Written in 22 minutes.
Jason left the Westbourne Lodge with a mixture of confusion and worry. He’d gone in convinced of the path forward — apologize profusely to the woman his cousin had lied to, arrange for transportation, and leave with a clear conscience.
Instead, Jason had not only proposed to complete Dillon’s demented plan, but he’d had to talk Elizabeth Webber into it. And yet — Jason couldn’t convince himself that he’d made a mistake.
Once leaving the rooming house, Jason continued down Main Street and wasn’t surprised to find Dillon loitering outside the jail. The younger man jumped up, then frowned as Jason walked past him. “Uh, Jase—” He scrambled to follow. “Where are you going?”
Jason just shook his head. If he stopped, he might end up punching the kid, and his grandmother wouldn’t approve. “You know, this is the dumbest thing you’ve ever done.”
“I’m tired of cleaning up after you.”
“I know—” Dillon’s eyes bulged as Jason turned off the Main Street, down a more shaded street with a mixture of tall trees and saplings recently planted to give the neighborhood a more distinguished look. “Are you going to tell Grandmother? Please don’t—”
“I should, you know.” Jason stopped in front of the elegant, three-story house that his grandfather had built when the silver mines became profitable. It was the largest house on the street, in all of Port Charles, because Edward Morgan had always wanted the best for his family. For his Lila. Even if he’d been a ruthless, overbearing son of a bitch—
Jason had spent most of his life arguing with the bastard, but now, two years after the cholera had taken him —
He’d give anything for one more argument.
“If you tell Grandmother, I’ll just tell her you didn’t even bother looking for a wife—” Dillon hurried up the path after Jason. “Please, don’t—”
“Don’t worry—” Jason pushed open the door, then turned to his cousin. “I’m here to tell Grandmother that I wanted to keep my promise to her so much that I advertised for one.”
Dillon frowned. “Wait—”
Jason grabbed Dillon by the shirtfront, pulled him close and pitched his voice low. “And the only reason I’m doing that is because Elizabeth would be mortified if anyone else knew what you did.”
“You’re marrying her?”
“Yes. Don’t congratulate yourself just yet,” Jason warned. “This could still be a disaster.”
Dillon watched Jason disappear in Lila’s parlor, then grinned. He’d escaped the worst of it, and better yet — Jason had done exactly what Dillon had expected. He’d taken one look at Elizabeth and decided to keep her.
Dillon wasn’t sure exactly what about her letters had convinced him — maybe the upfront way she’d spoken about her son or the dreams she wanted for him and for her dreams — but by the third letter, Dillon had known there was no other choice.
And it didn’t even matter if Jason did thank him — Dillon would be off the hook. Jason and Elizabeth could make all the babies their grandmother wanted, and Dillon could do whatever he wanted.
Freedom was his at last. He nearly whistled as he sauntered out the door and back to his post at the jail.
Lila’s beloved face lit up when Jason entered the parlor. She rose to her feet, held out her hands. “Darling, what a lovely surprise.”
“How are you?”
“Oh, quite well. You’ve just missed Amanda Barrington,” Lila told him. “We’re planning the harvest festival—” Her blue eyes, a match for Jason’s, twinkled. “Alison is returning from San Francisco in a few weeks—”
“That’s why I’ve come to see you.” Jason waited for Lila to return to her seat, then sat down across from her. “I’m getting married.”
Lila beamed. “Oh, how wonderful? Who is it? I always thought you and Anna’s daughter would be a wonderful match. Or Britta—”
Jason made a face, then forced a smile. “No. No, it’s no one you know. She’s from New York.”
“New York—” Lila’s smile faded. “I don’t understand. How did you meet her? What—”
“I looked,” Jason told her, “right here in Port Charles, but there was no one. So I wrote an advertisement and put it in the papers back East—”
“A mail order bride?” Lila began to fan herself. “Oh, dear. Dear, dear—”
Jason winced. “Grandmother—”
“What will they think—” Lila moaned. “My own grandson, lowering himself—”
“Grandmother—” Jason’s tone was more forceful this time, and Lila blinked at him. “Does it matter what they think?”
“For the young woman, it does,” Lila replied. “Mail order brides are for desperate men and desperate women. You are not desperate—you’re just picky. And this girl—”
“Her name is Elizabeth, and you’ll like her. I like her,” Jason admitted, and now his grandmother’s expression had softened. “I didn’t make this decision lightly.” Impulsively, maybe. But not lightly. “She’s been tough—she’s been through a lot. Like you. And she’s fierce. She doesn’t put up with any slight towards her family. She has a little boy, Grandmother.”
“She’s—” Lila’s hands tightened. “She’s a widow, then. How old is the boy?”
Jason hesitated, unsure if Elizabeth wanted to be known as a widow. It seemed wrong to let his grandmother continue with that thought, but without Elizabeth’s permission — “He’s about four.”
“Four.” Lila closed her eyes. “Michael would have been five.”
“Is—does she have any other family?”
“No. Just Cameron. It’s why she answered the advertisement. She wants a family, Grandmother. And I—” He swallowed hard. He’d wanted a family once, too. When his nephew and sister had died, the two people he loved most in the world, he’d let go of that dream. It hurt too much. “This will work out. You’ll like her,” he repeated.
“I’m determined to like her if it means you’ll finally find joy again.” Lila squeezed his hands. “I didn’t just push you and Dillon for my own selfish ends, though if you bring me a grandchild to love this very day, I will not complain. You’ve both been drifting. We all have. It’s time to move on.”
“I know.” Jason kissed her cheek. “Elizabeth and Cameron are already here. I’ll bring them to dinner, and you’ll get to know them. I promise you, this will work out.”