The trip to the penthouse was quick–she sat in the car while he grabbed his bags. She hadn’t been to the penthouse since they’d moved out and for some reason, she felt uncomfortable in there.
It was odd, she thought, to be so uncomfortable around him. It was a new feeling. From the moment they’d met, she’d felt like they were supposed to be together. They’d just fit together from the start and now…they were trying to make each other fit again and it worried her that the reason it was so uncomfortable was because they were trying to fit each other into the places they’d once held in each other’s lives.
She’d told him she wasn’t the girl from Spain and it was a struggle sometimes to remember that he wasn’t the man from the time just before their marriage ended. It was going to be difficult to discover who they were now and it occurred to her that maybe…maybe the people they were now weren’t meant to be together.
She heard the trunk shut behind her and a few moments later, he got into the car and smiled at her. The little tender, half-smile that had made her decide nine years ago that she wasn’t going to spend her life without him.
Maybe this wasn’t going to work but if it didn’t, it wasn’t going to be because she hadn’t tried hard enough.
It was nearly noon when they stopped off the elevator on Olivia’s floor. Elizabeth fought the urge to peek in on her daughter but instead, she followed Jason and went to Dr. Jones’s office.
“I’m sorry I had to postpone,” the doctor began with an apologetic smile. “I have her test results.”
Jason took a deep breath. “And?”
“The drug worked nicely–just as we hoped. It brought her out of the coma and it went a long way to helping her body cope with the different medication.”
“But?” Elizabeth prompted.
“But Olivia’s heart did stop briefly and her brain was cut off from necessary oxygen,” Dr. Jones told them.
Elizabeth gripped Jason’s hand so tightly he could feel the bones squeezing together. “What does mean exactly?” she asked.
“Her cognitive reflexes are still good as could be told from her immediate recognition of her mother upon waking,” Dr. Jones began. “Her memory is intact and for the most part, you won’t notice a difference.”
“But there is a difference,” Jason finished with a sad sigh.
“Yeah. She’s going to have some mobility problems,” Dr. Jones began. “She’ll need therapy–more extensive than we hoped. And even then, we can’t guarantee anything. Also, she can’t grip with her hands very well. This has nothing to do with her muscles exactly but with the way her brain sends the message to those muscles. That can be improved–also with therapy.”
“Improved but not cured,” Elizabeth sighed.
“There’s no cure for most kinds of brain damage. Mrs. Morgan, your daughter has been extremely lucky. She survived an accident she shouldn’t have and came out of a coma that she shouldn’t have. She’s a very strong little girl and we have very high hopes for her.”
“Is there anything else we should know?” Jason asked.
“At an age when she should be very active and outgoing, Olivia is going to be forced to sit inside and have therapy instead of playing with her friends. She’s going to know that she’s different from them and she’ll need patience because she’ll probably be very demanding and cranky a lot. She’s young and she might not understand why she can’t do all the things she could just a week ago.” He took a deep breath. “Now, I understand if you both have time-consuming jobs–”
“I can take a leave of absence,” Jason said immediately. “I work for my father and he’ll understand.”
“I don’t work,” Elizabeth said faintly. “Just…charity and different organizations in town.”
“Well, that’s good.” Dr. Jones hesitated. “Now I understand that you’re divorced but I wouldn’t rule out the option of seeing a family therapist. The adjustment is going to be hard on everyone, more so on parents who are no longer together.”
“Thank you,” Elizabeth told him. “When do you expect to start this therapy?”
“Immediately,” Dr. Jones told her. “We still want her to go home in three weeks. For such a small child, it’s not good for her to spend so much time in a hospital, so we’re going to be working as hard as we can to keep that date in sight.”
“We understand.” Jason stood. “I should go make the arrangements with my job. Elizabeth, you can approve any schedule or program right?”
“Sure,” Elizabeth said, a little surprised by his eagerness to leave. Didn’t he have questions? She had a million herself. Forcing herself to smile at him briefly. “Go make the…arrangements.”
“I’ll meet you in Liv’s room when I’m done.” He hesitated, thought about kissing her on the forehead like he might have in a previous time but he didn’t and just left instead.
“Now about this gripping thing,” Elizabeth began turning back to the doctor. “Does this apply to anything else?”
Jason followed the signs for the hospital roof and once he was up there, he dialed a familiar number. “Keesha?”
Keesha Ward held a finger up to her companions at the table in the posh restaurant she was sitting in and turned away. “Jason? Hey. I heard about Elise–“
“Keesha, I’m in Port Charles now,” Jason told his longtime friend. He sighed and stared out of over the towering view the roof offered him. “With Elizabeth and Olivia.”
Keesha hesitated. “Jason. Just because you divorced Elise, it doesn’t mean you can automatically go back to your old life–“
“That’s not what this is about,” Jason remarked. “I should have called you a few days ago. Olivia was in a car accident and…there’s just been so much going on–”
“Jesus, Jason, hold on a second.” Keesha quickly threw some money down and left the restaurant. He heard the sounds of cars and the streets. “I’m in New York now. I can rent a car and be in Port Charles in two and a half hours.”
“You don’t have to come all the way here, I just wanted–”
“Jason, how long have we known each other?” Keesha demanded.
He felt himself cracking a small smile. “About thirty years.”
“Yeah. And how many times have I seen you naked?”
“You are my best friend, Jason Morgan. After everything you’ve done for me, it’s about time I get to do something for you,” Keesha said. She hailed a cab. “You fought with your parents when they didn’t want you to play with the nanny’s granddaughter. And you helped me get into Princeton. And that’s just the big things. So you know what? Just shut up and give me your address in Port Charles.”
He reeled off Elizabeth’s address. “Keesha, I really appreciate this–”
“It’s about time I get to meet this Elizabeth that broke your heart in the first place. I’ll call you if I get lost.”
“Yeah, I always do. I couldn’t find my way out a paper bag with out step by step directions. Talk to you later.” Her end went silent and he knew she had hung up. He closed the phone and slid it inside the front pocket of his pants.
Keesha Ward had been his nanny’s only grandchild and since Mary Mae Ward had lived in the Morgan home, Keesha had as well. They’d grown up together and been best friends most of the time–despite his parents’ dislike of the idea.
After he’d gone to Yale and she’d gone to Princeton, they’d lost touch for a little while until she’d seen the announcement of his marriage to Elizabeth. She’d called him up and reamed him for not inviting her. And after that, he called her once a week and she likewise. Because of her busy schedule with college and law school and his job and traveling, he’d been unable to introduce her to Elizabeth but Keesha had met Elise a few times and couldn’t really understand his attraction to the shallow woman. Keesha adored Olivia though and it didn’t surprise him that she was driving up to Port Charles after just hearing about the accident.
When he’d told Elizabeth that she’d been the only person he’d ever really trusted and depended on, he meant that. Because Keesha was more than that to him. She was the only real family he’d ever known and he was actually glad she’d be in Port Charles. She’d let him know if he was doing the right thing by giving his relationship with Elizabeth another shot.
He pulled the phone back out a moment later and called his father in Hamptons. Chad Morgan was not a family man by any means but he knew his son worshipped Olivia and despite their differences, he knew that if he didn’t give Jason his leave, his son would quit.
“Call me when you know more about her condition,” Chad told him before they hung up. Jason agreed but they both knew it was just a formality.
He hung the phone up for the second time and sighed. He was so far apart from his parents. He wished he’d realized how much he’d wanted something different before. Maybe he would have understood more where Elizabeth was coming from back then. She’d wanted to give Olivia the family they hadn’t had and he didn’t understand why she’d hated it so much. He was okay–she was okay. They’d done okay for themselves.
But every time that Olivia smiled at him or called him Daddy or showed him something new she’d learned, he couldn’t believe he’d ever wanted to leave her alone with some nanny. He couldn’t believe his arrogance in wanting Elizabeth to do it either. He was ashamed of that fact now and man, he’d do anything to take it back.
Olivia was sleeping peacefully when Jason entered and Elizabeth was sitting in a chair, staring at her with a smile on her face.
“Hey, how’d it go with the schedule?” Jason asked taking the seat next to his ex wife.
Elizabeth shrugged. “It was basically the schedule we approved before only bumped up to three hours instead of two.” She frowned at him. “Why did you leave so quickly? I had so many questions…”
“I wanted to get a hold of my father before he left for the city,” Jason told her. “It’s Sunday, he and my mother are in the Hamptons.”
“Oh.” Elizabeth shook her head and sighed. “It’s been such a long week…the days have blurred together.”
“I called Keesha Ward too,” Jason told her. Elizabeth frowned for a moment but recognition flickered in her eyes.
“Oh. The girl you grew up with?” Elizabeth nodded. “Olivia likes her. She wants to be a lawyer just like her.”
“Yeah, well Keesha’s driving up,” Jason told her. “She didn’t want to pass on the opportunity to meet you, I guess. She’s wanted to ever since she saw that announcement.”
Elizabeth smiled briefly. “Well, since you once told me she was the only person you really considered family, I really want to meet her.” She hesitated. “What did your father say when you told him about Olivia?”
“Just to keep him updated.” Jason shrugged. “He’s not big on family–you know that of course but even Olivia managed to charm him on the few occasions they’ve met.”
“Olivia could charm anyone,” Elizabeth replied, casting a smile at their daughter.
“Elizabeth, I just–”
They broke off and he gestured towards her. “You first.”
“I think I know why this is so awkward,” Elizabeth told him. “I think…it’s not that we’re trying so hard not to fight that we’re uncomfortable but it’s just…we haven’t spent any real time together since…almost before Olivia was born. Since then, it’s just been juggling our lives around her and I…don’t think we quite know how to act around each other now that things are so drastically different.”
“Yeah.” Jason nodded. “We went from a pretty good marriage to an almost bitter divorce to four years of not speaking. Even if we weren’t attempting reconciliation, this would be a difficult situation.”
“I don’t…” Elizabeth bit her lip and flushed a little. “I don’t know if it’s a good idea for you to stay at the house after all. I mean…right now. When it’s just the two of us. When Olivia comes home–”
“I agree.” He reached out and took her hand. “I’ll stay at the penthouse after all. I love you, Elizabeth. I want this to work out.”
She smiled. “Thanks for understanding, I just…I feel like if we try too hard and rush this…it won’t work. We need…” Elizabeth hesitated, trying to put it into words. “I feel like we need to start over almost, you know?”
“We can’t start over–not really,” Jason replied. “We’re in love–we have a daughter. It’s naïve to think that we can start over.”
“But we can’t just jump back into a life together,” Elizabeth reminded him. “It’s naïve to think that we haven’t changed that drastically. I told you yesterday–I’m not that girl from Spain anymore.”
“I know,” Jason argued. “But I’m not that nervous guy proposing either. Yes, we’ve changed. But who we used to be is still part of who we are now.”
“I just–” She stopped. “You don’t understand what I’m trying to say.”
“You’re not making any sense. We can’t start over–because that would be saying that we failed at everything–”
She rolled her eyes. “For Christ’s sake Jason, we did fail. We got divorced. That’s what it means to get divorced. It means you failed.”
He narrowed his eyes. “Do I have to remind you again that I didn’t want a divorce?”
“You don’t get to use that anymore,” Elizabeth snapped. She stood up and walked across to the window. “We both made mistakes.”
“Once of went to Paris and the other became a drug addict. That’s some mistake.”
As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he wanted to take them back. Her head snapped around and her eyes filled with tears even as the anger in them made him take a step back. “Elizabeth, I–”
“You know what?” she asked softly. “You’re right. It is naive to think that we can start over. It’s naïve to think that we can do this again at all.” She brushed some of tears from her cheeks and kissed Olivia’s forehead. “I’ll be back in an hour or so.”
“Wait,” he protested. He caught her arm and pulled her back. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it–”
“No, you definitely meant it,” Elizabeth remarked coolly. She yanked her arm away from him. “You don’t tend to say things you don’t mean. Not even when you’re angry. Yes, I took sleeping pills. Yes, I took them more often than I should have. And I know it was wrong but you are not going to make me ashamed of how I got through that time. You had no idea what I was going through–”
“Because you refused to talk to me,” Jason challenged. “How could I know if you wouldn’t tell me?”
“You’d think you would have gotten a clue when I fell asleep during sex,” she spat out.
He stepped away from her and looked at the floor. “I don’t think we should be in the same room right now. We’re going to keep doing this and I don’t want to hurt you.”
“Fine.” She grabbed her purse and stalked out of the room.