Written in 64 minutes. Sorry, I wanted to get the ending in just right.
January 7, 2000
Harborview Towers: Hallway
“I’ll pick you up at Kelly’s after your shift,” Jason promised Elizabeth as he walked her to the elevator the next morning. “We can’t take out the bike because of the ice,” he reminded her, “so I’ll be in the SUV.”
“Maybe we should have taken that ride like you suggested,” she said with a wrinkle of her nose, but Jason shrugged and kissed her.
“I like what we did instead,” he said, drawing back grinning when her cheeks flushed and she ducked her head, biting her lip. He slid a finger under her chin to kiss her one more time. “I’ll see you later,” he murmured.
“See you later.”
When she was on her way down to the parking garage and to meet Francis, Jason looked over at Sonny’s door, took a deep breath, and then went over to find Max standing outside as always.
“Hey, Jase.” Max rapped lightly on the door.
Sonny pulled open the door. “Jason.”
“We need to talk about this reception,” he said, walking past Sonny. Sonny closed the door behind him, and Jason faced his friend and boss. “When?”
“Uh, Vega and Tagliatti were going to get back to me,” Sonny said, a bit taken aback. “They wanted to wait for things to settle a few days. To let Sorel think the deal is in effect and that this is just part of the normal order. I’m thinking maybe a week from tonight. Next Friday,” he clarified.
Jason nodded, shoved his hands in his pockets. “We’re doing it. Not because we want to or because I think it’s the best way to handle this—”
“Because I don’t. I think it’s one way, and maybe it’s the easiest for all of you,” he added, and was gratified when he saw Sonny grimace. “But it’s also involving family. Not just mine. Unless Vega’s not bringing his wife?”
“No, that’s—that’s a point. And it’s one I argued, Jason—”
“But not hard enough. I’m doing it because you didn’t give me a choice. You already told them yes,” Jason interrupted. “And if I refuse now, it’ll tell everyone we have a problem between us.”
Sonny stared at him for a long moment. “And we do, don’t we?”
“Yeah, I think that’s clear.” And he shouldn’t have to explain this to Sonny. If Elizabeth had understood it after only a few months, why the hell didn’t Sonny, his supposed best friend, get it, too? “But it’s personal and it’s no one else’s business.”
“I know you’re mad that I went to Elizabeth—”
“It didn’t work. And it’s not going to. Elizabeth isn’t Carly,” Jason retorted, and Sonny scowled at that. “You can’t turn her against me—”
“That’s not what I did—”
“You said it yourself, Sonny. Carly saw me dancing with Elizabeth and asked you about it. And you knew you could play her. You knew you could make her angry at me, and you did it because you thought you knew better than me.”
“I was right,” Sonny insisted, his face reddening. “You know I was right, and you’re better off now, aren’t you?”
“It was my mistake to make, and if you hadn’t pulled that bullshit with Elizabeth yesterday, maybe I could let it go.” And he nearly had, Jason realized. Because Carly was out of his life and he was happier for it. He might never have made a move towards Elizabeth if not for that. But Sonny hadn’t been content just to leave it at that. “But you tried it again. You thought you could get Elizabeth on your side—”
“She’s not the reason you’re standing in front of me, agreeing to do it?” Sonny pointed out, and Jason pressed his lips together. Because Sonny had a point, but it hadn’t happened that way.
“You tried to talk her into taking your side when you knew how I felt. What if I’d done that to you with Brenda? Or Lily?”
“What, it’s not the same?” Jason shot back. “It is. But it won’t work with Elizabeth, and you know that now.”
“I’ll do this reception because I don’t have a choice, but you and I are going to have to talk about what happens after that. Things are going to change, and I don’t think you’re going to like it.”
Kelly’s: Dining Room
“Hey, DJ, we’ve got another three omelets on order,” Elizabeth said, arranging some dishes on the tray and delivering them to the table.
As she returned to the counter, the bell over the door jingled and Bobbie stepped in. Elizabeth tensed, realizing she hadn’t seen or spoken to the redhead in several days—not since she’d moved into Jason’s penthouse and the wedding.
“Well, good morning.” Bobbie smiled brightly, taking one of the stools. She flipped over her coffee mug, and Elizabeth poured. The nurse caught Elizabeth’s hand, the diamond flashing. “I heard about this.”
“Yeah, it’s, um—” Elizabeth wiggled her fingers, still unused to the way it felt on her hand. “It’s new.”
“I’ll say.” Bobbie tipped her head. “Quite a lot has happened in the last six weeks, wouldn’t you say?”
That was a fair statement, so Elizabeth just smiled thinly, then left to grab orders when DJ hit the bell. When she once again returned, Bobbie was sipping her coffee.
“Is that all you’re going to say?” Elizabeth asked hesitantly.
“Well, I suppose I have my worries,” Bobbie admitted. “Lord knows, I’ve jumped into marriage impulsively. I suppose—” She bit her lip.”I suppose I’m concerned. I know you and Jason care for each other. He made that very clear to me,” she added with a flush to her cheeks. “At the same time, I saw the papers. And I know what the PCPD is investigating.”
Elizabeth paused. Clearly Bobbie didn’t know that Carly had made a statement. While Emily’s suspicions had hurt because her best friend really didn’t know anything else was going on in the background. Bobbie did—and if she didn’t know about Carly, did that mean Carly hadn’t said anything about her mother?
What if that meant that Carly still had that up her sleeve? Carly’s story was dead in the water with herself as a witness, but if she went back and told them about Bobbie, wouldn’t it bring more people in? Bobbie and Carly weren’t the only people who had seen Jason at her studio. Elizabeth’s grandmother had. Nikolas had. And maybe they’d think more closely about how Jason had looked—
“Elizabeth?” Bobbie prompted. “Is everything all right?”
“Actually, um, there were some—well—there a few reasons Jason and I decided to get married so quickly. And one of them was Carly.” Elizabeth met Bobbie’s guarded expression. “Carly threatened to tell the PCPD about the studio. And that you and I knew.”
Bobbie swallowed hard. “She—”
“We needed to damage her credibility,” Elizabeth added, keeping her voice soft. Almost inaudible. Bobbie leaned in. “So we did. And then Carly went to the PCPD. I don’t think she said anything about you—”
“But that doesn’t mean she won’t.” Bobbie nodded, closing her eyes. “I see. All right. I’ll have to—I’ll have to look into that. Ah—” She focused on Elizabeth. “Are you all right? Otherwise, I mean. Were you—”
“I’m good,” Elizabeth promised her. “Do you remember right after it happened, and I told you I was scared that I’d never be able to be with anyone?”
“I was wrong.” She smiled then, relieved to see some light coming back into Bobbie’s expression. “Very wrong. You were right. When I was ready, and when the right man came along, it was beautiful. Thank you for that, Bobbie. For all that you did for me after the rape.”
“I’m so glad, sweetheart.” Bobbie squeezed her hand. “I just knew it would turn out well for you. I’m very happy for you.” She paused. “For the both of you,” she added.
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Jason hadn’t lived in the penthouse all that long, but he thought it seemed awfully empty and lifeless when Elizabeth wasn’t there. He didn’t really have anything else to do that day, and with the snow, he couldn’t even take out the bike.
When the guard on the front desk told him that his sister was waiting, Jason was relieved. Even if Emily had come over to yell at him.
“I was actually hoping to catch Elizabeth,” Emily said, as she removed her jacket and scanned the penthouse, frowning when she caught sight of the framed wedding photo on his desk. She picked it up. “Oh, man, it’s real,” she murmured.
“Did you think it wasn’t?” Jason asked, confused. Elizabeth hadn’t really talked about Emily the day before, only that their lunch hadn’t gone well. “We told you—”
“I know. But—” Emily showed him the photo. “You’re in the church. You’re wearing a suit, she’s got a dress on.”
“Uh, yeah. That’s—” Jason squinted. “That’s a wedding—”
“No, I thought—” Emily shook her head, studying the photo. “I don’t know what I thought,” she admitted. “Maybe that it was a City Hall thing or something in the living room. It all seemed so rushed—”
Jason arched a brow. “Because you weren’t invited?”
“I don’t know. Yeah, maybe. I’m her best friend, and your sister.” Emily set down the photo. “If it was all real and on the level, why didn’t you call me? No one said a thing to me,” she complained. “I saw Elizabeth on New Year’s, and I know you guys weren’t that serious then. Then three days later you get married—”
“What do you mean, not that serious?” Jason demanded. “What are you talking about?”
Emily rolled her eyes. “I’m not an idiot, Jase. Elizabeth told me that Nikolas was wrong at the Christmas party. I don’t know everything, but I know things weren’t like that. And she was nervous on New Year’s Eve about taking things to another level. She was only going to stay with you because of the lock on her door.” Emily shrugged. “I’m not stupid. You were Robin forever and never got married, and you were in love with her. Something happened.”
Jason folded his arms. “Things were different with Robin,” he said finally. “And I’m not that person anymore.” He’d worked hard to be better. “And what makes you think you have any right to demand Elizabeth and I tell you why we got married?”
Emily stared at him. “What does that mean?”
“It means exactly what Elizabeth and I have been telling you for days. Weeks,” he clarified, and her cheeks flushed. “You’re not entitled to information about our sex life—”
“Oh, my God, this isn’t about sex—”
“Yeah, it is. You just said so. Elizabeth was nervous about it on New Year’s Eve. And you’re telling me that like it’s my business. How do you know she even talked to me about it yet?” Jason challenged. “What if she didn’t? She confided in you, Emily.”
“I—” Her cheeks paled. “She said she’d talk to you—”
“How do you know she did? Did she tell you?”
“No. And you’re here demanding to know why we’re married. Did I demand you tell me everything about Juan?”
“No—” Emily scowled. “But you didn’t like him—”
“No one did,” Jason muttered. He cleared his throat. “You think something’s wrong because you had a conversation with Elizabeth eight days ago—”
“You’re telling me you fell in love with her that fast?” Emily demanded. “Because—”
“It’s none of your business,” Jason cut in, irritated now. “Elizabeth is your best friend, not me. And until she decides to make it your business, you’re only making it worse by demanding information. Why shouldn’t I tell her you’re going behind her back and telling me what you talked about?”
“That’s—” Emily swallowed hard. “That’s not what I meant to do. Elizabeth just—she just gets so defensive about you, and I just wanted to know why you got married so fast. Why can’t I ask?”
“You can ask, but no one owes you information, Emily.”
“I’m trying to protect her and look out for—” Emily huffed. “You’re making it sound like I’m a bad person. I know you rushed into this wedding, and I think it was because something she did for you. Because if you weren’t sleeping together last month, then there was another reason you were staying with her. And fine, keep that from me. Whatever. But if it’s the reason you got married and it means she’s going to get hurt—”
Jason remembered the way Elizabeth had looked that night at Vista Point, when she’d painfully recounted some of the things people had said to her during her first shift back after the Christmas party. The way she’d been treated. That she’d thought she wasn’t someone he’d care about.
It didn’t matter that Emily had a point. That she was absolutely correct, and maybe they should tell her something. It mattered that Emily had likely said something exactly like this to Elizabeth, and it had brought all that back.
“You’re so sure that I wouldn’t have married her,” Jason said, and Emily stumbled to a stop. She drew her brows together, confused. “You don’t think it’s the other way around. You think I wouldn’t have married Elizabeth.”
“Well, yeah. You wouldn’t have—”
“Is that what you said to her? That you know I wouldn’t have married her unless something was going on. That the only reason we’re married is because of my job or something else. Not her. Or the way I feel about her.”
Jason could see the truth sinking in now and Emily’s cheeks paled. “Oh. Oh, no. That’s not what I meant. Not at all. You’d be lucky if Elizabeth picked you to marry. You’re out of her league—” Tears glimmered in her eyes. “She’s too good for you, okay? After all the things you did to Robin because of Carly—”
“Then maybe you tell her that,” Jason cut in, not in the mood to hear another diatribe about his shortcomings. Elizabeth didn’t hold any of that against him so he didn’t care. “And stop demanding to know things that aren’t your business.”
Quartermaine Mansion: Front Room
It was the first time Carly had seen her mother in at least a week, and she had a strange feeling this wasn’t a social call.
Bobbie was standing by the window, her shoulders tight, her arms folded. She turned when Carly came in and just stared at her.
“How could you?” Bobbie asked softly. “How could you do that?”
Carly’s list of crimes was long enough that she didn’t know exactly what her mother was referring to. “What—”
“It would have cost me everything,” Bobbie said, and Carly winced. “And don’t tell me you wouldn’t have thrown me under the bus if you’d needed to. We both know you still can and will.”
“Hey.” They both turned to find AJ. “Reginald said you were here.” His easy smile faded as he took in the tense atmosphere. “Michael’s upstairs if you want him.”
“That’s not why I’m here,” Bobbie said. “I’m here because my daughter decided to talk to the PCPD.”
AJ blanched and came fully into the room, closing it behind him. “Bobbie—”
“And clearly you knew about it,” Bobbie said. “You knew she was planning to turn me in?”
“But I didn’t!” Carly said. “I know I told Jason I would, but—”
“I made her do it,” AJ said quickly, and Carly shot him a grateful look—something Bobbie did not miss. “I made her do it because I wanted her to prove she’d broken with Jason. But she always wanted to keep you out of it—”
“Me, but not Elizabeth,” Bobbie said, and AJ looked away. “Not your sister’s best friend. You didn’t mind if Elizabet was dragged into the investigation. Arrested. Maybe even put on trial.”
“Everyone keeps telling me she’s a grown adult,” Carly spat. “She made her choices—”
“I knew Jason would protect her,” AJ cut in, and Carly glared at him. “I knew he would because it was the right thing to do and because he cares about her. You know that, Carly—”
“And what would have happened if it had worked?” Bobbie demanded. “Do you really think that it would have stopped at Elizabeth? Were you so sure I wouldn’t be part of it—”
“You did it to be spiteful and vindictive because Jason had moved on. And you—” Bobbie leveled a furious glare at her son-in-law. “You did it to get revenge on your brother. Don’t try me with this Elizabeth would be protected bullshit. You took a calculated risk because that’s who you are. This is who you both are.”
“Mama, please—” Carly’s voice broke.
“You deserve each other,” Bobbie spat. “I hope you make each other miserable.”