I Surrender

Song: I Surrender (Celine Dion)

 

There’s so much life I’ve left to live
And this fire is burning still

She sat by herself after closing one night shortly before the end of January. The snow was falling softly outside and the diner was silent save for the small sounds of her tears.

The Alcazar murder trial had ended earlier that month—Brenda Barrett had been found guilty of second-degree murder. On her way to Pentonville, the prison van was stopped and she managed to escape. It was rumored that her husband had spirited her out of the country, but Jason Morgan had made a big show of going out to dinner with Sonny Corinthos that night with his wife Carly and sister Courtney.

Jasper Jacks, however, disappeared around the same time as Brenda. They’d put all points bulletins out on both, but with Brenda’s connections and Jax’s fortune, it was doubtful that they would be found unless they wanted to be.

Life had gone on as normally as it ever would in Port Charles. Skye Quartermaine filed for divorce, citing abandonment. Jason obtained his annulment and his relationship with Courtney Quartermaine became more public, only fueling the misery and bitterness of her estranged husband, AJ.

When I watch you look at me
I think I could find the will

Sonny and Carly seemed to be stronger than ever and seemed content to ignore their lawyer’s strange behavior. Elizabeth didn’t care if Ric Lansing sometimes had strange dreams about explosions or muttered strange names in his sleep. He made her laugh.

And there were few people in her world that made her laugh these days. She’d stay with anyone as long as they didn’t make her cry.

Anyway, besides the occasional date with Ric, Elizabeth was pretty much on her own. Nikolas and Gia were busy arguing over law school and the wedding, Zander was always working and Lucky was busy with his father and Laura Spencer’s look-alike, Summer.

The reason she was sitting alone in Kelly’s that evening had nothing to do with any of that. It was the three-year mark. Ruby Anderson, the woman who had seen fit to hire Elizabeth over five years ago and keep her on—despite Elizabeth’s incompetence as a waitress—she’d died three years ago today.

To stand for every dream
And forsake this solid ground

Elizabeth and Ruby hadn’t always gotten along during the two and half years they’d worked together, but they’d gained a healthy respect for one another. After her rape, Ruby had afforded her all the time off she needed with no questions asked. She’d thought the younger woman was a wonderful influence on her nephew, Lucky.

And sometimes Elizabeth missed her. They could call it Ruby’s Chili all they wanted, but it wasn’t the same and people could tell. Kelly’s wasn’t the same without the fiery proprietor. Tammy had been a good friend and Elizabeth had enjoyed working for her and of course, Bobbie was always great to be around. But they weren’t Ruby.

And tonight, for some reason, when Bobbie had reminded them of the day, it had saddened Elizabeth. So, here she sat, nearly an hour after Kelly’s had closed—and she was crying.

And give up this fear within
Of what would happen if they ever knew
I’m in love with you

He’d tried to be a little unhappy when Courtney had told him her decision that evening, but he was pretty sure the feeling was more of relief than disappointment.

“I really—I really care about you Jason—but I love AJ. And I—I can’t just turn that off because I want to. I owe it to myself to give him one last chance.”

Jason had told her he understood, wished her happiness and he’d left the loft he rented for the last time. She was moving out the next day anyway. Although she’d given up her and AJ’s old apartment, she and AJ were going to move into a larger and nice apartment in a better part of town.

It’d been nice while it lasted – it’d been nice to be around someone and know that nothing was at stake, that he wasn’t risking anything to be with them. No one had really known about their relationship outside a small circle of people and he preferred it that way.

‘Cause I’d surrender everything
To feel the chance to live again

He regretted that Elizabeth was one of those people—he was never quite sure how she’d known for sure. The guilt had been so immense on both their parts that he and Courtney had made efforts to keep it especially hidden from her. At least, he had. Sometimes he wasn’t so sure about Courtney.

If Jason really wanted to be honest with himself, he’d admit that Courtney’s love for AJ wasn’t the only reason his relationship with her had failed. It’d been his feelings for Elizabeth that ultimately held him back.

Everything between the two of them was messy—the breakup had been messy, the subsequent meetings afterward had been full of misunderstandings. They’d pulled away from each other. They had both been running scared.

He missed his best friend. He missed the way she’d laugh, the way her eyes would sparkle after a night ride on the cliff roads, the way she bit her lower lip, the way she babbled—

He missed everything about Elizabeth Webber.

I reach to you
I know you can feel it too

He stood outside in the courtyard as the snow fell around him. He watched through the window as she sat, curled up in a chair, her face tear stained. He wondered what had made her cry—was it a fight with her grandmother? No, Jason knew that couldn’t be it. Audrey Hardy had left shortly after Christmas for a six month vacation in Hawaii. Elizabeth, Sarah and an older brother Jason had never met had chipped to send their grandmother to paradise.

Elizabeth hadn’t told him that—Jason had heard it from Courtney who thought it was the sweetest thing over.

Was it Lucky or Luke Spencer? Jason knew Elizabeth had renewed her friendship with the Spencer family, but he hadn’t seen either around town lately. He didn’t think they’d be the reason she cried.

His fists clenched involuntarily and he wondered if it was his lawyer, Ric, who had made her cry. There’d be no where that man could hide if he’d hurt Elizabeth, Jason decided. He hadn’t liked Ric Lansing the second he’d laid eyes on him and liked him even less the first time he’d seen Elizabeth and Ric together.

Instead of standing out here like a fool, wondering what had made her cry—he could go in and find out.

We’d make it through
A thousand dreams I still believe

She heard the door swing open before she saw it. She looked up and frowned a little when she saw Jason standing hesitantly in the door way.

Normally, she’d be on her feet, keeping her face from view as she hid her tears. She’d be asking why he was here, so late after closing.

But tonight, she stared at him and made no attempts to hide the tears. He was probably there to pick up the sweater Courtney had left there that day.

He walked inside, letting the door shut behind him. In two strides, he was in front of her. He crouched down to meet her eyes.

“Are you okay?” he asked, cursing himself for asking such a stupid question. Of course she wasn’t okay.

She thought about giving him the normal answer. Yes, of course I’m fine. I just got something in my eyes. He wouldn’t know she was lying—he never did anymore.

Instead, she slowly shook her head. “No,” she answered. “In all honesty, I haven’t been okay for a long time.”

I’d make you give them all to me
I’d hold you in my arms and never let go
I surrender

“What’s wrong?” Jason asked, rocking back on his heels.

Then and only then did she wipe away her tears. Using the back of her head, she swiped at them and sighed. “Bobbie reminded me that today was the anniversary of Ruby’s death. Ruby used to own—”

“I know,” Jason cut in swiftly. “I remember.” He paused. “I’m sorry.”

“Me, too,” Elizabeth said quietly. She looked past him, towards the silent jukebox. “Sometimes days and weeks go by and I don’t even think of her, you know? But I’ll hear something she used to say or Courtney—” Elizabeth hesitated but only for a minute. “Courtney will remind me so much of how I used to be when I first started—and I try to remember how much patience Ruby had with me. I was such a horrible waitress back then. I must have dropped every other dish for at least a month. She nearly fired me a dozen times.”

“Why didn’t she?” Jason asked, almost relishing this conversation that felt so much like the old days. She would be upset, he’d find a way to get her to open up and she’d feel better.

Things used to be so simple.

I know I can’t survive
Another night away from you

“I have no idea,” Elizabeth admitted. “I think Lucky stuck up for me a lot since—” her cheeks flushed. “I was usually watching him when I broke the dishes,” she admitted.

Jason chuckled, thinking of the much younger Elizabeth and the massive crush she’d admitted she’d had on Lucky when she’d first moved here. “Sounds like something Lucky would have done.”

She sighed and stared at her hands. “I miss her sometimes. We were never all that close, but—she gave me my first real shot. She was the first person that believed in me, even if it was just because Lucky convinced her to.”

“She did make a mean bowl of chili,” Jason replied.

Elizabeth laughed then, the first time she’d laughed with him since—

It probably wasn’t a good sign that he couldn’t remember the last time she’d laughed.

You’re the reason I go on
And now I need to live the truth

It struck her then—that they were doing something they hadn’t done almost since he’d returned last summer. They were sitting in Kelly’s and talking—being honest with each other.

Not holding anything back.

She’d forgotten how much she’d missed that.

“Thanks,” Elizabeth said softly. “I feel better now that I’ve talked to you.” She met his eyes. “Just like I used to.”

The air had changed around them—the mood had shifted and they both knew it. They were no longer talking about Ruby Anderson and how much Elizabeth missed her.

They were talking about their friendship and how far off track it had gone.

Right now, there’s no better time
From this fear I will break free

“Do you ever get tired of running?” Jason asked quietly. He shifted from his crouching position and sat in a chair next to hers.

Elizabeth sighed and pulled her knees up to her chest, wrapping her arms around them. “I think I must have run twenty marathons,” she murmured. “I’m so tired, Jason. I’ve been running so long that I don’t even remember why I started or what I’m running from.”

“The day I left the penthouse—the day Sonny faked his death,” Jason said, struggling to get the words out. Struggling to tell her the truth—the truth he’d kept to himself. “I started running then and I haven’t even stopped to breathe.”

She smiled at him—a sad smile full of nostalgia and wistfulness. “Sometimes Jason—I think we’re more alike we give ourselves credit for.”

And I’ll live again with love
And no they can’t take that away from me
And they will see—

He stood then and she raised her head to look at him. Probably going home to Courtney, she thought bitterly. Always a blonde. Just once—could someone leave me for a redhead?

Instead, he held out his hand. “Come on.”

Elizabeth dropped her feet to the ground. Even as she asked, “Where are we going?” she was putting her and in his and letting him pull her to her feet.

Jason gave her a tiny half-smile then and shrugged. “Nowhere.”

Involuntarily, the tears she’d just hidden sprang to the surface and her vision blurred a little. “I could go for that,” she said softly.

I’d surrender everything
To feel the chance to live again

They rode for nearly two hours—he took her up and down the cliff roads, down the street that inspired her painting of The Wind. He went fast, took the turns even faster and they both ignored the biting cold.

She screamed on the turns—so much he thought she’d lose her voice. She laughed, throwing her head back, her hair flying all around her. Neither of them wore helmets—he never did and she’d convinced him to let her go without one—just this one time.

He finally headed in one destination—the old stone bridge out of town. The bike coasted to a stop and he turned off the engine. She didn’t let go of him right away—relished the feeling of being this close to him for the first time in months.

But finally, she sat up, unwound her arms from his waist and stood up. “I’ve really missed that,” Elizabeth admitted. She wondered if Courtney had been on the bike—if she loved it as much as Elizabeth did.

If Jason preferred Courtney on the bike.

I reach to you
I know you can feel it too

“I’ve missed it too,” Jason confessed. She looked down at him and with a heavy sigh, he got off the bike. “It’s been almost two years.”

“I can’t believe you’ve been home since May and this is the first chance we’ve had to go,” Elizabeth replied, putting her hands in the pockets of her black winter jacket.

“I asked you and you didn’t want to go,” Jason reminded her. For once, he didn’t feel the bitterness that accompanied the feeling. She hadn’t wanted to go because of Zander. And he didn’t feel anything about that anymore. He was just lightly teasing her.

“Well, I asked you, too,” Elizabeth replied, giving him a small smile. “Remember?” She shrugged and started walking towards the bridge. “But you said it was too dangerous.”

We’d make it through
A thousand dreams I still believe

“It was,” Jason insisted. She faltered in her steps and turned around, her face pale.

“Let me get this straight,” she said softly. “It’s too dangerous for you to be with me—but it’s all right for Courtney?”

And there it was. The name. The name of the woman they’d both been avoiding talking about.

“You told me over and over and over again,” Elizabeth continued, her eyes glowing with anger and frustration. “It was too dangerous. It was never going to be over. You drummed it in my head so many times I got sick of hearing the words.”

“Elizabeth—” Jason tried to cut in. To explain that he was talking about another type of danger all together. It wasn’t dangerous with Courtney. Nothing was at stake.

But she was on a roll—saying words she’d only been feeling for the past few months. “But then again, it really shouldn’t surprise me. You were willing to do anything for her. You guarded her personally—spent every waking moment with her while leaving me alone in a penthouse with a guard. You never talked to me, you’d come and go and I’d never even know you were there!” Her eyes filled with tears and try as though she might, she couldn’t hold them back. They spilled over her lashes and streamed down her cheeks. “You’d think I’d get the hint. But I’ve never been that good as seeing things right in front of my face.”

I’d make you give them all to me
I’d hold you in my arms and never let go
I surrender

She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. He stood there, frozen to the ground. How could she think that—that what he felt for Courtney in any way measured up to his feelings for Elizabeth?

She walked towards him and then passed him. “I want to go home.”

He turned around, reached out and grabbed her arm. “Elizabeth—”

“Take me home,” she repeated. “I don’t—I can’t do this anymore.” She struggled to pull her arm out of his firm grasp.

“I’m not taking you anywhere until you listen to me,” Jason said firmly. He shook his head. “We’re doing it again.”

Elizabeth stopped moving and stared up at him. “What?”

“I’m tired of running,” he said simply. “And I’m tired of watching you walk away.”

Every night’s getting longer
And this fire is getting stronger, baby

He let go of her arm and she took a step back. “It was too dangerous to be with you,” Jason said.

“Damn it—” Elizabeth began. Jason surprised her by pressing two fingers against her lips.

“Will you just let me explain?” he asked quietly. She nodded wordlessly and he let his hand fall back to his side. He took a deep breath and met her eyes, determined not to break the eye contact first.

“I know I let you believe I was talking about my job,” Jason said. “And part of me still thinks that’s true. But you know me. You know I would never make that decision for you.”

“Then what?” she asked softly.

“I was talking about me,” Jason answered. “It was too dangerous for me to be with you.”

I’ll swallow my pride and I’ll be alive
Can’t you hear my call
I surrender all

Elizabeth’s brow furrowed in confusion and she took a step back. “What?” she asked, startled. Too dangerous for him? What did that mean?

“I don’t—I don’t trust people easily,” Jason told her. “I don’t open up and I think you know that. But with you—it was almost too easy. I’ve talked about Michael with you. Talked about losing him and how it felt to be his father. I’ve never said that to anyone.” He took a deep breath. “And because I opened up to you so soon, so easily—so much—it was easier for you to hurt me.”

And boy, had she. Elizabeth squeezed her eyes shut. First with Lucky, then with Zander and then leaving him.

“I’m not saying that to make you feel guilty,” Jason hurried to assure her. “I’m just stating a fact.”

She forced down her guilt and opened her eyes. “I know,” Elizabeth said softly.

“After Zander—I didn’t—” He licked his lips nervously and tried to continue. Told himself that he needed to be honest with her. “I didn’t want to let you do that again. Have that power anymore.”

I’d surrender everything
To feel the chance to live again

“I tried to push you away,” Jason said. “I did everything I could. I was mean to you; I purposely walked away all those times. I told you I couldn’t be friends with you anymore. But you—you—” He smiled a little, despite himself. “You didn’t seem to cooperate.”

Without thinking, he touched her face. “You never did want to give up when I wanted to.”

“I told you,” Elizabeth said, her voice a little shaky. “You can’t just drop out of my life. I’d miss you too much.”

“So—I gave in,” Jason continued. “I promised you that I would try. That I’d respect you, listen to you and be honest with you. I don’t like to make promises unless I know I can keep them. And I really—I really thought I could do it.” He stopped took a deep breath. He wanted to look away, but forced himself to continue the eye contact. “But I didn’t. I lied to you.”

I reach to you
I know you can feel it too

“Jason—” Elizabeth tried to cut in, but he shook his head.

“I’m not finished,” he replied. “I lied. And I knew I was doing it. So I did what I could to avoid you. I couldn’t lie to your face and I couldn’t—I couldn’t tell you the truth. No matter how much I wanted to—I couldn’t.”

“That’s why you never came home?” Elizabeth asked. “It wasn’t because—”

“No, it wasn’t because I didn’t want to see you. I would sit at the safe house with Sonny or Brenda and I’d think about you. I’d wonder if you were playing pool or drawing—thinking of you—knowing you were safe—it helped me get through it.”

“And I just left,” Elizabeth said, the self-loathing evident in her voice. “I am so sorry—”

“I don’t blame you for doing it,” Jason cut in. “I didn’t try to stop you. I let you walk away. I did it because I thought if I gave you some space—if I let you try and calm down, I thought maybe you’d be able to—” He shook his head. “I don’t know how I really justified it to myself, but I did. And I never told you how much I missed you.”

We’ll make it through
A thousand dreams I still believe

“And then everything went crazy,” Jason said after a few moments of silence. “The thing with Courtney’s stalker—it gave me something to think about so I wouldn’t have to think about you. And I didn’t think you’d come back to me, anyway. I thought you were—moving on. You were friends with Lucky again. You’d left town to help him.”

“And you married Brenda,” Elizabeth said. “I know why you did it. And I even understand it a little. She was sick, and needed someone to take care of her.”

“Right,” Jason answered. “And I thought I didn’t have any other reason.” He took a deep breath. “I came to you to tell you that the marriage was going to be over, because we’d found out she wasn’t sick and she didn’t need me any more.”

“And I shot you down,” Elizabeth said, sighing ruefully. “I don’t—”

“That was my fault,” Jason cut in. “You asked me if it was because I wanted another chance. It was blunt, straight-forward and to the point.” He clenched his fists. “And it scared the crap out of me. Because I did. But I backtracked—I ran. And you did, too. I don’t blame you, Elizabeth. We both did it. We’ve both been running.”

I’ll make you give them all to me
I’ll hold you in my arms and never let go
I surrender
Right here, right now
I give my life to live again

Elizabeth bit her lip and looked away. “What about Courtney?” she asked finally. “Why was it too dangerous for you and me, but not with her?”

“Because I never let her in,” Jason said, firmly. “She didn’t know me, Elizabeth. She didn’t understand me. She tried—and when she did a little, she didn’t want to be with me.” He took a deep breath. “She told me she was going back to AJ tonight and that’s fine with me.”

“But you did care about her,” Elizabeth said.

“Yes,” Jason admitted. “But it wasn’t enough. Because no matter how much I cared about her, I didn’t love her.” He stopped. No more running, he told himself again. Lay out all the cards. “I love you.”

Elizabeth stopped breathing. “W-what?” she asked, even though she’d heard him loud and clear the first time.

“I love you. Courtney and I never would have worked because despite everything—” Jason shrugged a little. Every time he said the words, they became a little easier. “I’m still in love with you.”

I’ll break free, take me
My everything, I surrender all to you

After a few moments of nearly unbearable silence in which Jason forced himself not to look away from her, she exhaled slowly. “Yeah—I know what you mean.” She smiled. “Because no matter how much Ric makes me laugh or how nice he is to me—he’s not you.” She touched his face; let her fingers trail over his lips. “Because despite everything, I’m still in love with you, too.”

He stepped closer to her; she tilted her face up to keep their eyes on each other. Not once since Jason had started speaking had they looked away. It was a new beginning for the both of them.

He bent down and brushed his lips over hers. When he pulled away, Elizabeth gripped the sides of his jacket to keep him close and she kissed him again.

Right now
I give my life to live again
I’ll break free, take me

They stood there for a while, wrapped in each other’s arms, the snow falling down around them.

Somehow, despite everything—they’d found their way back.

My everything, I surrender all to you

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