“Okay, forget the idiot you saw yesterday,” Emily began over a cup of hot chocolate the next morning in the hospital cafeteria. They were both due to start their shifts in about a half hour and Elizabeth looked like she hadn’t slept a wink the previous night–which she hadn’t. “Forget him and concentrate on the guy who asked you out and all that. Do you want to work this out?”
Elizabeth sighed and leaned back in her chair, her eyes concentrating on anything but her friend. “There’s nothing to work out, Em. My family…it’s baggage and it’s obviously baggage he can’t handle–”
“The news took him by surprise,” Emily interrupted. “He really likes you, Elizabeth. And you’re the first girl he’s gotten serious about since he’s been home.”
Elizabeth shook her head. “Besides, it was just one non-date. He really just took me home. There wasn’t anything more than that.”
“Oh, come on. Look, when you told me about your first kiss, you were blushing so badly–it’s a good memory for you and the second time was, too. That’s who my brother is–not the idiotic male he was yesterday.”
“Well it doesn’t matter anyway. I was completely violent yesterday, so there’s no going back now.”
“You never know,” Emily replied, cheerfully. “Really…I promise if you go and apologize for trying to kill him, he’ll apologize for being a moron.”
“I did not try to kill him,” she protested.
“Okay, then apologize for being violent,” Emily corrected. “When your shift is over–”
“I don’t get off until one in the morning,” Elizabeth reminded her.
“Okay, but you have the next two days off before you start a thirty-six hour on Thursday. Go see him tomorrow,” Emily urged.
“Look, I’d love to sit here and argue with you but I promised Lucky I’d bring him a bagel before my shift starts, so you stew about this for a little while before you decide that I’m right, okay?” Emily grinned and stood. “Trust me, Liz. My brother is a good guy–but he is a guy. You’ve got to give him a little room to be an idiot.”
The next day…
“So, I guess Brenda’s tactic worked a little better than she hoped,” Sonny remarked, leaning against the wall of the garage as Jason ducked his head underneath the hood of one the cars.
“What tactic?” Jason asked, absently.
“The one where she pisses you off into distraction allowing her to win the game.”
Jason shrugged. “She was just telling me the truth for once. Nothing wrong with that.” He straightened and took a rag from his back jeans pocket to wipe his greasy hands. “Who knows how long Elizabeth was going to wait before she told me she was engaged?”
“Maybe she didn’t think it was important enough to bring up,” Sonny offered. “After all, she doesn’t wear the ring and doesn’t consider herself engaged. So what if there’s some guy three thousand miles away who thinks differently?”
“Look, I went to talk to her and she slammed the door in my face–and threw a lamp at the door.” He shook his head. “That pretty much ends it there doesn’t it?”
“Only if you want it to,” a hesitant Elizabeth said, startling both Sonny and Jason as she approached them. “Hey, Mr. Corinthos.”
“Sonny,” he corrected.
“What are you doing here?” Jason asked, bluntly. Elizabeth folded her arms and looked away.
“I came to apologize for throwing a lamp at you,” she said softly.
“You know what?” Sonny said. He gestured towards the front of the garage. “I’m going to, ah, go. I’ll give your love to Brenda. See ya, Elizabeth.”
“Bye, Mr. Corinthos,” Elizabeth said.
“Sonny,” he corrected again as he left.
“I thought you threw it at the door,” Jason said when his friend was gone. He shut the hood on the car and went over to the sink to wash his hands.
“The door was in the way,” she reported. “But you came at a bad time–my brother had just called for more bail money and I’m about to go into default on my student loans as it is so I had just crushed my answering machine into smithereens when you showed up.”
“So you were mad at your brother and took it out on me?” Jason asked skeptically.
“No, I was plenty mad at you,” Elizabeth retorted. “But I wouldn’t have thrown a lamp at you under other circumstances.” So much for Emily’s theory of a double apology, she thought bitterly. She shoved her hands into the pockets of her jeans. “Well, I came to apologize and now I have.”
Jason grabbed a towel from a nearby table and dried his hands. “Were you ever gonna tell me?”
Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “Hey, let’s be realistic here. We kissed twice and we made plans for dinner. That does not in any way entitle you to my life story.”
“I didn’t want your life story but I figure I had a right to know if you were engaged or not.”
Elizabeth threw her hands up in frustration. “God damn it, I wasn’t engaged!”
“Brenda embellished it,” she cut in. “I talked to her yesterday–first of all, my mother is well aware of the fact that I don’t intend on marrying Ted. No, this has not stopped her from hoping I’ll com to my senses–and yes, occasionally, she calls with thoughts about a wedding consultant but I put up with it because she is my mother and because my brother is a waste of space.” She took a deep breath. “Secondly, Ted knows we’re not getting married but he’s a lawyer with my father’s firm so he goes along with my mother, too. Maybe instead of believing everything you hear, you could trust me.”
“You didn’t answer my question.”
She glared at him. “It would have come up eventually if things ever got far enough to talk about our families. Yes, I would have told you that I have an overbearing mother who at times borders on the delusional.” She folded her arms tightly. “You’re not at all sorry you freaked out on me and decided that I was another man’s property?”
He winced. “Yeah…I didn’t mean that part.”
“Which part?” Elizabeth demanded. “Because I have to tell you, the whole scene in the cafeteria, the hallway, the elevator and the room–it was all offensive.”
Jason sighed and crossed his arms. “Look, I like you Elizabeth,” he told her bluntly. “And I haven’t been involved with anyone since I broke up with Carly and moved home. I would really hate to think I messed it up by being an idiot yesterday.”
Elizabeth smiled and looked away. “You haven’t,” she admitted softly.
He moved closer to her then. “Do you have a shift at the hospital?” Jason asked.
She shook her head. “No. I’m off until Thursday morning. And then I have to work thirty-six hours straight.”
“That’s like…a day and a half. Don’t you have to sleep?” Jason asked pointedly. He set the towel on the table and moved around her towards the stairs in the back. She followed him.
“We get sleep breaks,” Elizabeth replied. “There’s a shortage of interns and I need to pull a double shift.” She frowned as he started up the stairs. “Where you going?”
“Come upstairs,” Jason said, turning on the step and holding out a hand.
She frowned. “What?”
“I need to shower and change,” Jason explained. “I’m covered in grease and we can’t go out to lunch with me like this.”
She raised her eyebrows. “Out to lunch? You know…a girl generally likes to be asked first.”
He smirked. “Are you gonna say no?”
“No.” Elizabeth smiled and slipped her hand in his. “Okay.”
“You can wait out here,” Jason told her once they were in his apartment. He jerked a thumb towards one of the two closed doors on the right side of the room. “I won’t be long.”
Elizabeth nodded and watched him disappear into the bathroom before wandering around his small apartment. There was mainly just the living room and a small kitchenette. She assumed the other room was his bedroom.
Elizabeth heard the shower click on and immediately an image of Jason in the shower flashed through her mind. She flushed and shook her head to clear that real quick. It was too early for thoughts like that.
Not that she hadn’t already thought about it. Saturday night alone had been filled with some interesting dreams–and if she was honest, so had Sunday and Monday nights.
She moved over to one of the shelves on the wall and studied the various picture frames–Emily’s touch, no doubt. One of Emily and Jason in front of the garage, a picture of the siblings at a much younger age with two people she assumed were their parents.
She wondered briefly about that–neither Emily or Jason had brought them up and this was the first time she’d seen any kind of picture.
Elizabeth took the picture off the shelf to study it further. They were standing in front of a house–Jason was in his mid-teens and Emily, her pre-teens. Their mother had been blonde and petite–her facial features resembling Emily’s while Jason was definitely his father’s son.
“They were killed in a car accident when I was seventeen.”
Startled, Elizabeth turned to see Jason standing in the doorway of the bathroom, clean and dressed in a different color t-shirt with another pair of blue jeans. She hastily put the picture back. “I’m sorry…I was just–”
“It’s okay,” Jason assured her. He walked over and picked it up himself. “We lived with an aunt until I was eighteen and Em was sixteen. After that, I took care of her–put her through college.”
“I’m so sorry,” Elizabeth said softly. “I can’t imagine what it must have been like.”
“It was hard,” Jason admitted. “But Emily and I are a lot closer than a lot of siblings because of it.”
She smiled faintly. “Must be nice,” she murmured. She looked away and sighed. “Johnny dropped out of college–freshman year. My parents wrote him off and he’s been kind of drifting ever since. I hoped when he met Kiki that it might change, but she’s content to follow him everywhere.”
“You said he needed bail money again–how often does that happen?”
“Third time in two months,” she sighed. Elizabeth shrugged. “I can’t do anything about it anyway–I don’t have the money, so he’s going to have to sit in jail this time.”
“I’m pretty used to it,” Elizabeth said, shaking her head. “Anyway, lunch?”
Jason nodded. “Yeah, where do you want to go?”
“Doesn’t really matter to me.” She smiled then. “You know…when I was in the hospital, after the surgery…I wondered if I’d ever get the chance to see you again.” She tilted her head to the side. “Why’d you leave?”
Jason exhaled slowly. “Because the cops know me. They know I’m a friend of Sonny’s and he doesn’t always have the best reputation with them. I try to avoid them most of the time.” He put his hands in his pockets. “I thought about you, though. I was actually really glad to see you–that you were okay.”
“Brenda and Emily seemed to think this was all fate,” Elizabeth told him wryly. “They explained their whole theory over lunch right after we met.”
“Fate?” Jason echoed. “How do you figure?”
“Yeah, because of all the different ways we could have met. That night in the alley, Lucky dating Emily, my crappy car, Brenda…” Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “It’s so silly.”
“Maybe,” Jason said, “but you have to admit, they’ve got a point.”
Elizabeth laughed. “You think we were destined to meet?”
“Nah,” Jason replied, smirking. “That’s a little much. No, they’re right about all the ways we could have met–but I’m glad that it happened the way it did.”
“So, what do you think it was?” Elizabeth asked. “We know all of the same people, I work somewhere you seem to frequent..”
Jason shrugged. “Maybe it was just one of life’s little quirks.”