Chapter Fifteen

August 21, 2003

Morgan Penthouse

Sonny followed Jason and Elizabeth into the penthouse and cleared his throat. “Elizabeth, about Emily—”

“I’ll handle it,” Jason said quietly. He nodded towards the door. “Can we…have a minute?”

“Yeah, yeah, sure.” Sonny nodded in agreement. “I’ll be across the hall with Carly if you need anything.” He didn’t wait for them to reply but just left.

Jason took a deep breath before turning around to find Elizabeth standing at the window near the pool table. “I wasn’t going to keep it from you,” he said immediately. “If I’d known the families were going to press for information, I would have let you know before we left.”

“I’m not made of cotton, I’m not made of glass.” She turned to meet his eyes. “Don’t treat me like I’m fragile. If my best friend in the world betrays me, I have a right to know.”

“I was going to tell you—”

“And it’s not fair that you can decide when I’m ready for that information.” Elizabeth crossed her arms tightly. “When did you find out?”

“Five minutes before I came upstairs.” Jason cleared his throat and looked away. “She told Zander and he brought her over here. She told Faith the names of all the guards she knew, including Andrew and Marco.”

“Why?” Elizabeth asked softly. “What could she possible think Faith could do for her?”

“Exactly what she almost did,” Jason remarked. “Emily wants this marriage over. Faith and Ric faked their deaths. They bought the guards who identified the fake bodies and if Ric had waited a month rather than a few days, he’d have you right now and the marriage would be annulled.”

Elizabeth tilted her head to the side. “What makes a month different from now? I mean—I still would have had the same security…”

Jason shook his head. “We were talking about moving you somewhere else,” he admitted. “I didn’t—I thought you might want to be away from this life so we were talking about suggesting you go to the island—after Courtney came home.”

She didn’t say anything at first—just turned back to the window to peer out across the harbor. A few moments later, she sighed heavily. “Are you lonely, Jason?” she asked softly.

Confused by the question and change in topic, Jason shrugged. “I never thought about it before.”

“I bet you miss Courtney,” Elizabeth said. She moved her eyes to the building that had held her studio and she found herself longing for that one-room escape. “When she comes home—I’ll try to keep out your way.”

Jason approached her than. “We’re not getting back together—Elizabeth, what happened earlier was—”

“A mistake,” Elizabeth said, turning to face him. “I was feeling sorry for myself. I’m sorry that I threw myself at you but I promise it won’t happen again.”

“No, it was not a mistake,” Jason replied firmly. “And don’t insult me by thinking you can lie to me. It’s been a long time since I could tell what you’re thinking but it’s coming across very clearly. You think because Sonny and I considered sending you to the island after Courtney came back here that I was just exchanging you for her and that says a lot of your opinion about me, doesn’t it?”

“Jason—” Elizabeth began.

“The truth is that you deserve better than this life. I’ve always felt that way and for a long time, I thought you had decided that too. That’s why I didn’t press the matter last fall. You had a right to leave this life before it was too late and I thought that’s what you had done.” He shook his head. “It never occurred to me that you were leaving me and not the life.”

“The life—it doesn’t bother me. It never has. Do I like being in danger all the time? I’m not thrilled about it but I know that you’re in ten times more danger than I am. I know that every time you step out that door, you might not come back—” she broke off and closed her eyes. “I don’t want to go over the same ground again.”

“We never went over this before. You never said anything about how it made you feel. You just told me that you couldn’t handle it and you walked out,” Jason accused. “Maybe if you had stayed and we talked about this, none of this would have happened.”

“Oh, so now it’s my fault that I’m pregnant with the psycho’s baby,” Elizabeth sarcastically. “Like it was my fault that you ignored me for a month, left me here night after night wondering if you were alive or dead.”

“Elizabeth—”

“Because for all I knew Sonny was dead and you were in charge again. And I thought you might go after who killed Sonny and I was terrified that I’d never see you again.” She clenched her hands into fists. “But you never came home except to change and avoid me and every time I saw you—every single time—you were with Courtney.” She arched an eyebrow. “You know—when did you start seeing her? Before or after I left?”

“I’m not even going to answer that because I know you don’t believe I’d do that to you and if you do, then we’ve got bigger problems then you pulling away from me,” he replied quickly.

Elizabeth shrugged. “Whatever. I don’t even care anymore.” She started past him towards the stairs but he grabbed her arm and turned back to face him.

“We’re not finished here, Elizabeth. For one thing—what happened upstairs was not a mistake, it was not about you feeling sorry for yourself or me missing Courtney. We both wanted it and if Sonny hadn’t called, then it would have gone a lot further and you know it.” He took a deep breath. “Secondly, Emily may be your friend but she’s my sister and she betrayed me just as much as she betrayed you so no, I didn’t tell you right away because I was having enough trouble believing it and I heard it right from her mouth. She’s my sister, Elizabeth, and she decided she knew what was best for me.”

Once he’d begun talking, she’d stopped struggling and she instantly felt contrite for having turned the whole conversation into a fight. She could see that he hadn’t wanted her to find out that way and truthfully, how else could he have done it? How do you tell someone the girl they thought of as a sister had turned them both over to a pair of psychopaths.

“You’re right,” Elizabeth said softly. “I didn’t—I was so caught up in thinking about what Emily did to me—I’m so sorry, Jason. I know how much you love her.”

Her submission surprised him and he took a step back, releasing her arm. “It doesn’t matter—”

“It does,” Elizabeth protested. “Jason—you don’t want me to shut you out, right? You want me to talk to you, to be honest?”

“Yeah,” he said, knowing where she was going and resenting like hell that she was using his words against him.

“I want the same from you. Talk to me.” She braced her hands on his forearms and looked up him. “Please.”

He exhaled slowly. Until he’d started talking, he hadn’t realized that he was upset about what Emily had done. Angry, yes. Betrayed, yes. Devastated was something he didn’t think he’d felt.

“When Robin told AJ about Michael—I could understand why,” he began. He looked away. “I knew how much she hated the lie and how much it hurt her for everyone to believe I’d cheated on her with Carly to conceive Michael. She was doing what she was thought was right. I never saw it coming, but I understood it.”

“And even Sonny and Carly—I hated it but I know them. I know what made them both do it and I’ve learned to live with it.” He took a deep breath. “But Emily—even knowing that she did it…I still have a hard time believing it. She decided that I couldn’t be married to you and not get hurt. She decided she had to get me out of this situation and in doing so, she nearly got you kidnapped and almost killed. I don’t think she meant to hurt you—but I can’t believe she’d willingly turn over that kind of information without thinking Ric would use it to get to you.”

“She loves you, Jason,” Elizabeth said softly. “More than anything. But I don’t think it was entirely about you. I think—” she bit her lip. “Gia told me that Emily was really upset when she found out about last summer—about Zander. Gia told Emily that I’d been dating Zander before going on to you. She had basically summed it up by saying that I’d gone from Lucky to you to Zander to you to Ric and I guess Emily was afraid I’d hurt you again.” She shrugged. “It doesn’t make what she did right but it wasn’t about not trusting you or making the decision for you. Even Emily knows better than to do that.”

He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter, Elizabeth. She could have come to me. She could have told me what she was thinking. Emily knows she can come to me. I could have told her that what happened with Zander was none of my business and if I’d just—been more open with you, that it wouldn’t have happened in the first place. I think—if I’d told you I came home to Port Charles because I knew you’d broken up with Lucky…things would have been different, wouldn’t they?” Jason asked.

Elizabeth blinked. “Wait—you knew before you came home…” The implication sunk in and she took a step back. “You came home because I wasn’t with Lucky anymore. Jason…”

“But if I’d told you that that night in the studio, it would have been different, right?” Jason insisted.

“Yes,” Elizabeth said. “Yes, they would have—but—”

“So Emily could have come to me and I could have talked her out of this. But she chose to do something she knew could hurt you and I’m not sure if I can forgive her for that.” Jason pulled away from her and moved to the pool table. He exhaled slowly. “You wanted to know how I felt and that’s it. I’m angry because she took my trust in her and obliterated it. And she nearly got you killed. How do I let go of that?”

“I don’t know,” Elizabeth admitted. “I don’t know if you can but I’m not you, Jason. Things aren’t black and white for me. I guess—I was so awful to you in the past, Jason. I really was and I think—” she looked away. “I’m not surprised her loyalty to you is stronger than hers to me.”

“How can you say she has loyalty towards me when she went to Faith?” Jason bit out angrily.

“Because she didn’t go to Faith to hurt you. She didn’t go, intending to hurt either of one of us. She did it, thinking she would protect you and I’m sorry, Jason, but it’s hard for me not to sympathize with that because I’d do anything to protect the people I love.” Elizabeth sat on the arm of the couch. “Her methods were shit, I’ll be the first to admit it and I don’t plan on forgiving her for at least a year but her intent was good.”

“So because she had my best interests in heart, I should forgive her?” Jason asked skeptically.

“I remember once that Carly was scared of what was going to happen to her family and turned Sonny into the Feds, hoping he’d take a deal and take immunity. She, in essence, betrayed Sonny. Her methods were wrong but in the end, she was only trying to protect her family. You wrote that off because she’s Carly and always doing things that make no sense, right?” Elizabeth remarked. “Emily’s out of your life because she did the same thing?”

He stared at her for a moment before shaking her head. “I don’t like that you’re making sense.”

She smirked. “I’m not saying forgive her, Jason. I just—I want you to look at this from all sides. You know Emily almost better than she knows herself. She would never willing to set out to hurt anyone.”

She rubbed the small of her back. “I think I’m going to take a nap—I’m a little tired.” She slowly moved towards the stairs, stepping gingerly on her sprained ankle.

“Elizabeth—” Jason called after her. She glanced over her shoulder. “We’re not finished here. And I’m going to want to finish this eventually.”

Accepting the inevitable, Elizabeth sighed and nodded before heading up the stairs to take her nap.

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