No One Else Sees Me

Inspiration

Let me take you back to the fall of 2002 during the initial horrors of Jason and Courtney. I was a mere 18 years old (wow, and I’ll be 32 tomorrow, so this is weird to think about being fourteen years old). My writing was obviously not as developed as it is today, and rereading this story today — there is so much I would do differently — particularly in regards to Courtney and Bobbie, who are extremely one-note and superficial. But I was a mere babe in the woods back then and though I was tempted, I only cleaned up the grammar and didn’t make any line edits.

Thanks to Joanna for unearthing this story! It was once lost to the wilds of the internet, but I am blessed to have many devoted readers who saved so much of my work.

Timeline

Set post penthouse walkout in 2002, but before Ric shows up or Alexis killed Luis Alcazar.  This story was originally divided into very short chapters, but I’ve merged them together in one long story. It’s first person POV with Elizabeth, and basically stream of consciousness.


1

I live, I breathe, I let it rain on me
I sleep, I wake, I try hard not to break
I crave, I love, I’ve waited long enough
Not Pretty Enough, Kasey Chambers


I was minding my own business waiting for my grandmother to get a break so we could have lunch together. I’d barely seen her since I’d moved in with Jason and now that…. well, now that whatever it had been was over…I was hoping to reconnect with the only family I had left in Port Charles.

I was standing by the elevators when I saw them.

Jason was dragging Brenda Barrett down the hallway—literally. She jerked to a stop a few feet from me and they started yelling back and forth. Jason never even saw me.

I was a little amused actually—I’d never seen Jason yell at anyone like that.

I was amused right until I saw the flashes of metal on his hand. I frowned and then…

And then I realized he was wearing a ring.

Jason didn’t wear rings. He doesn’t even own anything remotely like that. The closest thing he has is a watch.

And then I saw a flash on Brenda’s hand.

Before the picture could form perfectly in my head, she started walking. With a start, I realized she was coming closer to me and I couldn’t let Jason see me.

I moved away and we sort of traded spaces. I kind of took cover behind the desk and a computer blocked me. I couldn’t just leave—my grandmother was going to meet me.

And I didn’t want to leave until I was sure what those rings meant. I had a pretty good idea.

I just didn’t want to be right.

Their voices grew a little more quiet—and the topic of the conversation alarmed me. She was going to redecorate the penthouse.She talked about it as though she lived there. I straightened as the realization hit me.

They were married.

I had to get out of there. I had to get away from this scene and try and figure out how the world had flipped upside down while I was away.

Before I could make my escape, my grandmother showed up. “Elizabeth!”

I turned to paste a smile on my face. But before I turned, I saw Jason stiffen—and I knew I’d been right. He hadn’t seen me. “Gram, hi!”

Gram took my elbow and started steering me towards the elevator—forcing me to see Jason.

Jason had stopped talking. I could tell his sudden ice block routine was confusing Brenda. Because she kept saying his name trying to get his attention.

Gram seemed to pause once she realized Jason was there. But she kept pulling me forward. “Brenda,” she said, smiling warmly at the brunette. “I’m so glad you’re all right.”

“Thank you, Audrey,” Brenda said, shooting strange looks at Jason and even looking at me a few times.

“Elizabeth, you’ve met Brenda Barrett, right?” Gram said, turning to me. Why was she doing this? Couldn’t she see? Didn’t she understand that he was married and that I didn’t want to be doing this?

Then it hit me. She wanted me to see. She wanted me to understand that Jason had done exactly what she’d said he’d do all along. He’d hurt me and she wanted to make sure I knew it.

I’d always seen my grandmother as this sweet woman but now I began to understand why Gramps had called her a spitfire. I had forgotten that my grandmother loved being right and never let an opportunity to make sure everyone knew it.

“Actually, yes,” I said, smiling at Brenda. “I was at your wedding a few years ago. I snuck in.” I put a hand out. “Elizabeth Webber.”

“Brenda Barrett,” Brenda said. She giggled. “Brenda Morgan.”

I didn’t look at Jason. “Oh, you’re married?”

“Yep,” Brenda said. “Newlyweds.”

I smiled—and this time it was genuine. Because Brenda was faking this happiness just as much as I was faking being friendly.

It’s a side effect of constantly pretending to be someone you’re not.

You can spot someone else doing it from a mile away. Brenda hated being married to Jason. And from the looks of their fight earlier, Jason wasn’t enjoying it either.

Somehow the thought was comforting.

“Congratulations.” I shot a quick glance at Jason, not long enough to make eye contact or even really look at him. “Living with Jason—it takes a very unique person to survive that.” I looked to Gram. “You ready for lunch?”

“Okay.” I pushed the button for the elevator and for once luck was on my side—the doors opened right up. “Nice seeing you again, Brenda. Jason.”

Once we were safely ensconced in the elevator, I calmly said, “I’m getting off this elevator and I’m going home. I really don’t want to be around you right now.”

“Elizabeth,” Gram said, clearly surprised. “What’s going on?”

“You knew…you knew I was going through a difficult time—you knew how I felt about Jason, but you just couldn’t pass up the chance to shove how wrong I was in my face.”

“I just wanted you to meet—”

“Jason’s wife.” I glanced at her before looking back at the top of the elevator. “I know. You couldn’t wait for it.”

“Elizabeth—”

“Gram, I just can’t do this right now.” The doors parted and I walked out without a second glance to her.

I took the long way home, trying to come up with a concrete reason why Jason would marry someone I was pretty sure he didn’t love.

Sonny.

It had to be about Sonny somehow. I wasn’t sure how or why but it had to be about Sonny.

Jason didn’t do anything unless it was for Sonny.

Well, that was necessarily true. I mean, he’d done things that weren’t for Sonny. But not lately. Not since he’d been back.

Well, there was that thing with Zander, but…

I’m choosing to ignore that for now.

I stopped by Kelly’s—just because I wasn’t having lunch with Gram didn’t mean I wasn’t hungry.

I should have known better. Courtney was working.

It wasn’t that I was jealous. Because I’m not. I know Jason’s not interested in Courtney.

At least I’m pretty sure.

“Hi, Elizabeth!” she chirped. “You’re not scheduled to work today are you?”

“No. I just want a number seven to go, okay?”

“Elizabeth!”

I turned around from the counter. “Hi, Lucky.”

Lucky slipped onto a stool next to me. “How are you?”

“Peachy keen,” I muttered. “Can you hurry that up, Courtney?” I didn’t mean to snap at her, but being anywhere near just after finding out about Jason’s marriage was something I didn’t need.

Courtney frowned. “Yeah, sure.” She disappeared into the kitchen.

I glanced at Lucky and immediately straightened up. “Where’d you get that bruise?”

Lucky touched the purple area underneath his eye. “I had a fight with my dad.”

I bit my lip to keep from speaking. I didn’t want to sit here and pretend I felt sorry for Lucky. I mean…well, yeah part of me was sorry that he was having problems with Luke. I remember that horrible time when Lucky refused to even look at Luke much less talk to him.

But Luke…I couldn’t blame him. He loves Laura so much and without her, he doesn’t want to live. He doesn’t think himself worthy of having a life that doesn’t include her.

I know he’ll snap out of it eventually. Laura will start getting better— Because if it doesn’t work out for Luke and Laura…

Does it ever work?

And because my loyalties were secretly with Luke, I couldn’t listen to Lucky whine. All I could do is to tell him to give it time and maybe Luke would come around.

Although I’m in no position to give anyone advice. I thought I could give myself some time to cool down about the situation with Jason—I thought we might be able to work it out.

But now…

Now he’s married.

And even if I’m pretty sure it’s not for any other reason but business…

He’s still married. He took vows—and Jason…he keeps his promises.

Most of the time.

And I can’t go and talk to him now.

My own life was such a mess—I’m in no position to try and tell him how I feel and try to understand where we went wrong.

Lucky was still babbling and I was nodding my head in the right places, murmuring something—supporting words, I’m sure. Suddenly, he wasn’t talking anymore.

I blinked. “Lucky.”

“Elizabeth,” Lucky began, his eyes glued somewhere else. He was looking towards the door. I turned and stopped.

Mr. and Mrs. Morgan.

“Um, Elizabeth, is there a reason Brenda and Jason are here together?” Lucky asked, for once thank God keeping his voice down.

I turned back around and stared at the wall in front of me. “They’re married.” I stood up from the stool. “Courtney—I’m going to have to cancel that order.”

Courtney leaned over, a desperate look on her face. “Please. Serve them.”

WHAT?

“I’m not on duty,” I managed to say.

“I can’t…” A weird look came over her face and Courtney fled the diner.

I’m serious. She just ran past everyone and out into the courtyard.

Managing to somehow conveniently leave her order pad. I stared at it for a moment and turned around to look at the door that Courtney had just exited through.

Brenda and Jason had taken a seat—Jason with his back to me. “Elizabeth, you okay?” Lucky asked.

No.

I’m not okay.

I don’t think I’ll ever be okay again.

The man I’m in love with is married to someone else.

The only friend not tainted with memories of a bad choice just fled the place because she couldn’t serve the newlyweds—for reasons I wanted to not think about right now.

And the man sitting next to me—while being concerned—would prefer to talk about himself.

My grandmother thinks I’m an idiot and loves to prove it to me. No.

I’m not okay.

I turned to Lucky and I found myself doing something so familiar that I didn’t realize it had happened at first.

I pretended.

I pasted a huge smile on my face, reached for the order pad and directed the brilliant smile at my ex-boyfriend. “I’m fine.”

“You sure?”

I nodded. “Jason and I—we’re over. He’s married and I’m…fine. I’d better go take their order.” I stood. “I wonder what’s wrong with Courtney.”

I approached the couple and managed to keep the smile on my face. “Hi. Are you ready?”

Brenda looked up. “Hey, it’s you. Elizabeth, right?”

“Right,” I nodded, my pen poised over the order pad.

“I’ll have a number three and a soda,” Brenda said brightly. “And darling, what will you have?”

Darling.

I knew she was lying.

It was clear in the fake smile on her face and the grimace on Jason’s. Didn’t make it any less harder to hear.

“Number seven,” Jason answered. He didn’t look up at me. “Coffee.”

I wanted to ask him how he took it—it was on the tip of my tongue. But when it came down to asking—

I was afraid Courtney would pop up and tell me, therefore negating the point. “Black, right?”

“Right.”

“I’ll be right back with your drinks.”

I left them then and I wondered how I’d gotten sucked into not only taking Courtney’s shift—

But into returning to the very role in my life I’d sworn I’d never play again.


2

If only wishes could be dreams
And know my dreams could come true
There would be two us standing here in front of you
If you could show me that someone that I used to be
Bring back my baby, my baby to me
Mirror, Mirror, M2M


Have you ever stepped outside yourself and seen something that you were doing that you just couldn’t understand?

I’ve been doing that ever since this conversation I had with Bobbie the other day. I’ve watched myself serve Brenda and Jason with a smile so fake on my face I knew they had to know the truth.

In fact, part of me was sure Jason would call me on it. Part of me wanted him to. But when he didn’t, I knew why.

Jason had turned into someone else who didn’t see me.

Lucky, while briefly being a friend the other day, doesn’t see me either. Sometimes he asks if I’m all right—and when I brush off the question he lets me.

Courtney didn’t bother to explain her irrational behavior the day she ran out on me.

She didn’t apologize to me either.

I still haven’t spoken to Gram since that day in the hospital. I’m not sure what I want to say to her—or if I want to say anything at all.

I think…I think Bobbie was the biggest surprise.

I was working at Kelly’s—my shift had just started and I was on duty with Courtney. Brenda and Jason came in again—and sat in Courtney’s section.

Courtney turned to me. “Please.”

“Please what?” I asked, dumbfounded. What in the world was going on? “Serve them!” she pleaded.

“Courtney—”

“Elizabeth, can I talk to you for a minute?”

I turned and saw Bobbie beckoning to me. She pulled me into the kitchen and what followed would prove to be the strangest conversation I’ve ever had.

“I need to ask you a favor. When Brenda or Jason come in or if they come in together, would you mind serving them?”

WHAT?

What in the fuck was going on around here? Courtney didn’t want to serve them and Bobbie was asking me to do it?

“Bobbie, what’s going on…?”

Bobbie threw a look to the outer room where Courtney was refilling someone’s coffee. “Jason’s marriage hurt Courtney.”

Okay, I’ve walked into the twilight zone. Courtney is hurt by Jason’s marriage.

What the hell?

“I don’t…I don’t understand.”

“Well, I think Courtney has feelings for Jason and she thought he felt the same way—”

No, no, no, no…

This was not happening to me again.

I was not being thrown over for another blonde. This was not happening.

“Why would she think that?” I asked, desperate for some shred of hope that maybe Courtney had just strung together some coincidences and turned them into a fantasy. God knows, no one could blame her.

The fact that Courtney was supposed to be my friend was something I didn’t want to think about right now.

“Well, after kissing her, I’d think the same thing, too,” Bobbie answered.

Jason kissed Courtney. I go out of town for a few days and he kisses his sister-in-law and gets married? What in the hell was going on?

“Elizabeth?”

“What?” I asked, snapping back into focus. “I’m sorry. Did you say something?”

“Would you serve Brenda and Jason?” Bobbie repeated.

Set her straight.

Remind her that her first loyalty should be to me, the girl she’d known for years—who’d she supported through rape, through Lucky’s death.

Had she missed my feelings for Jason? Instead, I said, “Yeah, sure.”

I must be out of my freaking mind.

I went out into the diner and headed straight for their table. I’m going to think of this as a slow descent into hell. What better way to remind myself I should have given him a chance to explain, a chance to work this out…than having to constantly serve him and his new wife?

“Hi. What can I get you?”

“Hi,” Brenda said brightly. I smirked—good to know pretending wasn’t an exclusive activity. Why, four of the biggest liars in Port Charles were right here in this diner.

I was pretending to be happy about this marriage.

Jason and Brenda were pretending to be married—okay, yeah, technically they were married—but well, you know what I mean.

And Courtney was pretending she wasn’t married.

“I’ll have a number three with my soda and my wonderful…husband,” Brenda said, drawing the word out as she smiled at Jason who was staring down at the table top, “will have a number seven and a coffee.”

“I’ll be right back.”

I walked away and wanted to laugh a little—Brenda was obviously enjoying getting on Jason’s nerves.

At least someone could. I must be nuts.

“This is just insane,” Courtney whispered to me as I put the order in. I ignored her and poured Jason’s coffee before filling a glass of soda for Brenda. “Look

at her smiling at him. He doesn’t love her.”

I was sorely tempted to hurt her but I took the drinks to the table. “Here you go.”

“Thanks, Elizabeth,” Brenda said. Before I could walk away, she put an hand on my arm. “You’re friends with Emily?”

Emily.

God I miss her.

“Yep,” I answered, remembering Emily’s grief when Brenda died. Maybe I should call and tell her Brenda was alive—it would help.

Maybe I should call Emily period.

“How is she?” Brenda asked. “This lug over here won’t tell me anything.”

“I told you she’s fine,” Jason answered, irritation clear in his voice.

“And that’s not what I wanted to know,” Brenda snapped. She turned back to me. “Maybe we could have lunch sometime—and you could catch me up.”

I must be freaking nuts.

“Brenda—” Jason began.

I narrowed my eyes—Jason was going to tell her that wasn’t a good idea. Well screw him. No, must not think about that now.

“Sure,” I said. “I think we should talk.”

For the first time, I could feel Jason’s eyes on me, but I kept my gaze on Brenda. No use in giving in now.

“Good,” Brenda replied. I walked away then.

Talking to Jason’s wife. Making plans to have lunch with her. I’m not freaking nuts.

I’m certifiably insane. Maybe I could satisfy my curiosity—maybe I could hint to Brenda about Jason and me—

No. There is no Jason and me. There never really was and on the offshoot that they were really married and just had a strange way of communicating—

I was not going to continue doing this to myself. No more thinking about Jason.  No more thinking about Brenda.

No more thinking about their marriage.

“How can you stand it?” Courtney whispered as I headed back to the counter.

“Stand what?” I murmured. “Hey, I need that order for Table Six!” I called into the kitchen.

“Stand serving them,” Courtney hissed, her eyes glued to the table where they were once again arguing.

I cannot believe the nerve of this girl. She complains about them, practically begs me to serve them and tries to bond with me? She’s insane.

Instead of telling her all this, I said, “I’m done with this situation, Courtney.”

“Really?”

Oh, hell no. She did just sound hopeful. I think I’m going to hurt this girl.

“How’s AJ doing?” I asked, changing the subject back to one that seemed a little safer—and would serve to remind this little twit that she was married.

“AJ’s fine,” Courtney murmured.

That was the last I heard about Jason or Brenda or the situation for the rest of my shift.

Lucky did stop in—he wanted to tell me that Luke was in jail and Alexis thought character witnesses might be in order in case of a conviction.

Character witness. That’s me, Elizabeth Webber. Character witness. I wondered what I could tell the jury.

Oh, Luke’s a good person. He’s going through a tough time right now because of his wife, but he’s usually a little more normal.

How do I know Mr. Spencer? Well, I used to date his son. Yeah, he was brainwashed. Mmm-hmm…I faked my death. Yep.

I’m thinking all that would not go over well with a jury. But I smiled and told Lucky sure.

I so need a new line of friends.


3

I just want to feel safe in my own skin
I just want to be happy again
I just want to feel deep in my own world
but I’m so lonely I don’t even want to be with myself anymore
Honestly OK, Dido


The phrase “Serve them” spoken in Courtney’s desperate tone was spoken quite a few times the rest of the week.

I swear…I was coming this close to smacking her right in the face. But after about a week, Brenda and Jason stopped coming in.

In fact, I didn’t see them around town either. I wasn’t worried—and then I realized I hadn’t had insults thrown at me from Carly in about a week either. I overheard Skye talking to AJ about Brenda having been kidnapped by Alcazar.

I know she’s his wife—and that’s probably not real, but it’s not a bad thing to want to her to be thrown off the nearest cliff right?

And it’s not bad to want Courtney to fly right off after her, right? I didn’t think so.

Anyway, Sonny, Carly and Jason had all left town to go find Brenda—and I was able to get some relief from having to serve the newlyweds.

But instead…I had to deal with Courtney. “Do you think they’re off on some romantic honeymoon?” she’d ask or my personal favorite is “He doesn’t really love her, right? I mean…he can’t possibly love her.”

No. Because Jason can’t possibly love someone that’s not Courtney.

I swear to God I am going to hurt her. She says these things in a tone like I’m supposed to reassure that she’s only person Jason loves.

She is so lucky I’m not a nonviolent person, although I’m becoming tempted, mind you.

When I’m not dealing with the attack of the twit, it’s Bobbie throwing me warning looks (though since the Morgans are on their adventure, it’s not as much as it was) or Lucky whining again about Luke or God forbid—Nikolas. He thinks we’re friends again and I just don’t know how to tell him we’re not.

Practically the only breath of fresh air I get is from Luke. I told him that I think he should live his life anyway he pleases, which he promptly gave me the most genuine smile I’d seen since this whole mess began.

“Why thank you, darlin’,” he said. “Think you can knock some sense into that son of mine?”

If I could knock sense into him….I would have done it a long time ago.

“I’ll do what I can, Luke,” I promised. “But you have to promise me you’ll be careful.”

He frowned. “Just when I thought you were the smart one.”

“Hey,” I admonished. “You want to dig fake graves, burn down a police station…that’s fine. Just don’t get hurt in the process.”

“All right, you’ve got a deal, kid,” Luke replied.

Luke’s refreshingly honest—why, the other day he told me I looked like shit. Which is possible since I haven’t been sleeping.

I’m not really sure what I look like since I don’t want to look in the mirror. I’m afraid what I might see if I do.

But Luke’s too busy with his own pain to really see me—and that’s okay. I understand—he’s going through a difficult time. No one sees me—why should Luke?

My grandmother has been calling lately—and I just don’t know how to explain why I’m so angry.

Because then I’d have to acknowledge the fact that I’m not over Jason and I’m really not ready for that.

Zander, surprisingly, has left town. He went to see Emily—something about needing her forgiveness for a fresh start. He made sure to say goodbye to me before he left.

Nice of him—at least someone remembers me. But he’s gone again and my universe consists of only a few people.

Bobbie the oblivious. Courtney the twit. Lucky the moronic. Nikolas the idiotic. Gram…the annoying.

I need some new friends.

“Elizabeth,” Courtney said the day before the adventurers came home. “Do you think if I weren’t married to AJ and Jason wasn’t married to Brenda, there’d be a chance for us?”

You have got to be freaking kidding me.

Was this the same woman that only a few short weeks ago was trying to encourage me to forgive Jason?

Did time pass so quickly in her world that she didn’t remember this?

Or maybe…

Maybe Courtney’s just that dumb. I suppose anything’s possible. “Back off bitch, he’s mine.”

Yeah…well, that’s what I wanted to say. I actually said, “I don’t know. It doesn’t matter since you are married to AJ and he is married to Brenda.” I think I’m turning into such a wuss. Or maybe I’m getting better at pretending.

Or maybe I’m just fooling myself since I know the only reason I’m getting away with this charade is that Jason’s not looking and since he’s not going to call me on it, I’m not going to give him a reason to.

So I’ll pretend to be a happy, perky friend who doesn’t love Jason Morgan.

And hope that the longer I pretend…

The more I believe it.

Because once I believe it, maybe I won’t actually be pretending anymore.

So, Jason and Brenda returned the day after Courtney’s question, but they didn’t come in together. Brenda came in for lunch and insisted I take a break and join her.

“So, how’s Emily?” Brenda asked.

“She’s good,” I replied. “I just called her the other day. She’s making great progress and she’ll probably be coming home soon.”

“That’s great,” Brenda said, genuinely. “I’m so glad for her.” She nibbled on her fry before asking, “So the last time I was here, I remember you being close to Lucky Spencer. Are the two of you together?”

If that isn’t a loaded question.

Brenda “died” before Lucky and I actually started dating—but most people assumed we were dating anyway.

“Not anymore,” I replied. “We broke up…” I frowned. “A while ago.”

“Oh. That’s too bad,” Brenda said. She laughed a little. “Actually, I’ll be honest. I knew you weren’t with Lucky anymore.”

Okay, what the hell does that mean? “Oh?” I asked. Meaning explain yourself now or I’m going to freak.

“In fact…” Brenda leaned forward. “You were dating Jason, weren’t you?”

Uh, oh.

No man’s land.

“No,” I denied. “We were just friends.”

“Hmmm…” Brenda murmured. She sat back and studied me and I squirmed a little. “That doesn’t sound right. Because Jason asked me to stop calling him darling and husband around you and while I love to annoy him—I was curious.”

“He asked you to do that?” I asked. Maybe Jason—No. Do not do this to yourself Webber. Bad Lizzie.

“Yep.” Brenda smiled. “So, you were dating him.”

“Briefly,” I replied.

Very briefly.

For about five seconds.

“What happened?” Brenda asked.

Oh, I am not going to do this—not with his wife.

I don’t want to talk about this with anyone—much less his wife. “I really don’t think that’s any of your—”

“He still loves you.”

Okay, definitely a bad topic. “Look, Brenda, I don’t—”

“I’m dying.”

That caught my attention. “What?” Dying? Jason married a dying woman?

What…was he a glutton for punishment?

“Yeah, it’s one of the main reasons we got married,” Brenda replied. “I’ve got this disease and it’s going to get really bad before I die—and I didn’t want the people I loved to see me that way, so Jason’s going to take care of me when the time comes.”

“Oh.”

Well, what else was I supposed to say? Gee, I’m sorry. Tell Jason to give me a call when you’re gone?

That wouldn’t have been very polite.

“But I didn’t realize he had someone in his life,” Brenda continued.

“He doesn’t,” I answered. “Unless you count the twit who seems to think so,” I said, jerking my thumb towards the counter where Courtney was working—or watching us, knowing her.

Twit.

Brenda frowned. “He’s never mentioned anyone else.” She shrugged. “But Jason doesn’t really open up very much, y’know. It took him like fifteen minutes just to say your name—believe me, Elizabeth—”

“Brenda, listen. I know you think you’re trying to help, but—” “But nothing,” Brenda interrupted. “You still love him, too.” You know, I was beginning to dislike this woman.

“That’s none of your business,” I replied, my tone just this side of frosty.

I shoved my chair and walked away from Jason’s wife without a second look. “What did she want?” Courtney asked.

“Go to hell,” I snapped. I’m tired of pretending.


4

Why can’t you be there for me?
A friend is nowhere to be found
I just don’t understand why you
Kick me when I’m down
You think it’s over now but
I’m gonna turn it all around
Kick Me (When I’m Down), Plus One


I don’t think Courtney was prepared for my go to hell statement.

I know Bobbie wasn’t—she overheard me and immediately called me into the kitchen. “I thought I asked you to take it easy on Courtney,” she said.

I’d never felt so tempted to smack someone around—

But Bobbie, Courtney and about a dozen other people were severely testing my patience.

“I’m sorry.”

I can’t believe I just apologized to this cretin. This woman…who was supposed to care about me…was flipping out because I told Courtney to go to hell when she asked about a private conversation.

I’ve lost my mind.

“It’s been a long day.”

“Well, it’s no excuse.”

I’m not sure what I told Bobbie after that—because I shut down and just did the usual. I nodded my head, murmured at the right spots and all that. I went into Elizabeth Webber—pretend mode.

Sometimes it’s easier to believe that everything is going your way and that you’re the happiest person in the world.

Because the most delusional of people believe it. I’ve never wanted to be insane more than right now. Unfortunately, I’m incredibly lucid.

Jason just came in for his morning cup of coffee—I guess his little pep talk with Brenda include them not coming in together.

Before I could go fulfill my part of the agreement, Courtney rushed over and practically fell all over herself to serve him.

No good skanky ass…

I put them both out of my mind as I worked my tables. I ignored their whispering.

I ignored the doe-eyed looks she gave him.

But I sure as hell caught that little grimace he had when she wasn’t looking. Suddenly, I felt better.

Jason was just as miserable as me. Good.

Jason only had one cup of coffee before he left and Courtney turned to me. “I feel so bad for him.”

Having to talk to this twit? Yeah, I felt bad for Jason, too. “Why?” I asked.

“Well…he’s married to Brenda and I know he’s not happy.”

“It’s his own fault,” I murmured.

“He should be with who makes him happy.”

She was coming dangerously close to pissing me off again.

“Oh really?” I asked. I know – I was deliberately daring her to do it. To say something that would make me slug her.

“Yeah.” Courtney sighed. “I used to think it was you.” Here we go.

“But I’m beginning to think no one can make him happy.”

Wait…what?

“What makes you say that?” I asked, curiously. Could it be possible?

Could the twit be making…

Sense?

I must be dreaming.

“Well, you can’t be happy with someone else until you’re happy with yourself,” Courtney said. “I think that’s why AJ and I have so many problems—because he thinks he’s nothing without me.”

Holy shit.

Courtney said something intelligent.

I looked down at the floor to make sure it wasn’t made of frozen fire. Because hell had certainly froze over.

“That’s not a healthy thing,” I said, slightly encouraged by her words. Maybe the blonde had been going through a selfish idiotic twit phase.

“I think that’s why I’m going ask him for a separation.” Okay…and maybe I was wrong.

“Why?” I blinked. “You…you’re in love. Why separate?”

“Well, I’ll always love AJ,” Courtney said. “But I don’t think our relationship is healthy. I mean, he freaks out every time he sees me with Jason.”

Gee.

I wonder why.

“Well, Courtney, maybe he has a valid reason,” I said, trying to choose my words carefully. “After all…you did…you did kiss him and…some of the things you’ve said to me and even to Bobbie…you have feelings for him.”

“Well, yeah,” Courtney said, rolling her eyes. “Which is another reason I’m asking for the separation.”

Okay…she’s lost me.

Is it because the relationship is unhealthy? Or because she’s a no good skanky ass whore?

“I mean…I want to find out if these feelings are more, y’know? And I think I could make him happy.”

I think she’s a moron. That’s what I think.

“I thought until he made himself happy, no one could.” She giggled.

Oh, I just know I’m not going to like the next words that come out of her mouth.

“Well, I could help him be happy.” I don’t think that’s the point.

“I thought he had to do it himself.”

“Liz, you’re funny.”

Huh? I’m what now?

“Like you really care about Jason.”

Well…at least I’m getting my point across.

Although since its Courtney that’s noticed my attempts of not caring about Jason, I wonder if I should consider it a victory.

Probably not.

Besides, I’m just insulted. I may not want to be with Jason—

–which is a complete lie, but that’s between you and me—

–but that doesn’t meant I don’t want him happy—

–all right, that’s another lie. I don’t want him happy if it’s not with me, nothing selfish about that.

“Jason and I go way back,” I began carefully. “Just because we’re not speaking right now, it doesn’t mean I don’t still care about him. He was one of the best friends I ever had. Of course I want him to be happy.”

Good. That sounds mature and reasonable.

Some of the best bullshit I’ve ever come up with. “Oh, come on, Lizzie.”

Oh, hell no. She did not just call me Lizzie.

“You don’t have to pretend with me.”

Honey, you obviously don’t know pretending from the truth—or you’d never think you’d have a chance with Jason, because it’s painfully obvious that it’s not you cares about.

It ain’t Brenda.

And it certainly as hell ain’t me. He doesn’t even care about himself.

Nope. Jason Morgan is one hundred percent the property of Michael “Sonny” Corinthos, Jr.

Ought to have it tattooed on his ass.

“I’m not pretending, Courtney. I’m serious. As long as Jason’s happy.”

“But he’s not, Liz.”

 STOP calling me Liz. My name is Elizabeth.

E-LIZ-A-BETH.

It’s not that difficult.

“And as long as you wear that wedding ring and he wears his, it’s not your concern.”

“You don’t…Elizabeth—” Thank God. She remembered.

“You don’t still have feelings for him, do you?”

Ding ding!

Johnny!

Tell the twit what she’s won!

“You know what? My shift’s over. See you tomorrow, Courtney.”

I headed for the door, not even bothering to untie my apron before pulling my coat on.

I really needed to work on convincing people I was over Jason.

Because if Courtney can pick up on it…

There’s no telling who else can.


5

I’m living for the only thing I know
I’m running and not quite sure where to go
I don’t know what I’m diving into
Just hanging by a moment here with you
Hanging By A Moment, Lifehouse


It seemed like a good idea in retrospect. I’d get dressed up and go dance the night away at Club 101.

I wanted to pick up a random guy, lead him on and then leave and go home. And I’d purposely picked a night that Courtney was working her second job so she could see me.

I was determined to prove to the little twit that not only was I completely over Jason, I was also moving on.

In other words…

I was going to lie.

It didn’t work out that way.

Oh, I got dressed up all right. I dug out the leather outfit I’d worn at the bar in Atlantic City, minus the cap. I curled my hair, put on a lot of make up and grabbed the leather jacket that completed the outfit.

In other words, I was dressed to kill. I only made it as far as the door.

I don’t really know why I didn’t go in.

Except the obvious of course – I wasn’t ready to do something like this. I wasn’t ready to be over Jason.

And let me tell you something. That sucks.

I turned away from the door, intent on walking back to my studio, changing and going to sleep.

Instead, I walked to a stupid bridge I’d only been to once over two year ago.

It’s amazing the things that can stick in your brain. I couldn’t tell you how to get to the interstate, even though I’d driven there a few times with various people.

But if you asked me how to get to any place I’d been to on the back of Jason’s motorcycle—

And I’d know the answer. Perception can be a bitch.

It’s not fair—all I wanted to drink, to dance and try and forget that Elizabeth Webber ever existed.

For just one night in my life, I wished desperately to be Lizzie Webber again. The fearless girl who had so many defenses that you’d be more likely to break through concrete than me.

The girl who didn’t trust anyone at any cost.

Lizzie would have seen that Jason was just a man—that he wasn’t perfect. She would have seen Lucky and Sarah for who they were—rotten liars. Lizzie would have known Nikolas and Gia were lying to her.

But I’m not Lizzie anymore.

I’m Elizabeth Webber and for everyone else in my life, that doesn’t seem to be enough anymore.

But she’s all I got and I’m sick of being ashamed of that fact.

I’d only been to the bridge that once with Jason when he’d taught me how to fight. It’s one of my favorite memories of the two of us—before I’d messed things up by not knowing how I felt and for thinking that Lucky’s dreams were more important than my own.

I don’t know what brought me back to the bridge.

Sometimes I wish I had it to do all over again but not only do I know wishing to turn back time is useless, I know that even given a second chance, I’d more than likely screw it up all over again.

I’m so tired of being a good friend to everyone else and putting myself last. And I wonder if Jason ever gets tired of putting himself last.

I’ve noticed he does that a lot—he puts everyone in his life before himself. Before what he wants and what he needs. I think if he were traveling in a desert with another person and they only had water enough for one person, Jason would give the water to the other person.I used to admire that about him—his ability to be kind to the people he cared about. To forgive them for things that seemed unforgivable.

But now…I wonder why he does it. I wonder how he can do it and not go insane. Maybe I should ask him one day.

Sometimes I wonder where we went wrong. I wonder if it’s entirely my fault for walking out or maybe if he shoulders some of the blame for not following me.

Playing the blame game won’t get me anywhere, I know that logically but I’m only human and I can’t help but wonder.

If I had sat down and let him explain—if I’d let him get a word in edgewise before I’d gone off on him—would it have a made difference? Would I have still felt the need to leave?

Would he have kissed Courtney? Would he have married Brenda?

Would I be standing here? Would I be at this bridge where I have no right to be because quite honestly…it’s Jason’s place. Jason and Robin’s.

But I’m here anyway. Staring at stars I can’t touch, that I can’t reach. And I’m wondering when the people in my life stopped caring.

After hearing Bobbie spew concern for Courtney, someone she barely knows, while practically ignoring the pained expression I’m sure I was wearing, I have to wonder if anyone really cared at all. Was it an illusion?

Was I only pretending to be happy? Have I ever been happy?

I wish I had answers, but like everything else in my life; they’d more than likely end up being lies.

It’s funny that I place so much importance on honesty—when I’m such an accomplished liar.

The only person who ever knew I was lying was Jason.

And he doesn’t want to look me in the face much less look for the lie. And I can’t help but think that it’s my fault.

It’s not surprising people prefer happiness, even when it’s an illusion. That as long as the ugliness don’t confront them head-on, they can pretend it doesn’t exist.

I still haven’t talked to Gram. She can’t understand why I’m upset. She’s just happy I’ve “seen the light” and dumped Jason. After all, I was always in so much danger with him.The thing Gram never understood about Jason was that I was only out of danger when I was with him.

And I don’t mean danger from his enemies—although that’s true. I mean, when Jason’s around, I’m less likely to do something stupid, like walk miles to a stupid bridge for no good reason. He keeps me balanced—keeps me sane. He saved me from self-destruction one summer and he’s been doing it ever since, whether he’s been here or not.

I think I finally understand Carly. I know—it’s strange. I never could imagine how she got herself into some of the scrapes she’s gotten into, but now I think I can.

We do strange things when we let our hearts rule and forget our brains. Carly’s got that problem. She acts impulsively, with passion. I do the same thing—which is why I left Jason.

Which is why I slept with Zander.

Which is why I went to Jason’s after the disastrous Face of Deception photo shoot. Why I went for a walk in the freezing cold to the boxcar one morning three years ago and found Jason.

Why I dressed up one night and went to Jake’s.

It’s funny. I never would have entertained a thought that I even remotely resembled Carly.

And in reality, I’m not like her when it counts. I might do stupid things, but Carly…

Carly’s always had the guts to go after what she wants. Which is why she lives in the penthouse with Michael and is married to Sonny.

And the fact that I don’t have the guts is the reason I’m standing in the freezing cold, on a bridge I don’t belong on in a town I should have stayed away from.

It’s time to stop feeling sorry for myself. I can go over the events of the past few months or the past few years a dozen times and it will never change the truth.

I had a good friend—who was able to see through my act. Who heard me screaming when everyone else thought I was whispering—who saved me one summer night and kept me going when the pain threatened to drown me.

I treated this good friend like dirt but he never abandoned me. No matter what I put him though, he was there for me. And I fell in love with him along the way.

And the first time I get the chance to prove how much I care—

I walked out on him and never look back.

I stepped back from the ledge and turn around, intent on heading back to the studio and soaking my aching feet in a long bubble bath.

After the night I’d just had, I figured it was the least I deserved.But when I turned around, I stopped in my tracks and for a few moments I forgot to breathe.

Jason Morgan was standing in front of me, his hands shoved in his leather pockets, his blue eyes staring at me.

And for the first time in months, I got the distinct feeling that someone finally saw through me.


6

I was stained, with a role, in a day not my own
But as you walked into my life you showed what needed to be shown
And I always knew, what was right I just didn’t know that I might
Peel away and choose to see with such a different sight
Twilight, Vanessa Carlton


I didn’t say anything—to be honest, I was afraid if I spoke, he’d disappear and this would be another pathetic fantasy.

What are the odds – the one night I choose to come here, he shows up to?

Either we’re connected or something…

Or God has a sick sense of humor.

He spoke first. He just said my name and until it passed through his lips, I’d forgotten how he said it—and how much I liked hearing him saying it.

God I’m pathetic.

“Hi, Jason,” I replied.

“It’s been a while,” he replied. “I heard about…Luke and you getting arrested.”

Yeah? You’d never know it from my end.

“Yeah.” I bit my lip and started to walk past him. I couldn’t take anymore of this—pretending we were mere acquaintances like nothing had happened.

He caught my elbow as I passed and I stopped. I closed my eyes and reminded myself that I could do this. I was good at lying—I always had been.

And Jason wasn’t looking closely enough to make a difference.

I gave him a bright smile and said, “Was there something you needed?”

“Is…is everything all right?” he asked. He was looking into my eyes and I didn’t know how I was supposed to hide the truth from him.

I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to.

Shit. Why did he have to do this? Why did he have to pretend he actually cared now of all times when I’d decided I wasn’t over him yet?

“Everything’s great,” I replied, cheerfully. “How about you?”

“Elizabeth…what’s wrong?” he asked, tightening his grip on my elbow to prevent me from moving away.

Where’s Courtney when you need her? Usually she’s all but thrilled to interrupt me and Jason when he’s being concerned.

Twit.

“N-nothing,” I replied. I looked past him. “It’s—”

“Elizabeth.”

Damn, damn, damn him!

How dare he act he knows me? He doesn’t. Not anymore. Or he never would have let me walk away.

I looked back to him and sighed. “You know—it’s too late.”

He frowned. “What are you talking about?”

I met his eyes. “It’s too late to look for the truth.”

He let go of my elbow and I took a step back—gaining the much needed distance. “It’s too late to pretend you care.”

“I do care,” Jason replied.

Yeah? You’d never guess it from my end.

I shook my head. “You…you don’t. Okay? And that’s…that’s my fault. I’m leaving—”

I am so stupid when he’s around. Listen to me…taking the blame. Who let me walk away, huh?

That’s right. SuperJase.

“Elizabeth, what’s going on?” he asked, taking a step towards me. I closed my eyes and willed myself to stay strong. It’d been so long since anyone really seemed to care what was wrong with me.

“Nothing’s going on,” I replied softly. “Now why can’t you just accept that and let me leave?”

Because you’re a fucking asshole who loves to torture me.

“Because you’re lying,” Jason said. “And you know it.” He hesitated before asking again, “What’s wrong?”

“Don’t ask that if you don’t want to know,” I replied.And there’s no way he actually cares.

Because he would have asked a long time ago.

“I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t.” He took another step towards me and I took a step back. I couldn’t be that close to him.

Damn it.

He said the right thing.

I forgot he ever knew how to do that.

He’s been saying the wrong thing for so long.

“Do you remember when I felt like everyone saw me as an extension of Lucky?” I asked softly.

“Yeah.”

“Well, that’s what’s happening now,” I replied. “Except they don’t see me at all.” I could tell he didn’t like that idea.

Well bully for him. I’m not exactly fond of it either. But he hasn’t been around to let me know its happening. So I didn’t see it until it was too late.

“Do you know what Bobbie said to me the other day?” I said. “She asked me to make that the next time you or Brenda came in, that I would serve you. Because letting Courtney do it was hurting her.” I shook my head and looked down. “Bobbie said that to me. Apparently, your marriage affects Courtney more than it affects me.”

Okay…I need to start thinking before I speak. I am not supposed to be telling him how I feel.

“Elizabeth—”

Oh, hell no. He’s not going to butt in with some pearl of wisdom. Not before I get this out.

He asked?

Well, he’s getting an explanation.

“No, you wanted to know, well then let me finish,” I cut in. “I spend my days listening to Courtney talk about her marriage, to Lucky whining about Luke, to Bobbie moaning about Scott. I spend all of my time being the perfect friend and no one has asked me how I feel in weeks. And today, Bobbie…she…” I blinked and turned around. “She proved me exactly how invisible I really am.”

“Elizabeth—I’m sorry—” Oh.Now he’s sorry.

Well, he’s about a month too late.

I just shook my head. “You were the only person who never did that. You always saw me—you understood me. And now…you’re just another person who doesn’t care.”

“I always cared,” Jason said. “I just—”

“And I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s my fault.” I crossed my arms and looked up at the stars. “I let it get this bad. I stopped telling people what I want and how I feel. I let people walk all over me.” I turned around and stared at him.

Finally. I’ll take the blame where I’m actually at fault. “And that stops now.”

He’s surprised by that—I don’t think he realizes I’m serious.

Why should I have to pretend?

Why do I have to pretend I’m somebody else? Who I am is good enough.

“The next time Bobbie asks me to take it easy on Courtney, I’m going to tell her to shove it. And the next time Lucky opens his mouth, I’m going to shove my fist down his throat.”

“Elizabeth—”

I put my hands in the pockets of my coat and looked away. “Do you still care about me? At all?”

“Yes,” he admitted. “About Brenda—”

Oh, I don’t want to hear about Brenda and Jason’s latest pursuit of Sonny’s loyalty. “I don’t care about Brenda,” I said impatiently. “I know you’re not in love with her—it’s apparent to anyone who looks at the two of you. Courtney seems to think you like her though—is that true?”

“She’s Sonny’s sister.”

Well.

DUH.

“Yeah…I caught that. That didn’t answer my question.”

“No, I don’t like her,” Jason replied. He lifted his shoulders in a small shrug. “In fact, to be honest, sometimes she can be a little irritating.”

Hell, yeah.

“But you kissed her,” I replied, wanting to get it out in the open.I just…I need to know why. I know I have no right—

But I just need to know why he’d kiss her. Maybe that makes me selfish—but…

Too bad.

“You slept with Zander.”

Fair enough. I slept with Zander. Tell me something I don’t know.

I frowned. “We’ve been over that. It was a mistake.” A big mistake.

More like colossal. Gigantic, even.

“And so was Courtney,” Jason replied. Well, look here, folks.

Jason Morgan has returned.

Good to see him.

“I need to go.” I shifted my weight from one foot to the other. “I have some things to do before…before we can finish this conversation, okay?”

He doesn’t like that—it doesn’t surprise me. Jason’s not big on unfinished business.

I mean before his personality took a walk. He seems to be back, though.

I wonder if Courtney had been holding his common sense hostage. “Okay,” he agreed, reluctantly. “You know where to find me right?”

“Right.” I shifted, awkwardly. “Well, bye.”

“Elizabeth—” I heard him call after me. I didn’t turn back around.

I mean, I was tempted. Who knew what he was going to say? He might be offering a bike ride.

And man…what I wouldn’t give for one of those. But…

Before I could fix my relationship with Jason—I had to fix myself.

Even if that meant staying off the motorcycle. As painful as that was.


7

Or am I standing still
Beneath the darkened sky
Or am I standing still
With the scenery flying by
Or am I standing still
Out of the corner
Of my eye
Was that you
Passing me by?
Standing Still, Jewel


It was three weeks before I saw Jason again.

In that amount of time, I made a few changes in my life. I kept true to my word. When Brenda came into Kelly’s later that week, Courtney asked me to serve her.

“She’s in your section. You serve her.”

I’d like to serve Courtney with fist to the nose, but we can’t always get what we want, can we?

“Elizabeth, that’s not fair. You know what being around—”

“I swear to God, if you continue that sentence and mention the word Jason, I’m going to break your nose.”

And man, did I want to. I was really hoping she’d say something and I’d get to follow through.

“Elizabeth—what’s gotten into you?”

I knew that it wasn’t the place to have this conversation—I was a private person and discussing my feelings in the open diner was not something I wanted to do.

But she kept pushing it.

Courtney just doesn’t know when to shut her face. And it was getting tempting to do it for her.

“I just…I don’t feel comfortable around Brenda anymore. I mean she’s married to Jason—”

No.

Really?

Tell me something I don’t already know.

“I know that, Courtney. Believe me, you do not need to remind me every time you see them.”

Or when you see Brenda shopping or walking. Or just breathing.

Because I know she’s his wife.

It’s not something you forget easily.

“And I don’t think it’s fair that she got him and that he doesn’t even love her—”

“But he loves you, is that right, Courtney?” I couldn’t keep the sarcasm out of my voice. Suddenly, having this conversation where anyone in Port Charles could hear Courtney’s insipid remarks sounded like a great idea. I was praying AJ Quartermaine would come in.

I was dying for him to find out what kind of girl he’s married to.

Something tells me AJ might not take kindly to his wife panting after Jason. You know, his brother. AKA his mortal enemy.

“Well, I don’t know about that.”

Yeah, well, what you do know fits on the head of a pin.

“Well, I do. He doesn’t love you. So why don’t you pick up your damn order pad and serve his wife.”

I turned away from her then and ran straight into Bobbie, who looked…I couldn’t believe it—Bobbie was angry with me.

“We need to talk, Elizabeth.” Oh, goody.

Like I don’t know what this is about.

She pulled me into the backroom and launched into me. I couldn’t understand—I couldn’t see where the woman who’d supported me for years was inside this stranger. How could she take Courtney’s feelings and decide that they were more important than mine?

“And I told you Courtney—”

“You know what?” I cut in. “Shut up.” God.

That felt damn good.

Maybe I should try it again.

Bobbie stopped, stunned. “Elizabeth, that was incredibly—”

“Rude? Good. Now let me ask you something, Bobbie. Who am I?” I demanded. I crossed my arms and looked at her expectantly.

“What a ridiculous question, Elizabeth. What has gotten into you lately?” Just what I thought. She doesn’t have an answer, so she’s going to make me think I’m the one who’s nuts.

Yeah…well I already know I’m insane. So that’s not going to work.

“If it’s such a ridiculous question, then why don’t you answer me?”

I could see my behavior was confusing Bobbie and to be frankly, I didn’t care. I was sick of hiding how I felt from people.

“You’re Elizabeth Webber, and I’ve known you for over five years. You work for me. You dated my nephew, you’re like a member of—”

Oh, hell. She brought up Lucky.

Lucky, who I haven’t actually dated in nearly a year. Nothing about how she actually feels about me.

They’re just words.

Just my jobs. As a waitress.

As Lucky’s girlfriend…

Which had to be the worst job I ever had.

“Just stop, because you know I’m not a member of the family. I’m not. Because if I were family, you would never have treated me this way.”

“What in the world are you talking about?”

Do I really have to explain myself?

I guess I do, since Bobbie obviously forgot her brain at the hospital again. “Do you remember three years ago when I asked for your help when Jason was shot?”

“Yes. What’s your point?”

MY POINT?

Oh for the love of…

“Have you forgotten that Jason and I are friends, too? That I’ve known him longer than Courtney? That maybe his marriage affected me too?”

“Well, I think Courtney’s feelings for Jason are a bit different than yours—”

She thinks that Courtney has deeper feelings than I do? Courtney, who doesn’t have a brain cell in her body? You’ve got to be joking.

“You’re damn right they are,” I shot back. “Has the fact escaped you that she is married?”

“Of course not, Elizabeth—”

“Or that just because she’s attracted to Jason, it doesn’t negate my feelings for him?”

Yeah…well, we’re not getting into what my feelings are.

Bobbie gets confused easily.

“Well, of course, it doesn’t. But you and Jason are just friends, Elizabeth—” Friends. Just friends.

I don’t even remember what it was like to be just friends with Jason.

“Oh, please, Bobbie. Tell me you didn’t notice that Jason and I have never been just friends.”

I stared at her, waiting for confirmation. Because I think deep down, I was hoping that Bobbie was just going through a phase. That she hadn’t completely forgotten me.

I waited.

And I waited.

And Bobbie never answered. She just stared at me like she’d never seen before. And I knew I had my answer. I silently untied my apron and handed it to her.

“I quit.”

Quitting Kelly’s was a spur of the moment thing that if I’d thought about a little more, I might not have done it.

I’m not unhappy that I did. In fact, leaving Kelly’s was like finally saying goodbye to my past. It’s hard to believe that I’ve worked there for five years—I started working there the week after I moved to Port Charles.

And it’s been the only constant thing in my life. Through troubles with Sarah and Gram, through the rape, through Lucky’s death and subsequent revival, through Lucky’s brainwashing and the Spencer/Cassadine war, through absolutely every life-changing event in my life, I worked as a waitress in the diner.

And I’ve never regretted a single moment of it. I sometimes see Bobbie behind the counter or see a cook in the kitchen, and I think about Ruby. She never should have hired me—and there are countless times she should have fired me. I know it was only my relationship with Lucky and the Spencers that kept me working there.

But I never realized how much working there held me back. And now, sitting in my studio, wondering how I’m supposed to support myself—it feels like a relief. Something new to worry about.

Otherwise, I’ll think about Bobbie and how she forgot I had a personality—that I was a real living and breathing person with thoughts and feelings. She must be hanging around Courtney too much.

Of course…now I need a new job.

Or I’m going to homeless as well as friendless. And I thought life couldn’t get any worse.


8

Flowers are bloomin under gray skies and moons
Seems like I’m winnin everytime I lose
And the answer I been looking for been here all this time
Spread your rubber lovin and it bounces back to you
Here in this moment to myself
I’m gonna vibe with no one else
There is a conversation I need to have with me
It’s just a moment to myself
A Moment to Myself, Macy Gray


I’ve decided to go back to school. I had dropped out a while go and I never really liked that I’d given up that particular dream.

I stopped by PCU and grabbed a bunch of forms and headed to Kelly’s to fill them out. It was rather gratifying to eat and be served by Courtney after quitting—

It’s the simple things in life.

Bobbie made a beeline for me. “Elizabeth—”

“Leave me alone.”

“I think we need to talk—”

“Unless it involves taking my order, no we don’t.” I know I’m being cold. I know I’m being mean.

And the incredible thing is? I don’t give a fuck.

Bobbie gave up after a few minutes and took my order. I was so busy reading over class schedules and financial aid information that I didn’t notice when Alexis Davis dropped into the chair in front of me.

“Hello, Elizabeth.”

I looked up and smiled. “Hi, Alexis. How you feeling?”

“Like a truck,” Alexis replied, smiling. “But I’m actually feeling great.”

I never thought of Alexis Davis as a mother type—I mean she’s a wonderful person, but she never struck me as maternal.

I think it’s the Cassadine in her.

I don’t see any of them—not even Nikolas—as particular warm and cuddly. But Alexis was positively glowing.

“Listen,” Alexis said, leaning forward. “Ned and Emily were talking on the phone yesterday—”

Emily.

Who had for some reason forgiven me for Zander.

“—and Emily mentioned to him that you’d quit Kelly’s,” Alexis continued.

“Yeah, I decided I can do better,” I replied.

It’s not that I don’t like Alexis—because I do. I think she’s a wonderful person. But I have no clue what’s going on. And you know what? Alexis must be a mind reader because she smiled.

“I bet you’re wondering what that has to do with me.”

“Honestly? Yes.”

“Well, Ned’s been after me to slow down, to take it easy, you know? I keep telling him to back off—that I’m pregnant, not dying. Sometimes that man can be so overprotective—you’d think he was anything except the head of ELQ—”

A woman who babbles.

I think I’ve found my kindred spirit.

“Anyway, I finally agreed I’d take on an assistant. Now, that’s where you come in.”

“Me?” I asked. Is she nuts? “I don’t know anything about law.”

Alexis smiled again—I’d never seen a Cassadine smile so much before.”You don’t have to. I just need someone can run errands and do some typing. Like go to the courthouse and file briefs and do odd things so that Ned gets off my back.” Alexis straightened. “I can offer benefits and a good salary.”

“Wow, really?” I asked. Benefits?

Even Kelly’s wasn’t that good.

“Yes,” Alexis answered. “So you up for it?”

Am I up for it? Hell, yeah.

“Sure,” I replied, grinning. “I’d love to.”

“Great!” Alexis said, grinning. “When can you start?”

“When do you want me to start?” I replied.

“Well,” Alexis said, peering at the table full of forms. “Looks like you’re rather busy with applications. How about a week from now?”

“Sure,” I said.

A boss that understands I have a life other than work. She’s already a step above Bobbie.

Speaking of twits, I frowned as Courtney headed in my direction. My—she looked positively angry. “How could you?”

Yeah…cause I can read minds.

“How could I what?” I asked.

“What did you say to him?” she demanded. So we’re going to play twenty questions?

“Say to who?” I asked, doing a mental run through of the people I’d talked to lately—

Aw, hell.

The little twit was talking about Jason.

“He totally shot Carly down when she tried to set us up,” Courtney fumed.

Alexis frowned. “Aren’t you married?” she asked.

I knew I liked Alexis.

“Yes…well…we’re separated,” Courtney muttered. She turned to me. “What did you say to him?” Good lord.

I thought that by removing myself from this job, I was taking away the temptation to beat this child into a bloody pulp every time that I saw her.

I was wrong.

“I didn’t say anything to him.”

Well….not exactly.

I gave her a sweet smile. “Maybe he just doesn’t see you that way.”

“If you’d seen the way he kissed me, you wouldn’t say that,” Courtney remarked smugly.

Alexis raised an eyebrow and looked to me. “I thought Jason was your boyfriend.”

“We’re having some problems right now,” I told her.

Courtney snorted.

Hmm…she looked like a pig.

“You broke up with him,” Courtney said. “And you refused to budge an inch.”

“You know, Jason and I have a complicated relationship,” I said. “You wouldn’t understand.”

That’s not the only thing you don’t understand.

“Shouldn’t you be working out your own marriage?” Alexis asked, curiously. Yeah, Alexis is great. I think I’m going to have a blast working for her.

“My marriage is over,” Courtney sneered.

I grinned.

This was too beautiful. “News to me.”

AJ—standing right behind her the whole time—was fuming.

I could tell my day was taking a turn for the good. New job, new friend—

And the twit was put in her place.

Courtney turned and started sputtering to AJ.

Alexis just shook her head. “The people in this town worry me sometimes.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean.”

Alexis shrugged. “I mean, how that girl could think Jason had feelings for her when all he ever does is stare at you—”

Wait.

What?

“What?” I asked, interrupting her. Alexis and Jason never speak—they’re not really on good terms. I don’t…

How could Alexis see something that no one else had?

Alexis smiled. “I remember when Jason was searching for you last summer. I’d never seen that boy so obsessed.”

I always think it’s funny when people refer to Jason as a boy. “He was really worried, huh?” I asked, fishing for details. Hey, it can’t hurt to ask.

“Worried?” Alexis repeated. “He was like a madman—he went to Taggart for help.” Hold the phones.

Jason.

Went to Taggart.

Lieutenant Marcus Taggart.

As in Taggart who hates Jason Taggart. “You’re not serious.”

“As a heart attack,” Alexis said. She smiled. “Ned thought it was sweetest thing when he allowed Edward to blackmail him to come to dinner to exchange for information. I can still remember Ned’s expression and what he said.”

Jason went to Edward. Edward Quartermaine.

Why in the hell hadn’t anyone told me this?

“What did he say?” I asked curiously.

“Oh, that Jason had finally fallen in love again,” Alexis said.

In love. Jason. With me. This pregnancy must be affecting her mind.


9

Believe in yourself
Reach down inside.
The love you find will set you free
Believe in yourself, you will come alive
Have faith in what you do.
You’ll make it through.
Stay The Same, Joe McIntyre


“I think you might be mistaken,” I told Alexis. Because Jason’s not in love with me.

I mean…sure he cares about me, but love?

Alexis shook her head. “No, no I’m pretty sure. He was frantic when you were missing and he didn’t care who saw it.”

You have stay away from Jason. You have to figure out the rest of your life.

No Jason.

“Jason would be like that if anyone was kidnapped—he’s a good person.” Uh huh.

I think I’ll just live in delusion land for a little longer.

“Do you remember the warehouse explosion?” Alexis asked.

“I don’t think I’ll ever forget it,” I replied quietly.

Yeah…kind of hard to forget someone dying.

Getting shot.

You know…by the guy you were kinda dating.

Ugh.

Bad thought.

“I don’t…I don’t remember a lot it,” Alexis began, looking down. “I was so involved in looking at Kristina…”

“You don’t—you don’t have to talk about it,” I said, hurriedly.

Just because I was curious about why she was bringing it up—that didn’t mean it was really any of my business.

“No…no,” Alexis smiled—it was a forced one, I could tell. “Talking about it helps. You know…if Jason hadn’t taken charge and gotten her out of there…I might not have been able to say goodbye.”

“Jason’s good under pressure.”

Well…what else was I supposed to say?

“Yeah, I think it probably comes in handy with his job,” Alexis replied. “But I do remember when he told you to get out of there.”

Yeah.

I remember that, too.

“I remember,” I said. “But he just doesn’t like people to put themselves in danger.” So what does have to do with Jason’s feelings toward me?

“He didn’t tell me that or Felicia,” Alexis said. “In fact, you were the only person he did tell.”

Oh, hell.

She just had to go and find a loophole. “Why are you telling me this?” I asked.

Alexis shrugged. “Because sometimes people let their pride or principles in the way of how they really feel and it sucks.”

“Yeah…you’re telling me.”

She leaned forward. “So, you say you’re having problems with him.” Problems. Such a simple way to say it.

“We did sort of break up,” I admitted. “But he doesn’t want Courtney.”

Alexis looked over to where AJ and Courtney were arguing. “Who would?” I love this woman.

I tried not to laugh and said, “We hit a rough patch and I know I want to work out. I just don’t if he wants to.”

“So, what are you waiting for?” Alexis asked.

“I’m trying to get my life back in order,” I replied. “I’m getting there. New attitude, new job, new friends, I’m going back to school. When I go to Jason, I’m going to be happy because I can’t depend on him to make me happy.”

“You’re a smart girl,” Alexis said. “If only I’d known that at your age.”

“I think you’re doing pretty well yourself,” I replied.

“Well, thank you, Elizabeth.” Alexis checked her watch. “I have a meeting with a client. I’m working out of my house for a while, so next Monday, just come by around ten and we’ll get things situated.” She stood.

“Thanks…for everything, Alexis,” I said.

“Not a problem. I hope you work everything out.”

I ate my lunch and filled out the rest of the applications and forms. I would be able to swing the tuition with some financial aid—and I could depend on my salary to pay for bills and everything.

The evolution of Elizabeth Webber was going according to plan.

I just can’t stop thinking about Alexis and the things she said. What if I waited too long to get my life under control and any chance I had with Jason slipped away?

What if he stopped waiting to finish that conversation?

It’s not that I can’t live without him, I think I’ve proved that these last few weeks. I could successfully do so and even be satisfied. But I don’t want to live without him.

I want to able to see him, laugh and talk with him—like we used to. I want to go for motorcycle rides and go nowhere. I want to be so close to the stars that I feel like I can touch them.

I want to see the wind again.

Is that so bad? I mean, I know the reasons I shouldn’t want those things. I’ve heard them so many times.

Jason’s bad.

He’ll get me killed. He’ll only hurt me. Jason’s dangerous.

And I can see…I can see where people might think that. After all…he was the reason I was kidnapped—and he did hurt me.

But I hurt him, too. I can’t negate my responsibility. If anything, the scales are tipped heavily in my favor. I’ve hurt him far worse than he’s hurt me.

And yeah…Jason’s a dangerous man. I remember how he was with Sorel that day on the docks or the way he looked when he beat up Lucky.

But he’s not a bad person. So…he does illegal things. All right. I understand that—I’m not naïve—I know that Sonny and Jason do more than just import coffee.

Courtney, the little twit—she’d never be able to handle one iota of Jason’s life. If it had been her in that boxcar three years ago, she would have run in the other direction.

I’ve seen what Jason’s capable and…

I fell in love with him anyway.

People don’t get to see what I see. They don’t see the guy who taught me how to swing a bat or taught me how to fight. They don’t get to see the man who wiped my makeup off.

They don’t see the Jason I know.

And that makes all the difference. They see the surface, but they don’t see him. I do. And I know him.

And I never should have said otherwise.

I can’t keep living my life for other people. If I want to see the wind again—

I’ve got to make it happen. If I want to be with Jason—

I can’t wait and hope he’ll come to me.

That’s not the way this is going to work. He’s not the only person in this relationship.

I’m in it.

And I count, too.

So, it’s not up to him anymore.

And I’m sick of waiting for someday.

Alexis is right. It’s stupid to put pride and principles in front your feelings. Because you might lose your chance and that’s when it really sucks.


10

I know we’ve changed but
Change can be so good
So let’s not forget why
It’s understood that
Time, look where we are and what we’ve been through
Time, sharing our dreams
Time, goes on and on everyday, baby
Time is what it is
Come what may
Time, Backstreet Boys


All right, Webber. Suck it up. You’ve made your decision. You’re going to talk to him. You’re going to be honest.

No matter what the consequences.

It seemed so simple fifteen minutes ago at Kelly’s after a conversation with Alexis opened my eyes to a few things.

Although I wanted the Edward/Taggart thing confirmed by Jason himself.

I knocked on the penthouse door and after a few minutes, I decided he wasn’t home. I was walking away when the door open. Now or never.

“Elizabeth?”

God, I loved how he said my name. All low and raspy. I wonder how it would sound after we—

Mind out of the gutter, Webber.

“Hi.” I stuck my hands in my back pockets. “We need to talk.”

He stepped back and gestured for me to enter. I took a deep breath and did so. Stay strong.

Do not jump him.

No matter how good he looks in that black long-sleeved shirt. Or how really nice his butt looks—

“I’ve been making a lot of changes lately,” I said, working like hell to keep my mind PG-13. “I quit Kellys, I’m going to back to school and I just got hired by Alexis. I’m going to be her assistant.”

“That’s good,” he said. “I’m glad.”

“I realized something today,” I told him. “I realized that I could live without you and probably still live happily. That wasn’t true before I left. I was at the point in my life when I was only happy with you.” Not giving him a chance to say anything, I plunged on. “And that wasn’t right. I can’t do that again—depend someone else to make me happy. I did that with Lucky, and you can see where that got me after I thought he was dead. That’s why I couldn’t finish this conversation at the bridge. Because I’m not happy by myself.”

“I understand—”

“Wait,” I said. “Let me finish.” I smiled a little. “I’m not all the way there—but I’m doing good. I don’t let anyone walk all over me, I’m not working at the same place I did in high school and I’m going to finally finish my education. I’m happy, Jason. For the first time since you left for the first time, I’m happy just being by myself, with my painting and I know I’m going to love my new job, because Alexis is so much to talk to…” I trailed off, realizing that I’d once again resorted to babbling. “She told me that you went to Taggart and Edward Quartermaine when I was kidnapped.”

I held my breath. Please let it be true. Please.

“I did,” he said finally. He looked away—down at the ground. “I was scared,” he admitted. “I wasn’t sure if I’d see you again.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked.

He shrugged. “I don’t know. I just…it didn’t occur to me to tell you.” Jason walked past me towards the couch. I turned around so I could see him. “I’m glad you’re happy, Elizabeth. That’s all I ever wanted for you.”

“Are you happy?” I asked.

He turned, I could tell I’d surprised him with the question. I knew he wasn’t happy. I could tell.

“No,” he admitted. “I’m not.” He sat on the arm of the couch, and looked at me. He’s got that look.

I just wanna hug him. Stay strong.

“I should be,” he said quietly. “I finally got Brenda out of my life. I’ve got a job that challenges me and keeps me on my toes. I’ve got pretty much everything

I need. My bike, a pool table, a few friends.” He looked then, met my eyes.

Do not hug him. Stay strong.

“But Carly has this idea that Courtney would be perfect for me, so I can’t even talk to her without the subject coming up. And all Sonny wants me to do is concentrate on the job.” He looked at the pool table. “And every time I try to play pool or go for a ride, I think of you, so that doesn’t really work anymore.”

“Sorry,” I offered, giving him a little smile.

“It’s not your fault,” Jason replied.

“So, my discovery today is that I can live without you, but…I don’t want to.”

The seconds the words left my mouth, he stood up.

I didn’t even realized I’d moved to stand in front of him until he did that. Standing so quickly like he had—I had to take a step back or I’d be…

Well…

Right up against him.

And I wasn’t here to do that.

Well, not right at this second anyway.

“I don’t want to live without you either,” he confessed. Well.

There it is. Honesty.

It’s been a while since we tried that.

“You’re my best friend, Jason,” I said. “And I don’t want to lose that again.” He reached out and took my hands.

Oh, dear.

“I miss you,” he told me.

Pulling out the big guns, aren’t we? “I miss you, too.”

“Can we…” He looked up at me. “Can we find a way to make this work?”

“Yeah…but it’s got to be different this time,” I told him. “I can’t make all the sacrifices—you’ve got to do some of the work.”

“I know…” He stopped and looked away for a few moments. When he looked back at me, I finally saw the guy I’d fallen in love with. He looked determined. “I don’t want to watch you walk away again.”

It was getting hard to think rationally when he was looking at me like that and his thumbs were stroking the insides of my wrists. He was making it very difficult to stick my resolution of staying strong.

“I don’t want to walk away,” I said, finally. “Not ever again.”

He grinned. Oh, dear.

“Good.” He let go of my hands and moved his hands to frame my face. We locked eyes.

You know, he’s really got the most amazing eyes. They’re this bright brilliant shade of sky blue—I’ve never seen anyone else with his—

He kissed me.


11

I love the way you speak
And I love the way you swear
I love the way you walk around with your head held in the air
I love the way your words move
And I love the way you drive
I love the way you’re scared of people scared to be alive
Stay – stay you that’s the toughest thing to do
Stay You, Wood


Okay. Quick recap. I quit Kelly’s.

I’m standing up for myself. I got a new job.

I made a new friend.

I drop kicked Bobbie and Courtney out of my life. Jason and I made up.

I broke Courtney’s nose.

Oh, what? I didn’t tell you?

It’s actually a really funny story.

I was in my studio, packing (Jason and I decided to move in together, but that’s another story) when the twit showed up at my door.

“Hi, Liz,” Courtney said.

Here we go with the Liz thing again. “What do you want?”

I didn’t even bother to hide the irritation in my voice. It felt great.

“I needed to talk to you,” Courtney said. “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and well, I filed for divorce this morning.” Well, goody for you. “And I was thinking of asking Jason for dinner.”

Back off blondie.

“See, we’re really close now,” Courtney continued. “And since the two of you aren’t together, and he’s divorcing Brenda, I thought—”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” I shook my head. “Don’t tell me you’re here for my blessing.”

Courtney sighed. “No, but I wanted you to be the first to know. I mean, you and Jason aren’t friends anymore and I’d hate for you to find out from someone else.”

“And what, exactly, would I be finding out?” I asked. This should be good.

“Well, that Jason and I are going to be seeing each other.”

I couldn’t help it. I started to laugh.

Courtney frowned. “I’m serious, Liz.”

“I know—that’s what’s so funny.” I got my laughter under control. “You know what I’m doing right now?”

Courtney peered in. That bitch. Her eyes all but lit up at the boxes.

“You’re moving?” she asked. “You’re leaving town?”

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” I asked.

“Well, maybe it’d be for the best,” Courtney said. “I mean, it would probably hurt to see Jason with me, you know since he dumped you—”

See, that’s what set me off. Jason didn’t dump me.

 

I dumped him.

Just as long as we keep this in perspective. So I punched her.

The sounds of bone cracking and blood spurting have never sounded so good. “You bitch!” Courtney squealed, holding her hands to her nose.

“Listen, blondie,” I began, testily. “You are not going to be seeing Jason because I will be. I’m not leaving town—I’m moving in with him. He loves me, and I love him. We are together.”

I smirked. “And just for the record, hon? I dumped him.” I slammed the door in her face.

It has never felt that good to do that.

Later when Jason came over to pick up some of my things to take to the penthouse, he noticed my bruised hand.

He wanted to ask. But he didn’t.

I love that man.

I volunteered the information. Told him that I punched Courtney. It was struggle for him not to smile.

He lost the struggle.

I think we’re going to be okay.

I found out later through the grapevine that Courtney’s nose had been badly broken and needed plastic surgery or she’d make this weird whistling noise when she’d breathe.

I only wish I could have been in town to hear the wheezing idiot. But I was on vacation.

In Italy.

Life…it’s better.

And it can only keep getting going that way. As long as I don’t lose myself again.

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