It was late afternoon when Elizabeth entered the warehouse. She stopped just inside Sonny’s office, seeing Jason and Sonny sitting inside. She felt her face flush and she looked at her hands.
She didn’t remember a lot of the previous night, only waking up at the hospital this morning. She’d gotten the idea that it’d been a bad nightmare and she couldn’t calm herself down afterwards. That she’d asked for Jason. And she remembered Jason being there, comforting her, but she’d imagined that a lot after waking from the nightmares. Sometimes, pretending Jason was there was the only way she could go back to sleep.
“Hi,” she said softly catching their attention. They both sprang from their chairs.
“Liz,” Sonny said, coming from behind his desk. “Hey, how are you?”
She tucked her hair behind her ears and smiled. “I’m feeling better. I’m sorry if I worried you last night.” She glanced at Jason, “Any of you. I just had a nightmare and I guess it was really bad.”
Sonny sighed. “You know you can trust me right?”
Elizabeth nodded, “Of course.”
Sonny looked up at the ceiling and then back at her. “I won’t push you for answers because I know that I wouldn’t get them. But, if you need to talk, I’ll be here.”
Elizabeth nodded. “I know.”
Sonny checked his watch. “I have to go. A shipment’s coming in and it needs my personal attention. Jason can let you know what I need.” He kissed her on the cheek and left.
Elizabeth walked forward. “So, what’s up?”
Jason stared at her. “You know that I was at the hospital last night, right?”
She flushed. “Oh.” Oh, lord, how mortifying! She hadn’t been pretending last night – Jason had calmed her down. “Um, I hope I didn’t worry you.”
“Elizabeth…” He lowered his voice, the tone gentle. “You told me that I’d once helped you through a difficult time. Did that have anything to do with last night?”
She sighed. He sounded so much like Jason Quartermaine. She closed her eyes and blinked back the tears. He’s not Jason Quartermaine anymore. He’s Jason Morgan now, and the only reason he’s asking is because you confused the hell out of him last night.
She took a deep breath and opened her eyes. “I don’t know. I can never remember my dreams.”
He took a step back. She was lying to him. He could tell it just from the tears in her eyes and the way she was standing. He narrowed his eyes. “Then what about what you told me last night? That you used to climb in my window.”
Elizabeth bit her lip, “Um, yeah. That’s true.”
“Why?” He crossed his arms. He could hear her words in his head about Jason Quartermaine and how he’d keep pushing until she confessed. Well, maybe the guy had a point. “Why couldn’t you stay at home?”
She rubbed her arms. “Uh, I couldn’t sleep and when I would, I’d have horrible nightmares. You knew and you told me that when it got to be too much, I could knock on your window and one night, I did.”
“Why couldn’t you sleep?” Jason demanded.
She shook her head. “I don’t want to do this right now okay?” Her voice was thick and she was on the verge of hysteria. She couldn’t deal with this again. She’d already bared her soul yesterday. Doing it again would more than likely cause another night like the previous one. She didn’t think she could do that again and she wouldn’t go through that terror again just to satisfy his damn curiosity. She’d trusted him once and he’d left her. It may not have been his fault but he still left. “What did Sonny need me to do?”
Jason exhaled slowly. He’d gotten some information and he could see she was getting upset again. He turned his attention to the subject he and Sonny had been discussing before she’d arrived. “Uh, someone’s trying to move in on the territory.”
Elizabeth’s eyes hardened and she took a deep breath. “What’s been happening?”
“Sonny doesn’t have any concrete proof, but someone’s moving some men in and there’s evidence that there are few dealers in the area.” Jason grabbed a folder on the desk. “Sonny wanted to you run these names and get full background checks.”
She took the folder and headed to the desk across the room where she worked while at the warehouse. It had a high-speed computer and printer and a couple of picture frames. Other than that, it was completely bare. She sat down and booted the computer. “What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to check on some of the informants’ information. Sonny wants the dealers out of the territory before they can cause any real damage.” Jason watched her start keying some things into the computer. “So once you know anything you think can help, just call me.” He grabbed a piece of paper from Sonny’s desk and jotted his cell phone number. “Here.”
She took it from him, not looking up. “Not a problem. I’ll probably be here all night, so expect a call at any time.”
“I’ll be waiting.” He glanced at her again and left.
Once he was safely out of the room, she sighed and leaned back. Staying up all night to concentrate on background checks seemed like a good idea at that point. It would keep the nightmares at bay.
For one night at least.
Carly ushered Emily into the penthouse. “So have you seen her today?”
Emily nodded, “Yeah. She seems really tired but she’s not talking about last night at all. It’s like she’s trying to pretend it didn’t happen.”
Carly eyed her. “What did happen?”
“Just what I said,” Emily replied. “Look, let’s not get into that. I wouldn’t tell Jason and I’m not telling you.”
Carly nodded, “Fair enough. Um, I scheduled the launch party for June 20th, which gives us about three weeks.”
Emily nodded. “They seem to be getting along better.”
Carly tapped her chin thoughtfully. “How does Liz feel about motorcycles?”
Emily shrugged. “I don’t think she has an opinion. Why?”
“Because Jason’s perfect woman needs to be able to handle a ride on his bike. He takes that thing everywhere. So we need to arrange a ride.”
Emily nodded. “Sounds like a good idea. And Beth would have to hold on to him.”
Carly grinned, “Definitely.” She wiggled her eyebrows. “And you’ve seen him. After feeling those muscles, she won’t be able to resist him.”
“You have a good point. So what else can we do?”
Carly bit her lip. “Well, we have to make sure they’re in situations together. We can’t let them avoid each other.”
Emily sat back and leaned her head against the back of the chair. “Beth is coming into Deception tomorrow right?”
Carly nodded. “She’s got a half day because she’s helping Sonny with something. I think she’s leaving for the warehouse around lunch.”
“So, I’ll tell Jason something like I need to see and I’ll ask for a ride there just as she’s leaving. And I’ll stop to talk to Beth, and she’ll mention she’s leaving and hopefully Jason will offer her a ride.”
Carly grinned. “Jason’s a white knight type of person. You know he will.”
Emily rubbed her hands together. “Oh, I forgot to mention. We have two new supporters, my brother and my grandmother.”
“Lila?” Carly clapped her hands together. “Oh, you know if you have her approval, we’re on the right track. She’s the one who introduced me to Sonny and she’s the reason AJ and Courtney are together…she has a knack for this. And you know Jason and Liz love her. And AJ can really help on the Jason end. He’s a guy. He knows how to relate to other guys.”
Emily nodded. “Looks like our little plan is going exactly the way we want.” She sighed. “And I hope we can help her out with what’s going on.”
Carly frowned. “You said Jason wants to know. Sonny came home today and all he would tell me is that she’d asked for Jason and he seemed able to calm her down.” She studied Emily carefully. “Did Jason Quartermaine help the same way?”
Emily bit her lip. “Let’s just say that Jason has always been good to her and getting them together can only help.”
Elizabeth rubbed her eyes and leaned back to take a quick break. It was nearly midnight and she barely had anything that would help. Personally, she’d rather be out doing some of the legwork.
She sipped the coffee and immediately made a face. It was disgusting. She tossed into the trash.
Elizabeth looked up, startled. Jason was at the doorway. He had a bag and two cups of coffee.
“Hey, what are you doing here?” she asked.
He shrugged. “I checked with everyone, didn’t get anything useful.” He dropped the bag on her desk and handed her a cup. “So I stopped by Kelly’s. I figured you wouldn’t have eaten.”
“Thanks,” Elizabeth replied.
He grabbed a chair and put it in front of her desk. “Find anything?”
She shook her head. “But I’m only a quarter of the way through the list. Something will come up.” She sipped the coffee. “This was just what I needed.”
Jason took a Styrofoam box out of the bag and handed it to her. “I wasn’t sure what you liked, so I just got a bacon cheeseburger.”
She took the box. “It’s my favorite actually,” she said softly. “I always order it when I go there.”
Jason took another box out and opened it. “Did the four of us go there a lot?” he asked.
Elizabeth nodded, “Every day after school. The limo used to pick us up there. From the time I was seven until I graduated, I ate dinner at Kelly’s every school day. I hated eating with my family. It was always such a huge ordeal.” She wrinkled her nose and bit into the burger. “I preferred being at your house. Your family was great until…” she trailed off.
Jason’s face darkened, “Until they blamed AJ for the accident and threatened to have him arrested.” He shook his head. “I still don’t see them. I’m only close to Lila.”
Elizabeth nodded. “Lila’s great. I still go to see her all the time.” She sighed. “I remember all the fighting that went on when you were in the hospital. Edward and Alan were threatening to have AJ arrested, Ned was trying to get him off the hook by saying he was in the car and Monica wanted to put him in rehab.” She frowned. “I just think they handled the entire situation badly. And I’m glad you didn’t let what happened effect your relationship with AJ.”
Jason shrugged. “It’s not like he woke up one day and decided that he going to destroy my life. I’m sure I thought I was doing the right thing by getting in the car with him. He was drunk and I obviously knew that. Personally, I see it as my fault. I should have yanked him out of the car. Anyway, AJ went to rehab and got help. It’s not like he kept drinking. He’s been clean for four years now and he leads a good life. I’ve got no hard feelings.”
Elizabeth didn’t say anything and concentrated on eating her dinner. She would prefer not to think about before the accident anymore. The night Jason had had the accident was one of the nights that she’d snuck into his room. She’d waited for hours before hearing the screams downstairs. She’d snuck into the hallway and all she could make out were the words “AJ, Jason” and “hospital.” She went back into his room and climbed back down and went back to her house. She’d gotten dressed and called a cab to the hospital. Emily had been so thankful to see her that she hadn’t thought to ask how she knew. AJ had been in the hospital for three days with his injuries, but Jason had been in the coma for a week before waking up. Elizabeth and Emily had practically lived at the hospital. They’d taken turns visiting the brothers. Lila had visited early on, but was too upset to return. Edward, Alan, Monica and Ned were too busy arguing about AJ to visit. She and Emily hadn’t even gone to school.
Once AJ had gone home, he’d locked himself in his room to avoid the family. Emily and Elizabeth spent all their time waiting for Jason to wake up. Emily had gone to the cafeteria to get them something to eat when Jason had awakened. He’d been groggy and hadn’t known where he was. Elizabeth had left to get a nurse, but before she could go back in, her father had shown up and dragged her home. She couldn’t leave her room for nearly a week. For the first time, he’d hit in her the face and it was six days before makeup would hide it enough. The first chance she’d gotten, she’d returned to the hospital. AJ had agreed to go to rehab at that point and was saying goodbye to Jason. He was the first person Elizabeth had seen and told her the news. She hadn’t believed him and gone into the room. Jason vaguely recalled that she’d been in the room when he’d woken up, but other than he didn’t know her.
Jason’s questions startled Elizabeth back to the present. She’d finished her burger by that point. She met his eyes and weakly smiled. “Sorry, I must have zoned out.”
“If you’re tired-”
She shook her head. “No. I don’t need a lot of sleep anyway.” She tossed the Styrofoam box into the trash. “I’d better get back to this.”
Jason frowned. “Did I say something wrong?”
“What?” she asked, tilting her head to the side, “Why?”
“Well, we were having a civil conversation and you zoned out.” He hesitated, “Everything all right?”
Elizabeth bit her lip. “I was just thinking about the accident. The two weeks following it were crazy, you know. Emily and I skipped a week of school, AJ went to rehab, your family went to hell…” she trailed off and shrugged. “It was just a really bad time.”
Jason tossed his own box out. “You were the first person I saw when I woke up. I still remember that.”
“Emily and I spent that first week in the hospital,” Elizabeth replied quietly, “Literally. AJ was there the first three days, so we’d switch off. I’d spend an hour with AJ, she’d be with you. Then we’d trade.” She rubbed her eyes. “I don’t remember sleeping that much. A few hours a night, mainly on one of those really uncomfortable hospital chairs. The nurses kept telling us to go home, but if we had, you two would have been alone. Lila was too upset to come to hospital and Ned was spending a lot time trying to make sure AJ wasn’t going to get arrested. Edward, Alan and Monica were fighting constantly. They were barely at the hospital. So Em and I stayed.” She sighed. “AJ left and locked himself in his room. He promised us he wasn’t going to do anything stupid. He just needed to think. I guess it was good because he ended up deciding to go to rehab. Once he was gone, Emily tried to convince me to go home at night, saying if I went one night, she’d go the next. I didn’t want to go home.” She looked away.
“She went to the cafeteria to grab some lunch and I stayed with you. I was reading something and I felt your hand move.” Elizabeth smiled. “I’d never been so happy in my life than when you opened your eyes. I left to get a nurse but my father came to take me home before I could come back in.” She looked away. She hadn’t talked that much about the accident with anyone else but Emily.
“You didn’t come back for a long time,” Jason said. She met his eyes. “I kept asking where you were. Well, not you specifically. But the girl who’d been in the room when I woke up.”
She bit her lip. “I was being grounded. I had skipped school, hadn’t told my parents where I was and I hadn’t come home in a week. It was six days before I could come back.” She sighed. “Look, I really should try and get more done.”
“You look tired,” Jason observed. “Maybe you should head home.”
“I wouldn’t get much sleep,” Elizabeth said. “I’m better off trying to get work done.”
“You don’t want to go to sleep, do you?”
She looked at the desk and closed her eyes. “Jason-” Elizabeth shook her head. “You’re right. I don’t. I haven’t had a panic attack like that since I was thirteen and I’m not in any hurry to experience it again.”
He hesitated but forced himself to ask. “How did you calm down the first time?”
She opened her eyes and blinked back the tears. “You woke me up and calmed me down,” she admitted.
“You’re not going to tell me what happened are you?” he asked.
She shook her head and wiped her eyes with a napkin. “No. I can’t.”
He nodded, trying to hide his frustration. “You know I just want to help, right?”
Elizabeth didn’t answer at first. She started shutting down her computer. When the screen went black, she finally turned and met his eyes. “I know. But I can’t let you.”
“Why?” Jason asked. “You said you trusted me.”
“I do trust you.” She grabbed the printouts and put them into a folder. “I just can’t let you take care of this again. Because I would depend on you too much and I can’t do that again.” Elizabeth stood. “I’m going home.”
“I’ll give you a ride,” he said, standing. He put the chair back.
“On your bike?” Elizabeth asked.
“Yeah, is that a problem?” Jason replied.
She shrugged. “I’ve never been on a motorcycle.”
“Come on. There’s a first time for everything.”
Elizabeth smiled. “All right. Let’s go.”