Jason blinked and slowly stood up from the chair. He stretched his arms over his head and rolled his head from side to side to work out some of the kinks in his neck.
Olivia was still sleeping and so was his ex-wife. Elizabeth’s head was resting the bed, her hair tangled and in her face.
He kissed Olivia’s pale forehead before kneeling down in front of Elizabeth to gently shake her awake. “Hey.”
She jerked her head up and blinked, trying to adjust to her surroundings. “What–?”
“We have a meeting with her doctor in a half hour,” he told her. “I thought you might want to get up, get a shower or something.”
She wiped her eyes and yawned. “Yeah. Thanks.” She stood and grabbed the bag from underneath the hospital bed and went into the private bathroom.
When he heard the water turn on, he took Elizabeth’s vacated seat and took Olivia’s tiny hand between his larger ones. “Hey, Princess. I wish you’d open those big blue eyes of yours. You’re really scaring your mother and I.”
“It’s a girl!” Dr. Meadows announced with a large smile as she handed the baby over to a nurse to clean and wrap in a bundle.
Elizabeth laughed and gripped Jason’s hand more tightly. “A girl…we have a daughter.”
He kissed her lightly as the nurse placed the baby in Elizabeth’s arms. “Look at her–she’s so tiny.”
“She’s perfect,” Elizabeth whispered. She looked up him, adoration and tenderness shining in her eyes. “I love you so much.”
He kissed her forehead. “I love you more.”
“You were the most beautiful baby I’d ever seen and I don’t think I’m biased because you’re my daughter.” He kissed her hand and sighed. “I know you want me around more and I’ve been thinking that I want to be around more. So, you can help me decorate your new room at the penthouse and maybe we can do more things as a family. You, me and your mom.”
He heard the shower click off and he sighed. “You’re lucky, baby, you’ve got a mother who would walk through fire for you and give up everything. I was dumped off with a nanny until I went to boarding school.” Jason shook his head. “I argued with your mother when she didn’t want to do the same thing and I was wrong–I was very wrong. I didn’t understand how much I could love another person. I thought I did–because I loved your mother more than anything else in this world. But, man, the first time I saw you, it was like my heart was going to burst. You were created out of the best love I’ve ever known and even though your mother and I aren’t together, I want you to always remember that.”
The bathroom door clicked shut at that point and he turned to see a freshly showered Elizabeth standing there with a soft look in her eyes. He hadn’t even heard the door open.
She crossed to the other side of the bed and kissed Olivia’s forehead. “It was the best love I’ve ever known, too,” she said softly. She met Jason’s eyes over the bed. “We should go meet the doctor.”
He cleared his throat and looked away. “Yeah, just let me change.” He grabbed his own bag and went into the bathroom. He was done in a few minutes.
They both kissed her goodbye before leaving the room and heading down the hall to Dr. Jones’s office. He was waiting for them outside and Elizabeth quickly introduced them.
“Well, Mr. and Mrs. Morgan, your daughter was extremely lucky. I’ve take a look at all the x-rays and the test results and I don’t think there’s a doubt in my mind that she’ll recover.”
Elizabeth let out a huge rush of breath and her eyes teared. “Oh, God, thank you.”
Without thinking about it, Jason reached across the space between their chairs and took her hand in his. “So she’ll wake up?”
“Yes, when her body’s had a chance to adjust to the trauma, she’ll wake up any time now,” Dr. Jones replied. “Now, we’re a little concerned about her spinal cord. It was severed in the accident, but we were able to reattach it. Now, she’ll need therapy and her mobility will be limited for a little while.”
“But you think she’ll regain full use of her legs?” Jason asked.
“With time and patience, I don’t see why not.” Dr. Jones hesitated. “This will be a very difficult time for Olivia. She’ll need a lot of love and a lot of attention. I understand the two of you are divorced.”
Jason frowned. “What does that have to do with anything?”
“Well, I’ve come across patients whose parents fight over every little thing–from the type of flowers to put in the room to the therapy their child needs. I just want to be sure that it’s not the case here.”
“Nothing is more important to us than our daughter’s health,” Elizabeth said firmly. “Yes, we are divorced, but it was…” she took a deep breath. “It was mutual and amicable.”
Jason scowled. Amicable, yes. Mutual–never. He exhaled slowly. “She’s right. There was no bitterness and Olivia is our top priority.”
“Good. That’s good to hear,” Dr. Jones replied. “Until Olivia wakes up, we can’t make any plans, so that’s about it for right now.”
Once they were back in the hallway, Jason took a deep breath. “Don’t tell people our divorce was mutual, okay? That really pisses me off.”
Elizabeth frowned and shook her head. “What? We both agreed that–”
“You wanted a divorce and I gave it to you.” He looked away. “I never wanted it. I argued against it but you wanted it and I always tried to give you what you wanted.”
“You…you cheated on me,” Elizabeth replied, flustered. “Did you really think I’d stay with you after that?”
He had to get away from this conversation before he punched a hole in the wall. “I can’t have this argument again. I’m going to get something to eat. Do you want anything?”
“Yeah, sure.” After giving him a strange look she turned and went down the hall towards Olivia’s room.
She still thought–after all this time–she still thought he’d cheated on her. She still that that some nameless woman he couldn’t even remember had been in his bed. He’d been with a total of four women in his life and two of them had been before he’d ever met Elizabeth.
Elizabeth sank into her chair back in Olivia’s room. She rubbed her forehead. “God, baby, how did I ever get to this place in my life?” she whispered. “It feels like my whole life has just blurred past me and the only things that stand out are you and your daddy.”
She took Olivia’s hand in hers and rubbed it a little–her hand was so cold, so still. “You’re the only thing I have left, Livvie. If you don’t wake up, I don’t have anything else to live for.”
“That’s not a real healthy way to live,” Jason said from behind her. Elizabeth sat up, startled. He had a tray in his hands. Two cups and two plates. He set it on the little table across the room and beckoned to her. “Come on and eat before it gets cold.”
She shuffled over to one of the tiny chairs and sat down. He sat a plate in front of her with scrambled eggs, two sausage links and three pieces of toast–one with strawberry jam on it. He’d remembered her favorite breakfast.
“You used to have other interests besides Olivia,” Jason began. “What ever happened to your art?”
Elizabeth shrugged and picked at her food. “I still paint. Olivia’s my child. She’s my first priority.”
“Since the day she was born, she’s been your only priority,” Jason corrected. “What do you do when she’s with me?”
“I organize fundraisers,” Elizabeth murmured. “Go to charity events.” Tears burned at the back of her eyes. “Thanks for making me feel pathetic.”
He exhaled slowly. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it that way. I just…your mother called me last winter. She’s worried about you.”
Elizabeth blinked. “My mother called you.” She ripped the top off her hot chocolate and tossed it to the side. “She always did take your side.”
“Because you were telling her that the way she raised you was wrong,” Jason reminded. “At that point, I was championing her ways. Of course she took my side.”
“What’d she tell you? That I was wasting my life in a hick town doing nothing but raising my daughter?” Elizabeth asked pointedly. She scooped some of the eggs onto her fork and shoved them in her mouth, already feeling the anger boiling in her blood. “I think you took my statement a little literally. I have a life here. I have friends. But none of that means shit if she doesn’t wake up.” She dropped her fork and put her head in her hands. “She’s the only thing I have left of a life that meant everything to me, do you get that? If she doesn’t wake up, no charity ball or fundraiser or PTA meeting is going to mean a damn thing to me.”
He sighed. “Okay. Yeah. I get that. I’m sorry–”
She closed her eyes and shook her head. “It doesn’t matter anymore.” She pushed her chair back and returned to her seat, her breakfast mostly untouched.
The time passed slowly. Doctors and nurses were in and out, taking her vital signs, examining her, changing bandages. It was all blur to her and before she knew it, Jason was leaning forward to switch a lamp on.
She blinked in the sudden light and sat back, rubbing her head. “What time is it?”
“A little after six,” Jason replied. “I was going to go to the cafeteria to get some dinner. You need to eat.”
“I can’t,” she said softly. “I don’t think I could keep anything down right now.”
“I’m beginning to realize that no matter how long we sit here and stare at her, it’s not going to make her wake up any sooner.” He crossed to her chair and pulled her to her feet. “And when she does wake up, I don’t want you in a bed next to her being treated for dehydration, okay?”
“Okay. Fine. Get me a piece of bread or something,” Elizabeth murmured. She rubbed her head again.
“Do you have a headache or something?” he asked. “You keep rubbing your forehead.”
“I have a migraine.” Without thinking, Jason slipped a hand to the nape of her neck and put the other one on a pressure point just behind her ear. He started to move his fingers in a circular motion and the sensation made the pressure on her brain start to loosen. She closed her eyes and let out a little moan. Entranced by the sight, Jason moved a little closer. Feeling his breath on her face, Elizabeth opened her eyes to find his lips a few inches from hers. She licked her lips in anticipation.
A slurred voice broke them apart and Elizabeth whirled around to find Olivia blinking slowly.
“Oh, God,” Elizabeth choked. She rushed to the bedside and was aware of Jason hovering over her. “Baby, how are you feeling?”
“It hurts,” Olivia whimpered. “Daddy, is that you?”
“Yeah, Princess, it’s me.” Jason leaned down and kissed her forehead. “You scared us.”
“What happened?” Olivia asked. “Mommy?”
“You were in a car accident, sweetie,” Elizabeth said tearfully. “And we’ve been waiting all day for you to wake up.” She straightened. “I should get a doctor.” She touched Olivia’s hand. “I’ll be right back, okay baby?”
Elizabeth exited the room and Jason pulled a chair closer so he could sit down. “Do you want anything?”
Olivia frowned. “Are you gonna leave again?”
Feeling his heart break, Jason’s throat tightened. “No, baby. I’m not going anywhere. In fact, I’m going to move to Port Charles. I want to be around you more.”
Olivia smiled brightly. “Really, Daddy?”
“I’ve made so many mistakes, Princess, but from now on, you’re my first priority, okay?”
“Okay.” Olivia yawned. “I’m so tired, Daddy.”
“Then go to sleep, baby.”
Her eyes fluttered shut and Jason sat back in his chair. He should have moved to Port Charles years ago.
He never should have left.
“The doctor will be here in a few minutes–” Elizabeth froze when she saw Olivia’s eyes closed. “She’s just sleeping right?”
“Yeah.” He rubbed his eyes. “Thank God she woke up.” He hesitated. “I’m going to move to Port Charles. I can’t…she’s gonna have a long recovery time and she needs both her parents in the same town.”
Elizabeth pressed her lips together and looked away. Which meant she’d probably come face to face with the second Mrs. Morgan. “That’s good,” she told him. “Olivia would love that.”
“If it’s okay, I’m going to stay in the penthouse. I know its yours–”
Elizabeth waved a hand. “No. I don’t even go there anymore. You can have it.”
The door opened then and Dr. Jones entered with a smile. “I hear our girl woke up.”
“Yeah, but she was tired and went back to sleep. Is that okay?” Jason asked.
Dr. Jones nodded. “That’s fine.” He rubbed his hands together. “We’re going to have spend most of the night giving her tests so the two of you can go on home if you’d like. She won’t wake up before morning anyway.”
“Come on, Elizabeth,” Jason said before she could protest. He put a hand on the small of her back and grabbed their things in the other hand. “You could use a good night’s sleep.”
“I don’t have a car,” Elizabeth realized in the hallway.
“I’ll give you a ride.” He steered her towards the elevators.
“What if she wakes up and I’m not here?” Elizabeth asked. She turned abruptly. “I should stay here.”
Jason blocked her path. “No. You heard the doctor. Look, you’re no good to her if you’re exhausted and cranky from lack of sleep.”
Elizabeth scowled. “I do not get cranky.”
“Yes you do,” Jason argued. “If you don’t have at least ten hours of sleep, you get all cranky and irritable. You could make a grown man cry on those days.”
“Maybe four years ago, but having a small baby to take care of all by myself kind of made me adjust to less than eight hours,” Elizabeth retorted.
“You made that choice by yourself,” Jason shot back. “Even before the divorce, you’d never let me get up in the middle of the night. And afterwards, well, you brought that on yourself. Instead of trusting me–”
“It’s been four years–why can’t you just admit what you did!” she hissed.
He took her by the elbow and roughly pulled her towards the elevators. He jabbed the button roughly. “We are not having this conversation in the middle of the hospital hallway.”
“What does it matter? It’s not like you’re going to tell me the truth!”
The doors opened and thankfully, the car was empty. He all but pushed her inside and then pushed the button for the third parking garage level. When the doors slid shut, he turned to her. “I never cheated on you. God damn it, Elizabeth, how many times am I going to have tell you that before you believe it?”
“Because I’m not stupid!” Elizabeth snapped. “You abandoned your wife and your child to go cavorting in Europe. I remember how you hate going places alone. Hell, you probably got married again so you wouldn’t have to travel alone!”
“This is the only life I’ve ever known!” Jason exploded. “You wanted me to change everything about me and you weren’t even going to give me any time!”
“I told you to go and do whatever the hell you wanted, just not to expect me to hand Olivia off to some nanny! I’m not my mother!”
“And I was wrong! I know that–but I got tired of competing with Olivia for your time!”
She frowned. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“From the moment she was born, she’s all you ever thought about. It was all Olivia and I couldn’t take it! You wouldn’t even let your mother fly in and stay with her for a weekend while we went away!”
“So you’re saying I drove you to adultery?” Elizabeth asked, scathingly.
“I never cheated on you!”
She stepped off the elevator into the dark garage and started to stalk away before she realized she didn’t know which car was Jason’s. She had to get out of this conversation. Immediately.
He shook his head as he stormed past her. “There wasn’t an us anymore, Elizabeth. There was just you and Olivia and some guy who donated sperm.”
“That’s not true!” she cried.
He halted and turned around. “Look, I get that you wanted Olivia to grow up differently. I really do understand that now. But I was twenty-four years old then and that life was all I knew. I thought it was great–we both grew up the same way and we were fine.”
“You were fine, I wasn’t!” she burst out. “You might have been okay with never knowing your parents but I wasn’t! Jesus, Jason, I thought my nanny was my mother until I was almost five years old!” Her eyes were glossy with tears and they started to slide her cheeks. “My daughter was never going to think someone else was her mother! Never!”
“Okay, okay, I get that. But I’m explaining how I felt then. We were young and we were perfect and for a while I thought Olivia brought us closer together–”
“Don’t you dare blame our daughter for the end of our marriage!” she hissed.
“I don’t, I blame you,” he accused. “You were never willing to look past Olivia and see me. And that’s the reason I went to Paris anyway and that’s the reason I kept living the only life I knew. Because I could have stayed in this stupid little town forever, doing whatever you wanted me to and you still would have lived for her!”
“I’m her mother, that’s what I supposed to do!”
“You’re supposed to live for yourself,” Jason retorted. He fished his keys out of his pocket. “Our marriage was supposed mean something to you.”
“You self-centered jackass!” She tore the keys from his hands and moved in front of him. “She is my daughter and maybe I went a little too far trying to give her life I thought she deserved but I don’t regret a damn moment I’ve spent with her. Maybe I shouldn’t live for her, but that little girl has brought me more happiness in the past four years than anything else. She saved me from falling into depression after the divorce and the only thing I wanted to do was give her a life that far exceeded mine. If that’s wrong, fine, but don’t you dare stand and tell me our marriage didn’t mean anything to me because it meant everything!”
She slammed the keys into his chest and stalked away. “I’ll call a cab,” she called over her shoulder.
“Damn it,” he swore. He shoved his keys back in his pocket and went after her. “Elizabeth–”
“Just leave me alone!” Elizabeth exploded. She whirled around and shoved him. “Go away!”
“I made that mistake once, I’m not doing it again.” He took a deep breath. “I can’t change the way I feel about the divorce. You wanted it, I gave it to you. End of story. You were miserable and I wanted to make that end. I didn’t know how else to do it so I tried giving you what you wanted. But I never wanted it. I never cheated on you. In fact, there wasn’t another woman in my mind from the day I met you until the day I met Elise and if you don’t believe me, that’s your problem, not mine.”