. What’s wrong?”

“Beth’s having a bad day,” Emily admitted quietly. “She’s, um…she’s not doing so well.”

Nikolas frowned. “Then what are you doing here? You should be with her.”

Emily rested her chin on her hand and sighed. “She’s locked herself in her room and won’t let me in and she’s not talking, so I’d just be going out of my mind there.”

Nikolas nodded. “I guess you can’t tell me what’s going on.”

Emily sighed and rubbed her eyes. “No. I’m sorry. But…it’s Beth’s story—”

Nikolas shrugged. “It’s okay—I understand. I just I wish I could help you more.”

Emily gave him a wan smile. “You are helping. By not demanding answers I can’t give or making ultimatums. You have no idea how much that’s meant to me.”

Nikolas reached out and covered her hand. “Hey, we agreed that we’re going to be together for the next fifty years or so, remember? I can deal with this. I’ve got no choice.”

“Thanks,” Emily said gratefully. “Have you heard from Lucky?”

“Yeah. He and Gia are still in London. How did Carly take the news?” Nikolas asked.

Emily grimaced. “She’s so desperate for a new model she talked me into a test shoot.”

Nikolas grinned. “You’ll be great. You’re gorgeous.”

Emily grinned. “You’re not so bad yourself. I never thought about modeling before. But…it’s not such a horrible idea. I’ll probably be able to travel if it all works out. That’d be fun.” She shook her head. “But it’s only a temporary thing—I still want to do law.”

“Good,” Nikolas said, firmly. “I’d hate to have to give up our Law and Order routine.”

Emily grinned. “That’ll never happen.”

—-

“Elizabeth—you’ll have to come out of there sometime,” Jason said. “Open the door.”

“Go away, Jason,” Elizabeth said, dully. “You’re better off.”

“Better off?” Jason repeated. “Elizabeth—”

“I’m going to leave town the first chance I get,” Elizabeth cut in.

“You don’t have to leave—”

“And I’m not telling anyone where I’m going, not even you. I don’t want anyone to follow me.”

“Why?” Jason asked. He yanked on the knob. “Damn it, Elizabeth. Open the door and we’ll talk about this.”

“There’s nothing to talk about,” she replied softly. She picked at her rug. “I’ll never get over this—and all being in this town reminds me of is him. I’ll go insane if I have to stay here.”

“Then let me go with you,” Jason said. “We can leave now—we’ll go wherever you want.”

“No,” Elizabeth replied. She took a deep breath. “Jason—you might want to get used to this…because I’m not coming back. So don’t wait. You…you deserve someone who’s not afraid of their shadow.”

“Don’t tell me what I deserve. I love you—don’t make decisions for me,” Jason said angrily.

“I’m making this decision for me,” Elizabeth whispered. “I can’t be here. You need…you promised me, Jason. That’d you let me do whatever I needed. Well, this is what I need. Please, this is what I need to do. I’ll lose my mind, I know it.”

“Elizabeth…” Jason stopped. “I…”

Carly could tell he was weakening. She stood and put a hand on his shoulder. “It’s all right, Jase,” she whispered. She turned to the door.

“You know what? We’ve tried with Emily’s way. You’ve been talking to her for a half hour. Now? Carly’s way.”

She started pounding on the door. “Elizabeth Imogene Webber! If you don’t come out of here right now, I swear I am gonna bust this door down and I don’t care if you’re sitting right there! You’re being selfish! You think leaving town’s going to help? You think Jason’s not gonna sit around and wait? He’s a nutball, he’ll wait! Damn it, Elizabeth, open the fucking door!”

When she was done with her rant, she took a deep breath. Elizabeth’s voice floated through the door.

“Feel better?”

“Are you going to open the door?”

“No.”

“Damn it, Liz. You’re not solving anything—and if you run, you’re only going to be making it worse! ” Carly started pounding on the door again. “I’m sick of tip-toeing around this—trying to be sweet and nice. I ran for seven years, Liz! Seven! And it didn’t get me anywhere! Don’t you get it?”

The person behind the door was irritatingly silent and Carly, in her frustration, kicked the door. “Liz—if you leave, you’re not going to be making it any better—you’ll end up hurting the very people you’re trying to protect!”

“It doesn’t matter,” Elizabeth said softly. “I…just…god, I’m sorry…I just can’t do it anymore. It’s too much, Carly. I can’t—” she stopped and they could hear her start to cry.

Jason glared at the door. Carly had a feeling he wasn’t glaring at Elizabeth—he was glaring at the door for having the nerve be between himself and Elizabeth. He turned the knob hoping it’d be unlocked. “She’s crying,” he said quietly. “I hate it when she cries.” Raising his voice so Elizabeth could hear him, he said, “Let me in, please.”

“No,” Elizabeth said, her voice thick. “I—I c-c-can’t let you h-help anymore. Please…just go away.”

Jason backed up from the door. “It’s like we’ve taken a hundred steps backward,” he said quietly leaned against the opposite wall.

Carly looked at him sympathetically. “You know what? She wants to be alone—let her. Let’s go get something to eat.” She pulled him away and only stopped to grab her purse. “If I stay here any longer, I’m afraid I’ll kick the door in.”

Elizabeth heard the door click shut and she let out a breath. Whether it was in relief, disappointment or something else…she wasn’t exactly sure.

She stood up and pulled her suitcase out of the closet. She began to methodically pack her clothes.

Comments

  • I hope they stop Liz.

    According to Nicole Barnes on April 21, 2014