Chapter One

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Life's Little Quirks

Dr. Elizabeth Webber slid a chart in one of the slots and smiled at a passing nurse. She flexed her arms and rolled her head back and forth, trying to work out the kinks. After a fifteen hour shift, she was finally heading home.

She heading towards the emergency entrance–it was closer to where her car was parked–when they flung open. Automatically, she stepped to the side as a stretcher being rolled by two paramedics rolled past.

She spied her best friend, Nikolas Cassadine, among the two paramedics and stayed back to talk to him. With her crazy shifts, they’d barely had a chance to talk all a week.

She’d met Nikolas six months earlier when she started her internship at Port Charles Memorial Hospital. He’d been rolling in an gunshot wound and they’d started talking. He’d originally hit on her and they’d gone out on a date. Five minutes into the date, they both decided it wasn’t going to work and she’d ended up with a best friend instead.

Nikolas lived with his stepbrother, Lucky Spencer, a firefighter at the station Nikolas worked out of. Lucky was dating a nurse at the hospital, Emily Morgan. Emily worked a lot of night shifts on the maternity ward, so Elizabeth hadn’t had much of a chance to meet her.

She was only waiting a few minutes before Nikolas reappeared. “Webber,” he greeted. He called to his partner, “Hey, Donovan. Give me a few minutes!”

“Hey, Cassadine. Been a while,” Elizabeth said.

“Yeah, how was that fifteen hour shift?” Nikolas asked, grinning. He was constantly ribbing the brunette about her crazy shifts while he only worked the 3-11.

“About as much fun as your last date,” Elizabeth replied. She shifted her book bag higher on her shoulder. “I just wanted to confirm this weekend. Dinner on Friday, right?”

“Oh, I called you but I guess you didn’t get it yet. We’re meeting at Eli’s at 7. Lucky’s bringing Emily, she managed to get the night off, finally.”

“Great!” Elizabeth said. “I’ve been looking forward to meeting her.”

Nikolas hesitated for a minute before continuing. “Lucky invited Emily’s older brother, Jason. They’re good friends–grew up together. He just moved home after a few years away and opened up a bike shop. She’s trying to get him back into a swing of things.” Nikolas leaned forward to whisper confidentially. “He just broke off an engagement.”

Having had a similar experience, Elizabeth just smiled and nodded. “That’s fine. I’ve barely had a chance to hang out with anyone since this internship started. I’ll be glad when it’s over and I can just be an orthopedic surgeon,” she replied.

“You know you love the emergency room,” Nikolas said. He leaned back and looked towards the door. “Donovan’s giving me the look. I’ll see you at Eli’s on Friday if I don’t check you around here.”

Elizabeth fell in step as they walked towards the doors and separated–he went to the ambulance with his partner, Steven Donovan and she headed for the parking lot.

She was looking forward to meeting Emily–she’d lived in Port Charles for six years, but with medical school, she’d barely had five seconds to make any friends. She only knew Nikolas and Lucky because of the job.

She hadn’t had a clue what she wanted to do when she first transferred to PCU, but after her stabbing in an alley, she’d had surgery that had saved her life. She’d become fascinated with medicine.

She still avoided Courtland Street whenever possible–the police had said if the man who called 911 hadn’t found her, she might have bled to death. Elizabeth was grateful, but had never seen him again.

—-

She pushed open her apartment door and her eyes lit up at the sight of her couch. She was so tired she didn’t think she’d make it to her bedroom.

She dropped her jacket and purse next to the door and pushed play on her answering machine as she shuffled to the kitchen to make herself a cup of hot chocolate.

Webber, it’s me,” Nikolas said. “Dinner at 7 at Eli’s on Friday. Em invited her brother Jason. No, Lucky assured me she’s not setting you up. Not yet anyway. See ya then.

“Lizzie, it’s Johnny,” the voice of her younger brother came through. “Um…I kinda need some bail money. I’m in this town in Oklahoma and I don’t wanna call Mom and Dad. Uhh…I can’t really tell you what I did, sis…but um, just call Kiki for the details–you remember the number right?” 

Elizabeth sighed. Third time this year. She made a mental to note to call Kiki, her brother’s wife. The machine clicked off after Johnny’s message and she sighed in relief. No call from the disapproving parents in Los Angeles. They’d wanted her to stay close and go to Stanford or UCLA, but she’d chosen to leave and go to Boston University.

They’d supported her for three years, but had abruptly cut her off when Elizabeth made it clear that she wasn’t coming back home and marrying some rich little boy. She’d had to apply for scholarships and had won full tuition at PCU. Since then, her mother would call once a week to try and change Elizabeth’s mind.

She wrapped her hands around the warm coffee mug and padded towards her bedroom, grabbing the stack of mail she’d peen piling by the door.

—-

“Okay, let me get this straight,” Emily Morgan began pulling the covers more tightly around her body.

Her boyfriend grinned at her and rolled onto his back, clasping his hands behind his head. “What’s confusing you?”

“Nikolas has an actual female friend that he hasn’t slept with?” Emily asked, her eyebrows raised in amusement. “I find that hard to believe.”

“Lizzie’s not his type. She’s not blonde and she has a brain,” Lucky replied.

“I’ve heard a little about her,” Emily said, rolling onto her back and staring at the ceiling. “She’s supposed to be a great doctor.”

“She’s a great girl–you’re gonna love each other.”

Emily sat up suddenly, her brown eyes sparkling. “Jason’s coming to dinner right?”

Lucky sat up slowly, his blue eyes suspicious. “Yeah…?”

“He needs to start dating again,” Emily said definitively.

“Honey, I don’t think Lizzie is the type of girl that Jason needs to start dating again,” Lucky said, trying to be nice.

Her eyes narrowed. “Why? What’s wrong with my brother?”

Lucky rolled his eyes. “Em. You know Jason and I are friends–there’s nothing wrong with him. Lizzie’s not a casual dater, y’know? She’s more of a relationship girl.”

“Oh.” Emily shrugged. “So, maybe they’ll hit it off.”

“Babe, you haven’t even met Lizzie yet. Wait until you do that before you plan the rest of her life.”

“Fine,” Emily grumbled. “Oh…don’t tell Elizabeth about Jason knowing Sonny.”

“Why not?” Lucky asked. “It’s not like Jason’s in the mob. He just happens to be best friends with the head of it.”

“It’s just scared off some people before and I want her to know Jason before she does that. Besides, how awkward will dinner be if she refuses to talk to him at all?”

“All right, all right. I’ll make sure to tell Nik to keep it on the dl, happy?”

“Happy.”

“Can we sleep now? Because we had two fires today and I’m beat.”

“We can sleep now.”

—-

Elizabeth stared at the gas gauge in mystery. Whenever her car broke down, it was the first place she looked, and she was usually only mildly surprised to find out that she hadn’t filled the tank and she’d run out of gas.

But today, on her way to the grocery store, her car had stalled at a light near Van Ness Street and had died.

And she saw the gas gauge was nearly full–she even remembered filling it the other day. She cursed under her breath as she reached for her cell in her purse. She dug through miscellaneous change, shoved her wallet outside, removed an old piece of string that had somehow made it in there, and grinned in triumph as she pulled the phone out from underneath a pile napkin.

“Hey, Lucky. Is Nik there?” Elizabeth asked.

“Nope. Can I give him a message?” Lucky asked.

“Well…it’s just…my car broke down and you know me and cars. I know Nikolas knows a few things….”

“Hold on, Lizzie,” Lucky said. “Where are you?”

“Van Ness and Jefferson. I’m stalled at the light. The cars are kinda going–hey, you too buddy!”

“Lizzie?”

“Sorry…some guy just gave me the finger.”

“Okay, here’s what I’m gonna do, kiddo. You’re in luck, because I happen to be best friends with the world’s best mechanic and his garage is only a few blocks from there. So, stay put and I’ll get him and we’ll come to you, k?”

“Thanks.”

—-

“There she is,” Lucky said, pulling his Ford truck over and parking a few feet from Elizabeth’s small Honda. “I keep telling her she needs a new car.”

Jason Morgan just shook his head. “Some people get attached to cars. I still have my first motorcycle.”

“Well, some people, like Lizzie…are just too stubborn,” Lucky grumbled, getting out the truck.

As soon as he was visible, Elizabeth shoved her door open and exited. She stopped when she realized she’d only made it out with the strap of her purse–the rest of it had been blocked by the door.

“Son of a…” she muttered, jerking the door open and pulling the purse out.

“Lizzie, Lizzie,” Lucky laughed. “You’re so scatterbrained.”

She glared at him. “You try thinking straight after fifteen hours in the emergency room and then five hours of sleep. Stupid alarm clock. Stupid thing never goes off when I want it to work, only when I want to sleep.”

“Yeah, it helps to turn it off, y’know?”

“Bite me.”

Someone cleared their throat from behind them and Elizabeth leaned around Lucky to catch a glimpse of this mechanic.

And she blinked.

She had no idea they made men like that. Six feet of muscle, topped off with one hell of a face.

Say something. Anything.

“Hi,” she said. “Elizabeth Webber,” she said, extending her hand.

Just before the mechanic’s hand connected with hers, Lucky chirped in, “Dr. Elizabeth Webber.”

She was about to glare at him before the other man shook her hand and she jumped a little.

“Hey, you’ll be okay. Stay with me. Keep talking. What’s your name?”

“Jason Morgan,” he replied, pulling his hand back. “So, what’s wrong with your car?”

Shaking the strange memory away, Elizabeth shrugged. “I haven’t a clue. We were getting along fine until I came to this light. It stalled and then died.” She chuckled. “What I know about cars amounts to what Lucky knows about women.”

“Hey,” Lucky said, clearly insulted.

She only gave him a bright smile before Jason’s name fully registered. “Oh, hey, you’re Emily’s brother.”

“Yeah,” Jason confirmed as he pulled the hood up.

“How did you know that?” Lucky asked. “You haven’t even met Emily.”

“Yeah, well I think the last name tipped me off, not to mention the fact that Nikolas mentioned she had a brother who was a mechanic.” She frowned. “Well, actually he said he opened a bike shop…anyway, I do have brain, Lucky. I’m not one of Nikolas’s bimbos.”

“Okay, okay,” Lucky said, holding his hands up in surrender.

She turned back to see Jason lifting his head from underneath the hood. “Your transmission is shot. There’s no way you’re gonna be using this car for a while.”

Elizabeth glared at the car and kicked the tire. “I should have gotten rid of you last year,” she grumbled.

“Yeah, you should have,” Lucky agreed.

“No one asked you,” Elizabeth muttered.

“Well, normally, people whose cars spend more time in a garage then they do on the street…they buy new ones,” Lucky replied.

“And how am I supposed to pay for a new car?” Elizabeth demanded.”I’ve got rent, I’ve got bills, I’ve got groceries, I’ve got student loans…do you have any idea how much medical school costs?”

“Okay, I’m sorry.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t talk anymore,” Jason suggested, eyeing the brunette with amusement.

“Hey, you…you’re supposed to be my friend,” Lucky reminded him.

“Yeah, well, I bet she could take you,” Jason replied, a half smile on his face.

“I could,” Elizabeth said. “Lucky’s a wussy.”

“You know what, Webber,” Lucky began. “I’ll remember that the next time you need help.”

“I’ll just call Nikolas,” Elizabeth said. “He wouldn’t abandon me.”

“Nik? Abandon a woman in distress?” Lucky snorted. “He considers that an invitation for sex.”

“Can we get back to my car?” Elizabeth asked. She turned to Jason. “How much is this gonna cost?”

“Well…I think you’d probably be better off just buying a new car,” Jason said, regretfully. “Because honestly, the transmission is only the immediate problem. You’ll end up spending more to fix this thing than it’ll take to get a new one.”

“I told you that last year,” Lucky reminded her.

“Yeah, well, are you a certified mechanic?” Elizabeth asked. “No. You’re a firefighter. And you only told me that because you’re a mean person who loves to kick me when I’m down.”

“I have never once kicked you,” Lucky said.

“It’s an expression!” Elizabeth said, irritated.

Jason put the hood down and stepped forward. “If you’ll put it into neutral, we can put it on the side of the road until you can figure out what to do with it.”

“Thanks,” Elizabeth said. “I really appreciate this.”

Jason shrugged. “Not a problem.” He looked to Lucky. “You think you can stop being an idiot long enough to help me?”

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