Brand New Day

She cursed at the complicated instructions that were written in some form of English she didn’t understand.

“Place Bolt C in Slot J…” she let out a frustrated growl and dropped the pieces to the floor.

She was just two months from her due date and her tiny studio was overflowing with baby paraphernalia. Clothing, bottles, stuffed animals. Earlier, the dresser and crib she’d ordered from Wyndham’s had arrived earlier that day and she’d been struggling to assemble the crib ever since.

She’d signed her divorce papers from Ric earlier that week and at the same time, she’d forced him to sign paperwork stripping him of any legal claim to the child.

She was planning on putting Zander Smith’s name on the birth certificate.

A light knock came to her door. “Who is it?” Elizabeth called.

“Jason.”

“Come on in–it’s locked though,” she replied. She heard the tumblers being clicked open before the door finally slid open.

“Hey, I saw your light on when I was on my way home from the warehouse…” Jason trailed off when he noticed the overflowing room. “Wow…you’ve got a lot of stuff.”

“Emily and Nikolas threw a baby shower,” Elizabeth sighed. “I think this kid has more stuff than I do.”

He kneeled next to her. “I haven’t put one of these together since Michael was born,” he told her, taking the bag of bolts from her and the instructions.

“What about Morgan?” Elizabeth asked.

“Sonny had the nursery done professionally as a gift for Carly while she was on Alcazar’s yacht,” Jason slid part of the leg together. “Elizabeth…when this thing is put together…you won’t have room to move.”

She shrugged. “I know. But what else can I do right?” She handed him part of the other leg.

“You could move into a bigger place,” Jason told her pointedly. “Something…with a bedroom? Maybe even your own bathroom?”

She sighed. “I looked…but I can’t afford the rent on those places and pay for a baby too.” Elizabeth placed a hand over her abdomen, looking troubled. “As it is, I’m not all that sure I can afford the baby.”

He hesitated and glanced at her. “You know…I could help out. With money and all. You could even consider it a loan,” he added quickly as he could see her opening her mouth to refuse. “It’s not charity…a loan,” he repeated.

“A loan I won’t be able to pay back,” Elizabeth reminded him. “I need a new job but I can’t afford daycare. I had no business getting pregnant,” she sighed.

“Hey…things happen like this–unexpectedly. Doesn’t mean they’re bad. Maybe…” Jason hesitated. “Maybe you’ll get married again.”

“I doubt that. I’ve had three weddings and only one of them did I have the sense to call off.” She shook her head. “What was I thinking? I mean…either time. First, he lied to me, pretended to have raped Carly and then he kidnapped her and I just…married him again. There are words for girls like me and none of them are flattering,” she sighed.

“Hey.” Jason touched her hand. “You made a mistake. So what? So you gave Ric the benefit of the doubt and you trusted him. So you thought you saw something in him worth saving. It’s not your fault that wasn’t true. Don’t let Ric make you doubt yourself.”

Elizabeth nodded. “Okay.” She watched him continue assembling the crib. “How are you doing…since…well…since you signed the papers?” she asked hesitantly.

Jason sighed. “Okay, I guess. I think I knew all along that it wouldn’t work. She could never…never trust me enough to know what I was doing. Like even though I’d been doing the job for years, suddenly my emotions would wreck it. We never should have gotten married.”

“I’m sorry,” Elizabeth told him.

“Courtney’s actually doing pretty good.” A smile tugged at his lips. “She enrolled in the police academy.”

“Wow…she went from being Jason Morgan’s wife to being a cop?” Elizabeth laughed. “That’s just…something I didn’t expect.”

“She wants to work in the special victims unit actually,” Jason told her. “So…a divorce was probably a good idea.” He set the crib’s legs up and started working on the upper part of it.

“How did you get roped into setting that thing up anyway?” Elizabeth laughed.

He grinned at her. “You would have spent the rest of your pregnancy trying to figure it out,” he teased.

“Gee thanks,” she remarked dryly. She smacked him in the shoulder with the packet of instructions.

“Do you know if you’re having a boy or girl yet?”

“A girl,” Elizabeth smiled. “I’m going to name her Stephanie…for my grandfather.”

“I never understood that,” Jason told her. “Naming people for other people. I mean…yeah, I named Michael after Sonny but that’s because Emily told me I should choose a name that had some meaning for me and Sonny was…the first person who’d ever trusted me.” He shrugged. “But I didn’t understand why they’d name Morgan for me.”

“Because they love you. Because they want him to always remember you. Because Carly knows how much you’ve done for her and wanted to repay you in some way. You always underestimate how much you mean to people, Jason. You shouldn’t do that.”

“I’ll work on that.” He stood and reached for the last piece. He slid into the slot and looked at her. “There you go.”

“Thanks.” She stood and kissed his cheek. “It looks great.”

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