Jason pulled the bike to a stop in the Harborview Towers parking garage. Elizabeth got off the back of the bike and pulled the helmet off.
“Wow, that was amazing!” she said, grinning. He turned the engine off and turned to smile at her.
“You think so?”
She nodded. “Everything was going so fast, I could hardly think.” She tucked her wild hair behind her ears. “That’s something I really needed.”
He got off the bike. “You think that was great?” Jason shook his head. “I like the cliff road. It’s got a lot of twisting turns.”
“Could you take me sometime?” she asked, eagerly.
“Sure.” He shrugged. “Any time. Tell you what, the next time you have trouble sleeping, call me and we’ll go.”
“Really?” Elizabeth asked, unsure. “What if it’s 4 in the morning?”
“I’m a light sleeper. I always keep the cell phone nearby in case Sonny calls.”
She had a sudden flash of a fifteen year old Jason telling her that if she couldn’t sleep, she should just knock his window – at any time of night. He was a light sleeper. She bit her lip and looked down.
“Did I say something wrong again?” Jason asked.
She looked up. “No…I just remembered something.” Elizabeth shrugged. “Well, I’d better get upstairs. Thanks for the ride.” She turned towards the elevators and then turned back, “And for everything else.”
Elizabeth gave him a weak smile and headed for the elevators. Jason put the helmet on the back of the bike and leaned against it. Was it only yesterday that they’d still been arguing? It was strange how she’d start to confide in him about the nightmares and then pull back before he learned anything new. The only thing he’d been able to discover was that he’d let her sleep in his room when things were bad at home. But what could that mean? Did her parents fight a lot? Did she hate her siblings?
Jason frowned. He felt like it was right in the forefront of his memory – like if he just pushed enough, he might even remember little bits and pieces. That happened a lot. He’d gotten memory flashes a lot at first. Mainly of the gardens and of his family, but they had faded over the years. It was obvious he had remembered all that he was capable of, but that didn’t stop him from thinking that somewhere inside his brain he held the answers he was seeking. He had a feeling it was bad – and he didn’t want her to go through it alone. Which she would if he didn’t find out.
Elizabeth crept quietly into the apartment, not wanting to wake Emily. She opened her bedroom door and closed it behind her. She dropped the file on her bureau and changed for bed.
It had felt odd to talk to Jason like she had tonight. It’d been years since they’d related on any level other than arguing and for the accident to be the first topic – it was just strange. Every time he’d brought up the nightmares, she’d tried to change the topic. She’d meant what she said – she had no intention of telling him. Elizabeth had told him once before and ended up depending on him to get through the day. Her world revolved around him and it had destroyed her when he didn’t remember. She wasn’t willing to let him in again only to have it destroyed a second time when he took off.
Which he would. Elizabeth was well aware of his arrangement with Sonny. Jason was the active partner that she couldn’t be until she graduated. Once she stepped up, Jason would more than likely become restless. There just wasn’t enough for three equal partners to do. He’d take off and she’d be left alone again.
She wasn’t going to take that chance. She’d meant what she said when she told Jason she wanted to be friends. She did – he’d once been one of the best friends she’d ever had and Elizabeth wouldn’t mind having him in her life again. But she had to face reality.
Jason Quartermaine was long gone and he wasn’t ever coming back. No matter how much he wanted to help, Jason Morgan could never understand what she’d gone through. Jason Q had lived through some the horrors. He’d been there when her father grabbed her arm that day in the garden, when he’d showed up at the mansion one night that Elizabeth was staying over and practically dragged her away… or the morning she’d been caught sneaking back into her bedroom.
She’d overslept one morning after sneaking into Jason’s room. They both had. By the time she’d woken up, there was no way her parents wouldn’t realize she’d been gone. Jason insisted on walking her back – he was worried her father would catch her. She’d been fifteen at the time and it was maybe a month or so before the accident. It had been getting more and more tense when she was in his room. She knew she was falling for him and he’d admitted that he was attracted to her. He’d been seventeen at the time, and if they weren’t careful their hormones would get the best of them. They hadn’t even kissed at the time, but it was apparent to both of them that it was only a matter of time.
She’d tried to talk Jason out of it—convince him to stay home. If they were both caught, it would only make the situation worse. But he was adamant. He wasn’t going to let her face the firing squad alone.
They’d managed to get across the Quartermaine grounds without problems, but it was as Elizabeth was climbing the trellis that it happened…
She was halfway up the trellis when she heard her father’s voice.
“Elizabeth Webber, get down here now.”
She froze. She’d rather throw herself off the trellis and be injured than climb down and face her father of her own free will. But Elizabeth remembered – Jason was down there. He’d protect her. He always did.
She took a deep breath and began climbing down. The second she was firmly on the ground, Jeff grabbed her arm and backhanded across the face.
“Hey!” Jason said, stepping forward.
“You little whore. Only fifteen and already sleeping around,” Jeff growled. He glared at Jason. “You’d better get home before I call Alan or Monica.”
“I don’t care,” Jason stated defiantly. “Let her go.”
Jeff threw Elizabeth against the side of the house. “It’s none of your damn business how I punish Lizzie. Now get off my property.”
“Jason, just go,” Elizabeth pleaded.
Jason stepped right up to Jeff’s face. He’d shot up in the past year and had a good two inches on Jeff. He glared at him. “If you ever lay a hand on her again, I swear you won’t live to regret it.”
Jeff didn’t even flinch. He reached out and jerked Elizabeth to her feet. He twisted her wrist and she cried out. He smirked in Jason’s direction. “You think he can really protect you, Lizzie? He’s just a boy and once you stop putting out, he won’t care anymore.”
Jason grabbed Jeff’s arm. “Let her go,” he repeated. Jeff just twisted her wrist further. Elizabeth heard the bones pop and winced. She didn’t want to make any sound. She was afraid Jason might do something crazy and she’d never be able to see him again.
Jason noticed her look of pain and with his free hand, he hauled off and punched Jeff in the jaw. Jeff was stunned and stepped back, releasing Elizabeth’s wrist. “I told you not to touch her.”
Jeff lunged for the younger man, but Jason stepped out of the way easily, and Jeff crashed into the trellis. Blood spurted from his nose. “You little son of a bitch-”
Jason grabbed the back of his head and slammed it into the trellis. “How does it feel?” he demanded. “Do you like being beaten?”
“Jason, please,” Elizabeth put a hand on his forearm. “Let him go. He’s not worth it.”
Jason glanced at her and gritted his teeth. He pushed Jeff’s head into the trellis again and then let him fall to the ground. “If I find out you’ve laid even a finger on her, I won’t stop next time,” he warned. He turned to Elizabeth. “Come on. We might as well go through the front door now.”
He took her by the other hand and led her through the house. Sarah and Steven were nowhere in sight and neither was her mother. Elizabeth felt some small relief – but she was still mortified. It was one thing to confide in Jason about her father. It was quite another for him to witness the humiliation first hand.
He led her into her room and sat her on the bed. “Is your wrist okay?” he asked, sitting next to her. He took the swollen wrist in his hands.
She nodded. “He just sprained it probably. It should be all right in a few days. It usually is.” Elizabeth pulled her hand out of his grasp and leaned over to open her bottom nightstand drawer. She took out an Ace bandage and started to wrap it.
“Here,” he said. “Let me. It’ll be easier for me with two hands.” He started winding the cloth around her wrist. “I wish you’d go to someone.”
“I am,” Elizabeth said softly. “I go to you.”
Jason shook his head not taking his attention from the wrist. “No. I mean someone who can stop him for good. I only knocked him out.”
She shook her head. “And you shouldn’t have done that. What if he tells your parents you were here?” She bit her lip. “They might get the wrong idea.”
“So what?” Jason asked. He tucked the end of the bandage underneath to keep it wrapped. He looked up and met her eyes. “You know I care about you, Elizabeth. So what if my parents know?” His jaw clenched. “Besides, what was I supposed to do? Sit there and watch him hit you?”
She looked down. “I don’t know.”
“Let me take you to the police, someone who can help,” Jason pleaded. He took her chin in his hand and lifted it so he could see her eyes. “Please. I can’t stand seeing you like this.”
“They won’t believe me,” Elizabeth said, quietly. “It’ll be my word against Jeff Webber and you know how this town sees him. He’s this great guy who gives to charities, has a perfect family. They’ll never believe me.”
Jason smirked. “They’ll believe me. Edward Quartermaine’s my grandfather and you know that name carries more weight than Webber.”
She rolled her eyes. “There you go, being full of yourself again,” she cracked. She gave him a tiny smile. “It’s only three more years. I’ll be eighteen and I’ll never have to see them again.”
“It’s getting worse, Elizabeth. When was the last time you spent the night in your room?”
She looked away. “If you don’t want me to sneaking into your room anymore, all you have to do is tell me,” she said, stiffly.
“That’s not it. You know I don’t mind that. But you have to admit, he’s getting worse. I hate to think of what would have happened if I hadn’t been with you today. You’re having nightmares more and more frequently. And your grades are going back down. What happens when he gets that angry again and I’m not here to protect you?” Jason demanded. “He could really hurt you or worse-”
“Don’t say it,” Elizabeth cut in. “As long I don’t have to think about that, I can still survive in this house. I can’t go to the police. Don’t you see? That will make him go off. And no one will stop him then. He could buy a dozen judges and get me sent off to some school and I’ll never see you again.” She shook her head. “You’re the only thing that keeps me going. If I lose you, I’d probably go insane.”
“You won’t lose me, I promise,” Jason said. He stroked her hair. “Let’s compromise. I turn eighteen in August. Let me take you away then. We’ll leave Port Charles. I get control of my trust fund. We’ll leave the country and go somewhere where Jeff Webber can’t find us.”
She stared at him, stunned. “You’d really leave Port Charles to protect me?” she asked.
“I’d do anything to protect you,” he said quietly.
“What about your family or Emily and AJ?” Elizabeth asked. “They need us here. AJ’s drinking’s getting worse and I’d hate to leave Emily dealing with that.”
“We’ll take them with us,” Jason shrugged. “Drop AJ off at rehab center.”
She smiled. “It’s not that easy, Jason.”
“Look, let’s not worry about them right now. Maybe AJ won’t be drinking in August. All I’m asking is for you to let me to take you out of this house. Please.”
She sighed. “All right, in August, if we haven’t come up with a better solution.”
“I’d better go before my parents start to worry,” Jason said. He stood up and went over to the window. “Your dad’s gone.”
She sprang up from the bed and rushed over to the window. “Oh, no. He’s probably on his way up here!”
Jason crossed his arms. “I’m not leaving then.”
“No, you have to go,” she said desperately. “He’ll hurt you!”
He exhaled slowly. “All right.” He put his hands on her shoulders and leaned down. She thought at first he was going to kiss on the cheek like he always had. But instead he brushed her lips. It was over before Elizabeth had a chance to respond. He pulled away. “Call me, all right? Otherwise I’ll worry all day.”
She nodded wordlessly and watched as he climbed down the trellis…
That was the only time Jason had seen Jeff lay a hand on her. Luckily, Jeff hadn’t been on his way up after all. In fact, he’d avoided her for a few days. It didn’t change the fact that she still couldn’t sleep at night, but he hadn’t hit her until he’d dragged her home from the hospital a month later.
No matter how much Jason wanted to help now, he could never really understand. Elizabeth sighed and curled up on her bed. The last month before his accident was ironically the happiest of her life. Jeff was staying away and she and Jason were unofficially together. He’d wanted to tell people, but Elizabeth convinced him that they couldn’t. That Jeff would only send her away – especially after that morning beneath her window. She was looking forward to the end of the summer when Jason turned eighteen. She was beginning to think that running away was her only option.
But in the middle of April, Jason had had his accident and all of their plans were forgotten and she was alone. She couldn’t do that again.
Because she was still in love with Jason Quartermaine and she was beginning to think that he and Jason Morgan weren’t as different as people thought.
Emily had called Jason five times and he wasn’t answering. She didn’t have his cell number or she would have tried that. She glanced at the clock. She was going to miss Elizabeth. She sighed. Well, it wasn’t really Jason’s fault. He couldn’t help if he’d messed up their plan.
Emily grabbed the phone and dialed Carly’s private office line so that Elizabeth wouldn’t have to transfer her in.
“It’s me. I can’t get a hold of Jason.”
“Shit. Well, we’ll have to come up with something else.” Carly sighed. “All right, we need to find out how they’re getting along now. We’re working from the last time we were in the same room with them and they were arguing at that time. Maybe they’re already friends again. Oooh, wait. Hold on a second.”
Emily waited a few minutes impatiently. Honestly, Carly could get distracted so easily. Finally, Carly came back to the line.
“You still there, Em?”
“You’re never going to believe this. Elizabeth was getting ready to leave for the warehouse when Jason showed up. He offered her a ride!” There was pause. “I didn’t think he’d show.”
“What are you talking about?” Emily asked.
“Well, I figured it was possible you wouldn’t get a hold of him, so I called him and dropped the hint that Liz was walking to the warehouse by herself. I guess he took the bait.”
“Seriously?” Emily squealed. “Did she take it?”
“Hold on…Yes! She’s walking down the hall with him!”
“You’re not leaning out your office door are you Carly?”
“Nevermind. How do they look? ”
“They’re talking…oooh, she just laughed.”
“They’re not fighting? How far apart are they?” Emily demanded.
“A few inches…”
“This is good. All right, get in your office. We have some serious planning to do.”
“I’m in. So, it looks like they’re getting closer. Do you think they still need our help?”
“We’re not helping, per se. We’re ….uh, nudging them slightly. Listen, I’ll try to talk to her about Jason tonight and you pry some information from Jason. You’re good at that.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment. Let me know when AJ gets in.”
Elizabeth slipped the helmet off her head and handed it to Jason. “Thanks again for the ride.”
Jason got off the bike and put the helmet on the back. “It’s not a problem. I was heading here anyway.”
Elizabeth nodded. “What brought you to Deception anyway?” she asked as they headed towards the warehouse.
“Actually…Carly called and told me you were leaving. She didn’t want you walking to warehouse.”
“In broad daylight?” Elizabeth asked, skeptically. She stopped. “Oh, don’t tell me…”
Jason stopped walking and turned around. “What?”
She rubbed her eyes. “I’m going to murder her.” Elizabeth shook her head. “You do see what Carly’s trying to do?”
“What?” He looked at her confused.
“She’s trying to fix us up,” Elizabeth explained. “See, most people would just send their friends on a date. No, I get the psychotic sister-in-law who bends over backwards trying to make us like each other.” She swore under her breath.
“I’m sure Carly didn’t mean any harm,” Jason said, uncomfortably. He should have known Carly wouldn’t have given up just because she found out that he and Elizabeth didn’t get along. That fact alone was enough reason for Carly to try and get them together. He stared at the petite brunette and for some insane reason…he wondered if it would be a bad idea.
“I know,” Elizabeth said quietly. She sighed and looked away. Carly’s heart was in the right place, but Elizabeth couldn’t do this to herself. To let Jason in again would only serve to hurt her in the end. She bit her lip and looked down. “Look, Jason, don’t take this the wrong way, but it….it would never work.”
Jason wanted to agree – probably would have made it easier on the both of them. He didn’t think that Elizabeth’s reasons were all that concrete. He suspected it had more to do with the fact that she’d felt abandoned after he’d lost his memory and was in no hurry to do that again. Well, they’d already made incredible progress as friends in the past day and a half. He was going to be around for a while. Maybe he’d even get the truth from her.
“If that’s the way you feel,” he said finally.
“It is,” Elizabeth stated firmly. She hesitated and an awkward silence descended. Finally, she said, “We’d better get inside.”
“Hey, Liz, Jason,” Sonny said, looking up. “How did it go last night?”
Elizabeth sighed and headed straight for her desk. Pushing the start button, she said, “Not well. I got a quarter of the way through the list and didn’t come up with anything, but I’m going to keep trying.”
“I checked with the informants,” Jason said. “None of them have any names for us. But I made it clear that any information they get comes straight to me.”
Sonny nodded. “Good. I want the word spread. Dealers will not be tolerated. I’ve got a meeting with some of the other bosses. See if they’re having any of the same trouble. Liz, I want you to keep researching. Jason, keep your ears open.”
Jason nodded. “Do you need anything else?”
Sonny closed some folders. “I’m going home for lunch. Keep Liz company until I get back. Maybe she’ll find something you can use.”
Elizabeth narrowed her eyes. “I don’t need baby-sitting.”
“I didn’t say that, Liz,” Sonny said. “It’ll be easier if Jason’s here when you come up with something. He’ll be able to get the information instantly and use it.”
“But what if I don’t find anything?” Elizabeth asked, irritated.
“Then his afternoon will have been wasted,” Sonny said, shrugging. “Unless you have somewhere you need to be?” he asked Jason.
Jason shook his head, “Nope.”
“Figures,” Elizabeth muttered. She pulled up a program and began working. She heard Sonny leave and vaguely realized Jason had pulled a chair up in front of her desk. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched him pick up one of the frames.
“When was this taken?” he asked. She rolled her eyes, another trip down memory lane.
“Which one is it?” Elizabeth asked. He turned the picture so she could see it. She sat back and sighed. It was a homecoming picture. “That’s the two of us, your senior Homecoming dance, my sophomore one.”
“We went together?” Jason asked, surprised. Emily had told him that Jason Quartermaine had tried to get the courage up for months to ask her to the senior prom, but the accident happened before he could. Why go through all that if they’d already gone to a dance together?
Elizabeth sighed. That dance was one of her more memorable evenings. They’d planned to go together all along, but since they pretended that nothing had changed between them in public, they needed a plausible cover story. Jason asked Karen Wexler the day before the dance, knowing she was dating Jagger Cates and embarrassed himself further by admitting to her that he’d waited that long because he’d been nervous. Therefore, the reason he’d gone with Elizabeth appeared to be that she was his last resort.
She took the picture from him and looked at it more closely. She and Emily had shopped forever for the perfect dresses. Emily had scored a date with a friend of theirs, Lucky Spencer, Nikolas’s half-brother. That date led to her meeting Nikolas in the first place. Elizabeth had ended up buying a lavender halter dress made of silk that came to her knees. She’d loved the dress. Jason had looked amazing in his black dress pants and white dress shirt. She bit her lip. At that time, she’d thought he looked amazing in anything.
The dance had been perfect. Jason, of course, was named Homecoming King while Brenda Barrett won Homecoming Queen. Emily had been elected the Sophomore Spirit Princess. They’d danced all night and went bowling afterwards. They’d been having so much fun they lost track of time. Elizabeth had gotten home an hour late. She frowned. She’d had to throw the dress out after that. It had ended up ripped and a little bloody.
She looked up to find Jason staring at her intently. Flushing, Elizabeth put the picture back in place. “Yeah, you got turned down by the only girl you wanted to go with and by the time you’d asked her, everyone else had dates. So I was your last resort,” Elizabeth said. She returned to the computer screen.
“Did I actually say that?” Jason asked, surprised.
Elizabeth bit her lip. If she confirmed it, she’d be lying. If she denied it, she’d have to make up something anyway. Go for the easy lie. “Um, yeah, I guess. Why?”
“I must have been a bastard. Why would you go with me?” Jason asked, suspiciously. Last resort? If what Emily said was accurate, he must have at least been attracted to Elizabeth at that time. Something wasn’t right.
Elizabeth shrugged. “You were popular, and most girls would have pulled their teeth out to go with you. Trust me, it wasn’t a hard decision. I wasn’t going to have a date otherwise.”
Jason shrugged. “I would have punched me,” he said simply.
Elizabeth shook her head and kept scrolling through the information on the screen. Something caught her eye and she scrolled back up. Her eyes gleamed as she read the information. “I think I’ve got something.”
Jason leaned forward, all business now. “What?”
“Up until two years ago, Frank Verruchio was Albert Chosky’s right hand man in South Florida. He and Chosky had a falling out and Verruchio disappeared from the area. Most people assumed he was dead.” Elizabeth scrolled down. “I knew I’d seen his name before. He was working under Sorel before Sorel was executed.”
“Do you think it’s him?”
Elizabeth nodded. “Possible. I’ll talk to some of our contacts in South Florida. We’ve got a shipping contract with Chosky and we’re on good terms, so information should be relatively easy.”
“All right, so, we’ve got a lead. I’m gonna go tell Sonny.” Jason stood. “You staying here?”
“Yeah. I’m gonna keep going through this in case something else turns up.”
Once he was gone, she sat back in her seat and rubbed her eyes. Not telling Jason the truth was one thing, but lying to him was something else different. She hated it.
She also didn’t see any other way.
Emily paced her apartment, biting her nails. AJ, Courtney and the kids were supposed to show up any second. She eyed the apartment. She didn’t know if all four of them would fit. Maybe Sonny would arrange some rooms at the Port Charles Hotel.
A knock on the door broke Emily’s thoughts. She opened the door and threw herself into her brother’s arms.
“Hey, baby sis!” AJ laughed. “Let me through the door!”
Emily giggled and moved back. AJ entered, along with his pretty blonde wife, Courtney. Courtney had Kyle in her arms and was leading Melanie by the hand. They were pretty young, only about ten months apart.
Emily gave Courtney a hug – well as best as she could. “Hey!”
“Hey,” Courtney greeted. She set Kyle on the couch and pulled Melanie up to sit next to her. She turned and gave her sister-in-law a better hug, “How are things?”
“Better now that you’re all here,” Emily said.
“What’s up, Em?” AJ asked concerned.
“I just think the fearsome foursome needs a reunion in the worst way,” Emily said honestly.
“That’s just I had in mind,” AJ grinned.
Great Story, sad topic, but written well even though you say it was an early. Nice work.