But if you close your eyes
Does it almost feel like
Nothing changed at all?
And if you close your eyes
Does it almost feel like
You’ve been here before?
– Pompeii, Bastille
Thursday, September 26, 2002
Queen of Angels: Anteroom
Gia hesitated when she stepped over the threshold of the church. She could see through the main doors that Elizabeth and Bobbie were at the front of the chapel, speaking quietly with Father Coates before the memorial.
But Emily was here. In this room. With her brother and Courtney.
They turned at her entrance. Courtney smiled at her, a sad smile, but they were the only ones who weren’t…really reeling from this loss. Jason had been on the peripheries of their lives, not a central character.
Emily hesitated, then broke away from the pair to approach Gia. Her eyes swollen and red, she said in a rough voice, “Do you have a minute to talk?”
“Sure,” Gia said. And if Emily wanted to throw shade at her, read her to filth for her past actions—whatever Emily needed to do in this moment, Gia would let her.
Gia had an older brother who was at the center of her universe too, after all.
“I know…” Emily said after they had gone to the courtyard. She paused. “I know we’ve had our differences. That—that we’ve never been…friendly, but, um…” Her voice broke. “I know you and Elizabeth are close now. And that you’ve been here in a way this year that I don’t know if I could have.”
“No, no just—” Emily took a deep breath. “When Lucky died, we all…we all drowned. And we couldn’t save each other. We didn’t—we should have clung to one another, but we just couldn’t. We didn’t lose him in the same way, and maybe we were just too young to know how to help each other.” She cleared her throat. “But it helped for Elizabeth to have someone who didn’t lose him that way—but had known him all the same—it helped her. My brother—” Emily sucked in a deep breath. “Oh, God.”
“Hey, listen—” Gia touched her shoulder. “Listen,” she repeated. “I’m here for Liz, no questions. Because she’s been here for me. But—I can be here for you. I think about losing Marcus, and even though he literally annoys me more than anyone on Earth, if I lost him, I would lose my center. I would lose my goddamn mind. So, listen. Yeah, I’m here for Liz. And we’ve never been friends, you and me. But that was then. This is now.”
“I just—I can’t—I can’t stop thinking—I always knew it would be this way. I knew it,” Emily said fiercely. “I knew he’d been shot before. He’s almost died. But I didn’t—I always thought—I thought he was Superman. That bullets couldn’t break him. And they did. They took him from the world, and he was just—he was just—Elizabeth sounded happy when we talked. Jason sounded happy. They were happy. What kind of world does this—”
Her face crumbled, and the tears Emily had been holding back broke though. Gia embraced her, her old enemy, this girl she’d never been kind to, and held her while she sobbed.
Queen of Angels: Chapel
Bobbie turned away from Elizabeth at the sound of her daughter’s voice and winced. “Carly.”
“I—” Carly’s face was swollen as if she had done nothing but cry since she’d heard the news. “I just—” She looked at Elizabeth who hadn’t moved since Carly’s approach.
Elizabeth was so fragile, so brittle—Bobbie took her daughter’s elbow and started to steer her away. “I just wanted to tell her I was—”
“There is nothing you could say to Elizabeth right now that would make this go away.” Bobbie shook her head. “I don’t know what you said to him that day, what put this all in motion, but—”
“Mama, I—” Carly closed her eyes and said flatly, “You’re blaming me.”
“I’m blaming the man who shot him,” Bobbie retorted. “I’m blaming Sonny Corinthos for introducing him to this life. Jason for staying. I’m blaming myself. But if you said something to him, and he went to that warehouse because of you, then, yes, Carly, I blame you.”
“Of course you do.” And just like that the grief slid from Carly’s expression. The distaste. The bitterness. The venom. It was back. “You loved Jason more than me. Elizabeth. They’re your family. Not me.”
“I made you my family when you didn’t give me a reason to.” Bobbie sliced her hand through the air. “But, yes, Jason and Elizabeth are part of my family, too.” Her eyes softened just a bit as she took in the misery behind Carly’s anger.
“I know you feel like you’ve never measured up. Not to BJ. Not to Robin. Elizabeth is not competition for your place in my life. Or your place in Jason’s life. And I’m sorry if I’ve made you feel that way. You are my daughter, and I love you, Carly. But you have to stop this.”
“I don’t know how—” She swallowed her sobs. “Because, oh, God, it is my fault, and I don’t know if I can live with that.”
“And I don’t know if I can help you with that. Not anymore. I have to think about Michael. And about my family. I can’t make you a better person, Carly. That will be up to you.”
Elizabeth floated through the memorial. It was short—Jason never would have wanted anything elaborate or complicated. Father Coates said a few words, but no one got up to speak. Emily tried, but she was crying too hard, and Ned and AJ had to carry her back to her seat.
Elizabeth wanted to—God, she nearly stood. But what she had to say about Jason wasn’t for anyone else’s ears. It was just for her own.
Sonny had sat down next to her before the service had begun, and she had forgotten she was angry at him. Forgotten that she blamed him. She just let him sit there and took solace in the fact that he had loved Jason, too. The anger, the bitterness…that could wait.
She sat between Bobbie and Sonny, her hands clasped tightly in Bobbie’s, Sonny’s arm around her shoulder. And just…floated.
His casket was up there, his photograph was next to it. He was smiling in it—a photo Bobbie had said was from one of the times he had gone to the Nurse’s Ball with Robin, who had not flown in from Paris, though Bobbie said she had called. Had tried to get away.
These were just facts to Elizabeth now. Just pieces of a life she couldn’t seem to grasp.
Carly was sitting in the back. Elizabeth could see Monica, Lila, and Emily in the front pew on the other side. AJ and Courtney were behind Elizabeth and Bobbie. Taggert and Gia were sitting quietly a few rows in front of Carly. Alan, Ned, and Edward behind their family. Lucky and Nikolas were across from Taggert and Gia.
After Father Coates closed the prayers, the Quartermaines shuffled past the coffin. Saying their last respects. Monica’s knees buckled, but Alan kept her upright and helped her back to her seat.
Emily didn’t leave her seat, and God, Elizabeth couldn’t bring herself to do it either.
She couldn’t look at the coffin. Couldn’t accept that Jason was inside of it.
“I can’t stand it,” she murmured, her voice breaking after Bobbie had gone up to talk to Edward and Lila. “He’s trapped in there. We should—we should have had him cremated, Sonny. We-we did it wrong. He should be free. Can we—” She sucked in a breath, because it hurt so much to think about it. But she had to do it.
Had to do right by him. “I want—can we talk to the Quartermaines? Or is it you? I don’t even know who did any of this. We should—he needs to be free, Sonny. Please, please—”
“Elizabeth—” Sonny closed his eyes, bowed his head, and she felt like a horrible villain. This was Sonny’s best friend Elizabeth was talking about. Sonny’s brother.
“No, No, don’t.” Sonny got to his feet. “But you’re right. It’s wrong.” He looked over, his eyes wet. “I did it all wrong,” he said hoarsely. “It’s—come back to the penthouse with me. We can—let’s talk about it, okay?”
“I—” Elizabeth swallowed, let Sonny pull her to her feet. “I’m supposed to go to the Quartermaines, but—” She took a deep breath. “Okay. Okay. I can’t stand it anymore. I don’t want to go to the cemetery tomorrow and bury him. I-I can’t. It’s not too late, is it?”
“No.” Sonny smoothed his hand down her back as they approached Emily, who had been joined by Courtney and Bobbie. “No, it’s not too late.”
“I know there’s a reception at the mansion,” Elizabeth told her friends, “but Sonny—Sonny asked me to come to the penthouse.”
“A quiet dinner, maybe…just…some…quiet,” Sonny repeated.
“Of course,” Bobbie murmured, pressing a kiss to Elizabeth’s forehead. “Call me, okay, sweetheart?”
“I’m sorry, Em,” Elizabeth began.
“Hey—” Emily shook her head. “You have to do what’s right for you. I wanna be surrounded by family, but you don’t have to want that. Go be with Sonny. Jason—” She looked at Sonny. “Jason loved you so much.”
“I know,” Sonny murmured, his voice tight. “Let’s get going before the press gets it in their head to follow us.”
Elizabeth closed her eyes, leaning back against the smooth leather of the back seat. “I’ve been so angry at you.”
She continued as if he hadn’t spoken. “But I should have thought about you. That you were worried, too. I shouldn’t have shut you out—or let you shut me out—”
“Elizabeth…” Across from her, Sonny just shook his head. “Don’t worry about it. Listen. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all of this. God, Elizabeth, I never wanted you hurt again. You know that—”
“I know.” Elizabeth blinked as she realized they had driven longer than it would have normally taken to travel from the Queen of Angels to Harborview Towers. “Are we going in circles or something? Are we trying to lose the press?”
“Oh. No.” Sonny felt the car slow. “Listen to me,” he said, leaning forward. “No matter what you think going forward, Elizabeth, you matter to me. You are part of my family. You have been part of my family longer than my own sister—”
“And I know that these last few weeks have been devastating. That you—I know how much you’re hurting. And I want to make that go away for you. But you know…you knew what kind of life Jason and I—what our business is. Jason told me you knew. I know that knowing is different from being in the middle of it, but we just—sometimes we have to make choices that we hate. To protect everyone.” The car started to ride over gravel, the rocks crunching beneath the tires until it came to a complete stop.”
Elizabeth frowned at him. “Sonny, what’s going on—” She frowned when Max opened the car door.
She stepped outside, still frowning as she took in the trees around them, the simple stone English-style cottage set back against the lake. “Sonny—Are we trying to avoid the press?”
This time, Sonny nodded. “Yeah. Something like that. Let’s just…let’s go inside.”
Inside the house, Elizabeth frowned when she saw Johnny O’Brien lounging on a sofa, irritated with a magazine in his hands, flexing his left arm as if it was sore. “What’s going on?” she asked.
“Johnny was with Jason that night,” Sonny said. He looked at her now, and his expression was empty. Stony. “Jason was shot twice, and Johnny kept him alive until we got him to this safe house. There’s a medical facility here.”
Elizabeth opened her mouth, then closed it. “Jason…was alive when he left the—I don’t understand—” Except she thought…maybe she did and everything inside her was screaming.
“I kept him sedated for the first week because I knew he would want to see you. And it was hell keeping him here the next two weeks once we finally stopped—”
“Just stop—” Elizabeth held up her hands, shook her head. “What…what is happening right now? What do you mean you kept him sedated—what the hell, Sonny—”
“Sonny,” Johnny said, slowly, “why is she dressed like she’s coming back from a funeral?”
Sonny closed his eyes. “Elizabeth, Jason is in the back. He’s…he was shot. He almost died, that wasn’t a lie. It was touch and go. The blood loss was severe—”
“Oh my God, oh my God, you faked his death—” She pressed her fist to her mouth. Looked at Johnny. “You—you lied. You knew where he was. You knew he was okay, and oh, God, you arranged for a body—”
“A body—” Johnny’s eyes bulged. “Fuck off, Sonny. What did you do?”
“You didn’t know—” Elizabeth’s eyes started to burn from the tears. “What—”
“Jason never would have let that—” But Johnny shut his mouth.
“Listen to me, this was all me.” Sonny planted a hand against his chest. “I lied to you. I put the plan in motion. And I got reason to believe it’s working, okay? And it only works if Jason doesn’t know.”
“W-What?” Elizabeth sputtered. “What are you talking about?” She shook her head. She had to think. Had to get through this. Had to understand. “Jason didn’t fake his death. You did it. You put us through this for business—”
“A week ago, before the body was found, we caught two men lying in wait at your studio,” Sonny said bluntly. “They did not believe Jason was hurt badly enough to get what they wanted from me, so they decided they would force their hand. Taking you would have forced Jason to come out of hiding.”
Elizabeth pressed her trembling lips together. “And if I went back there—if I told him—”
“He’s not recovered enough to come back yet,” Sonny said. “And you know the cops. They’re crawling all over this. But yeah, he finds out what’s happening, he’ll want to end it, and he’ll put his recovery in jeopardy.”
“Sonny,” Johnny muttered. “C’mon—”
“He knows that you didn’t know. He’s pissed at me for that, too. It was all I could to convince him to wait. To give me time to solve this. But you cannot tell him—”
“You’ve got a lot of nerve asking for me for anything right now,” she hissed. “For three weeks, I have been living in a nightmare. For the past week, I’ve been grieving my future with him, and you’re here, telling me that it was all a lie. That none of it was real—”
“I did what I had to do to protect you,” Sonny said. “I never wanted to hurt you, but I couldn’t avoid it. If they had taken you, Elizabeth—” He shook his head. “I know what you’ve been through. So yeah, I put you through this because I didn’t want something worse.”
She closed her eyes. “Then why am I here today?”
“Because Jason threatened to walk to town again on his own to find transportation if Sonny didn’t bring you,” Johnny said bluntly. “And this time, Sonny couldn’t talk him out of it.”
“Why is he back there? He would have heard the car—heard us talking—it’s not that big a house—”
“The doctor drugged him again,” Johnny muttered. “Said Jason was moving around too much. He ripped his stitches when he was yelling at Sonny yesterday—”
Sonny winced. “Johnny—” He sighed. “He’ll be coming out of it soon. That’s why I asked you to come to the penthouse for dinner. You can stay for a while. Over night.” Sonny looked at Max who was standing impassively at the door, and Elizabeth noticed the bag in his hands for the first time. “We brought some things for you to change into—”
“So Jason doesn’t see my black dress and wonder?” Elizabeth said, acidly. “You kept him drugged and confined to a room for three weeks, Sonny. You lied to everyone in his life that he loves. You—you planted a body that was so decomposed we had to have a closed casket, and now you want me to go into that room and keep lying to him. To the man I love—” She shook her head. “And if I don’t, it’ll just prove you right, won’t it?”
Sonny hesitated. “Elizabeth—”
“You may tell yourself that you were just protecting me, but you were testing me. And at some point, I must have failed, right? Was it that first night? When I answered Taggert’s questions? When I admitted I knew more than I should? When exactly did I let you down, Sonny?”
“If I go in that room, and I tell him the truth, and I tell him what you’ve done to his life, to me—that’ll just make you right. You’ll just feel justified that I’m a little girl who doesn’t understand Jason or his life. You lied to me, Sonny. And you, more than anyone else, know what you’re asking of me.” She shook her head. “I’m not giving you the satisfaction. I’ll keep your fucking secret. Because I don’t want to hurt him. I don’t want to be the one to tell him what you’ve done. I can’t break his heart. That’ll have to be you.”
She turned away from him, turned her back and looked at Johnny, who looked supremely uncomfortable. “Take me to him. I want—” Her voice broke. “I need to see him. And I need him to see me when he wakes up. So, show me where to change, so I can be with Jason.”
Johnny remained silent as he showed Elizabeth to a bathroom where she quickly shed her black dress and pulled on a pair of jeans and long-sleeved shirt. She shoved the dress into the duffel bag and followed Johnny to a closed door.
“He’s still out of it,” Johnny told her with a sigh. “It was the only way to keep him still long enough to put the stitches back in. He really doesn’t know—I’m sorry—”
“It’s fine,” she said with a shake of her head. “I just—” She swallowed hard. “I need to see him. I can’t believe it until I see him.”
“He’s going to kill Sonny,” Johnny muttered but he left her alone at the door and returned to the front of the house.
Elizabeth stared at the door for a long moment before pushing it open.
The room was in shadows—the only light from the setting sun peeking through the white blinds stretched across a bay window. It was a plain room with bare walls, a wooden dresser and a pair of matching nightstands flanking a wide double bed.
And in that bed, even in the dim light, she could see that Jason was stretched out, his eyes closed, his face turned slightly towards her.
His chest gently rising and falling as he slept.
He was alive. He was breathing.
She stifled the sob that bubbled up in her throat, biting hard on her fist. Jason was shirtless, so the white bandages stretched across his chest were stark against the gray comforter and sheets, one affixed high on his left shoulder, and the other was lower, closer to the heart.
How close had she come to losing him? She should have been here. Taking care of him. Making sure he ate. That he didn’t move.
Elizabeth crept forward, her bare feet making little sound on the threadbare carpet covering the floor. She perched on the other side of the bed, just staring at him.
He didn’t stir when the mattress dipped—and she knew that was from the drugs. He was such a light sleeper—almost as if the fluttering of her eyelids in the morning was enough to wake him. But he slept on even as Elizabeth gingerly stretched out on her side next to him, reached for his hand and laced her fingers in his.
He was alive. Everything else could wait.
Ruiz Compound: Hector’s Study
Zander was still pissed when he received the summons to meet with Ruiz and Alcazar as soon his flight landed at the local airport. He’d been sent to Port Charles to get an on the ground report from Roscoe and Nico, and he was starting to resent playing the middle man. When the hell was he going to have something show for this?
“The PCPD tests came in while I was there,” Zander said. He poured himself his own drink at Hector’s mini bar and didn’t bother to wait until he was offered a seat. “DNA confirms it was Morgan in the harbor.”
“How did he end up there?” Hector demanded. “Why did it take so long—”
“No way to know for sure. His is the only body that surfaced. Nico told me that no one’s seen Johnny O’Brien since the night Jason went missing either.” Zander shrugged. “Roscoe sent two guys. One came back—all he said was that Morgan has been shot, that it all went to hell. Does it matter?”
“I don’t like loose ends,” Alcazar murmured. “And I don’t like unexplained bodies. The body was decomposed?”
“Two weeks in the Port Charles harbor will do that.”
“Still.” Alcazar lifted a shoulder, took his cigar from his mouth and examined the tip. “It’s interesting that of the men unaccounted for—only Morgan showed up. And it was Morgan who was the target.”
Zander squinted. He hadn’t thought about it that way. “You think it’s a lie?”
“Does Sonny have the connections to pull that off?” Hector asked. “How hard it would it be? Bribe a few officials. Grease a few hands. Find a corpse that looks similar in build—”
“Nico and Roscoe didn’t seem to question it,” Zander said. “They were planning to grab Elizabeth Webber outside her studio last week, but the guys never came back. They figured Corinthos had someone on her.”
“Trying to draw Morgan out of hiding.” Alcazar looked at Hector. “What do you think?”
“I don’t know,” Hector admitted. “It’s…a pretty ballsy move to fake Morgan’s death. It’s not like he’s a standard soldier. Doesn’t he have connections in the city?”
“Yeah.” Zander ignored the pressure in his chest, the guilt swimming inside over Emily. “He doesn’t claim the Quartermaines, but they claim him. But I saw his girlfriend—Elizabeth Webber thinks he’s dead. And he’s not gonna lie to her.”
“Maybe he’s not lying to her.” Alcazar tapped the ashes of cigar into a stone tray on the edge of Hector’s desk. “And wouldn’t that be interesting if Corinthos was doing this on his own?”
“Why would that be interesting?” Zander said. “We wanted Morgan dead—”
“I wanted to destroy Sonny Corinthos,” Alcazar corrected. “Morgan is incidental. You told me I’d have to get past Morgan to get to him. If Corinthos went ahead and faked Morgan’s death without even telling the Webber girl—well, I suppose we’ll just see how much blind loyalty he has for his boss.”
“Roscoe and Nico are planning a hit next week,” Zander said after a moment, because he didn’t know what the hell Alcazar was looking for here. It was as if Alcazar didn’t mind that the entire ambush might have failed—as if toying with Sonny Corinthos was nearly as much fun as actually killing him.
What the hell was his game?
“Odds are it will fail,” Hector told Alcazar. “Neither of them is all that bright. But you might get lucky. All you need is one bullet to hit its mark.”
“That’s what I’m counting on.” Alcazar shrugged. “But if this doesn’t work, we’ll just find another way to get at Corinthos. He’s not invincible.”
Safe House: Bedroom
He’d been drugged again.
Jason woke with a groggy groan as he turned his face into the pillow, irritated with the sluggish way his muscles responded to his brain’s commands to move.
He remembered arguing with Johnny—a pain in his chest—blood—and then the doctor—he must have ripped his stitches, because his chest felt sorer than it had in a few days.
He forced his eyes open and then turned his head sharply—someone else was in the room—
Elizabeth lay beside him, one hand on the pillow, another laying between them, just inches from his hand. He stared at her for a long moment, trying to clear his head. Had she been here before they drugged him? No. No, she wouldn’t have let them—
He turned his head to the other side where a digital clock told him it was nearly seven. Judging from the lack of light coming from the windows, it was evening.
Jason winced as he slowly sat up, pressing a hand to his chest, swinging his legs over the side. He had to start moving. Had to get up.
“Jason—” Elizabeth’s voice was slurred and then she jackknifed into a sitting position. Even in the shadowed room, he could see the white of her eyes. “Jason?”
“Hey…” he switched on the lamp on the night stand. “Hey. I’m right here.”
“Oh.” Elizabeth turned to him, her eyes wet with tears. She reached out, her fingers brushing his shoulder. “You’re real. I’m awake? I’m really here?”
“You are.” Jason scowled as he took in the dark circles under her eyes. He took her wrist in his hand—and was startled to find that it seemed thinner than it had the last time he’d seen her. “I’m sorry. I know Sonny didn’t…really tell you anything.”
“Um.” Elizabeth shoved her hair out of her face and looked away. “No.” Her voice trembled. “I thought…you were hurt. But I just—he didn’t tell me for sure.”
“I didn’t know,” he said. “I wouldn’t have done that to you, Elizabeth. You know that, don’t you? I—I don’t really remember what happened, but I know I asked for you.”
“Yeah, Johnny said something about that.
“Johnny?” Jason said with some irritation. “Sonny didn’t talk to you last week?” Damn it.
“No. I guess he was busy with other things,” she said bitterly. She drew her hand back. “Should you be sitting up? Johnny said you ripped your stitches.”
She hurried out of the bed, and around to his side to check on him and the bandages. Her fingers slid over the white gauze. “Sonny said it was…that it was close.”
“I guess. I don’t know. They kept me sedated for a while.” Jason caught her hand as she tried to push him back into a prone position. “Hey. Talk to me. I know this was hard—”
“It’s—” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “It was. But it’s over. And you’re okay. And I can see you’re okay. That helps.” She sucked in a deep breath. “I’m okay.”
“You’re not,” he said with a shake of his head. “C’mon—”
“I’m better than I was this morning,” she replied. “I slept, too. For a few hours. The longest since…Bobbie wanted Tony to give me something to sleep, but I refused. Because I hate the way it makes me feel, so I haven’t—” Elizabeth bit her lip. “I’ll be okay, Jason. Now that I know you’re—okay.”
She stumbled over the last word, and he narrowed his eyes, because there was something in the jerky movements of her hands—the way she wouldn’t quite look at him—something else was going on.
But she looked exhausted, and Jason didn’t want her to worry about him. So, he laid back on the bed and scooted over so that there was space on his right side. “Come here.”
Elizabeth stretched out next to him and gingerly laid her cheek against his shoulder as his arm came around to cradle her. “I love you,” she murmured.
“I love you, too.” He pressed his lips to the top of her head. “Let’s just…lay here.”
“That sounds like a good idea,” she said, her voice still wobbling. “I missed you.” Her shoulders jerked, and he heard the sob that slid past her lips. “I’m sorry—” Elizabeth started to pull back, but he tightened his hold and held her while she cried quietly.
It was early morning when the limo pulled up in front of Bobbie’s building. Elizabeth had not spoken a word to Sonny since leaving Jason that morning and getting into the car. She had refused an offer of coffee and breakfast, climbed into the car, and the thirty-minute drive had been nothing but stony silence.
“Elizabeth, I can’t let you go like this.” Sonny stopped her from exiting the limo, placing a hand over hers as she reached for the handle. “Please.”
“You know what hurts even more than knowing you didn’t trust me to do right by Jason?” Elizabeth said softly, staring straight ahead. “It’s that…I thought you understood. I didn’t want to be Robin—”
“You asked me to lie to Jason. And I did. And now I am going back to my life to live a lie that I know hurts the people I care about.” Elizabeth arched her brow. “Robin walked around for a year pretending Jason had cheated on her, that Michael wasn’t AJ’s son. And she did it because Jason had promised Carly. She lied to the Quartermaines. She was humiliated. And it broke her.”
“Emily is my best friend. Bobbie is like a mother to me. They are grieving beyond words, Sonny, and I can’t take that away. And when they do find out the truth, what happens to me? Do you think for one second they’re going to think I didn’t know?”
Sonny closed his eyes. “It’s just—it got so complicated—”
“You made me Robin. Even if I had been told the truth, you did the one thing I begged Jason not to do weeks ago.” Tears burned her eyes as she looked out the tinted window. Up at the safety of her apartment. “And you…put me through hell. You let me think he was dead, Sonny. A week after I poured my heart out to you about all of this…you did this to me. I didn’t want to be broken again, Sonny. And you shattered me.”
She folded her arms tightly across her chest, trying to chase the chill that had set into her bones. “You broke apart my world, and you think bringing me to see him yesterday glued the pieces back together.”
“I—I thought it would help—”
“Every time I put myself back together, I feel a little more damaged,” she murmured. “And you knew that. I told you that.”
“I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”
Elizabeth & Gia’s Apartment: Living Room
Gia was already awake, sipping a cup of coffee when Elizabeth walked through the door that morning. Her best friend blinked at her, straightening. “Hey. I got your message about not coming home—”
She didn’t even know she was going to say it until the words spilled out of her lips. She had to lie to Jason. She had to lie to everyone in her life who loved her.
But she just wanted one person that she could be herself with.
Gia slowly set the coffee cup down and just stared at her. “Jason is alive,” she repeated. She got to her feet. “Are…are you sure you just didn’t—” She shook her head. “Stupid question. Of course you’re sure.”
Elizabeth nodded. And she swayed, falling to her knees. Sucking in deep breaths. Struggling to keep herself from blacking out.
Had it just been hitting her? Had it just been sinking in? Jason was alive.
It was a lie.
Gia came to her side, helped her to sit on the sofa. “Hey, hey—”
“I didn’t know. I didn’t know, I swear to God, I didn’t know—”
“Of course you didn’t know,” Gia said sharply. “Elizabeth—”
“Sonny—he lied to me. He lied to Jason. He doesn’t know either.”
“What does that mean?”
“Jason doesn’t know Sonny faked his death.” Elizabeth pressed her hands to her eyes. “And Sonny—I had to lie to Jason. Oh, God, I lied to him. I didn’t tell him. He made me a liar again.” Her voice broke. “I don’t want to be a liar anymore.”