Flash Fiction: Hits Different – Part 21

This entry is part 21 of 32 in the Flash Fiction: Hits Different

Written in 61 minutes.

As soon as the judge had cleared the room, Elizabeth leapt to her feet, nearly tripping over Justus and Jason in her haste to the other side of the aisle.

“What did you mean?” she demanded. “What does that mean about Jason wanting a divorce?”

“Ma’am, I really think you should let your attorney handle everything—” Barber said, looking down his long thin nose at her. “This isn’t proper—”

“No! No! Tell me what that means!” Elizabeth cut in.

“Elizabeth, hey, don’t let them rile you up—” Justus put a hand on her shoulder, and Jason stood just behind him, his brow creased in confusion.

“It means exactly what we said, young lady,” Edward said, pushing past his attorney. “So sign the papers and walk away. My grandson wanted you out of his life—”

“Father—” Alan touched his arm. “This really isn’t necessary, and that—”

“No, he didn’t. He never said—” She shook her head. “No. It’s a lie. It’s all a lie.” She looked to Jason. “It’s a lie—”

“He can’t tell you anything—he doesn’t remember, and you’re taking advantage of him, just like you always did!” Edward cut in sharply. He wagged a finger at her. “Using his injuries against him, pulling him into all of this—your grandfather would be ashamed—”

“Watch it, old man—” Jason swept Elizabeth behind him and Edward took a step back, closing his mouth. “You’re not going to talk to her like that. Answer the damn question or don’t, but you’re not going to insult her one more time.”

Edward pressed his lips together. “I have nothing to say.” He stalked out of the courtroom, followed by his attorney.

Alan, however, hovered by the front of the courtroom. “I’m sorry it’s come out like this. All of it,” he added. “I wanted you to know when you were living with us—about the conservatorship, about—” He flicked his eyes to Elizabeth. “About all of it. But we worried you weren’t ready—”

“How do you get ready to find out you have no legal freedom, Alan?” Justus asked. “And thank you, by the way, for confirming that Jason never knew any of this. There never was any lawyer assigned to him, was there?”

“Father handled all of it. I couldn’t say—” He looked at Elizabeth again. “We’ve handled things so…poorly. From top to bottom. But we’re not lying, Elizabeth.”

“It has to be—” Elizabeth raised her gaze to him, her eyes burning. “Jason would have said something. He wouldn’t—he loved me.”

“I never spoke to him,” Alan said, surprising Jason when his tone was gentle. “Monica did. The day of the accident. He came to tell her what he’d decided. AJ came in. There was some arguing about his drinking, and Jason went after him. I’m sure he was thinking of you and Cady. I don’t—” He paused. “I don’t know if he would have gone through with it. But he told his mother what he wanted.”

“No.” But now Elizabeth seemed less sure. “No.”

“I’m sorry,” Alan said again, now to Jason. “I’ll talk to Father. There’s no reason this has to get any worse—”

He left then, hurrying away. Justus grimaced, then turned his attention back to Jason and Elizabeth. “That went as well as it could have,” he said carefully. “Whatever Jason’s intentions were before the accident, they don’t matter now—”

Jason frowned. “You believe them?”

“I believe Alan believes it,” Justus said. “Let me look into this story. But we’ve got a foot in the door. Alan might even be an ally in the probate hearings. Elizabeth—” He hesitated. “Are you sure there’s nothing you haven’t told me?”

“What?” she looked at him, blinking away the tears. “What does that mean?”

“You and Jason. Before the accident. I know things were hard after Cady—”

“He never told me—” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “He never said—”

“But were there arguments? Could Jason have been thinking about it—”

“What does it matter?” Jason demanded, not sure whether he was insulted or relieved that it seemed like they were talking about an entirely different Jason. “I’m here today, and I don’t care about it.”

“I think Elizabeth cares,” Justus said, and now Jason looked at her. “Because if he’d wanted a divorce before this, that would have changed things, wouldn’t it?”

“I—” Elizabeth shook her head and fled the court room.

Jason started after her, but Justus caught his arm. “What’s your problem? She’s upset—”

“And she’s clearly keeping secrets. Because if things were fine,” Justus began, “she’d say that—”

“It doesn’t matter, and I never asked you to do any of that. I never asked you to do anything about my marriage,” Jason bit out. “I asked you to get me out of this conservatorship. You’re the one that told me Elizabeth was the key. Did anything you heard today change that?”

“No, but—”

“Then that’s it. I’m the client, right? I tell you what I want. The judge says no divorce until probate is dealt with. So that’s the end of it. Go deal with probate, Justus. Or do I have to get another lawyer?”

“No, I’ll handle it. I’m sorry, Jase. I didn’t mean—” Justus cleared his throat. “It seems awfully convenient, don’t you think? The Quartermaines didn’t make this story up today. Maybe it’s the first time Elizabeth heard it, but it’s not the first time the judge did. So where did it come from? And does it explain why they’re doing this?”

“I don’t care why. I just want it over with. I want them out of my life, and I want them to leave Elizabeth alone. Can you do that?”

“Yes. I can.”

“Good, then do it. And stay out of the rest of it.”

Elizabeth hadn’t gone far by the time Jason caught up with her — they’d driven together, after all. She stood by the car, leaning against it.

Jason stepped up to her, already tugging at his tie. “Elizabeth—”

“No. I—” She shook her head. “I don’t want to talk about it. Please. Can we…” She reached up, slid the end of the tie through a loop and then released the loose ends to rest against his jacket. “Not yet, okay? I just want to go home.”

“Yeah, all right.” He reached past her, unlocked the door, and pulled it open. “I’ll drive.”


“How did it go?” Monica surged to her feet as soon as Edward and Alan came into the parlor. Alan closed the double parlor doors while Edward headed for the minibar.

“The judge granted the injunction,” Alan said. He dragged a hand down his face. “We’re going to have issues in probate court, Father. Jason was never assigned a lawyer, was he?”

“It wasn’t necessary,” Edward muttered. He poured a whiskey.

“A lawyer?” Monica echoed. “What does that mean?”

“A conservatee is given legal representation separate from the conservators. To guard his interests. And Jason can prove that was never happened. The whole thing is never going to get far enough to worry about Elizabeth given any power. The judge is going to invalidate it.”

“Which means Jason gets control of everything again,” Monica said. “Is there nothing we can do?”

“The judge isn’t even interested in hearing that Jason wanted the divorce,” Edward said. “If only we had some kind of proof—” He focused on his daughter-in-law. “Tell me again. From the top what Jason said that day.”

“Why do we need to go through it again—”

“Because Elizabeth looked like she’d been sucker punched,” Alan said, and she looked at him. “She didn’t know. Never had a clue. Did Jason say he’d talked to her?”

“Well, no, he didn’t. I don’t think he had. I thought he was worried she’d talk him out of it. You know she was always able to explain everything away — but I could testify—”

“Hearsay,” Edward muttered. “We need proof. Witnesses aren’t enough.”

“Especially since our witnesses are you and AJ,” Alan said gently. “Justus would just point out how many times you’ve expressed a dislike for Elizabeth. Father, maybe it’s time we just…we could negotiate with Jason. He might be willing to let this go away—”

“I’m not giving him or that shrew one red cent. You see, Monica? That girl got to him today with her tears. Well, not me. We’ll come up with something. We always do.”

“Hey.” Ned stepped back to let Justus inside. “What’s up? How did it go in court?”

“Are we alone?” Justus wanted to know, looking around the room. “Where’s Lois?”

“At L&B, what’s going? Did court go that badly?”

“No. We won, and the judge wasn’t interested in doing Edward any favors, so that’s worth something.” Justus set the briefcase down on the desk. “Before the accident. How often would you say you talked to Jason?”

“Uh, not much.” Ned slid his hands in his pockets, frowned as he considered the question. “He came here every Sunday with the baby, but then the accident — I was there. I helped him out with some paperwork. You know, Liz being in a coma, there were arrangements. I’m not sure how he kept moving, especially those first few days when we didn’t think she’d pull through either.”

“Okay. That gives me something.” Justus leaned against the desk. “Monica told Alan and Edward that Jason was here the day of the accident to talk about filing for divorce.”

Ned said nothing for a moment, then shook his head. “No. Not possible. She dreamed it. Or hallucinated. No way Jason goes in the first week of November from looking like a dead man walking to divorcing his wife seven weeks later. It doesn’t compute for me.”

“Not even if he started to blame or resent her?”

“No!” Ned slided his hand through the air. “And he never did. Hell, Justus, Jason was blaming himself. Kept saying if he hadn’t called her at Luke’s, she would have stayed longer and never been on the road when that drunk asshole got behind the wheel. What the hell is this about. Justus? You don’t believe Monica—”

“I think Alan believes it. I think it’s a big thing to lie about, especially when they’re going on the record.” Justus considered it. “Could Jason have been thinking about the family feud? Thinking Liz was better off without his family?”

“Oh, I have no doubt Jason was coming to that conclusion by then,” Ned said almost sourly. “But he wouldn’t have left her. He’d have walked away from the family. What does it matter?”

“It probably doesn’t. I just—I owe it to Jason for him to have the full story. The right story,” Justus added. “Because if Elizabeth knows Jason wants a divorce, maybe she never fights anything—the power of attorney. Maybe she takes the first offer, which was the most generous.”

“So? She didn’t know—”

“Jason moved back into the apartment.” Justus looked almost grim. “I didn’t think about it much after that, but today when they came in—I think maybe something’s going on. I think they’re sleeping together.”

“I—” Ned closed his mouth. “So what—” He stopped. “Don’t tell me you’re starting to swallow the bullshit this family has been spewing about Elizabeth manipulating people. Don’t you think it’s just more likely that they’re two attractive people—”

“I didn’t say I think she’s using the situation. I pushed it,” Justus said. “She had to be convinced, almost kicking and screaming. But she wanted space. Distance. And I shoved her right back in the middle. And I feel guilty. Because whatever happens next—I don’t know. I didn’t expect it.”

“It’s not your job to worry about any of it. They’re adults. Jason wasn’t going to leave Elizabeth before the accident, so I’m not that mad it looks like he’s not leaving her now. I don’t care what the family says. They’re lying or mistaken or—I don’t know if there’s a third option.” Ned shook his head. “Jason loved her. Maybe he sucked at taking her side, but the way they acted after that little baby died — it was killing him. Something was going to give, Justus, but we’ll never know what he would have chosen. All we can do is make sure he gets the choice now.”

Elizabeth kicked off her shoes as soon as she entered the apartment. Behind her, Jason tossed his suit jacket on the sofa, and was rolling up his sleeves.

“They never said anything like that before,” Elizabeth said. He frowned at her. “Saying Jason wanted to—” She couldn’t even say it again. “They only said that they had Jason’s best interests in mind. That’s all. If—if this was true, why wouldn’t they have said something before?”

“I don’t know.” Jason tipped his head. “Does it matter?”

“I—” She exhaled slowly. “It shouldn’t. Does it matter to you?”

“No. I don’t remember any of it. And we haven’t known each other that long, but I don’t see you putting yourself through any of this if you’d had an out. Justus is right, isn’t he? You would have taken the first settlement if you thought it was already over.”

“I don’t…maybe.” She bit her lip. “But the conservatorship—I mean, I knew you didn’t remember.” She leaned against the back of the sofa. “I knew we wouldn’t be married anymore, so sometimes I thought about taking the agreement. But I couldn’t stand knowing they were in control. I couldn’t walk away like that.” She lifted her gaze to his. “I just…I wish I could know for sure. And I hate that they did this. That they put this thought in my head so that I’ll keep going over the last weeks again and again—”

“Don’t give them the satisfaction.” Jason folded his arms. “As far as you knew, things were hard but you were still married. Nothing they said today should change that. And if he was dumb enough to leave you, well, that’s his problem. It has nothing to do with us.” He threw those last words out almost like a challenge, and she had to smile.

“Nothing to do with us except we’re technically talking about you, and I’m still wearing this—” She flexed her fingers, the rings glinting.

“We talked about this, didn’t we?” he asked her. He reached for the hand she held out, tugged her up, towards him until she fell into his arms. “We agreed not to complicate it. That—all of it—it’s out there.” He tipped his head towards the window. “This is just us.”

She wished she had his certainty, wished she could believe he’d always feel this way. But she wanted to believe it. “Okay. Then it’s just us.” She slid her fingertips down the placket of buttons fastening his dress shirt. “What do you think we should do until we have to go to work?”

His smile was quick. “I can think of a few things.”


  • Excellent update. I hope Alan goes to their corner. Just what is Monica playing at? Did Jason really say he wanted a divorce or did he say something that was vague enough for her to interpret it as such? Honestly can’t wait for Jason with Sonny’s assistance to hit Edward where it hurts. Glad Ned is squarely in Jason and I think also Elizabeth’s side.

    According to nanci on February 14, 2024
  • This story is so intriguing. I can’t wait to find out exactly what happened and what is true. Poor Elizabeth, I am glad Ned didn’t believe it and I hope Justus finds them the truth.

    According to Golden Girl on February 14, 2024
  • I think I like this so much because it gives a good look at Jason as he turns into JM. I didn’t watch GH back then in the late ’90s so didn’t see all that and have never gone back and watched the clips.
    I have to believe that the Qs are making this up or at least Edward & Monica Alan seems uncertain about the whole thing. I also am glad Ned is on Jason’s side.
    This really is one of your best stories. I’m glad they aren’t letting this get in the way of they new start.

    According to Pamela Hedstrom on February 14, 2024
  • I hope Alan sticks with Liz and Jason. Ned needs to find out if what Monica said is true or if she is lying.

    According to Shelly Samuel on February 15, 2024
  • Ned needs to talk to our couple. I’m thinking someone was lying to the Q’s about Elizabeth. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. They need to stick together. I think Alan is going to be on their side but I don’t know about Monica.

    According to arcoiris0502 on February 15, 2024
  • I thought I was in screw off Monica territory before & she proved that was light work but now she’s gotten even worse
    She so pisses me off
    I’m assuming either JQ thought Liz would be better off without him or said something about leaving maybe he meant he & Liz would leave town because of the Q’s & bad memories but Monica is choosing to believe he was talking about leaving Elizabeth
    Or just flat out lying & delusional
    Even if Alan’s on their side now I’m not a fan
    All the Q’s except Justus Ned & Lois are on my bad list lol

    According to Jess on February 16, 2024
  • I like to know what Monica is up to. I hope Alan finds out the truth and goes to Jason. I hope Edward doesn’t make up false evidence.

    According to Carla P on February 16, 2024