This is a snippet from Chapter Two of All We Are.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Elizabeth’s Apartment: Living Room
Elizabeth set a blanket over Cameron’s napping body on the sofa and switched off the cartoons that had lulled him to sleep. It was the first day in weeks she’d been able to devote completely to him, a realization which made her feel lower than an ant.
How was she going to take care of her little boy with no money? She’d lose the apartment for sure, and she did not want to move in with her grandmother. She’d probably be pressured to stay with Lucky.
That was one thing that was going to change. If a divorce wasn’t part of Jason’s plan, she was going to add it. It wasn’t enough that he’d humiliated her, lied to her, cheated on her, but he’d continued to place Cameron in danger by leaving pills in the apartment.
And now he’d cost her job and possibly her freedom.
“It’s a hell of a way to smash a permanent lock,” she murmured as she rose from the sofa, her stomach twisting in knots. She rubbed her hand absently. “Please, Baby, be Jason’s. That’s the only thing that would make my life remotely easier.”
She hit play on her answering machine and listened to the messages she folded some clothes. One from Nikolas, concerned about news he’d heard from Emily. Emily had also called, hoping she wasn’t blaming this on Lucky. Her grandmother had called—
The black cell phone a man in a suit had delivered to her door the night before remained silent. If Jason had a plan, he was taking his sweet time.
And, God, didn’t it gall her to be so dependent on him? Why couldn’t she stand on her own two feet and make this go away? She could turn Mac’s daughter in—the affair and her volunteer work at the hospital would surely point the police towards her as the culprit.
But as much as she wanted to hate Maxie, she couldn’t.
She remembered what it was like to be young and desperately in love, then to have it shattered. If Maxie had had a Jason in her life, someone she could turn to keep her from trashing her life, the way Jason had stopped Elizabeth that night in Jake’s so long ago, would Maxie have turned to Lucky?
She knew what it was to be desperate, to want to keep someone’s love so badly you’d do anything. What had she done in the name of her love for Lucky? For Ric?
No, turning the attention to a desperately unhappy, barely legal adult wasn’t fair. Maxie didn’t deserve to pay for Lucky’s mistakes any more than Elizabeth did
So how else could she make this go away? How could she protect herself and her children without throwing Jason to the wolves? Lying in front of a grand jury seemed like the best bet, but that would just land her even more on Ric’s radar.
Maybe Jason’s idea would allow her to be more involved, to make an active choice to help rather than passively sitting back and hoping he could make it go away.
And since she was the weapon being used against him, it was fair Jason had a hand in making this go away, right? It didn’t make her weak, just smart.
“I’m using all my available resources,” she told the room. “Jason is a resource. He’s always been there for me. I didn’t do this. There’s no harm in making sure I don’t pay for it.”
Right. That sounded good.
The black cell phone vibrated suddenly, the force of it sending the device sliding across the coffee table. Elizabeth snatched it up. “Hello?”
“Elizabeth. I—I need to see you. Can we meet at Vista Point?”
Elizabeth chewed her lip. “I just put Cameron down for a nap. Let me see if Robin or Patrick can come watch him.” People who wouldn’t ask her questions. God, it was nice to have people to depend on for a change.
“Okay. I’ll be there in an hour.” He paused. “I have a way to make us both safe, I just…I need you to let me explain it.”
Well, that sounded odd and disturbing, but she swallowed. She trusted Jason. “All right, I’ll be there in an hour.”
She hit the end button and tapped the phone against her mouth. What if he was sending her away? To a jurisdiction where she couldn’t be extradited?
What if that was the only solution? Could she give up her family, her friends, her life here? Any hope of having Jason being in her child’s life?
“God, I hope that’s not the plan.” She reached for her own cell phone in order to dial Robin’s number, hoping she’d come through for her again.