“Come in!” Sonny called before turning his attention back to the phone. “Yeah, just keep me updated on Junior. I’m glad his father saw fit to send him out of town but you never know with slime like him.” He saw Jason enter and held up a hand. “Thanks, Johnny. Let me know.”
He hung up the phone and frowned. “Were we supposed to meet tonight?”
Jason shook his head. “No. I, actually, I’m here to pick up Elizabeth.”
Sonny’s frown deepened. “She left half an hour ago. Dressed to go to Jake’s.” He hesitated. Now that he thought about it, his sister hadn’t looked quite right in the eyes when she’d left the penthouse. A little sad–her eyes had been slightly bloodshot. He peered at his friend. “Did something happening last night?”
Jason rubbed the back of his neck. “Not that I’m aware of. We went to Eli’s, decided to do something to night and then I dropped her off. Maybe…maybe we got our wires crossed and she thought we were meeting at Jake’s.”
“Didn’t you see her there though?” Sonny asked. He tilted his head to the side. “You’ve got the room there again right?”
“Yeah but I came straight from the warehouse.” He jerked a thumb towards the door. “I’m just gonna see if I can find her there. See you later, Sonny.”
“Yeah, see ya,” Sonny said. He leaned against his desk after his friend left and shook his head a little. Something was off here–he could just feel it.
Elizabeth shrugged her leather jacket off and tossed it over the back of a chair before taking the shot of whiskey from Zander Smith and tossing it back. “Good to see you’re back in town, Z,” she said, reaching the chalk and a pool cue.
“Good to see your fashion habits haven’t changed,” Zander quipped, taking in the tight low-cut blood red tank top paired with the almost illegal short black leather skirt and fuck-me spiked heels. “You do know that you’d look hot in actual clothes though right?”
Elizabeth snorted. “God, I swear you’re turning into Michael the longer you work for him.” She leaned over the table to rack the balls, giving many interested men a generous view of her cleavage. Zander tossed a glare in their direction and blocked their view. “So how was San Francisco?”
“Good. You wanna break?”
She did just that, sinking three balls in the first go. She moved around the table, eying her options.
“So, is there a reason you’re dressed a little more…slutty than usual?” Zander inquired.
She glared at him. “Excuse me?”
“Well, I know you, Liz. I’m one of the few friends you have in this fair city and I know your habits. You wore this exact same outfit the night after Junior smacked you around.” He narrowed his eyes. “Did he come near you?”
“No. Sonny brought Jason Morgan home to take care of it,” Elizabeth said coolly. “Jason did his job and then some.”
“Jason, huh?” Zander nodded. “He’s a good guy. The kind of guy you should date.” He frowned when Elizabeth threw her head back and started to laugh. He didn’t like the bitter sound and he touched her arm. “Liz?”
“You know, I thought so, too.” She smirked. “I even decided to become a one-man woman. He certainly seemed interested, but hey, I’m still as naïve as the day I came here, huh?”
Zander shook his head. “I don’t understand. If Jason sounded interested, he was. He doesn’t play around with women.”
“Look, I don’t really want to talk about Jason Morgan,” Elizabeth said in a clipped tone. “I don’t want to see him or even think about him so can we just move on?”
“Well, we’ll see how that goes since the man in question just walked in,” Zander said, gesturing towards the entrance where Jason was staring at them with obvious confusion.
Elizabeth whirled around and met Jason’s clear blue eyes. For a moment, she let the anger and hurt the show in her own eyes before she grabbed a stunned Zander by the shirt collar and kissed him.
Seconds later, she felt a strong elbow grasp her elbow and yank her away. Jason spun her face him. “What the hell is going on?” he demanded.
Zander inserted himself between the two and shoved Jason away. “Don’t you ever lay a hand on her again,” he seethed.
Jason took a deep breath. “Okay. I shouldn’t have–” he looked past Zander to the furious brunette behind him. “What in the hell is going on, Elizabeth? I thought we were supposed to meet tonight.”
“Oh like you don’t know,” Elizabeth tossed back. “You can’t have it both ways, jackass. If you’d wanted a body in your bed last night, all you had to do was ask.”
Zander frowned and looked at her. “Elizabeth, what the–”
“You’re pissed because I didn’t bring you back here last night?” Jason asked incredulously.
“Oh don’t be so damn full of yourself. You know exactly what I’m talking about.” She yanked her jacket off the chair and stalked away. Jason stared after her in bewilderment.
“Do you want to explain what the hell just happened here?” Zander asked him.
“If I knew, I’d tell you.” Jason shrugged. “We went out last night–I thought it went well and I was supposed to see her again but…” He shook his head. “I’m going after her.”
“Yeah, that would be a good idea.”
She was fumbling with her car keys, trying to hold the tears back until she was in the car. She heard his boots clicking over the gravel and she whirled around to confront him. “Haven’t you humiliated me enough?” she cried.
Jason shook his head. “Elizabeth, I don’t know what’s going on but–”
“You slept with my sister!” Elizabeth hissed. She glared at him. “And you have the nerve to stand there and pretend–”
“I didn’t sleep with Courtney,” Jason replied, mystified. “Where did you get that idea?”
“Don’t lie to me! She already told me!” Elizabeth turned back around and started fumbling with her keys again. “I’m surprised she didn’t laugh at her silly little sister when I asked her to call off the bet because I freaking liked you.” She rolled her eyes. “I’m so stupid–”
He grabbed her elbow and turned her around. “What bet?” Jason asked in a low voice.
Her lip trembled. “We made a bet to see who would sleep with you first. I-I m-made it before I ever met you but I liked you–I didn’t want to sleep with you because of a bet. She…she was just coming home when I went to t-tell her.”
He gripped her shoulders tightly. “I didn’t sleep with her, Elizabeth. I don’t kiss one woman and then sleep with another.”
“No, no, you had to…” Elizabeth shook her head. “Courtney wouldn’t lie to me. Not…she wouldn’t do it.”
“I don’t know about that but I never touched her–I never even saw her last night.” He took a deep breath. “Elizabeth–”
“I have to go,” she whispered. She pulled away and took a deep breath. “Please let me go.”
“Do you believe me?” he asked her intently.
“I don’t know what to believe.” She closed her eyes. “Just let me go.”
He released her shoulders and stepped back. “I didn’t sleep with her. I’ve never felt that way about Courtney. I understand–she’s your sister and you know her. You certainly have more reason to trust her than me. But I’m not lying to you, Elizabeth.”
She turned around and slipped her key into the lock. She got in the car and pealed out of the parking lot shortly after that.
Courtney had just put on her suede jacket to head to Club 101 for the night when Elizabeth blew inside, her eyes blazing.
“Did you lie to me?” she demanded.
Courtney stared at her. “What?”
“Did you lie to me?” Elizabeth repeated. She slammed the door shut. “I swear to God, if you lied to me, we are through.”
“Lizzie, what are you talking about?” Courtney asked carefully. She flipped her hair over the collar. “What’s wrong?”
“You told me you slept with Jason last night,” Elizabeth began. “And I believed you because though we’re not related by blood, you are my sister and I trust you. I blew off my date with him tonight but he came to Jake’s anyway.”
Courtney swallowed hard. “Lizzie, you know I love you. What happened at Jake’s?”
“He told me it didn’t happen,” Elizabeth said. Her eyes darkened. “He seemed pretty adamant about it. But he said he understood if I still believed you. He didn’t even seem mad when I told him about the bet. So I’m asking you if you lied to me.”
“Lizzie, of course I didn’t lie to you,” Courtney sighed. “Look, I don’t know why he’s denying it–”
Elizabeth stared at her. “You are lying to me aren’t you? You never touched him. He says he never even saw you last night.”
“You’re going to believe him over your own sister?” Courtney demanded.
Elizabeth’s lower lip trembled. “I can’t…I can’t believe you’d do this to me. You were supposed to love me. Supposed to be my sister. You were supposed to be my friend. Why would you lie to me?”
“All of my life…” Elizabeth faltered, her voice broke. “I just I wanted a family that would love me. That’s all I wanted. I dreamed about having a sister. We’d be a like and she’d be older than me. Teach me about makeup and clothes and hair and boys. I wanted that my whole life and I thought…I thought I had it. How could you lie to me?”
“Lizzie, I’m so sorry,” Courtney apologized. She stepped towards her. “You know I love you. You’re my sister. I just…I didn’t realize that you cared about him. I just wanted to win a bet. I didn’t–”
“You lied to me. You broke my trust in you for a lousy bet?” Elizabeth said painfully. She shook her head. “I told you that I liked him and then you lied to me–”
“I thought you were just trying to win the bet. I didn’t realize–God, Lizzie, I’m sorry. Look, I’ll explain it to him a-and I’ll make this better–”
Elizabeth shook her head and reached behind her for the doorknob. “You can tell the truth now but it doesn’t change what you did. I don’t…I don’t know that I can ever forgive you.” She pulled the door open.
“I have to go.”
The door slammed shut just as Courtney reached it. “Lizzie, I’m sorry!” she called anyway. She raised her voice. “Lizzie!”