Flash Fiction: Hits Different – Part 29

This entry is part 29 of 32 in the Flash Fiction: Hits Different

Written in 64 minutes — Dad called halfway through to ask about the Phillies and Spencer Strider’s elbow injury (pitcher for the Braves). Hard to get him off the phone, lol.

Emily dropped her purse and coat onto one of the empty tables at Luke’s and came over to the bar where Elizabeth was restocking for the upcoming shift. “Do you, like, live here?”

“Seems like it sometimes,” Elizabeth said, lifting a bottle of Grey Goose onto the back shelf. “Why, what’s up?”

“Oh, well, I came in over the weekend but it was that really crazy night, and I only got a second to talk to Jason.” Emily climbed onto the stool. “I got stuck at L&B—you know how Lois is. Impossible to say no to.”

“Have you tried?” Elizabeth asked, and Emily rolled her eyes. “Nothing’s really changed in the last few days if that’s what you’re wondering—”

“Well, I didn’t even get the actual scoop from Jason. He just told me it was some kind of trick and not to talk to Mom until he said so, so tell me everything.”

Elizabeth bit her lip, looked at Emily. “How mad are you going to be if I tell you that’s the limit of what I know?”

“What? Elizabeth!”

“We were slammed at the bar, so we didn’t get a chance to talk. And when we were done…I just—” she hesitated. “He told me that they weren’t real. That it was being used as a trick on Monica, and honestly—that’s all I needed to know.”

“How can you not want to know what he was planning? That’s insane—”

“My life has been dominated by  your family since the second Jason brought me to that Christmas party. Schemes to set your brother up with other women, his trust fund being frozen, ELQ—last fall—is it so crazy to believe that I just don’t want that to be my life anymore?”

“Yeah, but—”

“I got what I needed to know, Em. Jason wasn’t going to divorce. He didn’t say the things in those papers. Not really. He probably wrote up those papers using every accusation Monica ever flung at me. I don’t know why he’d do it without telling me, but it’s enough for me to know that those last few weeks — they weren’t a lie. I can…I can turn the page on all of that now. The probate hearing is coming up, and Justus is pretty sure the conservatorship will be tossed out at that point.”

“Dad and Grandfather seemed shaken by the audit Justus had done. It wouldn’t surprise me if they don’t even object to ending the whole thing. But—you and Jason are still married. You can’t really turn the page on all of it.” Emily bit her lip. “Unless—I mean, are you thinking maybe once this is over, so are you and Jason?”

“No. Maybe once, but I think—I don’t know.” Elizabeth smiled, looked down at her inventory clipboard. “I think maybe we’ll be okay. It’s not like before. None of it is. We don’t do the same things—well, some of them are still the same—”

“Oh—” Emily held her hands up. “Don’t say stuff like that with that look in your eyes, because you’re talking about sex with my brother. Take some pity, please.”

“Haha, very funny. But yeah, we just—we’re different. Or maybe we’re what we would have been all along if your family didn’t throw obstacles and roadblocks at us—”

“Or what you’d be if Jason had actually done anything about those obstacles and roadblocks,” Emily said. “Because having spent some time with my brother, he is really different. But not in the ways that count, you know? Like he’s still really sweet. And kind. But not to everyone. Like he got legit mad at me over the phone that day, and Jason’s never yelled at me a day in my life. Even when I deserved it.”

“He rides motorcycles and spends all his free time in the gym. He wants me to take skydiving lessons with him, but we compromised on rollercoasters. He’s…harder than he was,” Elizabeth said. “And maybe that makes me a little sad sometimes, you know? But it’s good, too.”

“He was a pushover. Do you see Jason getting into a car with a drunken moron again?” Emily asked. “No. He’d just punch AJ and take the keys. Definitely better choices. Better results. So…like, are you in love with him?”

Elizabeth hesitated. “I don’t…I want to say yes,” she said slowly. “But I don’t know. I like him. I like what we are together. But I think maybe we need more time. More of nights like last Saturdays.” She grinned, thinking about the mad dash upstairs, how they hadn’t made it off the floor for at least an hour—

“Oh, ew, you’re thinking about sex again—” Emily grimaced. “Nasty.”


At the apartment, Jason was opening the door for Justus. “Hey. Elizabeth had inventory at the club. We can head over if you need her—”

“No, no,  you can pass this on to her. I talked to Ned about the papers, and he thinks it might be good to tell Alan and Edward that divorce papers exist. Nothing else about them,” Justus added. “He won’t tip our hand that they’re not real. We don’t know for sure Monica knows they’re fake, so I want to keep that quiet until we have something else to work with.”

“What’s the point in telling Alan or Edward?” Jason opened the fridge, retrieved a beer. “You want something?”

“No, I’m good.” Justus leaned against the back of the sofa. “Ned says the financial audit really screwed with Alan’s head. He’s had it in his head Elizabeth was out for the trust fund from the beginning — apparently, when Elizabeth’s parents refused to pay for art school, you went to Alan asking for the money. You’d need his permission to take that amount all at once.”

“Let me guess — he assumed Elizabeth put me up to it.”

“This was maybe six months before you brought her to the party, so it wasn’t that long before you started dating her. When she turns up pregnant not much later—” Justus shrugged. “Look, Alan’s touchy about that kind of thing. Monica married him for his money back in the day. They went back and forth a lot with affairs and divorces. He watched it happen with AJ—”

“Elizabeth said something.”

“And he thought it was happening with you. He wasn’t wrong to be concerned. But he was wrong not to give Elizabeth a chance and to let Edward and Monica in his ear about her manipulating her. I’m not saying you gotta forgive the guy or start calling him Dad. I know he didn’t handle any of this well, and he was never that nice to Elizabeth either. He went for that power of attorney originally, before the conservatorship.”

“He was different in court,” Jason admitted. “When Elizabeth found out about the divorce. He answered her, remembered?”

“I do. Which is why I sent the audit to him. I thought proof that Elizabeth was supporting you would screw with him. It did. Emily said he was upset, confused. And now we’re going to put it in his head that Monica who told him about this divorce story has proof she’s never shown? He’s going to have questions. We need him to have questions. Because if the probate judge won’t appoint Elizabeth as co-conservator—”

“Alan could petition to dissolve without you,” Jason finished. “Okay. If you think so—”

“There’s another angle we could do to nail Monica down. There are only two people who know what happened that day,” Justus told Jason. “Monica will never tell us and you can’t remember. But we forgot that a third person showed up at some point.”

“AJ, the brother I never met because he’d already gone to rehab,” Jason said. “And hasn’t come back.”

“He’s in a six-month program. Best thing for him honestly but it was Monica’s idea to extend it to six months. Ned says she decided on that six weeks ago.”

“Six weeks ago—” Jason straightened. “Wasn’t that—”

“Around the same time I took your case? Isn’t it interesting that Monica found out about the conservatorship and divorce case and then took steps to make sure the only other witness to that day can’t come home and tell us what he knows?”

Jason leaned against the counter. “But he’s still not coming home for a month—”

“Ned told me where to find him. And he can make some calls, get you on the visiting list. Just tell him when.”

“Let me run this past Elizabeth.” Jason sipped the beer. “She hasn’t really wanted to talk about any of this the last few days. It was enough for her to know the papers weren’t real. But I don’t feel right about going to see AJ without telling her.”

“I don’t blame her for needing a break. When you live among the Quartermaines like you did and Emily still does — you get immune to the way they treat people. How they can turn so viciously on one another.” Justus picked up his briefcase. “Give me a call when you want me to set things up with Ned.”

“I have to tell you father,” Alan said, laying some papers on Edward’s desk. “I don’t know how this probate hearing is going to go. I think we’re looking at a loss.”

Edward grimaced, picked up the report. “Not if I make some calls,” he muttered.

“Do you really want to waste favors on this?” Alan asked. He paced across the study to the window then back. “I keep thinking about seeing Jason in court. He looked good, didn’t he?”

“Anyone can put on a suit and—”

“Father, he testified,” Alan cut in. “He sounded perfectly capable. Normal. All the things the doctors said he couldn’t be. He spoke about the aphasia without hesitation. Father, he never completed the testing in the hospital. If we’ve been underestimating his capabilty all this time—”

“I depended on you for the medicine! You told me the doctors said he was limited! That he’d never function normally, live independently—”

“I was devastated! One of my sons had permanently damaged the life of another! Can you even imagine the stress and pressure I was under—the grief—”

“Sorry to interrupt.”

Alan whirled to find Ned in the open door way. He grimaced. “What do you want?”

“I wanted to see how things were going in Jason’s case. I  would think you’d be feeling confident. At least in the divorce case. Have you filed an appeal?”

Edward stood up, flattened both his hands on the desk. “Have you come to gloat, you reprobate?”

“Me?” Ned set his hand against his chest. “I would never. I thought you’d be over the moon since Monica found those divorce papers.”

“Divorce—” Alan came towards him. “Explain. Now. What divorce papers?”

Ned widened his eyes. “I thought for sure you’d have seen them. They confirm everything you’ve been saying—Monica brought them to Elizabeth at Luke’s last week. Justus brought me a copy, wanting to get my perspective.” He handed them to Alan who snatched it up. “Strange that Monica didn’t tell you about them, isn’t it?”

“What is it?” Edward demanded, coming around his desk. “What’s going on?”

“Divorce papers—Jason was filing for divorce—” Alan stared at them for a long moment. Dated December 27. “He drew them up the day of the accident. He went to the lawyer and came straight here?”

“I suppose so. Why wouldn’t Monica give them to you if she had them all along?”

Edward snatched them from Alan, started to skim them. “Who is this lawyer? I’ve never heard of him.”

“Alan?” Ned asked, and his uncle looked at him, blinking. “When did Monica tell you about the divorce?”

“In the hospital. After the accident,” he said numbly. “She was hysterical when Tony told us Jason might never wake up. You can’t imagine. We’d just—we’d just lost our granddaughter. She never had a chance, did you know that? Dead on impact, the reports said. And Elizabeth having to wake up to it—whatever her faults, I know she loved that baby. Jason—he was just destroyed. And now another drunk driver—my own son—had taken Jason from us.”

“The divorce?” Ned pressed gently. Alan cleared his throat.

“Elizabeth was in the lobby, trying to get into the ICU, but Monica didn’t want her there. It was all her fault, Monica kept saying. Jason was at the house because of her. Because he was filing for divorce, and he came to tell us—and he saw AJ with the car—” Alan rubbed the heel of his hand against his chest. “She begged me to keep Elizabeth away—she was absolutely hysterical, and I thought, all right. Just for tonight. Just to keep Monica calm.”

Alan exhaled slowly. “Later, she told me the rest of it. What Jason had told her. But she never, ever told me about these papers—Father—”

Edward shook his head, looked at his son. “They’re not real,” he said. “These—these are things that Jason would never say about that girl.”

Alan frowned. “What? What do you mean?”

“Blaming her for the accident. How many fights did we get into?” Edward wondered. “How many times did I demand that he see sense — that he admit if he’d just married a proper girl who didn’t work in a bar that Cadence would be alive — that it was Elizabeth’s fault—but Jason—he always defended her. Always. We had that last fight just before the holidays. I told him that as long as he was defending her, we didn’t have to speak a word. And he told me that it would be a cold day in hell before he came back to this house.”

Ned raised his brows. “But he came back.”

“I had that argument with him here in this room. December 20. A week later, after two months, he has an epiphany? He suddenly gives up and says everything we ever wanted him to believe about her? Using some of the exact same words that Monica herself had used?” Edward tossed the papers on the desk. “As much as I want to believe it — no wonder Monica never showed them to us. I’d never have believed my grandson would say those things. I may not think Elizabeth was worthy of the love or devotion he showed her, but I certainly won’t pretend he didn’t feel those things.”

“Then why did you believe he was asking for a divorce?” Ned asked. “You’re not making sense, Grandfather.”

“I thought—I thought he had doubts. I thought maybe—Monica told us it was because he believed the accident was Elizabeth’s fault, but I just—it was so hard. He was grieving so hard, Alan.” Edward looked at his son. “I just thought maybe he’d reached his breaking point, and he didn’t know how to explain to Monica, so he’d told her what she wanted to hear. I just—I thought maybe she’d asked him for money, and he’d begun to see what we’d always said, but now—now, I just don’t know.”

He sat down, scrubbed his face. “It’s one thing to have Monica tell you this is what he said, this is why he’s doing it, and it—it confirms what you think, so you just go along with it. Jason wanted a divorce. Why would Monica lie? But to see it in print, to see those words—the way it’s written. I don’t know. Maybe he did ask for the divorce. But those papers — that’s not how he would have done it. It’s cold. Jason—” Edward sighed. “He was soft, kind. He’d never have done that to her. Not that way. Even if I would have.”

Edward looked at Alan. “What the hell is your wife trying to pull?”

“I don’t know,” Alan said, grimly, “but I’m going to find out.”

Elizabeth tossed a copy of the schedule at Jason when he came to work later. “I gave us both off next Saturday,” she told him, reaching for the ingredients to blend a margarita. “We’re going to find an amusement park with good rollercoasters.”

Jason sighed. “We could do that, or we could do something else—”

“I’m not skydiving—”

“We could go see AJ in rehab.”

Her fingers stilled for a moment, then pressed the button to start the blender. Jason went to fill some orders, waiting for her to be done. When she’d handed off her own set of orders, she  came to stand next to him, leaning back against the bar.

“Why are we going to see AJ on Saturday?” she wanted to know. “Isn’t it enough to know the papers are fake?”

“They’re not fake in the way you mean. The lawyer is real. He drew them up. But nothing in them are real. I told you, the idea was to trick Monica. But no one knows if she knew they were real. When Monica found out Alan and Edward had started divorce proceedings based on her story, she arranged for AJ’s rehab stay to be doubled. He’s the only other person who was in the room that day.”

“A witness that can tell us what Monica knew and when. Maybe. If his alcohol-soaked brain remembers any of it. Well, you and Justus can go—”

“I want you to go with me. You know AJ—”

“You want me to go see the drunk driver that killed my husband?” Elizabeth bit out, then looked away. “I mean, you’re not dead. But that part of you is, and it’s never going back, so it’s not that different, okay? So why would I go? Why would either of us go? Tell Justus to go take a statement.”

“Because I want to look him in the eye,” Jason said, and she sighed. “You don’t have to go. I just thought maybe you’d need to see him the way I do. I don’t care much about who I used to be. I don’t care about the future I was planning, or the memories I lost. But I do care about it did to you. And that because of AJ, I’ll never know or remember my own daughter outside of pictures. So I need to see him. Just once. But you don’t have to go.”

“Good. Because I’m not.” And with that, the conversation was over, and Elizabeth moved to the other end of the bar to take another order.


  • wow Ned is pretty sneaky. Monica is just a super bitch.
    glad Emily is still being a friend.
    I hope EW changes her mind and goes with JM to see AJ
    great chapter

    According to Pamela Hedstrom on April 6, 2024
  • Oh wow! That was a strong reaction from Elizabeth. So it was Monica all long and I have a feeling there is still more to the story of how far the duplicity truly runs. I am glad Edward and Alan are starting to be suspicious of Monica.

    Happy Hours is getting close. Can’t wait to read it and that snippet was the best! Very intrigued to find out what caused that and who the ice pack was for and why!

    According to Golden Girl on April 6, 2024
  • I am happy the Edward realize that the writing on the divorce papers were not real. Great update.

    According to Shelly Samuel on April 6, 2024
  • Wow!! I think Edward is going to change his mind. He really believed that Jason was incapable of living on his own. Yet, he knows Jason so well that he knew that the divorce papers were fake. I thought it would be easier to change Alan’s mind but I could be wrong. Monica is a piece if work. She has misjudged Elizabeth based on her own actions and now is trying to keep AJ away. I hope Jason goes to see his brother and I hope Elizabeth decides to go, too..

    According to arcoiris0502 on April 6, 2024
  • I enjoyed that very genuine conversation with Em and Elizabeth and the bit of lightheartedness that came with it.

    Justus and Ned for the win- they have the wolves circling each other to go in for the kill. Honestly, what is their malfunction with Elizabeth? It seems they never liked her and I doubt she had ever given them a reason not to, other than art school. I am surprised that it is Edward who has started to put the pieces together though, that was a nice twist.

    I hope that Elizabeth goes with Jason, she needs to confront AJ for a multitude of reasons and Jason needs her there.

    Thank you for the surprise update. It is a nice Sunday pick me up.

    According to nanci on April 7, 2024
  • I’m both surprised and delighted that Monica is turning into such a conniving villain. Decades have passed since the Qs were truly the Qs and it’s easy to forget how justified Jason was in wanting to have fuck all to do with them. I’m VERY excited to hear what AJ has to say. After Elizabeth explained why, I understand why she doesn’t want to see AJ, but I’m surprised that she doesn’t want to know more details in general. Part of me thinks she’s downplaying her interest, but time will tell.

    According to Mariah on April 7, 2024
  • Well, it looks like Alan and Edward has a brain after all. I hope AJ can tell Jason what he needs. I liked Emily and Elizabeth’s conversation.

    According to Carla P on April 11, 2024