February 14, 2003
It was early afternoon when Elizabeth Webber sat down on the stone bench in front of the fountain. She closed her eyes and forced herself not to think about five years ago when she’d been young and naïve enough to think that the park was safe.
She heard the crackling of footsteps and jumped up, startled. Lucky Spencer appeared from behind some bushes. “Hey. I thought I might find you here,” he stated simply, sticking his hands in his pockets.
Elizabeth chuckled nervously. “I guess I’m still a little jumpy,” she said, sitting back down. Lucky took a seat next to her. “Why were you looking for me?”
Lucky shrugged. “I woke up this morning and it hit me I guess. You know—there hasn’t been a Valentine’s Day that’s passed that I haven’t thought about it.”
“That makes two of us,” Elizabeth said softly. She rubbed her hands nervously over her jeans. “It’s funny. Sometimes days and even entire weeks will go by where I don’t think about it.”
“It’s been five years, Elizabeth,” Lucky replied. “You’re entitled to move on.”
“I know that. I just…it’s so easy to remember the days when it was all I thought about. It consumed me, took over my life until I could hardly recognize myself anymore.”
“I still think about what would have happened if I hadn’t taken Sarah to that stupid dance,” Lucky said. He shook his head and looked straight ahead towards the fountain. “I wonder if maybe we’d gone to the dance like we were supposed to…”
“I used to think about that at first, too,” Elizabeth admitted. “But in the end, it was me who made up the date, me who went to the movies and it was me who chose to walk through this park alone.”
“How do you feel about it now?” Lucky asked, hesitantly.
She shrugged. “I guess…for the most part…I’m over it. I mean, I still get a little jumpy at night when I’m by myself. I don’t trust anyone and I still don’t like coming here at night. But really, Lucky, I’m okay.” She smiled at him. “Thank you. Thank you for caring enough to find me today.”
“Elizabeth, I’m always going to love you,” Lucky told her. “Just because we’re not in love anymore…you know? You’ve been such a major person in my life…of course I care.”
“So, how’s your friend…Laura?” Elizabeth asked, eager to change the subject.
Lucky sighed. “I don’t know. Things…they’re weird right now. You women…you’re all so hard to figure out. I never know what you want.”
“That’s not true,” Elizabeth remarked. “You used to be pretty good at it.”
“Before the fire, yeah,” Lucky admitted. “Come on, Elizabeth. The reason we worked before the fire is because we were friends. We had all that time to know each other before we fell in love. We were best friends that turned into more. You can’t ask for anything better. You and me…we’re completely different from Laura and I.”
“I know. First love and all that,” Elizabeth replied. “Look, Lucky, if you really care about Laura…make her understand that. Don’t let her think for one second that you don’t. Don’t assume she knows, because it’s possible that she doesn’t. If you care about her and you want her, do both of you a favor…and fight for it.”
“Once again, there’s a cryptic remark that I just know has more to it than just friendly advice,” Lucky said. “It’s about you and Jason.”
“There is no me and Jason,” Elizabeth replied honestly. “I thought I knew what I wanted. I went after it until I got it and then I found out I had no idea what I wanted. I thought that I was in love with this great guy who cared about me, cared about my feelings, what I thought…someone who knew me and instead…I ended up with Sonny’s enforcer.”
“Hey, I’ll never be his biggest fan, but I don’t think that’s all there is,” Lucky replied. “He cares about you. I knew it back when we were still together. Probably why I tried to beat him up.”
“Anyone can care about a person,” Elizabeth replied. “I didn’t want Jason to care about me. I wanted him to love me. Was that too much to ask?”
“No,” Lucky said instantly. “You deserve that much, Elizabeth. At the very least, you deserve someone who loves you. Okay, so it didn’t work with Jason. Yeah, that sucks. And yeah, right now that hurts. But you got to ask yourself…are you going to let that determine the rest of your life?”
Elizabeth sighed and looked away, her eyes sad and distant. “I don’t know, Lucky. Sometimes I think I’m always going to be that girl in the snow, waiting for someone to come and pick me up.”
“You wouldn’t have waited,” Lucky replied. “You’re strong, Elizabeth. You would have picked yourself up. I just happened to come along first.”
“Thanks,” Elizabeth said. She leaned towards him and enveloped in a quick fierce hug. “You have no idea how much I needed you back then.”
“I needed you just as much,” Lucky said, kissing her on the cheek before releasing her. “I think Nikolas was looking for you, too.”
“Really?” Elizabeth asked, surprised. “Why?”
“Hey, no matter what’s gone down these past few years, you, me, Nikolas and Emily…we’re still family. You know? The best of friends.”
“The four Musketeers,” Elizabeth said, her eyes lighting up.
“One for all and all for one,” Lucky teased. She hit him playfully.
“Hey, that’s not any fair!” Elizabeth groaned. She laughed. “Okay, I’m going back to my studio. I wanted to call Em, today anyway. If you see Nikolas…tell him he can stop by.”
“I will,” Lucky said. He watched Elizabeth disappear in the bushes and sighed.
He found the other man standing on the docks. He was standing, facing the water his hands clenched into fists at his side.
“Waiting for someone?” Lucky asked, smirking.
Jason Morgan turned and immediately glared at Elizabeth’s ex-boyfriend. “What do you want?”
Lucky shrugged. “Nothing. I just following Elizabeth back home, making sure she was safe.”
“What does she need you do that for?” Jason demanded.
Oh, yeah. Jason still cares about Elizabeth. A lot. Lucky resisted the urge to needle the other man and forced himself to be casual. “You know…with the day being what it is. I was worried.”
“I know what day it is,” Jason snapped, irritated.
“Have you even gone to see her?” Lucky demanded.
“No,” he admitted.
Lucky snorted. “And to think, she used to defend you. Jason’s my friend,” he mocked. “Jason lets me be myself. Jason listens to me. Jason’s there for me–”
“Shut the hell up!” Jason growled. “You don’t know anything about me and Elizabeth–”
“I know she walked out and that you let her go,” Lucky shot back.
“Shut up,” Jason warned him.
“What kind of friend are you that you haven’t even gone to see her on the anniversary of one of the worst days of her life?” Lucky demanded.
“She’d just slam the door in my face,” Jason muttered turning his attention back to the water.
“I thought Elizabeth was just trying to rationalize everything, but she’s right. She really did make you up,” Lucky said, incredulously. “She thought you were someone who really knew her, who understood her. You don’t know a damn thing about her, do you?”
“Just shut up, Lucky,” Jason said, shaking his head. “I don’t have the patience for this.”
“You act like you’ve never had a door slammed in your face before,” Lucky remarked. “Think about it, Jason. You really care about Elizabeth? I mean, if you really do…you need to show her. She’s been through a lot of shit in her life–none of which she deserved. The last she needs is someone else jerking her around. Dangling his love in front of her, making her jump through hoops to prove she deserve it–”
“I never did that!” Jason exploded finally. “I’m not you, Lucky. I don’t mess with other people’s lives. Elizabeth knows how I feel about her–”
“Right,” Lucky drawled sarcastically. “You sure about that, Jase? Have you ever actually said the words? Because she deserves that much.” Lucky just shook his head. “You know what, I don’t care what you do. Go see her, don’t go see her. It’s all the same to me. She doesn’t expect anything from you, so if you don’t show up, at least she won’t be crying about it.” Lucky glared at him a moment before stalking away.
Jason muttered something under his breath, dragged his fingers through his hair and stalked in the opposite direction.
Elizabeth glanced up from her sketch when she heard the knock. “Nikolas?” she called.
“No.” There was a pause. “It’s Jason.”
Elizabeth’s breath caught in her throat as she crossed the studio to flip open the locks. “W-what are you doing here?” she asked, opening the door.
“I…” Jason shook his head. “Shit,” he grumbled. “I argued with myself the entire day about coming to see you and then I ran into Lucky on the docks–”
Elizabeth sighed. “I knew I shouldn’t have said anything to him,” she muttered. “Jerk never could mind his own business.”
“I just…I wanted to know if you were okay,” Jason finally said. “I know…I know today is…is well..”
“I’m okay,” Elizabeth gratefully. “Thank you for asking.”
“Uh…” Jason took a deep breath. “I don’t suppose you’d…want to go for a ride…”
“Really?” Elizabeth asked, her eyes lighting up at the prospect.
“Yeah,” Jason replied, feeling a little more confident. “Really. Maybe…we could talk.”
She flashed him a brief smile. “I’d like that,” she said softly.