Chapter Fourteen

This entry is part 14 of 16 in the Yesterdays

Jason slid his hand into Elizabeth’s and glanced over at her as she offered him her vanilla ice cream cone. He declined, content to watch her tongue dart out for tiny licks.

They’d dropped serious discussion over dinner and afterwards, she’d taken him to an ice cream vendor and he’d insisted on paying for her ice cream. This was a date, he’d told her, and he was going to do this right.

“It looks even better during the winter,” Elizabeth broke the silence. She smiled up at him. “With all the snow and the lake freezes over just a little–not enough for skating or anything–it feeds into the river, you know and the current’s too strong to freeze over.”

“Isn’t it too cold to walk here in the winter?” Jason asked.

“It’s more than too cold,” Elizabeth admitted. “But I don’t care. I bundle Olivia up in layers of clothing and I wear like eight sweaters but it’s so worth it.”

“Well then I guess I better get some winter clothes,” he remarked casually.

“Yeah–I remember you never did like to winter anywhere where it felt like the actual season,” she laughed. She finished her ice cream and offered him the cone again. “Want to eat the cone?”

He shook his head and she tossed into a nearby trash can, licking the excess vanilla from her hands. “We should talk about Olivia,” he said.

She sighed and stopped walking. She slid her hands in the pockets of her suede jacket. “What about her?” Elizabeth asked.

“I know we talked about me staying at the house and that we decided it was a bad idea,” Jason began, “but she’s going to be home in a few weeks and we don’t know what stage of her recovery she’s going to be at and I want to be there for her–”

“We don’t know what stage in our reconciliation we’ll be at in a few weeks,” Elizabeth interrupted.

He regarded her with suspicious eyes. “I’m not exactly sure what pint you’re trying to make there.”

“Well…” Elizabeth drawled. She danced her fingertips across his broad chest and smiled up at him. “If I were to ask you to come with me tonight…”

He caught her hand in his and brought them to his lips. He kissed each finger softly and shook his head. “As tempting as that offer would be, I would say no.”

She surprised him then by smiling brightly. “And that’s exactly why I think everything is going to be just fine.” She stood on her tiptoes and pressed her lips chastely to his. “If we’re not at the stage where we’re ready to be living together when she comes home, there’s always the guest room.”

“You sure about that?” Jason asked apprehensively.

Elizabeth nodded. “I love you, Jason and I love that you love our daughter. I remember when she was born and you just–went insane,” she laughed. “You bought out FAO Schwarz–you bought all these things–some them she still can’t use…”

Jason shrugged and ducked to hide his smile. “I couldn’t help it. You know–I have to admit that I always thought I’d be disappointed if I didn’t have a boy but I wasn’t. When you told me you were pregnant–I didn’t even care if we had a boy or a girl–just the thought of us having a baby…”

“I thought you’d hate the idea–having a baby would tie us to one place more–we couldn’t just pick up and leave anymore–” Elizabeth sighed. “You’re a good father, Jason. I don’t know if that’s important to you or not but it’s important to me–”

“It is important to me.” Jason twined his fingers in hers and they started walking again. “The older I get and the more time I spend with Olivia, the more I realize you were right. It appalls me that I was willing to do what my parents did to me.” He glanced down at her. “What your parents did to you.”

“Your childhood–it was different than mine. Your father–if he’s ever had an affair, I’ve certainly never heard of it and he clearly loves your mother even if it’s a safe, friendship kind of love, you know? And I happen to like your parents.”

“Yeah–I have to admit what they lacked in affection they made up for by at least pretending they were my parents.” He shrugged. “But they still missed important things in my life. Graduations, birthdays–our wedding.” Jason rubbed his thumb over her wedding and engagement rings. “I’ve missed all of Olivia’s birthdays because I was an idiot.”

“Jason–I was so horrible to you,” she sighed. “I didn’t trust you–not with me, not with Olivia and you never did anything to deserve that mistrust and I didn’t give you much of a warning that I wanted to change our lives.”

“You were my wife, Elizabeth. My entire life.” They started up the dock stairs to where her car was parked near Kelly’s. “I should have made whatever sacrifice was necessary to keep you in my life.”

He stopped her when they reached her car and gripped her shoulders. “You and Olivia are still my life–the most important people in the world to me and I want to make sure you believe that. No matter how long it takes for you to trust me.”

Elizabeth wrapped her arms around his waist and rested her cheek against his chest. “Do you remember what you said about not needing a pile of bricks because I was your home?”


“You were my home, too…I just didn’t realize it until I lost you.”

Keesha was studying a map of New York State when he came into the penthouse a little later. “It’s amazing how big this state is,” she murmured. “No wonder I always get lost.”

“You got lost in Rhode Island,” Jason reminded her.

Keesha shrugged. “It’s a gift. How did it go?”

He lifted her feet up and sat down on the couch, putting her legs in his lap. He thought about his answer for a few moments as Keesha tried to calculate the distance between New York City and Port Charles. It looked like it was three inches apart but that couldn’t be right.

“It was–a little weird at first. She took me to this diner where she knew everyone and everyone knew me.”

“Sounds like the Cheers theme song.”

“Everyone knew we were divorced and I bet they even know why–it’s like a real small town, Keesha. No one has any privacy.”

She wrinkled her nose. “God, I’d never survive here.”

“It’s–it explains why she’s so different than she used to be. She was always an incredible woman but–” he shook his head, a little awed by the whole idea. “There’s whole air about her now–like she’s really happy here. I never realized how much setting down roots could matter to her but it’s really been good for her.”

“She’s different,” Keesha said slowly. “Too different?”

“No–I wasn’t in love with her because she loved to travel or play the socialite–those were things people in our crowd do but it was always different with her. She went to Egypt with me, to Siberia, Turkey–China. So many places that no respectable woman would. She got sun poisoning but still went to the pyramids with me because she knew I’d stay with her and miss the tour group otherwise. She got pneumonia in Siberia.”

“A sane woman would have let you traipse on your own,” Keesha grimaced. “I’d have stayed behind in a hotel with room service.”

“Elise did after the first few trips,” Jason said quietly. “I took her for granted, Keesha. I didn’t realize just how incredible Elizabeth was until I was married to someone else.”

“So…tonight?” Keesha prompted.

“Tonight–I got to return the favor. She went to exotic places with me–smiled through it and I think she really enjoyed some of it–and tonight, I spent an ordinary evening eating hamburger and fries at a diner where everyone knew everything about me before I opened my mouth. I walked on the docks with her and bought her a vanilla ice cream cone.”

He looked at his best friend with a small smile. “And I really enjoyed it. I could do this, Keesha. I could live here, live this life and it would be okay. I could really do it.”

“And never resent giving up the life you live now.” Keesha sighed. “It’s a beautiful fantasy life you lead there, Jase.”

“What life do I have, Keesha? All of my possessions can be packed in forty-five minutes. I don’t see my daughter three thirds of the year–I’ve never celebrated her birthday with her, I’ve missed three out of five Christmases, I missed her ballet recital…”

Jason shook his head. “And I missed seeing Elizabeth smile every day–missed holding her and being with her. If I could go back in time and fix it so that I hadn’t missed a thing, I’d pay any price in the world. But since I can’t change the past, I’m sure as hell going to prevent the rest of my life being that miserable.”

“I want you to be happy,” Keesha assured him. “I just want you to be sure that you’ve thought this through.”

“I have. I’m told Elizabeth this tonight and now I’m telling you. I’m twenty-eight years old and I’m tired of just existing. I want my life back–I want Elizabeth back. Our marriage worked before because I loved her–because I was with her. It had nothing to do with the parties, the money, the hotels. I love my daughter and I want to be there for her every moment of her life. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, Keesha and I don’t aim to make them over and over again.”

Elizabeth pulled the thin blanket over her legs and reached over to switch off her bedside lamp. The room plunged into darkness and just before her eyes got too heavy, the phone rang.

Worried that it was the hospital, Elizabeth snatched the receiver up. “Hello?” she said urgently.

“Hey–it’s just me,” Jason said. “It’s not about Olivia.”

She exhaled slowly. “Thank God. I called her when I got home earlier and she seemed fine so–” she shook her head. “Sorry–hi.”

He laughed. “It’s okay, I would have been worried it was the hospital too.”

“So–what’s up? Why’re you calling this late?” Elizabeth asked.

“I’m trying to fall asleep and I realized why I couldn’t.”

“Oh, really?” Elizabeth’s lips curved into a smile. There were nights when they’d both been separated by an ocean, stranded at their respective schools and though England was in a different time zone, she loved the late night calls from Jason. They’d spend hours talking on the phone, yearning for the next time they could steal a weekend to see one another.

“Yeah–see, I had this incredible date tonight,” Jason began. “And I just can’t get this girl out of my head.”

“Sounds bad,” Elizabeth said. She closed her eyes. “Why do you think you can’t stop thinking about her?”

“Because she’s just–amazing. I think I’m in love and I couldn’t sleep without hearing her voice again.”

“Well–you’re in luck. I had a date with the cutest guy I’ve ever seen,” Elizabeth teased. “And I couldn’t sleep without hearing his voice again.”

“I–I love you, Elizabeth.”

“I love you, too.”

“Good night.”

“Good night.”

There was a pause and she could still hear his breath on the line. “You going to hang up?”

“You first.”

“Ha–I remember these arguments. What was the record? An hour to decide who’d hang up first?” Elizabeth recalled fondly.

“Yeah–but we’re not nineteen and twenty-one anymore,” Jason sighed. “We have a daughter who’s going to want to see us before therapy tomorrow.”

“Mmm…yeah, and this twenty-six year old would like some hot chocolate in the morning. With scrambled eggs, toast and bacon.”

“That place–Kelly’s…does it serve breakfast?” Jason asked curiously.

“Sure does, best eggs in town.” Elizabeth yawned. “Okay–so I’ll pick you up around eight?”

“It’s my turn to pick you up. Eight it is. Good night, Elizabeth.” There was a click this time and she smiled.

“Good night, Jason.”


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