Flash Fiction: Chain Reaction – Part 15

This entry is part 15 of 20 in the Flash Fiction: Chain Reaction

Written in 55 minutes.


Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

I slept with her because I wanted to. Because I’d wanted to for years, and for the first time, I realized she still gave a damn about me. Is that what you wanted to hear?

Courtney fisted her hands at her side, her face a bright cherry red. “Does it make you feel good to hurt me this way? Because I told Ric Elizabeth switched her shifts? That means I deserve this—”

“Ric isn’t just her ex-husband,” Jason bit out, taking a step towards her and she flinched. “He’s the man who locked your so-called best friend in a goddamn panic room for three weeks. He knocked her out in front of her five-year-old son and kidnapped her, threatening to murder her and take her baby. Or doesn’t that matter to you anymore?”

“I notice he’s still breathing,” Courtney retorted. “And you sure as hell had no problem using him in Venezuela—”

“Because we needed to rescue Carly!” The words exploded louder than he’d meant them to, and she turned away from them, from the bitter anger lacing through every word. “I would have worked with anyone if it meant bringing her home safely! What don’t you get about that? And after that, he was in the goddamn system—an ADA connected to Sonny disappears right now, they’ll be crawling all over us—you care so goddamn much about Sonny and Carly, why can’t you get that? Why does any of this have to be explained to you?” he demanded. “Ric Lansing is a psychopath who was so desperate to  get revenge on Sonny he didn’t care who he mowed down in his path to get to Sonny — he went after Carly, went after you—”

“And I can’t wait to see how you excuse your precious china doll, Elizabeth, from what she did,” Courtney said scathingly. “She argued with you every step of the way, refused to believe what was in front of her face—she didn’t believe Michael—”

“She didn’t want to believe it. And I had no proof,” Jason cut in. And he’d lost Elizabeth’s trust by that point — fair or not. “She’s never backed away from it once the truth was obvious. She’s divorcing him. Trying to get him out of her life, and you handed her schedule over to him like it was nothing—because she’s nothing to you, right? Just an obstacle.”

“If you’re waiting for me to apologize, you’ll be disappointed. She deserves whatever happens to her for not believing us about Ric until the last minute. She gets to waltz around being cruel and oblivious, and you’re going to reward her for that? You’re going to leave me after everything she put you through? That’s the deal breaker?” Courtney demanded. “After this last year, you’re going to leave me for some bitch who never believes you when she should. Or are you too brain damaged to remember Zander and Lucky Spencer?”

She snapped her mouth shut the moment the words had left her mouth, and Jason took a step back, swallowed hard. “I didn’t mean that,” Courtney said. “I’m sorry. That was a low blow. I’m angry, I’m hurt, but that’s—”

“I’m leaving you because I don’t love you,” Jason interrupted. “And I’m not sure I ever did. Whatever you think Elizabeth did, you pointed the same man who terrorized Carly and Michael in her direction. How am I supposed to look at you any other way? Elizabeth—whatever happens with her or doesn’t happen—that’s none of your business. Because she isn’t the reason this is done.”

Her eyes burned with fury, tears clinging to her lashes. “One mistake. I make one mistake, she makes a million, and we’re just done. I don’t even get a second chance—you’re just cutting me out—”

“One mistake,” Jason repeated. “So all the conversations you keep having with Carly about the wedding—the ones you swear you stopped—those weren’t mistakes? Bringing it up to me when I asked you not to, telling Michael he can be in the ceremony—you’re planning for something I told you I didn’t even want. You don’t think each time I had to hear it from someone else, I didn’t see what you were doing? But I can’t blame you can, you? You just watched Carly do the same thing to me. Keep repeating something until I stopped fighting it.”

“That is not what I was doing—I needed to believe it was still happening, okay? I needed to believe you still loved me—”

“And that’s why you brought up fitting into a wedding dress in front of Elizabeth. Because you needed me to love you?” Jason repeated, and her mouth settled into a mutinous line. “No, that was vindictive—”

“Protecting the whore that ruined everything—”

“I kissed her first,” Jason interrupted, and Courtney stumbled to a stop, just blinked at him. “How does that fit into the story you’re writing for yourself? I took her to Jake’s after closing,  and I stopped her from leaving, and I kissed her first. What’s your next excuse, Courtney?”

“I can see there’s nothing I can say that’s going to change your mind. Not tonight. But you’ll see. She’ll show you who she is, she always does, doesn’t she? But this time, you’ll have no one to blame but yourself because I’m not to wait around for you to get yourself together. I loved you! I was trying to protect the life we built—”

“And you did it by using Ric Lansing. What do you think Carly’s going to think if she finds out you were talking to him? That you were trying to help him?” Jason lifted his brows again. “What about Sonny? You think that’s going to help?”

“What if I tell them what you did?” Courtney retorted. “You cheated on me with the woman that protected Ric while Carly was in a panic room—you think she’s going to make a place in your life the way I did? You think they’re just  going to roll over and let you bring her back here?”

Jason picked up his keys. “I don’t really give a damn what any of you think. I told you. Keep the ring. Keep the damn penthouse. I just don’t want to look at your face again.”

“I don’t want anything from you—” Courtney whirled around, snatched up her purse. “I’ll just go back to the safe house and make sure Carly knows exactly what you did to me—”

“Good. Go ahead. Tell Carly on the same day her husband had a mental break from reality and put his hands on her.” Jason yanked open the door when she just stopped to look at him with a scowl. “Was Carly even really your friend or did you use her to get to me?”

“You think an awful lot of yourself, don’t you? You think I’m trying to manipulate you into marrying me, that I used my brother and my best friend—”

“A year ago you hated them both. You didn’t like me much either. So, yeah, maybe Courtney, I’m asking myself a few questions I should have a long time ago.”

“I hope you die alone and miserable.” She stalked past him, and he slammed the door behind her, flattening both hands against the surface, taking a deep breath.

He didn’t know where any of that had come from, only that every word had been the truth. For the first time in months—in years—he hadn’t calculated every word he spoke, trying to protect the people around him. And when the hell had he started doing that in the first place? Hadn’t he once prided himself on being better than the Quartermaines, on speaking honestly and openly, even when it hurt?

Maybe Courtney hadn’t deserved every ounce of anger he’d flown at her tonight, but the more she’d tried to defend herself — to justify using Ric Lansing’s obsession with Elizabeth as a weapon in the war between them — the more Jason wondered just how much of the last year had been real — if either of them had loved each other at all.

He dragged his hands over his face, took a deep breath. But he’d done what he couldn’t five weeks ago. He’d made a promise to Elizabeth that he was ending his engagement, and he’d finally done it.

Now, he had to face the consequences. He had no doubt Courtney would hurry to Carly and tell her side of the whole affair, casting Jason and Elizabeth in the worst light. And maybe she’d even scurry over to Sonny at some point. He could get to Sonny first, but maybe—

Maybe Jason wondered what his so-called best friends would do when asked to choose between Jason, who’d never done anything but put them first — and Courtney, the woman who had barely been around a year.

The fact that he didn’t know — that he wasn’t sure if they’d show him the same loyalty he’d given them— it reminded him why he’d gone to Elizabeth tonight in the first place, and why leaving Courtney was just the first step in the changes he needed to make.

Studio

The weak morning sun peeked around the thick shade Elizabeth had thrown up over the sole window, hitting her right in the face. She slapped a hand over her eyes, groaned, and rolled over, hoping that the universe might grant her just five more minutes of sleep.

The movement didn’t sit right, and her stomach lurched. Elizabeth grimaced, then sat up. After leaving Jason at the entrance to the building the night before, she’d come upstairs and finished off a bag of Doritos she’d found in her small food cabinet. That, and the last of a Mountain Dew from the mini fridge, was not sitting well this morning.

“Oh, choices were made and none of them were good,” she muttered, sliding her legs from beneath the light blanket on the sofa. Her head whirled, and she had the dizzying feeling of vertigo where the world was spinning but she was staying still. Actually, it felt she was still, the world was spinning, and so was her brain, so her skull was trapped in a twisted tilt-a-whirl—

“Okay, maybe we need to think seriously about eating better.” Elizabeth got to her feet. “Because if this is a preview of what it’s going to be like waking up in my fifties, I don’t like it. We’ve got to stop late night snacking.” She braced a hand against the brick wall. “Oh, but that doesn’t explain how my head feels—what the hell—”

And then something lurched upward abruptly and violently—that tell-tale awful feeling of her esophagus being used as a cannon in the wrong direction—Elizabeth clapped a hand over her mouth, stumbled to the door, then frantically lid back the deadbolt, twisted the bottom lock, threw open the door—

And managed to make it down the hall and over the toilet just in time.

A few minutes later, after shakily brushing her teeth and rinsing out her mouth, Elizabeth made her way back into the studio, intent on heading straight for the sofa and curling up into a fetal ball of misery.

“That’s it. Vegetables forever,” she told the universe. “I’ll even learn to cook them—” As she passed her answering machine, she saw the light flickering. Curious, she pressed play, then went back to the sofa. She wrapped the blanket around herself, climbed back on the sofa and leaned her head against the back, closing her eyes.

There was a message from her grandmother, left yesterday morning. “I know you’re avoiding me, Elizabeth, but really, I wish you’d call. I want to understand what’s going. How am I to make heads or tails of any of this if you won’t explain it? You get married and then you nearly die, and then you’re getting divorced—oh, Elizabeth. I just wish you’d call.”

“Keep wishing, Gram,” Elizabeth murmured. Her grandmother would never believe the panic room story. Not about such a fine upstanding man who was working with Scotty at the DA’s office. Scotty was the son of her best friends, Lee and Gail Baldwin, and well, Scotty wouldn’t hire a madman, would he?

“Miss Webber, it’s Dr. Meadows’ office. You’re due for a follow-up, just to make sure everything is all right after….after what happened last May. You can all us at…” Elizabeth tuned out the receptionist reeling off the phone number, and had nearly dozed off to sleep, wondering why she needed a follow up.

She’d had the clean bill of health in May, hadn’t she? The miscarriage had been a tragedy, but Elizabeth had decided to look at it as the universe giving her a break. If she’d been pregnant, Ric might have hid his true nature even longer—she’d be trapped with him. Not that it was the baby’s fault, but—

And she certainly didn’t need a follow up to confirm nothing was wrong after July. She knew she couldn’t take hormonal birth control anymore, not after the embolism. She’d figure out how Ric had managed it — an overdose of estrogen was really the only explanation, the doctors had said. Maybe she’d messed up her birth control pills?

She hadn’t even been on birth control—

Her eyes snapped open and she sat up, her head protesting the movement. “Oh, shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit—” She threw off the blanket and stumbled across the room to look through the papers, trying to find the copy of the Port Charles Herald she’d carelessly tossed aside the day before. October 10.

Shit, shit, shit. Something should have happened two weeks after that night at Jake’s, and she’d just…she’d lost track of it. So much had been happening, and she’d never been that regular, not with all the stress she’d always been under—

But now—now, something was supposed to happen this week—three days ago, Elizabeth noted on the calendar where she kept track of such things.

And for the second time in a row—nothing.

That night—they hadn’t exactly been careful, had they? Elizabeth exhaled on a careful breath, pressed a hand to her abdomen, looked down. “Are you some kind of magnet?” she muttered. “Because I swear to everything if you’re knocked up again, I will be—”

Excited? Happy? Terrified?

“This,” she told her belly, “would be terrible timing, and since your possible father and I are always bad at that, I am almost definitely pregnant.”

She’d just told Jason the night before he needed some time on his own, hadn’t she? He’d talked about being exhausted by the pressure and stress of always being needed, of always having to center his life around Sonny and Carly—and of course, he’d never look at a baby that way. That just wasn’t how he was built—

But this really was not the plan.

“Okay, time to stop spiraling and be an adult. I can do this. I can do this.” She’d take a shower, she’d get dressed, she’d buy a test, and everything could wait until she found out if there was even a reason to be worried or freaking out in the first place.

Comments

  • So sorry it was such a rough Monday, glad your mom is okay. But those scares take their toll all the same. What great chapter … I cannot wait to see Wednesday’s chapter!

    According to LivingLiason on May 13, 2024
  • Can’t wait to find out if Liz is pregnant with Jason child. Jason is going to freak out but Carly, and Courtney are going to throw a fit when they find out. Great update.

    According to Shelly Samuel on May 13, 2024
  • Finally, Jason told her how he really feels. It’s time that he started thinking for himself. I don’t feel bad for Courtney. Who will she run to first? I’m thinking that she’ll turn to Ric for help. You might as well continue to freak out Elizabeth because you’re definitely pregnant.

    According to arcoiris0502 on May 13, 2024
  • Good bye Courtney. Although I am sure she won’t go down without trying extract pound of flesh from Jason and/or Elizabeth. Good for Jason in wondering if his so called friends would be as loyal to him as he is to them. Yup, seems pretty certain that Elizabeth is pregnant. Great update.

    According to nanci on May 13, 2024
  • About time Jason spoke the truth and not measured his words. And no Sonny and Carly never change in how they treat Jason. Hello Daddy

    According to leasmom on May 13, 2024
  • Called it! JaCam here we come!. I hope Carly at least steps up to be a friend to Jason cause I definitely cannot see Sonny doing that. Jason read Courtney for filth and it was beautiful. I think Elizabeth is gonna keep it a secret for a while so Jason can figure out his life. I wonder if a certain HnR will be what reveals it. I’m on the edge of my seat with this story. Can’t wait for more!

    According to Beth on May 13, 2024
  • I love an honest Jason. It’s so cathartic. Courtney hasn’t even remotely grasped the level of betrayal when it comes to working with Ric. For Jason, it’s a completely different level than Sonny. I love it so much. And Liz, my dear, you’re pregnant. There’s no doubt about it.

    According to Mariah on May 13, 2024
  • I loved what Jason told Courtney. If Elizabeth is pregnant, I’m afraid of what Courtney, and Ric might do and also Sonny and Carly are not going to be happy. I hope Elizabeth tells Jason right away if she is pregnant.

    According to Carla P on May 13, 2024
  • really super update and I wondered if that would happen.
    The Jason & Courtney scenes were excellent but that girl is not giving up so I’m expecting her to do the hit & run probably with Ric’s encouragement and then blame Jason.
    can wait to read the next chapter

    According to Pamela Hedstrom on May 26, 2024