Flash Fiction: Hits Different – Part 14

This entry is part 14 of 22 in the Flash Fiction: Hits Different

Written in 58 minutes.


It was the best day he’d had since waking up in the hospital, and it probably wasn’t even noon yet.

Jason stretched out on his back, one arm behind his head, still trying to catch his breath, and all at the same time, wondering how he could do it all over again. People should wake up every morning like this, he thought. With a gorgeous woman who kissed them like they were starving, and then dragged them into the bedroom—

Jason turned his head, his cheek flat against the pillow to find Elizabeth laying on her back, too, her hair a tangled cloud around her head, a fist pressed against her heart, and her chest rising and falling rapidly which really was a great visual, he thought, watching it—

“That was so stupid,” Elizabeth managed, her voice a bit thick. “Oh my God, so unbelievably stupid.”

Jason frowned, wondering if he’d missed something. She sounded upset. Or maybe mad. What had he done wrong? Maybe it had been too fast, he thought. He didn’t have any personal experience—none that he could remember, he reminded himself. But he had knowledge in his head. His memories were gone, but he knew how bodies worked. And what parts went where—

And he thought he knew what sounds people made when they were happy, and she’d made all the right ones—

Elizabeth slid out of the bed, darted towards a chair where she snatched up a pink robe and whipped it around herself, tucking away all the bits he’d been enjoying. Jason sighed and sat up, reaching for the top sheet that had been kicked towards the end of the bed. He didn’t care about nudity, but judging from the way she was holding the robe closed, she probably didn’t want to have whatever conversation came next while he was naked.

He really didn’t understand people.

“What did I do wrong?” Jason asked. He hitched the sheet around his wast and slid out of bed, not wanting to be sitting when she was on her feet. “Did I not do it right?”

Her eyes widened, and her cheeks flushed a bright cherry red, which traveled down to the small bit of chest still visible where her robe opened. “What?”

“I don’t remember having sex,” Jason said, patiently. If it was just as simple as missing a step or maybe he needed to do something extra to make sure she’d finished, too, well, he was willing to learn. “But I remember what I’ve read. I guess I had a lot of sex education. Or whatever college you go to before medical school.”

Her mouth parted slightly. “What?”

He frowned. He thought he’d asked the right question, but apparently not. “You’re not happy. So I missed a step. Tell me what it is and I’ll fix it.”

“I—” Elizabeth squeezed her eyes closed, and then, the words sounding like she was being strangled, “You didn’t miss any steps.”

“Oh. So then why aren’t you happy?”

Elizabeth let out a small moan, then collapsed onto the chair behind her. “I think I’m having a stroke. Okay. Okay. I’m an adult.” She cleared her throat, looked at him. “Listen, um, I was, uh, happy. There.” She gestured at the bed, with the pillows still askew, the comforter half hanging off the foot of the bed, and sheets mussed. “That—literally—that was fine. Great. Good.”

He felt vaguely insulted and didn’t really understand why. “Just great?”

“This is the Twilight Zone.” She dragged one hand through her hair. “The best sex I’d had in almost a year. That part is not the problem.”

“Then what’s wrong?” Jason kicked the sheet away, started to look around for his briefs, figuring they’d be more comfortable than the bulky sheet wrapped around his waist. “You said it was stupid.”

“Sleeping together was stupid,” Elizabeth bit out. “It complicates everything! Okay? We had an agreement. You’d sleep on the sofa, and then I’d get you out of this conservatorship—”

“We had a deal,” Jason agreed. “And we’d see what happened. Also, you kissed me. And I asked if you were sure.” He frowned, remembering that she hadn’t really said yes to that question, but then he brushed it aside. “Why can’t it be that simple? I wanted you, you wanted me. So we had each other.”

“God, I must be out of my mind, because that made sense and it’s because I haven’t had sex since July, isn’t it? That has to be it. My brain is warped.” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “Okay. Yes, in some sense, you’re right. It was that simple. We acted on our basic urges. It’s just—” She chewed on her bottom lip. “It can’t happen again, that’s all. I think it just complicates everything—”

“I don’t understand. We said we’d see what happened,” Jason repeated. “This happened. Why can’t this just be part of the deal now. You had a good time. So did I—”

“Because—” Elizabeth closed her mouth. “I don’t know how to put it into words. For you, Jason, that was fun. And uncomplicated. Because while you know the legal label that I have to you, it’s not a real one. I’m just Elizabeth to you.”

He exhaled. “And it’s still real to you.” This he understood. The word wife didn’t mean anything to him, not real. Only that it was the relationship she  had to him. But to her— “So what, you were sleeping with your husband? Like I was still the same—”

“You’re not the same.” She rubbed her lips with the tip of her index finger. “You’re not. The flashes are there, of course they are. But you’re definitely blunter than you were before. I can’t imagine you asking me if you did it right in that tone. And there’s other things — I mean—” Elizabeth paused, clearly searching for the right words. “No. I wasn’t having sex with my husband. And maybe that’s messing me up to. Because you’re him. Physically. That’s his body. But it’s his mind anymore. And it’s only been three months. It’s like he died, and now it’s been three months—” She shook her head. “This is what I mean. I bring so much baggage, you know. I’m just dragging suitcases of it behind me, and you don’t deserve any of that. You should have uncomplicated sex if that’s what you want. I just can’t give it to you.”

Jason considered all of that, and thought she had a point. It must be a strange thing to look at him, to see someone you knew and loved, and know that they didn’t know you anymore. “So you want me to go have sex with someone else?” he asked warily.

“I—” She cleared her throat. “No. No. But you could. And you should. Go to Jake’s. I promise you you’ll have any girl you—” She looked away and he cocked his head, trying to understand her. “I just—it would be really easy for me to fall in love with you. You. Who you are right now. Because so much of you is already someone I love. But you don’t love me, Jason. And there’s no guarantee you ever will.”

He didn’t have a response to that. He didn’t really understand love — he knew the definition, and he understood it as a concept. But what it felt like, what it was in reality—how did you know?

Elizabeth rose. “I’m going to take a shower. The coffee is probably ready by now.”

The air was tense between them when she got out of the shower, so Jason took one of his own and left the apartment as quickly as he could, walking a few blocks towards Luke’s. He could see Elizabeth’s point, sort of. And he’d probably be making everything easier if he did just go pick up someone at Jake’s. He’d lived at the bar for a week, and he’d seen women looking at him. He’d just been trying to keep his head above water then, and not really thinking about of that.

But now he was thinking about that. It was like an entire part of his brain had woken up, but it didn’t want some random blonde making eyes at him from the jukebox at a bar. He wanted Elizabeth with her painted red lips, sad eyes and soft hair. But she didn’t want him. Or more correctly, she didn’t want to want him.

And there was that problem that Jason couldn’t really know if she wanted him or the man she’d been married to. Though he didn’t get the sense from her that she was looking for someone else when they were together. He knew what that was like — having conversations early on with the parents—the way they’d constantly searched his eyes as if somehow they’d be able to find their son in them. Or the way the grandfather had constantly bellowed out about plans Jason had always had before—

No, Jason hadn’t been interested in living any piece of the life he’d had before. Until he’d met Elizabeth, and he’d looked at the photograph she’d given him. He stopped suddenly, standing on a pier by the water, and dug out his wallet. He carried the photo around because it reminded him you could see something real in photos and that meant they were worth the effort to figure them out.

He didn’t need any effort to figure this one out anymore. He knew the lines of Elizabeth’s face now. They were familiar. And he’d looked at Cady a hundred times since that first day. He wanted to remember what it was like to be a father, and if the little time he’d spent with Elizabeth was anything like what it had been to be a husband, well, maybe he’d be okay with that.

Luke’s was still closed for the day — but Jason found Sonny sitting at one of the tables on the floor, going through some paperwork. He glanced up when he heard Jason. “Hey. You’re early. Elizabeth didn’t come with you, did she? She worked too late last night.”

“No. No. It’s just me.” Jason pulled out the chair across from him, nodded at the papers. “Books for the club.”

“Taxes coming up,” Sonny said with a grimace. “I have an accountant, but I double check his work. I don’t trust anyone when it comes to my money.” He set the pencil aside. “Luke told me you were asking about Quartermaines. About making them just a little bit miserable.”

“I don’t like what they did to Elizabeth. So, yeah, I’d like to see them hurt. Alan and Edward,” Jason clarified. “The rest—I don’t have a problem. At least I don’t think so.”

“Well, the best way to get at them is always through ELQ, so I could make some calls. Maybe see if some shares are up for grabs. But it would depend on what you want to happen.”

“I don’t know. I just don’t want them to keep getting away with all of this,” he muttered. “Luke said the press was bad. You made it go away. How?”

“I have a few friends in the right places.” Sonny tipped his head. “But shutting them down in court might be worth it on its own. At least for now. And when you have control of your life back, there’s a lot of things we can do. How’s that going?”

“I don’t know yet. Justus is filing something in court.”

“Yeah, I heard about this plan. You and Elizabeth presenting a united front to get the judge to give her power.” Sonny leaned back. “I worry that maybe it’s complicating things for her. She worked hard to get a little bit of normal back in her life. She wasn’t all the way back, but you coming back around, well, I hope when you’re ready for the divorce, you make it quick and painless.”

Jason opened his mouth, then hesitated. “How do you know when you’re ready? I mean, divorce. How would I know?”

Sonny drew his brows together. “I figured when you got this conservator thing handled, Elizabeth would sign the papers. You don’t remember being Jason Quartermaine, so what’s the point?”

“But I like her,” Jason said, stubbornly, with a lick of anger. Why did everyone want to make decisions for him? “Maybe I don’t want a divorce.”

“You like her,” Sonny repeated. “What does that mean? I like my shoes—” He held out a leg. “Real Italian leather—”

“We had sex,” Jason said bluntly, and Sonny stared at him, his foot dropping down to the floor. “Today. I mean I like her. And I wanted to do it again, but she thinks it’s a bad idea. Because I don’t love her. But she doesn’t love me either. Not who I am today. She loves who I was. So we don’t love each other.”

“I can’t say I was expecting the conversation to go this way,” Sonny said slowly. He stroked his chin. “She loves the shadow of you,” he said. “But pieces of you are the same. So she might not love all of who you are yet but she still loves those pieces. That’s more than you can say. So maybe she’s got a point.”

“But people don’t fall in love at the same time. And how can you do that if you don’t try to? If we just ignore each other, then it’ll never happen.” Jason shook his head. “So what? Maybe I’ll love her next week.”

Sonny closed the ledger in front of him, rubbed the back of his neck with a light chuckle. “Oh, man. Don’t ever tell a woman that. Please.”

“Why? It’s true—”

“It sounds like you just want to have sex with her,” Sonny said, and Jason closed his mouth. “And that you’d say whatever you need to so she’ll sleep with you.”

“Oh. I wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true.” Jason considered this advice, but he still thought his idea was a good one. “But it’s true. I could fall in love with her by next week. Maybe I love her now, and I don’t know. Is there a list or something I should be looking at? Because how do you know?”

“Well, that’s not easy to answer. Because the truth is, you know it’s love when you feel it.” Sonny lifted on shoulder in a careless half-shrug. “That probably doesn’t help very much, does it?”

“I’ll know it when I feel it,” Jason repeated. “No, it doesn’t help, but if it’s true, then it’ll make sense when it happens. So what am I supposed to do? I told her that we’d see what happened, and then what happened was we had sex. Why isn’t that a good thing?”

“Because sex is easy,” Sonny said bluntly. “It doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to get a woman into bed or even a lot of skill to make it decent—”

“She said it was the best she’d had in a year.”

“I did not need to know that.” Sonny dragged a hand over his eyes. “Okay. Look, bottom line, Jason. She’s just scared of being hurt. She’s spent the last six months at rock bottom. And she’s not in a hurry to go back. Maybe you can understand that.”

“But I made her happy. I could do that again—”

“And she could invest in a vibrator that would do the same task.” Sonny leaned forward. “If you want a chance at something real, at more than just sex, then you gotta make her see tha. But if sex is all you want, well, there’s some bars you can try.”

“She said that, too,” Jason muttered. He considered all of this, and nodded. “Okay. Okay. But maybe we could date. I mean, she says I’m not her husband even though the law says I am. So if I’m not her husband, then we could date, right?”

“I—” Sonny lifted his brows. “Huh. Yeah. That’s actually something that might work. Try that.”

Jason thought about it the rest of the day — as the bar opened for customers, and Elizabeth showed up for the closing shift, from six to two. She kept her distance, and he let her do that. Now that he understood a little better what she was thinking, Jason didn’t want to make her feel comfortable. They could wait.

The bar closed at two, but it wasn’t until almost three before the place had emptied and they’d been able to shut it down completely.

“I could drive,” Jason offered as Elizabeth slid the strap of her purse and tugged it over her head to sit crossed on her chest. ”

She stifled a yawn, and tossed him the keys. “Too tired to argue. I don’t know why I decided to work two closing shifts in a row. Remind me to be nicer to myself in the next schedule.” She let Jason steer her out the back door towards the parking lot and her car.

Jason settled her into the passenger side, then got into the driver’s side. “I thought about what you said earlier.” He switched on the engine, but didn’t leave the parking lot.

Elizabeth frowned, turned to look at him. “This morning?”

“Yeah. I don’t just want sex. Not with you. If that’s what you were thinking. I thought back to how I said things, and maybe it sounded like that.”

“It’s okay—”

“No. It’s not. I don’t want to hurt you. So I have to think about what I say. That’s been hard since I woke up,” Jason admitted. “Sometimes I can do it, and then other times, I just say what I’m thinking, and it comes out wrong. Or too blunt. So I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. I wasn’t really at my best either. It’s been a long time since I did anything that impulsive, and I just—” Her smile was faint. “I reacted badly. But I started it, Jason, and I didn’t stop it. So you have nothing to be sorry for.”

“Good. That’s fixed. We should date.”

Elizabeth was quiet long enough that he worried she’d fallen asleep. “Date?” she repeated.

“Yes. That’s how people get to know each other, right? You didn’t love me the first day you met me, did you?”

“Well, I was five, so probably not. But no, I didn’t love you on our first date. That came later.” He met her gaze, and saw that she was considering it. “We should date?”

“Yes. We should get to know each other. More. We already know the sex is good, but you need to know me now. And maybe you won’t love me.”

“Maybe you won’t love me,” she said softly. “Is this what you want?”

“Only if you want it. This is separate from the rest of it.” Jason swallowed hard. “It’s separate from the Quartermaines and all of that. I want something that’s not about them or what they’re trying to do.”

“Me, too. Okay. Let’s date, then.” She reached across the space between the seats, touched his cheek. “And we’ll keep it ours. Just for us.”

“Yeah.” Feeling almost as light and as good as he had that morning, Jason nodded. “Just for us.”

Comments

  • What a chapter!! Yes, they’re going to date. I loved his conversations with Elizabeth and then Sonny. This is so good!!!

    According to arcoiris0502 on January 6, 2024
  • Wow what a strange conversation. Beautiful. I tried to think of what it would be like to be then. That is hard and it has to be simple to be understood when Jason has no reference to actual feelings.

    According to leasmom on January 6, 2024
  • I started this story this morning & breezed through it. I was thrilled to get #14 to read tonight. You are hitting me with all the feels & I’m loving it!!

    According to Liasongirlalways❤️ on January 6, 2024
  • I laughed out loud at Jason’s conversation with Sonny. I could just picture it in my head with Sonny looking at Jason and thinking wth lol. I am so happy we got an extra update. I can’t wait to see how the dating goes. You are hitting it out of the ball park with this story.

    According to Golden Girl on January 6, 2024
  • I almost messaged you this morning begging for an update because I’ve had such a bad first week of the year and I just wanted a treat. (Not that I have any right to ask, nor did I expect you would do it but I am trying to remember … if you don’t ask, it clearly won’t happen). Obviously I did not do that. And then your email came sharing this chapter and it was perfect. Well … a perfect treat. I am a little concerned that Elizabeth’s understanding of this conversation is that Jason is looking for her to decide she doesn’t love him and it can be as simple as just sex, not that he wants to find out if maybe they could love each other as they are now. And that the touch of the cheek is just her chance to let go. But I’m also hopeful that she does really understand and that they are rapidly in a friends with benefits relationship where they do realize it’s more quickly.

    Now on to the news Steve is returning. I haven’t watched the show in years. Watched clips when he returned from the dead last time in case they finally let Elizabeth get away from Franco but they botched that whole return so badly I couldn’t even think about devoting time to watch scenes of them. Let me know if they do anything that remotely resembles character-driven writing that makes sense to the characters they created or is at all consistent with previous plots. Maybe I will find time to watch them. Probably I will just use that time to read and reread your versions which are far superior (and not just because they are Liason, just because they have actual stories).

    As always, thank you for sharing your talent with us!

    According to LivingLiason on January 6, 2024
  • Thanks for the update. I love this story and this chapter was funny.

    According to Shelly Samuel on January 7, 2024
  • I liked that conversation with Jason and Sonny. Kind of reminds me of Sonny and Jason’s original friendship, where Sonny had solid advice and did more than just take.

    Nice conversation with Jason and Elizabeth. I’m glad they talked it out and yes, dating sounds like a sensible and marvelous idea. They will get to re-discover each other again.

    TY this was a nice treat.

    According to nanci on January 7, 2024
  • Absolutely loved this surprise chapter–thank you.
    The way they acted after sex was funny and sad asking if he did it right and she says she’s having a stroke–too funny.
    I’ve never really liked Sonny but I loved that convo and he gave Jason some good advice– was also pretty funny.
    Now they are going to date can’t wait for that to happen.
    look forward to more.

    As for SBu coming back I think it is a stupid idea unless he is someone else or acts differently as Jason–the last time was horrible and I only watched a few times to see it wasn’t working especially that wedding and then immediately on to The Britch–not any good at all. He barely even talked to his children. I watch pieces every few months and there is very little about Gh I enjoy–hate that Finn guy (ME isn’t much of an actor) and his daughter is annoying

    According to Pamela Hedstrom on January 7, 2024
  • Thank you for the fabulous update. I am so happy that Jason wants to date Elizabeth and she said yes. I was so afraid they were going to shut down on each other. I can’t wait until their 1st date.

    According to Carla P on January 7, 2024
  • beautifully done… just wow

    According to Miss Raye on January 8, 2024
  • “didn’t want some random blonde making eyes at him from the jukebox at a bar”… omg, this is one of my favorite parts! LOL
    Seriously though, this story and the way you’re writing Jason… it’s incredible. The entire conversation they have in the bedroom was perfect. Is it Wednesday at 8pm yet??

    According to Michele on January 9, 2024
  • So, I’m harried to get ready for a trip to Vegas today, so before I start curling my hair, my brain is like, oh it’s Thursday morning, we need to check Crimson Glass! And I find this amazing update!! I’m loving the story!! The meanness of the Quartermaines, the Sonny of old friendly-ness and especially this version of Jason & Elizabeth, you’re amazing as always. And made a stressful morning so much more bearable even though it really is Wednesday morning and you shouldn’t have yet. But thank you!!

    According to Shawna on January 10, 2024