Breathe

Song: Breathe (Melissa Etheridge)

It’d been six months since she’d left Port Charles and in that time, she hadn’t been in contact with anyone she’d left behind. She’d preferred it that way and after her divorce came through—she quietly moved across country where her ex-husband would never find her. She rented a post office box in Nebraska for the alimony payments and once a week all the mail in that box was forwarded to her new home.

Whatever Ric’s faults had been, his alimony was generous and he even paid child support so Elizabeth Webber Lansing had bought a small home with two bedrooms—and a backyard. She’d never live in another apartment, she promised herself.

Her baby was four months old—a little girl she’d named Emma Audrey. Emily Audrey had been her first choice but the name had sounded slightly awkward to her ears and Emma had been the final decision.

She’d cut off all ties with her previous home and she thought that everyone else there had forgotten about her.

Which is why it surprised her when she caught a glimpse of Jason Morgan in San Diego.

I played the fool today

She decided it was a coincidence—that Jason was not looking for her and if anyone would look for her, it would not be her somewhat ex-boyfriend. It’d be Lucky or Emily.

She concluded that if it had been Jason—and she wasn’t even sure of that—he did not know that she lived in San Diego and even if he did—she wasn’t sure why he’d care enough to know, anyway—it would not matter to him.

And I just dream of vanishing into the crowd

Jason was there to find her, though. Emily was getting married—not to Nikolas as everyone had expected—but to Lucky Spencer and the only thing Emily wanted for her wedding was for Elizabeth to be her maid of honor.

Jason promised to bring her home. For his sister, for Elizabeth’s grandmother—for himself.

It hadn’t been difficult to get the address of the post office where Ric sent a monthly check. Once he’d located the post office in Nebraska, he’d paid handsomely for the information of Elizabeth’s current location.

It hadn’t been more than seventy-hours since he’d left Port Charles and he was standing in front of Elizabeth’s home, watching her sit on a blanket on her lawn with the baby cradled in her arms.

Longing for home again

She’d changed in the six months since she’d left—becoming a mother was just one of those changes. Her hair was longer—curlier than he remembered. Almost as curly as those days he’d spent in her studio healing from the gunshot wound. Had it been almost six years since that time?

She hadn’t lost all of the weight from the pregnancy but he didn’t think it looked to bad on her, actually. She had always been beautiful but being a mother had added something extra to that.

He didn’t call out to her at first—he knew that she’d left Port Charles to escape memories and no matter how much Emily wanted her home, he would not disturb her if she were happy here—happy being away from the misery her life there had given her.

But home is a feeling I buried in you

“Are you cold, Emma?” Elizabeth cooed. She tucked the pink blanket in more tightly around the squirming baby. “I can’t believe how fast the summer has gone. Before you know it, I’ll be decorating for Halloween. I found the cutest kitten costume for you.”

As if actually understanding her mother, Emma cooed and kicked her legs. “And then it’ll be Christmas. I used to have lots of Christmas decorations—but I had to leave those behind so we’ll be buying new ones and we’ll get a tree and you can pick what I’ll put on a top. A star or—an angel.” She held Emma up and smiled as Emma giggled. “Which would you rather have?”

“An angel’s supposed to watch over things.”

He didn’t know he’d actually spoken until she lowered Emma into her baby carrier and looked at him. Whether or not she was surprised at his presence, her face never changed.

I’m all right, I’m all right

“Jason. I didn’t think you knew where I was.”

He strode across the grass then and sat on the edge of the blanket, regretting the way the light had gone from her eyes with his arrival. “It wasn’t so hard to find you—once I found the PO Box in Lincoln.”

“I don’t want Ric to know where I am,” Elizabeth admitted. She started to put Emma’s various toys into her diaper bag. “It’s easier that way. Each check he sends, he sends with it a letter asking me to come back.”

“And you don’t plan on going back?”

“Not to him.”

“But you’d consider coming back?”

She looked up at him and frowned. “Why are you here, Jason? Why would you to go the trouble of finding me?”

It only hurts when I breathe

“Emily wants you to come home. She’s getting married and she wants you to be her maid of honor,” Jason informed her.

Elizabeth’s eyes widened. “She’s getting married? But—it’s so soon after Nikolas died—”

Jason sighed and looked away. “I didn’t realize—you left before—he’s not dead, Elizabeth.”

“He’s not?” Elizabeth asked, startled. She pressed her lips together firmly. “Don’t know why that doesn’t surprise me as much as it ought to. No one in Port Charles stays dead. Not Lucky, not Brenda Barrett, not Nikolas—not Sonny.” She shrugged and zipped the diaper bag shut. “So she and Nikolas are getting married.”

“Nikolas fell in love with someone else. He had amnesia and when he finally got his memory back—he went back to Emily but the woman who’d taken care of him—he loved her.”

“That must have devastated Emily.”

“By the time Nikolas returned, Emily had moved past her grief and she was already—moving on in a sense.” Jason hesitated. “She’d changed while he was gone and neither of them were the people they’d been when they’d fallen love.”

I can’t ask for things to be still again

“I can understand that. Who is she marrying?”

“Lucky.” Jason shifted. “It’s in a few months—you wouldn’t have to decide right away but she wants you there and the only thing she wanted from me as wedding gift—was to find you.”

“I wish I could,” Elizabeth said softly. She held her finger out to Emma who curled her tiny hand around it. “But I’m not sure it’s a good idea for me to return to Port Charles.”

“Ric would not be a problem for you—I’d see to that personally,” Jason pledged.

“It’s not Ric I’m worrying about. I can handle the letters he sends—because he’s been generous with alimony and child support and I don’t have to work. I can spend all my time with Emma.”

“Emma,” Jason repeated. He glanced at Elizabeth’s daughter who was studying him with her open brand of curiosity. The baby was tiny with creamy skin, wide blue eyes and light brown—almost blonde—hair. “She’s beautiful.”

“I wanted to name her Emily but the name didn’t go well with her middle name,” Elizabeth explained. “Emma Audrey Webber.”

“So if it’s not Ric you’re worried about—then what is it?”

I can’t ask if I could walk through the world in your eyes

“Old memories,” Elizabeth said briefly. She stood and swung the diaper bag over her shoulder before lifting Emma’s carrier into her arms. “Go home, Jason. Tell Emily that I love her and I wish her all the happiness in the world. But I can’t go back there.”

She turned towards the door and was almost there when he called out to her. She glanced over her shoulder. “What are you scared of?” he demanded.

Elizabeth pursed her lips and sighed. “Grab the blanket and come inside. The least I can do is feed you before you leave.”

Longing for home again

She put Emma down for her nap and beckoned Jason to join her in the kitchen. “I don’t have any beer—”

“Elizabeth, I don’t need—” He broke off. “Why won’t you come home?”

This is my home now,” Elizabeth murmured. She started making two sandwiches—one pastrami and the other a simple bologna and cheese. “I worked hard to make this my home and I can’t—I can’t risk it.”

“Can’t risk what?” Jason leaned against the Formica counter and frowned at her. “Where’s the risk in going to her wedding?”

“Because I don’t like who I am in Port Charles,” Elizabeth said simply. “And you can’t change my mind about it. Give Emily my address and phone number if you like—I’d like to keep in touch with her. But please don’t think you can talk me out of staying here.”

He sighed heavily. “Elizabeth—”

“I’m finished talking about it.” She shoved the pastrami sandwich towards him. “It’s not as good as Kelly’s but it’ll do.” She hesitated. “So—I know what Emily, Lucky and Nikolas are doing. How about you?”

But home is a feeling I buried in you

“I’m divorced, too,” Jason offered. “We got divorced in April—around the time you left, actually. Courtney left town—she and Sonny had this—.argument and they don’t talk anymore.”

“That’s too bad.” Elizabeth shifted. “Sonny and Carly get back together?”

“No—they actually signed divorce papers,” Jason informed her. “Carly’s gone, too. She and Alcazar—they imploded and he’s—” he hesitated. “Gone,” he finally said. “Carly’s living in Florida—with Courtney actually.”

“Sonny?” Elizabeth asked. “Does he still see his boys?”

“Not as often as he’d like but yeah—he’s engaged to Sam.” Jason grimaced. “Not sure if I like that.”

I’m all right, I’m all right

Elizabeth laughed. “Oh, why not? I always liked her.”

“She talks a lot,” Jason said simply. “Too much—and she’s always asking me advice about Sonny. If she should do this, or do that—I know she wants to make him happy and all but—it’s just—irritating.”

“So—basically—you just listen to Sam talk, you work and you talk to Emily.” Elizabeth nodded. “Sounds—like you’re okay.”

He shrugged. “It makes the day go by faster. What about you? Is it just you and Emma?”

“If you’re asking if there’s someone in my life—no. No guys, no friends—I don’t need anyone else but Emma.”

“Why?” he asked bluntly.

“Because I had friends once—I had someone that I loved and it brought me nothing but pain. I left Port Charles to keep that from happening again and I just—I’m not interested in doing all of that again.”

It only hurts when I breathe

He sighed and pushed his plate away. “When I said I was here on Emily’s behalf—that was partially true.”

“Then what’s the rest of it?” Elizabeth asked briskly.

“I had to see for myself that you were okay.” He exhaled slowly. “Six months and no word—I’ve never gone that long without knowing.”

She frowned. “You were gone for a while year—”

“But I could ask Sonny if you were okay or Emily or hell, even Alexis. I knew when you faked your death, when you had your accident—about your wedding with Lucky—I was never out of touch with someone back home so six months was a long time.”

She stared at him. “I didn’t realize you’d thought of me so often.”

“All the time,” he admitted. He rounded the counter and stood in front of her. “I should have told you some of this when I came home the last time.”

I’m all right, I’m all right

“It would only have hurt me worse if I’d known,” Elizabeth said softly. “Because at least then—I could believe you didn’t care.”

“And thinking that I didn’t care hurts less than knowing that I do?” he asked—a little baffled.

“Because if you didn’t care—I wasn’t losing anything.” Her voice was shaky now and she hated him for doing this. For coming into her clean and private world and shaking it around—making her feel—making her remember. “Because if you didn’t care—losing you wouldn’t destroy me and—it didn’t. Because I knew I didn’t matter.”

He shook his head sharply. “No—that’s just not true. You did matter—you still matter—”

“No—I’m not doing this.” She turned away from him and left the kitchen. He followed her into the living room. “I want you to leave.”

“I’m not leaving.”

It only hurts when I breathe

“Why?” Elizabeth spun around and jabbed a finger in his chest. “Why now? When I’m away from it all—when I’ve put it all behind me? Why do you do this now instead of five seconds after I walked out that door?”

“Because I didn’t think you cared anymore and if you didn’t care then I wasn’t losing anything.” Her own words were spit back in her face—and oh, how they stung.

“That’s not fair.”

“No, it’s not,” Jason agreed. “It wasn’t fair to feel that way then and it’s still not fair that we both feel that way now. When I came home that last time—I came home for you.”

My window through which nothing hides

She paled and stepped away. “No—that’s not true—you came home for Sonny—”

“I knew you weren’t with Lucky anymore and I thought enough time had passed that you were over him but you weren’t. And I’d already waited for two years—I didn’t think a few more months would change anything.”

“Jason—this is ridiculous—why are we rehashing things that happened two years ago? We had our chance and whatever was between us—it wasn’t enough to survive. You married Courtney. I married Ric. You have no right to come here and pretend like it’s the morning after I walked out on you—”

“I didn’t intend to say any of these things but I thought you should know the truth. I married Courtney, yes. But she didn’t understand me. She didn’t get me half as much as you did. She called the cops on her own brother and knocked me out to save Alcazar.”

“She did what?” Elizabeth asked, stunned. “Why would Courtney be anywhere near—how could you let her that close to a job?” she demanded. “Do the two of you have any sense?”

“Elizabeth—you are the only woman in my life who has never betrayed me and I think I finally figured out why that is.”

“Because I have the common sense that God gave a mule?” Elizabeth said dryly. “Jason—I don’t—”

“Because you know me and you know what would hurt me and you would never do anything to hurt me deliberately just like I would never do anything to hurt you deliberately.”

“That’s not true—Jason, you’re not being very clear here—”

And everything sings

“Do you remember the way we used to be?” Jason interrupted. His voice had changed—it was quiet now. “When we were in the studio and it was just the two of us.”

“We work when we’re alone—but other people screw it up,” Elizabeth said. She backed up from him and turned away.

“I felt safe there and I thought it was because no one knew I was there. But that wasn’t it at all. And when you were at the penthouse, it felt like a home to me.”

She turned back then, her guard down a little—her eyes wary. “It did?”

“But it was never the studio that made me feel safe or the penthouse that felt like home—it was you.”

‘Cause I’m counting the signs

“Jason—” Elizabeth trailed off uncertain. “I don’t know what you want from me—”

“I want you to tell me why you won’t come home,” he challenged.

“I told you.”

He stepped towards. “And this time—I want you to be honest with me.”

“It hurts,” Elizabeth whispered. “It hurts to be around you. It always has—but I thought I could make it okay—that if I could have your friendship—”

Cursing the miles in between

“Are we just friends?” Jason interrupted, “or do you want something more from me?”

She stared at him for a moment before answering. “Yeah—yeah, I do,” she breathed.

“Then come home. Just for a little while—just for Emily’s wedding.”

“What about after that?” Elizabeth asked cautiously.

Home is a feeling I buried in you

“I don’t know,” Jason admitted. “But I know that I don’t want to go another six months without seeing you.” He held a hand out to her. “Come home.”

I’m all right, I’m all right

“All right,” Elizabeth agreed, hesitantly. She took his hand and smiled faintly as he held it tightly. “I’ll come home.”

It only hurts when I breathe

Comments

  • Not sure hoe I feel about this one. Once again she is giving in/up everything for him. I would love a sequel where living in pc doesn’t work she is going to go back “home” and Jason leaves everything to bike with her. Is that too much to ask of the Jason character do you think?

    According to Laura on May 6, 2014
  • ITA with you Laura he knows how she feels there and yet he pressures her and makes absolutely no promises to her. I didn’t want her to cave either. They are so mixed up.

    TY for the story Melissa

    According to PAMELA HEDSTROM on May 11, 2014
  • I would love to think Liz went home for the wedding, then went back to her life in SD and Jason had to pursue her.

    I do love the Liason angst. It is addicting.

    According to Karen Jones on January 20, 2015