Another week, another possible rewrite of the Jake/Elizabeth story. This is an episode tag to May 18, 2015’s episode. I haven’t had a chance to catch up on anything after Monday’s episode, so the situation is that Elizabeth knows the truth. Hayden knows the truth. Nikolas has refused to give into her blackmail. Hayden has gone to tell Jake who’s with Sam at the garage. Hayden is shot in an attempt by Sonny to kill Jake in response to Duke’s death. Elizabeth tries to convince Jake not to talk to Hayden if she wakes up, but Jake is going to anyway. She goes to Nikolas, leaving Jake and Sam at the hospital.
I’m not sure how good this is. Mostly because I feel like this reveal ought to properly be an ensemble story with Carly and Sam and Patrick. I did it a bit when I wrote Safe to Love You, but I really don’t want to get involved in another longish story right now when I have a lot of other things on my plate, so this is kind of another superficial go at it.
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You get what you need
If her life was going to blow up, then damn it, she wanted to flip the switch herself.
Elizabeth Webber hesitantly approached the duo sitting on the steps near the surgical waiting room. Her eyes burned at the sight, at the very image she had been trying to prevent by keeping this lie.
She had shredded her integrity to do this and it had been for nothing. She had given up on all the principles she expected others to live by, and for what?
So that a two-bit con woman could blow up her world?
To keep a man who wouldn’t want her if he knew the truth?
Did she have so little self-respect left that she was willing to take Jason on these terms? She deserved someone who loved her not because he didn’t know there were other options, but because he had considered those options null and void.
Otherwise, she was a consolation prize. A runner-up who had been terrified to enter the contest.
“Is Hayden still in surgery?” Elizabeth asked as she stepped up to them.
“Yeah.” Jake—she couldn’t quite stop thinking of him that way—nodded. “Sam was just keeping me company while we waited.”
“Yeah.” Sam tilted her head. “We’re trying to figure out what she might have known and who we can ask if she doesn’t…” She sighed and drew herself to her feet. She eyed Elizabeth, her dark eyes considering. “You rushed off rather quickly. Are the boys okay?”
“They are—” Elizabeth clasped her hands behind her back, twisting her fingers. “I know what Hayden was going to say—”
“Did you go talk to Ric?” Jake rose as well, stepping off the stairs. “We think since he hired Hayden, he might know. I wish you hadn’t—he’s scum and he’s only going to lie to you.”
Jake or Jason, the man in front of her would never like Ric Lansing. She could hardly blame him. “No. I didn’t have to.”
Sam frowned, looked to Jake, before looking at her again. “I don’t—I don’t—” She cleared her throat. “I don’t understand.”
“Nikolas told me.” This was his damn fault anyway. He was not going to escape the blame or the consequences. If he had kept his mouth shut, she would still be in blissful ignorance. That would have been kinder.
“Helena did know,” Jake said slowly. “You went to see him? He finally admitted it—“ He came closer to her, drew her hand in his. Oh…God. She didn’t want to lose this. He cared about her. He could love her one day.
Why wasn’t she allowed to have that?
“He told me the night of the Nurse’s Ball,” Elizabeth said, tugging her hand away. Better to walk away first.
They can’t see you fall apart if you’re walking away.
She’d begged Jason once too often for his love, and damn it, this was the final straw.
Jake shook his head. “No, no, he didn’t—” He stopped, shook his head again. “He didn’t. Because that was days ago and you would—you would have said something—”
Sam stepped up to his side, and something inside Elizabeth shattered at the vision of them together.
Was this always the way it was supposed to be? Was it always supposed to be Jason and Sam? Was this to be her punishment for lying?
“Your speech at the ball—you changed your mind. You were going to say something then—” Sam bit her lip. “Elizabeth, just say it—”
“Jason.” The word slipped through her mouth almost without any noise to back it up. She cleared her throat. “Victor Cassadine kidnapped Jason to use as his own personal bodyguard. Helena took over after Victor’s death.”
“No—Nikolas is—” A shocked huff of laughter spilled from Sam’s lips. “No, he’s just—he’s lying to you. To us. That’s—”
“Wait—” Jake held up a hand. “You—you’re telling me, according to Nikolas Cassadine—”
“You’re Jason Morgan. And I lied to you. Because I knew you’d go away again. And I couldn’t face it. I’m no better than Hayden or Ric. I lied and I’m sorry.” Her eyes were burning as hot tears cascaded down her cheeks.
“Wait, wait—” Jake held out a hand, but Elizabeth backed up.
The truth hadn’t set in yet, and once it did, he would hate her. They would all hate her. And she deserved it. She was a horrible, horrible person.
She was Lizzie again, and she couldn’t stand it.
“I’m so sorry, Sam. I lied. I lied because I thought you were happy with Patrick, and I knew it would kill him to lose you, so I wanted to protect you both, but mostly I wanted to protect me. I didn’t want—” She drew herself to a shaky halt, her chest burning. “It doesn’t matter. I lied.”
“I can’t—” Sam’s hands were fisted at her sides. “It doesn’t make sense—” She blinked. “But it does.” She looked to Jake now with a considering, almost analytical eye. “Helena had Jason’s wedding ring. And—you picked the name Jake.”
“You’re—” Jake took a deep breath, holding his hands out in front of him. “Just wait. You’re telling me I picked the name Jake because of your son?” he asked Elizabeth. “If I were Jason, don’t you think I would have remembered something—”
“But you did,” Sam said when Elizabeth just closed her eyes and shook her head. “You remembered Elizabeth. Didn’t you? And look at the people you’ve surrounded herself with. Elizabeth, me, Carly—the job you’re doing—” She pressed a hand to her chest. “Oh, my God. I can’t—I can’t breathe.”
“This doesn’t make sense.” Jake shook his head. “Elizabeth, Nikolas must be lying—”
“He’s not. And Hayden overheard everything the night of ball. She was going to blackmail him, but he wouldn’t give in. So she came to tell you—”
“That’s why you didn’t want us to talk to her,” Sam said. The shock had started to dissipate and now impatience, insult were bleeding through. “Because she would tell the truth. And Jake would know.” She looked to Jake. “Jason would know—”
“Don’t—” Jake held up a hand. “Don’t call—I need to—I just a need a minute—”
“I’m so sorry,” Elizabeth said again. She pressed her fist to her mouth. “I’m sorry. I knew it was wrong and I did anyway. It doesn’t even matter—”
And she couldn’t take it anymore. She couldn’t stand there anymore.
She spun on her heel and fled. The elevator door slid closed merely seconds after she boarded, preventing Jake or Sam from following.
His head was swimming. He couldn’t make sense of any of it. He was Jason Morgan. This man the people he knew all but worshiped—Sam’s husband, Carly’s conscience, and Elizabeth’s…the love of her life.
He was supposed to be this man.
And Elizabeth had known. And lied.
“Are you okay?” Sam’s voice sounded almost distant and tinny. She pressed a hand on his forearm. “Jake?”
“I’m not—” He sat back on the step, his mind whirling. “I’m not okay, no. I can’t—”
“In retrospect,” Sam said as she resumed her seat next to him. “We should have seen it.”
Jake just blinked at her. “What—”
“Not you. But me. Elizabeth. Maybe not Carly, she’s usually wrapped up in herself, but—” She offered a smile. “Spinelli knew you right away. Oh, God…” Sam blinked. “Spinelli, Carly—they’re going—”
“Don’t—” Jake put a hand on her wrist as she reached for her purse, for her cell phone. “Don’t tell anyone just yet—”
“Why?” Sam leaned forward. “Jake, these people love you—”
“They love Jason,” Jake corrected. “I’m not him—”
And now he couldn’t stand not being still. He moved across the room, into the waiting room where he could pace. “I’m not Jason. Maybe I was once, but I’m not. I don’t remember that.”
Sam followed him and took a deep breath. “Okay. Okay. I get that. You—he lost his memory before. We were engaged a long time ago, and he had a brain injury. He lost the memories, but we worked through it and they came back—”
“Sam—” Jake didn’t know what to say to that. “Sam. If this is true, I’ve been surrounded by my old life for months and almost nothing has come back—”
“But it could—”
“And if it doesn’t?” Jake drew away from her. “Sam, you—nothing has changed for me—”
“What you mean?” she demanded. She threw a hand to the doorway. “You know who you are—”
“I know who I was. I can’t—I don’t remember.” He shook his head. “I don’t know what to do with this information. He’s just a name to me—”
“Then what about the fact that Elizabeth knew? That Nikolas knew?” Her eyes burned. “Do you think I’m just going to let them get away with that—”
And he didn’t know what to do with that either. He didn’t know the Cassadine prince beyond his relation to the hell bitch who had controlled him and his friendship with Elizabeth.
But Elizabeth. She had known. For days. She had known since the ball. Since before they been together—
“I’m not surprised she lied,” Sam all but snarled. “She’s always gone after you, always tried to make you be with her, but this is low, this is beyond anything else—”
“Just—just stop.” Jake pressed a hand to his forehead. “Stop it. I can’t deal with this right now.” He looked at her. “And what about your life? She wasn’t wrong about you and Patrick. About what the news would do to you.”
“That’s—” Sam closed her mouth, her eyes were damp with tears. “Okay. Okay. I get it. Part of her thought I was better off. But why does she get to make that choice? You were my husband, you are Danny’s father—”
God. God. Why couldn’t she just stop? “This isn’t about you,” Jake snapped. “I don’t know any of that is true. I know what Nikolas told Elizabeth. How the hell do we even know it’s true? And if it is, why can’t I remember you?”
“You just—you didn’t know who you were. You just have—now you can remember.” Her lip trembled. “I don’t know what to do about Patrick, but we were married, Jason—”
“I woke up in that hospital room, and Elizabeth was there. And I thought—”
He’d known her face, her voice, the way she smiled. It had felt familiar to him, and he had thought that meant something—that she was part of a larger picture. Maybe the injuries were going to steal his old life, but now he had this new life and he could built it with her.
He’d thought their effortless connection had been something special, but it had been residual. Something that had existed before.
“She—” Jake shook his head. “I hate that she kept this from me. Even if it’s not true, she thinks it is. And she said nothing.” He looked to Sam. “But it changes nothing for me. I’m not Jason Morgan. I don’t have his memories I look at you, and I only see you now. As someone I took hostage. As someone I’ve seen with Patrick. I don’t see the man you think I am.”
“You’re not even trying.” Sam jerked the door open. “I’m going to find out what the hell my cousin was thinking when he lied to me. This isn’t over.” She jabbed a finger at him. “You remembered me once. You can do it again.”
She stormed out, leaving Jake standing alone in a surgical room.
What did it even mean to know who he had been? How could it matter? He didn’t remember it. And damn it, he resented the life he had now. Sam didn’t see Jake anymore, and maybe Elizabeth had stopped seeing him, too.
They only saw Jason.
She heard the door open behind her and the familiar fall of his boots as he stepped from the landing into her living room. But she said nothing. There was nothing left to say.
She’d lied and destroyed any chance for them.
“I used to think,” Jake began, “that if someone said my name or if I saw a picture of who I used to be, it would come back to me. I would remember who I was. I would be that person again.”
At his calm words, Elizabeth twisted on the sofa and looked at him. “What?” she asked, her throat sore. “What are you talking about—”
“I’ve apparently been surrounded by those things for months.” Jake picked up the photo of Elizabeth with Jason, peered at it. “I remember now how some things felt right to my ears. The name Quartermaine. The name Jake.” He looked at her, setting the frame down. “Your face. Your voice. I thought I had heard it the night I was admitted, but I didn’t. I remembered it. From before.”
“Jake…” She stood. “I can’t even—”
“Sam said the signs were all there, and I guess that’s true if you knew what to look for. But I had heard the name Jason Morgan for months. And I had seen his photo. I’d heard stories about him from so many people—” He lifted a shoulder. “And there’s nothing. It’s a blank slate.”
She chewed on her bottom lip. Was he just setting her up for the fall? “I—”
“Apparently, losing memories is something I do often. You’d think, with the third time, I deserve to get all my memories back.” He rocked back and forth. “I’ve been walking the streets for hours—”
“What?” Elizabeth frowned at him. “Jake, Sonny’s men—” She closed her mouth. “You’re okay, so I guess that doesn’t matter.” She took a deep breath. “I’m so sorry—”
“You said that already.” He was quiet for a moment. “I’m angry with you. I’m disappointed.”
Her veins boiled with shame as she closed her eyes. Tears burned on her cheeks. Hadn’t she exhausted their supply yet? “I was pleading with Nikolas to pay her off, to God, even seduce her to keep the truth. And I could see myself playing that game for months—and I hated myself. Nikolas was right to end it. To let her go. I just—” She shook her head. “I don’t know. It was like something took me over, Jake. I couldn’t let something come between us again—”
“We’ll come back to that—” He hesitated. “You don’t—you don’t call me Jason.”
She frowned at him. “I— I guess not. I mean, I did when I was talking to Nikolas but…” She bit her lip. “You don’t remember him. You—He used to talk about the first accident. The way his family treated me. They looked at him, and they expected this person they loved to be there. He just wasn’t. Jason Quartermaine never came back and it took them so long to accept that. They burned their bridges, you know, pressuring him.” She twisted her fingers. “Jason hated that. I could see how much it pained him when he would talk about it. I figure—I don’t know, maybe you don’t remember being either Jason, but maybe that didn’t change.”
“It doesn’t look like it. Sam—” He dipped his head. “I think she wanted me to remember. I think for her, she wanted me to hear the name, to look at her and remember.”
God, poor Patrick. “I’m sorry. I just—I thought she should know.” She wrapped her arms around her torso. “I’m sorry, Jake—”
“Once she found out who I used to be, she stopped seeing me. I’m Jason now to her. And that’s the end of it. I’m sure it’ll be all over Port Charles by the end of the day. I expect Carly to track me down any minute now. But I need to know something. When you call me Jake, is it just because you think I’ll be angry if you say Jason?”
Elizabeth frowned, shook her head. “I don’t understand. I mean, I get it. You’re Jason, in the sense that he didn’t die and he’s alive. But—” She shrugged. “I don’t know what you mean—do I see Jason when I look at you? No. I mean, now that I know, it makes sense, but I don’t—” She gestured at the photo. “You have a different face—”
“Then why lie?” he demanded. “Why bother if I’m not Jason? Why go to that trouble?” He stepped forward. “Did you sleep with me because I’m Jason?”
“I don’t—” Elizabeth just stopped and looked at him. “You’re acting like there was nothing between us before that night—I thought…” She closed her eyes. “What are you looking for here? I don’t know what you want from me—”
“The truth.” Jake paused. “I don’t remember being Jason Morgan, so you didn’t take four days of my life from me. You just postponed encounters like the one I had with Sam, with the ones I’ll have with Carly and I guess, Michael. And hell, Sonny—” He shook his head. “I can’t see me ever being as loyal to that jackass as you people would have me believe Jason was, but that’s not the point.”
“What’s the point?” Elizabeth sighed, pressing a hand to her head. “I can’t—I’m just so tired. I wish Nikolas hadn’t told me. I would have rather found out with you. He wanted to keep me from having another moment like I did when I thought you were married to Hayden—I wanted to find you. I thought…this was our chance. We could just go back to where we were before she showed up, but…” She tilted her head to the ceiling. “Nikolas told me you were Jason. That you had a wife—”
“Let’s—” Jake stepped forward, took her hand. “Let’s go back to that. You were going to find me before Nikolas told you. Why? Where were we going?” he prompted.
What the hell did he want from her? “To bed, remember?” she shot back. “Before your wife showed up. And you went to her. So I decided I might as well go be with someone, too. Except I was an idiot, settling for Ric. I’m better off alone—”
“Damn it, Elizabeth—” He took her shoulders and shook her a bit. “I’m not Jason. You can see that, can’t you?”
Elizabeth shrugged out of his grasp. “That’s what this is about? You think I slept with you because I found out who you were? What the hell—” She turned away, dragging her hand through her hair. She whirled back. “You know what? I would have slept with you months ago. I’ve been attracted to you since day one, and you’re an idiot if you can’t see that. Why the hell would I think you were Jason? You laughed. You made jokes. You were honest with me. It didn’t take a goddamn pair of forceps to get you to tell me what you were thinking, what you were feeling.” She pressed her hands to her chest. “I loved Jason. I did. But that had nothing to do with how I feel about you—” She shook her head.
“Just leave. I can’t—I’m not going to play mind games anymore. I had my fill of that when you were Jason, I’m not doing it again—”
“I’m just trying to figure things out, Elizabeth. You lied to me. How long would you have kept doing it?” Jake demanded.
“As long as I could get away with it,” Elizabeth retorted. “Because damn it, I was happy. I wanted to enjoy that for five seconds before my life exploded again. Does that make me a bad person? I’m sorry. I can’t do this anymore. I am tired of watching people walk out of my life. I’m tired of never being a priority, of not being enough. My parents, my siblings, Lucky, Ric, AJ, Nikolas—Jason. And now you—”
“I haven’t decided anything yet—” Jake said, stepping back. “Elizabeth—”
“I can’t—I love you. I loved you before I knew who you used to be. And you know what? Knowing doesn’t make it better. I thought it did, but it doesn’t. It makes it worse. Because the only way I could keep you was a lie.” She shook her head. “And that’s not enough for me. I deserve more.” She pushed past him and jerked the door open. “Go. I’m not doing this anymore—”
He scowled, his eyes burning with anger again. “Were you always this good at turning arguments around so you could be the injured party? You lied to me, Elizabeth. You were the only person in my life I thought I could trust without reservation and you lied to me. You don’t think I get to be pissed about it?”
Elizabeth pressed her lips together to keep the angry retort back. God. He was right. She gently closed the door and leaned her forehead against the smooth and cool wood, her eyes closed. “I’m sorry. I can’t—you’re right.”
“I don’t want you to be sorry. I’m just—I’m trying to understand how I’m supposed to take this in.” Jake stepped towards her. “Elizabeth—”
“It’s a mistake to think we can salvage anything from this,” she murmured. “You’re always going to wonder who I wish was standing in front of me, and I’m always going to be terrified you’ll remember and go back to your old life. You went to Hayden, why not go to Sam? You have a son with her—”
“I don’t remember him. I don’t know him.” But he didn’t come any closer. “Am I supposed to live my life as if I could remember at any moment? I’m angry at you, Elizabeth,” he repeated “But I get it. Being pissed doesn’t mean I don’t understand exactly what you were thinking that night. Because now I know the truth, too, and all I can do is regret that either of us know it.”
She turned now, faced him. “You wish you didn’t know?” Elizabeth twisted her fingers together. “I would have thought—”
“Hindsight’s twenty-twenty.” Jake leaned against the back of the sofa. “I told you. I thought if I found out, it would come back. Well, it hasn’t. I’m standing in front of you with the same lack of memories. Except this name. And it’s standing between us.”
“Jake…” Elizabeth sighed and rubbed her eyes. “I’m just—I’m tired. I hate myself for what I was doing—for what I was prepared to keep doing—” She stepped off the landing. “I’m sorry—”
He reached for her hand and this time she allowed him to draw her into an embrace. “You know what I keep coming back to?” he asked her, his hand sliding up to frame her jaw. “I remember you. I remembered your face. Your voice. I remembered our son. Not Sam. Not Carly. Not Sonny. You. If it was just residual, then why was it only you?”
“You—” Elizabeth cleared her throat. “I was around a lot, Jake—”
“Maybe. Or maybe it doesn’t matter.” He let his hand drop. “I love you, too. But you’re right. Right now, we can’t be sure what either of us is feeling.”
She closed her eyes. “I know. I understand—”
“So, let’s just take some time, okay?” Jake straightened, then leaned down to brush his lips against hers. Once, then twice. She pressed herself against him—if she let go, this might be it. He would never be hers.
“Jake—” she said, when they finally drew apart. “I wish I had told you—”
“Doesn’t matter anymore.” He shook his head and offered a rueful smile. “Let’s just let some of this settle for a while. I’m going to try to find Sam, see if we can keep your knowledge between us. It’s no one’s business but ours.”
“I have to sort out what it might mean to be Jason Morgan,” Jake said as he put a bit more distance between them. “And you deserve someone who’s free to love you. That’s not me. Not right now.”
God. She would rather have his anger, his bitterness than this sad understanding. “And you deserve to trust the feelings of the person you’re with. So—”
“This isn’t over,” he told her. “Even if I get memories back, these last eight months—they’ve happened. They’re part of who I am now. There’s no going back.”
Jake pulled open the door. “I love you.”
“I love you, too,” she murmured.
He offered her a grin—so opposite of the man he’d been once and so symbolic of who he had become. “I’ll see you later.”
She laughed then. “I’ll see you later.”
When the door closed behind him, Elizabeth pressed a hand to her stomach and smiled.
Maybe it wouldn’t work out for them, but maybe, just maybe…she could get what she wanted after all.
There was a first time for everything.