Flash Fiction: Whatever It Takes – Part 7

Written in 20 minutes. No time to reread or check for typos.


Jason flinched immediately, taking in Elizabeth’s palor. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I—”

He hadn’t forgotten how her marriage to Ric had ended or how she’d begged him not to do anything the night he’d found her—

But somehow he hadn’t associated that terrible night with the way they’d lost their daughter.

“It’s fine.” Elizabeth dismissed it, ignoring Justus’s curious looks. “What do we do?” she asked them. “I mean, if this Tommy guy is gone, and we’re not going to get anything from Sonny—what’s left?”

“I don’t know,” Jason said. “I’ve been—I’ve been gone too long.” He didn’t know all of the guards anymore—many of the men in the lobby had been strangers. There’d been a lot of turnover in the last six months obviously.

“We’re thinking too much inside of the organization,” Justus said finally. “Steven going missing isn’t a coincidence. And he didn’t just work for us—”

“Maybe someone at the hospital can help,” Elizabeth said, finishing his thought. “Oh, well. I still have friends there. I can call Patrick or Robin.” She looked at Jason. “Can you call Emily?”

“Can’t you?” Jason said, tipping his head to the side. Emily had been Elizabeth’s best friend since the day she’d gone to work at the hospital.

“She and I—we, um, lost touch when I moved to Boston,” Elizabeth told him. “She…” She paused. “She didn’t think I should file for divorce.”

“Oh.” He cleared his throat. “I’ll—I’ll call her. I should go see my grandmother.”

“So it’s settled. I’ll go to the hospital—”

“I’ll go with you,” Justus added. “Just to drive you over,” he clarified when she frowned at him. “I need to run down to my place and let Mikki know I’m going, okay?” He checked his phone. “Let’s meet in the parking garage in about fifteen.”

She scowled as he left, leaving them alone in the penthouse. Jason shoved his hands in his pockets, not really sure what to do now.

He’d still left her with no word in the middle of the night, left her alone in this pit of vipers—across the hall from someone who might have wanted her dead. He’d always believed he was the target, and she had been collateral damage.

But what if it was the other way around?

“I’m sorry about Emily,” he said finally. She looked at him, then shook her head and crossed the room to the sofa to dig through her purse. “I didn’t tell—I didn’t tell anyone.”

“No, I know, but she thought you’d come back once you’d figured out how to forgive yourself.” Elizabeth shrugged, but the gesture wasn’t nearly as casual as she’d tried to make it look. “We didn’t seem to agree on whether I was supposed to forgive if you did come back.”

Her hands were trembling slightly as she took her phone out of her purse. “I never thought you’d be a coward,” she murmured. Elizabeth finally looked at him, met his eyes. “I never thought you’d find out who killed our daughter and run away.”

“I—” Shame crawled through his veins. “I was trying to figure out how to tell you—how to understand what I thought Carly had done—but then Tommy was dead. And—”

“And what?” Elizabeth demanded when he stopped talking abruptly. “What? What could possibly—”

“Someone tried to run me off the road the night I left,” he said finally, tired of the lies. Tired of that look in her eyes. She was never going to forgive him—he’d accepted that a long time ago—but she needed to do he hadn’t run away.

Elizabeth glared at him. “And how did that lead you to leave me in the middle of the night—with a stupid letter—” SHe squeezed her eyes shut. “Why—”

“Because it convinced me I was the target,” Jason retorted. “The bomb was on my car, Elizabeth. You weren’t going to take my car to the hospital that day—not originally. No one came after you for the next six months, but as soon as I came close—they tried to kill me again. Every second I was with you meant they might—”

He clenched his fist at his side. “We’d already lost Lily. If this life—if what I was thinking about doing with the WSB—if I lost you, there’d be nothing left. I knew I was the target, so I made sure they were chasing me. Not you.”

She stared at him for a long moment. “This is why men are the worst,” Elizabeth offered with some disgust. “Because somehow your pain is more important than mine—”

“What—”

“Because you could at least be out there, knowing I was okay—knowing that I was alive—believing you’d made some noble sacrifice—but me—” She pressed a fist to her chest. “I lost you anyway. I lost my daughter, my marriage, my entire life here. I was devastated, Jason, when you left! And you think because you did it to keep me alive—that makes it better?”7

Elizabeth stalked across the room and grabbed a frame from a shelf. She shoved it at him, almost throwing it. “The day we got married—what did we promise?”7

He stared down at their wedding photo, at their faces smiling at the photographer. “Elizabeth—”

“I promised you my face would never change and you promised me you would always respect my choices. My choice was to marry you even though I knew what you did for a living. My choice was to get pregnant and start a family—even though I knew you who you are. My face didn’t change—”

“I know—”

“Not until you broke your promise. I had a right to know who killed my daughter, who tried to kill me—who wanted you dead—” Her eyes were bright with rage, her cheeks flushed. “And you stole that from me! You left me in the middle of the night and destroyed anything I had left! But, hey, I’m alive, so I guess it’s okay, huh?”

“I’m sorry—”

“Too little, too late. Find my brother. Find out who killed our daughter. And then, I never want to see you again.”

Then she slammed the door behind her.

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Comments

  • Thanks for the update my heart is breaking for what Liz is going through.

    According to Shelly Samuel on July 1, 2020
  • This story is so painful and I’m not liking this Jason at all but I can’t stop reading it and hoping he’ll redeem himself. Looking forward to learning the answers to what actually happened and where Steven is!

    According to jill on July 1, 2020
  • This story is so good and so painful! I can’t wait to find out what happened and how these two are going to work their way back to each other!!!

    According to Laura on July 1, 2020
  • Its not hard to be in Jasons mindset but he is really wrong. Liz was left with nothing and no explanation. I don’t know if I could forgive either.

    According to leasmom on July 1, 2020
  • Oh Jason, you really never think about the other person. He always thinks he knows what’s best. A man who never said he would tell others what to do. Elizabeth is left with nothing and I can’t see her moving forward. Oh the pain. Thanks

    According to Sandra on July 1, 2020
  • I think Elizabeth is on to something at the end of the last chapter in that Ric is framing both Sonny and Carly. I don’t see Sonny turning on Jason like that and regardless of how Carly feels about Elizabeth, she also wouldn’t put Jason in harm’s way. This chapter proves it further – the bomb was on Jason’s car, Jason was run off the road, attacked in Cairo – Ric is trying to get Jason out of the way for a clear path to Elizabeth.

    Typical self-sacrificing Jason not thinking about the unintended consequences of leaving. Great chapter! Looking forward to seeing how these two work together going forward to figure out who’s after them and find Steven as well as hopefully – eventually – after some great Liason angst – finding their way back to each other.

    According to Julie on July 1, 2020
  • Great update! The liason angst is killing but it is so good. I hope they nail Ric’s feet to the floor.

    According to nanci on July 1, 2020
  • Wow!

    According to skatiefan on July 1, 2020
  • That was pretty fierce. I still think Ric is involved in the whole thing.

    According to PAMELA HEDSTROM on July 1, 2020
  • Another knock-out chapter. Thanks

    According to Carla P on July 1, 2020
  • I agree with everyone who has reviewed. They’re in so much pain. I can understand why Jason left. He was only thinking of Elizabeth’s safety and had tunnel vision. He was so convinced that someone was after him and that he could protect Elizabeth. I think he thought others would be there for her and that she wouldn’t be alone but she needed her husband to grieve for their daughter. I hope that they find Steven and that Lily is alive. Did Ric or someone else frame Sonny and Carly?

    According to arcoiris0502 on July 1, 2020
  • I hope Lily is alive. I hope Steven knows where, or Ric does, and I hope she comes home and the healing starts. my poor babies!

    According to Tania on July 4, 2020