Written in ___ minutes. Time for a basic spell check but not a read through for typos.
Friday, March 14, 2001
Elizabeth glanced warily at the stairs that led to the second floor of the diner before returning her attention to finishing her side work behind the counter.
She had stayed the night on her uncomfortable couch at the studio and didn’t know if Lucky was upstairs — and was not looking forward to seeing him again.
She’d left Jake’s yesterday, feeling genuinely conflicted about her feelings for Jason, nearly convinced that if she just tried to explain things to Lucky — he would take a minute and look at her.
He would see her the way he had once.
But Lucky couldn’t—or wouldn’t—do that. Instead of being worried about her, instead of listening — he had been cruel.
He had been mean.
And this was a side of Lucky Elizabeth simply had no reference for. Even when Lucky hadn’t liked her during her first few months in Port Charles, he might have been sarcastic and cutting, but he’d never been mean or dismissive.
She felt her phone vibrate in her apron pocket. Elizabeth tugged it out, then grimaced when she saw Laura Spencer’s name flash on the identification screen. She put the phone back. Clearly, Laura had received Elizabeth’s message.
She was very sorry she’d wasted every one’s time, but she wasn’t cut out to be a model. She thanked Laura for her time and energy and hoped there were no hard feelings.
Elizabeth turned away from the counter to check on the coffee pots behind her, to make sure there were full pots for the lunch rush due in soon. Dimly, she heard the bell over the door ring as the door either opened or closed.
Then she turned back and nearly jumped out of her skin when she found Nikolas Cassadine glaring at her while Gia Campbell smirked in the background.
“What the hell is going on?” Nikolas bit out, slapping a hand on the counter. “My brother is devastated, my mother is furious—”
“I told Lucky and Laura that I don’t want to be a model.” She glanced at Gia who arched a brow. “I’m sure you’re not surprised.”
“No,” Gia began but Nikolas sent her a hot look that had the former black-mailer pressed her lips together.
“How could you do this?” Nikolas demanded. “After everything my mother has done for you, this is how you repay her? Do you have any idea how much money and time you’ve wasted?”
“I do,” Elizabeth said slowly, “but I also know that it’s my right to quit a job at any time. Particularly a job where I am subjected to abuse and harassment by co-workers and supervisors.” She tipped her head at Gia. “Did they call you yet?”
“Yes.” Gia lifted her chin.
“Good,” Elizabeth said. “Because you and Carly deserve each other.” She turned back to begin another pot of coffee.
“What does that mean—” Gia began but Nikolas had launched into his next complaint.
“And what about Lucky? You’re ruining his dream—”
“Is he not capable of pushing the button on a camera if I’m not there to hold his hand?” Elizabeth asked. She measured out the coffee, ignoring the way her hand shook. She pressed the start button.
“That’s not the point—”
“What is the point?” Elizabeth asked. “I don’t need anyone’s permission to quit a job that I’m unhappy in, and I also don’t need your permission to break up with my boyfriend.”
“After everything we’ve been through with Lucky, you’re just abandoning him—”
“It doesn’t even matter to you,” Elizabeth said softly. She met Nikolas’s angry eyes. “It’s never mattered to you what makes me happy. What makes me sad. I wonder when that changed. Why I didn’t see it—”
“I—” Nikolas growled. “You’re just confused—”
“No, I think I’m seeing clearly for the first time.” She tipped her head as something even more devastating slipped into her consciousness. “How did Gia know?”
“What?” Nikolas blinked, shook his head. “Know what?” He looked at Gia, whose eyes had widened. “What?”
“Nothing—” Gia began.
“She talked about people looking at me, watching me. All the eyes on me. I didn’t know for sure—” Elizabeth flicked a glance at Gia who looked at the ground. “Until right now. You know I was raped by a photographer. That’s why you were trying to talk me out of taking the job.”
“I wasn’t wrong,” Gia said dully.
“No,” Elizabeth said. She took a deep breath. “No, your intent was to scare me away from the job, but you weren’t wrong. And I think part of me doesn’t even blame you. Because I know who you are. I’ve always known.” She focused on Nikolas. “But how did she know?”
“Elizabeth—” Nikolas faltered, and Elizabeth knew—she knew.
“I thought we were friends once,” she said. “But that was wrong. You told someone that does not like me about the worst thing that ever happened to me.” Her eyes stung. “But I guess I should have known from the beginning who you were. You threw my rape in my face before.”
“I don’t care what your little girlfriend has been through,” Elizabeth quoted, watching the color in Nikolas’s face fade. “You said that night of the Nurse’s Ball when I had an attitude with you. And Lucky went after you. Because we both knew what you meant. You apologized later—you’re good at that. Being cruel without thinking, and then being sorry for it later.”
“Just—wait—” Nikolas put up his hands. “Let me—you’re twisting this—”
“Am I?” Elizabeth made a face and shook her head. “I don’t think so. You couldn’t stand that I didn’t want you. You tried to kiss me, and I said no—”
“Excuse me,” Gia snapped.
“And that’s when it changed between us. You became possessive, jealous, and cruel after that. You were never my friend. Not really. And this—this is just more proof.”
Emily bounced down the stairs and approached them with a sunny smile on her face. “Hey—” Then that smile faded as she looked between them. “What’s going on?”
“I quit modeling and broke up with Lucky,” Elizabeth said, not taking her eyes off Nikolas. “And Nikolas told Gia I was raped.”
“You told Gia—” Emily glared at Nikolas. “What’s wrong with you? She blackmailed me! It’s bad enough you’re sleeping with her—but then you go and give her ammunition—”
“Oh, my God, I am not the anti-Christ!” Gia said, throwing up her hands. “All I did was remind Elizabeth that people would be looking at her, particularly photographers! How is that a bad thing? Am I the only one who thinks that the last place she should be in a photography studio? I mean, Jesus—” She scowled when no one said anything and stormed out of the otherwise empty diner.
Emily pressed her lips together. “You broke up with Lucky?” she said.
“She told him she has feelings for Jason—”
“Of course that’s the only part he concentrated on,” Elizabeth muttered, but Emily was already shaking her head.
“Elizabeth, how could you do that—”
Elizabeth retrieved her phone from her apron, untied it, then tossed it on the counter. She stalked away from the counter and towards the front the diner where her coat and purse were hanging.
“Are you quitting another job?” Nikolas asked sarcastically. “Jason going to pay for everything now?”
“Emily’s shift starts in ten minutes. She can cover until Penny gets here at noon.” Elizabeth stared back at two of her oldest and—until this moment—closest friends. “You can both go to hell.”
She slammed the door behind her so hard the building shook, and stormed out of the courtyard.
To hell with all of this.
Port Charles Park
Jason sighed and rolled his neck as he turned back to Carly. “Is there a chance you’re not going to make a stupid plan to get us all in trouble?” he asked.
“Oh, my God, just once, I’d like you to give me the benefit of the doubt!” Carly said, planting her hands on her hips.
“I’d like to,” Jason said slowly, “but you were also the one that shot Tony Jones in open court, then faked mental illness and ended up locked up for almost a year.”
“Oh, come on—”
“Then you had me arrested for kidnapping—”
Carly narrowed her eyes. “I didn’t file those charges, AJ did!”
“You also tried to help Sonny and Mike, and what happened?” Jason asked with an arch of his brows.
Carly huffed, looked away, muttering something.
“I’m sorry—can you say that louder?”
She glared at him. “I ended up getting Sonny arrested for drug trafficking. You know, when you just make a list of my worst crimes like that, it sounds bad.”
“Is there another way to make that list?”
“Context,” Carly told him through clenched teeth, “adds a lot.”
Not convinced, Jason shook his head. “I also don’t hear you telling me you’re not planning something stupid that’s going to get us all arrested.”
“I—” Carly pursed her lips. “I’m not planning to get anyone arrested—”
“No, that’s usually just a bonus—”
“I don’t even know why I talk to you,” she muttered as she stalked away. Five seconds later, she heard a thud and a groan—Carly turned back, saw Jason on the ground with some crazy bastard on top of him. She broke into a run.
“Hey! Get off of him!” Carly grabbed the attacker’s jacket, yanking him back. “Holy shit—” She leapt back as she saw the flash of a knife—then she realized who was holding the blade to Jason’s throat. “Lucky—what the hell—” Her fingers shaking, she dived for her purse which she’d tossed to get to Jason. Sonny. She needed to call Sonny—
But then, Jason got the upper hand and with an explosion of fists, he’d thrown Lucky off him, the knife skittering away. He was just getting the upper hand, raising his fist to knock the little shit out when he froze.
Carly scowled, then turned to follow his gaze—only to find Elizabeth Webber standing on the steps into the park, her face pale, her eyes wide. “Screw her, Jason! Finish the little shit!”
Jason was distracted long enough for Lucky to get breath back and land another punch to Jason’s jaw, knocking the enforcer into a nearby bench. Breathing hard, he got to his feet, then saw Elizabeth.
Carly watched as his eyes shifted, his angry, murderous expression melted into a hurt, confused, and scared one. “Elizabeth—thank God. You stopped him. He—he came out of nowhere—”
“Oh, fuck that all the way to next Sunday—” Carly snarled as Jason wearily got to his feet, looking away from Elizabeth. She glared at Elizabeth. “You really are the dumbest person alive—”
Elizabeth swallowed hard and walked towards them, edging away from Lucky, but never taking her eyes off him, and Carly realized—she realized that Elizabeth hadn’t said a word.
But her eyes said it all.
She was scared.
“Are you okay?” she asked Jason softly. “I—I saw—” She looked away, where the switch blade had fallen, the blade glinting against the snow. She touched Jason’s throat. “He didn’t—”
“I’m fine,” Jason said roughly, staring at her like he’d never seen her before.
“Elizabeth, get away from him—” Lucky started forward but Carly swung her purse—heavy with cosmetics and a flat iron she never went anywhere without—and cracked him across the face. Lucky ended up sprawled in the snow, blinking at the sky.
“You come near him again, and I will end you!” she retorted.
“Carly—” Jason winced as Lucky rolled to his side, coughing out blood. “Get over here—”
“Little piece of shit, coming at you like he’s worth anything,” Carly muttered. She kept one eye on Jason as she crossed over to Jason and Elizabeth. “With a knife! A freakin’ knife!” She scowled, turned back as if she was going to take another whack at him.
“I saw it,” Jason said, dryly, and she was relieved to see that blank look had vanished. He’d been so sure Elizabeth would take Lucky’s side, and not that Carly even liked the little wench, but at least she hadn’t hurt Jason.
If she had—Carly might have let her purse swing in her direction next.
“What is in there?” Jason asked Carly as Lucky rose unsteadily to his feet, blood dripping from the corner of his mouth. “He looks worse now than when I hit him.”
“You need to get away from him,” Lucky tried again. He attempted to step towards the three of them, but Jason stepped in front of Carly and Elizabeth, making sure to kick the knife away from Lucky.
“Walk away,” Jason said in a voice that would have frozen even boiling water. “You’re not attacking me from the front this time.”
“Yeah, and I’m packing!” Carly tossed out. She looked at Elizabeth. “You got anything to back us up?”
Elizabeth blinked, but actually started to search inside her much smaller purse.
“Carly—” Jason bit out.
Lucky glared at Jason before leveling a malevolent look at his—Carly was hoping—ex-girlfriend. “This isn’t over.”
“If it wasn’t before now,” Elizabeth said, her voice a bit shaky, “it is now. You—you attacked him with a knife! How—” She pressed a hand to her chest. “What is wrong with you?”
Lucky said nothing else, but slunk away, disappearing around the corner of the park. Jason turned slightly, but kept an eye on the entrance.
“Carly, it’s time for you to go home,” he said, finally. He looked at her. “Don’t do anything stupid until I talk to you.”
Carly narrowed her eyes. “That’s not helpful. You know I don’t know it’s stupid until after I do it—”
“Then go home, sit on the sofa, and do nothing,” Jason said, with a roll of his eyes.
“That—” Carly pursed her lips. “I can do.” She looked at Elizabeth. “Thank you for saving me the energy of firing you. You’re a terrible model—”
“And you’re a terrible boss,” Elizabeth retorted. “So I think we’re even.”
“That’s right.” Carly nodded, then walked out of the park — leaving Jason and Elizabeth alone, against her better judgment.