Flash Fiction: Warning Shots – Part 13

This entry is part 13 of 26 in the Flash Fiction: Warning Shots

Written in 57 minutes.


March 2000

 

“What did we learn?”

Emily, hunched over the counter, her head pillowed on her hands, groaned. “Don’t talk. The sun hurts.”

“Those two things aren’t related.” Jason set out a cup of black coffee and tapped the top of her black sunglasses. “And if you need to wear these inside, you drank too much.”

“You used to start bar fights all the time,” his sister grumbled. She sighed, then straightened and wrinkled her nose. “No cream? No sugar? Am I in prison?”

“No. You need the shock to the system.” Jason went back to the coffee pot. “Drink.”

“Ugh.” She forced down the first sip. “Sorry if we messed up whatever you were doing over in Puerto Rico.”

“It’s fine.” He sipped his own coffee, accustomed to the bitter taste. “I’ve got something to take care of here, but I’ll get out of your hair tomorrow and be back on Sunday—”

“No, no. I mean, if you have to go back, that’s cool, and all, but you don’t have to, like, rush away. Unless you can’t wait to be rid of us. I mean, I’m barely useful, and I think—” Emily twisted on her stool, wrinkled her nose. “Maybe I should go check on Liz. She wasn’t as drunk as I was, but I didn’t see her when I got back. Was she okay when she went to bed?”

Jason opened his mouth, then closed, remembering that strange moment on the sofa the night before when he’d touched Elizabeth’s face to check her injury more closely, and somehow—

He cleared his throat. “She was fine. You know, if you’d told Marco what happened — the whole story—then maybe he wouldn’t have called me—”

Emily’s brows pinched together. “What do you mean? We totally told him everything from beginning to end. He sat down with us, Jase, okay? And he was really pushy. Like I don’t know if he thought he was being charming or whatever, but it was definitely uncomfortable. Liz tried to be nice, but he wouldn’t go away. We got up, and he grabbed her—then—” Emily jerked a shoulder. “I don’t know. He said something I didn’t hear but he had her arm—”

“He put his hands on her — Elizabeth had every right to defend herself. If Marco knew that—”

“He did,” Emily insisted hotly. “Okay? We told him. Liz showed him her arm—”

“What about her arm?”

“She had red marks and I bet it’s bruised today. But that asshole just kept saying maybe if we weren’t—” Emily pressed her lips together. “Never mind. He’s your friend and he’s a guy, so you’ll just defend him. I thought you’d be different—”

“Whoa, whoa—” Jason caught his sister before she could indignantly flounce away. “What do you mean you told him? If he knew—”

“He made it like it was our fault. Like we made the first move by sitting down, and Liz apparently wore a tube top, so she was asking for it. Maybe we should dress the way we want to be treated,” Emily bit out. “I tried to tell him you were my brother, but he didn’t seem to think that mattered. Said Liz should think twice before she goes into a bar and asks for attention.”

Jason went still. “Tell me everything he said. From the beginning.”

She was being ridiculous, that was all there was to it.

Elizabeth rifled through what remained of her clothing options, wishing she’d brought a sweater. Maybe she could wrap a sheet around her—

“You’re being an idiot,” she told herself in the mirror, and yanked out the bikini and a pair of cut off jeans, the same basic outfit she’d worn every day to go down to the beach. Just because Jason was here now, it didn’t mean anything. It was just a bikini top, not a bra—and it covered the same amount of skin that her top last night had—

But it was weird and different and unsettling because well — She tied the top and wrinkled her nose in the mirror. Did it draw attention to her breasts? Did Jason think that’s why she’d wear it? Would he think she was prancing around half-naked because of last night?

Last night. Nothing happened. Except he’d touched her mouth and she’d looked at him, and all of a sudden, he wasn’t Jason but he was Jason

“An idiot. That’s you,” she told her reflection, then yanked her tote bag with the art supplies. Go down the hall, grab some water and fruit and go to the beach. Jason probably wasn’t even here anymore—

But there he was — in the kitchen area standing behind the counter, glaring at Emily. When she came out of the hallway, he swept his gaze over hers — and the irritation only sharpened. “Why didn’t you tell me you told Marco about that guy grabbing you?”

Oh, damn, he’d gone back to being irritated. Maybe he’d been dragged away from something important, Elizabeth thought. She twisted her fingers together as she approached, licked her lips nervously. “Listen, this isn’t a big deal, okay? The charges are dropped. It’s good, isn’t it?”

“That’s what I’m saying. It sucked, and we won’t go back,” Emily said, looking back and forth between them. “Let’s talk about something better. Liz, tell Jason he’s not raining on our parade if he hangs out here for the rest of the vacation. We already had the nude orgies,” she told her brother who just stared at her. “Oookay, not ready for the jokes. Liz, he listens to you—”

“Not right now,” Elizabeth muttered, and his mouth pinched. “Um, it’s your place, right? So do whatever you want.” She finally gathered the courage to lift her gaze to his, and when their eyes met, all she could bring to mind was how the rough skin of his thumb had felt against her mouth, and now she felt hot all over. “I gotta go.”

She hoisted the tote over her shoulder and made a beeline for the terrace doors opening out onto the beach.

Jason stared after her, exhaled in a slow exhale. So much for pretending that little moment hadn’t happened or hoping he’d been the only one to experience the temporary insanity, he thought. Her tongue had darted out, and he’d dropped his eyes right to it — and then she’d looked at him like she knew exactly what he was thinking—

He looked back at Emily who was staring after her friend with curious eyes. “I don’t know what I’m going to do, but you and Elizabeth just go on like I’m not here. I can make myself busy up at the resort if I need to.”

“Aye aye—” Emily saluted, then slid off the stool. “I’m gonna go make sure Liz is okay. Maybe last night shook her up more than she’s admitting.”

“Yeah, maybe.” And remembering how she’d looked on Valentine’s Day, her shattered eyes when she recounted why Lucky’s choose of day was particularly awful, Jason wanted to punch something.

Or someone.

Elizabeth sank into the beach chair beneath the umbrella, then dug through her bag for her sketchpad and pencil. She switched to a clean page and just started to draw, wondering if she could ever really illustrate how weird it felt — the strange pull in her stomach when she and Jason had looked at each other the night before — or just now in the kitchen. The tingling all over, inside and out.

This was a hell of a way to find out that her ability to be attracted to someone hadn’t died with the end of her relationship with Lucky — or that the something she’d hinted to Emily had been missing with Lucky was sexual attraction—

“You know, you don’t have to get all weird about it.”

Elizabeth looked up, her eyes wide. Emily dropped into the chair next to her. “What? What?”

“Jason. He doesn’t even know, so you can relax.”

How—how did Emily— Elizabeth gripped her pencil more tightly. “Know what?”

“What we were talking about before that guy went all Rambo last night.” Emily squirted some lotion on her arms, began to work it into her skin. “You know when we were talking about dating, and I was teasing you about Jason. He doesn’t know, so you don’t have to be weird about it.”

“Oh. Oh. No, I know—” She cleared her throat. “I know that. It’s just—I forgot about it until I saw him this morning, and it just—it’s fine. I know. I feel bad that everything got out of control last night.”

“You didn’t do anything—”

“I could have de-escalated it another way. I didn’t have to hit him. I just—” Elizabeth bit her lip, looked out over the sparkling waters of the Caribbean. “I didn’t. I chose to hit him, and then your brother had to come to my rescue. Again. I’m tired of it—”

“Well, it’s not your fault.” Emily leaned back, stretched out her limbs. “Jason handled it, and he said don’t worry. So take his advice.”

“Yeah, maybe.” She stared down at the sketch pad, rudimentary shapes beginning to take form — “But I just know there has to be a way for me to fix it. I’m not some damsel in distress.”

She shoved her things back in her bag. “I’m going to take care of a few things. I’ll be back later.”

Shoving Marco against the wall hadn’t been nearly as satisfying as Jason had hoped it would be — not when the police deputy’s sputtering apologies only infuriated him more. Sure — Emily and Elizabeth might get better treatment if they ran into trouble again, but they should have been treated right from the beginning—

Even making a few phone calls and getting the asshole replaced wouldn’t take off the edge of Jason’s temper. Marco hadn’t helped things — but he also hadn’t been the one to start it, and that was where Jason’s real fury was rooted.

He learned from the overly apologetic deputy that the bastard in question frequented that bar on a daily basis, and could often be found there during the day playing poker. Leaving Marco relieved and in relatively one piece, Jason headed over a few streets to the Pirate’s Den.

It looked even seedier in the daylight — Jason had tossed back a few a time or two and found that the atmosphere wasn’t that different from Jake’s. He stepped inside, went to the bar. “Manuel—”

“Jason Morgan.” The owner of the bar grinned and came down to his end. “I didn’t know you were around. You want your usual—”

“Not here for a drink. I want Dario Colon. Which one is he?”

Manuel hesitated. “You know, he’s got connections—”

“Connections that Sonny made. He put Armando in office, he’ll take him out. Your bar fight last night. You know who those women were, don’t you?” Jason demanded.

The owner looked uneasy now. “I wasn’t here, but my cousin said two Americans girls came in, half drunk, making passes. Dario just tried to take them up on the offer—but they weren’t just any girls, were they?” he asked with an air of resignation. He dragged his hand down his face. “One of them punched Dario. He wouldn’t have liked that. Is she related to you?”

“My sister and her best friend,” Jason said, flatly. “The woman he grabbed and wouldn’t let go?”

“Your sister? Oh, damn it. Damn it—that fool—”

“Does she need to be my sister for it to matter, Manuel? Sonny paid off those debts for you. Made it so you could get this place. You said you’d owe him. You repay Sonny by letting men grab women in your place?” Jason cut in. “I make a call, and you’re out on your ass. So you want to make good, you’ll tell me which one of these bastards is Dario, and I’ll consider it settled.”

“Dario’s the one in the blue—” Manuel gestured towards the other side of the room. “Listen, I know you’ve got to protect your womenfolk, Jason. But my cousin said they were dressed for trouble—maybe they should—”

“You should stop talking before I change my mind about telling Sonny.” Jason’s hands curled into fists at his side. How many men were going to blame Elizabeth for what she’d been wearing?

He turned, found the man in blue around a poker table, laughing. There was a glass of liquor at his side. Jason considered the other men, but discarded them as real concerns. He strode across the bar, grabbed Dario by the throat and dragged him out of the chair, all the way back to the nearby wall.

“Hey, what, mamabicho, what are you doing?” the man demanded, kicking at the air. His face began to flush. “Who are you—”

“Jason Morgan.”

He saw the flicker of recognition in Dario’s eyes and the mutters from the men behind him. “You know who I am, don’t you?”

“I didn’t do anything to you—”

“Think again. You go around grabbing women all the time?”

“She came on to—” The words were choked off when Jason tightened his fingers on Dario’s throat. “Didn’t know she was yours—”

“No, you didn’t,” Jason bit out, almost enjoying the deep flush crawling up the man’s cheeks. “You gonna go keep putting your hands on women who tell you no?”

“Sorry, sorry, tell her I’m sorry—no disrespect—”

Jason let him fall to the ground in a heap. “Put your hands on another woman and you’ll wish I’d finished the job today.”

Dario scrambled to his feet and darted past Jason, only to stop short when he saw someone standing in the entrance to the bar.

Jason froze when he realized it was Elizabeth standing there, staring at him with wide eyes like she’d never seen him before.

Damn it.

Comments

  • This chapter is the cherry on top of a great Liason day. Thanks!

    According to LilaB on June 10, 2024
  • Great and now what is Liz here to do. Punch the guy?

    According to leasmom on June 10, 2024
  • Great chapter, now I want to know why Elizabeth went back and hope she isn’t mad at Jason for what she saw.

    According to nanci on June 10, 2024
  • Awesome update! And I actually watched GH on Hulu the minute it was available plus the online clip, those sparkly kids, I love them! And yay about your summer school!

    According to Shawna on June 10, 2024
  • Jason defending Elizabeth in a bar! What a throwback. Now why is she here? Don’t worry, Jason. You’ll find out soon that her face will never change.

    According to Beth on June 10, 2024
  • I really hope Jason isn’t mad at Elizabeth for showing up. I hope Elizabeth can explain to Jason why she went back to the bar.

    According to Carla P on June 10, 2024
  • This is so good!! What is Jason going to do now? What’s Elizabeth going to do? I can’t wait for more.

    According to arcoiris0502 on June 10, 2024
  • I can’t wait to find out what is going to happen next and what Liz is going to do. Great update.

    According to Shelly Samuel on June 11, 2024
  • I’m obsessed with this story! I love it so much!!!!

    According to Laura on June 11, 2024
  • I LOVE when Jason grabs guys and pushes them against the wall!!!

    According to Tammy on June 14, 2024
  • great update
    Emily with a hang-over was funny.
    Elizabeth always second guesses herself.
    I knew Jm was going looking for those guys but now he has to explain

    According to Pamela Hedstrom on June 15, 2024