Flash Fiction: Signs of Life – Part 18

Written in 60 minutes.


Quartermaine Mansion: Master Bedroom

Carly’s voice was filtering out from the bathroom as AJ went into their bedroom that afternoon. He’d slept in another room the night before, still seething over Carly’s humiliation. Everyone knew his wife preferred Jason to him, and AJ put up with it to keep his family together. To give Michael both his parents. For all her faults, Carly was a decent mother and AJ didn’t want to lose his son, even to partial custody.

He was ready to make another attempt at convincing Carly to give their marriage a chance. So he went towards the bathroom and gently pushed on the slightly ajar door to hear whoever she was talking to better.

“I can’t tell you anymore than that,” Carly said, her teeth clenched. “Can’t you work with what I’ve told you? He was shot at the same time that Moreno guy went missing! No, you can’t have my name you little cretin—just do your damn job—” She slammed the phone down and whirled around, stopping dead when she saw AJ leaning against the door frame, his arms crossed. “When did you get here?”

“So my little brother got shot at the same time Anthony Moreno went missing?” AJ repeated. “And you knew about it. How?”

Carly glared at him, her lips pressed together. AJ shook his head. “You’re not going to be able to keep this to yourself, Caroline. How did you know Jason was shot?”

“Jason got pissed at me for some reason,” Carly bit out, “and I couldn’t get a hold of him. Not because I was sleeping with him, so don’t get any ideas—”

“That’s not answering my question—”

“I followed that little twit,” Carly retorted. “She was ducking out of work, claiming to be sick. I followed her back to her studio and confronted them both. Everyone thinks they were sleeping together, but she was taking care of him. He got shot.”

“And you kept the secret because it suited you.” AJ straightened. “Now, because you were wrong about his relationship with Elizabeth Webber—”

“I wasn’t wrong!”

“Obviously you were since they got married yesterday,” AJ said coolly. “Now that Jason has married someone else, you decided to pay him back.”

“Why do you care?” Carly said sullenly. “I would think you’d want me to hurt him—”

AJ wasn’t that wild about Jason these days — not after months of being lied to and then having to go to court when Jason sued for visitation. But at the end of the day, Jason had loved Michael and been a decent father. He’d walked away from the visitation, and to the best of AJ’s knowledge, walked away from Carly. No way she was this angry if Jason had still been giving her hope. Still —

“You’re trying to have it both ways,” AJ said. “You’re doing an anonymous tip, Carly. If you’re ready to make Jason pay and put him in the past, go to the PCPD and make a statement.”

She clenched her jaw. “But—”

“But what?” AJ asked pleasantly. “It doesn’t suit you? You don’t want to burn all the bridges with my brother?”

“You’re deliberately twisting all my words—” Carly exhaled slowly. “Fine. Okay. Will you stop accusing me of sleeping with Jason every other minute if I go to the PCPD?”

“Yes. You go on the record turning my brother in, and I’ll believe it’s done between the two of you.”

General Hospital: Waiting Area

Elizabeth could feel the weight of the stares from nurses, doctors, patients—practically everyone she passed as she went up to the doctor’s offices and towards Gail Baldwin’s office, but she ignored them.

It wasn’t like the way everyone had looked at her after the Christmas party when they’d been snickering and waiting for Jason to get tired of her. Now, they were twisted and turned around — Jason had married her instead of breaking it off. No doubt they were probably going to be counting down the months and waiting for a baby.

Unless the immaculate conception took place, they’d be in for a rude awakening.

She arrived at Gail’s office and waited to be let in by the receptionist, her pulse fluttering. She’d called Gail after Jason had left this morning, mostly on a whim, never expecting her grandmother’s best friend to move around her morning and agree to see her immediately.  Elizabeth thought she’d have more time to put together her thoughts, but now —

“Hello, darling.” Gail smiled, then kissed her cheek. “I had breakfast with your grandmother, so I know congratulations are in order.”

Elizabeth bit her lip. “Do you mean that?”

“Of course.” Gail squeezed her hands. “Two years ago, you were wondering if you’d ever be able to get this point, and now look at you.”

“That’s why I’m here. Um—” Elizabeth set down her jacket. “The thing is — I mean, Jason and I are married, but we haven’t—and we weren’t—” She closed her eyes. “I know what the rumors were saying, and I know the new ones think I’m pregnant. But I’m not. Jason and I got married, but we haven’t—we haven’t had sex.”

“All right.” Gail gestured for her take a seat. “Let’s talk about it, then.”

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

Still irritated after the meeting with the leaders of the syndicate, Jason was disappointed to find out Elizabeth had left not long after he had. Had she mentioned going on? He didn’t remember, but it wasn’t his business. She could do whatever she wanted as long as she took Francis, and she had.

But he’d been looking forward to coming home and then taking her out on a ride. Getting away from all of this. They hadn’t been able to do that since before New Year’s, and he was starting chafe at all of this. He hated going to those meetings, hated being in this penthouse day after day.

He just wanted to feel the wind rushing past him, the roar of the engine in his ears—

The door opened behind him and Elizabeth came in, her cheeks flushed from the cold. She smiled at him. “Hey. I was hoping I’d get back before you. When did you get here?”

His mood instantly improved, Jason shrugged. “Just now. I didn’t know you were going anywhere.” He winced. “Not that you have to report to me—”

“No, but I’m sure knowing my schedule, especially right now, is useful. And it’s not like you want to call Francis,” Elizabeth said. She cleared her throat. “I didn’t know I’d be going anywhere, honestly. I called Gail Baldwin to make an appointment later in the week, and she had a cancellation this morning, so I went to the hospital.”

“Gail?” Jason echoed, remembering that Baldwin’s stepmother was also a therapist. “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah. It’s fine. It’s just—well—” Elizabeth exhaled in a rush of air. “I know we talked about it this morning, and I know you’re okay with it taking as long as it takes, but I still wanted to get…I don’t know. Some perspective.”

Jason drew his brows together, unsure. “Perspective?”

“Yeah.” She stripped off her coat and tossed it over the desk. “You know, like I trust you. Obviously—” Her cheeks flushed, and he knew she was remembering the night before. Standing in front of the mirror. He wasn’t that great at picturing things — but he didn’t think he’d ever forget that moment.

“At the same time, I guess I just need to understand what exactly I’m afraid of. Because if I can figure that out, we can—or I can—I don’t know, it made sense when Gail and I were talking.” She wrapped one arm around her waist, then used her other hand to bite her thumbnail. “I also don’t know how much you want to talk about any of this—”

“I want to talk about anything you want to,” Jason told her. He took off his jacket because it didn’t look like they were going to the cliffs anytime soon. He grabbed her jacket and then hung them both in the closet, wanting something to do with his hands. “You can tell me anything.”

“You say that, but I’m not sure if you—” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “Part of working through this means acknowledging what happened to me. In more detail than I think I was ready for when I was in therapy two years ago. And maybe it’s not you. Maybe it’s me. I’m afraid to say these things to you. I don’t—” Her voice thickened and she looked away.

Jason approached her, reaching for her hand, sliding his own fingers over the ragged thumbnail she’d bitten nearly to the quick. “You’re afraid that if you talk about what happened to you, it’ll change the way I feel about you,” he realized. She bit her lip, looked away. “That I won’t want to touch you. Or that I’ll be afraid to.”

“I don’t know. Yes. Okay, that’s—I mean, God, Jason, how am I supposed to tell you that the thing that scares me the most if that it’ll feel the same way? Like I’m being ripped apart, and that all I’ll feel is pain, and I’ll never—” She broke off in a rush, her eyes wide. “Oh, God.”

“You tell me like that,” he said roughly, forcing the words. “You just say it. Because you don’t have to live with it by yourself.” And how the hell did he actually handle that? The power and the responsibility of knowing that if he screwed this up — if he took one wrong step — he could bring it back to her — put her in that moment — “I’m scared, too,” he admitted in a low voice.

“You are?” Elizabeth asked. She wiped at her eyes, using her other thumb to dash away the tears. “I don’t want that—it shouldn’t be like this—”

“No, maybe not, but it is. And I care about you. I want this to be good for you. I want to make you feel—” Jason didn’t even know how to put it into words. “I don’t want you be scared of me. At any point.”

“I’m not. I’m really not.” Her voice caught on a sob as she said the words. “I’m not. But I’m afraid I will be, and I think it’ll just kill me.” She placed a hand on his chest as she said it and he drew her closer, clasping her hand in his.

“You need to know that there’s nothing you can say to me that’s going to make me stop wanting you,” Jason pledged and she met his eyes. “What you’ve been through—what you still go through every day—you never have to be scared you’ll say something that will change how much I want to be with you. It’s separate for me, okay? I don’t know how else to explain it. It doesn’t change how I see you.”

She rested her forehead against his chest, and they stood there for a long moment, their breathing the only sound in the room.

“G-Gail said that it’s normal for me to feel this way. That this coming up now makes sense. This is the closest I’ve been to a sexual relationship since the attack.” Elizabeth stepped back, but he kept her hand in his. “And that even if we—if I can do this—it doesn’t mean it won’t come back at times. Part of me just—God, wants it to be over with. To just get through it and—” She sighed. “But that’s not fair to you. To tell you just to do it and then I grit my teeth—”

“I wouldn’t—”

“I know—” She managed a weak smile. Then stepped back more, using both hands to wipe the tears from her cheeks now. “And she told me that. She said there’s no one way to get past this. That I can just do what we’ve been doing. Going as far as I feel comfortable with, but what if that takes months?”

“What if it does?” Jason asked, frowning. “You think I’ll change my mind in six weeks?”

“N-No, but I don’t want it to be like that. I’m tired of waiting to get my life back. I’m tired of feeling like what happened to me two years ago—something that took ten minutes—that’s all it was, you know? I was sitting on a bench, minding my own business, trying to think of how I’d get myself out of that stupid lie I’d told—and then I was on the ground, fighting and choking on my own screams—” She pressed her hands to her eyes. “I couldn’t make it stop. I couldn’t make him stop. And then it was over, and he was gone. Ten minutes of my life. It doesn’t get to ruin the rest of it.”

He felt helpless to help her sort through this. He’d done what he could — he’d reassured her, he thought he’d said all the right things, but at the end of the day — he couldn’t get inside her head and change anything. So Jason stood there, remaining silent, waiting.

“It doesn’t get to define who I am,” Elizabeth said, sounding stronger now. “I am not the girl who got raped, and I don’t want to be her forever. I can’t be the girl crawling out of the snow forever.”

“You’re not—”

“I’m more than that. I don’t know who I am all the way yet, but I think—” Elizabeth paused. “I need to be in control. I think that’s what this is. I was okay last night because I—I think I was in control. And then I wasn’t.”

Jason tilted his head to the side, trying to parse it out, then understanding. “Because you made the first move. And then I started to steer you towards the bed. I didn’t see it as taking control, but—”

“I know you didn’t,” she said quickly. “And I wasn’t scared. I just—I couldn’t go any further. But I wasn’t nervous or scared.”

“Okay.” He could live with that. “You need to be in control. That’s not a problem.”

Elizabeth blinked at him, a bit surprised. “It’s not?”

“No. Why would it be? If this is what you need, then that’s good enough for me.” And if at the end of the day, if letting Elizabeth be in complete control, meant he’d get to put his hands on her, then it was a win win situation. “We both get what we want, don’t we?”

“Um, yeah. I guess.” She chewed her lip. “I don’t actually know I’m doing then—”

Jason arched his brow. “You knew what you were doing last night,” he reminded her, his voice low again. Her cheeks flushed, but her eyes were sparkling now, her breathing just a bit quicker. “You took what you wanted. What do you want now?”

“Um—” Elizabeth drew her bottom lip between her teeth. “Really? I can say whatever I want?”

“Whatever you want.”

She cleared her throat. “So if I tell you to take off your shirt, you’ll just—you’ll just do it?”

As an answer, Jason reached for the hem of his black sweater and drew it over his head, tossing it behind him. Her eyes were as wide as saucers now and her tongue darted out to lick her lip.

“And you’d—if—I mean, if I asked you to take everything else off—” Her cheeks were flaming now, her voice a bit less sure. “You’d do that, too? You’d stand here in front of me naked?”

“If that’s what you want me to do.” He put his fingers at the buckle of the pants, undid his belt. “Is that what you want?”

“Um. Yes. That’s—” Her voice nearly squeaked as Jason stripped off the belt, tossed it with the shirt, then unzipped his pants. He paused when he was just in his briefs because he wanted her to be sure. Her breathing was even quicker now—

And then there was a knock at the door. Not just a knock, but an aggressive pounding. “Open up! It’s the PCPD! And we have a warrant!”

Comments

  • Oh my! Your going to make us wait a week to find out what happens?? Damn you Carly

    According to Becca on November 28, 2021
  • So mean! lol

    I love this story so much.

    According to Angela on November 28, 2021
  • You are evil and I was mad at you but then I had to laugh because I can see this as a scene playing in my head so of course they had to be interrupted by the PCPD right at that moment! Great chapter, looking forward to the next one. Oh, and I’m really glad Liz is seeking help from a professional and that Gail is making her a priority.

    According to Lisa on November 28, 2021
  • Fabulous update! Ohh Carly is a wretched witch and I want to slap AJ upside his head too. That cliffhanger was well played and left me wanting more. Hope you have a good week.

    According to nanci on November 28, 2021
  • Carly doesn’t know what she did. I can’t wait for Aj to get what is coming to him. Thanks for the update.

    According to Shelly Samuel on November 28, 2021
  • Oh goddammit Carly! 😉

    According to Jules on November 28, 2021
  • I love this story. I want Jason to tell Carly how he really feels about her and Elizabeth. She needs to go down

    According to Carolyn Grandchamp on November 28, 2021
  • Oh come on!!! Lol I can’t believe we have to wait another week! Damn the PCPD! Worst timing ever!

    According to GoldenGirl on November 28, 2021
  • Carly and the PCPD has the worst timing. All I can say is another nail in Carly’s downfall. I hope they don’t let Carly in to see Jason when he is in lock up. I am so glad Elizabeth has told Jason everything.

    According to Carla P on November 28, 2021
  • Dang! The PCPD has the worse timing. Carly just made a bigger mistake. I loved that Jason was so supportive of Elizabeth and she was making progress. She is a strong woman. It was great that she talked to Gail. Damn the PCPD and Carly!

    According to arcoiris0502 on November 28, 2021
  • AJ you make it hard to be fully on your side sometimes lol
    Jason gave up Michael & doesn’t want Carly what else does he need to do? He was already done with Carly getting her to make the report won’t change that all it does is complicate things for Jason who AJ should be grateful for & if not wanting to help him at least not actively unprompted causing him problems
    A crazy part of me hopes Jason says Carly shot him because he wouldn’t take her back after she slept with Sonny to pay her back for being such a meddling psycho & get her sent to fern cliff for evaluation because she needs it
    I love that Liz talked to Gail & was able to make progress for herself because she wants to not just for Jason & that Jason’s being so kind & paitent
    Can’t wait for the next update
    This cliffhanger’s got me on edge

    According to Jess on November 28, 2021
  • Great update! The PCPD has terrible timing, but then I guess they’re supposed to. Geez.

    According to Felicia on November 29, 2021
  • ah man! Melissa!!!! that was just…
    lol
    damn!
    but up until that rude interruption,
    u set that up just right
    the tone and the feels
    it really was perfect
    and i m happy to read u r dealing with it
    it’s a delicate balance,
    but damned, u b doing it perfectly!

    According to vicki on November 30, 2021
  • ok all caught up on this one– Carly is just a bitch no two ways about it. AJ is an idiot for believing her.
    loved the strip, almost, scene damn PCPD
    I so loved the conversation they were having.
    can’t wait for more

    According to Pamela Hedstrom on December 2, 2021
  • Time for an update please

    According to leasmom on December 24, 2021