Flash Fiction: Warning Shots – Part 11

This entry is part 11 of 26 in the Flash Fiction: Warning Shots

Written in 63 minutes.


March 2000

Another bikini top flew out of the closet, landing on top of Elizabeth’s sketch pad. “How many of these do you own?” she asked, sticking her pencil under the strap and flinging it across the room to Emily’s bed. “You know we’re only going for six days, right?”

“Yeah, but I don’t want to do any laundry while we’re there—” Emily emerged from the closet, another pile of clothing in her arms. She dumped it on her bed. “And it’s supposed to be, like, boiling hot down there this week. I think we need to go shopping again.”

Elizabeth wrinkled her nose. “We went shopping twice. I’ve been packed for two days. You’re making this more difficult than it needs to be.” She returned to her sketch, the tip of her tongue darting out as she reconsidered the height of the Ferris wheel. She didn’t think it was so high above the buildings — it was just an abandoned carnival ride rusting in a junkyard by the docks. Maybe—

“But we’re not going to be at Jason’s place the whole time,” Emily reminded her. She flicked through the dress options. “We said we were going to hop a few bars, and hit that really swanky restaurant at the resort. Jason said he’d hook us up with VIP access for everything— don’t make that face. You agreed.”

“I just don’t like how little I’ve spent on the trip, that’s all, but you don’t know how to take no for an answer.” Elizabeth set her sketch pad aside. “Take the blue dress for the restaurant. Don’t wear the purple for the bars. It’s cut too low. In fact—” She leaned over, scooped up the purple tank. “I think this should be mine—”

“Ha—” Emily snatched it back. “You’re lucky. You’re all petite and curvy. I’m like a giant stick—nothing hangs off me right—”

“One of us was a model, and one of us has stubby legs. And curvy—I think you need to get your eyes checked.” Elizabeth got to her feet, turned to the side to examine her figure in the side mirror. “I mean, I’d describe it more as speed bumps in the right places.”

“Please. Here—” Emily disappeared behind the closet door and tossed something at Elizabeth. “You’d look better in this than me.”

“The tube top? No thanks—” Elizabeth flung it back. “Listen. I was talking to Nikolas at work today, and he said Lucky’s been trying to get in touch with you.”

“Yeah, I know. I hear his voice, then I delete the messages.” Emily started to sort through the piles on the bed again. “You’re allowed to delete his messages, why can’t I?”

“I broke up with him. I didn’t want you or Nikolas in the middle of it. It’s okay with me if you want to be friends.” Elizabeth closed her sketch pad, brought it to her desk, then turned and leaned against it. “Really, Em. He’s one of your oldest friends—”

“Sure. But you’re my best friend. And that matters. Lucky made his bed, and he gets to lie in it. Besides—” Emily shrugged, even though her excitement had dimmed slightly. “He brought my brother into it when all Jason tried to do was be nice. You know I don’t play about my brother. Lucky crossed a line. He wants to get back on the right side of it, he’s going to have to work on it. Apologizing to you and meaning it would be a great start. You didn’t put me in the middle, Liz. I put myself there.” She lifted one brow. “No regrets, okay? So don’t worry.”

“Just strange, I guess. It’s been…God, almost a month. For so long, all my waking thoughts were about Lucky, and now…I don’t know. Feels weird not to think about him. You know?”

“Yeah, I know. When we come back from break, I’m going to get Juan to see if one of the guys in his dorms would be willing to do a blind date. We need to get you back out there—”

“No, thanks.” Elizabeth reached for the fluorescent pink tube top that still laid on Emily’s bed. “You really think this would look better on me?”

“One hundred percent.” Emily lit up. “Let’s have a fashion show, and we can pick out everything I should take—”

“You’re never going to finish packing, are you?”

——

On the other side of Port Charles, closer to the harbor, the topic of Emily and Elizabeth’s trip to the island was on someone else’s mind.

“I know it’s short notice,” Sonny said, pouring himself a tumbler of bourbon. He offered one to Jason, who just shook his head. “But you mentioned the trip the other day, and it got me thinking. This is a good opportunity to check on the casino in Puerto Rico, and then you could go to the island, stop in at the resort. You know, do a quick run. Neither of us have done it in a few months.”

“You want me to tag along on my sister’s trip?” Jason asked skeptically. “The whole reason I offered my place was because I wasn’t going to be there—”

“You won’t. You can fly them down there, stay a day and do the run at the island. Puerto Rico is what’s worrying me. Diego thinks there’s some trouble on the pit floor, and he wanted a fresh eye. You’d be there most of the week. Then, you know, head back, scoop up the girls, and come home.”

Jason just made a face. “Why can’t it wait?”

“You’d rather they fly commercial?” Sonny asked. He sipped his drink. “This way, you take the jet. They get a better experience, and you know, they go through security with you. You really want your sister going through the Miami airport on her own?”

“She’s not twelve, Sonny. And Elizabeth’s with her. They’ll get to the island in one piece. I’ll go in a few weeks—” Jason hesitated. “Is there a reason you want me out of town this week?”

Sonny pursed his lips. “Maybe I wanna give you a little bit of cover. Johnny’s handling something at the Oasis, and you’d be the first person Taggert goes after. You’re out of town, shepherding your sister on her Spring Break trip, it’s good for you. And Taggert doesn’t know Johnny exists.”

Jason sighed. “You should have just said that. I’ll call Emily and let her know.”

“How long were you planning to be gone?” Jason asked, lifting the fourth suitcase from the back of the car and setting it on the luggage cart. His sister looked at him, wide-eyed. “Don’t make that face — it’s six days—”

“She doubled her suitcases when she found out we were taking the jet,” Elizabeth said dryly, stepping up behind Emily, looping the strap of her tote over her shoulder. Her hair hung loose around her shoulders, and Emily reached for a chunk of it to pull playfully. “Hey, I still have the same suitcase I packed—”

“I just wanted to options, okay? Plus, I had to bring extra for Liz, because, you know—her wardrobe is—well, it’s a little boring,” Emily said in hushed whisper. Liz elbowed her. “No, seriously, we’re traveling to the Caribbean, Liz, and you’re dressed like we’re going hiking.”

“You know, you’re insulting your brother. We’re wearing the exact same thing,” Elizabeth pointed out, gesturing at Jason in his jeans and blue shirt.

Jason eyed the blue tank top and denim cut off shorts paired with flip flops. “Not exactly,” he said, and she rolled her eyes.

“I’m comfortable, and that’s all that matters. Bite me, both of you.” Elizabeth let her sunglasses slid from the top of her head on to her eyes. “I’m gonna go stand over here while you guys continue to argue and hold up the line.”

Emily wrinkled her nose. “Is this a good time to tell you that I have another suitcase in the front seat?”

Jason squinted at her. “Is that a trick question?”

“I think I’m going to have to eat my words,” Elizabeth said, dropping into the seat next to Jason. “Emily’s mad at me, so she said I had to sit with you for take off.”

Jason glanced across the aisle to see Emily sticking her tongue out at both of them. “Is that a punishment for you or me?”

“Hard to tell,” Elizabeth said, buckling the belt across her lap, then reaching down into the bag she’d tucked between her legs. She pulled out a sketch pad and flipped it open. “Anyway, Emily wanted to ask you two weeks ago to use the jet and I told her no, but having flown before, it was so much nicer not dealing with other people at the gate. And these seats are much more comfortable.”

“You know, she’d do all of this anyway for herself. Why do you fight it so much?” Jason wanted to know, thumbing through the travel guide he’d brought him, trying to find the last page he’d read.

“Oh, well—” Elizabeth bit her lip, then glanced at him. “It’s like I said, I don’t like to ask for help. Or take gifts. Especially not anymore. You start letting people do things for you, and maybe you start to rely on it, you know? Like—” She paused. “My parents gave me money for the year they were going to be away. That’s all it was supposed to be. One year. Sarah came here with my grandmother, and I got left with the neighbors. I lasted exactly two months before I ditched it, spent all my money on a first class ticket to Port Charles. I figured my parents would just send me more money. It was the least they could do for abandoning me the entire year, you know?”

She started to shade something on her sketch pad. “And that’s how they liked to solve problems. Throw money at. Lizzie’s failing science? We’ll get her a tutor. Lizzie’s sleeping too much? We’ll get a fancy alarm clock. Lizzie’s ditching school? We’re hire a driver to take her to and from.” She sighed. “But then I got here, and I spent that money on the ticket, and my parents refused to send anymore. They told me that I had to grow up and start learning to take care of myself sometime. I had to get the job at Kelly’s and pay off the ticket. And there’d be no more allowance.”

Elizabeth jerked a shoulder. “And like, fine, whatever. Teach me responsibility all you want. But for four months, I didn’t have a single dime. Everything I made at Kelly’s went straight to Gram, and it sucked. Sarah didn’t have to pay for her plane ticket. And my parents sent her money. But I never got another dime from them. Not even when I graduated high school. They didn’t even bother to show up.” She looked at him. “That sounds like I’m whining, and maybe I am. But it just taught me that money doesn’t solve your problems. And it’s not the same thing as love. My parents gave me money so I’d leave them alone. After I came to Port Charles, well, they didn’t need to do that anymore. So they didn’t. I had to do it on my own. I didn’t really like it, but I guess it was a lesson worth learning.”

She flipped to another sketch in her pad. “And, well, Lucky thinks he saved me. He thinks he gets to take credit for helping me put my life back together. He thought that gave him some special ownership over me. Over that night. That’s why he did it, you know.” She met his eyes again. “Because he wanted to remind me of what he gave me. He thinks he gave me my life back. So I don’t like when people do things for me anymore. I don’t want to owe anyone. Or to let anyone feel like I do. They can’t call in debts I don’t run up in the first place. I never forget that Emily is a Quartermaine with a trust fund and all kinds of access to wealth and power through her family, and well, you. And I don’t forget who Nikolas is, either. They’re not going to think I’m their friend because of what they can do for me. Not if I don’t take advantage of them. Yeah, Emily might do all of this for herself, but at least this way, she knows I wasn’t expecting it. Or demanding it.”

Elizabeth stopped finally, then made a face. “Which is more than you wanted to know. Sorry. I tend to ramble if no one stops me. You should have cut me off.”

“Why? You weren’t done answering the question.”

She drew her brows together, confused. “You really mean that, don’t you?”

“I don’t say things I don’t mean. And I don’t like when people do things for me, either,” Jason added. “I don’t like to owe people. You’re right. They think it gives them the right to boss you around or use you. It’s better to do things for yourself. To take care of yourself.”

“Exactly.” Elizabeth flipped to another page. “See, you get it.”

“I do. I also know that Emily’s generous by nature. And if she didn’t want to include you in these kinds of things, she wouldn’t. So maybe you don’t have to fight everything. Give her break, you know? It makes her happy to make other people happy. Let her do that.”

“Oh. Oh, that was sneaky.” Elizabeth smirked, then leaned back when the pilot came over the speaker to announce that they were taxiing to the runway, and preparing for takeoff.

With the jet, they didn’t need to do a layover in Miami, but could fly directly into the small airport on West Plana Cays, the island Sonny owed and on which he operated a small resort. There were also a handful of villages dotting along the eastern coast of the island.

At the airport, there was a cherry red convertible waiting for them. Jason fit as much of Emily’s luggage as he could — “this is why you don’t pack your entire closet,” he told her — and arranged for the rest to follow them in another car.

Elizabeth sat in the back, enjoying the ride across the island, letting the wind blow through her hair and the view of the Caribbean as they headed for the western coast, where Jason and Sonny and a few other private villas were located. It was kind of wild to think of one person owning all of this, she thought.

The villa they pulled up to wasn’t that large, but it was open and airy with one side of the house entirely open to the beach beyond the house. The water surrounded the house on two sides, and as soon as Emily got out of the car, she made a beeline for the water, kicking off her shoes. “Come on, Liz!” she called, turning halfway down the sand between the house and the shoreline.

“You go ahead,” Elizabeth called back. “I want to get unpacked and settled.” She turned back to Jason who was lifting the trunk of the car. “Here, I’ll take mine—”

“You can go down with her, you know. I can get this into the house—” Jason set two of Emily’s suitcases down, then Elizabeth’s single bag.

“I can carry one bag. Besides, you’ll need both hands for all of Emily’s things. You know she’s going to go shopping while we’re here and have like two more suitcases when you come back to get us.”

Jason made a face, looked down at the beach where Emily was halfway into the water now, her skirt bunched up in her hands. “I didn’t even think of that.” He sighed, unloaded the last suitcase, then closed the trunk. He held out the keys. “This is yours while you’re here. You and Emily’s,” he added. “Don’t crash it.”

Elizabeth hesitated. “I’ll hold on to them for Emily, but—”

“Look, you don’t like to owe people, right? Me either,” Jason added. “And the way I see it, I owe you more than I could ever repay.”

She furrowed her brow. “How do you figure that?”

Jason looked back to the water where his sister was still calf-deep. “She wasn’t like this before you.”

“Like—” Elizabeth paused. “What do you mean?”

“I don’t remember before the accident, but I know the story. She only came to us maybe less than a year before I lost my memory. She’d lost her mother, her home, her name, pretty much everything. And it’s not like the Quartermaines are an easy family to live with. She got lost,” Jason murmured. “You know about that. The drugs.”

“Yeah, but—”

“She kept getting knocked down, and you know, she’d get back up because that’s just who she is, but she’s laughing all the time now. Happy. Silly,” Jason said after a moment. “And that didn’t happen until you.” He met her eyes. “So, like I said, you’re not the one who owes anything. I can’t ever repay what you’ve given her.”

Her throat felt tight, and her eyes blurred. “I wasn’t like this before her either, you know. Whatever you think I’ve given her, I’ve gotten back a thousand times over. I finally understand what it’s like to have a sister. So we’re even.”

“Okay maybe, but—” Jason took her hand, opened her fingers and dropped the keys in the center of her palm. “Take the car anyway.”

Comments

  • I love acknowledging all the ways Jason and Elizabeth are alike. It is easier to see the ways they are different, but those similarities ARE there.

    According to LilaB on May 28, 2024
  • They talk, wow loved it.

    According to leasmom on May 28, 2024
  • I could read Jason and Elizabeth’s conversations all day. The way they talk to each other is like nothing else. I love Jason confirming that Elizabeth has given so much more than she realizes to Em. About time that girl got some positive confirmation in her life! I see that sketchbook! SOON!!

    According to Beth on May 28, 2024
  • I love when the Phillies play on the west coast! What a nice treat for us!!! And, as always, I love how you can make the characters both unique to the story AND consistent with their GH cores at the same time. I mean in some ways, it’s impossible to imagine this storyline having played out on our screens and yet in others it seems like it could have happened so easily with just a few different plot points to have guided the writers.

    Looking forward to whatever you share next- fluff or angst. I’m here for it all!

    According to LivingLiason on May 28, 2024
  • Jason and Liz thinks alike, they don’t depend on anyone for anything. Great update.

    According to Shelly Samuel on May 29, 2024
  • Elizabeth’s parents were so mean to her so I’m glad that she met Emily. I love the conversation between Jason and Elizabeth. They get each other. What a vacation!!!

    According to arcoiris0502 on May 29, 2024
  • I really liked the conversation between Jason and Elizabeth. Emily is so funny taking all that luggage.

    According to Carla P on May 29, 2024
  • I really liked their conversation. I love Em and Elizabeth’s friendship in this one as well. Interested in seeing what Sonny is up to that he needs Jason to have an solid alibi. Great update.

    According to nanci on May 29, 2024
  • great update.
    Got them together on a private island sounds great to me.
    Glad they had a long talk.

    According to PAMELA HEDSTROM on May 30, 2024