Notes: This picks up directly from May 7, 2015’s episode in which Elizabeth and Jake make love for the first time. It’s possible that nothing will conflict with any else for a while, but I haven’t seen May 8’s episode, so there you are.
Song used in this story is Already Over (Rie Sinclair). You can click to download.
Skip to Scenes 4-8, Part Two.
Do you see that it takes everything to be in this moment
And I can’t just end up with a photograph of the one that I lost
For six months, he had been able to avoid the lying snake who had posed as his wife, but Jake Doe was unsurprised to learn one November morning that his luck had run out.
He stepped out of the elevator at the Metro Court only to find Hayden Barnes lounging in the reception area, her lips curved in an expression that might send chills down anyone else’s spine.
Jake was not just anyone, and today of all days, he was not going to let Hayden ruin his good mood.
He stopped in front of her, his hands sliding into the pockets of his jeans. “Taking advantage of the fact Carly’s out of town?”
Hayden’s smirk only deepened as she straightened. “Of course. I’ve been trying to track you down for days.”
Jake just shook his head, already regretting that he had stopped to speak with her. He brushed past her, out the doors of the Metro Court. He had other places to be today.
“I heard good news was in order,” Hayden called after him, following him to the sidewalk. He continued to ignore her as he turned left, prepared to walk the half mile to Elizabeth’s house on Cherry Blossom Lane.
The house that would soon be theirs in just a few short weeks.
As Hayden’s heels clicked behind him, Jake stopped and turned to face her, the cars rushing down the avenue that divided Port Charles in half. “I don’t know what your problem is—why you’ve decided to annoy me, but it’s not going to work.” He gestured down the street where he knew the Port Charles bus station was located. “You should hop on the first bus out of town, just like your friend, Ric.”
“Oh, I intend to head out.” Hayden fell into step with Jake as he started to cross the street. “I just wanted to make sure I don’t leave any unfinished business.”
Jake chuckled then and considered catching a cab. He liked walking the streets of the city, getting to know this place he had adopted as his own. It had been more than a year and memories continued to evade him. The few flashes he had experienced the year before had dwindled to nothing.
He had visited a lawyer to make his new life legal, to make sure any future he started would be secure from more Haydens showing up on his doorstep. He had a plans to protect, people to cherish.
He was building a family and a life here.
“Nikolas finally get tired and boot you out?” Jake stopped on the corner and faced her again. Trying to walk away from her hadn’t worked, so maybe it was time to just let her spew whatever nonsense she thought was pertinent so she’d be out of their lives.
She’d stolen enough time from him.
Hayden slipped her hands into the pockets of her plush coat. “He decided to call my bluff. Apparently, since he’s finished his takeover ELQ, he’s no longer concerned about what I know.”
Jake hesitated now, because he’d had some odd feelings about the Cassadine prince, had been on the receiving end of strange looks and general feelings of discomfort. Could Hayden actually know something Nikolas wanted to keep hidden? It would explain why she had shacked up at Wyndemere after the Nurse’s Ball. Elizabeth had been upset, but had decided she would let it go.
Nikolas was an adult, and it wasn’t their concern.
“Why don’t you have your say?” Jake said. “As you very well know, I’m on my way to Elizabeth.” He tilted his head. “We have a doctor’s appointment today.”
“Oh, it’s so sweet,” Hayden purred. “You look so happy with your drippy and tragic suffering nurse.”
Jake narrowed his eyes, but said nothing.
“Tell me, Jake,” Hayden said, stressing his name. “When you woke up in that hospital, did your dear sweet Elizabeth feel familiar?” She stepped closer. “As if you’ve always known her?”
Jake opened his mouth but closed it, because though he hated to admit it, being with Elizabeth had always felt natural. Familiar. He’d often joked with her that maybe they had known one another in previous life.
“So what?” Jake shrugged. “She was the nurse in the ER the night I was brought in. I remember her voice—”
“Oh, you know…” Hayden tossed her head back and laughed. “Come on, Jake. You know that’s not what I mean. I know who you are, Jake Doe.”
And something inside Jake clenched in that moment, because he believed her. He couldn’t quite understand why, after all her lies, he would believe such a thing.
But something in her eyes, in the delight she was taking in this—
“I know who I am,” Jake told her. “Who I was doesn’t matter—”
“I assure you it matters to the people who knew you.” She stepped closer now, her coat brushing the open lapels of his own coat. “Or aren’t you curious at all about that anymore?”
“I don’t remember it,” Jake responded, but his stomach rolled slightly. “So—”
“I want you to think very carefully about this, Jake Doe.” She tilted her head to the side. “You woke up in a hospital, and Elizabeth Webber felt like someone you’d known all your life. You thought the name Jake felt right.” Her smile curved. “You have odd memories of dragons and Sam McCall. And you have some serious violent abilities. Who do you think you used to be?”
“I don’t know what you think you’re doing here,” Jake said slowly, “but I’m walking away now—”
“You know what I’m telling you is true,” Hayden called after him. “And what’s more—Nikolas Cassadine has known for months—since the Haunted Star nearly blew up. Don’t you want to know the rest of it?”
“There’s nothing you can tell me—” But he stopped anyway, several paces away from her.
Because he thought he knew what she was talking about, and for the first time, he was putting the pieces together.
“Elizabeth has known for months.”
Jake blinked at her. “Known what?” he demanded. “See now, you’ve gone too far—if Elizabeth knew anything about my past, she would have told me—”
“You’d think that, all her talk of honesty and trust.” Hayden sighed deeply, pursing her lips in mock sympathy. “But she decided to keep you for herself, because she knew if she told you the truth, you’d do exactly what you did the last time you thought you had a wife.”
He clenched his fists in the pockets of his coat. “I don’t have a wife—”
“Oh, I know you had Diane Miller go through a great deal of legalities to ensure when you walk down the aisle in two weeks, that you’re free to do so. But it doesn’t change things.” Hayden stepped towards him. “You have a wife. And a son. You have a nephew. A mother. A best friend. You had a life here in Port Charles—and Elizabeth helped steal it from you.”
“We’re done here—”
“You know who I’m talking about, Jake Doe. You know who you were—” Hayden called. “How long do you think you can run from it?”
But he ignored her and stalked away. Because it couldn’t be true.
He wasn’t Jason Morgan.
And Elizabeth couldn’t have known. Couldn’t have kept that from him.
He put it all out of his head as he turned down her street, walked past the home Sam shared with Patrick Drake and their children.
He stepped up to her porch, opened the door and stopped in his tracks.
Elizabeth’s five year old son was sitting on the floor by the couch, tears streaming down his face. “She won’t wake up,” he told Jake, his words tumbling over each other. “I c-can’t make her phone work—”
Jake hurried around the sofa, only to find Elizabeth crumpled between the coffee table and the sofa, her small delicate body four months gone with their child.
And suddenly, he remembered.
He remembered the last time he had found her like this.
On a stormy night, when their son had been born.
“Mommy!” Aidan’s frantic cries broke through Jake’s haze. “Wake up!”
He took the phone from him and dialed 911.
Everything else would have to wait.
Is it safe to love you?
He was standing outside a cubicle in emergency room when Michael found him nearly an hour later. Paramedics had rushed past him, barked something Jake could hardly take in as they lifted Elizabeth onto a stretcher, her head rolling to the side as they strapped her in.
He had held Aidan as he cried, reaching for his mother. Had numbly handed Aidan to Patrick, who had seen the ambulance from his house across the street and rushed over.
Patrick’s promises to look after Aidan and Cameron while Jake took Elizabeth’s car to the hospital felt hazy, but he knew Elizabeth would be concerned about her children.
He had called Michael, a reflex he recognized now from his old life. He couldn’t call Sam—there was too much swirling in his head for that contact. Carly might have been a runner up, but she had flown to London to accompany Joss on a visit to her father.
And Sonny was out of the question.
“Jake, hey.” Michael approached him, concerned but maybe even slightly puzzled. He and Jake were relatively friendly, but not people that should be called upon in an emergency.
“Hey.” Jake cleared his throat. He couldn’t stop thinking of himself as Jake, responding as Jake.
He was Jason, and yet though the memories had filtered in, he couldn’t get a handle on any of it. He was this man everyone had mourned, had cherished. Jason had had a wife, a son.
He knew all of these things, remembered all of these things, and still—
That life belonged to another man.
“I should—I hope I didn’t interrupt anything,” Jake said after a moment. “I—Your mom is out of town.”
“Hey, don’t worry about it.” Michael nodded to the cubicle. “They tell you anything yet? All you said was Elizabeth had to be rushed to the hospital. She and Sabrina are pretty close.”
“Yeah.” Jake cleared his throat again. “Um. They didn’t—she’s stabilized and awake. But they want to run some tests.” He shifted again. He didn’t know what he was feeling, how to sort through it.
Six weeks ago, Elizabeth had realized she was pregnant, and Jake had proposed. She had been hesitant, not wanting to marry for the wrong reasons, but he loved her. He thought it was a sign.
And all along, she had known.
It explained her hesitation, her strange somberness at times. She had been happy about the baby—they talked about maybe wanting a girl so Elizabeth wouldn’t be nearly as outnumbered. She’d had three boys, and he’d known she was thinking of her lost son.
Their lost son.
“I’m sure it’ll be okay.” Michael patted his shoulder. “Elizabeth is pretty stubborn. Nothing usually keeps her down long.”
“Yeah.” Jake rubbed the back of his neck and looked over at the curtain that separated them. “I know. I just—” He closed his mouth and shook his head. “You mind if I ask you something personal?”
Michael frowned and nodded. “Sure. Practically the first time we met, I talked to you about my father’s murder. If something is bothering you—”
“Your ex, Kiki.” Jake stopped. “She—she kept something back from you. Something life-altering.”
Michael’s face tensed, but he nodded. “Yeah. She and practically everyone I thought gave a damn about me. Told me it was for my own good.” Michael cast his eyes toward the cubicle. “Did you and Elizabeth have a fight?”
“Not—” He swallowed. “Not yet.”
“Hey…” Michael paused. “I know Elizabeth pretty well, you know. I mean, not just because she’s always been around my family. She was my aunt Emily’s best friend, dated my father a bit—and well, you know who she was to my uncle Jason.”
And didn’t he? Hadn’t he known her from the moment he opened his eyes?
“I know,” Jake said.
“I know she’s kept secrets before.” Michael shifted. “You know about her son. My cousin, Jake. She didn’t tell my uncle at first. Kept the truth from him for almost six months.”
And he could remember being in that elevator with her, a hazy memory of worrying they might not make it out alive—fury that she had lied, terror that everything would change.
And now sorrow that nothing really had.
“She mentioned it—”
“She did that because everyone in her life convinced her that it would be a burden for my uncle.” Michael’s voice tightened. “My mother jumped to a conclusion and then Sonny told her it was for the best. That my uncle’s life wasn’t right for a child. And Jason was starting to put things back together with Sam. They made her feel like the truth would ruin everything.”
And that’s why he had been able to look past it. To not think of it much. He had disagreed with her reasons, but had always understood how she twisted herself in a pretzel to protect others.
If she had kept this secret from him, she had had a good reason. What she believed to be a good reason.
“And my uncle forgave her,” Michael said after another moment. “Because he knew her inside and out.”
“How do you know any of that?” Jake asked—knowing he had never confided any of that in Michael.
“I got old enough to see my parents for who they were.” Michael shrugged. “I asked my mother about it once, and she was a mood to admit her mistakes. Thinks it was her fault Jason never had a chance with Jake. If he had been all in from the start, it might have been harder to walk away.” Michael shifted. “I have my little sister, now. AJ. I’ve had custody of her for the better part of a year. I can’t imagine how my uncle let Jake go.”
“He thought it was best for everyone,” Jake murmured. Though it was hard to make that argument now, with his son cold in the ground.
Michael frowned. “Jake, if you don’t mind me asking, what did Elizabeth keep from you?”
Jake hesitated. “If I told you, Michael, you might be obligated to tell other people. It just doesn’t affect Elizabeth and me.”
“Oh.” Michael paused. “You can trust me, Jake. I’d never do anything to hurt Elizabeth. I’d keep it to myself.”
“Thanks.” Jake looked at him now. “And I know that’s true. But I don’t want you to feel burdened by it. I don’t know what I want to do about it yet.”
The cubicle curtain slid open and a doctor gestured for Jake to join them. Before he did so, he looked to Michael. “Can you give Patrick a call? Cam and Aidan are at his house, and I know he’s worried. Tell him she’s okay, and I’ll call later.”
Jake left Michael behind him, and crossed the cubicle.
He didn’t know what he was going to do about his past, but until he was sure Elizabeth and the baby was okay, he could afford to leave it there a little longer.
She was pale when he stepped the cubicle, her alabaster skin almost translucent. “Jake.”
“Hey.” Worry, love…it swamped him as he went to her side, taking her hand in his, pressing a kiss to her palm. Whatever reasons she’d had for not telling him the truth, it didn’t change the essential nature of the last year.
How, even before she’d known who he had been, Elizabeth had been the only person to stand by him without wavering.
“I’m sorry I scared you.” She licked her lips, a bit dry and cracked.
“Is there anything wrong?” Jake turned to the doctor. “Why did she pass out?”
“She’s dehydrated, for one.” The doctor flipped through a chart. “And showing signs of exhaustion.”
Elizabeth winced. “I’m fine—”
Jake squeezed her hand. “I asked you not to work double shifts anymore. You need to take care of yourself.” He looked back to the doctor. “And the baby?”
“Everything’s fine there.” The doctor made another notation in the chart. “We’re keeping you another few hours, to load you up with nutrients. I want you to take a few days—rest.”
“She will,” Jake said. “I’ll make sure of it.”
If you turn around and tell me it’s already over
Will you tear my heart up and tell me how sorry you are
It was almost a week before Jake was convinced Elizabeth would regain her usual energy and vigor. He had threatened to tie her to the bed if she so much as moved, and had enlisted Cameron and Aidan to keep a watch on her when he wasn’t in the room.
A week, and he couldn’t bring himself to do anything with the memories that had surfaced, with the words Hayden had thrown at him. He remembered how furious he had been all those months ago when he realized Hayden and Ric had been lying.
And yet, somehow, he couldn’t dredge up any of that righteous anger for Elizabeth.
Yes, she had lied. But what had she taken from him? If he had known the truth, would it have brought back his memories sooner?
Or would knowing had changed nothing? He had seen Sam in passing over the last week, watched her with Patrick, with Danny and Emma. He remembered now the way Elizabeth had stood on the stage at the Nurse’s Ball, trembling.
She had very nearly told the truth that night, and he could see her in his mind.
She had looked down at Sam and Patrick. And had changed her mind.
Maybe he would have remembered months ago, but maybe not. Maybe he had needed the terrifying sight of Elizabeth crumpled on the floor to remember how it had been once—that long ago night she had nearly died to bring Jake into this world.
And how it had broken her into millions of jagged little pieces when she’d had to let their son go.
He made an appointment with Kevin Collins, sure there was something wrong with him. He knew who he had been, but it didn’t change anything for him. And shouldn’t it?
Shouldn’t there be a sense that he wanted his old life back?
He stepped inside Kevin’s office, and the other man stood, offering a hand for him to shake. “Jake. I’m surprised to see you after all these months.”
“I’m surprised to be here,” Jake admitted. “But I—I just didn’t know who else I could talk to about this.”
Kevin gestured for Jake to take a seat. “The last time we talked, you had recovered from your surgery—in what, February? You’d had a memory flash, but nothing concrete. Have you remembered something more?”
“Yeah.” Jake hesitated, looked down at his hands. “I know who I’m supposed to be. And that Elizabeth—my fiancée, found out six months ago and said nothing.”
Kevin pressed his lips together and tilted his head. “That doesn’t sound like Elizabeth.” He leaned forward. “Why would she have done that?”
“Because I used to be Jason Morgan.”
Kevin blinked and leaned back. “Ah.” He touched his finger to his lips. “And Jason Morgan was married to Sam at the time of his so-called death. There’s a little boy, Danny. I can imagine Elizabeth, halfway in love with you, was hesitant to let you go.”
Was it as simple as Elizabeth seeing this as their chance to finally be on the same page? He remembered now, in the weeks before he had gone off the pier, that they had flirted with another chance—how she had told him they never seemed to be in the same place at the same time, but maybe this time, they could be.
“I don’t know if it was—” Jake cleared his throat. “I came home last week—after someone had told me Elizabeth knew the truth. I came to the house to talk to her about it, and she was unconscious on the floor. I—when she went into labor with Jake, I—I found her that way. She was bleeding then, and nearly died when he was born.”
“And that triggered your memories.” Kevin continued, “So Elizabeth doesn’t know yet that you know?”
“I didn’t—I couldn’t see talking to her about this until I knew she’d be okay. The baby—that comes first. Elizabeth has had enough problems with her children—two miscarriages, the difficult birth with Jake. Kidnapping—” Jake shook his head. “I know I have a responsibility to sort out my life, to sort out what came before. But not at the expense of the child we’re having.”
“That makes sense. Your priorities are in order.” Kevin hesitated. “You’re planning to get married in a week. Have you pushed the ceremony back?”
“Not yet,” Jake admitted. “It was going to be small anyway, just family and friends—at the Metro Court.” He paused. “There’s no legal reason I can’t do it. Diane Miller has ensured that Jake Doe is my legal name. As far as the state is concerned, Jason Morgan is dead and his obligations were dissolved at that time.”
“Legally yes.” Kevin tapped his pen. “Are you considering not taking back the reins of your old life?”
Jake stood and paced a bit, feeling restless. Trapped. Here was the question he had been considering all along. “What’s to take back?” he asked. “The woman I married is happy with another man. The son I didn’t know about is healthy, well-adjusted. Safe. I have a friendship with Carly, I could be closer to Michael if I wanted. I have a job I like, working construction for Michael and Ned.” He jerked a shoulder. “I have a fiancée who supported me even when the rest of the town believed me to be a psychotic violent criminal. She’s opened her family to me, is prepared to give me a child. What exists in Jason Morgan’s life that is better than what I have now?”
“Well, you say Elizabeth knows the truth. How did she find out? Are there others?” Kevin asked.
“Yeah,” Jake admitted. “Nikolas. He’s Sam’s cousin. He’s been antsy lately, even though he maneuvered his way into ELQ. Since Elizabeth and I announced the engagement, the baby—maybe he’ll feel obligated to come clean with Sam. And Hayden, the woman who posed as my life earlier this year. She was blackmailing Nikolas until he told her he didn’t care.” Jake exhaled slowly. “It would be impossible to keep this secret. I know that. But I—I don’t know if I want to be Jason Morgan again.”
Kevin frowned. “Why would you have to be?” He stood. “Jake, the fact that you know who you used to be— that your memories are more or less intact—it doesn’t change the last year.” He folded his arms. “You lost your memory once before and built a new life on those ashes. Do you remember now what it was like to start from scratch with Jason Morgan? Why you were so angry?”
“The Quartermaines,” Jake said after a moment. “They kept looking at me, wanting me to be someone I didn’t know. They wanted to fix me. The more they wanted me to be this paragon of virtue, the more I wanted to be anything but.”
“And this time, when you woke with no memory?” Kevin asked. “Were you angry?”
“No,” Jake said slowly. “Frustrated—but there was no one there who knew who I was. No one pushing me to remember. Just—Elizabeth. Telling me to relax, that it might come back on its own or not at all.”
“Jason Quartermaine—the man you were born as—was generous, kind, selfless. Warm. Funny.” Kevin leaned forward. “The anger and bitterness at Jason Morgan’s core was a social construct. Created in the situation. You had the opportunity to shed those shields—shields and guards you created for good reason, but they were gone nonetheless. And now that I know who you were, Jake, I don’t see Jason Morgan. I see Jason Quartermaine.”
Jake blinked at him. “So you’re saying that’s why I’m hesitant to go back to what I was before. Because it’s not who I was supposed to be. This—what did you call it? Social construct? It was something I created to protect myself from the Quartermaines and their expectations.” He was quiet for a long moment, taking that in.
Was that it? Was that why it felt wrong to go back to being Jason Morgan? It was a skin he had shed because it was no longer useful and now…maybe it didn’t even fit.
He had been Jason Morgan, the way he had once been Jason Quartermaine.
And now he was neither of those men. He was both. He didn’t have Jason Quartermaine’s memories, but he could understand the point Kevin was trying to make. He had Jason Quartermaine’s nature, his personality.
“You should tell people who you were,” Kevin said. “Only because I don’t think you’ll be able to make the two sides of your life balance until you’ve resolved them. You used to be Jason Morgan, Jake. It’s okay not to live his life. Just don’t forget him. As for your problem with Elizabeth—”
“She’s everything to me,” Jake told him. “That’s why I can’t bring myself to talk to her about this. I already know—whatever reasons she had, however she justified it to herself, I’ll believe it, and I’ll accept it. I don’t want her to be upset, to twist herself around, and punish herself. She’ll do that, even if I’ve forgiven her.”
“Then let her off the hook.” Kevin leaned forward. “And don’t punish yourself for not wanting your old life. It’d be worse to go back to it out of obligation. You built something for yourself, Jake. It’s okay to enjoy it.”
Well, years play and memories stay and now I believe
That my heart will simply fall apart into so many pieces
Elizabeth was sitting up in bed, a sketch pad in her hands when Jake came home from his appointment with Kevin. Today was the last day of the week he had asked her to relax.
Any longer, they would have to postpone the wedding, though he wasn’t entirely sure they wouldn’t have to do that anyway.
She smiled at him, setting the pad aside. “Hey. I heard you come in with the boys. Are they doing their homework?”
“Yeah.” Jake perched on the edge of her bed, remembering the night after the Nurse’s Ball.
When they had made love for the first time, and he’d told her it had felt natural. Familiar. He knew why now—why the scent of her skin, the taste of her lips, the curves of her body had matched his.
How it hadn’t been awkward, how they hadn’t been nervous.
He’d thought it the first time they’d been together, but she’d known.
“Are you okay?” Elizabeth reached for his hands. “I’m fine. Sabrina came by just like you asked her. She took my vitals. I’m sorry—I should have listened about the double shifts, but I wanted the time after the wedding—”
“It’s not…” Jake paused, looking down at her hands, at the small, slim silver band with a minuscule diamond chip—he had taken a portion of his savings to buy her that—money he had earned at one of the ELQ subsidiaries Michael and Ned had managed to salvage in the wake of Nikolas’s hostile takeover.
He worked for the Quartermaines now. The irony of that fact swamped him for a moment before he could gather himself.
Once, he had given her money because he couldn’t be in Jake’s life, had bought her this home as if that would make up for the way he’d damaged her.
But she’d looked at this ring, this small and very nearly invisible ring, and she’d cried, her smile so luminous it could probably be seen for miles. And she done that, knowing their history. Knowing the way he had treated her.
Maybe that was why he couldn’t find anger for what she had done. In the scheme of things, he had done so much worse. Jake stood and walked around the bed, where a window overlooked the quiet street.
“Jake?” Elizabeth slid out from underneath the covers and followed him, clad a pair of sweat pants and an thin t-shirt advertising the previous year’s Nurse’s Ball. Her dark hair had grown long this last year, and now tumbled over her shoulders, falling in waves.
He turned to look at her, at her concerned expression, and he couldn’t stop himself. He lifted his hand to sift through her silky hair. He had always loved the way it felt slipping through his fingers. “I’m glad you’re growing your hair out. I always liked it this way.”
Elizabeth laughed lightly, her hand rising to wrap around her wrist. “You didn’t even know me when—” But she fell silent, and something crept into those beautiful eyes.
“I remember when you had it curled all the time,” Jake said after a moment, letting strands slid away from his fingers to fall against her shoulder. “But you never wore it that way again after that winter.”
“It was a perm that a pain to deal with—” Elizabeth’s throat was dry. “Jake—”
“I remember,” he said softly. “I know who I used to be.”
“I—” Elizabeth shook her head. Stepped back. “I don’t know—”
“And I know you’ve known for months.”
She closed her eyes, then wrapped her arms around her waist, where their child was just beginning to show. “Oh. God. Jake. I can explain—”
“I remember you standing there at the Nurse’s Ball—” He pulled one of her hands free. She felt like ice. “You started to say something but you stopped, then you looked down at Sam and Patrick and told that story about Robin instead.”
“Jake—” She swallowed hard. “I was going to tell you. I started to tell you a million times, but then I found out about the baby, and you—you wanted to get married.” She opened her eyes. “And I decided I couldn’t—I couldn’t take the chance you’d find out I knew.”
“Because I might walk away.” He pulled her a bit closer, sliding his hand up her arm. She was pale again, her eyes large in her face. “Like I did before. And you couldn’t count on me to not to leave our child. Because I’ve done that before, too. Elizabeth—”
“I was going to tell you,” Elizabeth repeated. “Because of Carly, and Michael. And Danny. And even Sam…but every time I opened my mouth, I saw you that last day—the day after Michael was shot.”
“When I broke our engagement.” Jake exhaled slowly. “And told you we could never be a family.”
“It wasn’t—I just—” She dipped her head. “I can’t—”
“You looked at Sam and Patrick, and you knew what you would put her through if you told the truth,” Jake said. “Because of Lucky.”
“Don’t—” Elizabeth bit her lip. “It’s true. I-I remember how guilty I felt when Lucky came home, when I wanted to love him the way I did once, and I just couldn’t. I never could again, because I loved you. You know that, that’s not—” She shook her head. “But that wasn’t the reason. Not really. It’s just how I let myself sleep at night, how I justified it—Patrick could love Sam and Danny. But it was mostly just me being selfish. I could be happy.” Tears slid down her cheeks as her voice broke. “I just wanted to be happy, Jake.”
“I know. You should have told me,” Jake said. “We could have dealt with it together, but—” He rubbed his thumb over the gem of her ring. “I’m a little relieved to see you doing something like this for yourself for once.”
Elizabeth frowned, shook her head slightly. “I don’t—Jake, why aren’t you angry?”
“I’ve watched you, for years, twist yourself around trying to be something for other people.” He paused. “For Lucky, for Ric. For me. And not one of us ever valued you the way we should have—”
“Jake, you were always good to me—” Elizabeth started, but faltered.
“When I wanted to be. I remember who I was, Elizabeth, but I can’t find much to admire. I don’t like the way I walked away from you and our son, only to create a new family with Sam.”
“That’s not important anymore—”
“Do you know why I remembered? What made it happen?” When she shook her head, he continued. “I was leaving the Metro Court—I had packed most of my things, was just coming back to the house for the car. So I could move in. We wanted to do that before the wedding, so we could just start our lives. Hayden was waiting for me in the lobby. Nikolas had told her to get lost—whatever leverage she had was gone.”
“She knew.” Elizabeth pressed her lips together. “She must have—Nikolas told me the night of the ball, Helena had told him months before. Damn it. If I had known Hayden—Jake, I never would have let you be in the dark. I wouldn’t have wanted you to find out from her—”
“She told me that you had known,” Jake continued. “I went to the house after that. I didn’t want to believe it, even if it answered a lot of questions. But I walked in the house, and Aidan was crying.” His voice tightened. “And you were lying there, pale. Unconscious. The way I found you the night you nearly died giving birth to our son. I remembered most of it in that moment, but I put it aside. I had to make sure you were okay. For all the times I left you alone—walked away—”
“And I decided to just put it away until you were rested, until we were up for this conversation.” He framed her face. “I was in love with you before I knew…” He hesitated, laughed a bit. “Before I knew you. That hasn’t changed.”
“But—” Elizabeth wrapped her fingers around his wrists, clinging just a bit. “Jake, you have to know that being you—since the Nurse’s Ball, it wasn’t about you being Jason. I was already halfway in love with you by then. For the man I already knew. Finding out who you used to be—that didn’t change anything for me. It just made it clearer.” Her eyes searched his. “I lied to you, but you—you make it sound like this is something we’re going to work through—”
“I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know how I’m going to make myself live with what I remember. How to merge who I was with who I am now, if I even want to. But remembering everything else didn’t erase this last year, Elizabeth.”
“Oh, God…” She closed her eyes, leaning her head forward until it rested against his chin. “Jake—” She lifted her head. “Or should—should I call you Jason?”
“I don’t know.” He brushed his lips over hers. “I don’t know. Jason Morgan is legally dead. I’ve been Jake Doe for the last year. If it weren’t for Danny, I don’t even know if I’d come forward.”
“Jake, you—you were married to Sam,” Elizabeth said, her voice tight. “We—we have to tell her. And of course, you have to come forward for Danny…” She hesitated. “And if after that, you change your mind—”
“How many times have we done this?” he asked. “How many times have I asked you to marry me?”
“Um…counting this last time?” Elizabeth lifted a shoulder. “This might have been number six. I can’t—they blur together after a while.”
“I meant it.” He slid his hand through her hair again. “I love you. I have a lot to work through and I know—I have to talk to Sam, I have to give us both closure. But I don’t want you ever doubt how I feel about you again.” He pressed a hand to her belly. “We have a second chance, Elizabeth. You saw that last spring. I see it now. I’m not walking away. Not again.”
If you turn around and tell me it’s already over
Will you tear my heart up and tell me it just wasn’t meant to be
A day later, Jake stood on Sam and Patrick’s front porch, knowing Patrick was at the hospital, that Emma was at school—that Sam didn’t have to pick Danny up from pre-school for another few hours.
He was going to tell her he had his memories back. If it was necessary, he would even tell her why—but the fact that Elizabeth knew, had kept the truth for months—that would stay between them.
When Sam pulled open the door, she flashed a puzzled smile and stepped back to let him in. “Hey. What brings you by? You guys all ready for Saturday?”
“Ah, more or less.” Jake passed her and waited for Sam to close the door. “Ah, thanks, again. For watching Cam and Aidan so much this last week. Elizabeth really appreciated it.”
“It was our pleasure.” Sam arched a brow. “Is that why you’re here? To thank me?”
“No, I mean, yeah, but not entirely.” Jake slid his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “There’s—I guess there’s no easy to slide into this, so maybe doing it bluntly will work. I—I know who I used to be.”
Sam’s eyes widened, then she blinked. “You—you got your memories back? Wow. That’s…that’s unexpected.” She winced. “Oh. Oh, it’s nothing that’s going to make things complicated for you and Elizabeth, is it? I really like you guys together—”
“Um. Maybe.” He rocked a bit. “Sam—”
“Do you need me to research something? Some friends or family you remember, to check on them?” Sam started to cross the room where he could see a laptop sitting open at the breakfast nook table. “Not a problem—”
“Sam, I—” He closed his mouth as she turned back to him. “Jason. I was Jason. I mean, that’s who I was.”
She stared at him, then shook his head. “No. No. That’s not possible. Jason is dead.” But by the end of her statement her voice had faltered. Because she was realizing what he already had.
Why Danny had clung to him in the hospital. Why those ceramic dragons had felt so familiar.
“I—” She closed her mouth. “I don’t know what to do with that.” Sam shifted, fisting her hands at her side. “You’re standing there, telling me you’re my—” She closed her eyes. “Oh my God. The Cassadines were behind his kidnapping—that’s where Helena found you. Why Victor recruited you.” She dragged her hands through hair. “Oh, my God. You—you could actually be him—”
Because she was still sliding through shock, Jake kept his distance. “I’m sorry, Sam. I didn’t—I know how to tell you. It’s not—it’s not like there’s a manual for this type of thing.”
“You’re not kidding.” She lowered herself to the arm of the sofa. “You’re Jason. God. That just—it explains everything. The way Elizabeth just—connected with you. And Danny. And why you’re able to put up with Carly.” Her eyes filled. “Oh, God. You’re Jason.”
She stood. “Elizabeth—she must have—she must have lost it when you told her.” Sam stepped toward him. “Have you?”
“She knows I’ve remembered.” Uncomfortable now, Jake shifted, looked away. “She’s…worried about what it’ll mean.”
“Oh.” Sam closed her mouth. “Because you’re supposed to marry her in five days, and I guess you’re still technically married to me.” Her hand shook a little as she lifted it to slide through hair. “I thought—I used to think about this day. When you’d walk through my door, alive. I used to think about what I’d say to you, how we would live our lives—” She bit her lip and shook her head fiercely as he stepped towards her.
“But that was before you actually came back.” She opened her eyes. “And you have a different face. You might have Jason’s memories, but…” She pressed her fist to her mouth and took a deep breath. “I don’t see him when I look at you. You’re Jake.”
Jake exhaled slowly, the first easy breath he’d taken in days. “I know. I remember everything, but I don’t…I don’t quite feel like I’m that person anymore. I look at you, and I remember that we planned a life together but—”
“But that was then, and this is now.” Sam looked to fireplace, the mantle where a photograph of herself, Patrick and Emma sat from the Nurse’s Ball. Their smiling faces. “I’m not that woman anymore.” She looked at him. “But we do have a son. And I think you should get to know him.” She waited. “But I need—I need to deal with this. Right now, I don’t see the man I was married to, but that could change. And I don’t—I have to let this sink in. Talk to Patrick.” Sam sighed. “He has more experience than I do in spouses that come back from the dead.”
“Sam, I don’t want to hurt you, but—” Jake stopped.
“You built a life for yourself, I get it.” Sam was pale, but continued. “I don’t know how I’m going to feel about this later. So let’s just—let’s just say…” She paused. “I hope, for all our sake’s, that if you choose this life with Elizabeth, that you’re doing it because it’s what you want not because you walked away from her before. That’s not doing any of us any favors.”
Will you turn around and tell me it’s already over
Cameron and Aidan were home from school by the time Jake returned from Sam’s. Elizabeth was settling them at the dining room table so that Cameron would work on math homework and Aidan could complete a handwriting exercise for his kindergarten class.
Jake stopped just inside the door to look at them. He fallen in love with them over the last year, living with them first just as a house guest, and then in the last six months as things had changed.
To look at them now, to remember them—particularly Cameron—as infants and small children…he accounted himself particularly lucky at this second chance to be in their lives. To be a part of their family.
“Hey.” Elizabeth straightened, her hand straying to brace her back. “Um. Guys, Jake and I are going to talk upstairs for a while. Cameron—”
“Keep an eye on Aidan and don’t burn down the house.” Cameron gave her thumbs up. “I got it Mom. I’m eleven now, you know. I’m practically grown up.”
“God, stop saying that.” She ruffled his hair as she passed him to meet Jake at the base of the stairs. He followed her up to the master bedroom, passing the room that had once been Jake’s but had been cleaned out to make room for a nursery. They were just waiting on finding out the sex.
Elizabeth left the door partially ajar, then turned to him. “Hey, so Carly called. I am—” She closed her eyes. “I told her we were postponing Saturday because I was still—because I’m still a bit under the weather.”
“Oh.” Jake nodded. “Yeah, I mean. I get it. I have to talk to Diane, see where we are—”
“I think…” Elizabeth twisted her fingers together. “How did—with Sam, I mean, how did it go?”
Jake frowned a bit—her eyes were tired and she was standing apart from him, unable to quite meet his gaze. “She was shocked. Upset. I don’t know. She was—a bit more practical about it all. I wasn’t expecting that.”
“Oh,” Elizabeth murmured, but said nothing else.
“But maybe you really want to ask if I’ve changed my mind and decided to throw you over for her?” Jake asked.
Her head snapped up at that, a flush rising in her cheeks, but she lifted her chin. “That’s not—I mean—” She closed her eyes. “You told me you got your memory back because you found me lying on the floor, and it triggered that night with—with Jake. And you said you put everything aside until you knew I’d be okay.”
“Yeah,” Jake drawled, tilting his head. “I mean, you were unconscious on the floor, Aidan was crying. I suppose I could have shook you, tried to argue you with that way—”
“You—you decided once that a life me and the child we created wasn’t what you wanted,” Elizabeth cut in her, her eyes flashing now. “I don’t think it’s insane to wonder if the reason you say you’re not mad, if why you want to stay with me now is because you feel obligated, even guilty because of before.”
Jake scrubbed his hands over his face, an aggravated grunt escaping his lips. “Elizabeth—”
“If you had found out before I got pregnant,” Elizabeth cut in, “you wouldn’t have had your memory of Jake’s birth triggering everything else. I don’t want you to wake up in a month, in a year—and think I took away your choice—”
“Elizabeth,” he tried again, taking a step forward. “I don’t think—I wouldn’t—”
“Because I don’t want you to push aside your anger at me because I was ill. You said it yourself—I almost died giving birth to Jake. And you walked away from us anyway. I made a mistake—I should have told you as soon as I found out—”
“And I told you I forgave you—” He reached for her, but she twisted away.
“I took away your choices. I was selfish, and I told myself that I deserved to be happy. That it was worth lying to you, keeping you from the people you loved because I deserved it.” She pressed a hand to her chest. “I stood in that room, surrounded by people who always lie, cheat, steal—even kill to get what they want—and they get it. And I told myself this was a good lie, a righteous lie. I wanted to be happy, and I wanted you. So I lied.”
Tears were sliding down her face but she wouldn’t let him make it go away. “You do deserve to be happy, and I want to give that you—”
“Do you?” Elizabeth asked, her voice thick. “Tell me, Jake. Can you honestly say you’d feel the same if we weren’t having another child?”
“I—” Jake stopped, and his hesitation seemed to seal the deal for her, because she just pressed her lips together and looked at the ceiling. He hurried to reassure her. “I just know how I feel today, Elizabeth, and I love you. I know you’re worried about Sam. I don’t blame you—but I looked at her, and she looked at me. Neither of us saw who we used to be. I don’t know if she’ll struggle with that—”
“I just—I want us to be sure,” Elizabeth said. “Because I’ll hate myself forever if you stay, and it’s not for the right reasons. What I did to you, Jake, the choice I made—” She pressed a hand to her belly. “I was no better than Ric.”
“That’s not even—” But she stepped further back when he approached her again.
“It is true, and you should see that.” Elizabeth shook her head. “He thought he could make me happy, that because he wanted me, it justified everything he did to get there—he lied to me, he lied to you. He made you believe in a life that wasn’t yours. How is it any different?”
“It just is.” Jake planted a hand against his chest. “I get to decide what’s fair to me, don’t I? I wish you had told me, but Christ, Elizabeth, in that moment, on that night? I’m not surprised you made the choice you made—”
“Stop making this okay for me!” she shot back. “I was wrong. I lied to you. I made a selfish choice that kept you from your family, from your son, your wife—”
“Just…” Jake finally managed to his hands on her arms, to draw her closer. “Just stop. You are my family, Elizabeth—”
“I just—” She bit her lip, the fight fading as quickly as it had risen. “I love you. And I wish I could be the kind of person who could just accept your forgiveness and move forward, but I can’t. Jake, my track record with commitment is just…it’s horrible. Two devastating marriages, that affair with Nikolas, everything you and I went through before—I can’t commit myself to another unhealthy relationship—”
“You are not walking away from me—” Jake shook his head. “Look, okay. Maybe we’ll both feel better if we take a step back. It’ll probably take some time to unravel the legalities again. And I should—I should be fair to Sam, give her more time to process. To decide what we’ll do about Danny.”
“I’m not—” Elizabeth looked down, her shoulders slumping. “I’m not closing the book on us, Jake. I couldn’t. I love you, but I—we both deserve to be sure we’re in this for the right reasons.”
He exhaled. He’d known she’d punish herself, but he hadn’t seen this coming. “I’ll call Carly—maybe my room is still open.” He’d only officially moved out of the hotel a week and a half ago. “Elizabeth, maybe you don’t like the reasons I’m not angry, that I forgave you—but it’s not up to you. It doesn’t matter to me how we got this point.”
She was quiet as he covered the slight swelling of their child. “I love you. I love your boys. And I love this baby. Those are just facts, and you don’t get decide they’re not true.”
“I don’t doubt any of those things,” she said softly. “But I’m afraid to trust them.”
“So we’ll wait until you’re not.” He framed her face in his hands, touching his mouth to hers, drinking in her scent, the way she tasted. The way she felt just right against him.
“From the moment I woke up in that hospital,” he said, pulling back slightly, “you were all that I could see. All that I felt connection with. It matters that I felt it with you, and not with anyone else.”
Will you tear my heart up and tell me how sorry you are
He found Carly in the lobby of the hotel, standing by the reception desk, giving the fish eye to one of her employees. She had been home a day or so, but it was the first time since his memories had returned that he’d seen his old friend.
Carly must have felt his eyes on her, because she turned and flashed him a sad smile—right, Elizabeth had told her the wedding was postponed. She made a gesture at the employee, then approached him.
“Hey, I talked with Elizabeth earlier.” She rubbed his arm. “I thought she was feeling better, but I get it. Better to be healthy and enjoy the day. As long as you don’t pick Christmas Eve or New Year’s, the room is yours—”
“Yeah.” Jake hesitated and caught Michael stepping off the elevators. “Actually, if I could talk to you and—” he raised his voice slightly. “And Michael.”
Carly blinked and looked to her left as her son slowly approached them, hesitation etched in his face. “Michael. Hey.”
“Hey. I was just meeting with a client in the restaurant.” Michael slid his hands in his pockets. “Everything okay?”
“I need—there’s something I need to tell the both of you.” Jake looked to Carly. “Can we maybe talk in your office?”
Carly opened her mouth, but nodded and gestured for them both to follow her.
Once they were in the office, she closed the door. “Jake, is everything okay?”
“I—” Jake stopped. “You’d think this would get easier to say, but…” He leaned against Carly’s desk. “My memories—they came back. I know—I know who I am. Or who I was.”
Carly gasped. “Oh my God, Jake, that’s wonderful—” Then she stopped. “Oh, no, is that why the wedding is off? Are you actually married after all? Oh, God. Poor Elizabeth. Another married man—”
“Mom—” Michael held up a hand. “Maybe you could let Jake clarify.” He met Jake’s careful gaze. “Because there’s a reason he’s telling us together.” He swallowed. “Jake, there’s something—there’s something I’ve wondered. For months. But I thought—there’d be more signs.”
“Michael, what are you talking about?” Carly demanded.
“Sam told me about six months ago that—” Michael swallowed. “And the Cassadine connection. You know? A-And you picked the name Jake. You and Elizabeth—then last week, when we were talking about him—”
“Michael, it sounds like—” But Carly stopped and turned to him, her face blank. “Oh…Oh my God. Oh, my God. Jake.”
“”When I went home that day,” Jake said, keeping his eyes on Michael. “I found Elizabeth on the floor, just like I had before. And it was like my mind put the two images together. It all came back—I could barely breathe. I was still—”
“Oh, God…” Carly stumbled forward, tears sliding down her cheeks. “Jason. You’re Jason. Oh, God. How didn’t I see that before? I dumped my problems on you from the moment I met you—” Her voice was low, almost whispering, as if the words were too painful.
She lifted her arms, almost as if to embrace him, but stopped at the last moment. “I can’t—oh, God, Michael…what if this is a dream?”
And then she wrapped him in such a tight embrace. “Jason. It’s you. I missed you so much, and I tried so hard to replace you. I tried Felix, he’s adorable, but not right, and then there was you, and you fit. I should have seen it—it fit because it was always you—”
“Mom, you’re…you’re babbling now,” Michael said, looking a bit dazed. He drew her back. “I—I can’t…I wondered, but I can’t…”
“I wanted to tell you before, at the hospital,” Jake said. “But I just—I wanted to talk to Elizabeth first—I had to make sure she was okay—”
“Of course—” Carly’s eyes flashed. “Oh. Oh. Sam. And Danny. Oh, this is—this is all just a mess, but—” She pressed a hand to her mouth. “Oh, God, Jason—”
“I’m sticking with Jake for the moment,” Jake interrupted. “I just—I don’t feel like Jason Morgan. I have—I have the memories but—”
“Of course.” Carly closed her eyes. “I’ll call you whatever you want—I should, I should call Sonny—”
As she started past him, towards the phone, he stopped her. “I—I want to deal with Sonny in my own time. I’ll tell him but I don’t—I don’t know what to feel about him.”
Carly blinked. “But—”
“After what happened last year—” Jake looked at Michael. “What he put you through—and then he and I didn’t get off to a great start. Pretty sure he threatened to kill me.”
“He didn’t…” Carly’s protests died weakly. “Okay. I won’t—I won’t call him. Jas—Jake—”
There was a knock on her door, and an employee poked her head in. “Ms. Jacks, we need you on the floor—”
“In a minute,” Carly snapped. The door shut and she looked back at him. “Jake—”
“I need my old room for a while,” Jake said, not wanting to get into the Sonny situation. “Elizabeth and I—we’re just taking a step back. It’s a lot for her to deal with, for me. And…yeah.”
“Of course. I’ll get it ready—” Carly reached forward. Touched his arm. “There’s nothing that can’t be worked out. You’re here. You remember. Everything else is secondary, because damn it, Jason, you’re alive.”
“Mom—” Michael said, with an exasperated sigh.
“Jake, right, right, I’ll remember.”
Carly left to deal with the crisis on the floor, while Michael remained, studying Jake. “Is that what you were talking about before? About Elizabeth knowing?”
Jake nodded. “She found out at the Nurse’s Ball. Nikolas told her.”
“Ah.” Michael dipped his head. “It’s a pretty big secret to keep—”
“Only if you’re standing where you are.” Jake lifted a shoulder. “I’m working through it in my head, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t change anything for me.”
“Well, you get to feel how you want to feel…” Michael shrugged. “You taught me that. No one else can decide for you.” His eyes filled then, and he looked eye, blinking rapidly. “I know what my mom means—the signs were there. I met you, and immediately dumped my problems on you, too.”
“I wondered why you, Carly, and, especially, Elizabeth felt so familiar. Why it was so easy to be around any of you.”
“But not my father. Or Sam.” Michael frowned a bit. “I guess you can’t predict what your brain will hold on to.”
“No,” Jake said after a moment. “You really can’t.”
Is it safe to love you?
Is it safe?
Jake and Elizabeth stepped out of her obstetrician’s office a few weeks later, an ultrasound photo in Elizabeth’s hands. Jake’s hand was at her waist, as if guiding her away from anything that might hurt her.
Not much had changed these last few weeks—he’d moved back into the hotel, but still spent time with the boys. Still managed to see Elizabeth once a day, to make sure she understood she and their family was his priority.
Michael and Ned had leapt on the revelation of Jake’s identity to begin challenging Nikolas’s stake of ELQ stock—because Jake hadn’t been there to vote, and there was talk of reporting Nikolas to the SEC for unethical business practices. He’d known Jake’s identity and said nothing.
Jake told them to do whatever they need to do, and he’d vote their way when the time came. He and the Cassadine prince were all but enemies at this point—he could never forgive Nikolas for keeping the truth, for putting Elizabeth in the position to be truth teller, for letting Hayden loose on them all—
He and Sonny had had a general meeting of the mind. Jake told him that once Diane had sorted out the legalities, Jake wanted nothing to do with the business. He was out, and Sonny agreed—too much time had passed and whatever loyalty Jake had felt as Jason Morgan to Sonny Corinthos had dissolved with the way the other man had torn apart Michael’s life.
But even as Jake was trying to reconcile the disparate sides of his new and old lives, two aspects remained unresolved. Sam and Patrick hadn’t spoken of Jake’s identity to him, or to Elizabeth. Cameron and Emma were still as friendly as ever, but Patrick was the go-between with Elizabeth, never Sam.
Jake didn’t know what would happen with Danny—if Sam would be able to allow him into their son’s life.
And if he didn’t know if Elizabeth could trust him to stay.
But today, he wasn’t going to think about any of those things. Today, she’d been given a clean bill of health—and they’d learned the gender of their child.
“Another boy,” Elizabeth murmured as they paused by the waiting area. “I’ll have three boys again.” She looked at him. “Can you—I forgot to ask inside—can you see the baby on the ultrasound? You used to have such trouble—”
He liked that she had forgotten this aspect of his old self. The more time he spent with Elizabeth, the more he realized that what was between them now was only enhanced by their history—not entirely part of it. She didn’t just see him as Jason Morgan but he really was Jake Doe to her.
“My brain’s been jostled so much,” Jake told her, “I think that part of it must been fixed. I can see him just fine.”
Elizabeth tried to suppress a smile. “You shouldn’t joke about your brain issues. I’ll be relieved if you never have to have your skull opened again—”
“You’re not kidding.” He plucked the photo from her. “So, what are we going to name this kid? Are we going to follow the trend around Port Charles and name him for someone we like, or does he get his own name?”
Elizabeth smirked. “Not hard to see where you’re at on this. I don’t know…” She trailed off as Sam approached, her hand in Danny’s. “Sam.”
“Hey.” Sam looked at them both, then at the ultrasound photo in their hands. “Ah, Patrick told me you had an appointment today, so I thought—”
She knelt in front of Danny. “Hey, buddy, remember what we talked about out? How our friend Mr. Doe is actually your daddy, Jason?”
Danny nodded and turned his beaming smile on Jake. “Yep. Can I have a dog? Mama says no, but maybe you say yes.”
Jake bit back a bubble of laughter at this little boy whose priorities were simple. “Ah, I don’t think so. Not right now anyway.”
“Oh.” Danny frowned. “You think about it.” He looked at Elizabeth, with a considering you. “Mama says I get another brother or sister. I got both now, but I don’ know ‘em. Mama says they’re in heaven.”
He felt Elizabeth tense beside him, not at the implication that Danny was related to their son, but that Sam had taken the time to tell him. “Your mama’s right. You had an older brother, Jake. He would have loved you so much.” She pressed a hand to her belly. “But you’ll have another one in about four months, maybe just before your birthday.”
“Awesome. I make him do stuff.”
Even Sam laughed at that, then caught her brother as he passed. “Ah, can you keep an eye on Danny for about ten minutes?”
“Sure.” Lucas hefted his nephew in his arms, eyed Jake and Elizabeth before rounding the corner, Danny waving over his shoulder. “Bye, Daddy!” he called.
Jake’s breath caught—no child had called him that since Michael. Not even his first son. Elizabeth touched his arm. “You okay?”
“Yeah, um…” He looked to Sam. “Thank you. I—I know we haven’t talked—”
“By design.” Sam shifted. “I still—I don’t know what I’m feeling about all of this.” She crossed her arms, then uncrossed them, as if she didn’t know what to do with them. “I mean, it seems like it should be simple. You—you were my husband. I thought you were dead. Maybe for some people, it would make sense that we—that we would go back to that. Try to be that again.”
Her eyes were damp, but she shook her head, holding up her hand to ward off his words. “And I’d be lying if I said that part of me doesn’t wish for it. That we could turn back time and be those people again, because part of me wants it for Danny. But it’s not the right choice.” She pressed her fist to her chest. “I’ll always love you, for how you changed my life and made me better. But I have a new life now, and Patrick—we have a family. We are a family.”
“I know,” Jake murmured. “And going back isn’t an option.”
Sam looked to Elizabeth. “And maybe this is just another sign that it’s always been you two. I used to be terrified Jason would wake up one day and realize what he’d sacrificed for me, for our relationship. That he’d realize it was you.”
“When he woke up and saw you, before he knew who you were, who he was—it was you.” Sam nodded. “I can live with that. I can live with knowing that it wasn’t a lack in me, that it wasn’t my fault. He loved you, and he loves you now.” She rubbed her hands together. “Um, we’ll work Danny’s visitation out at some point. Maybe ease into it slowly. You know? I just—I have to go.”
And she was gone, following in the wake of Lucas and Danny.
“Are you okay?” Jake asked Elizabeth, turning to face her fully. “I—”
“She’s right, you know.” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “It was always you, for me. I tried other people. I might have even settled for Ric last spring if you’d really been Jake Barnes. But I wouldn’t have been happy. I loved you then, and I love you now.”
“What—” Jake took her hands in his. “Does that mean we’re ready to put our plans back on track? Because I haven’t changed my mind. I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
He pressed his lips to hers, but drew back, remembering they were still standing in the middle of the hospital waiting room. “Maybe we should get married here,” he told her as they moved towards the hospital. “I fell in love with you again here.”
“I’m not getting married where I work.” Elizabeth rolled her eyes. She held up the ultrasound of their son. “Let’s talk about something else. What are naming this kid?”
“I’ve always been partial to Eugene.”
“Oh…you have not…”
He eventually returned to using the name Jason Morgan, and he married Elizabeth just after Valentine’s Day—not in the hospital chapel, but the ball room at the Metro Court.
And when they brought their son into the world in early April, they eventually settled on David Jacob Morgan.
And they never looked back.
Is it safe to love you?