It’s just you and me
On my island of hope
A breath between us could be miles
Let me surround you
My sea to your shore
Let me be the calm you seek
Oh and every time I’m close to you
There’s too much I can’t say
And you just walk away
– I Love You, Sarah McLachlan
Wednesday, January 5, 2000
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Jason immediately reached for his pants, yanking them on as Elizabeth went straight for the phone. He heard her greet Alexis by name as the pounding on the door continued. He just shook his head, tugging his shirt on. She kept surprising him with her instincts—he hadn’t even had to say anything about calling his lawyer.
“She’ll be right up,” Elizabeth told him, cradling the phone on her shoulder. Jason nodded, then flipped the lock and pulled the door open, forcing his face into a blank expression even though he wanted to growl at the detectives on his doorstep.
“Took you long enough,” Taggert sneered as he sauntered past Jason, slapping a piece of a paper against his chest. He held out a second piece to Elizabeth. “I brought a second copy for the wife,” he drawled, his tone setting Jason on edge. “I know how you want to make sure everything is legal.”
Elizabeth rolled her eyes but accepted the warrant, scanning the opening lines. Her eyes widened slightly, but that was the only change in her expression. Jason dropped his gaze to the copy in his hands—
They were looking for evidence that Jason had been shot a month earlier—clothing with blood stains or bullet holes — he gritted his teeth. There was nothing to find of course. He’d never stepped foot in the penthouse until he’d nearly recovered, and there was nothing at the studio either. He’d made sure of that after Carly had made her threats—
But they knew he’d been shot which meant Carly had called their bluff.
“We’ll get started down here,” Taggert told the officers who came in after him. He nodded to Capelli. “You take a few uniforms upstairs.”
“I want to go,” Elizabeth said immediately. “I’m allowed,” she added when Capelli just glared at her. “I’m setting up my studio and there are chemicals, okay?”
“Fine,” Taggert retorted before Capelli could protest. Jason wasn’t wild about Elizabeth going upstairs alone to supervise. He had confidence in her, but Capelli was the wild card. New to the PCPD, he was hot-headed and wouldn’t have even the basic respect Taggert did for Elizabeth.
“I don’t know what the hell you did to convince her to do this,” Taggert told Jason, “but you should be god damned ashamed yourself. She’s a kid—”
Jason said nothing. He knew Elizabeth was only eighteen, but why didn’t anyone ever stop to remember that he had no memories older than four years? Why didn’t that count for anything?
“Where’s the warrant?” Alexis demanded, appearing in the doorway, her cheeks flushed. Sonny was just over her shoulder. “What the hell is the basis for this search?” Jason handed her the paperwork. “Where’s Elizabeth?”
“Supervising the search upstairs—” Jason turned when he heard something rip—then saw one of the officers slicing down the cushion of the sofa. “What the—”
“Hey!” Alexis strode forward only to be waylaid by Taggert. “They’re looking for clothing,” she spat. “How the hell—”
“We can do a reasonable—” Taggert began but then there was a cry from the upstairs.
“Stop! Don’t—” Then Elizabeth’s voice went quiet. Even before her voice had faded, Jason had lunged towards the stairs.
Morgan Penthouse: Master Bedroom
By the time Alexis reached the bedroom, she knew she was going to have to act quickly. Sonny had followed on Jason’s heels and had an arm out, blocking Jason from moving forward.
Capelli had Elizabeth shoved up against the wall—one hand on her head, the other holding her hands together behind her back. On the ground, between the closet and the bed was a pile of white fabric and nearby, a painting neatly wrapped in brown packaging — with a foot-shaped hole through the middle of it.
Taggert hauled Capelli away from Elizabeth who was crying, her cheeks flushed.
“What the hell is going on?” he demanded of the other cop.
“She interfered with my search,” Capelli snarled, “and was resisting arrest—”
“Interfered—” Elizabeth’s words were choppy as she forced herself to take a breath. Jason shoved off Sonny’s hand and went to her, framing her face with his hands. “I didn’t—I wasn’t—”
Alexis took another sweep of the room and her stomach pitched. They were searching for clothing, but the only clothing she could see was Elizabeth’s. The dresser drawers that had been dumped out onto the floor were hers, based on the feminine undergarments strewn across the carpet. Dresses and shirts and other pieces clothing had been ripped from hangers—
And the pile of white fabric, Alexis realized now, was Elizabeth’s wedding dress.
“I came in and he was throwing my clothes around,” Elizabeth tried to say. She cleared her throat, looked at Jason. “I tried to tell him where your things were because he was in the closet—and—”
“I can search everything in the damn room,” Capelli retorted, lifting his chin, but even Taggert was glaring at him. “What if he’d hidden evidence—”
“How did the dress get on the floor?” Taggert asked quietly. He went over to the garment bag that had, until the search, been neatly zipped and hanging outside the closet. The zipper was broken off as if it had been forcibly ripped open.
“He tore—” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry, it’s stupid. It’s just a dress. He’s right. He tore my dress, and I got upset. I grabbed his arm—”
Wordlessly, Sonny went to the dress and lifted it up by the bodice. One of the straps was ripped and there was a tear in the delicate bodice. He held it up by the one intact strap, then arched a brow at Capelli. “You think some bloodstained clothing was hiding inside the tulle?”
Capelli pressed his lips together. “I have every right—”
Taggert knelt down and turned over the painting. He looked at the foot-shaped hole, then at Capelli’s feet. “What happened to the painting?”
“It was on the floor—”
“When I grabbed his arm, he shoved me back,” Elizabeth interrupted. “And then he grabbed that—it was leaning against the wall—” she looked at Jason. “I brought it upstairs yesterday, remember? Before I—”
“I remember,” Jason said flatly. “It was leaning against the wall by the closet. And it was in one piece.”
“He did it on purpose—and then he shoved me against the wall—” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “I’m sorry. I should have just let him—”
“Don’t be sorry,” Jason cut in sharply, and she flinched. “You did nothing wrong.” He fisted his hands at his side. “Or do you want to arrest her for interfering?” he demanded of Taggert who slowly got to his feet.
“You could try it,” Alexis said with a dangerous smile. “But then I’ll explain that Capelli clearly targeted Elizabeth’s possessions in this rooms. Jason’s dresser—untouched. His clothing? Not on the floor. And you went for a wedding dress knowing she only got married yesterday—and this—” She took the painting from Taggert. “This tips it over into destruction.”
“I have every right—”
“Shut your goddamned mouth,” Taggert threw at Capelli who growled. “She’s right.”
“He married a witness—”
“And if you think that’s true,” Alexis said pleasantly, “what you’ve done today is nothing more than witness intimidation. You destroyed my client’s possessions and did irrefutable damage to her wedding dress and her painting — these are irreplaceable and I will be filing suit against the department.”
“Get downstairs.” Taggert grabbed Capelli and shoved him towards the door. “And get out of here. We’ll talk back at the station—”
“I can do whatever I want—”
“Like hell you can. Not on my cases.” Taggert swept his eyes over the room, over the other uniforms. “This search is over. We’re leaving.” When they hesitated, he narrowed his eyes. “Now.”
He turned back to Elizabeth who refused to look at him. Regret was etched into his expression, but Taggert said nothing, then left.
“I’ll make sure they all get out,” Sonny said, shoving his hands in his pockets and shaking his head. “And they call us the criminals.” He gently laid the damaged wedding dress on the bed. “I’ll be downstairs if you need anything.”
“I’m sorry,” Elizabeth said again as she was left alone with Jason and Alexis. “I didn’t mean—”
“Actually,” Alexis said with a half smile. “You might have done us a favor. Capelli has just tainted this entire search. I can make a good case that he was engaging in witness intimidation—he was angry that you were supervising the search,” she added, “and that you’d removed yourself from being interrogated through marriage.” She looked around the room, then at the painting she held. “So he decided to punish you.”
“And that helps us?” Jason asked skeptically.
“They clearly got this warrant based on Carly’s statement,” Alexis said. “The only way to give her statement any corroboration was to find some evidence backing it up. They can’t search now, and I assume even if they searched the studio, there’d be nothing to find.” She shrugged. “They can’t question Elizabeth now because of the intimidation. I won’t let you answer questions under any circumstances,” she said. “No lawyer would. Their case is dead in the water.”
“Oh.” Elizabeth rubbed her arms restlessly. “I guess that’s good, then. I wasn’t—”
“Capelli did this to himself,” Alexis assured her. “No one is going to say you were wrong to react when he went after your personal possessions. There’s not a woman in the world who wouldn’t have been upset to have their wedding dress destroyed in front of them—”
She shrugged, and set the painting down. “You reacted naturally, Elizabeth. I’ll put in a call to Mac and put together paperwork. We won’t actually file, but it’ll be enough to hold it over his head.”
She left them alone then, and Jason didn’t know what to say. Carly had followed through with her threats, but Elizabeth had been the one hurt. The painting—
Elizabeth went over to it, tearing away the last of the brown packaging, sighing as she ran her hands over the familiar jumble of colors he remembered from a few weeks earlier. The canvas had been framed with a light wood and looked like it was ready to be hung—
Except for the Capelli-shaped foot in the middle of the ferris wheel.
“I thought it might be nice to hang it in here,” Elizabeth said, numbly, running her fingers over the rips in the canvas.
“Can it be fixed?” Jason asked, his chest squeezing. She’d painted the wind and then she’d made him see it. Because of him, it had been ruined—
“Probably not, but I’ll try, I guess.” Elizabeth set it back down and looked at him. “It’s okay. I’ll put everything back. You should go talk to Sonny and Alexis.”
He shoved his hands in his pockets, feeling uncomfortable. “Okay. If you’re sure.”
“I am.” She forced a smile and it made him feel worse. “I’ll be down in a little bit. We’ll get something to eat.”
“Okay.” He went to the door, looked over his shoulder, still unsure, but then left her to clean up the mess the PCPD had left behind.
PCPD: Commissioner’s Office
Mac lunged to his feet as Taggert charged through the door with Capelli hot on his heels. “What’s going on?” the commissioner demanded.
“This asshole just screwed our entire search—” Capelli began, his face florid.
“You just bought this department a civil suit,” Taggert shot back. “You dumb son of a bitch—Mac, I won’t work with him. He needs to be off my case—”
“Why doesn’t someone just tell me what happened at the Towers?” Mac wanted to know, stepping between the two of them. “I take it we didn’t get anything from the search—”
“Dumbfuck over here called it off,” Capelli sneered. “And called back the guys from the studio—”
Mac frowned, looked back at Taggert. “Is that true?”
“He went upstairs to search the second floor,” Taggert said, tightly. “I stayed downstairs with the uniforms and wait for Alexis—she was on her way. Elizabeth went upstairs to supervise—”
“She interfered—I had every right to haul her into the station—”
“Interfered? You asshole—” Taggert grabbed Capelli’s shirt and shoved him against the wall. “You think I didn’t see what the hell you did in that room? How you treated her?”
“Taggert, Taggert—” Mac pushed himself in between them again. “What happened?”
“I knew Morgan was too damn smart to hide anything in his own dresser, so you’re damn right I searched that whore’s dresser first! And she tried to stop me, so I—”
“Ripped her wedding gown from the hanger, stomped on it, and put your foot through a painting—”
“Both of you shut up right now.” Mac raked a hand through his hair. “You searched Elizabeth’s possessions. That’s within the law—”
“Really? Really?” Taggert shook his head. “Not a damned chance. The dresser next to the door — that’s where you start. You don’t go across the room and start yanking out drawers — and you only dumped her lingerie drawers. Then you went to the closet — and you shoved everything on the floor—you tore the garment bag—”
“Is that true?” Mac demanded. “Did you deliberately go into that bedroom to destroy Elizabeth Webber’s possessions?”
“It’s Morgan now, don’t you forget that! She’s not some little sweetheart. She’s just a bitch whore spreading her legs for scumbags—”
This time it was Taggert who had stop Mac from choking Capelli as he stepped in front of the commissioner as he lunged towards the other detective — because insulting Elizabeth simply for dating Jason Morgan was an insult to Robin.
“If he’d unzipped that garment bag carefully, he wouldn’t have torn the fabric,” Taggert bit out. “He would have been able to see it was a pile of fucking tulle—” And there’d been something tragic about Elizabeth’s eyes when she’d described it. He’d thought it had been a ploy to avoid investigation—and maybe it was — but she’d cared about her dress, and it had been destroyed in front of her face.
“Could have been something—”
“Why didn’t you dump the rest of the drawers? Why you’d put your foot through a painting? That’s destruction—” Taggert stopped, shook his head. “Alexis Davis will be here in the morning with the lawsuit, you bet your goddamn ass. You want her to back down, you need to get him away from me.”
“You’re suspended,” Mac told Capelli. “Get out of my sight.”
“You’ll be hearing my union rep!”
“Looking forward to it.” Mac slammed the door, his scowl only deepening. “Tell me straight. How bad is it?”
“I tried my best to keep it under control, but Capelli picked the uniforms — and they trashed the place while I was upstairs.” Taggert exhaled slowly. “I know I get tunnel vision. I know that Morgan and Corinthos make me go crazy, but what happened tonight—” He shook his head. “It’s not right.”
“Capelli’s not the only one who’s going think it’s open season on Elizabeth because she married Jason—it’s not like Robin,” Mac said when Taggert began to protest. “Robin grew up around these guys. They knew her before she got involved with Jason. You’re the only cop who knows Elizabeth. They’re not going to care—”
“Well, it’s bullshit. And he torpedoed any chance I had of using Carly’s statement against Morgan. You keep him away from me, Mac, or next time I’ll knock his lights out.”
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Jason grimaced as he inspected the leather sofa, sliding his fingers down the split in the cushion, revealing the padding underneath. “Alexis took pictures of this, too?” he asked Sonny as his partner came back in, scowling at the broken items scattered around the downstairs. Jason didn’t have a lot of possessions, but what he had—
Glasses and mugs had been thrown around the kitchen, plates were shattered on the floor. The leather sofa hadn’t been the only furniture casualty—the coffee table had one its legs broken—the shelf of travel books had been scattered and some of the covers torn from being stepped on.
“Yeah, yeah. She took everything.” Sonny looked around. “I’m sorry about this, man—”
“I can buy a new sofa,” Jason muttered. And a table. Travel books. Plates and mugs. All of these things were replaceable.
“Not about any of this,” Sonny said, drawing Jason’s attention. “It sucks, but Alexis is right. This looks vindictive and destructive. If they’d left it at this downstairs—”
Most of the destruction had happened on their way out of the apartment—the officers forced to vacate before the search had finished. Capelli hadn’t been the only asshole on the force.
“But they didn’t,” Jason finished. He rubbed the back of his neck. “Listen, can you get some guys to clear this? I don’t want her to deal with—”
“Already on that. And they never got to the studio,” Sonny told Jason who exhaled in relief. “Taggert wanted to search both personally, but he called it off. It’s all tainted.” He glanced up to the second floor. “She okay?”
Jason opened his mouth because Elizabeth had said she was fine and she’d looked fine, but he wasn’t sure if that was true. She didn’t always say what she meant, and he knew she didn’t want to worry him. “I don’t know.”
“Yeah, the painting put it over the top,” Sonny muttered. “Could have fixed the dress maybe, but I know she takes her art seriously.” He rubbed his hands together. “I’ll go check on the clean up crew. We’ll get the furniture replaced—”
“Yeah, yeah. That’s fine. I just—” Jason started for the stairs. “I’ll get her out of here for a few hours or something.”
“Good, good. Let me make my calls and I’ll check in with Alexis. If we’re right—if this puts Carly’s story dead in the water—” Sonny nodded. “That would be good. Then we can just focus on getting rid of Sorel.”
He left, and Jason went upstairs, returning to the bedroom where he’d left Elizabeth earlier to deal with the dressers and closets that the PCPD had emptied.
“Hey.” Elizabeth dumped a pile of clothing in the laundry hamper next to the bathroom. “I’m almost done.” She made a face. “How does it look downstairs?”
“Not great,” Jason admitted. “They broke a lot of things and ripped the sofa.” He frowned when he saw the dress still laid out on the bed, the ripped strap and torn bodice evident—and now he saw the dark footprint across the skirt. “I didn’t—”
Her mouth pinched as she crossed to the bed, picking it up. “I think that’s what made me the most angry,” she murmured, sliding her fingers over the dirt and mud specks. Capelli had worn heavy boots and walked through the snow and dirt mixed out out front. “It wasn’t enough to tear it off the hanger—he threw it on the floor—” Elizabeth shook her head. “I’m sorry. I know I wasn’t supposed to do anything. I really just wanted to supervise, and it’s not like—I mean—” Her voice faltered and she sank onto the bed. “It’s not like it really matters,” she said softly.
Unsure, Jason sat down on the other side of the dress. “Why doesn’t it matter? It’s your dress—”
She bit her lip, her eyes trained on the white fabric “It’s my wedding dress,” she said, her voice barely audible. “Alexis brought me a few of them, and I got to pick it. Like I was really—like it was real.”
“It was—” Jason reached for her hand, laying it flat over the dress. He could feel the ring he’d placed on her finger only the day before cool against his skin. “It was real,” he finished. “Wasn’t it?”
“Yeah, but—” She met his eyes. “I mean, it’s not like we—” Elizabeth’s cheeks flushed.
“We got married,” Jason reminded her. He raised her hand, his fingers twisted her wedding ring. “This is real, Elizabeth.”
She managed a smile and reached for his other hand where she’d given him a ring, too. “I know. But it’s still just a dress at the end of the day, I guess. It’s not worth getting arrested over. Not really. But I just—I—” Her eyes met his again and her tongue darted out to lick the corner of her mouth. His body tightened. “It’s not just that I wore it in the church yesterday. It’s—I wore it last night.”
Last night. When she’d stood in front of the mirror and he’d stood behind her, unfastening each button—
“And Capelli was—he wasn’t just searching. Or being rough or rude.” Elizabeth released his hands and looked over at the painting, once again propped up against the wall. “Alexis was right, and I knew what he was doing. He dumped out my underwear drawer so I’d feel violated.”
Jason clenched his jaw. “I—”
“And when I tried to stop him from ruining the dress, he stomped on it, ground his foot in—I didn’t say that earlier,” Elizabeth admitted. “I was afraid if I did—”
Jason would have rearranged his face and been arrested. “I’m sorry—”
Elizabeth sighed, shaking her head. “You have nothing to apologize for.” She rose to her feet and went to pick up the painting, her fingers tracing the rip in the canvas. “Capelli was angry from the moment I was involved in the case. The first time he questioned me, he was the one asking the inappropriate questions. I don’t feel like it was personal, either,” she admitted. “It wasn’t that it was me. Not like Taggert. He’s disappointed in me, but Capelli—I’m just an obstacle.”
“Elizabeth—” Jason got to his feet.
“Capelli wanted me to feel like I’d done something wrong. Like I’d committed a crime—and I did, I know that, but—” Elizabeth sighed. “For all they talk about the violence you and Sonny are capable of—” she jerked a shoulder and turned away, setting the painting against the wall again.
Jason waited a moment. “I am violent,” he said in a low voice, unsure why he was saying it only that he needed her to hear it. To know it. “I’ve done worse things than what happened here today.”
Elizabeth faced him, her face unreadable. Then she tipped her head to the side. “To women like me?”
“You’ve intentionally humiliated and violated a woman for not doing what you wanted? For not acting the way you expected?”
“No, of course not, but—” Jason stumbled to a stop, squinting. “But—”
“But you have a gun and you’ve used it,” she said plainly. “And you have hands. You’ve used those. There are people who aren’t breathing because you still are. You’re capable of violence, Jason. Did you think I didn’t know that?”
“Your world is violent,” Elizabeth continued, and he just stared at her. “People like to act like there’s something unique about what you and Sonny do. If you were out of business tomorrow, would things really change? Would there be less violence in the world?”
He had no idea how to answer that. How to react. “Elizabeth—”
“Would I be safe in the park?”
“This world isn’t safe for women, Jason. Look at what happened to me here today.” She held out her wrist and for the time he realized it was darkening into a bruise. “A cop did this to me in my own home because I didn’t want him to destroy my wedding dress out of spite and vindictiveness. Capelli will say it’s because I’m with you, and I deserve it because of who you are. But what happened today has nothing to do with any of that. It’s who he is. And it would have happened to any woman he didn’t respect.”
“I guess, but—”
“If you’re waiting for my face to change,” Elizabeth said, turning away and shoving another pile of clothes into the laundry basket. “You’re going to be disappointed. The night we met, you nearly tore the arm off the guy bothering me and never broke a sweat.”
He cleared his throat. “I don’t know what to say to any of that,” Jason finally admitted.
“The world you live in,” Elizabeth replied, meeting his eyes in the mirror over the dresser. “It does scare me. I know it’s dangerous. I know that the bullet you got in December wasn’t the first and probably won’t be the last. I don’t want to lose you that way, but I’m working on accepting it as a possibility.”
“And that’s okay with you?” Jason wanted to know. He stepped up behind her, his fingers lightly brushing her shoulder.
“I’m safe with you,” Elizabeth said softly. “And that’s all that matters to me.”