Chapter One

Carly sighed and rubbed her abdomen in slow circles. Being six months pregnant was uncomfortable in any circumstances, but adding to the stress she’d been under planning this farce of a wedding and all she wanted to do was sleep for the next month.

“I don’t see why we had to have a reception,” she complained, pushing her broccoli around her plate. “Everyone knows this is fake.”

Sonny sighed and stared across the room at the head table where Jason and Elizabeth were seated. Emily and Luke were on one side, Michael and Lulu on the other. Elizabeth was talking with Emily, but she looked positively miserable. And Jason seemed to be drinking more than usual.

“We had to invite the families, Carly,” Sonny reminded her. “As a sign of respect.”

“But they know it’s fake, too,” Carly pointed out. “Just face it, Sonny. You wanted this wedding. You wanted this reception. Hell, Jason and Elizabeth are the ones getting married and they haven’t even looked at each other the entire day.”

“Carly, I just want Elizabeth to be safe,” Sonny said quietly.

“Is it Elizabeth you want safe or her baby?” Carly asked pointedly.

Lucky twirled Summer again and brought her close. “Thanks for inviting me,” she said, smiling.

Lucky shrugged. “No problem. I needed some allies here.”

“She’s a beautiful bride,” Summer said, eying Elizabeth. “I feel so bad for her. Marrying someone just to keep your baby safe.”

“As much as I hate it, she’s doing the right thing,” Lucky admitted. “Being Jason’s wife will keep her safer than being his ex-girlfriend. I just hate this. I hate that Ric Lansing put the sparkle back in her eyes and then stole it right back. It makes me so angry.”

“They’ll find him,” Summer said, softly. “They’ll find him and then this will all be over. Elizabeth will get this marriage annulled and she’ll have her baby and things will be okay again.”

“You knowyou’re too optimistic to live in this town,” Lucky murmured.

“Possibly,” Summer allowed. “Nowgo ask the beautiful bride to dance while I take the little ring bearer out for a spin, okay? If we’re all going to pretend we’re at a wedding reception, we might as well make it look good.”

—-

If you wrote a book with a page for
Each memory
And put it in hardback for people to buy
The critics would laugh, yeah they’d call
It ridiculous
And sit around waiting for Porky to fly

Emily took Elizabeth’s vacated seat and eyed her brother and the three empty beer bottles. “Don’t you think you should slow down?” she asked softly.

Jason shrugged. “Why?”

Emily sighed and directed her eyes to the dance floor where Lucky was twirling Elizabeth around. She had a smile on her face but anyone could see she was pretending. “You two are making this more difficult than it has to be, you know that right?”

“Emily, don’t” Jason shook his head. “Don’t start.”

“You know I don’t like this anymore than the rest of you,” Emily said quietly. “Courtney is my friend, too. And I didn’t want to see her hurt. But Elizabeth is like my sister and watching the two of you make each other miserable is so painful.”

“It’s not easy for me either, Emily,” Jason replied, irritated. He lifted the beer bottle to his lips again and was startled when Emily took it from him. “Em”

“You two used to have so much fun together,” Emily said fervently. “It used to be that the only time she used to be alive and laugh and smile was when she was with you. And youshe used to make you just as happy. And the two of you were only friends at that point. Why is it so hard now?”

The truth is stranger than fiction
And I must believe what I see
But the truth is stranger than fiction to me

“Because we stopped being only friends,” Jason answered quietly. “We became more and I don’t think either one us are prepared to go back.”

“She’s trusting you to protect her,” Emily said quietly. “To protect her and protect her child. She trusts you Jason. I don’t think she ever stopped.”

“She trusts my ability to do my job,” Jason replied, bitterly. He took the bottle from his sister grasp and finished it with one long swallow. “And that’s where it ends.”

“You” Emily shook her head and studied her brother in surprise. “You still love her, don’t you?”

“Don’t Emily” Jason signaled to the waiter for another beer.

“You think that she doesn’t feel the same way?” Emily asked.

“Emily, stop it,” Jason replied. He flicked the top off and took a long swallow. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Emily sighed and moved back to her seat next to Luke. “How’s Morgan? Drunk as a skunk?” Luke asked, sipping his wine and making a nasty face. “I hate wine.”

“He’s on his way,” Emily reported sadly. “I don’t think either one of them realizes what’s going on.”

If they made a film of the book of the memory
With Bobby DeNiro and Demi De Moore
You’d sit in your seat with your popcorn
And chocolate
And wonder aloud at the point of it all

“What, that they’re still in love with one another?” Luke asked. He fished in his suit jacket for a flask. He twisted the top off and offered it to the brunette first. She shook her head.

“How do you know that?” Emily asked, intrigued.

Luke swallowed the liquor and returned the flask to its hiding place. “Hell, anyone who knows them knows it. Elizabeth is independent and she knows that she could come to me for protection. I’d get her out of town and no one would ever find her. And Morgan over there could probably think of a dozen ways to protect her and keep her in town without getting hitched. But neither of them went that route. They chose to take Sonny’s suggestion and get married. Why do that if there aren’t some feelings there?”

Emily smiled for the first time that day and leaned over to kiss Luke on the cheek fondly. “Dance with me, Luke. You just made my day.”

The truth is stranger than fiction
And I must believe what I see
But the truth is stranger than fiction to me

“Smile, gorgeous,” Lucky prompted, dipping the bride slightly. The movement caused a slight giggle from her. “This is your day and just because your husband doesn’t understand the concept of a smile, it doesn’t mean you can’t.”

Elizabeth sighed and peered up at Lucky through her lashes. “Husband. It sounds so strange when you say that.”

Lucky grimaced. “It does, doesn’t it?”

She rested her chin on his shoulder as they swayed to the music. “I can’t believe this is happening to me,” she murmured.

“Elizabeth, it’sit’s only temporary,” Lucky promised her. “It probably won’t take that long for Sonny and Jason to find Ric. Maybe a month at the most. The ink will be barely be dry on the wedding certificate before you file for the annulment. Hell, you won’t even have time to change your name.”

“I already filed those papers last week,” Elizabeth replied, mournfully. “As of the second I married, I am Elizabeth Imogene Morgan.” She pulled away a little. “Sonny thought it’d be a good idea for me to have the name as extra protection.” She sighed. “Normally, you know I’d spit in both their faces and tell them to go hell”

“I know. But this is best for the baby,” Lucky finished for her.

“The baby comes first.” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “Lucky, you have to promise me something.”

“Anything,” Lucky replied.

“If this lasts longer than we think” Elizabeth sighed. “If I get further into my pregnancy and it looks like Jasonmightbe getting attached to the idea of having a childtell me. I can’t do that to him.”

Lucky frowned and peered at her closely. “You still love him, don’t you?”

If it can happen it will happen it has
Happened already
If you don’t understand, no reason and
No rhyme
Don’t ask why

“Lucky” Elizabeth sighed. “I guess I never stopped. Promise me though.” She gripped his shoulder tightly. “Don’t let me let him get attached. It nearly killed him losing Michael. I won’t do it again.”

“I promise,” Lucky replied. He kissed her forehead. “Don’t worry. Whenever you need me, you know you can call me.”

“Now that sounds like some sappy love song from the eighties,” Elizabeth teased.

“There’s that beautiful smile,” Lucky grinned. He twirled her dramatically before enveloping her in a tight hug. “I love you, Elizabeth. You’re one of my very best friends.”

“I love you, too, Lucky,” Elizabeth replied. She kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you for coming today.”

“Babe, there’s no where else I’d rather be,” Lucky replied.

If someone had told you you’d be where
You are today
You’d of thought they were crazy and laughed
In their face
And I never thought I would long for the
Memory
I never thought I would get to this place

Luke stopped at Sonny’s table with Emily. “Corinthos, we got some things to work out,” he told the mobster.”

“Luke, does this have to happen today?” Emily asked softly.

“Why not?” Carly asked, irritated. “It’s like we were just at a real wedding or like we’re at a real wedding reception,” she sniped.

“Regardless, Carly,” Emily snapped. “We should at least pretend like we aren’t having this forced down our throats.”

“I believe that was a dig at me, huh?” Sonny said. “Emily, this was the best way”

“I dont feel like hearing it,” Emily replied. She looked at Luke. “Have your conversation. I’m going to go talk Zander into dancing.”

When Emily was gone, Luke pulled out a chair and sat. “Corinthos, we’ve had our bad times, but I’m trusting with a girl I love like a daughter. Give me your word that you’re protecting herand not just your niece or nephew over there.”

“Elizabeth is important to me,” Sonny told Luke seriously. He ignored Carly snort. “I know that I don’t always show it, but she’s been there for me when it counts and I’m going to do the same for her.”

“All right.” Luke nodded. “I know your sister agreed to this, but how does she really feel?”

“She hates it,” Carly jumped in. “She despises Elizabeth and thinks the marriage was really her idea.”

“I never did like Goldilocks,” Luke replied in irritation. “She’s about seven different kinds of stupid, ain’t she?”

“Watch it, Luke,” Sonny warned, ignoring the smirk on his wife’s face. “Courtney knows that this is the best idea. But to spare her feelings, we sent her to the island last week for the duration of the marriage. It’s the best thing. Besides, one of the terms of the deal with the families is that this marriage appear to be real. They don’t want Jason seeing anyone on the side.”

“If Morgan did that, he wouldn’t have to worry about your enemies,” Luke snarled. “I’d take him out myself. He better not be messing around on the side while he’s married to my Lizzie.”

“Jason’s not like that,” Carly jumped in and defended. “He has honor.”

“Right, so when he was in another fake marriage to Brenda and was seeing Courtney behind her back? Or when he was dating Liz last fall and was messing with Courtney?” Luke accused.

“Where the hell did you get that idea?” Sonny demanded.

Carly’s eyes flicked to the dance floor where Elizabeth and Lucky were dancing. “Oh my Godshe can’t possibly think Jason.”

“What’s going on?” Sonny asked her. “What?”

“Nothing, Sonny,” Carly murmured. “I’ll take care of it.” She looked at Luke. “Look, for reasons beyond my understanding, Jason has always cared about Elizabeth. He has never messed around behind her back and you have our word that he won’t during this marriage, okay?”

“Fine,” Luke replied. He stood. “I want to be kept apprised of the situation, is that understood?”

“We’ll see,” Sonny replied.

But
The truth is stranger than fiction
And I must believe what I see
But the truth is stranger than fiction to me
The truth is stranger than fiction to me

When the song drew to a close, Lucky escorted Elizabeth back to the head table and took Lulu for a spin on the dance floor.

Jason and Elizabeth sat in silence for a few moments. She picked at her food, he drank his fifth beer of the night.

“Elizabeth,” Jason finally said. “We can’t.we can’t act like this.”

She raised her dull eyes to him. “What?”

“We’re going to have to get alongfor the next few months at least,” Jason told her. “I don’t want it be in silence and feel like this.”

“I don’t either,” Elizabeth admitted softly. “But I don’t know what to say to you either.” She stared at her glass of ginger ale. “I don’t like feeling that way.”

He stood suddenly and held out his hand. “Come on.”

Elizabeth frowned. “What?”

“Dance with me,” Jason said. Her frown only deepened, registering the empty beer bottles scattered around his plate. He’d been drinking the entire reception and she suddenly wondered if he’d been drinking beforehand.

But stillshe wanted things to change. She placed her hand in his and he pulled her to her feet.

Emily saw her brother leading Elizabeth to the dance floor and tapped Zander’s shoulder, excitedly. “Look!”

“I guess Jason took his head out of his ass, huh?” Zander smirked. Emily rolled her eyes and drug him over to the DJ that she’d forced Sonny to hire. She whispered something to him.

The song playing abruptly ended and the DJ came over the speakers. “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. The maid of honor has informed me that the lovely bride and her groom are ready for their dance. She’s requested something special just for her brother and best friend.”

Elizabeth tensed and looked at Emily across the dance floor. Emily gave her an encouraging smile.

Jason hadn’t moved since the DJ’s words either. He shifted and shoved his hands in his pockets. “I”

“We’d better dance,” Elizabeth said softly. “You wouldn’t want the families thinking that you hate me, would you?”

“No,” Jason replied. He took his hands out his pockets and slipped them around her still petite waist.

If youre not the one then why does my soul feel glad today?
If youre not the one then why does my hand fit yours this way?
If you are not mine then why does your heart return my call
If you are not mine would I have the strength to stand at all

Elizabeth wrapped her arms around his neck and they moved stiffly for a few minutes. Eventually and more than likely unconsciously, they fell into a rhythm and danced in silence.

She closed her eyes and rested her head against his chest and he pulled her more tightly against him. If she concentrated hard enough, she could almost imagine this was a night in December nearly four years ago and that they were still friends.

I never know what the future brings
But I know you are here with me now
Well make it through
And I hope you are the one I share my life with

Emily sighed over Zander’s shoulders at the newlyweds. “They almost look happy, don’t they?”

Zander spun her so he could have a view of the couple. “Yeah,” he answered, frowning. “They do.”

“Is it wrong for me to wish this all has a happy ending?” Emily asked quietly. “All I want is for them both to be happy. What if that means they’re together and raising the baby together?”

“It’s not wrong to want them to be happy,” Zander said. “And if it turns out that this marriage works, then who does it really hurt?”

“Courtney,” Emily answered. “What about her?”

Zander shrugged. “She’s on the island. Why think about her at all?”

“What’s that supposed to mean? Out of sight, out of mind?” Emily asked, indignantly.

“Where Courtney’s concerned?” Zander shrugged. “Pretty much. She was married to AJ for months and months. Gave up everything to be with him and he gave up everything to be with her. He goes out of town, and she hooks up with Jason or at least starts to develop feelings for him. The next thing you know, AJ’s moved out, Courtney and Jason are together. I wouldn’t put any faith in her ability to develop long lasting love.”

Emily sighed. “Maybe you’re right.”

I dont want to run away but I cant take it, I dont understand
If Im not made for you then why does my heart tell me that I am?
Is there any way that I can stay in your arms?

Summer smiled. “Look at them. They almost look like they’re in love,” she told Nikolas.

Nikolas looked over her shoulder and scowled. “Not likely. Morgan can’t feel anything.”

“Don’t be stupid,” Summer replied. She shifted her position in his arms and rolled her eyes. “Look at her face. Look at how relaxed she is in his arms. Look how tightly he’s holding her. How can you tell me there’s nothing there?”

Nikolas eyed them for a few moments. “You might have a point,” he admitted grudgingly.

“You’re stubborn, you know that?” Summer said. “Stubborn as a jackass.”

“Cute,” Nikolas replied. “You know, I can see what Lucky sees in you. Such a charmer.”

“I only charm real men,” Summer teased.

If I dont need you then why am I crying on my bed?
If I dont need you then why does your name resound in my head?
If youre not for me then why does this distance maim my life?
If youre not for me then why do I dream of you as my wife?

“That should disturb me,” Sonny murmured. “Shouldn’t it?”

Carly glared at him. “You know what disturbs me? You haven’t ask me to dance. That disturbs me. What, am I too fat to dance with? Do you not think I’m beautiful anymore? You know, you made me this way”

“Carly, would you like to dance?” Sonny asked, smiling at his wife.

“Fine,” Carly huffed.

I dont know why youre so far away
But I know that this much is true
Well make it through
And I hope you are the one I share my life with
And I wish that you could be the one I die with
And I pray in youre the one I build my home with
I hope I love you all my life

“You know those things will kill you don’t you?” Lucky told his father, sitting next to him in Emily’s empty seat.

Luke shrugged and puffed on his cigar. “Yeah, well I’ve cheated death a few times. Might as well keeping on trying.”

“So, I saw the necklace,” Lucky said. “What’s in the locket?”

Luke sighed and studied Elizabeth and Jason. “Laura bought that locket while she was in Paris. Said something about it just spoke to her. She bought it for Elizabeth and planned to give it to her at the wedding.”

“Dad, what’s in the locket?” Lucky asked again, hoping to keep his father from thinking about his mother.

“I don’t know. She never told me,” Luke replied shrugging.

Lucky rolled his eyes. “You always have to make it difficult, don’t you?”

“I know you’re worried, Cowboy,” Luke said. “But she’s a strong girl and he’s not that big of an idiot. It’ll all work out in the end.”

I dont want to run away but I cant take it, I dont understand
If Im not made for you then why does my heart tell me that I am
Is there any way that I can stay in your arms?

Carly tapped Elizabeth on the shoulder, rousing them both from their dance. Elizabeth blinked and lifted her head from Jason’s chest. She seemed a little disoriented. “Carly?”

“Let’s switch partners,” she suggested. “I want to dance with my best friend.”

Jason reluctantly loosened his grip on Elizabeth’s waist and let her go. Carly stepped in and twirled Jason away.

Elizabeth bit her lip and looked at Sonny. He smiled and she moved into his arms for the rest of the dance.

“I know this is hard Elizabeth, but”

“Sonny, just do me a favor and spare me the apology and pep talk,” Elizabeth replied stiffly. “You got what you want. We’re married.”

“Elizabeth”

“Don’t make this more difficult than it already is.”

Cause I miss you, body and soul so strong that it takes my breath away
And I breathe you into my heart and pray for the strength to stand today
Cause I love you, whether its wrong or right
And though I cant be with you tonight
And know my heart is by your side

“Looks like I came along just at the right time,” Carly mused.

“What do you mean?” Jason asked, frowning. Carly rolled her eyes, watching as Jason’s gaze drifted to where Elizabeth and Sonny were dancing.

“Don’t do this to yourself, Jason,” Carly advised. “Don’t let her suck you back in. It would be so easy to do it, I know. But you can’t do it.”

“Carly”

“Trust me on this,” she said. “Be her friend, take care of her. That’s fine. She needs it now, even I can see it. But don’t fall back in love with her.”

“I can take care of myself,” Jason replied. He kissed Carly on the cheek. “But thank you anyway.”

They were silent the rest of the song, her words hanging between them. He knew she was only looking for him and doing what she thought was right. And Jason could even agree with her. To fall back in love with Elizabeth would be a mistake.

It would have been good sound adviceif he’d fallen out of love with her in the first place.

I dont want to run away but I cant take it, I dont understand
If Im not made for you then why does my heart tell me that I am
Is there any way that I could stay in your arms

SongsFiction by Nik Kershaw
If You’re Not The One by Daniel Bedingfield

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