Flash Fiction: Hits Different – Part 15

This entry is part 15 of 22 in the Flash Fiction: Hits Different

Written in 58 minutes.


Luke weaved through the crowded bar, looking for his quarry. It was a packed Saturday night — the kind he both loved and loathed all at once. They were packed to occupancy — and maybe a bit over, who was counting? The drinks were flowing, the music was pulsing, and the atmosphere was electric. His club was the most popular night club in Port Charles — which made it impossible to find anyone you were looking for.

He finally reached the back booths, and scowled at his supposed partner, making calf eyes with a sexy brunette. “Hey, Corinthos. You gonna earn your keep or what?”

Sonny glanced away from the woman, scowled. “What? I’m the silent partner—”

“Sorry, honey, I need to borrow the Don Corleone for a minute.” Luke grabbed Sonny’s arm and hauled him to his feet. Sonny clenched his jaw, then turned back to the booth, straightening his jacket.

“Brenda, will you excuse me? Clearly Luke has business that won’t wait.”

“Well, I will. But not all night.”

“If she walks out of here,” Sonny muttered as he followed Luke through the crowd, “I’ll burn down your house.”

“Try it. I think Laura still has the shot gun under the sofa.” He stopped Sonny, gestured to the bar which was now in their view. “What did you do?” Luke gestured, and Sonny followed his gaze.

Elizabeth and Jason were joined by a third bartender on Saturdays — Jason kept to the straight draught orders, Elizabeth made the cocktails, and the third worked evenly on both. But it wasn’t the third bartender Luke was pointing at. Jason and Elizabeth were trading smiles and looks — well anyone could see what was happening, Sonny thought.

“”What makes you think it was my doing?”

“Because—” Luke whacked his arm. “It was your idea to bring him here—”

“No, it was your idea to hire him. My idea to have him live upstairs. I, uh—” Sonny scratched the side of his nose. “I do know that things have progressed between them. Wasn’t that the plan?”

“No! The plan was for her to look at him, see he’s not Prince Charming anymore, and move on with her life. What was your plan?”

“I didn’t really have one, to be honest. I just figured he needed a place to stay.”

“And what do you mean it’s progressed? If that boy hurts her again—”

“He didn’t hurt her the first time. On purpose,” Sonny added.

“Getting into a drunk’s car when you got a wife at home already grieving one half her family ain’t exactly making her happy, either.”

“Luke—”

“I don’t like this,” Luke decided. “Not one bit.”

“You’re going to have to get over it. Elizabeth isn’t the little girl following your son around anymore. She’s got a right to make her own choices.” Sonny hesitated. “And her own mistakes if it comes to that.”

“If this blows up, I’m gonna hold you responsible.”

“Yeah, yeah, don’t take it personally if I’m not exactly scared of you. Now, let me get back to my plans for Saturday. You worry about yours.”

“That’s exactly what I’m gonna do,” Luke muttered as Sonny melted back into the crowd.

The family was already sitting down to dinner, the Quartermaine butler had tried to tell Justus when he arrived, the legal documents in his hand. “If you want to wait in the parlor,” Reginald began, but Justus shook his head.

“No worries, Reggie. I know how to find my way to the dining room. I’ll show myself.” Justus brushed him off and started down the hallway, eager to make his announcement and get a sense of who knew what and when.

When he appeared in the doorway, Edward frowned from the other end of the table. “Justus? What’s the meaning of this?”

At the other end of the table, closer to the door, Lila wheeled her chair back slightly. “Justus, what a lovely surprise. I can have Alice lay another setting.”

“No, don’t go to the trouble, Lila.” Justus walked down the length of the table, most of the chairs empty. Emily was in California, AJ was still drying out in a rehab center, and Jason’s chair had been empty for a long time. Ned and Lois were up for Saturday dinner, and Ned’s eyes glimmered with a bit of excitement.

Let the games begin.

“I wanted to deliver the papers in person.” Justus stopped by his grandfather’s seat. On either side of Edward sat Alan and Monica. “I’ll be filing an appearance on Monday in family and probate court.”

Alan half-rose out of his seat, his eyes bulging. “What? What? What is this?”

“Family court?” Monica echoed.

“Probate?” Lois repeated. Ned set aside his napkin.

“You can’t tell me you’re talking that girl’s case!” Edward thundered, rising from his chair. His face was florid with fury. “Against your own?”

“You’ve been my own for two years, Edward, but no, I’m not representing Elizabeth.”

“Elizabeth? What’s happening?” Lila asked. “Is she all right?”

“No. She’s not.” Justus set the legal papers down. “I’m filing on behalf of Jason.”

“You can’t—” Edward closed his mouth, and Justus grinned. Checkmate, old man.

“I’m filing an injunction. It’ll be interesting for you to explain to the judge why you’re pushing a divorce that neither husband nor wife seem to want.” Justus tipped his head. “You want to give me a preview of that defense?”

“What is he talking about?” Monica demanded. “Edward, what is happening?”

“What divorce?” Lois leaned forward. “What’s happening?”

But Lila just looked down the table at her husband. “Oh, Edward.” The disappointment rang clearly though the words were softly spoken. “What have you done?”

“And in probate court, I’m petitioning to be named as Jason’s attorney. You know, the one he was supposed to be assigned before the judge approved a conservatorship.”

“Conservator—” Monica stared at her father-in-law before turning her attention to her husband. “Alan.”

“Monica, it’s—” Alan pressed his lips together, then looked at Justus. “You don’t understand what’s going on.”

“I understand that Alan was appointed Jason’s power of attorney while Jason in the coma, and somehow kept control after Jason was awake. And Edward now has the right to enter into contracts.” Justus looked back at his grandfather. “Or break them. He controls Jason’s finances. Did you even bother to look at their checking account, Edward? To see whose money you took when you closed it?”

“Every penny that girl had belonged my grandson—”

“Not a single penny was his,” Justus said, and Edward stared at him, open-mouthed. “His entire trust fund allowance went to medical school payments and into savings. For their daughter. You called her a gold digger, old man. Well, that gold digger was supporting Jason.  Until you stole the rest of her money when you closed her checking account.”

“You closed—” Lila’s face was pale. “Edward.”

“I had to stop her before she drained the entire thing.” Edward lifted his chin. “Justus doesn’t understand. He hasn’t looked at the entire bank record—”

“Conservatorship,” Lois mouthed, still stunned. “Ned, did you know about this?”

“Not until Justus told me a few weeks ago, but it explains a few things.” Ned tossed his napkin on the table. “You’ve gone too far this time, Grandfather.”

“I’ve done what was necessary—”

“I’ll let y’all talk amongst yourself,” Justus said.

“You stay right there, young man, and explain yourself! Justus, come back here!” Edward bellowed, but Justus was already on his way out. He saluted Reginald on his way out the front door.

Mission accomplished.

“The stars look closer, don’t they?” Elizabeth murmured, folding her arms along the guard rail, looking up at the sky sprawled out over Vista Point. Overlooking the lake, the sky seemed to go on forever, until it met the horizon of the pitch black water.

“I guess. I never thought about it much.” Jason lifted his gaze to consider the question.

“It’s hard to see the stars from downtown,” Elizabeth continued. “There’s so much light from the clubs and the buildings. But it’s nice up here.”

“Yeah?” Jason leaned against the guard rail. “I wasn’t sure where to go. I mean, it’s…we’re dating right?” His pulse skittered as he said it—the first time either of them had referred to their new agreement. They’d simply gone to bed the night before — he’d stayed on the sofa, and she’d gone to the bedroom. He’d wondered if maybe she’d change her mind, or if he’d wake up and think better of it.

“Yeah, I guess we are.” She bit her lip. “I don’t know. How are you supposed to date someone you live with?”

“Did we—” Jason shook his head. No. He didn’t want to ask what they did before. This was now. It was supposed to be new. “I don’t know. What do people do when they don’t live together?”

Elizabeth wandered down to the next level, sat on the bench, and followed. “When I was in high school, and dating Lucky, he used to pick me up and we’d go to the movies.” She wrinkled her nose. “You don’t like movies, though, do you?”

“No. I mean, I don’t know. They’re—”

“Are they like pictures? You can’t…you have trouble with them, don’t you?”

Jason didn’t want to talk about the damage, didn’t want to talk about this one piece of evidence that he wasn’t completely normal. People went to movies, and they watched television. They looked at photos. They didn’t have brains that couldn’t process them.

But she’d asked, and he wanted to be honest. “The doctors said it’s a kind of aphasia,” he said after a long moment. “It’s not…typical. I don’t see two-dimensional images the same way everyone else does. The letters sometimes swim—”

“Like the bottles with the swirly letters,” Elizabeth said. “I noticed that the first time we worked together.”

“Yeah,” he said shortly. He clasped his hands between his knees, stared down at them. “I can see things if I try. Photos are easier. But movies and television—they move. And I can’t really focus on them.”

“I’m sorry. This—this isn’t something you like to talk about, is it?”

“No. But you should know. It’s how I’m different now. They wanted me to go back to medical school,” Jason said suddenly. “Alan put this textbook in front of me, and it all swirled so much. He told me to keep trying — the doctors said it would get better if I just kept trying—” He shook his head. “I threw the book. It shattered a window.” They’d stopped talking about medical school, and talks of sending him away had started.

“I’m sorry. That he did that,” Elizabeth added when he looked at her. “If the doctors think it’ll improve, that’s great. But it should be in your time. Not on someone else’s. Alan’s a doctor, he should know better.” She tucked on leg beneath her as she turned to face him. “What do you like to do? I mean, other than bartend and go on a ride.”

“I don’t…” Jason squinted, considered the question. “I don’t know. The two weeks I’ve been at Luke’s are the longest I’ve been anywhere since the Quartermaines. I didn’t have time to find out.” And at the Quartermaines they’d tried to get him to do what he’d done before. “What do you like to do?”

“Oh. Well, it’s been a long time since I really thought about it. I, um, had to work a lot the last few months, so there wasn’t time. And then you know, all the other stuff.” She cleared her throat. “I paint. And draw. Watercolors and oils. I haven’t done either in a while, but I miss it. And I used to scrapbook. I’d take tickets and pamphlets and all kinds of important things and put them in a book,” she explained. “With photos and then I’d decorate them. To create a story.” Her smile was faint. “I haven’t really felt like doing that in a while, though.”

“I think I could like to read. If the print is really clear,” Jason added. “Do you like to?”

“Reminds me too much of school.” She wrinkled her nose. “We really don’t have anything in common, do we?”

“We have the bike.” Jason sat up, not liking where she was going with that. “And you like to talk. I can listen.”

“I like to talk?” Elizabeth repeated. “How can you tell that?”

“You talk to the customers. And you like it.” She laughed when he made a face. “You ask them questions and you care about their answers. Even if it’s just a quick conversation.”

“People are interesting, I guess. They’ll tell their bartender pretty much anything. Their divorces, affairs, break ups, fights—” She bit her lip. “But you don’t like to talk.”

“I like talking to you,” Jason said. “Not to strangers. Or people looking for me to be someone else,” he said, more to himself. “You don’t do that. I don’t know why. Even Emily still looks at me like I’ll turn into him at any point.”

“Him?” Elizabeth echoed.

“The perfect brother. It helps sometimes,” Jason said slowly, “to think of him as a separate person. Someone who existed before me. I don’t feel as guilty when people don’t see him in me.”

“It’s not as hard as I thought it would be,” Elizabeth said finally. “I asked you to stay away because it was awful at first, but then the more time I spent with you—” She tipped her head, considering. “You’re different. You carry yourself differently. In the shoulders. I don’t know if that make sense. And your hair—” She reached out, her fingers brushing the short spikes, growing out from the buzzcut he’d had in the hospital. “It really helps to separate you.”

“I saw pictures of it longer. I think I’d hate it.” He nodded. “This is okay, though. For a date, right? People talk on dates.”

“Yeah. They do. And I like talking to you.” She glanced at the watch, the clock face on the inside of her wrist. “But we’d better get home. It’s Easter tomorrow, and I have to go to Luke’s for dinner. I can get you an invite, if you’re interested.”

Jason stood, held out a hand to pull her up. “I’ll go if you want. But I only know Luke.”

“Luke’s wife, Laura, is really nice. And they’ve got a daughter. Lulu. Lucky, the guy I dated, he won’t be there if that would be awkward.”

“Why would it be awkward?” Jason wanted to know. They made their way back to the parking lot where he’d parked the bike.

“Oh. Well, sometimes it’s weird to be around your…to be around ex-boyfriends. For the new…not that you’re my new boyfriend—”

“But why would that be weird?” Jason pressed.

“I don’t know. Maybe you’d think I still have feelings for him. Or he’d have feelings for me. And seeing each other would bring it back.”

“If it did, then you should be with him,” Jason said. He handed her the helmet. She held it against her chest. “Do you still have feelings for him?”

“No.”

“Then why would I care? His feelings don’t matter. You don’t want him, so that’s what does.”

“I mean, yeah, that’s logical.” She frowned. “He won’t be there, though. Do you want to come?”

“If you want me to.”

“I’ll ask Luke.” Elizabeth hesitated, watched him swing his leg over the bike. “Um, listen. About this dating thing.”

“Yeah?”

“I know we’ve already slept together. And that was great,” she added. “And maybe it’s stupid because of that, or because we’re supposed to go to court later this week and tell the judge we’re married and we want to stay that way—”

“That’s for the Quartermaines,” Jason cut in. “This is for us. We promised.”

She smiled. “Right. “But maybe we could…I don’t know, hold off. On sleeping together again. I wouldn’t before the third date, but you’re living with me, and you were…well, it was your fault,” she muttered, ducking her head.

“I thought we established it was yours, too,” he said. He stroked her shoulder, the way he had the other morning. Though she wore a jacket and a shirt beneath it, she could feel it down to her skin.

“Right. Either way. That was — a momentary impulse and urges, and all that. I just…I don’t want this to be about sex.” Elizabeth chewed on her bottom lip, studied him. “Is that okay?”

“Can it be about sex eventually?” he asked a little hopefully, and she couldn’t fight the smile. “Is it wrong to have it sooner? I don’t understand. You said it was good—”

“It was. And there’s nothing wrong. But it…I don’t want it to be all there is.” She cleared her throat. “You know, I kind of want more. Like this. I like this. Just  talking to you. I’d like to do that a few more times.”

“We can do whatever you want,” Jason said. “Can I still kiss you?”

“Oh. Well, yeah—” Her words were cut off by his mouth, and she almost fell into his lap. Her hands curled around his neck, sinking into the way his lips felt against hers, the stroking of his tongue—

When he pulled back, she felt almost a bit dizzy, and had to hold on to the handle of the bike to steady herself. “Okay. Good. Glad we had this talk.”

He grinned at her. “Me, too.”

Comments

  • Amazing update. I had to read the part where Justus served the paperwork twice. That would be some interesting dinner conversation.

    I like that Elizabeth and Jason are talking to each other about their feelings and they still want to date and get to know each other as who they are now.

    Somehow, you always make Luke Spencer likable for me. I always love his steadfast, father like devotion to Elizabeth and her health and mental well being and he wouldn’t hesitate to give Jason guff over hurting her. Sonny had valid points too.

    According to nanci on January 10, 2024
  • The Qs got bombed and Justus just strolled out the door.

    Sonny & Luke are funny.

    Love the dating talk and of course the kiss

    great update

    According to Pamela Hedstrom on January 10, 2024
  • I like this version of Jason. It feels like the purest form of him and it’s so intriguing.

    According to Anonymous on January 10, 2024
  • Justus was the best, would loved to have seen just a little more of that. And yes her toes were curlled.

    According to leasmom on January 10, 2024
  • Go Justus! I loved how he did that! Sonny and Luke make me smile. Love the Liason moments. I like that they are learning who each other are and fingers crossed falling for who they are now!

    According to Golden Girl on January 10, 2024
  • I’m loving Luke. Justus was awesome but it was sad that most of the family didn’t know. I can just imagine that conversation after he left. It’s good that Jason and Elizabeth are dating. I can’t wait to read what happens next.

    According to arcoiris0502 on January 10, 2024
  • I really liked this chapter. The talk between Jason and Elizabeth and the kiss was great. I hope Edward and Alan back off Jason and Elizabeth. I was hoping Lila and Monica would be more outspoken to Edward and Alan. I wonder if Luke is going to but in where Jason and Elizabeth are concern.

    According to Carla P on January 10, 2024
  • First, how cute is this version of our couple? Love that they are getting to enjoy some happiness after all the heartache of the opening chapters. Ditto to all of the above. Justice guessed right about who knew what. Now the question is whether anyone in the house can sway Edward and Alan to back off. Part of me hopes so – then we can just focus on our couple finding their way back to solid ground. Part of me hopes not because the antics that will ensue mean a longer storyline and more awesomeness from you!
    As always, thank you for sharing your talent!

    According to Living Liason on January 11, 2024
  • Justus Rock when he delivered the papers to Edward let everyone know what he did. I can’t wait for the fireworks to happen.

    According to Shelly Samuel on January 11, 2024
  • LOVE IT! So now we know it was just Edward and Alan. Can’t wait until court.

    According to Tammy on January 12, 2024