Flash Fiction: The Last Time – Scenes 34-36

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the The Last Time

Written in 55 minutes.


34
This is the last time I say it’s been you all along

Elizabeth’s energy was flagging by the time Jason pulled up to the curb at her grandmother’s. She was relieved to see that her car, which she’d driven to the church, was parked in the driveway just as Jason had promised.

“I should have brought you home earlier,” Jason said with a wince as he helped her out of the car and steadied her over a leftover patch of ice on the sidewalk. He kept a hand at the small of her back as they walked towards the house.

“I’m fine,” she promised. “Nothing a good night’s sleep won’t take care of—”

“But Kelly said—”

“Light bed rest,” Elizabeth finished. She stopped at the door and smiled at him. “She didn’t want me working doubles. I’m off the schedule, and Epiphany is putting me on paperwork when I go back next week.”

“I’m sorry. I know you’ve got it handled. You can take care of yourself—”

“But you worry,” she finished. She touched his forearm and their eyes met. “I wanted to be there today. For you and Emily. I’m glad I could be.”

“Me, too.” He opened his mouth, then hesitated for a moment. “Monica—you heard her invite me to the will reading. Um—would you—I mean—”

“I’ll go with you,” Elizabeth agreed almost instantly, even though her own conscience was twinging at her. Was it really a good idea to spend so much time with Jason? To be at his side as he grieved his father? They were friends, and she wanted to keep the easy, almost effortless connection they’d shared today—it reminded her of the early days of their relationship, when they’d been able to talk about anything and everything under the sun. But it also made her want more. To wish she’d said yes even no had been the better answer.

But Jason had always—always— been there for her, even when it hadn’t been easy. She wouldn’t turn away now just to make it easier for herself.

“I have an appointment with Kelly,” Elizabeth said. “Next week,” she added. “It’s the third trimester check-in—um, I thought you might want to go.”

“Of course,” Jason said immediately, and she was happy to see some of the lingering grief easing from his expression at the thought of the baby. His eyes dropped to her belly, peeking through the folds of the coat she’d left unbuttoned after leaving the Quartermaines. The baby shifted, and Elizabeth reached for his hand so he could feel the kick. Jason smiled, his hand warm against her body. “What does that feel like?” he wanted to know.

“You’ve been kicked in the ribs, haven’t you?” she said dryly, and his smile deepened into a grin.

“Just three more months,” he murmured. His hand fell away, and they stared at one another for another moment before Elizabeth finally cleared her throat and reached into her purse for her keys.

“I should get inside,” she said. “I’ll see you later.”

“See you later.”

35
This is the last time I let you in my door

The lawyer had no sooner closed his mouth then Tracy had turned to Jason with a scowl etched into her already permanently sour features. “At least you broke up with the gold digger,” she snipped.

Monica narrowed her eyes and opened her mouth, but Tracy had already looked at her next victim, the quietly weeping Skye Chandler-Quartermaine. “And you! You’re not part of this family!” She got to her feet. “How dare he leave anything to you—”

“Tracy,” Edward said gruffly, struggling to his feet. “Don’t start—”

“ELQ should stay in the family,” Tracy cut in sharply. “I told you years ago—”

“Those shares were Alan’s to distribute as he pleased,” Monica retorted. “You have no right—”

Emily leaned back in her chair as the fight continued, rolling her eyes. “Dad had to know he was going to make Tracy’s head explode,” she said dryly to Jason, and to Elizabeth. Jason grimaced. While he’d come around on most of the Quartermaines, he’d had limited exposure to Tracy. And didn’t care for her.

“It was lovely of Alan to leave something to his grandchildren,” Elizabeth said, squeezing Emily’s hand. “I’m just sorry there’s not a way to change it for you—”

“It’s fine. I have my own shares for whatever kids I have,” Emily said. “But it’s great that your baby gets to have something from Dad, isn’t it?” she asked Jason.

“Uh, yeah. I guess.” He was still reeling from the rest of the bequest — Alan had left large trust funds for all four of  his children — and the lawyer had corrected himself — that the trusts had been adjusted after AJ’s death two years earlier. Which meant that Alan had never taken Jason out of his will. Jason didn’t need the money — but his father hadn’t really given up on him. Not all the way. “I don’t need the money, so I’ll give it to you—”

“No, Dad wanted you to have it—” Emily stopped as Skye stormed out of the room with Tracy hot on her heels. Ned and Edward reluctantly followed, but Monica stayed behind, her eyes still hot with irritation.

“That woman,” Monica muttered before looking at Jason and Emily. “I’m sorry for that.”

“There’s no apologizing for Tracy,” Emily said. She rose to her feet. “She is what she is. I almost feel sorry for her. She’s so obsessed with ELQ, she can’t even see how much she’s losing.”

“Maybe you should give Skye some of your shares,” Elizabeth suggested with a wicked grin, and Emily’s eyes sparkled with mischief.

“Don’t tempt me.”

In the car, Jason was still unsure how he felt about an inheritance from Alan, from a father he didn’t know. He waited until Elizabeth had fastened her seatbelt and flexed his fingers around the steering wheel. “I’m going to put the money in a trust,” Jason said suddenly. “For the kids.”

“The kids?” Elizabeth echoed.

“Mine. The baby.” Jason paused. “And Cameron.” And any other children in the future, but he didn’t say that. “I don’t need it. And—” And he wondered if Alan would have been a good grandfather. If it would have been a bridge between them—  “And I don’t want them to ever worry about anything.”

“You don’t have to do that,” Elizabeth told him softly. “I don’t expect you to—”

“I know. But I want to.” He turned the key in the ignition, resolute. “So I’ll call Diane and get it done.”

36
This is the last time, I won’t hurt you anymore

Cameron bounced out of his grandmother’s lap and made a beeline for his mother as Jason held the door open for her. He wrapped his arms around her leg. “Mommy, Mommy, I missed you. You bring home my new brother? Where is he?”

“Not here yet,” Elizabeth said, wishing she could scoop him up in her arms—she could have done that even a few weeks ago, but over the last few days, her energy had dropped to almost nothing. Her bones felt as if they’d been replaced by sludge and she was trying to swim through it.

Jason closed the door behind her and put a hand at her waist. “Let’s sit down,” he told Cameron. “So you can sit with Mommy.”

“Okay.” Cameron grinned at him, then went back to his grandmother who had risen, worry in her eyes.

“Is everything all right, darling?” Audrey asked as she took Cameron’s hand and gently steered him away until Jason had helped Elizabeth take a seat.

“Nothing. Just a bit tired—” Elizabeth caught Jason’s eye, and sighed. “I’m a little anemic,” she admitted. “Kelly’s running some tests, but it just means I’m more tired. And I’m taking early maternity leave.” She wrinkled her nose at that. “Epiphany and Bobbie put their heads together, I think, and decided that even paperwork would be too much.”

Audrey didn’t argue with that idea, and Elizabeth knew her grandmother was thinking of the arguments they’d had about her double shifts and pushing so hard last fall — Elizabeth hadn’t known what else to do. She’d needed the money — and the distraction.

“The good news is that we had another ultrasound and this time the baby had turned enough to see—” Elizabeth pressed her hand to her belly. “Cameron was right. It’s a boy.”

“Oh!” Audrey’s worry shifted into delight. “How lovely.”

“Yay! I get a brother! No icky girls.” Cameron made a retching noise, and Elizabeth smiled.

“I think a little girl would have been nice,” Audrey told him. “You’d be an excellent big brother. But we’re quite happy with a healthy baby at the end of the day. So more bed rest?”

“Still light,” Elizabeth said, with a nod. “But yeah. I’m sure it’s nothing serious. I’ll do some more vitamins, she might have me check in overnight to get some iron supplements.” She grimaced. “I should go lay down.”

She held out her hand for Jason to help her up, but he decided not to bother with any of that. Instead, he put her arm around his neck and lifted her up. “Jason, I’m way too heavy—”

“Not even close to what I bench press,” he said, his breathing not even changing. “No stairs,” he reminded her.

She decided not to argue and laid her head against his shoulder. She was asleep before they even reached the top of the stairs.

Comments

  • Thanks for the update. I am happy Alan kept Jason in his will, and Tracy needs a reality check that Alan is just her brother and can do whatever he wants with his will.

    According to Shelly Samuel on October 7, 2022
  • Thanks for the update, I’m
    Really enjoying this story! I’m
    Looking forward to to the rest of it.

    According to Becca on October 7, 2022
  • great update.
    Glad to see nothing ever changes with Tracey.
    Alan still thinking about his children–nice.
    I wonder if Elizabeth is going to have health problems. I hope not.
    more soon

    According to Pamela Hedstrom on October 8, 2022
  • I am so glad Jason is going to accept the trust fund from Alan even if he puts it in a trust for the kids. Tracy will never change.

    According to Carla P on October 8, 2022
  • I could get to like this Audrey. Being anemic can zap a person for sure, but I get a sense that this might be a foreshadowing of something more complicated health wise for Elizabeth and the baby. Great update.

    According to nanci on October 10, 2022
  • I’m so glad that Alan kept Jason in his will.. Tracy is too much and poor Skye has to deal with her. Audrey seems very supportive. I love Cam and he was correct about having a brother. I hope that there is nothing seriously wrong with Elizabeth.

    According to arcoiris0502 on October 11, 2022
  • I’m really liking this fic! I’m so glad I found this site

    According to Brittany on December 13, 2022