When Jason returned to town for a brief visit at the end of January 2001, he needed a place to stay with a view of the docks. Elizabeth let him stay in the studio, while keeping it a secret from everyone else. Over the next few weeks, it was clear they were both crushing on each other — though Elizabeth didn’t really seem to realize it, and Jason did. Jason was forced to reveal his existence when he saved Sonny after a warehouse fire, and Elizabeth, seeing Jason come out of the warehouse, seemed to recognize for the first time that she had feelings. Lucky also saw her seeing Jason come out of the fire — and didn’t miss the looks they exchanged. Jason moved out of the studio and to a room at Jake’s. Lucky later asked Elizabeth to stop seeing Jason, and she reluctantly agreed.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth and Lucky were struggling with their own relationship woes. Lucky was working at Deception as a photographer and convinced Elizabeth to go out for the Face of Deception spot, sparring with Gia Campbell for the position. Elizabeth was uncomfortable with it, but Lucky was excited and she agreed. Carly and Laura who were running Deception at that point battled over who should be the Face — but Laura with the bigger share of the company won.
On the day Elizabeth fled to Jake’s and Jason, she had been at a Face of Deception photoshoot, dressed as Audrey Hepburn from Tiffany’s. It was in the same studio where Tom Baker had held Elizabeth and Emily hostage in 1998, but Elizabeth seemed to get over her nerves and begin the shoot. She did her best, but Carly disagreed and was really aggressively critical of Elizabeth’s posture. Lucky and Laura both defended Elizabeth, but when asked by Carly to say Elizabeth was the better model other than Gia, Lucky couldn’t or wouldn’t, and frustrated, upset, Elizabeth left. She went to Jake’s, and Jason took her in, worried. Elizabeth tried to take off the heavy makeup she was wearing, but worried about ruining the long white gloves she was wearing. Jason started to wash her face.
Hence the scene in the in the banner and the kiss that wasn’t.
Written in 60 minutes. No time for spell check or typos.
March 13, 2001
Jake’s: Jason’s Room
Elizabeth Webber could feel his breath against his lips, the scent of his aftershave lingering — Jason Morgan had fastened those beautiful blue eyes of his on hers — then dropped them to her lips, leaned in — and paused.
She should pull away.
She should absolutely stop this.
But another voice—the devil on her shoulder, the ever present reminder of who she’d been one — her Lizzie voice reminded her that she’d been such a good girl lately, and what had it earned her?
Nothing but humiliation. Standing in that studio, listening to Carly Corinthos deride Elizabeth’s looks, her figure, the way she stood, the way she smiled—picked her apart until Elizabeth thought everyone could see her bleeding —
And her own boyfriend couldn’t even muster the ability to say that his own girlfriend was more important that Gia, the woman Elizabeth had defeated for the job he insisted she deserved fair and square.
She’d been the good and dutiful girlfriend, agreeing not to see Jason anymore, to become a model, to stand in that studio of all places where Tom Baker had terrorized her barely two years ago —
And for what?
When Jason paused, Elizabeth knew why. His breath was quicker—his hand still on her face, his wrist against her cheek—his pulse had picked up. This man—this gorgeous, sexy man wanted to kiss her but he’d stopped.
Because it needed to be her choice. He wanted it to be her decision. It had to be something she wanted.
And what she wanted mattered to him.
What could be sexier than that?
So Elizabeth shut down the good girl inside of her that screaming, and listened to Lizzie for the first time in three years.
She leaned in, brushing her mouth against his, against the smoothness of his lips. Jason’s breath intake was shape—he hadn’t expected it—but that moment of surprised disappeared in an instant as his mouth became more insistent, covering her hungrily.
Elizabeth snaked an arm around his neck, moaning as Jason stood, lifting her against him. One of his hands speared through her hair, dislodging the up swept hair that had taken the stylist nearly an hour to achieve, the other arm was around her waist, holding her up. She clung to him, his chest hard against her softness—
Then Jason stopped—he drew back, carefully setting her down on her feet, the pads of his thumbs sweeping over her cheeks. Their breathing shallow, their eyes met for a long moment before Jason rested his forehead against hers.
It was some time before Elizabeth could form any words—before coherent thought set in. And even when she could form them —
What could she say?
She knew what she should say.
She should tell him it was a mistake.
Jason’s thumb slid across her lips before falling away, and she nearly protested — she wanted him to keep touching her—to kiss her again — to make the world fall away again —
“Should I apologize?” Jason managed finally.
“Are you sorry?” Elizabeth said, her voice rusty. She cleared her throat, stepped back, her knees brushing the back of the bed. But she didn’t sit down.
Jason studied her for a long moment, then shook her head. “No,” he admitted.
“G-Good.” Elizabeth licked her lips, and her stomach fluttered when his eyes dropped to her mouth again. Oh my God. I just want to lick him everywhere.
“B-Because I kissed you,” she continued. She pressed a hand to her belly, trying to calm the butterflies that swirled inside.
“I—” Jason exhaled slowly. Carefully. He stepped back, a foot of space separating them. “I know.”
“I need a minute,” Elizabeth admitted. She edged away from him, toward the other side of the room. She rubbed her neck, her hand encircling her throat. “I wasn’t—um, that wasn’t the plan when I came here.”
“I didn’t think it was.”
“I just—” She bit her lip. “I think it’s obvious that I have—that I—” Elizabeth closed her eyes. Honesty. Jason respected honesty. With that in mind, she opened them and looked at him directly. “I have feelings for you. I don’t want to hurt you.”
“It’s important to me that I don’t hurt you. Because you matter so much. You shouldn’t,” she said quickly, her voice tightening. “Because I’ve got everything I wanted. Everything I’m supposed to want.”
Jason just stared at her and she broke the gaze, rubbing her finger against her mouth again. “It’s so strange,” she murmured. “Before you came home, I would have said I was happy. But I’m not. And I haven’t been. When did that change? When did Lucky change?” She looked back at Jason. “How can someone change right in front of you with you noticing? I—”
She sat on the bed, staring blindly at the dingy paint on the wall. “I keep telling myself that he’s so excited about this new job that he just can’t hear me right now. And I want him to be happy. He’s had such a hard time since he came home finding something again. He kept telling me all the dreams we’d had once—those were for kids. Going to the city, living on art and music—just a silly dream.”
Jason carefully sat on the bed, keeping several feet between them. “Why is it silly?”
“That’s what I wanted to know. And if he didn’t want music anymore, well, why did that mean my dreams had to change? Why can’t I have dreams of my own?” Elizabeth looked at him, tears stinging her lashes. “Why do I have to share his dream? Why do I have to dress like this and pretend that I like being a model? Carly was right.”
Jason’s mouth pinched. “Carly doesn’t think—”
“No, she just says whatever she’s thinking.” Elizabeth smiled, faintly. “I used to be like that. I used to be in the moment. What I wanted, I took, and I didn’t think much about other people.”
She stared at her manicured nails, at the clear polish, wishing it was the red polish she preferred, even with it’s chipped. “I keep telling myself that Lucky can’t hear me right now,” she repeated, “because I need to believe that he’ll hear me eventually. But I think—” She met Jason’s eyes. “I think he does hear me. And he just doesn’t care. And that’s—” Her voice trembled. “That’s really hard to admit. That what I want and need isn’t important to the one person it should matter to the most.”
“I’m sorry—” Jason paused. “Elizabeth—”
“I just—I don’t want to hurt you,” Elizabeth repeated. “Because I do—this—this feels real. The way I feel when you look at me—but I’m just scared that it’s because I’m unhappy with the rest of my life. I shouldn’t—” She sighed, looked away.
“You shouldn’t what?”
“When we became friends, you were an escape,” she confessed, “a way to get away from all the things that hurt me. The pieces of my life that were suffocating me. I didn’t have to think or be anything when I was with you. And I shouldn’t need that anymore.”
Jason said nothing, and she couldn’t bare to look at him. She didn’t want to know if she was hurting him. She just couldn’t keep lying to herself.
“How can I tell myself I’m in love with Lucky and feel this way about you?” Elizabeth murmured. “How does that even work?”
She shoved herself to her feet, dragging her hands across her face, then through her hair. “You know, I talked to Lucky about wanting to see Italy one day.”
Now she looked at him, saw Jason inhale sharply, then let out a slow breath. “What did he say?”
“He said that maybe Deception could sponsor a photo shoot there and we could go that way. And I—I said that if I went there working—how would I see the art and museums and just exist? He laughed at me.”
Jason got to his feet with a scowl. “He laughed—”
“When was I going to give up on my silly dream?” Elizabeth murmured. “When was I going to grow up?”
“I should have seen it then. He didn’t believe me in me anymore. And, God, that’s almost worst than the rest of it. He was the first person who ever saw me. And now—now I don’t even trust those memories. It’s not the now he’s destroying, it’s the before. I don’t know what was real. If I ever knew him at all.”
“I’m sorry,” Jason said. “I don’t—I’m sorry.”
She met his eyes, and he looked so upset, his eyes pained. “Jason—”
“I know how much your art means to you. How much Lucky believing in you meant. It was the first thing I ever learned about you,” he continued. “When your professor didn’t like that portrait of him—” He shook his head. “I’m sorry, Elizabeth. And I don’t want to make things worse—”
“You couldn’t,” she assured him softly. “I just—I need time. I need—I need to sort myself out. I can’t—I can’t let myself travel down this road with you until I know it’s—” She pressed her lips together. “Which is so conceited because I don’t even know what you want—”
“What I want,” Jason told her, sliding a piece of hair behind her ear, his fingers trailing down her neck to her collar bone. “What I want is for you to be happy. To see you smile again with your whole face. You’re so beautiful,” he murmured.
Elizabeth’s cheeks heated and she bit her lip. “Jason—”
“Whether that’s with me or alone—” Jason paused, “or even with Lucky,” he added with a pained tone, “if you’re really happy—that’s what I want.”
“Okay,” Elizabeth drew out, “but do you, um, have a preference?” She tipped her head up, met his eyes.
“Yeah,” he said, his voice little more than a whisper as he leaned down to kiss her—just one more time.
“Oh man,” Elizabeth muttered when he pulled back. She let her head drop against his chest. “It wasn’t a fluke, was it?”
“No,” Jason said with a shake of his head, the corner of his mouth curving up. “No, it wasn’t. Do you want a ride home?”
“I should probably take a cab,” she admitted as she stepped back. “I don’t think this dress travels well on a bike. And I need—I need to think.”
Elizabeth wasn’t entirely surprised to find Lucky pacing the room when she unlocked the door. He stopped at the sound of her key in the lock, then turned to glare at her. “Where have you been?” she demanded.
Elizabeth arched her brow, closed the door behind her, and looked at her boyfriend, waiting for the mixture of guilt and nerves to set in. She’d run to another man, let him hold her, then kiss her—
And the guilt never came.
Because she’d been upset when she’d left, and Lucky didn’t seem to care about that.
“I don’t think that’s the question you should be asking me,” Elizabeth said coolly. She set her purse on her table, then removed her scarf and jacket. “I forgot my phone at Kelly’s.”
“And what should I be asking?” Lucky retorted, his hands clenched into fists at his waist. “You embarrassed me and wasted a whole lot of people’s time and money when you stormed off—”
“Stormed off,” Elizabeth said. She folded her arms. “You mean when I left the studio after being insulted repeatedly by one of the owners of the company—”
“That’s just Carly—”
“I don’t want to be a model, Lucky,” Elizabeth said, flatly. “And Carly just sees it better than the rest of you. So I’m going to thank your mother for her time—”
“—but we both know it should be Gia.” She took a deep breath even as his features folded into a thunderous mask of anger. “And that’s not the only change I’m making.”
“How can you do this to me?” he demanded.
“You can photograph Gia. Your dreams are not mine,” she said. “I don’t want it. And you don’t have the right to force them on me—”
“It was our dream—”
“Because you wanted it, and I wanted you to be happy. But I don’t want it for me. I want to be an artist—” She stopped. “I am an artist—”
Lucky rolled his eyes. “Again? With this? Come on—”
“And since you can’t believe in me, then I guess we should start thinking about seeing other people.”
Lucky’s mouth hung open for a long moment as his eyes bulged at her. “What did you just say to me? Are you—”
“We’re clearly not seeing eye to eye, we’re arguing all the time,” Elizabeth continued, “and I’m not happy—”
“This is because of Jason,” he said with a sneer. “Because of him—he’s poisoned you against me—”
“This is because of me. Because I need to know what I want, and I can’t do that with you shoving your dreams on me—”
“Damn it, tell me the truth!” Lucky demanded. “Is this about Jason?”
She met his angry eyes directly, then nodded. “I have feelings for him. And I don’t know if they’re real or if they’re just because I’m unhappy. So I need a break from all of it—”
“That’s bullshit.” Lucky sliced his hand through the air. “You don’t need anything except to stay the hell away from Jason—”
“I need you to leave.” Elizabeth opened the door and gestured at the hallway. “Now.”
Lucky’s throat bobbed as he swallowed hard—not from nerves but from anger, from rage—and she really wanted him out of her studio right this second. Her pulse started to skitter as she wondered what she’d do if he didn’t leave.
“Fine,” Lucky snarled. “But you’ll come crawling back when he leaves again.” He stormed past her and out of the studio.
Elizabeth closed the door behind him, locked it, and exhaled slowly. She leaned back against the door, touched her lips, closed her eyes, and brought back the way Jason tasted.
No, she wouldn’t be crawling back.