Set immediately after Book 1 ended. This scene is not the opening scene, but the last one in the chapter. I just thought you’d guys would want the Liason scene as an excerpt 😛
I break tradition
Sometimes my tries are outside the lines
We’ve been conditioned to not make mistakes
But I can’t live that way
Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find
– Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield
Monday, May 15, 2006
Hardy House: Living Room
Elizabeth stepped off the bottom step, the white monitor in her hand. “He always falls sleep the second time through Spiderman,” she reminded Jason as she went over to sit next to him on the sofa. She snuggled close to him, sighing as his arm closed around her shoulder. “I can recite that movie in my sleep.”
He laughed and reached for her hand, drawing it in his lap, lacing their fingers together. “It’s not a bad movie.”
“No, it wasn’t the first eighteen times I saw it. The last one thousand times, it starts to wear on you. But it makes him happy.” She closed her eyes, and just let herself enjoy the moment. The warmth and safety she felt right now.
She didn’t exactly know what they had right now — was a little scared to put a label on it. The last thing Elizabeth wanted to do was rush into another relationship. She’d rushed into marriage with Lucky, she could see that now. Barely a few months after beginning to date again, he’d proposed and she’d accepted. They’d fought so much when she’d tried to be a surrogate—
There had been red flags from the beginning, Elizabeth could see it now, but she’d so wanted a family for her little boy, and when things had been good with Lucky, they’d been really good. She’d trusted the sweet more than she’d noticed the dark.
It would be different this time, she promised herself. Yes, she and Jason had already skipped a few stages. They’d said the L word and had slept together on Saturday, but she’d already taken a step back. She hoped he’d be patient.
And she hoped she’d know when it was right to move forward, and not just her impatience to get to the happy ending. This time, she really wanted to enjoy the journey.
“You seemed a bit sad earlier,” Jason said. “Was work okay?”
“It sucked. But that’s not why.” Elizabeth leaned up, twisting on the sofa so that she faced him. “I ran into Luke at Kelly’s. I’d been avoiding his calls. He knew I’d left, but not the details.”
Jason tensed. “He didn’t try to change your mind, did he? Emily told me what he did the last time—”
“No. And even if he did, there’s no going back. I like where I am. Where I want to go.” She took the hand he’d clenched into a fist, holding it between both of her own. “But he needed to know about the drugs. And he realized on his own that I’d left before I found out about the drugs. So he knew Lucky…” She paused. It was still so hard to say. Especially to Jason. “He knew Lucky had gotten violent again.”
“Again—” Jason scowled. “He knew the last time?”
“Yes. And if it happened again. Luke knew I was leaving. I know there are reasons I’m not sorry I went back. I needed to understand, I think, that it wasn’t just Lucky’s injuries. It wasn’t just you and me, or Manny, or the situation. I needed to know that it was a deeper problem than that. Lucky and I were always going to end up here. Somehow, someway. He doesn’t love me. Not who I am today. And I don’t love him. And we were destroying each other by looking for who we used to be.”
Jason’s shoulders seemed to relax slightly. “I’m sorry. That you had to go through it at all. You deserved so much more.”
“I’m learning to believe that. And Lucky—he doesn’t deserve to be an obligation. That’s all he was at the end.” Elizabeth sighed. “But it was hard to tell Luke about the drugs. He might have questions for you. I hope you’ll tell him what he needs to know.”
“I will, but—”
“I want to be done with Lucky. I will be as soon as the lawyer Justus recommended can get the divorce petition together. I don’t want anything from him — just his signature on the dotted line. I want my life back, and I want my little boy to be surrounded by love and kindness.” She paused. “But Lucky matters to be people I care about. To Bobbie and Luke. I know you’re angry that Luke asked me to stay. But I said yes. I let myself be convinced, Jason. That’s not entirely his fault. I let myself think that the boy I loved so much could be saved. It was arrogance that sent me back. Arrogance that I could be enough to save him from himself. I can’t save Lucky, but that doesn’t mean I don’t hope someone else will some day. Or that he finds a way to save himself. Because the boy I loved deserves it. It just doesn’t have to be me.”
She stopped, then smiled nervously. “Sorry. I know Lucky is the last person you want to talk about.”
“I want to spend time with you,” Jason told her gently. “And I know that everything you’ve been through doesn’t disappear overnight because I told you I loved you.”
“I love you, too.” She leaned forward, brushed her mouth against his. “And I hope you’ll still love me when the new rumors start flying because these ones are my fault.”
Jason frowned, tipped his head, his thumb against her chin. “What rumors?”
“Listen, if you hear anything about your ass, jeans, or the lack of them, just know that I was really ticked off.”