Hey. Checking in real quick before I go to make sure my car is cleaned up before my vaccination appointment in about an hour. I didn’t get a chance to do a flash fic earlier, so either I might not get to it when I get back or it will be late tonight. We’ll see.
The, uh, reason I didn’t do a flash fiction earlier is that I got distracted by playing with These Small Hours, mostly because I thought I’d try to play with a lot of different ideas and see if anything caught my fancy. So to make up for a possible lack of flash fic, here’s the snippet of These Small Hours I wrote today, beginning after Kate’s shooting back in September 2008.
September 29, 2008
Downtown Port Charles
The traffic light at the next intersection flipped from yellow to red, and the three cars in front of Elizabeth Webber’s Honda Civic slowed to a stop. She made a face, then picked up the phone she had tossed on the passenger side. She had a missed call from her best friend, Patrick Drake, and another from her ex-husband.
But none from the man who had stood her up at the airport, leaving her standing by the gate watching as the flight to Venice had boarded and pulled away from the runway.
Jason hadn’t called until the plane was in the air.
She’d been so sure that he was simply running late—she’d nearly boarded the plane, convinced that he’d make it before the plane took off, but something had kept her from making that leap of faith.
Maybe it was the dim memory as a teenager of watching Brenda Barrett waltz down the aisle in a wedding dress, convinced Sonny Corinthos would keep his promise to marry her, and the humiliation that had followed.
Now the only thing headed to Italy was her luggage.
She’d listened to his hurried apology and explanation—Kate Howard had been shot at her wedding just while Jason was on his way to the airport. He’d had to turn around and hastily get to St. Timothy’s Church to stop Sonny from doing whatever he was going to do.
Elizabeth had accepted the apology, assured him she understood, and had headed to the parking garage where she’d paid in advance for the week. She didn’t even blink when the parking attendant told her it was nonrefundable.
Of course it was.
Elizabeth leaned back in her seat, staring at the traffic light, waiting for it to turn green. She was going to General Hospital, going to work, because it was all she could do to keep her mind off what she knew would happen next.
It had taken every ounce of energy, of faith, of love to keep fighting for Jason to trust that she knew what she was doing, that she was willing to step into his world. He’d finally come around—they had finally been so close to the dream he’d claimed he wanted back in April—
And now Kate Howard had been shot trying to marry the man who had only recently given up the business Jason now ran.
Are we really doing this?
Unless you back out.
Not gonna happen.
“Liar,” she murmured. She was never going to be allowed to have more than moments, more than a brief glimpse of what life with Jason could be like. And Jake was never going to have his father. She couldn’t believe that after what happened to Kate that Jason would ever give them that chance. No, not when it had barely been six months since Michael had been shot in the head.
The light turned green, and Elizabeth eased her foot off the brake as the cars in front of her moved. Soon, she’d be back at work, and she’d have the blessed distraction of paperwork to numb her thoughts.
Her phone rang just as Elizabeth was halfway across the intersection, and she reached out with one hand, blindly trying to find it—
She heard the blaring of a horn just a second before the world in front of her spun—a horrifying slam and screech—her car spun, turning it back into oncoming traffic—Elizabeth saw a car heading straight for her—
She screamed and then her car was flying through the air, flipping twice in front of horrified onlookers. Her head was aching, her vision was spotty—and she could hear people shouting—but—
Elizabeth closed her eyes, listening to the sound of her phone still ringing, and everything disappeared.
St. Timothy’s Church: Parking Lot
Jason Morgan grimaced as his second phone call to Elizabeth’s phone went to voice mail. He hoped she wasn’t answering because she was driving and not because she was angry—
Not that she didn’t have every right to be angry, he decided as he turned and scanned the front of the church, waiting for the Port Charles Police Department to release the scene so that Jason could get a look at what the hell had happened.
He’d waited too long to call her, but there hadn’t been time to explain to her that he’d really been hoping that whatever was happening with Kate was something he could delegate even for a few days in Italy. By the time he’d realized how terrible it was—
He’d broken too many promises her to her this last year, and he knew she wasn’t going to wait around much longer.
“They took Sonny to the PCPD.”
Jason turned with a scowl as Cody Paul, his second in command approached. “When? How long ago?”
“Maybe twenty minutes. They just let Max go—” Cody nodded to the man who was coming up behind him with an exhausted air. Max Giambetti had chosen to stay with Sonny as his personal guard when Sonny had turned over the business a few months ago. “We couldn’t find out sooner—”
“What happened inside?” Jason demanded. “They wouldn’t let us near the place—”
“Miss Kate—” Max swallowed hard. “Looked like an angel. Shot right through the back just as she reached the end of the aisle. She’s at GH, and Sonny—he’s not doing good. He’s convinced Johnny Zacchara did this.”
“Johnny?” Jason repeated, blinking. “But he was at the wedding. He brought Lulu, didn’t he?” He scrubbed a hand over his mouth. “Damn it. Where is he? Where’s Spinelli? He’s not answering my calls either—”
“Lulu went crazy at the sounds of the shot,” Max said grimly. “Zacchara and Spinelli took her to GH, hoping they could get her calmed down, but looks like she’s headed right back to Shadybrooke after this. Shame. She looked a lot better.”
Jason exhaled on an irritated huff. “You said Sonny’s at the PCPD?”
“Good. That means he’s not on his way to GH to go after Johnny. We got Anthony and Claudia to back down after the last dumbass thing he did—” Sonny had locked Johnny in abandoned mental institution for weeks, convinced he’d taken Michael. Jason closed his eyes at the memory of his nephew, the little boy who would always feel like his own son.
Michael had gone missing for a few weeks earlier that year, but he’d been hiding after accidentally shooting Kate. Then he’d ended up in a coma, the victim of a bullet meant for Sonny.
If Sonny went after Johnny Zacchara again, his psychotic family wouldn’t be so easy to back down, and they’d be out for blood—
His phone rang and Jason looked down at the device in his hand, frowning when he saw Patrick Drake’s name on the screen. Why would—
“Jason, I just got a message from dispatch that Elizabeth was in a car accident—”
Jason’s breath caught as he forced himself to ask, “Is she okay?”
“I don’t know. It just—it just happened. They only know it’s her because a paramedic recognized her. It’s—Christ, it’s bad. I’m sure you’re busy but—”
“I’ll be right there.” Jason snapped his phone shut.
“Jason?” Max asked as Cody furrowed his brows.
“Elizabeth—” He took a deep breath. Elizabeth in a car accident just after Kate was shot? What if someone knew about them? What if it hadn’t been an accident—
Jason snapped to attention when Cody said his name. “Car accident,” he said. “I need you to call the guards on Audrey Hardy’s house. The boys are with her today because—” He couldn’t remember why. They were supposed to be with Lucky— “Call them. Double them.”
“Is Miss Webber okay?”
“I don’t know. I need—I need to—”
“I got this handled, Jason,” Cody told him. “Sonny’s at the PCPD, I’ll get men there to keep him from Zacchara.”
“Yeah. Yeah. Okay.” Jason yanked open his car door and it wasn’t until he was halfway to the hospital before he even had time to wonder how Patrick had known to call him.
General Hospital: Emergency Room
Patrick emerged from a cubicle just as Jason rushed through the doors. He called the enforcer’s name, stopping Jason from going to the nurse’s desk.
“Where is she? Is she okay? What happened?” Jason demanded.
“She’s being taken down to X-Ray,” Patrick said, stripping off his gloves and tossing them in a nearby medical waste bin. “Her car was broadsided by some asshole running a red light. Her car got shoved into oncoming traffic. The car flipped a few times. Thank God—” He dragged a hand through his shaggy dark hair. “Thank God for seat belts and airbags or she’d be dead. And if she’d been even six inches more through that intersection, that car would have hit her and not her fucking front end—”
He pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes, cleared his throat. “Sorry. Sorry. The paramedics just—she’s alive. She’s banged up, pretty bruised. I’m worried about some cracked ribs, but she’s alive.”
The relief on the other man’s face was so stark, so palpable that it made Patrick feel irrationally angry. “Why wasn’t she on the goddamn plane? She was supposed to be somewhere over Canada—”
Jason frowned, then glanced around them and now Patrick really wanted to punch him. The knowledge that his hands were more important and that Jason could probably crack him in two without blinking kept him from throwing the punch.
But he really wanted to.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Are you worried someone might see that you give a damn? Sorry to interrupt whatever was more important. She’s alive. You can go back to ignoring her—”
“What the hell—”
Patrick didn’t even bother waiting for him to finish his statement. He whirled around and started for the main desk to find another chart, to search out another patient so he could get his mind off Elizabeth and the worry about her ribs—
“I wasn’t ignoring her. I would never—”
“Except that you do.” Patrick took a deep breath. “She told me she was going to Italy with you because she wanted someone to know where she was since she couldn’t tell her grandmother, and Lucky is, on his best day, a giant fucking piece of shit. She was excited, you know that, don’t you? She’s talked about going to Italy for as long as I’ve known her—”
“I know that—” Jason started.
“When I heard about the accident on the dispatch, I thought—I thought she was on her way to the airport. I called you because I thought you’d be waiting for her.” Patrick’s eyes burned into Jason’s. “But then I rechecked the flight info. She was coming home. And she was only on that road at the minute because you didn’t show up at the airport.”
“I—” Jason’s mouth tightened, and he dipped his head. “I know.”
“She’s my best friend. My family,” Patrick said, gritting his teeth. “You and I both know she can do better than you.”
“But she’s picked you. Either end it for good, Morgan, or man up, and stop wasting time. After what’s happened this last year, you’d think you of all people would remember that life is too damn short to waste time.”
General Hospital: Hospital Room
Elizabeth forced her eyes open and tried to breathe through the pain. Her wrist felt heavy and sore—more sore than the rest of her body, but man, it was actually hard to figure out which part of her hurt the most.
The room was dark—the only light peeked through the bottom of the closed door—and gradually, she realized she was in a hospital room.
A few other things started to come back to her—the airport, the call from Jason—the crunch of metal—
She cleared her throat, then licked her lips, and turned towards the voice. “J-Jason?” She could dimly make out the shape of his torso, the movement of his head as he leaned towards her. “What…what happened…”
“You were in a car accident.” He picked up her hand—the one that didn’t feel heavy and sore— “You’re okay. I mean, you bruised your ribs and broke your wrist—there’s a concussion—”
“That explains the pain.” She closed her eyes. “A car accident.”
“On the way home from the airport.”
“Right.” The airport. The trip to Italy that she was never going to take. “My bags. They’re on the plane.”
“I’ll call the airline and get them back. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay. Kate was shot. Sonny tends to go insane when you’re not looking.” Elizabeth stared at the ceiling. “Gram has the boys?”
“She does—it’s not okay.”
“Jason.” She took a deep breath. “I remember what happened earlier this year. I know you have things to do. You can—you can go. I’m okay—”
“I’m not going anywhere—”
“Someone might see you—”
“People have already seen me,” Jason interrupted. “You’ve been unconscious for six hours, and I haven’t left this room. I didn’t know when you’d wake up, and I didn’t want you to be alone.”
“Six—” Elizabeth turned her head towards him, wincing at the movement. The room was still dark. “But things—you need to be doing things.”
“I’ve got it handled.” Jason hesitated. “I mean, eventually, I have to do a few things, but they can wait. You come first.”
Her lip trembled. “That’s—but Kate was shot. I thought you’d—”
“All year,” he said slowly, “you told me that you understood the risks, and that it was your choice to make.”
She felt his lips, soft and gentle against her forehead. “We don’t need to do this tonight. You’re tired, and Patrick says you can go home tomorrow. Why don’t you get some rest? We can talk in the morning.”
“You’ll be here?”
“I’m not leaving you. I promise.”