“Your daughter is recovering quite well,” Dr. Jones told them after Olivia’s tests. He opened her folder and took out the recommendations of the physical therapist. “She’s reacting well to the pain meds we’ve given her and her wounds are healing nicely.”
“What about her legs?” Elizabeth asked intently. “Do you still think she’ll regain the use of them?”
“The therapist is optimistic,” Dr. Jones replied. “He seems to think that as long as Olivia puts the effort in, she should be up and around in three to four months.”
“It sounds like so long but I guess when you compare it to being paralyzed for the rest of your life…” Jason nodded. “So what kind of therapy are we looking at?”
“Very intensive while she’s in the hospital. She’ll need to stay here at least another three weeks. In addition to starting her therapy, we do want to teach her a few things about living without her legs.” Dr. Jones sat back. “Because she will be living as a paralyzed person for a while and it will be easier in the long run.”
“Makes sense,” Elizabeth replied.
“She’ll be doing four hours of therapy every day that she’s here. Two hours in the morning, two in the afternoon,” he continued. “And once she goes home, we assume she’ll be going back to school and then we’ll be cutting it back to two hours a day, then an hour and then a few times a week.” He reached for a copy of the preliminary schedule to hand it to them. “She’ll need to come in for a while after her mobility is better just to make sure it’s all okay and of course, periodic examinations after that.”
“It all sounds fine,” Jason told him. “I guess we’ll have to get special equipment out at the house for her, huh?”
Dr. Jones nodded. “A different kind of bed will be mostly the only adjustment. Since her condition is temporary, I don’t recommend anything more costly than that. She’s a tiny girl and she looks like you could carry her quite easily,” he told Jason.
“But we…we don’t live together. And I can’t carry her for long periods of time,” Elizabeth told him. “I certainly couldn’t get her up and down the stairs a few times a day.”
Dr. Jones frowned. “Well maybe if it’s possible, she could move to a bedroom on the first floor?”
“Yeah, I could do that,” Elizabeth agreed. “But I want you to know that money is no expense. Anything that would make this an easier transition, I’m willing to do it.”
“Well, like I said, since her condition is temporary, it’s probably not very effective to have ramps or lifts put in,” Dr. Jones remarked again.
“Okay,” Elizabeth agreed. “Is there anything else we should know?”
“I’ll be reducing her meds a little more every day. She hasn’t complained about the pain and her stitches will be healing more and more so she really won’t need them.”
“Thank you, Dr. Jones,” Jason said. He stood and Elizabeth followed suit. “We should get back to Olivia now.”
They moved into the hallway and went down the corridor towards Olivia’s room. Elizabeth cleared her throat. “Did you get a hold of Elise?” she asked.
He exhaled slowly. “Yeah. She, ah, isn’t very happy that I decided this without her. So I’m probably going to have to fly out there and talk to her.”
“When are you planning on doing that?” Elizabeth asked. “Because I want to give Nikolas a call and get the penthouse signed over to you.”
“You don’t have to do that,” Jason told her. “I think once we make the move, we’ll get a different place.” He shrugged. “I don’t…I don’t think I would really feel comfortable living with her in a place where we lived together.”
“Yeah.” The few months in the penthouse had been some of the last genuinely happy in their marriage. She’d gone into labor there and they’d brought Olivia home to that penthouse. In fact, one of the rooms upstairs was still decorated as a temporary nursery. She’d never touched any of the furniture there after the divorce. She wasn’t even sure why she’d never sold the place.
“Anyway, I’ll probably fly out tonight so I can be back tomorrow night. I don’t want to be away from Olivia too long.” They stopped outside of her room. “Elizabeth, I just…” he took a deep breath. “I just hope we can put the past behind us and be the kind of parents Olivia deserves.”
“I’m not all that sure I’m ready to let go of the past,” Elizabeth admitted honestly.
His shoulders slumped. “Elizabeth, I know I should have been there for you–”
“No, it’s not that,” she replied. She shook her head. “I don’t want to forget us–how we used to be. Is that so wrong?”
“No,” Jason said after a moment. “No, I don’t want to forget either.”
Elizabeth pushed the lock box underneath the couch in her studio and shoved it all the way back. She didn’t want to see the damn thing until she had to move the couch and that wasn’t going to happen any time soon.
She glanced at her wristwatch and decided that Jason had been in Spain for about two hours now if his plane had taken off on time last night.
She’d come home while Olivia was in therapy from ten to twelve and she was going to try and get some of the housework done as well as start moving Olivia’s things to the guest bedroom on the first floor.
She was in the kitchen pouring a glass of water when Jessica strode in. “Hey, babe. Didn’t expect to see you home.”
“Liv’s in therapy,” Elizabeth murmured. She sat down at the table. “Thanks for the flowers and the teddy bear you guys sent over.”
“No problem,” Jessica replied with a smile. She sat across from the other woman. “So, the ex. He’s a cutie.”
Elizabeth flushed. “You’ve seen pictures, Jess.”
“Well, yeah, but he looks older, more mature you know?” She shrugged. “Anyway, where is he?”
“He’s in Spain,” Elizabeth said wrinkling her nose. “Trying to convince Elise to move to Port Charles.”
“If you want my opinion–”
“–he should leave the gold-digger overseas and move back into this house. It’s so obvious neither of you are over each other,” Jessica observed. She stood and crossed to the fridge to pour herself a glass of juice. “How are things with him? Awkward?”
“I told him why we got divorced,” Elizabeth said softly, using her finger to trace the rim of the glass. She could feel Jessica’s eyes on her. “The whole truth this time.”
“About the pills?” Jessica asked. “The post-partum stuff?”
“Yeah,” Elizabeth sighed. She stared at the surface of the table. “He was upset that I hadn’t told him.”
Jessica snorted. “When would you have found time in between his affairs?”
“He, ah, he…he never cheated on me,” Elizabeth confided.
Jessica’s eyes widened and she sat down quickly. “What’s this?”
“He didn’t cheat on me.”
“How do you know for sure? Did you call the tramp or something?”
Elizabeth fought a little smile at Jessica’s protective words. “No, he…he told me.”
“Yeah, okay. He’s been telling you for the last four years. What changed?”
Elizabeth exhaled slowly. “I didn’t let myself believe him before. And this time…it was different, Jess. I just…I know it for sure now.”
“Well, I’m glad,” Jessica told him. “Because I know how much you love him.”
Elizabeth sat back. “You always say that in the present tense,” she muttered.
“Because you still love him,” Jessica said. “That doesn’t go away because you signed some papers ending your marriage.”
Elizabeth sighed. “No. But it went away for him. He’s married again, Jess. So, maybe it’s time I let go and…move on.”
“Well, if you think so…that charity thing you helped raise money for…it’s in three days and I think you should go.”
Elizabeth shook her head. “No. I should be at the hospital–”
“Olivia is not going to miss you for a few hours,” Jess interrupted. “Jason can sit with her. You helped to raise money for this–you deserve to go.”
“Emily was telling me about a new lawyer at Nikolas’s practice,” Jessica cut in again. “He’s Harvard-educated, supposedly very handsome and charming. I think he’s just the guy to start your post-Jason life.”
“Jess, Jason was it for me. I mean, I can’t imagine myself being interested in anyone else,” Elizabeth replied.
“Well, then you’ll have nothing to worry about.” Jessica patted her hand and stood. “I’ll set it up.”
Elise tapped her foot impatiently. “Please tell me you’re going to give up in this ridiculous idea,” she remarked in a short tone.
“Elise,” Jason sighed, tired of having argued this topic for the last three hours. “I want to be closer to my daughter.”
“I can see that and I even understand it.” Elise paused thoughtfully. “Well, there is something we can work with.”
“What’s that?” Jason asked suspiciously.
Elise sat down next to him on the settee and smiled at him. “Get full custody of her,” she remarked. “We can move her to a hospital in London–”
Jason launched off the settee and glared at her. “Are you out of your mind? Elizabeth would never forgive me and I–I couldn’t do that to her.”
Elise rolled her eyes. “You know, eventually Jason, you’re going to have to decide where your loyalty lies. With your first wife or with me.”
He groaned and closed his eyes. “Elise, you don’t understand–”
“You don’t give me enough credit,” the brunette murmured. She crossed to one of Jason’s bags and pulled out a slim photo album he carried everywhere. She flipped it open to a picture of Elizabeth on her graduation day. “I’m not stupid, Jason. I look like her. I’m the Elizabeth she wouldn’t be. She wouldn’t abandon her child and go places with you. I, however, let you be in charge of our lives. I don’t argue with you when you want to pick up and leave. I don’t argue when you don’t want to go out at night sometimes. Up until this point, I have been the perfect docile wife that your precious Elizabeth never was.” She chucked the album at him and he caught it, a little off guard.
Elise put her hands on her hips. “Tell me, does the princess know what I look like? Does she realize you married a carbon copy of her? Minus the personality.” She tilted her head to the side. “When you wake up at night and glance over at me, do you think for a split second that it’s her? That the last four years were some kind of nightmare?” she asked pointedly.
Jason hesitated–because he did feel that way. And Elise looked enough like Elizabeth that she could be mistaken for her. And one night, he’d been drunk and they’d made love and he’d actually thought it was her.
Jason stood and swallowed hard. “Elise–”
“I understand that you love your daughter. I think that’s a very noble and wonderful part of you. And you know that I like Olivia, so that’s not what this is about.”
“Then what is this about?” Jason asked, throwing his hands up in exasperation.
“This is about you finally having a reason to go back to the woman you’ve loved all along,” Elise remarked acidly. “You say it’s about Olivia, but don’t tell me that a part of you isn’t secretly thrilled that you could walk down the street and see her.”
“Where the hell is all this coming from?” Jason demanded. “You knew from the second we’d met that I’d been married before, that I had a daughter–”
“It’s all well and good for me to be the substitute wife on a different continent,” Elise cut in. “I get the illusion that maybe you really love me. That you’ve let go of the perfect debutante. But if I have to live in the same town as the two of you, there’s no way I’ll be able to keep that illusion.”
“Elise, Elizabeth and I are divorced. Our marriage is over,” Jason said, slicing his hand through the air. “We barely have civil conversations because there’s so much anger between us now.”
“And anger turns way too easily into sex,” Elise remarked coolly. She arched an eyebrow. “After all, that is how I suckered you into marriage isn’t?” She strode towards him. “I got you angry–I made you furious and it was either hit me or kiss me.”
“What we have between us, Jason darling, is lust pure and simple.” Elise shrugged her slender shoulders. “I don’t love you. You don’t love me. We’ve never pretended anything else.”
“No,” Jason admitted. “But–”
“So let’s just be honest.” Elise sat back down and smiled at him coyly. “You still love her don’t you?”
Jason hesitated and looked away. “Yeah.”
“Just as much as the day you married her.”
“And if she were to call right this second and tell you she still loves you and wants you to come home, you’d leave me in a heartbeat.”
“Wouldn’t you?” Elise asked sharply.
“Yeah,” Jason admitted. “I would.” He sighed. “Come on, Elise. I told you I didn’t want the divorce, that I gave into it because she wanted it. You knew this.”
Elise nodded, her eyes cold. “You’re right. I did know it. Silly me for having romantic illusions that you’d get over her.”
Elise crossed to one of her bags and pulled out a sheaf of papers. She looked down at them for moment and then met his gaze. “I had these drawn up six months after our marriage. When Olivia told you that Elizabeth had been sad and you spent an hour telling her all the different ways you knew to make her smile.”
“Elise, this is ridiculous–” Jason protested.
“We’ve been married almost as long as you’d been to Elizabeth.” Elise smirked at him. “Tell me, honey, can you even think of one thing that makes me happy?”
When Jason didn’t answer, she nodded. “That’s what I thought. I think it’s time I remove myself from this situation, because you know what? I shouldn’t have to settle.” She shoved the papers at him. “Sign them.”
Jason clenched his jaw. “No.”
“Sign them,” Elise repeated, glaring at him. “End this farce. Neither one of us are really happy. I’ll get the life I want and you’ll get the one you want. You want your wife back, then do it. I don’t care to be in the middle anymore.”
“Don’t refuse just because you don’t want to have failed at a second marriage.” She shook a little. “Sign them, Jason.”
“Either you sign them and this ends now or I sue you for divorce and this gets settled in eighteen months. Either way, I want out.”
“You gave your precious Elizabeth what she wanted–give me what I want.”
Jason hesitated, looked away for a moment before reaching for the papers and reached for a pen on a nearby table. He initialed all the sheets before signing his name on the last page.
“You’re not even going to read through them?” Elise asked surprised. “What if I just made you sign over your entire fortune?”
Jason shook his head. “I know that much about you. You wouldn’t. You know I’d pay any alimony you’d ask for.”
“Well, now the civilities are over.” Elise took the papers from him. “I’ll file these. Go home to your family, Jason. Don’t you think you’ve lied to each other enough?”
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