Flash Fiction: Warning Shots – Part 14

This entry is part 14 of 26 in the Flash Fiction: Warning Shots

Written in 64 minutes.


March 2000

It had seemed like such an excellent idea back at the house. She’d set everything to rights by  heading back into town, finding the owner of the bar, and offering to pay for any damages. She’d started the fight, and this was her responsibility. And maybe if Jason saw her taking accountability for it, he wouldn’t be so angry about it.

And that idea had continued to seem perfectly reasonable right until Elizabeth stepped inside and saw Jason with a man shoved against a wall—the man from the night before.

“Didn’t know she was yours—”

“No, you didn’t,” Jason bit out, his voice like ice, his expression stone. “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.”

The man scrambled past Jason, then stopped dead when he saw her. He whirled back to look Jason, then back at her. “Lo siento! De acuerdo? Sorry! Tell your man I won’t touch!”

Elizabeth opened her mouth, but he darted past her. She half-turned to follow his escape out the door, struggling to process the last few minutes. What was Jason doing here—and what had that guy been babbling about? Had Jason threatened him because…because of her?

The thought was almost too fantastical, and Elizabeth turned back to find Jason had closed the distance between them—and still looked furious. “Why are you here?”

“Oh.” Elizabeth blinked, trying to recall. “Oh, I came to—I wanted to make up for what happened last night. So I thought maybe I could find out if there were damages, and I could pay for it—”

“You wanted to pay for damages.” As Jason repeated those words, there was a vein in his forehead that seemed to bulge. He pressed his lips together, nodded, then looked over at the man behind the bar. “Manuel, any thing you want to say to her?”

“No. No. No damages. In fact, please, if the young lady would accept our apologies for all this business. Have a great day. Come back again—or not,” the man said when Jason shot him a dirty look.

“Okay, did I miss something?” Elizabeth asked, but Jason had already strode past her to the door. Yep. Definitely missed something. She hurried after him, taking two steps for every one of his long strides. When they reached the sidewalk, she called after him. “Are you still mad at me? I was trying—”

“I told you I’m not—” Jason just shook his head, saw the car at the curb, then sighed. He held out his hand. “Keys.”

“Okay, but at some point you’re going to tell me what I did wrong, right?” She dropped the keys in his hand.

He ignored her, looked back at the bar where the owner had followed them out. “Manuel, call up to the resort. Get someone to drive this back to my place.” He tossed the keys, and the man grabbed them.

“My driving privileges are revoked? Really? This is getting ridiculous—”

“You think I’m going to let you wander around when Dario Colon just got humiliated in front of his friends?” Jason demanded. “You showed up and made it worse. And assholes like him like to take it out on people weaker than them.”

“Well, I didn’t know he’d be here—” Elizabeth grumbled, following him to the motorcycle parked around the corner. He jerked the helmet off the back, held it out. “And you didn’t tell me you were doing any of this—”

“Let’s just get out of here.” Jason climbed on the bike, and waited for her to get on behind him. She pursed her lips, hesitating an extra minute wondering why it seemed so different today when it hadn’t been a big deal just a month ago. Just climb on, slide right up against him, and put your hands on his chest to hold on. No problem.

 

Elizabeth didn’t want to make it worse, so she got on the bike, her fingers trembling slightly as they wrapped around his torso. In the Caribbean, there was no thick leather jacket — just the short-sleeved white t-shirt he wore separating her fingers from the warmth of his skin—

Don’t think about it. Just stop thinking about it. Go back to not thinking about it at all.

But this was a hell of a time to finally understand why people took cold showers.

He was an idiot. An impulsive moron who had been running mostly on adrenaline since leaving the house earlier that afternoon, and he didn’t really know how to dig himself out of the hole he’d created.

A few minutes into the ride, Jason realized if he took the direct way home, he’d have to face Elizabeth all over again with those wide eyes looking at him like he was a stranger. She’d seen him nearly choke a man to death, and then he’d all but shoved her on this bike behind him, forcing her to come back with him.

He’d just—he’d thought of that little punk coming across her and taking his humiliation out on Elizabeth. She wasn’t safe in Pirate’s Well, and getting her back to the house was all he could focus on.

But then she’d hesitated to get on the bike and her grip hadn’t been as tight as it should have been. He took the turns a little more slowly — and decided to take an another way home. The long way, past an outcropping of rocks that jutted out into the Caribbean. Maybe by the time they got there, he’d know what to say to her. How to apologize.

He pulled off the road onto the dirt shoulder, switched off the engine. He felt the bike rock as Elizabeth swung her leg off the bike. She removed the helmet, propped it on her waist, then squinted as she looked at the ocean crashing against the rocks.

“Um, am I getting thrown overboard?” she asked, sinking her teeth into her lower lip. “Because this isn’t the house.”

“No. No. I wanted to talk to you without Emily around. Look—” He switched off the bike and climbed off, turning to face her. The uncertainty in her eyes stung and he clenched his jaw. He was just such an idiot, and maybe he was the one that needed to go overboard.

“No, okay, you look. I don’t know what crawled up your butt and died, but I didn’t do anything wrong, okay? I mean, okay, yeah, I threw the first punch, but he grabbed me and I panicked, and I’m not okay with you acting like I’m the bad guy—”

“I’m not mad at you,” Jason interrupted and she pressed her lips together, her expression still mutinous. “Not…not for anything you did last night. I’m just…I’m angry because you were there today.”

“I told you—”

“For seeing that.”

Elizabeth closed her mouth, her brows pinched together. “Seeing what?” She set the helmet back on the bike. “I don’t understand.”

“With…that guy. I—” Jason shook his head, looked out over the ocean, wishing now he was one of the waves washing over the rocks so that he could sink to the bottom of the sea. “That’s all.”

“Because you had him against the wall?” she asked hesitantly. “That’s—that’s what this was all about—I don’t understand. You were mad at me last night, too. And this morning—”

“No, I wasn’t. Not at you. At all of this, and then—at the bar—”

“You’re mad because I saw you choke a guy against the wall?” Elizabeth asked skeptically. “What does that even mean? You’ve threatened to throw Lucky in the lake at least five times, and three of them, you were definitely not kidding.”

Jason opened his mouth, looked at her with a frown. “What?”

Elizabeth wrinkled her nose, shifted her weight from one foot to another. “I’m sorry. Were you under the assumption that I didn’t know who you were? You’re Jason Morgan. You work for Sonny Corinthos. And for a little while, you were Sonny, or you did whatever he does.” She stepped towards him, and he just stared at her. “Jason, the first time I ever saw you was at a wedding where I literally was searched by armed guards because I’d stolen an invitation. Nikolas got shot because he was in the same parking lot as you. It’s actually a little insulting,” she muttered, and he blinked at that. “You think I’m idiot, don’t you? Like a guy gets a private villa and basically owns an island as a garage mechanic—”

“I—I hadn’t thought about it—”

“This is absolutely ridiculous. You’re mad at me for starting the fight, but you go and start a new fight, and somehow I’m still the one in trouble? I’m started to get pissed off,” she muttered.

Jason dragged a hand through his hair, exhaling in a rush. “You just—you looked at me like you didn’t know me—”

“I looked at you like what the hell is he doing here, that’s all. And you know, you didn’t have to go to all that trouble. You got the charges dropped, so—”

“Yeah, I paid a visit there first,” Jason cut in, and she stopped short at that. “He needed an attitude adjustment. I sent you here—and my sister,” he added quickly, “and you were supposed to be safe. My name was supposed to make it that way. But it didn’t, and you got hurt. It could have been worse.”

“It has been worse,” she said softly. “I don’t say that to make you feel bad, but just—look, you’re not responsible for me, okay? I don’t want anyone to ever feel that way again. I’m not someone you have to rescue. Maybe you’ve gotten used to that over the last few months—”

“I’ve never rescued you from anything,” Jason interrupted. “I gave you a couple of rides—”

“People don’t have to be in literal danger to need a rescue,” she said softly, lifting her gaze to his. “Maybe you didn’t see them as rescues, but I did. You were there when I needed someone. But that doesn’t make me your responsibility. I’m my own person, and before last night, I’m not sure I ever thought about myself as someone who could rescue herself. So last night? That’s not on you.”

“We’re going to have to agree to disagree there,” he said, and she offered him a half-smile. “I’m sorry. For losing my temper, for dragging you here—”

“No, you had a point about that guy maybe still hanging around. But it’s really fine. I know how protective you are of your sister, and it could have been her last night.”

He opened his mouth to protest that Emily wasn’t the reason he was angry, but then he closed it. Because Emily should have been the reason. She’d been at the bar, at the police station — all of that had included her, but Jason had never for one minute been worried about her once he’d seen her unharmed in the station.

It had been Elizabeth with the bruise on her face, and the cut on her bottom lip that had inspired the rage, and he didn’t know exactly when her well-being had become important to him or how he felt about that development.

“Let’s just go,” Jason said, handing over the helmet.

Emily was waiting when they got back to the house, standing on the front terrace. “I woke up from my nap, and you were both gone,” she complained. “No note, no call. And then some guy brings back the car, like, dude, what the hell?”

Elizabeth tossed Jason the helmet and darted up the steps to see her friend. “Oh, I ran into town, and Jason was there. And you know I’m addicted to the speed, I couldn’t help myself.”

Her best friend pursed her lip, then nodded. “All right—but—”

“I have so much work to do,” Elizabeth interrupted, dashing past her and into the house.

Jason climbed the steps. “Hey. I have a few things to deal with here, so I’ll stay until Sunday.”

“Oh, good.” Emily wound her arm through his. “I promise I’m not going to be getting in trouble every year like this—”

“Don’t apologize. You and Elizabeth had every right to go out and have fun. It’s the world that’s terrible.” Jason squeezed her shoulder. “Don’t worry about it anymore.” He wanted to put the whole situation out of his head, too, and go back to how everything had been just twenty-four hours earlier.

Dinner was quiet — Emily was still a little pale from the long night. She’d drank more than Elizabeth, and hadn’t eaten enough, she’d told Jason. She turned in early, and Elizabeth scurried away to sketch in her room, not wanting to be alone with Jason just yet.

She needed to take some time, to think about everything that had happened today—what had happened last night. The strange moment of electricity, and all the weird and flustery feelings she’d had today—

And if she could just stop recalling how Jason’s hand had felt on her mouth, or the way his chest felt on that ride home—

After a few hours, when the house seemed quiet, and she was sure Jason had gone to bed, too. Elizabeth crept back outside, wanting to sit out on the terrace by the living room which had a better view of the moonlight over the water. She curled up in one of the seats, pulled out the sketchbook, and worked by the dim light from inside the house.

She heard him a half second before he appeared out of the dark, his feet padding against the sand. Then Jason stepped into the light of the terrace, little more than the lamp from the living room just inside. His hair was dripping…and Elizabeth’s gaze followed those little droplets of water as they dipped inside his collarbone, then slid off one pectoral—

“I’m sorry,” Jason said, his voice jarring her out of her trance, and she flushed, looked down at her things, started to shove them back in the back. “I thought you were both in bed.”

“It’s fine, it’s fine. It’s me, really, you know, I have the terrace in my room, but I like this view—I mean—the moon—” Elizabeth jerked to her feet, wanting to disappear into the sand. She licked her lips nervously. “I wanted to get out of my room, and I thought you’d gone to bed.”

He hesitated. “Why—why did you need to wait until I’d gone to sleep?” he asked, squinting in confusion.

Elizabeth did not want to answer that, and decided the best way to end all of this was to turn it back on him. “Well, why did you wait until we were in our rooms before you went down to the beach?” she demanded, trying very hard not to look at another drop of water as it followed the earlier one, slowly rolling down to his—oh, so that’s what a six-pack looked like in real life—

She jerked her eyes away before it was absorbed by the swim trunks he wore, because if her brain went there, she’d never recover her sanity. “I’m going inside—”

She turned, but he reached out, his hand brushing down her forearm until it reached her hand. “Wait.”

Comments

  • This story just keeps getting better. *Fans self*

    According to LilaB on June 13, 2024
  • Can’t wait to find out what is going to happen next. Liz and Jason needs to talk about their feelings for each other.

    According to Shelly Samuel on June 13, 2024
  • Oooooo! Things are getting steamy. Gods, they are both such dorks around each other. It’s adorable.

    According to Beth on June 13, 2024
  • Oh boy girl you ae in trouble with those thoughts. And Jason isn’t doing much better.

    According to leasmom on June 13, 2024
  • Yup, fanning myself over here too. They have an electricity to them and they haven’t even realized they actually are starting to be attracted to each other. I love how she knows who he is and what he does and wasn’t even the least bit surprised that he had wanted to choke the life of out the guy, just surprised it might be because of her. Great update.

    According to nanci on June 13, 2024
  • I am so glad Elizabeth’s face didn’t change. To new beginnings. I am happy Jason decided to stay.

    According to Carla P on June 13, 2024
  • These two are killing me. It’s so hot! Where’s my fan? Lol This is so good!

    According to arcoiris0502 on June 13, 2024
  • I am LOVING this story!!

    According to Michele on June 13, 2024
  • The tension is killing me!! Waiting patiently for chapter 14!

    According to Tammy on June 14, 2024
  • Sorry 5 pm Chapter 15

    According to Anonymous on June 14, 2024