Flash Fiction: Hits Different – Part 18

This entry is part 18 of 22 in the Flash Fiction: Hits Different

Written in 60 minutes.


By the time Edward had walked their lawyer to the door, his confidence in their ultimate goal had been restored. After all, he was Edward Quartermaine — he’d contributed to all the right people, spread money in the right places—his legal team would run right over some dinky family court judge, and Justus—well, Justus was a fine lawyer, but he was a bleeding heart liberal. No match for anyone ruthless.

Edward recounted all these facts to Alan before dinner that night, and Alan accepted that his father didn’t believe they were in trouble, but Alan couldn’t quite find that confidence. It was one thing to orchestrate all of these things when Jason hadn’t been aware or fighting back—

It was another to sit in a court room and active oppose what his own son wanted to do. Even if that son didn’t remember his life or choices he’d made before the accident. Jason was still Alan’s child, and all of this turmoil weighed on him.

“Well?” Monica rose as soon as Alan entered the family room. “What’s going on? What does Edward say?”

Alan closed the door behind him, made a face. “Father remains convinced, but I’m not so sure. I know you’re angry that we took it this far, Monica, but I remain convinced it was the only way to do right by Jason. The power of attorney alone wouldn’t have given us the right to protect Jason’s trust fund. When he comes to his senses and realizes we only want what’s best, he’ll understand.”

“I just wish you’d told me,” Monica said. She paced the length the room. “It was humiliating to be confronted that way, in front of Lois who has never understood what it means to be a Quartermaine. For all my faults, Alan, I always did.”

Alan wasn’t so sure about that since Monica had once tried to bankrupt ELQ and tossed them out of the house but that had been more than a decade and two remarriages ago, so it was water under the bridge. “I was worried that you’d begun to soften towards Elizabeth. That you might think Father and I had gone too far—”

“I was,” Monica muttered. “I thought she was making the right choice, walking away from Jason. Not showing up here, begging to see him. I thought she’d learned about the memory loss and had cut her losses. But she was just regrouping. And it worked—” She whirled to face him, her eyes a bit desperate now. “It worked, Alan! How can that be possible? Jason has rejected every damn piece of the life we worked so hard to give him, but her? Her he wants to keep?”

“Monica—”

“It’s just like before,” Monica muttered. She resumed her pacing, one arm wrapped around her waist protectively, the other nibbling at her fingernails. “Just like it. Do you remember when he came to you to pay that girl’s tuition at some ridiculous art school? They weren’t even dating—and she’d almost talked him into giving her a hundred thousand dollars—”

“I wish you wouldn’t let that upset you—”

“And you know she got pregnant to trap him. It’s the oldest trick in the book! Jason’s too careful—especially after what happened to Stone Cates—She probably poked holes in the damn condom—” Monica took a deep breath, turned back to Alan. “And just when I thought there was some use to her, when I thought at least we’d have that precious child to love—that reckless girl destroyed everything—”

Alan stopped her, placing his hands at her shoulders. “Darling, don’t get so upset. Father and I are managing this—”

“But you said you’re not so sure. You said—”

“I said that I’m not so sure things on Wednesday go as well as he thinks. I wouldn’t be surprised if the judge grants an injunction—”

“Alan!”

“Monica, what do you think the family court is going to do? Jason’s perfectly capable of making this decision. He can choose to be married, just as he could before the accident. And if he went out and married the first idiot off the street, I’d tell you that we’d have to live with that. But he didn’t choose this marriage, and I don’t think it’s fair to allow it to stand when we know Jason wanted differently before the accident. A judge is going to see that if Jason can choose to get married now, then he can choose to stay married.”

“What if we told the judge everything we know? I could tell them about the last conversation Jason and I—”

“You could. But it would be hearsay, Monica.” Alan sighed. “I wish we had some proof of what he was planning, but we might be out of luck.”

“So what are we supposed to do?” she demanded. “Just let her keep dragging our son down into the mud? If Jason gets his trust fund back, what’s to stop him from putting her name right back on it—”

“Jason saw through her once, my dear. I’m going to try to convince Father not to fight too hard on Wednesday. This won’t be won in a court of law, but public opinion. Jason’s public opinion. All we have to do is make sure he sees Elizabeth for who we know she is.”

“Why couldn’t he have fallen for Sarah?” Monica muttered. She dropped onto the sofa. “A perfectly lovely and ambitious girl. If it had to be a Webber, why not her?” She sighed. “I know you’re right, Alan. It’s just…she managed to convince him to do this in a matter of weeks. We had two months with him, and somehow—” She closed her eyes. “Why does he want her and not us? Why?”

“I don’t know. But we’ll get through this. I know we will.” He squeezed her hand. “Trust me.”

Elizabeth balanced the pizza box in one hand and reached for the phone with the other, turning to flash Jason a smile over her shoulder as he headed into the kitchen with the brown bags of groceries they’d picked up on their way home from working the happy hour shift. “Can you grab this?” she asked, holding out the pizza. “Hello?” she said into the phone.

“Elizabeth?”

“Em.” Elizabeth’s hand tightened around the phone, then she forced herself to relax. She hadn’t called her best friend in more than a week—and so much had changed.

“Lois called me this morning,” Emily said, her tone strangely flat and empty. “What the hell is going on in Port Charles and why didn’t you tell me?”

Jason retrieved the box, but didn’t return to the kitchen, his brow furrowed. “Are you okay?”

Elizabeth pressed a hand to her forehead, wincing. “I was going to call you, but there’s been so much going on—”

“My grandfather put Jason in a conservatorship and you didn’t tell me? They’re trying to force a divorce, and you still didn’t tell me? They’re evicting you and you didn’t tell me? You got back together with my brother and you didn’t tell me. That didn’t all happen last week, Elizabeth.”

“No. No, it didn’t.” Elizabeth sat on the arm of the sofa. “It just kind of got out of control, and you were already back in school—”

“No, no! You don’t get to use that as an excuse—”

“Yeah, I do, Em. You’re three thousand miles away, and these calls aren’t cheap—”

“You’re married to a millionaire—”

“No, I’m married to a millionaire’s grandson, and you know there’s a difference. Jason’s trust fund doesn’t make him a millionaire—and this is a stupid argument. I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to cause issues with you and your family—”

“This isn’t about you, Elizabeth! This is about my brother! He’s been through so much, and now I find out my family is trying to control him! I could have helped—what kind of friend are you that you let him be thrown out onto the street before you even lifted a finger to help?”

“Wait. What?” Elizabeth rubbed the back of her neck. “What are you talking about?”

“Lois told me that Dad and Grandfather got Jason fired from any job he tried to get and thrown out of every place he tried to live. How long were you going to let that keep going? Until he was desperate enough to need you?”

Elizabeth closed her eyes, took a deep breath. “I didn’t know any of that was happening—”

“Sure. Okay, you just walked away from your husband without a second thought. I don’t buy that—”

“I don’t care what you believe, Emily, it’s the truth! I did the best I could, and you don’t get to judge me from across the country!”

“How can I judge you when you never tell me anything?” Emily accused. “Is that why Luke gave Jason and job? Because he couldn’t get one anywhere else? How long did it take before you talked him into moving back into the apartment?”

“I didn’t talk him into anything—” Elizabeth frowned when the phone was jerked out of her grasp.

Jason lifted it his ear. “Emily?” There was a pause. “No, she didn’t ask me for help. If you’re going to talk about me, why not say it to my face? No, I want to hear what you think Elizabeth is making me do. You can accuse her of doing it, why don’t you ask for my opinion?”

Elizabeth sighed, looked down at her hands, picking at a cuticle. A moment later, she heard the phone clatter as Jason set it back on the base with a hard rattle. “Who hung up, you or her?”

“She did. She said it wasn’t about me, it was between you two. So you tell me what she’s mad about.” Jason folded his arms, his jaw clenched. “What’s her problem?”

“I didn’t tell her about the conservatorship. I probably should have. She’s your sister—”

“I don’t know if I’d call her that.”

Elizabeth broke off, confused. “I thought you…you said you liked Emily and Lila.”

“Yeah, but—” Jason’s mouth tightened. “Never mind. It doesn’t have anything to do with her. What’s she going to do about it?”

“Yell at her grandfather, like that’s ever worked. Emily and I were really close growing up, but she went away to college, and it’s…we’ve drifted a little bit. Don’t worry about it. She gets mad for a week, then apologizes later.” Elizabeth headed for the kitchen. “Let’s put these away and eat before it gets cold.”

“Don’t brush me off like that. She was yelling at you about me, and I want to know.”

Elizabeth sighed, started to unpack one of the grocery bags. “I didn’t tell her what was going on. The power of attorney, either. She was so upset and scared for you, and the last thing I wanted to do was put her in the middle of what was happening with me and your—Alan and Monica. And Edward,” she added. She put the eggs in the fridge. “It just…I don’t know. I wanted to pretend it wasn’t happening. That’s how I’ve been handling everything for the last few months, honestly. Just don’t look directly at it.” She looked at him. “And she was back in California by the time I found out about the conservatorship. I’ve gotten used to not including Emily in my life. She’s hurt that I shut her out. That I kept her from helping you. She probably doesn’t even mean what she said—”

“You still didn’t tell me what that is.” Jason leaned against the fridge, blocking her from putting away anything else. “Just say it.”

“She thinks I knew you were basically homeless and I let it happen so you’d be desperate enough to need my help, and I’d be able to convince you to come back.”

“And is this what best friends do?” Jason wanted to know. “They accuse you of being manipulative?”

“That’s what Quartermaine best friends do,” she muttered. She bumped him out of the way and put away the milk.

“You lose your husband, your bank account with your money, your home is being threatened, and somehow that makes you the bad guy,” Jason said. “Why don’t you get mad? Why do you just take it?”

Elizabeth blinked. “What?”

“You just let her yell at you. You didn’t yell back. Why would you stay married to someone who wouldn’t defend you against his own family?” He shook his head, went over to pizza box. “I don’t understand that.”

Tears burned. “I didn’t need him to defend me. And I don’t want to yell back. I just want them to leave me alone. I wanted everyone to leave me alone, and they were doing that—”

“They were evicting you,” Jason said, looking at her like she was an idiot. “Trying to bankrupt you—”

“This is just a place. Okay? It’s four walls that I don’t even like. And I knew I could make it go away any time I wanted. All I had to do was agree to sign those divorce papers! I could have made it stop if I wanted to!”

“Then why didn’t you if none of this matters to you?” Jason challenged. “Why keep letting them beat you down?”

Her hands curled into a fist. “Because I made a promise. There are vows. You don’t remember making them to me, and that’s fine, but my memories weren’t erased. I made a promise. In sickness and in health. Honor. Cherish. Jason wouldn’t have let my family control me, and I wasn’t going to let them control you! Okay? I refused to sign those damn papers because they wouldn’t agree to end the conservatorship.” She scowled. “You don’t get to decide that’s not important.”

Jason leaned back against the counter. “So why didn’t you get pissed at Emily? Why do you only get mad at me?”

“I didn’t—” Elizabeth blinked, stepped back. “What? I didn’t get mad at you.”

“The first time we talked. You got angry with me because I was rude. I liked you better when you did that,” Jason added, and she just stared at him, bewildered. “And the next day—when I yelled at you, you yelled back. You didn’t tiptoe around me. Treat me like I was damaged. But you tiptoe around Emily. And the Quartermaines. Why?”

“I don’t—” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “I don’t know,” she said finally. She closed her eyes. “You think I’m a victim. That I make myself the victim.”

“I never said that—”

“Like I’m martyring myself,” Elizabeth muttered. “I’m not doing that. I’m not a victim. I’m just trying to survive.” She pressed a hand to her forehead. “What are we even fighting about?”

“I don’t know. But I like fighting with you,” Jason told her, and she laughed—just a short surprised burst exploding from her throat. She pressed her hands over her mouth, stifling the rest of it. “We’re done now, right? Do you still want to fight?”

“No. No, I don’t.” She closed the small distance between them, leaned up to kiss him. Jason’s hands immediately tangled in her hair—she fisted her hands in his shirt and started to back away, drawing him with her. “Have you ever had cold pizza?” she asked.

“What happened to waiting?” Jason wanted to know just as they reached the bedroom.

“Did you want to keep doing that?” she asked, her finger tips dancing underneath his shirt. “Because I could stop—” Elizabeth started to step away, but he yanked her back, his arm tight around her waist. “That’s what I thought.”

Comments

  • He likes her feisty. You tell your friends your problems so Em has a right to be mad at her

    According to leasmom on January 31, 2024
  • I soooooo needed that. I know it’s only been a week since Chapter 17 but in my world right now that feels like 7 lifetimes ago. I’m beyond curious why Alan and Monica think Jason was ready to walk away from Elizabeth before and, honestly, why she takes so much abuse from all of the Quartermaines, Emily included. Loved Jason calling her on that!
    Here’s hoping Chapter 19 comes faster than 7 years from now! (Which has everything to do with my world, not anything to do with your delivery of talent!)

    According to LivingLiason on January 31, 2024
  • This is so good. I can understand Emily being angry. Did she check on Elizabeth to see how she was doing? She lost her child and her husband. Are Monica and Alan confused? Did Jason want to end his marriage? Elizabeth needs to get very mad.

    According to arcoiris0502 on February 1, 2024
  • Emily needs a reality check and is mad at her parents and Grandfather for what they are doing no Liz. I love this new Liz for a take-charge person.

    According to Shelly Samuel on February 1, 2024
  • Uhoh. What was Jason Q planning??

    According to Michelle on February 1, 2024
  • Can we have Jason remember EVERYTHING? Or is Jason Q a bad guy; that Elizabeth was a gold digger. hmm

    According to Tammy on February 1, 2024
  • Can we have Jason remember EVERYTHING? Or is Jason Q a bad guy.

    According to Tammy on February 1, 2024
  • Can we have Jason remember EVERYTHING? Or is Jason Q a bad guy

    According to Tammy on February 1, 2024
  • Loved it.
    These Qs are making me mad and sounds like Jason is a jerk as a Q.
    I liked the Liason fight I hope this gets her so stirred up she lets them have it when she sees them.
    Emily was being a total bitch.
    But I loved that last scene

    According to PAMELA HEDSTROM on February 1, 2024
  • Just what was Jason Q all about? Seems like he wasn’t such a stellar guy. Hoping Jason Morgan is the improved version.

    According to nanci on February 3, 2024
  • I really want to know what Jason told Monica. I hope Emily calms down and sees Elizabeth’s side of things.

    According to Carla P on February 3, 2024