“You promised me you’d think about it!” Lily accused the next morning over coffee at her penthouse.
“I did,” Jason argued. “I thought about it. It’s not my fault you don’t like my decision.”
“Damn it, Jason, you can’t do this to her!” Lily declared. “You care about her and you know it.”
Jason set his coffee cup on the dining table and glared at her. “That doesn’t matter.”
“It does, too,” Lily insisted. “She cares about you, too.”
“Knock it off, Lily,” Jason warned.
Lily stood, her hands on her hips as she glared down at him. “You just hate that you let her get in, don’t you? You opened up to her and now you’re running scared.”
“Lily, I’m warning you,” Jason began.
“Jason, if you push her away, if you deliberately hurt her…” Lily took a deep breath. “Then you’re no better than Nikolas Cassadine.”
He narrowed his eyes. “What’s the supposed to mean?”
“He’s made it his mission in life to see her prosecuted for Lucky’s murder. He’s deliberately hurting her and if you do this, you’re not any different.”
“I’m doing this now so it won’t be worse later,” Jason said stubbornly.
“Worse later?” Lily demanded. “How can letting someone in, falling in love…how can you say it’ll be worse later?”
“When someone has to explain to her daughter why she’s an orphan,” Jason muttered.
“Damn it, there are no guarantees in life!” Lily wanted to rip her hair out from the roots. “You’re so damn infuriating.”
“She’s not even going to see this coming,” Lily said. “I know it–because I talked to her last night and she thinks–”
“Lily, come on–”
“She thinks you care about her.” Lily glared at him. “You kissed her that night, she told me. And now you’re going to push her away and you’re not even going to tell her why. You’re just going to dump her.”
“I do care about her,” Jason argued. “That’s why I’m doing this. She deserves better–”
“Let her be the judge of that,” Lily retorted. She stopped suddenly and her hands fell to her sides. “Oh my God.”
“What?” Jason asked, suspicious.
She blinked. “I didn’t–I didn’t think it was possible, but it’s true.”
“You’re in love with her.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Jason said immediately. “I’ve barely known her two weeks.”
“And it took me five seconds to decide I loved Sonny,” Lily reminded him. “You’re in love with her and I’ll bet that scares the shit out of you.”
“I have to go,” Jason said. He stood and brushed past her.
“You’re going to do it now, aren’t you?” Lily accused. “She’s on her way over right now, isn’t she?”
“Isn’t she?” Lily demanded.
Jason sighed and looked away. “Yeah.”
“Don’t do it, Jase,” Lily pleaded. “She’s the best thing that’s happened to you in a long time. Don’t ruin it.”
“It’s too late for that, Lily,” Jason told her. He pulled the door open and left.
Lily sat back on the couch. She couldn’t even warn Elizabeth.
Mac looked up from his desk and frowned. He knew that tone–Taggart had bad news. “What is it Taggart?” he asked, hoping Nikolas Cassadine wasn’t in the squad room demanding another impromptu meeting.
Taggart frowned and jerked his thumb towards the squad room. “We’ve, uh, got something interesting out here. You remember the driver from the Spencer accident?”
Mac’s mouth went dry as he stood. “What about him?”
“He’s, um, making a statement about Elizabeth Spencer. That she paid him to run Lucky’s car off the road.”
Mac lunged forward. “What?” he demanded.
“I’m serious, boss. We’ve got his statement being taken as we speak.”
“What–what made him wait so long to come forward?” Mac asked, closing his eyes wondering how he could make this go away with it ever touching Elizabeth.
“He says his wife is making him–that she found out about the money and demanded he come forward,” Taggart explained. “And, uh, Baldwin’s already got an arrest warrant ready.”
“Taggart, this is ridiculous,” Mac said. “You know she’s not guilty.”
“Yeah…I know that,” Taggart said. “But now we got proof that says otherwise. You know we gotta follow up.”
“I know she’s innocent like I know my last name,” Mac argued. “There’s no way in hell Elizabeth Spencer hired someone to kill her husband.”
“It reeks of Cassadine,” Taggart agreed. “But until we can prove otherwise…we gotta do this by the book.”
Mac took a deep breath. “If anyone’s going to bring her in…I want it to be me and you. All right? Not some rookie who doesn’t know any better.”
“You got it, boss. Let’s go.”
Jason looked up from his receipts as Johnny announced Elizabeth. She walked in; her leather jacket zipped nearly all the way up, her soft pink sweater showing at the top. Her cheeks were flushed from the cold and she was grinning. “Hey, you ready?”
Jason couldn’t help but smile back at her. She seemed to bring that out in him. Remembering what he had to tell her today, the smile fell from his face. He turned away and started putting the invoices and receipts into a folder.
Elizabeth knew the second he’d shut down on her and she frowned. She didn’t understand what was wrong with him–he’d been the one to ask her if she wanted to go for a ride. “What’s wrong?”
He looked back up at her but didn’t meet her eyes. “Nothing.”
She took a step forward and put a hand on his arm. “Jase-”
“Nothing’s wrong,” he repeated. He shrugged her arm off and put the folder in a drawer. “I forgot to call you–I have work to do.” He turned around and bumped into her. His head was spinning–he couldn’t think straight when he was around her. Especially when she was looking straight at him–or into him.
“You’re lying,” Elizabeth stated. Her eyes narrowed. “Jason, what’s going on?”
He wished she’d move out of the way. She was standing between him and the open space of the penthouse. If she’d move, he wouldn’t feel pinned to the wall. He wouldn’t feel the urge to touch her hair or her face…like he was doing now.
She stared at him–wondering what was happening. Why it felt like he was pushing her away but trying to keep her close all at the same time. She was afraid to break the gaze they were sharing–afraid if she did so that he’d move away and she wouldn’t like what would come next.
Before either of them realized it, his other hand reached around her waist and pulled her closer. His mouth came crashing down on hers, drowning them both. She closed her eyes and let her hands roam over his chest. Both his hands were locked around her waist and he spun them so she was against the wall.
She felt dizzy from the intensity of the kiss but powerless to stop it. She felt her jacket being unzipped and pushed off her shoulders. She could feel his warm hands underneath her sweater. She brought her hands to the edge of his t-shirt and slipped them underneath his shirt.
The contact of her cold hands against his skin was enough to jerk Jason back to reality. He broke the kiss abruptly and pulled away. He turned around and took deep breaths trying to get his breathing evened out. More than ever–he knew he was doing the right thing.
Elizabeth leaned against the wall, trying to control her own breathing. She wondered what was going on here. One second he was being cold–the next he was kissing her senseless–and now…he was pulling away. She could physically feel him putting up walls.
Finally he turned around. His breathing was normal and he felt some semblance of control. As long as he didn’t look at her directly–he might be able to pull this off. “I’m sorry.”
Elizabeth jerked her eyes open to stare at him, open-mouthed. He was sorry? “You’re sorry?” she repeated. She blinked looking around trying to understand what was happening. “Jason–what’s going on?”
“That shouldn’t have happened,” he continued. He looked at her face–but did everything he could to avoid her eyes. “I’ve been thinking–I don’t think we should see each other anymore.”
Elizabeth straightened, her entire body trembling. “What?”
“It’s not in either of our best interests,” Jason said. “You have Lex and your family to worry about. I have Lily and the business. It’s not gonna work.”
She stared at him–she watched him look everywhere but at her. His eyes rested on her shoulders, on the spot behind her on the wall, at the ground–but he never met her eyes. “You’re lying.” Her hands clenched into fists. “What’s going on?” she demanded. “Why are you pushing me away?”
“Look, you don’t belong in my life,” Jason stated. “And I don’t belong in yours.”
Elizabeth felt panic creeping up her throat. If she lost Jason, she’d lose Lily. And her only friend in the world would be Luke–who’s first loyalty would always be to Laura. “That’s not true,” she whispered, not liking the wavering tone she was speaking in. “It’s not,” she said, in a firmer voice. “And you don’t get to decide who’s in my life. Or who belongs.”
“Well, I decide who belongs in mine–” Jason broke off and looked away. “You’re better off.”
“I’m better off?” Elizabeth repeated. “Are you insane?” She raised a trembling hand to her hair. “How can you say that? How can you think that?”
He closed his eyes. He was hurting her–this was the very reason he had to end this. Had to shut her out. Hurting her a little now was better than hurting her worse in the long run–and he would hurt her worse. He was sure of it. He’d killed Sonny after all.
“Because it’s true.”
“You’re lying,” she said desperately. “You don’t believe that!” Elizabeth pressed a hand to her abdomen, feeling sick. “I know you don’t think that.”
Jason took a deep breath. “I’d like it if you left now,” he said, careful to keep his voice cold and detached.
Elizabeth bit her lip and closed her eyes. She was violently trembling. Everything was falling apart around her. Nikolas was close to getting an investigation opened–she’d probably lose The Outback once he was finished with her–she wasn’t sure if Lily would stick around if Jason wasn’t–Laura had accused her of murder. Didn’t Jason understand…didn’t he see what was happening?
She took a deep breath and knelt to pick up the jacket that only minutes before Jason had pushed off her shoulders. She didn’t look at him before she left–worried she wouldn’t be able to leave with her head held high.
The door shut with a soft click behind her and Jason let out the breath he’d been holding.
That hadn’t gone well at all.
Elizabeth didn’t bother to pick up Lex from Luke–she just returned to her apartment. The only thing she could think about was taking a long hot bubble bath and making drinking herself into oblivion tonight. Surely Luke could keep Lex for the night.
As soon as she parked across the street, she saw Mac and Taggart waiting by the front of her building and she knew.
They were going to arrest her.
She took a moment to gather her wits and take a deep breath. She’d known Nikolas would get this far–she knew he had the money and the connections to do it. She’d had time to prepare for this.
But having it happen less than an hour after Jason’s rejection, she wasn’t sure if she was prepared after all. She crossed the street and approached them.
“Hi,” she said softly.
“Hey,” Mac greeted. He exchanged a look with Taggart. “Liz, the driver from the accident has come forward. He says that you paid him.”
Elizabeth wrapped her arms around her torso and looked down. After the scene with Jason, she wasn’t going to fight this. Nikolas had fabricated evidence–that much was apparent. She was going to be arrested.
“We don’t believe him,” Taggart assured her. “But we gotta do this right.”
“I know.” She looked back up at them. “If I come quietly, are the handcuffs necessary?”
“No,” Mac replied. “Come on, kid.” He put an arm around her shoulder and steered her towards the car. “Listen, you know Alexis will have you out in no time.”
Elizabeth didn’t answer him as she got into the car. She wasn’t so sure of that. Nikolas had a lot of money–and a lot of connections. The driver was probably going to make a deal in exchange for his testimony–and with all the other circumstantial evidence…
Not to mention she wasn’t even sure if Alexis would still be her lawyer.
As soon as Lily heard the elevator, she left her apartment, flew past Johnny and went straight into the penthouse. She’d absolutely had it. She hadn’t thought he’d actually go through with it. But it was obvious–Elizabeth had arrived and left, staying merely ten minutes. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what had happened.
She slammed the door behind her and glared at Jason who was in the middle of downing a Scotch. “What in the hell were you thinking?”
Jason tossed her a scathing glance and turned back to the bar. He poured himself another drink. “Go away.”
“Do you have any idea what you just done?” she demanded. “Her life is falling apart around her and you just dumped her no reason! What in the hell is going on?”
Jason felt the hot liquid slide down his throat. “She’s better this way.”
“Better?” Lily cried. “You just broke her heart, you son of a bitch.”
“Better her heart than the rest of her,” Jason replied bitterly. He reached for the bottle of Scotch again. Lily knocked it from his hand, sending it crashing to the ground.
“God damn it, Jason, for the last time, you didn’t kill Sonny!” Lily cried. “Stop pushing people away because Sonny was an idiot and got in that car without letting you check it!”
Jason glared at her. “It was my job to protect him–and he’s dead. I killed him–I bring people nothing but grief and misery. I’d kill myself before I let that happen to Elizabeth!”
“Well, then get your gun. Do you understand what she’s been going through? Laura has already accused her of murder, Nikolas Cassadine is working like a madman to convince anyone who will listen that she killed Lucky and Luke’s telling her to stay away from you!” Lily took a deep breath. “The last thing she needed was to lose you.”
Jason stared at the broken shards of the bottle on the ground. “It’s better this way,” he repeated.
Lily stared at him and wondered what was going through his mind. Why he’d push Elizabeth away when she needed him the most. She took a deep breath. “If you don’t tell her about Sonny, then I will.”
Jason jerked his head up and glared at her. “Stay out of this, Lily,” he warned.
She shook her head. “No. Because she needs you, and damn it, you need her. So, I swear, Jason. If you don’t tell her, I will.”
“Don’t say a word.”
She shook her head. “You’ve left me no choice.”
Before Jason could continue arguing, his phone rang. He glared at Lily for another second before yanking the receiver towards his ear. “Hello? Alexis? Wait…” He closed his eyes. “Is she okay?”
“Jason, what’s going on?” Lily asked urgently.
Jason ignored her. “No…I can’t come down. No, Alexis. I’ll send Lily. Bye.” He hung the phone up and leaned against the desk, his eyes downcast. “Alexis is at the PCPD.”
“What happened?” Lily demanded.
Jason just shook his head. “A witness came forward apparently. They’re charging Elizabeth with Lucky’s murder.”
Lily gasped. “Oh, no. Nikolas must have paid someone off!”
“Yeah…that’s what Alexis thinks. She wanted to let me know that there’s no need for me to make up the difference in the rates anymore. She’s doing this one for free.”
Lily managed a smile. “Nikolas has pissed her off apparently.” Her expression softened. “Will she be able to get the charges dropped?”
“No,” Jason replied. “Baldwin’s pushing for a trial and apparently, he got the right judge. There’s no trail leading to Nikolas, not yet anyway. She’s on her way to the courthouse. They’ll be setting bail.” He eyed her. “I want you to go and bail her out. Use my money–yours, I don’t care. I don’t want her spending one night in jail.”
Lily’s expression grew hopeful. “Does this mean you’re reconsidering?”
“No,” Jason said firmly. “Which is why I’m sending you.”
“Jason,” Lily argued. “She needs you.”
“The last thing she needs is to have me in that courtroom,” Jason said quietly. “The judge will take one look at me and deny her bail, and you know it.”
Lily sighed. “Yeah. I guess you’re right. Well, I’ll go get her.” She headed for the door. Once she was there, she turned around to face him. “You know–maybe you should really think about whether or not you really want to kick her out of your life. Because–”
“Fine,” Lily snapped. “But when you’re all alone because you’ve shoved anyone who ever cared out of your life, it’s going to be your fault.”
She slammed the door behind her.