Written in 55 minutes. Ran a spell check but did not reread.
Kelly’s: Dining Room
Elizabeth tied the apron around her waist and smiled weakly at Tammy. “Thanks for letting me take the next few days off. Um—”
“No worries.” Tammy Hansen waved her hand, dismissing whatever Elizabeth was going to say next. “You always pull doubles and cover when I need you.” She leaned against the counter. “Anything interesting happening?”
“You could say that.” Elizabeth fished in the pockets for her pen and order pad, hoping for a customer to distract her from Tammy’s curious eyes. She was tired of being under such close scrutiny—from her family, the few friends she had, her co-workers, her customers—
Unfortunately, she knew that the second news of her marriage spread, the stares would only increase. Would she even be able to continue working at Kelly’s? Why hadn’t she talked to Jason about that? She needed her job to pay for classes now that Gram had pulled all financial support. She barely wanted to go to college, but she’d already committed—
If she couldn’t work, what about college? Maybe she couldn’t do that either—
She cleared her throat and smiled at her manager. “I better get to work. Thanks again, Tammy.”
“Sure thing, babe—”
Elizabeth darted out from behind the counter and started for the table of dock workers who had just sat down in her section. Then the door opened, the bell jangling above it, and Audrey stepped inside. Elizabeth stopped for a moment, locked eyes with her grandmother, then looked away and continued to the table.
When she’d taken their breakfast order and delivered their drink orders, Elizabeth returned to the counter to find her grandmother sitting there. Warily, Elizabeth reached for the pot of hot water. “Tea?” she asked.
“Yes. Earl Grey.”
Elizabeth flipped over the cup. “Are you here for a reason, Gram?” she asked, filling the ceramic, then looking for the box of teas. “I know you prefer making your own tea.”
“I do, but Tammy said you were working this morning.” Audrey paused. “Bobbie told me that you’ve been staying with Jason for the last few days.”
“Is there anything I could do to talk you out of of any of this?” Audrey interrupted. “Anything I could say?”
Bracing herself for another round of disapproval, Elizabeth squared her shoulders. “No. There’s not. I know what I’m doing and it’s my choice.” She hoped her grandmother would remember that in a few days when she learned Elizabeth had done more than just stay with Jason.
Audrey’s lips thinned. She stirred some sugar into her tea. “All right.”
“If there is nothing I can say to change your mind, then I suppose I have two choices.” Audrey met her eyes. “I could wait for you to come to your senses and continue withholding my support, financially and emotionally.”
“Which is what you’ve been doing for the last three weeks,” Elizabeth reminded her coolly. “Did you think I’d come back and beg? That I couldn’t do this on my own?”
“Frankly, I thought you’d cave,” Audrey admitted. “You’ve been different these last few months. You’ve smiled more and you’ve seemed more at ease.” She tipped her head. “You’ve been more like your old self. The girl you were when you moved to Port Charles.”
Elizabeth tensed at the comparison. “What does that mean?”
“It means that I have worried about you. Worried that what you’ve been through would have changed you too much. You were staying at home. Growing up too fast.” Audrey paused. “I never wanted anything to happen to Lucky. I hope you can understand that, but I was worried that you were settling down too quickly. Promising too much to the first boy you’d trusted.”
“Gram—” Her throat tightened.
“I wanted more for you. More choices. More life experience. I’d hoped you’d open up in college. That you wouldn’t run away to New York.”
“I didn’t realize you didn’t approve of what Lucky and I were planning,” Elizabeth managed. “You seemed—”
“I decided you could be doing far worse things than following your dreams with the boy you loved.” Audrey paused. “So if there is nothing I could say to you to change your mind about Jason Morgan, then I will attempt to accept this.”
Attempt. Well. Elizabeth sighed. “I guess that’s the best I could hope for, Gram. Thank you.”
Corinthos & Morgan Warehouse: Offices
Jason grimaced when he heard Carly’s voice down the hall from his office. He scrubbed his hands over his face and briefly contemplated going out the window. The offices overlooked the lake, but avoiding another confrontation with Carly might be worth the swim—even in January.
She shoved open the door with a scowl. “Why does this bitch say you won’t see me?” she demanded as the woman behind Carly looked at Jason apologetically.
“It’s okay, Nancy,” he told the secretary. “I’ll deal with her.” To Carly, he said, “Because I don’t want to see you.”
“Do you think that’s a smart choice?” Carly demanded. “When you know I can destroy everything?”
“Wouldn’t be the first time,” Jason retorted. “I’m getting used to it.”
Her brown eyes widened, then a tear formed in the corner. Right on cue. “Do you think I want it this way? I made a mistake, Jason, and you refuse to forgive me—”
“And you’re going to punish me for that,” he finished. “I don’t have to forgive you, Carly. How many chances did you think I was going to give you? After the crap you pulled with Robin, I forgave you. After you had me arrested for kidnapping, I forgave you. After you married AJ, I forgave you.” He paused. “I should have cut you out months ago, Carly.”
“So you’re not going to help me get out of town?” Carly retorted, ignoring everything he’d said to her which didn’t surprise him.
“I told you I would. Is that what you want?” Jason asked. “Because I can do that—”
“Not without you. I have worked too long and hard for this. We should have done this last year—” Carly rounded his desk and he winced, backing up against the wall. She slid her hands up his chest. “We should have disappeared—”
“No.” He took her by the wrists and gently shoved her back. “I’m not going with you. I told you. That’s over. It’s never going to happen. So either you go with Michael alone or you don’t go at all.”
“And what are you going to say to my mother when she finds out you could have stopped what’s about to happen?” Carly demanded. “How are you going to explain to poor little Elizabeth that you’re the reason she’s under arrest for being an accomplice to murder?”
“It’s your word against everyone else’s,” Jason told her. “Everyone knows you, Carly. It’s not even the first time you’ve tried to have me arrested for something I didn’t do. And it won’t change your situation. You’ll still be with AJ. Still trapped in that marriage. Don’t be stupid. Take the deal and I’ll get you out of town tonight.”
“No! You’ve forgiven me before. You’ll do it again. You have forty-eight hours,” Carly told him. “Or I’m going to the cops.”
She stalked out of the office, and he exhaled slowly. He should have known it wouldn’t be that easy. Carly wasn’t a logical person. She wanted what she wanted and damn the consequences. If she didn’t get what she thought she’d deserve, she was perfectly willing to burn the world down around her.
But he had forty-eight hours which was just enough time to make sure that no one would believe her. Bobbie and Elizabeth were not going to pay for helping him. He’d turn himself in first.
Port Charles City Hall: Fourth Floor
Elizabeth didn’t really know what she expected when she stepped off the elevator later that afternoon, but it wasn’t Sonny and Alexis standing next to Jason. “Um, is everything okay?” she asked, shifting her purse higher on her shoulder. “What’s going on?”
“We need witnesses,” Jason said to her. “For the, uh, ceremony.” He put his hands in the pockets of his leather jacket. “Emily went back to school this morning—”
“Right. And the witnesses need to be here when we apply. I forgot.” Or hadn’t really thought about who those witnesses would be. This wasn’t a real wedding. There wouldn’t be a dress or a ring. A church.
It was paperwork.
She looked over at Sonny and Alexis. “Is there anything I need to do before—”
“Well,” Alexis said, uneasily, “as Jason’s attorney, I really should ask about a prenuptial—” Jason glared at her and she closed her mouth.
A prenuptial agreement. Because Jason was a literal millionaire and she was a waitress from the docks with twenty dollars to her name after she finished paying for classes and rent. She bit her lip. “I can do that—”
“I told her I didn’t care—”
“But it looks—”
“It can wait,” Sonny said at the same time both Jason and Elizabeth spoke. “Elizabeth has a point. Anything we can do to make this look legit. Alexis can draw something up tonight, and I’ll make a call to get someone to look it over for you,” he promised Elizabeth.
“I—this—” Elizabeth folded her arms, her cheeks flaming. “I don’t need that. Just say I get nothing and we can move on—”
“I don’t want anything anyway. That’s—” She shook her head. “Ever. I mean, even if this were—” She wiggled her shoulders. “Anyway. That’s what I want it to say and it should be up to me since I’m the one signing something away.” She met Jason’s gaze. “Okay?” She was never going to give anyone the chance to say she was using Jason like Carly had. She didn’t give a damn about his money.
“Elizabeth—” He grimaced. “We can talk about it later. Let’s apply for the license.” He held out a hand, and she took it.
She’d meant what she told her grandmother—she was going through with this plan no matter what but it seemed so different now. She listened as Jason told the clerk what they needed, then he completed his part of the form.
He handed her the pen and slid the form towards her. Without looking at him, she scratched out her name — Elizabeth Imogene Webber — and the rest of her information. Then Sonny and Alexis completed their sections.
The clerk stamped the form and smiled at them. “Congratulations,” she said brightly. “And good luck!”
They would need it.