The penthouse was dark when he came home from the warehouse that night. It’d been a long day of hauling bags of coffee beans and he’d been looking forward to grabbing something to eat and then crawling into bed next to his wife.
Even if she wasn’t speaking to him.
Elizabeth was always mad at him for some reason–it’d started with one fight about a month after they’d started dating and it had continued during the last year and a half. He was almost always amused by the reasons behind her frequent bouts of silence and moody glares.
Her short temper was part of her and he loved her for it–but something had been different about her these last few weeks. She’d been nervous–jittery even. She never met his eyes anymore and during the last week, he’d even heard her crying in the shower.
It worried him but he knew she’d come to him eventually. Whether Lucky or Gia would prod her into it, she’d do it. Brenda had assured him of that. Brenda was almost his answer to Elizabeth’s friendship with Lucky. She’d always advised him to wait Elizabeth’s little moods out. That at the bottom of it all, she loved him and it would all be okay.
And even though this time was different, he believed Brenda because she’d never been wrong before.
He was halfway to the kitchen before he saw that the terrace door was open. He could see his wife’s dark hair hanging over the edge of one of the lawn chair/recliners she’d stuck out there.
By passing food, he headed towards her instead, intent on picking her up and taking her upstairs. It wasn’t the first time he’d come home to her passed out on the chair.
But Elizabeth was awake and staring out at the view between the wrought iron bars of their terrace. Her knees were drawn up to her chest, her arms wrapped around him.
She turned to look at him and she frowned. “Did you need something?”
Jason matched her frown and sat on the matching chair. “No. I–it’s after midnight. I was coming to see if you were asleep.”
“And if I had been?”
Her voice sounded strange–almost detached and it made him look at her a bit more closely. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong,” Elizabeth said listlessly. “I was just asking a question.”
“No…something’s wrong,” Jason protested. “Something’s been wrong for a while but I haven’t said anything because when something’s bothering you, you eventually tell me about it and I don’t press it but this time, you’re scaring me.”
She glanced at him before looking back at the view, pulling her bottom lip between her teeth briefly as she considered his words. “You’re right. Something’s wrong. Two things, really and I’m not sure where to start.”
“Just start at the beginning.” He moved to her chair and sat on the end. “What’s been going on for the last few weeks?”
“I’d rather start with the last few days,” Elizabeth told him. “Because one thing doesn’t have anything to do with the other.”
“Okay.” Jason clasped his hands between his knees and waited for her to gather her thoughts.
“Last Thursday night, you were at Jake’s with Jax and Ned and I stopped by to…” Elizabeth sighed. “I don’t even remember why anymore.”
Jason’s shoulders slumped. “You saw Courtney kiss me.”
Her eyes pricked with tears. “Yeah.” She heard the words–Courtney had kissed him. She tried not to let herself hope.
He exhaled slowly. Courtney Matthews had been a thorn in their relationship from day one. She was his boss’s sister and on occasion, he’d looked out for the slightly dim ex-stripper and once, he’d made the mistake of sleeping with her. He’d always been loathed to be harsh to other people so he’d always tried to gently brush off her advances. Elizabeth, however, hadn’t been able to deal with his treatment of the blonde and he couldn’t remember a month that had gone by without them fighting about it.
“She was drunk and she kissed me. I pushed her away and that was the end of it.” He looked at her. “Elizabeth, you’re my wife. Why can’t you just trust that?”
“Because I’m not entirely sure it’s what you want me to be,” she confessed in a tiny voice.
The statement rocked him and all he could do was stare at her. He blinked and looked away after a moment. He heard her breath hitch and he could feel her body tensing.
“Why would I ask you to marry me if I didn’t want you to be my wife?” Jason asked carefully. Elizabeth had some strange ideas sometimes — he wasn’t sure where she got them but she did and he wondered if it was something about their relationship that was lacking to her. He was never sure why she didn’t fully trust in it–in them.
But he loved her and he was willing to spend the rest of his life convincing her that it was safe to trust him.
“Because sometimes I think I guilted you into this,” Elizabeth told him. She rested her chin in the valley between her knees and looked at him through glossy eyes. “After Lucky and Gia got engaged, she kept asking me when you were going to do it and asking me what I’d want the ring to look like a-and I guess I started to think about it a lot. So…I started…leaving ads around the penthouse, business cards for wedding consultants a-and I talked about Gia’s wedding a lot–”
He sighed and shook his head. “Come here,” he told her, gesturing with one of his hands.
Elizabeth hesitated but ultimately scooted forward and he tugged her into his lap. “I have something to tell you.”
She bit her lip and looked down. “Okay.”
“I bought your engagement ring six months after our first date,” he admitted with a sheepish smile. She stared at him with wide eyes.
“But…we hadn’t moved in together yet,” Elizabeth said softly. “We hadn’t said I love you. We hadn’t slept together.”
“I didn’t need any of those things to know that I wanted to marry you,” Jason told her. “I fell in love with you the first time you fought with me.”
Her cheeks flushed and she rested her cheek against his shoulder. “How can you even remember that? It was something so stupid–”
“We’re probably not talking about the same fight,” Jason said. He fought a smile. “You were working at Kelly’s and I came in for a cup of coffee and I knocked it over. It completely soaked your red sweater and you just…blew it. You started yelling at me, I think there were a few threats in there–”
She raised her head from his shoulder and looked at him in complete and utter astonishment. “Jason, that was like the third or fourth time we’d met. That was months before Lucky set us up on the blind date.”
He pushed her hair out of her face and smiled at her. “It wasn’t a blind date–not really. Lucky was tired of me asking about you and tired of telling me to ask you out so he just took care of it himself.”
Elizabeth blinked and tilted her face up to the sky. “I can’t believe what I’m hearing.”
“I probably should have mentioned this a long time ago,” he told her. “But I didn’t and I should have. I love you Elizabeth. Not Courtney or anyone else. I don’t want anyone else to be my wife. Just you. I love you, okay?”
“Okay.” She sniffled and wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly. “I promise I won’t get mad about her or Carly anymore.”
He snorted. “You will. You’ll get mad and then you stew about it, and you’ll glare at me until you can’t take it anymore and we’ll start yelling and it’ll end up like all of our fights.”
She grinned. “Yeah, with Sonny finding some lingerie somewhere in the couch.”
“You have a short temper, I know this. And I’d be lying if I said it didn’t completely turn me on.”
Elizabeth giggled. “Okay, okay. So I will probably get pissed about them again.”
He smiled but he quickly sobered. “What was the other thing?” he asked her.
“Oh. Well, under the circumstances, I think this might end up as good news.” She bit her lip and looked at him hesitantly. “I…I’m pregnant.”
“Pregnant,” Jason had to repeat it for it to actually hit him.
“Yeah. I…I’ve known for three months but I didn’t tell you because I had that whole I didn’t think you wanted to be married to me hanging over my head and I was scared you wouldn’t want a kid because we haven’t really talked about it–”
He cut her nervous ramblings off with a hard kiss, cradling her head between his hands. “I love you so much,” he said softly, with a smile. “You’re right–we never talked about it but I very much want to see you pregnant with our child and I want a family with you.”
“Really?” Elizabeth asked tremulously. “Because Lucky pointed out that if you didn’t, your swimmers should have been more careful.”
Jason scowled. “You’re talking about my sperm with Lucky?”
She laughed and wiped the tears from her cheeks. “He wasn’t at all thrilled with the idea either, you should find comfort in that.”
He shook his head. “You and Lucky have the strangest friendship I’ve ever seen.”
Elizabeth snorted. “Like you and Brenda don’t?”
“Okay, fair enough.” He kissed her forehead. “So, you ready for this?”
“I think so. Are you?”
“Definitely.” He tightened his grip on her and stood. “Now, even though t his wasn’t a real fight, I’d still kind of like to end it the same way.”
“Mm…I could deal with that,” she murmured. Elizabeth pressed a kiss to his throat. “Come on, Daddy, let’s go upstairs.”