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What you need to know: Everything is basically the same as on the show up until Liz left Ric and went away to have her baby except Sonny doesn’t know about Elizabeth’s rape and there was no custody fight between Sonny and Carly. They agreed to joint custody without court interference. Carly is with Lorenzo. Alexis has Kristina who is almost 3 years old and Sonny doesn’t know she is his and there was never any of the animosity and hatred that came out during the custody battle. Sonny and Sam did have an affair but they broke it off before either of them could get emotionally involved and Sam did not get pregnant. Sam is the way she was when she first came on the show—a smart, independent ass-kicker who doesn’t take crap from anyone. She and Jason did become friends while she and Sonny were involved and the friendship remains. Courtney and Jason are divorced and Courtney is with Jax. Oh and Xander died in the hotel fire because Elizabeth knocked him out and chained him in a room.

 

CHAPTER 1

 

Sonny wandered down the path through the park, lost in thought. He had no business to take care of but he didn’t want to be at the penthouse. It was simply too empty without Michael and Morgan there. Thinking about his sons, Sonny almost didn’t see the small, brown haired girl toddling toward him.

 

“Kristina?” Sonny asked kneeling down to the girl while scanning the area for Alexis. “Where’s your momma?”

 

“Momma,” Kristina repeated.

 

“Yeah, she’s probably frantic looking for you,” Sonny said rising to his feet and taking Kristina’s hand in his. “We better go find her.”

 

Sonny had only taken one step when he felt something on his pant leg. He looked down and saw Kristina tugging on it with her free hand.

 

“What is it, sweetheart?” Sonny asked.

 

Kristina pointed at her feet and said, “Hurt.”

 

Sonny smiled and picked her up. Holding her in one arm, he pulled off her shoes with his free hand.

 

“Why does your momma put these mean old shoes on you anyway?” Sonny asked.

 

“Mean shoes,” Kristina said with a grin.

 

Sonny blinked at her smile. It looked so much like Alexis’s when she allowed herself but Kristina had deep dimples.

 

He walked slowly in the direction of the playground area of the park. Kristina had wrapped one are around his neck and laid her head on his shoulder. She was asleep in minutes. Sonny kissed her forehead and kept walking. He couldn’t imagine Alexis had let Kristina wander so far away.

 

That was when he spotted the large diaper bag on the ground. Carefully he leaned over and picked it up. He searched the bag finding all the normal toddler things and then he found a small card with emergency contact information. The two people listed were Alexis and Nikolas.

 

Sonny felt something clench around his heart and he recognized it as fear. Something had happened to Alexis. They were no longer close, hell she had abandoned him, but he still couldn’t stand the thought of anything bad touching her. Sonny turned and walked swiftly back toward the limo and Max. Seeing Sonny approach with a child, Max jogged toward his boss.

 

“Something has happened to Alexis,” Sonny said keeping his voice low so he wouldn’t wake Kristina. “Find her. Now.”

 

Max didn’t hesitate. He was dialing his phone before he had even turned around to walk back to the limo. On the drive to Harborview Towers, Max called every guard and snitch, every person who owed a favor and a few who didn’t. All the guards knew Sonny would move heaven and earth to protect the lawyer despite any recent distance between them.

 

Sonny walked into his penthouse still carrying a sleeping Kristina. Jason stood up from the couch and glanced at the little girl but didn’t say anything. Sonny quickly went upstairs and put Kristina in Morgan’s crib. Grabbing the baby monitor, he went back to the living room.

 

“We haven’t found anything yet,” Jason said immediately. “We have everyone looking though. What are you going to do with Kristina?”

“I don’t know,” Sonny said. “I guess I should call Ned.”

 

“Ned’s out of town,” Jason said.

 

“I guess I’ll call Nikolas then,” Sonny said.

 

“I’ll do it,” Jason said.

 

Meanwhile in the hallway, the elevator opened and Elizabeth stepped out. Hesitantly she turned toward Jason’s.

 

“He’s not there,” Max said from next to Sonny’s door.

 

“Oh,” Elizabeth said turning toward the guard. “Do you know where he is? It’s really important. Emily sent me.”

 

Max opened Sonny’s door and said, “Ms. Webber to see Jason.”

 

Elizabeth walked into Sonny’s penthouse.

 

“When did you get back to Port Charles?” Sonny asked.

 

“A couple of hours ago,” Elizabeth said. “Jason, Emily asked me to find you. She needs your help.”

 

“Is she okay?” Jason asked.

 

“She’s fine,” Elizabeth said. “But Alexis was taken to the ER earlier. She was badly beaten and is still unconscious. No one knows where Kristina is.”

 

Sonny and Jason exchanged a look before Sonny went upstairs.

 

“Was Alexis found in the park?” Jason asked as Sonny came down the stairs with Kristina.

 

“How did she get here?” Elizabeth asked.

 

“Sonny found her in the park along with her baby bag,” Jason said. “We’ve been looking for Alexis ever since.”

 

“Do they know what happened?” Sonny asked.

 

“No,” Elizabeth said. “Two joggers found her in the bushes just off the path. She’s been unconscious the whole time. She’s in ICU. It’s really bad.”

 

“Did…was she…” Sonny stuttered not knowing how to ask the question.

 

“Was she raped?” Jason asked quietly keeping his eyes on Liz’s face.

 

“We don’t think so,” Elizabeth said giving Jason a reassuring smile.

 

Sonny watched as an unspoken conversation took place between them and realized that they were still very in sync despite the distance they had put between them.

 

“Where’s your baby?” Sonny asked.

 

“Cameron is with my grandmother,” Elizabeth said. “She knew Emily and Nikolas needed me so she offered to watch him.”

 

“Cameron?” Sonny questioned.

 

“Cameron Alexander Webber,” Elizabeth said. “After his grandfather and father.”

 

“Xander was his father?” Jason asked startled.

 

“Yes, he was,” Elizabeth said looking Jason straight in the eye.

 

“I guess that means I’m not an uncle after all,” Sonny said. “Unless Ric is adopting him.”

 

“No,” Elizabeth said. “Ric will not be my son’s father. But Nikolas is determined that Cameron’s first words will be Uncle Nikolas so I don’t see why you couldn’t be Uncle Sonny. If you want, I mean.”

 

“I’d like that,” Sonny said with a smile at the young woman he had thought of as a sister only a few years ago.

 

“Geez, I almost forgot why I came here,” Liz said pulling out her phone. “I better call Em and Nikolas. With Kristina safe, they can concentrate on getting Alexis the best care possible.”

 

Elizabeth dialed Nikolas’s cell and waited for him to pick up.

 

Elizabeth?” Nikolas asked anxiously.

 

“Hey, Nikolas, I found Kristina,” Liz said. “Or more accurately Sonny found her wandering the park and brought her to Harborview Towers while he had people search for Alexis.”

“Thank God,” Nikolas breathed. “Is she hurt?”

 

“She’s fine,” Elizabeth said. “In fact, she’s sleeping quite comfortably.”

 

“Good,” Nikolas said. “I don’t know when I’m going to be able to leave the hospital though. Maybe I could get a hold of her nanny.”

 

“Hold on a second,” Elizabeth said. “Sonny, Nikolas doesn’t want to leave the hospital until they know what Alexis’s condition is. Would you mind if Kristina stayed here for awhile? At least then Nikolas would know she’s safe.”

 

“Of course,” Sonny said. “She can stay as long as she needs to.”

 

“Nikolas, you can stop worrying,” Liz said. “Sonny said Kristina can stay with him for as long as necessary. So whenever you can get a hold of her nanny, just send her to Sonny’s.”

 

“Um, okay. Thank him for me,” Nikolas said. “I’ll see you when you get back to the hospital.”

 

“Okay,” Elizabeth said and hung up the phone. “Nikolas is grateful. I should get back to the hospital though.”

 

“I’ll take you,” Jason said. “I want to check on Emily.”

 

“Okay,” Elizabeth said opening the door.

 

Jason and Sonny exchanged a look before Jason followed Liz out the door.

 

On the drive to the hospital, Jason kept glancing sideways at Elizabeth.

 

“What?” Elizabeth asked.

 

“I’m just confused,” Jason said. “About your son. I wasn’t aware you and Xander were together while you and Ric were separated.”

 

“We weren’t,” Elizabeth said. “Xander was hurt and angry over Emily and Nikolas getting together. Ric wouldn’t stop pursuing me. Xander and I used each other, him to get back at Em and me to get Ric to leave me alone.”

 

“You could have come to me about Ric,” Jason said quietly.

 

“That’s a lot harder than you make it sound,” Elizabeth said.

 

“Why?” Jason asked.

 

“I don’t know,” Elizabeth said. “Intellectually, in my head, I know I could come to you with any problem and you would help me. But when something actually happens, my emotions get involved and it’s hard. Especially when it involves my ex-husband who you hate.”

 

“I don’t want it to be like that,” Jason said. “I want you to be able to come to me.”

 

“I hope we can get back to that, too,” Elizabeth said. “But it’s going to take awhile.”

 

Jason nodded as he pulled into the hospital parking lot. The two walked to the elevator in comfortable silence. As they got on the elevator, Elizabeth turned to Jason and said, “Prepare yourself. Alexis looks pretty bad.”

 

CHAPTER 2

 

Three days later Elizabeth sat in the chapel attempting to pray as she had been for the last half hour. The door opened and a man entered. When Elizabeth saw him, she launched herself into his arms.

 

“Steven! What are you doing here? When did you get here?” Elizabeth exclaimed.

 

“Wow, slow down,” Steven said. “First, how are you? How is my nephew?”

 

“I’m fine and he’s great,” Elizabeth said giving him another hug before sitting down.

 

“Okay,” Steven said. “Now to answer your questions: I’m here to consult on a patient’s case and I got in a couple hours ago.”

 

“Which patient?” Elizabeth asked.

 

“Alexis Davis,” Steven said. “Grams said you know her.”

 

“I do,” Elizabeth confirmed. “Nikolas is her nephew and she’s been really good to me over the years.”

 

“Well hopefully I’ll be able to help,” Steven said.

 

At that moment, Jason and Sonny entered the back of the chapel. They stood silently as the listened to the conversation at the front of the room.

 

“Is Alexis’s case the only reason you’re here?” Elizabeth asked.

 

“What do you mean?” Steven asked.

 

“You’re a brilliant doctor, Steven, but I know that you also have another line of work,” Elizabeth said. “Are you consulting for the police as well as the hospital?”

 

“I was asked to assist in building a case against two organized crime figures,” Steven said.

 

“Sonny Corinthos and Jason Morgan?” she asked wanting confirmation.

 

“Yes,” Steven said. “Why? Do you know them?”

 

“Sonny kept me safe when Helena was trying to kill me. While he and I haven’t been as close lately, he was there when I needed him,” Elizabeth said.

 

“And Morgan?” Steven asked.

 

“Jason is Emily’s brother and for a long time he was my rock, the person I was closest to in the whole world,” Elizabeth said.

 

Elizabeth, please tell me you didn’t come back from California to be with a mobster,” Steven said.

 

“Don’t call them that,” Elizabeth said automatically. “And no, I didn’t come back to Port Charles for Jason. Not exactly anyway.”

 

“Then tell my exactly why you did come back,” Steve said.

 

Elizabeth took a deep breath before she said, “About a month after Cameron was born, I got a call from the authorities. They released him. He’s out of prison.”

 

Sonny turned to Jason in confusion but he wasn’t there. As soon as the words had left Elizabeth’s mouth, Jason was striding up the aisle. He didn’t say anything, just lifted Elizabeth to her feet and pulled her into his arms. Sonny hesitated only a second before following Jason to the front of the chapel.

 

The tears had started as soon as she had started to speak so when two hands lifted her from the pew, Elizabeth couldn’t see who it was. But the feel of leather against her cheek and the way she fit in his embrace were something she had never been able to forget.

 

Steven stood in shock watching a tall blonde man tenderly hold his sobbing sister in total opposition to the cold fury burning in his ice blue eyes. The dark haired man studied Steven and gave him the impression the man was trying to decide what to do about him.

 

As Elizabeth’s tears slowed she lifted her head from Jason’s chest and whispered, “I’m sorry.”

 

Jason framed her face in his hands and wiped away her tears. “You never have to apologize for how you feel,” he said.

 

“That’s not what I was apologizing for,” Elizabeth said.

 

“Then what?” Jason asked.

 

“For leaning on you. I don’t have that right anymore,” Elizabeth said.

 

Elizabeth, I told you once, if you ever needed me…” Jason said.

 

“That was a long time ago,” she said.

 

“It still stands,” he replied.

 

“I’m so scared,” Elizabeth said her voice barely a whisper.

 

“Whatever it is, Elizabeth, we’ll fix it,” Sonny said.

 

Elizabeth’s eyes never left Jason’s as she asked, “You didn’t tell him?”

 

“It wasn’t my place,” Jason said. “Elizabeth, he’ll never hurt you again. I won’t let him.”

 

After a few minutes, Elizabeth nodded and turned to Sonny. Reaching out her hand to him, she said, “Come sit with me.”

 

Steven watched as his youngest sister sat in between these two strangers, each one holding one of her hands.

 

Facing Sonny but not looking him in the eye, Elizabeth quietly explained, “When I was fifteen, I was raped in the park. His name was Tom Baker and the day before I flew back here, they let him out of prison.”

 

Sonny stood up and paced to the altar of the chapel, all the fury he felt radiating from him.

 

“They let him out?” he repeated.

 

Elizabeth nodded and said, “Legally they didn’t even have to tell me but one of the guards thought I’d want to know.”

 

“Of course they had to tell you,” Sonny said. “They have to tell everyone. He’ll be listed in that sex crimes database.”

 

“No, he won’t,” Elizabeth said instinctively moving closer to Jason who put his arm around her. “He wasn’t convicted of raping me. He was in prison for blackmail and extortion.”

 

“But his sentence was longer than this,” Jason said.

 

“Yes, but there is an overcrowding problem and I was told they need to make room for the violent criminals,” Elizabeth said with a bitter laugh.

 

“Excuse me,” Steven said. “But is this Lucky and Nikolas? You told me Lucky was tall and blonde and Nikolas had dark hair but I’ve never actually seen them.”

 

Sonny and Jason looked slightly insulted and Elizabeth burst out laughing.

 

“Steven,” she finally said when she stopped laughing. “This is Jason Morgan and Sonny Corinthos. Guys, this is my brother Steven. He was called in to consult on Alexis’s case.”

 

“Can we get back to the problem at hand,” Sonny said. “Elizabeth, tell me you aren’t living in your studio.”

 

“No, I’m living at my Gram’s house,” Elizabeth said.

 

“That’s not going to be safe enough,” Jason said quietly.

 

“I’ll be living there too,” Steven said. “I’ll make sure my sister is safe.”

 

“If you were going to make sure your sister was safe, this guy would never have gotten out of prison,” Sonny said. “Why don’t you concentrate on helping Alexis and let us do what we do.”

 

“And what exactly would you say it is you do?” Steven said sarcastically.

 

“We protect Elizabeth,” Jason said.

 

Elizabeth,” Sonny said choosing to ignore Steven, “why don’t you move in with me? There’s plenty of room and Kristina can play with Cameron.”

 

“That’s really sweet, Sonny, but I don’t think I’d be able to live there,” Elizabeth said. “Even with Carly gone, I’ll always think of it as her penthouse.”

 

There was a minute of silence before Jason said, “You could move back in with me. Your room is the same.”

 

“Courtney didn’t redecorate?” Elizabeth asked in surprise.

 

“Not that room,” Jason said.

 

Elizabeth sat in silence for a few minutes before she nodded.

 

Elizabeth, you cannot be serious!” Steven almost shouted.

 

“It’s the best way to be sure my son is safe,” Elizabeth said. “If Tom comes after me, he would have no problem using Cameron to make me pay. I’m the only parent he has and I will do anything I can to keep him safe.”

 

As Elizabeth spoke, the doors to the chapel opened and Audrey walked in pushing a sleeping Cameron in his stroller. Elizabeth smiled at her son as Audrey stopped and hugged Steven.

 

“Someone wanted his mommy but fell asleep before we could get here,” Audrey said. “Steven, have you checked on Alexis yet?”

 

“Yes, there is no change and I’ve ordered some more tests before I decide how best to handle her case,” Steven said.

 

“That’s good,” Audrey said.

 

“Grandmother, how could you allow Lizzie to become friends with these two criminals?” Steven demanded.

 

Audrey glanced at Sonny and Jason before looking at Steven and said, “You obviously don’t know your sister very well or you wouldn’t ask that question. Elizabeth has chosen her own friends for a very long time regardless of how I felt toward them. I did not approve of Lucky Spencer and he helped her through a very difficult time and almost married her. I didn’t approve of Jason and Mr. Corinthos but they saved her life and kept her safe many times. I certainly did not approve of Xander Smith and he gave us Cameron. Ironically, I did approve of Ric Lansing and all he ever did was cause Elizabeth pain. So you and I have no right to question Elizabeth’s choice about who to be friends with and she won’t listen anyway.”

 

“Thank you, Grams,” Elizabeth said as Cameron woke up and began to fuss. Elizabeth bent to pick him up but Jason noticed her shaking hands and squeezed her shoulder before picking the baby up himself.

 

Steven looked on in surprise as Jason quieted the infant and comforted Elizabeth with an ease that said he was comfortable doing both. Steven could not reconcile the image of the professional killer whose file he had read with the man who was tenderly taking care of Steven’s nephew and sister.

 

Once he was sure the child was sound asleep, Jason placed Cameron back in the stroller. Audrey watched the domestic gesture and sighed. If Elizabeth wanted Jason in her life and as a father for Cameron, Audrey would not criticize. At least it would mean Cameron wouldn’t be influenced by Ric.

 

“Since he’s sleeping again, I’ll take him back to the house,” Audrey said.

 

Elizabeth, Jason and Sonny exchanged a glance and Sonny said, “Mrs. Hardy, I’d like to send Max with you. I don’t want Cameron going anywhere without a guard.”

 

“Actually, Grams, why don’t you leave him with me? We’ll be by the house later to get a few things and then we are going to stay at Harborview Towers for a while,” Elizabeth said.

 

Audrey’s eyes flew to Elizabeth and she asked, “What happened? Is it Ric?”

 

“No, it’s not Ric. Tom Baker was released from prison. That’s why I came back to Port Charles when I did,” Elizabeth told her grandmother.

 

Audrey turned her gaze to Sonny and then settled it on Jason. “You’ll protect them? No matter what it takes?”

 

“Yes, Mrs. Hardy, we’ll protect them,” Jason said.

 

“Okay,” Audrey said turning to leave.

 

“You’re okay with this? Your youngest granddaughter is moving in with a mobster and you aren’t protesting at all?” Steven yelled.

 

“Watch your tone,” Sonny said evenly.

 

“Thank you, Mr. Corinthos,” Audrey said before turning her steely gaze on Steven. “This won’t be the first time Elizabeth has stayed with Jason to ensure her safety and it probably won’t be the last. Those two have a bond that nothing and no one has been able to break. I used to see that as a curse but with that rapist on the loose, I’m eternally grateful that Jason is willing to keep my granddaughter and great-grandson safe. If you want your sister in your life, don’t antagonize her friends. Elizabeth is incredibly loyal to the people who deserve it and she’s given up more than you can imagine for those two in the past. I doubt your sibling bond is strong enough to survive a fight over the fitness of these men to be in her life.”

 

With that Audrey walked out of the chapel leaving everyone stunned at her words.

 

CHAPTER 3

 

Elizabeth unlocked the door to the penthouse with a strong sense of déjà vu until she looked down at her son. Cameron was looking curiously around the hall at this new place. Elizabeth smiled as she pushed the door open and walked through with her son. She came to a dead stop when she saw the woman sitting on the couch.

 

Sam looked up expecting to see Jason and was surprised to see a beautiful brunette pushing a stroller.

 

“Hi,” Sam said. “Jason’s not home. I’m Sam.”

 

“I’m Elizabeth and I know Jason’s not here because he is at the hospital,” Elizabeth said.

 

“He didn’t get shot or anything, did he?” Sam asked.

 

“No, he’s there checking on Alexis and Emily,” Elizabeth said.

 

“Cool,” Sam said. “Okay, I’ve been polite as long as I can be. Who are you, why do you have a key to Jason’s penthouse, and what are you doing here? And who’s the kid?”

 

Elizabeth didn’t know whether to be irritated or amused. “I’ll ask you all the same except the one about the kid.”

 

Sam smiled and then laughed. She was going to like this one. “I’m Sam McCall. I’m a friend of Jason’s, sort of. I don’t have a key; the guards let me in when I come around. I’m here because nobody will deliver to my boat so I have them deliver my food here.”

 

“I’m Elizabeth Webber. I’m also a friend of Jason’s. I have a key because he gave it to me. I’m here because I’ll be staying with Jason for a while and the kid is my son, Cameron,” Elizabeth said.

 

“I’m going to like you, thankfully,” Sam said. “Moving in, huh? And your own key? I think you’re more than friends.”

 

“You’d be surprised how many women are walking around with keys to this place,” Elizabeth said.

 

“I bet you’re talking about two blonde harpies,” Sam said.

 

“Those two among others. I take it you’ve met Carly and Courtney,” Elizabeth said.

 

“I have had that distinct displeasure,” Sam said. “Of course, I was sleeping with Sonny at the time so they may have had a reason to be as bitchy as they were.”

 

“No, that’s how they are all the time,” Elizabeth said.

 

“So dish. Who else has a key?” Sam said.

 

“Well, the other ex-wife also has one and so does Jason’s sister,” Elizabeth said.

 

“Other ex-wife? Oh, Jason’s been holding out on me. Do tell. Is she also blonde? Cuz if she is, I may have to kill him and put him out of his misery,” Sam said.

 

“I think I’m going to like you, too,” Elizabeth said with a laugh. “And no, the first Mrs. Morgan is not a blonde.”

 

Elizabeth broke off as Cameron started to fuss and pushed him around to the other side of the room. She bent over and was unfastening him from the stroller when the door burst open and Michael came barreling into the room.

 

“Hi, Sam,” he said as he scanned the room for Jason. Then his eyes lit on Elizabeth and he squealed, “Elizabeth!” before running straight into her arms.

 

“Hey, Michael,” Elizabeth said laughing as she hugged the little boy back. “It’s good to see you.”

 

“Guess what?” Michael said completely forgetting that he came to see Jason.

 

“What?” Elizabeth asked as she picked up Cameron.

 

“I take art class now,” Michael said. “Who’s that?”

 

“This is Cameron. He’s my son,” Elizabeth said.

 

“I didn’t know you had a baby,” Michael said. “Who’s his daddy?”

 

“Do you remember Xander? He was a friend of your mom’s for a while,” Elizabeth said.

 

“Yep. He died in the hotel fire,” Michael said.

 

“Yes, he did. Well, Xander was Cameron’s father,” Elizabeth said.

 

“So he doesn’t have a daddy anymore?” Michael asked.

 

“Right,” Elizabeth said. “But he has me and he has your Aunt Emily, Nikolas, your dad, and Jason.”

 

“Then he probably won’t notice he doesn’t have a daddy,” Michael said.

 

“So you get to take art class this year, huh?” Elizabeth said.

 

“Yep, but my teacher isn’t as good as you,” Michael said. “She doesn’t really do anything.”

 

Elizabeth smiled at the little boy and said, “Well, I’ll be happy to help you with your art anytime.”

 

“Cool,” Michael said. “Leticia’s taking me and Morgan to the park. I was gonna ask Jason if he wanted to come.”

“Jason’s still at the hospital, sweetie,” Elizabeth said. “He wanted to check on your Aunt Emily.”

 

“Is Aunt Emily sick again?” Michael asked.

 

“No, but she’s been staying with Alexis so much that Jason is worried that she might get sick,” Elizabeth said.

 

“Oh, well tell Jason not to worry,” Michael said as he headed for the door.

 

“I’ll do that,” Elizabeth said chuckling as Michael took off to go to the park.

 

“That kid likes you a lot more than he likes me,” Sam said.

 

“I never slept with his father,” Elizabeth said.

 

“Good point,” Sam said. “So, I waited all this time, spill! I want to know everything there is to know about Jason’s first wife.”

 

“Why?” Elizabeth asked.

 

“So I can torment him, of course,” Sam said laughing.

 

“Okay, so you want to know about Brenda,” Elizabeth said.

 

“Wait—Brenda? THE Brenda? As in the perfect woman who Sonny and Jax will forever be in love with and no one can replace?” Sam asked incredulously.

 

“I guess Carly must have brought her up at some point,” Elizabeth said.

 

“Shoved her in my face is more like it,” Sam said. “So you know Brenda?”

 

“Sort of,” Elizabeth said. “I mean, everyone in Port Charles knows who Brenda is. Brenda Barrett, fashion model, stood up at the altar by Sonny Corinthos, ex-girlfriend of Jasper Jax, presumed dead only to be found alive years later. Brenda was not my friend. I barely knew her but she was good friends with the Quartermaine’s and Emily liked her.”

 

“So how did she end up married to Jason?” Sam asked.

 

“That would be because of the murder trial,” Elizabeth said. “The thing that is most important to remember when it comes to Brenda and Jason is that they despise each other. Sonny and Jax may have loved her, might still love her for all I know, but Jason Morgan has never been able to stand her. Anyway, when everyone found out she was alive, she was sort of being held against her will by Luis Alcazar. He was a South American drug and arms dealer. Anyway, this Alcazar was killed in his hotel room. He was stabbed and then pushed over the balcony. The cops thought either Brenda or Jason had done it. They had some circumstantial evidence on each of them. Anyway, to avoid being forced to testify against each other, they flew to Vegas and got married. They got it annulled as soon as they could.”

 

“That was kind of a let down,” Sam said. “Not that I can’t use it to torment him but I was expecting some great love story. I figure he’s got to have one, y’know.”

 

“Hmm, Jason’s great love is Courtney,” Elizabeth said.

 

“Not from where I sit,” Sam said with a snort. At the knock on the door, Sam jumped to her feet. “Pizza!”

 

Max opened the door and handed Sam the pizza, winking at Elizabeth. “Hey, Elizabeth. You settling in okay?”

 

“I would if Jason would come home so we could go to my Gram’s and get my stuff,” Elizabeth said.

 

“I’ll call Marco,” Max said with a grin. “He can take you over to get your things. Did I mention it’s going to be nice to have you back?”

 

“Only three times,” Elizabeth said with a laugh walking over to the guard and giving him a hug. “I miss you guys too.”

 

“I’m calling Marco,” Max said and shut the door.

 

“So what’s going on that you need someone to go with you to get your stuff?” Sam said. Elizabeth looked down and Sam continued, “Never mind. It’s none of my business. My mouth runs away from me when I’m hungry.”

 

“No, it’s okay. It’s just not easy for me to talk about,” Elizabeth said. “Um, when I was fifteen I was raped. He got out of prison last week. That’s why I’m staying here and why the guys won’t let me go anywhere alone. That’s also why Jason is so worried about Emily.”

 

“The guy raped Emily too?” Sam asked.

 

“No, but he blackmailed her and that’s why he was in prison. It’s not a stretch to think he might want a little revenge on her for putting him behind bars,” Elizabeth said.

 

“I’m surprised Jason didn’t have him…” Sam trailed off.

 

“He wanted to,” Elizabeth said. “But Emily told him not to.”

 

Flinging the door open, Marco strolled over and scooped Elizabeth into a bear hug. He twirled her around before letting her down.

 

“Hey, Marco, it’s good to see you too,” Elizabeth said laughing.

 

“You ready to go get your stuff?” Marco asked. “The same stuff that should never have left in the first place.”

 

“My choice,” Elizabeth said.

 

“Only because Morgan can be an idiot when it comes to women,” Marco said. “Unlike me.”

 

“Yeah, yeah. You’re a regular Don Juan,” Elizabeth said grabbing Cameron’s stroller and wheeling it toward the door. “I’ll see you later, Sam. It was really nice to meet you.”

 

“You, too,” Sam called around a mouthful of pizza.

  

CHAPTER 4

 

Jason walked into his penthouse to see Sam sitting on his couch eating her second piece of pizza and drinking a bottle of his beer. Elizabeth was no where to be seen.

 

“Where’s Elizabeth?” Jason asked throwing his keys on his desk and taking his leather jacket off.

 

“She went to get her stuff,” Sam said. Looking up in time to catch Jason tense up, she continued, “Relax. She took a guard.”

 

“Which one?” he asked gruffly as he hung his coat in the closet.

 

“The really hot, tall one,” Sam said. Jason gave her a confused look. “The skinny one. He was inspecting deliveries in the lobby when I got here.”

 

“Marco,” Jason said figuring out who she was talking about.

 

“Okay, I don’t know their names,” Sam said. “So tell me everything there is to know about Elizabeth.”

 

“Why?” Jason asked.

 

“Because I was shocked to find that I liked her considering how I feel about the other women in your life,” Sam said.

 

Elizabeth is my friend,” Jason said sitting on the arm chair and putting his feet up on the coffee table.

 

“Your friend? Just a guess but I think you guys are more than friends,” Sam said.

 

She didn’t miss the way Jason stiffened at her comment. Well at least I’ll have something to occupy myself with while I’m in this town, Sam thought. Figuring out these two might end up being a full time job.

 

“Okay so she’s your friend. How’d you meet her? How come I’ve never met her before? Why haven’t Sonny or the harpies mentioned her?” Sam quizzed him.

 

“She’s been friends with Emily a long time,” Jason said skirting the question of how they met. “She’s been out of town until recently. She went to California until Cameron was born. Why would anyone mention her to you? You don’t know her.”

 

“I don’t know Brenda either but some people liked bringing her up around me. Of course, everyone conveniently failed to mention that you were married to her,” Sam said.

 

Jason groaned. “Elizabeth told you.”

 

“Yeah, she did,” Sam said. “But more importantly, you didn’t.”

 

“It wasn’t important,” Jason said.

 

“She was your wife. That’s pretty vital information,” Sam said.

 

“Not when it’s Brenda,” Jason muttered.

 

“You really don’t like her. I mean, Elizabeth said that you two didn’t get along but everyone else acted like she was an angel or a goddess or something,” Sam said.

 

“Or something sums her up well,” Jason said.

 

Deciding it was time to change the subject, Sam asked, “So have you had any luck finding out where the rapist is?”

 

Jason’s head whipped over to stare at her. He actually looked shocked. Sam almost giggled but considering the subject it would have been crude.

 

“How did you…Elizabeth told you?” Jason asked incredulously.

 

“Well she said the guy had raped her and they let him out of prison. She also said that he blackmailed your sister and that Emily asked you not to permanently solve the problem,” Sam said. “So I repeat, any clues as to where he is or what his plans are?”

 

“No, not yet,” Jason said. “But everyone is on it. They are splitting their time between finding out who hurt Alexis and finding Baker.”

 

“I’ll keep my ears open,” Sam said. “See if I hear anything on the docks.”

 

“You know, with Baker on the loose and possibly in Port Charles, it’s not really safe for you to stay on your boat,” Jason said. “I can get you a room at a hotel or something. You could stay in one of our safe houses.”

 

“I guess that proves who you like more,” Sam teased. “Elizabeth gets an invitation to move in here; I get a hotel room or a safe house.”

 

“I, uh,” Jason didn’t have a good response to that.

 

“Chill, Jase,” Sam said laughing. “I wouldn’t stay here even if you did offer. We’d end up killing each other. Thanks for the offer but I’m not leaving my boat. Contrary to the popularly held belief of the men in this town, I am capable of taking care of myself. I’ve been doing it for years. Even against rapists and murderers.”

 

“Would you consider having a guard?” Jason asked.

 

“I don’t want to take anyone off the search for this guy or the person who hurt Alexis,” Sam said.

 

“It wouldn’t,” Jason said. “They can do that and guard you at the same time.”

 

“Could I get the hot one?” Sam asked with a wicked smile.

 

“You’ll have to be more specific,” Jason said dryly.

 

“You think their all hot? Can’t really argue with you there,” Sam said. Jason just looked at her. “I was referring to Marco. I think that’s what you called him. The one who took Elizabeth to get her stuff.”

 

Before Jason could respond, Marco opened the door and Elizabeth pushed the stroller in followed closely by two guards loaded down with bags. Sam and Jason got up to help but ended up just getting in the way.

 

“Second door on the left,” Jason said as the men headed upstairs with the bags.

 

“We told them already,” Marco said entering with a portable crib and a box of toys.

 

“Man, with that amount of stuff, you’d think you were moving in permanently,” Sam said.

 

“We can only dream,” Marco muttered under his breath.

 

“What was that?” Sam said giving the guard a saucy grin.

 

“Nothing,” Marco said blushing.

 

“Marco, are you blushing? I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen that,” Elizabeth said laughing.

 

“Oh, I’d like to make him blush,” Sam said.

 

Elizabeth looked at Sam and then understood her meaning. The two women started laughing. Marco and Jason looked at each other and shrugged. The two guards came back downstairs, nodded to their boss, and smiled at Elizabeth who thanked them profusely. Marco smiled knowingly; they were already under the spell of Elizabeth.

 

“How much of a fight did Emily put up?” Elizabeth asked Jason once the two junior guards had left.

 

“Surprisingly little,” Jason said.

 

“She knows what he is capable of,” Elizabeth said.

 

“Nikolas has also tripled security on Spoon Island and the hospital has doubled security. It helps that there is a guard on Alexis’s room,” Jason said.

 

“That’s good,” Elizabeth said. “Any leads on who attacked Alexis?”

 

“Nothing solid,” Jason said. “Marco, how would you feel about guarding Sam?”

 

“Um, I thought I’d be one of Elizabeth’s guards,” Marco said.

 

“I have a feeling Elizabeth and I will be spending a lot of time together,” Sam said.

 

“That’s probably not going to be good for me, huh?” Jason asked Sam jokingly.

 

“It’ll be hard for you to notice since you’re never here,” Elizabeth said.

 

“You’re kidding, right? It’s like pulling teeth to get Jason to leave the penthouse when he’s not working,” Sam said.

 

“He must enjoy the current company more,” Elizabeth said.

 

Elizabeth, that’s not…” Jason said but Elizabeth held up her hand to stop him.

 

“I apologize. That was a cheap shot when I should be thanking you for protecting us,” Elizabeth said.

 

Sam looked around at the three other people in the room. Marco looked like he wanted to hit Jason, Jason was scowling, and Elizabeth was staring at the floor. I am really going to have to find out what the hell happened between these two, Sam thought.

 

“Of course I’ll guard Sam,” Marco finally said getting back to Jason’s question.

 

“Thank you,” Sam beamed at the guard while Jason only nodded. “Since that is settled, I’m going to run over and say hello to Sonny and then head back to my boat. Elizabeth, would you like to have lunch tomorrow?”

 

“Sure, Sam, that would be nice,” Elizabeth smiled at the other brunette.

 

“Okay, why don’t we meet at Kelly’s at noon,” Sam said heading out the door when Elizabeth nodded in consent.

 

Sam walked across the hall, knocked twice and then entered without waiting for an invitation. Standing inside the door she turned to see Sonny sitting at the table eating with Kristina. The little girl was shoveling in pasta and bread that Sonny had made and she was obviously enjoying it. Sonny ate more sedately but anyone could tell he was pleased with the child’s enthusiasm for his cooking.

 

“Hi,” Sonny said looking over at Sam. “Would you like to join us?”

“I actually just had dinner at Jason’s,” Sam said. “I was hoping we could talk.”

 

“Sure,” Sonny said. “What is it?”

 

“I just met Elizabeth,” Sam said. “What do you know about her? More importantly, what do you know about her and Jason?”

 

“I know a lot about Elizabeth,” Sonny said. “You’re going to need to be more specific.”

 

“How did they meet? Why aren’t the together anymore? What happened between them?” Sam said.

 

“Why would I tell you any of that? Jason doesn’t like it when people interfere with his personal life. Just ask Carly,” Sonny said.

 

“I have a hunch Carly’s interference is one of the things that broke them up,” Sam said.

 

“How do you know they were together?” Sonny asked as Kristina crawled up onto his lap and leaned against him.

 

“Because I have eyes, Sonny. Anyone with a brain can see those two have something between them and I want to know what happened. You know I’ll find out anyway so you might as well be the one to tell me,” Sam said.

 

Sonny looked at her for a moment before standing with a sleeping Kristina. He carried her toward the stairs and said, “We’ll talk about this after I put Kristina in bed.”

 

A few minutes later Sonny appeared on the stairs and came back to the living room. He poured himself a scotch and settled onto the couch, looking up at Sam. Sam sat down on the chair and waited for Sonny to start talking.

 

“I don’t really know how they met or when they became friends. I know Jason has always known who she was because she was Emily’s friend but I don’t know when they became friends in their own right,” Sonny began. “I do know that they were already friends when Elizabeth saved Jason’s life. I also know that when he left town it hurt her but she knew he needed to go. At that point, I believe it was still only friendship between them. Then Jason came back and she hid him in her studio. I believe, and I could be wrong because this is not something Jason has ever been willing to discuss, that during the month he lived there was when they went from being friends to being something else. I also know that during that time Elizabeth was engaged to Lucky Spencer. That was the first of their relationship problems. Elizabeth truly believed that she was bound to Lucky even though she had thought him dead for over a year. When he came back she had changed but she still felt an obligation to be with him. I believe she loved Lucky but was in love with Jason. Anyway, Jason went away again and this time he asked her to go with him. She said no. He was gone for a year. When he came back Elizabeth and Lucky were over and I thought this might be their chance to get it right. Elizabeth was kidnapped and Jason went crazy. That was the first time I have ever seen Jason truly afraid. He found her but something happened. I don’t know what but the next thing I knew she and Xander Smith were living in the penthouse with him. After that, I don’t really know what happened except that when I came home she had moved out and wasn’t speaking to him.”

 

“What do you mean when you came back?” Sam asked. “Where did you go?”

 

“I had faked my death so that we could save Brenda from Luis Alcazar,” Sonny said.

 

“Is that when Jason and Brenda got married? Could that have been what split them up?” Sam asked.

 

“No, that didn’t happen until later. When Jason and Brenda got married, Jason was already with Courtney,” Sonny said.

 

“So what could have happened? I mean, why didn’t you talk to her when you got back?” Sam asked.

 

“I was in a bad place when I got back and Elizabeth made it clear she didn’t want anything to do with me or Jason. Also, Courtney was being stalked and that was requiring a lot of time and energy from both Jason and myself,” Sonny said.

 

“I cannot believe the woman I just met would leave and cut off ties for no reason,” Sam said. “Besides, if she had why do the guards still look at her the way they do.”

 

“What way is that?” Sonny asked.

 

“Are you blind or do you really not pay any attention? Those guards obviously adore her,” Sam said.

 

“Well some of them have guarded her before and they think of her as a little sister, I guess,” Sonny said.

 

“But you don’t have a clue what happened to make her leave?” Sam asked.

 

“I wish I had because if it could have been fixed then Jason and Courtney never would have been together,” Sonny said.

 

“But you never bothered to find out,” Sam said pointedly.

 

“I don’t get involved in Jason’s personal life,” Sonny said. “I did once and I wasn’t sure I would ever see him again. I won’t make the same mistake twice.”

 

“Well then I guess it’s up to me to find out and get them back together,” Sam said.

 

“Sam,” Sonny said warningly.

 

“Don’t bother, Sonny. If I get Jason and Elizabeth back together, he’ll still speak to me and if he doesn’t, so what?” Sam said. “He deserves a chance to be happy with someone who can accept who and what he is. Elizabeth obviously can. Besides if I’m going to be eating there four times a week, I’d like his girlfriend to be someone I don’t want to maim.”

 

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Sonny said.

 

“No worries,” Sam said. “Now I think I’ll go seduce the rest of the story out of Marco. Yummy!”

 

“Marco? Maybe I should warn him…” Sonny said jokingly.

 

Sam shot him a dirty look. “Oh, please. You had no complaints,” she said before sweeping out the door.

 

CHAPTER 5

 

Sonny entered Jason’s penthouse to see Jason playing a very tense game of pool and Elizabeth feeding Cameron a bottle. Both adults looked up at him as he came in and Cameron waved his fist at Sonny. The mobster grinned and walked over to the couch to tickle the baby.

 

“How’s Kristina?” Elizabeth asked as Cameron laughed and gurgled at Sonny.

 

“She’s asleep,” Sonny said. “There’s been no change to Alexis’s condition so when Viola gets here I am going to go sit at the hospital for a while.”

 

“Sonny, you need to remember to sleep,” Elizabeth said. “You won’t do anyone any good if you don’t take care of yourself.”

 

Sonny smiled at the brunette and said, “What did we do when you weren’t around to take care of us?”

 

“Obviously you managed,” Elizabeth said abruptly. She stood up and headed for the stairs. “I’m going to put Cam to bed and then I think I’ll try to sleep as well. It’s been a rough week.”

 

Both men watched as Elizabeth walked up the stairs and disappeared. Then they looked at each other and both waited for the other to say something.

 

“What just happened?” Sonny asked. “I meant it as a compliment.”

 

“She’s been like that since she moved her stuff in,” Jason said. “She’ll be fine one minute and then I’ll say something innocent and she gets upset. I don’t know how to get through to her anymore. I used to know what she was thinking without her saying a word but now…”

 

“I think I’ll talk to her tomorrow,” Sonny said. “Maybe I can get her to tell me what is going on.”

 

“Why would she tell you but not me?” Jason asked.

 

“She was never in love with me,” Sonny said. “I never broke her heart. I’m not saying you did it intentionally but sometimes it’s worse when it’s accidental.”

 

Elizabeth wasn’t in love with me,” Jason said.

 

“Sam is right about one thing—a blind man could have seen how much that girl loved you when you came back to town,” Sonny said. “Everyone knew, everyone saw it.”

 

“No one told me,” Jason said. “I mean, she said she wanted to be with me but she never said she loved me.”

 

“Just because she didn’t say it doesn’t mean she didn’t feel it,” Sonny pointed out. “Anyway, I came over to tell you that the meeting with the five families is set for tomorrow. I want you to go and deliver the message about Alexis and Elizabeth. Take Johnny and Max with you. Make them understand how seriously we are taking this.”

 

“Of course,” Jason said. “I’ll take care of it.”

 

~          ~          ~          ~          ~          ~          ~          ~     

 

Sonny sat next to Alexis’s bed holding her hand. It hurt him to look at her but he couldn’t bring himself to take his eyes off of her. He feared that if he did she would give up the fight to live. It was ridiculous he knew since she would fight to stay with her daughter but it was his thought process none the less. Sonny had been there for an hour and had told her everything that Kristina had said and done since the previous night. This was becoming a ritual for him. He would put Kristina to bed and then when Viola showed up he would go to the hospital and talk to Alexis all night while Nikolas and Emily slept in a vacant room down the hall.

 

Finishing the story of Kristina’s day, Sonny turned his topic to Elizabeth and Jason. He told her about Sam’s insistence that they should be together and Elizabeth’s reaction to his remark.

 

“If you were awake, you’d probably be rolling your eyes at me right now,” Sonny said. “But then at least you could explain to me why she reacted that way. Maybe if I had paid more attention when they broke up, I would understand but I didn’t. I’m a horrible friend. I guess I don’t need to tell you that though. I asked you to trust me. I pushed and pushed until you finally did and then in minutes I threw it all away for Carly.”

 

Sonny went silent thinking back on that fateful trip to the Caribbean and the night he and Alexis had finally stopped dancing around each other. Then he thought of the next day and how he had promised God that if Carly would come back he would respect his vows. It wasn’t that he didn’t love Carly; he did. But like Brenda it was an unsustainable love built on raging emotions that swung from one extreme to another.

 

Brenda had been like a drug—intoxicating, addicting, with potentially deadly side-effects. Carly had been like a raging storm—she could batter him up and down but he enjoyed the thrill of the ride. Alexis was different, she always had been. She was like a river—calm and soothing on the surface but just as strong a force once you got in far enough. Sonny hadn’t realized how far in he was until he had been in over his head. The territory of a woman who saw his scarred soul and could match it with her own had been what sent him running back to Hurricane Carly. At least then he knew what to expect, he understood the connection he had with her.

 

It hadn’t occurred to him that if Alexis’s soul matched his own, scars and all, he would never be able to go back. From that night on, Sonny had always felt as if he were missing a piece of himself. He had tried to tell himself that it was because she had been his closest friend, the only person he trusted as much as Jason but he knew he was lying to himself.     

 

Sonny held tightly to her hand and said, “Please get better. I know I haven’t been there for you recently and I refused to help you when you asked me to keep Kristina away from Ned but if you’ll get better, I will do anything you ask. Anything, Alexis, I swear.” Sonny laid his head down on the bed next to her and slowly fell into a fitful sleep.

 

~          ~          ~          ~          ~          ~          ~          ~ 

 

Early the next morning Jason walked into the warehouse on Pier 12 flanked by Johnny and Max. The heads of the five families were already seated and waiting with their guards. Jason let his eyes drift around the room being sure to make direct eye contact with each individual so that the seriousness of this meeting would be unmistakable.

 

“Since when to brain damaged thugs get to call meetings of the five families?” Faith demanded shrilly ignoring the warning that had been evident in Jason’s eyes. When Jason simply ignored her, she became even louder. “Damn it, you have to answer me! I am a member of this group and I will not tolerate this kind of disrespect from one of Corinthos’s flunkies.”

 

“You’re a dead woman already and everyone but you knows it,” Sal Pomantino said. “So shut up and let us get to the reason we were called here at the crack of dawn.” Jason nodded his thanks to the man. “First, let me say that on behalf of the five families, we would like to offer our deepest sympathy in this time of Mr. Corinthos’s need. Ms. Davis is a skilled attorney and a classy woman who should never have been touched. We want it to be clear that none of our organizations would have supported or condoned such an act. If in the course of your investigation into this matter, you find that any of our employees had something to do with it or even had prior knowledge, we will personally deliver that person to Mr. Corinthos for interrogation and punishment.”

 

“Mr. Corinthos accepts your sympathies and is glad that you understand that gravity of this situation,” Jason said. “Ms. Davis is still an untouchable member of Mr. Corinthos’s family and as such this attack was deeply disrespectful. Mr. Corinthos will not rest until the attacker is caught and properly punished for this assault on an innocent woman.”

 

“Since we are all on the same page, perhaps we can finish this up in time for us to be home for breakfast with our wives,” Sal said starting to rise.

 

“There is another matter that needs to be addressed here today,” Jason said and Sal sank back into his chair. “A man by the name of Tom Baker was recently released from prison. He is a predator of the worst kind and may be after someone you are all familiar with—Elizabeth Webber. Ms. Webber and her son are under the protection of Mr. Corinthos and myself, as she has always been. If Baker comes to Port Charles and I find out any of you or any of your employees helped in anyway, Mr. Corinthos and I will take it as an attack against us and our territory. To protect Ms. Webber and to assist in the search for both Baker and Ms. Davis’s attacker, we are bringing in a number of our employees from around the world. Mr. Corinthos wanted you to be aware of these associates so that you would not mistake the build up as the start of a war.”

 

“These associates will not be helping you amass more territory?” asked Mike Salvo.

 

“No, they will be focused solely on finding Baker and the person who attacked Ms. Davis,” Jason said.

 

“What did Baker do?” Mike asked.

 

Jason’s eyes swung to Faith and he said, “He touched Ms. Webber many years ago and then he went after my sister.”

 

A collective gasp came from around the table. Men had gone after Corinthos’s family before and Sorel had even gone after Elizabeth but no one ever went after Morgan’s little sister. Not only would that bring the untested and greatly feared wrath of Morgan down on you but it would also bring the not inconsiderable power of the Quartermaine’s to bear. It was, in a word, suicidal.

 

“My sister asked me not to deal with him while he was in prison but now that he is out my agreement is over,” Jason said.

 

“A smart man would have stayed in prison,” Sal muttered.

 

Jason suppressed a smile and said, “Thank you for your time and understanding as we deal with these matters.”

 

~          ~          ~          ~          ~          ~          ~                 

 

Elizabeth walked into Alexis’s room and laid a hand on Sonny’s shoulder. When he sat up bleary eyed, she handed him a cup of coffee. He took it and drank deeply before turning to look at her.

 

“You look like hell, Sonny,” Elizabeth said.

 

“Sleeping bent over a hospital bend will do that, I guess,” Sonny said. Elizabeth nodded and looked over at Alexis so Sonny decided this would be as good a time as any to talk to Elizabeth. “So yesterday you kind of flipped out on me. What’s going on, Elizabeth?”

 

Elizabeth sighed deeply and said, “I’m sorry about that. It’s just, being back in that penthouse after everything that has happened and with Baker on the loose, I’m kind of on edge.”

 

“You can still move in to my penthouse if staying with Jason bothers you that much,” Sonny said.

 

“No, it’s fine. I just, when I first walked up to that door after all these months, I had the strongest sense of déjà vu and it was like I was right back where I had been,” Elizabeth said. “I was so angry for so long about what happened and it all just came rushing back to me. I thought I had dealt with it but being there, sometimes there are moments where I just feel it all over again.”

 

“I’m not really sure what you mean by right back where you were,” Sonny said.

 

“I mean, you faking your death, Jason lying to me and staying away all the time letting me worry when there was no reason,” Elizabeth said.

 

“Is that why you left? Because Jason didn’t tell you that I was alive?” Sonny said guilt rising in him at the fact that he may have caused Jason to lose yet another woman he loved.

 

“It was a big part of it,” Elizabeth said. “It wasn’t that you had faked your death. It was the fact that the two of you didn’t trust me enough to tell me what was going on. There was also the fact that Jason stayed away from the penthouse for days at a time, never calling to let me know he was okay and then I find out all he was doing was sitting in a strip club watching your sister. I was afraid that he was getting shot at and he was perfectly safe but never said anything.”

 

“So if he had told you he was watching over Courtney and that he was safe that would have kept you around?” Sonny asked.

 

“I don’t know,” Elizabeth said. “There was still the fact that he lied to me about your death when he told me he would never lie to me.”

 

“That wasn’t his decision to make,” Sonny said.

 

“Believe me, you were the focus of a lot of my anger as well,” Elizabeth said. “I couldn’t believe after everything that you wouldn’t trust me, that you would let me grieve for you.”

 

“I guess I owe you an apology then,” Sonny said. “I did what I thought was best in order to save Brenda but I didn’t intend for anyone to get hurt.”

 

“You never intend for anyone to get hurt but they still do,” Elizabeth said. “Look, it’s in the past and I really did get past it. Living at the penthouse with Jason has just brought it back to mind and with the other stress, I’m not dealing with it very well.”

 

“I wouldn’t expect you to be handling all this as well as you are so if you need to blow up at me, go right ahead,” Sonny said.

 

“Thanks,” Elizabeth said. “I’m going to go get Nikolas and Emily so if you don’t want to see them, you better head out.”

 

“Thanks,” Sonny said standing up and leaning over to kiss Alexis’s head as Elizabeth walked down the hall.

 

CHAPTER 6

 

Elizabeth walked into Kellys at noon to see Sam sitting at a table reading the menu. She walked over and sat across from the other brunette but didn’t bother to pick up a menu.

 

“Aren’t you hungry?” Sam asked looking up from the menu.

 

“The menu hasn’t changed in the last ten years,” Elizabeth said. “Hey, Mike, can I get a number 3 and a hot chocolate.”

 

“Sure thing,” Mike said from the counter. “What about you, Sam?”

 

“I’ll have a turkey club and a coffee,” Sam said.

 

“Coming right up,” Mike said heading for the kitchen.

 

“So I guess you used to come here a lot before you went to California,” Sam said.

 

“You could say that,” Elizabeth said. “I worked here for many years and when I wasn’t working, I was here with the four musketeers.”

 

“You’ll have to explain that one,” Sam said.

 

“Lucky, Emily, Nikolas and I,” Elizabeth said. “We were inseparable for years. Lucky and Emily were best friends and Lucky and I were going to spend the rest of our lives together. Emily had the biggest crush on Nikolas and he looked at her as a little sister. But we would have, and did, do anything for each other.”

 

“So they knew about…this Baker guy?” Sam asked.

 

“Lucky is the one who found me in the park,” Elizabeth said. “That’s where it happened and he was walking home and found me in the bushes. He took care of me. I told Emily and Nikolas not long after but Lucky was the one that kept me going.”

 

“It must have been hard for your boyfriend to know what had happened to you,” Sam said.

 

“He wasn’t my boyfriend yet,” Elizabeth said. “I had a crush on him but he wanted my sister, Sarah. The night I was raped, Lucky and I were supposed to go to a high school dance together but that day Sarah had asked him to go so he bailed on me. That’s why I was in the park. Anyway, Lucky found me and pulled me through. For months he used to sleep on the floor of my room at my Gram’s house so that I wouldn’t be afraid.”

 

“That’s really sweet,” Sam said. “Is that how you two ended up together?”

 

“Basically,” Elizabeth said. “Lucky made me feel whole, like I wasn’t broken. He also made me feel wanted but still safe. We were as in love as two sixteen year olds can be and we promised  each other we would be together forever in a church in the middle of a blizzard.”

 

“Our permanent lock,” Lucky said from behind Liz.

 

“Hey, Lucky,” Elizabeth said standing up and hugging him.

 

“Nikolas told me you were back,” Lucky said. “I’m sorry I haven’t seen you before now. How are you? How’s Cameron?”

 

“Cameron’s fine. I’m okay, considering,” Elizabeth said.

 

“I heard you were staying with Jason until Baker is found,” Lucky said. “That’s probably good. You’ll be safe at Harborview Towers. I have asked Mac to put as much manpower on this as possible but since he is technically a free man, there isn’t a lot we can do except find him and watch him.”

 

“I know. That’s why I went to Jason,” Elizabeth said.

 

“I figured,” Lucky said. “Just be careful okay. And not just because Baker is loose. I remember how hurt you ended up the last time you stayed with Jason.”

 

“I’ll be fine,” Elizabeth said. “Don’t worry.”

 

“I’ll always worry about you,” Lucky said. “Our permanent lock requires at least that much.”

 

“Thanks,” Elizabeth said hugging him again.

 

“I have to get back to the station,” Lucky said. “I’ll stop by Jason’s later to see you.”

 

“Okay,” Elizabeth said sitting back down as Lucky headed to the counter.

 

“So that was Lucky,” Sam said. “What did he mean when he said permanent lock?”

 

“The night in the church we made vows to each other,” Elizabeth said. “We said we were a permanent lock and that no one and nothing could ever keep us apart. Little did we know that at sixteen, no one and nothing is a lot more than we could have ever guessed.”

 

Sam didn’t reply at first because Mike had brought over their lunch. They ate in silence for a few minutes before Sam said, “So what ended up breaking you up? I mean, from the way you describe it, Lucky was the love of your life.”

 

“There were a lot of things that ended up driving us apart,” Elizabeth said. “Did you know that Jason used to own a bike garage?” Sam shook her head no. “He did. It was when he was trying to raise Michael and be with Robin. Sonny was gone and Jason got out. Anyway, Lucky worked for him and lived above the garage. One day there was a fire. The whole building was destroyed and Lucky was inside when it happened.”

 

“Wow, how did he manage to get out?” Sam asked.

 

“He didn’t,” Elizabeth said. “Or that’s what we all thought. We thought Lucky was dead. I honestly believed I should be dead too because without Lucky, who was I? We were such a huge part of each other that it was hard to be my own person again.”

 

“How did you get through that?” Sam said. “I can’t imagine going through that or even beginning to come out the other side.”

 

“In a word, Jason,” Elizabeth said. “He helped, more than he could ever know. Anyway, I became someone else. I was no longer ‘Liz and Lucky’, couldn’t be since Lucky was dead. I was Elizabeth, my own person with my own dreams and my own life. Then miraculously Lucky came back from the dead. Turns out he had been kidnapped by Helena Cassadine and tortured for a year. Helena wanted to turn him into her perfect assassin. It almost worked but Lucky wouldn’t kill me. So to make a really long story not as long, life broke us up. Helena’s insanity, my changing, Lucky changing, it all added up to two people who were no longer the same people that had promised to be a permanent lock in that church.”

 

“Helena Cassadine is Nikolas’s grandmother, right? Why would she want you dead?” Sam asked.

 

“Because she’s psycho,” Jax said from behind Elizabeth. “Hey, Elizabeth, I didn’t know you were back.”

 

“Hey, Jax,” Elizabeth said standing and hugging him just as she had Lucky. She completely ignored Courtney.

 

“You heard about Alexis?” Jax asked.

 

“Yeah, Nikolas and Emily are pretty much living at the hospital,” Elizabeth said. “My brother was brought in to consult on the case so I am extremely confident that Alexis will be just fine.”

 

“She has to be,” Jax said. “What would I do without my favorite ex-wife?”

 

Elizabeth laughed and said, “Don’t let Skye or Brenda here you say that.”

 

“I’ll stop by later to see Alexis,” Jax said. “I just hope Corinthos isn’t there.”

 

“Go before 9 and he won’t be,” Elizabeth said. “Or after 7 in the morning.”

 

“Thanks for the tip,” Jax said. “We just stopped for coffee so I’ll see you later.”

 

“Sure,” Elizabeth said accepting another hug from Jax before Courtney walked over with two cups of coffee and they headed for the door.

 

“Wow,” Sam said. “You could get frostbite in here.”

 

“Were you referring to the fact that Jax didn’t acknowledge your existence?” Elizabeth asked.

 

“That and you and Courtney could have given me ice burns,” Sam said.

 

“Yeah well, we haven’t really been close since she slept with Jason a day after telling me that he and I would work it out,” Elizabeth said.

 

“Ouch,” Sam said.

 

“No kidding,” Elizabeth said.

 

Sam looked up as the door opened and noticed Elizabeth immediately tense up. She wondered how the other woman knew who had come in without turning around but she didn’t ask. Elizabeth seemed very upset by the blonde and the DA.

 

Elizabeth, I had just heard you were back in town,” Ric said walking up to their table. “Were you going to let me know my son was here?”

 

“He isn’t your son, Ric,” Elizabeth ground out. “He never was and he never will be. If you think for one minute, I am going to let that snake near my son, you are sadly mistaken.”

 

“But having him live with Jason Morgan is just fine,” Faith said. “My, my quite the double standard we have there, sweetie.”

 

“Faith, what a nice surprise,” Elizabeth said. “I hadn’t realized you turned informant. I wonder, do the other members of the mob know you are giving information to the DA? I would hate to think what might happen if they did.”

 

“Was that a threat? Did you just threaten me, little girl?” Faith demanded.

 

“Now, Faith, why would I need to do that,” Elizabeth said. “You aren’t any kind of threat to me or mine. If Helena couldn’t kill me, you sure as hell don’t stand a chance. Besides, you already tried a couple of times if I recall and were unsuccessful.”

 

“Doesn’t mean I’ll fail next time,” Faith said.

 

“Now that sounded suspiciously like a threat against my life,” Elizabeth said. “Ric, as DA I believe you are obligated to charge this woman.”

 

Ric didn’t say anything as both Faith and Elizabeth looked at him.

 

“Don’t worry about it, Ric,” Elizabeth finally said. “We’ll call this the free one. But just remember this indecision if you ever have the urge to exert parental rights over my son.”

 

Ric nodded, realizing he would never get near Cameron as long as Elizabeth had anything to say about it. It didn’t matter. He had bigger plans and couldn’t afford the interruption a child would cause in his life, especially after what had happened with Alexis.

 

As Faith and Ric walked toward the counter, Elizabeth leaned across the table and said, “Do you mind if we get out of here? Those two give me the creeps.”

 

In answer Sam stood up and threw some money on the table. The two brunettes headed for the door and as soon as they walked outside they were flanked by Marco and Francis.

 

“Did Faith and Ric do anything, Elizabeth? Is there anything we should know about what was said?” Francis asked immediately.

 

“No, it was just Ric and Faith being Ric and Faith,” Elizabeth said. She wrapped an arm through his and squeezed. “Thanks for worrying though.”

 

“How did you get them to call you Elizabeth?” Sam asked. “None of them will budge on calling me Ms. McCall.”

 

“It took years of badgering and incessant threats before they would call me by my first name,” Elizabeth said. “And they still mostly call me Ms. Webber when they are around Jason and Sonny.”

 

CHAPTER 7

 

Once back in the penthouse the two women sat on the couch drinking coffee and talking.

 

“So you said a lot of things were involved in your break-up with Lucky,” Sam said returning to the conversation they had been having at Kellys. “Was Jason one of those things?”

 

Elizabeth was silent for a while and Sam was beginning to think she had pushed too far when Elizabeth spoke. “In some ways he had everything to do with it and in some ways he had nothing at all to do with it.”

 

“I’m not following,” Sam said confused.

 

“Well Jason was the one who helped me find myself when we thought Lucky was dead and he is the reason I finally let go of Lucky,” Elizabeth said. “But Jason wasn’t even in town when Lucky and I officially ended. Lucky and I ended when I walked down the aisle to him and I could see he didn’t love me anymore. Literally, I was standing there in my wedding dress and looking up at him and the way he looked at me was different. So I walked away. I did try after that to make Lucky fall back in love with me but I let it go when Jason came back to town. So in some ways he had everything to do with it and in some ways he had nothing to do with it. Just depends on your perspective, I guess.”

 

“So how did you and Jason end up together?” Sam asked.

 

“We didn’t,” Elizabeth said. “Not really anyway. We had this amazing friendship that twisted into something more but not quite all the way into a relationship. It was an odd purgatory that we danced in for a long time.”

 

“But you lived here before,” Sam protested. “How is that not a relationship?”

 

“It was complicated,” Elizabeth said. “Things were really crazy at that time and I had been kidnapped and then shot at. Jason brought me here to stay so I’d be safe. You see, he couldn’t worry about my safety at my studio and do everything else he needed to do. So I moved in here where he knew I would be safe with a guard at the door and never saw Jason until the day Sonny miraculously came back from the dead and I left.”

 

“So you left because Sonny had faked his death?” Sam asked.

 

“No, I left because Jason lied to me after he promised he never would,” Elizabeth said. “Oh, he didn’t actually say anything false but he led me down the path to what he wanted me to believe and then he let me worry about him, day and night all the while he was perfectly safe in a strip club.”

 

“I would have dumped him for being in the strip club,” Sam said.

 

“That didn’t bother me,” Elizabeth said. “Or it wouldn’t have if I had known that’s where he was. I understand that he needs to protect Sonny’s family and that includes Courtney. That would have been fine. But the least he could have done was tell me he wasn’t in danger.”

 

“Unless you look at the odds of him getting hit in the eye with a pastie,” Sam said.

 

Elizabeth giggled and said, “Or going blind watching his brother’s wife get naked.”

 

“Yeah, that’s kind of freaky,” Sam said.

 

“Apparently Jason was into it,” Elizabeth said. “It was only a few weeks later that they were living together in their little hide-away.”

 

“Consolation prize,” Sam said.

 

“What?” Elizabeth said.

 

“She was his consolation prize,” Sam said. “You walked out so he settled for the next willing body.”

 

“No, unfortunately that isn’t what happened,” Elizabeth said. “Courtney was the love of Jason’s life. He just didn’t realize it until I was no longer an obligation.”

 

“Do you honestly believe that?” Sam asked.

 

“Yes,” Elizabeth said. “You weren’t here, you don’t know our history. Jason knew me better than anyone else on the planet so he knew exactly what he was doing when he lied to me and slept with Courtney only weeks later.”

 

“But you think you were only an obligation to him?” Sam asked.

 

Elizabeth heaved a tired sigh. “Like I said, you don’t know our history. I saved Jason’s life once. He had been shot and was dying in the snow. I nursed him back to health and because of that he will always feel obligated to protect me. Part of the honor code or something.”

 

“So you don’t think you were ever more than that to him?” Sam asked.

 

“I know we were friends,” Elizabeth said. “But at some point that changed and then I don’t know what we were but it wasn’t better. If we had stayed friends, he would have trusted me with Sonny’s fake death as he trusted me with his life and his secrets. But somewhere along the way we lost that and that was when we really ended. I just made it official by leaving the penthouse and cutting ties.”

 

“Do you ever regret it?” Sam asked.

 

“Every time I see Ric,” Elizabeth said. “But then I look at Cameron and how can I regret anything that might have helped lead me to having him. He is the best thing I have ever done.”

 

“But other than the disaster with Ric, do you regret it?” Sam asked.

 

“Yes, all the time,” Elizabeth said. “I was so in love with Jason. I didn’t think I could ever love anyone the way I loved Lucky and then I loved Jason so much more than that. I truly thought that when he came back we would make a life together. I regret the actions on my part that led to us not being able to trust each other and I regret that he felt he had to lie to me. But it’s in the past and Jason and I are friends again. Not where we were before because we still have a lot to get past but I’m learning how to trust him again. I hope he’s learning he can trust me as well.”

 

As Sam was about to reply, Elizabeth cell phone rang.

 

“Hey, Nikolas,” Elizabeth said. “Sure I can come. No, don’t worry about it, I completely understand. I’ll be there as soon as I can. Bye.” Elizabeth turned to Sam. “Sorry but I need to go. Nikolas is worried about Emily and wants me to go guilt her into going to the park with me so she gets some fresh air and maybe eats something.”

 

“No problem,” Sam said. “Do you mind if I hang out here for a while?”

 

“It’s Jason’s house,” Elizabeth said. “It’s not up to me if you can stay but Jason doesn’t seem to mind so I guess it’s okay.”

 

A minute after Elizabeth walked out the door, Sam called, “You can come down now.”

 

Jason walked down the stairs from where he had been frozen since he had heard Elizabeth tell Sam that he thought of her as an obligation that was in his way when he wanted to be with Courtney.

 

“Are you proud of yourself?” Sam said giving him a glare that said he was in a whole lot of trouble.

 

“What do you mean?” Jason asked.

 

“Don’t play dumb with me, Morgan,” Sam said. “You heard the same thing I did. I cannot believe you would treat a woman like Elizabeth that way. Why are men such idiots?”

 

“She chose to leave,” Jason said. “What the hell was I supposed to do?”

 

Sam stared at him for a minute and said, “Oh my God, you’re serious! You really don’t know what you were supposed to do. Tell me one thing honestly: Were you in love with Elizabeth?”

 

Jason was silent for a long time and Sam was about to take that as an affirmation when he said, “I honestly don’t know. I think I was close to being in love with her but some stuff happened and it made me pull back, guard myself.”

 

“Okay, I can understand wanting to protect yourself from getting hurt,” Sam said. “But I still can’t believe you let her think she was only an obligation to you.”

 

“I didn’t know she thought that,” Jason said quietly, his eyes for once betraying his emotional turmoil. “She wouldn’t talk to me. She told me she was going to treat me like a stranger because as far as she was concerned, she didn’t know me. I didn’t know what to do so I thought I’d give her time and space.”

 

“And you just fell into bed with Courtney,” Sam said in exasperation. “Men!”

 

“Look, Sam, I am aware that I screwed up okay,” Jason said. “You weren’t here so don’t judge my choices or my actions when you don’t know most of what happened. It doesn’t matter now anyway. It’s in the past and we can’t change it.”

 

“Well you’re right about that,” Sam said. “Now you have to prove to Elizabeth that you don’t see her as an obligation if you ever hope to get back what you threw away.”

 

“What are you talking about?” Jason asked.

 

“Are you going to stand there and tell me you don’t still have feelings for that woman?” Sam demanded.

 

“I, uh,” Jason stammered.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought,” Sam said. “And it is obvious that she is still head over heels for you. So you have to make her realize that her heart is safe with you. No more of this ‘Sonny needed me to lie to you’ crap. You tell her the truth. Don’t let her believe anymore lies. And for God’s sake, make her see that Courtney was NOT the love of your life.”

 

“Sam, I don’t think…” Jason said.

 

“Don’t argue with me, Jason. We both know it won’t do you any good,” Sam said. “Look, she loves you, you love her. You can make it work if you would just try.” Jason flinched at that and Sam noticed. “What?”

 

“We had promised each other that we would try,” Jason said. “When she first came here to stay, we made that promise. When she left, she pointed out that I hadn’t. I didn’t realize at the time that she was right. I didn’t try because I was too busy trying to be sure she didn’t hurt me again.”

 

“Well it’s time for the two of you to fix this,” Sam said. “I know you don’t like plans and you don’t like people interfering in your personal life but you’ll have to get over it because you’re going to need help if you want her back.”

 

“Just don’t do anything crazy,” Jason said.

 

“I won’t,” Sam assured him. “Now the first thing you need to do is start telling her what’s going on with finding Baker and Alexis’s attacker. She needs to feel included. But don’t make it sound like an obligation or a report. Make her see that she can talk to you about how scared she is. Because she is Jason, Elizabeth is completely on edge and she’s terrified that every corner she goes around is where her rapist will be.”

 

“Anything else?” Jason asked amused.

 

“Yes, start spending more time with her,” Sam said. “You’ve given her enough space to last a lifetime and you being gone all the time is just reinforcing her idea that she has never been anything more than an obligation to you.”

 

“Okay, when she gets back from the hospital, I can tell her that we are pretty sure Baker hasn’t returned to Port Charles,” Jason said.

 

“Don’t wait for her to come back,” Sam instructed. “Go pick her up like a gentleman.”

 

Jason smiled thinking that a bike ride might be just the thing to get Elizabeth’s mind off Tom Baker and Alexis. There was no need for her to worry about Baker when he probably wasn’t even in town.

 

CHAPTER 8

 

Unfortunately for Jason and Elizabeth, Tom Baker was in town and had been since the same day Elizabeth had returned. It had been quite easy for him to find Emily Quartetmaine, Nikolas Cassadine, and Lucky Spencer but Elizabeth Webber had proved to be much better hidden. It didn’t matter how long it took though. He would find them all and make them pay for putting him in prison.

 

It had been sheer luck that he had been walking through the park with his friend Jimmy. Jimmy had been the one who got him the job on the construction crew near the docks when he got out of prison. Jimmy had been released the year before and used his contacts to get into a good crew that worked for one of the local mob kingpins. They were always looking for good workers who kept their mouths shut and did their job so when Jimmy had told his foreman that Tom was getting out of prison, he had been hired immediately.

 

Tom stood frozen half behind the tree and watched the two women play with a baby boy. He wondered which of the women was the kid’s mother. He was completely enthralled in watching Elizabeth and Emily so he didn’t realize that Jimmy was watching him.

 

“Do you have a death wish you neglected to mention before I got you the job?” Jimmy asked.

 

“What do you mean?” Tom asked not taking his eyes off the brunettes.

 

“Well, I gotta figure it’s a death wish since you keep staring at those two,” Jimmy said.

 

“Are you implying that one of those two women could kill me?” Tom asked laughing.

 

“Actually, if the rumors are true, and they usually are, the one holding the kid would have no problem killing you,” Jimmy said.

 

That got Tom’s attention. “I’m listening.”

 

“Good because if you don’t you’ll end up dead for sure,” Jimmy said. “That woman is Elizabeth Webber, formerly Lansing—as in the DA’s ex-wife. Anyway, a while back there was this guy named Xander Smith and word is that she killed him. Being the wife of the DA she wasn’t charged or anything but people who would know have talked about it. Not that it would matter. Even if she was harmless, she could still get you killed. So could her friend.”

 

“For an ex-con who works for the mob, you seem to have an unnatural fear of two women,” Tom said.

 

“It’s not unnatural if you know who they are,” Jimmy retorted.

 

“But I do know who they are,” Tom said.

 

“Apparently not or you wouldn’t be staring at them,” Jimmy said. “Look, man, they’ve got protection of the highest caliber.”

 

“Protection? You mean, mob protection?” Tom asked wondering how the hell that happened.

 

“That’s exactly what I mean,” Jimmy said. “Obviously in all your staring you have missed the bodyguards.”

Tom looked around and immediately spotted two men who screamed mob guards standing in prime look out locations.

 

“Who is giving them their protection?” Tom asked.

 

“I keep forgetting you haven’t been in town long enough to know the faces of all the players,” Jimmy said. “Those two men are Max and Francis, personal guards for Mr. Corinthos, Mr. Morgan and their families. The one eating the sandwich, that’s Emily Quartermaine, fiancée of Nikolas Cassadine and little sister of Jason Morgan. No one touches Emily—ever. Between Morgan, Cassadine, and the Quartermaines, you might as well just jump off a bridge and save yourself a lot of pain. Webber is a little different. She has been under Corinthos and Morgan’s protection for years. I don’t know the details but since she and the kid are living with Morgan, I’m guessing they’ve had a thing for awhile.”

 

Tom stood there staring at the two brunettes again not quite able to believe that the two women he wanted revenge on the most were protected by the most feared boss and enforcer on the eastern seaboard. He probably should have realized his luck would be this bad when four teenagers had been able to put him in jail. He needed to seriously think about this development. Was his revenge worth the almost certain death that would follow? Did they already know he was out so that Corinthos and Morgan were already looking for him? If they were, he needed to get the hell out of Port Charles. He had no doubt that the only thing that had kept him alive this long was that he had been in prison. Now that he was out, Morgan would take great pleasure in killing the man who had tried to extort his little sister. Tom wondered for a second if Morgan knew about the night he had taken Elizabeth in the park. He dismissed the idea though. If Morgan knew, being in prison would not have made a bit of difference.

 

At that moment, Jason walked toward the women and Tom ducked further behind the tree. Jimmy watched Tom with narrow eyes. If Tom didn’t have any bad intentions toward the women, he would not need to hide from Morgan. This meant that Tom had something planned and Jimmy was afraid his friend was going to involve him in it.

 

Both men watched as the baby reached up to Jason as soon as the kid saw him. Elizabeth handed Cameron to Jason who tucked the kid against his chest and put a finger in his mouth for him to teeth on. Emily beamed up at her older brother who looked at her with obvious affection. The look the enforcer used on Elizabeth was deeper, affectionate but more intense. Elizabeth didn’t notice it but Emily did and began speculating that the two would finally get together.

 

Holding Cameron, Jason looked at Elizabeth and said, “I was going to see if you wanted to go for a ride. I didn’t realize you had Cam.”

 

“I can take him,” Emily said. “You two deserve some time to relax and I know how much the two of you love riding that thing at insane speeds.”

 

“This from the woman who will never allow Nikolas to get rid of his Jag,” Elizabeth said.

 

“Too true,” Emily said. “Seriously though, go. I’ll take Cameron and I’ll drop him at Audrey’s when he’s worn me out.”

 

“Do you want to?” Jason asked his gaze still focused on Elizabeth.

 

“Are you kidding? Have you ever known me to turn down a ride?” Elizabeth said with a huge smile.

 

Jason situated Cameron in his stroller and then helped Elizabeth to her feet. Emily jumped up and grabbed the stroller. She headed for one end of the park trailed by Max and Francis while Elizabeth and Jason headed the other direction.

 

Elizabeth approached the bike with excitement but caution. What would it feel like to ride with Jason again? Had he taken other people riding? She wouldn’t ask—she was too afraid of the answer.

 

“You ready?” Jason asked noticing Elizabeth’s hesitation.

 

“Yep,” Elizabeth said swinging onto the bike behind Jason and wrapping her arms around him in the most natural way.

 

The bike roared to life under Jason’s command and they took off. For Jason, feeling Elizabeth behind him, having her arms wrapped around him was like coming home. It just felt…right. He wondered how he had not realized he missed this feeling until just now. Of course, he hadn’t been riding very much. He had only been out a couple of times since Elizabeth had left him. The significance of that didn’t escape him as he drove them to the cliff road.

 

Jason drove around before heading for Vista Point and stopping the bike. Elizabeth made no move to get off the bike so Jason sat there waiting for her. Finally he felt her heave a huge, heavy sigh against his back and swing off. Jason followed quickly and they walked toward the overlook.

 

“Why didn’t you want to get off the bike?” Jason asked after several minutes of silence.

 

“Because when I’m not on the bike, I have to remember,” Elizabeth said. “I’m no longer free, I’m not nowhere. I’m somewhere and I have a life and obligations and fear. Look you brought me for a ride because you had something to tell me, probably something bad.”

 

Jason hadn’t meant for her to think that, didn’t want her even more afraid. “I did want to talk to you but it isn’t bad. I thought the ride would be good for you. You could see the wind and forget for awhile.”

 

“So what did you want to talk about?” Elizabeth said.

 

“There aren’t any leads on Baker or whoever attacked Alexis,” Jason said. “I think that it’s good that we haven’t heard from Baker. If he was around, I don’t think he would have waited this long to make his move.”

 

“I think he learned patience in prison,” Elizabeth said.

 

“You think he’ll come after you,” Jason said. It was a statement not a question.

 

“I know he will,” Elizabeth said. “Not just me though. He’ll come after all of us because we put him in prison. He’s close, Jason. I can feel him.”

 

Jason studied her profile for a second and said, “We’ll double the search efforts. We will find him.”

 

“You aren’t going to ask how I know?” Elizabeth asked.

 

“You’ve always put your faith in my instincts,” Jason said. “I trust yours.”

 

“That’s new,” Elizabeth said.

 

“You aren’t blinded by loyalty and love this time,” Jason said and they both knew he was referring to her defense of Ric.

 

“No, but it could be argued that I’m blinded by fear or even anger,” Elizabeth said.

 

“But you aren’t,” Jason said. “You are angry and you are afraid but it’s not clouding your judgment or your perspective. You’ve been through too much to let that happen.”

 

“You are a lot more sure of that than I am,” Elizabeth said.

 

“That’s because you don’t trust yourself as much as I trust you,” Jason said.

 

“And yet you didn’t,” Elizabeth said.

 

“I know,” Jason said. “But the only thing I can do about that now is apologize and try to show you that I do trust you. Will you let me?”

 

Elizabeth studied Jason in silence for a long time before she nodded slowly. Jason looked into her eyes for his real answer. He let out a breath he hadn’t known he’d been holding when he saw fear and sadness but there was also hope and maybe, just maybe, the remnants of the love she had felt for him.

 

Elizabeth reached over and slid her hand in his as they stood looking out over the bluff. He twined their fingers together and without speaking, they turned as one and headed for the bike.

 

CHAPTER 9

 

Over the next several days, Jason and Elizabeth spent a great deal of time together and were growing closer and closer. Elizabeth thought they might actually have fully regained their friendship. Jason was hoping they could get past the friendship this time without imploding. But not everyone was happy the pair had managed to find their way back to each other.

 

Elizabeth, tell this goon to let me in right now!” Steven yelled from the hallway where Francis was obviously blocking his attempts to enter the penthouse.

 

Elizabeth pulled open the door and smirked. Motioning for Steven to enter, she said, “It’s okay, Francis. I can handle my brother.”

 

Francis nodded shooting one more warning look at Steven before shutting the door.

 

“This has gone on long enough,” Steven said. “You need to pack your things and move back to Gram’s right now.”

 

 “I don’t know where you’ve been for the last few years, Steven, but I am way past having someone tell me where to live, especially you,” Elizabeth said. “I won’t be safe at Gram’s but Cameron and I are safe here so we’ll be staying.”

 

“And what excuse are you going to use once Baker is in prison, huh Lizzie?” Steven said. “What are you going to say so that you don’t have to move out of the mobster’s penthouse?”

 

Sonny and Jason stepped off the elevator in time to hear Steven. They headed for the door only to be stopped by Francis. “Ms. Webber has asked that we not interfere. She said she could handle her brother herself,” the guard said.

 

Sonny looked at Jason who nodded reluctantly. “Fine,” Sonny said. “But if I even think I hear her in more trouble than she can handle, I’m going in.”

 

“Not if Jason beats you through the door,” Francis muttered.

 

Neither man heard the guard because they were too busy listening to the voices inside.

 

“Don’t you dare stand there and pretend to know anything about me or my life,” Elizabeth said. “You wouldn’t even know about Tom if Grams hadn’t told you so don’t tell me he’s my excuse for living with Jason.”

 

“So you’re going to move out once he’s caught?” Steven demanded.

 

“We haven’t discussed that,” Elizabeth said.

 

“What is there to discuss, Lizzie?” he argued. “You moved in here so that he could keep you safe from a rapist. When the rapist is caught, you move home.”

 

“Maybe I will,” Elizabeth said. “I do miss the studio but it’s hard to live there with Cam.”

 

“What are you talking about?” Steven said.

 

“Well you said I should move home,” Elizabeth said. “The studio has been my home for many years. Gram’s house wouldn’t even qualify for second place.”

 

“Oh and I suppose this place would,” Steven retorted.

 

“I don’t know if it would be second but it would be above Gram’s place,” Elizabeth said.

 

“This isn’t a home,” her brother said. “It’s a mob fortress.”

 

“You have to stop calling them that,” Elizabeth said.

 

“Why? Afraid to admit the truth, even to yourself?” Steven said.

 

“The truth? You wouldn’t know the truth of those two men if it hit you between the eyes,” Elizabeth said. “The truth is that they are both decent, honorable, loving men. The truth is that they would do anything to protect the people they love, and that includes me. The truth, Steven, is that you can’t stand that I depend on them and not you, that I look at Sonny and see more of a brother than I ever have when I looked at you.”

 

“So now he’s your perfect brother, huh?” Steven said. “That’s funny because a few months ago you wouldn’t even speak to him.”

 

“And a few months ago I didn’t know whether you were dead or alive,” Elizabeth said. “See Sonny really is like a brother.”

 

“Well we’ll see which one of us is your brother when I put him behind bars,” Steven said. “Maybe he can share a cell with Morgan.”

 

“Try it, Steven, and Lizzie will really come out to play,” Elizabeth said. “Just remember that you might be a brilliant doctor and you might be a gifted forensic consultant but I know everything there is to know about you. If you even think about trying to take Sonny and Jason to prison, I will make your life the worst possible kind of hell. Every secret, every skeleton you think is hidden deep inside that closet will come out to play. You will never be able to get a job in this country again. No prosecutor will ever put you on the stand because no jury will ever be able to believe a word you say.”

 

“What exactly are you implying?” Steven asked.

 

“I’m not implying anything,” Elizabeth said. “If you choose to go after Sonny and Jason, you and I will be on opposite sides. That means everything I know and everything I do will be used to wreck you. Think about it, Steven. Do you really want to push me?”

 

Steven studied his little sister and remembered just how much damage she could do when angered. Then he thought about all the secrets he had confided in her, all the ways she could screw up his career and his life. He hung his head in defeat.

 

“You should have listened to Grams when she warned you,” Elizabeth said.

 

“Just tell me why you feel such loyalty to them,” Steven said.

 

“Because they were there when I needed someone the most,” Elizabeth said simply. “Because I have seen them at their best and their worst so I can no more walk away from them than I could walk away from myself.”

 

“Do you love Morgan?” Steven asked.

 

Elizabeth was silent for so long the three men in the hall thought she would never answer. “Yes,” she finally said quietly. “I never stopped.”

 

Sonny, Jason, and Francis let out a collective breath and Sonny turned to Jason with a big grin. Francis shook his boss’s hand vigorously in congratulations. Jason waved them off. It was one thing to get her to admit she loved him to a third party. It was quite another to get her to admit it to him.

 

They heard Steven move toward the door and Sonny and Jason walked quickly across the hallway and disappeared into the other penthouse just as Steven opened the door to leave.

 

Glancing at Francis, he said, “I’m sure you enjoyed that.”

 

“Immensely,” Francis said.

 

Steven just shook his head as he got on the elevator. Francis glanced down to see a tear roll down Elizabeth’s cheek as she watched her brother walk away.

 

“Hey, now,” Francis said wiping the tear away. “What’s with the water works?”

 

“I just lost my big brother,” Elizabeth said. “For two men who don’t trust me.”

 

Francis wanted to pound Jason and Sonny to bloody pulp for that one but instead he wrapped his arm around the girl he thought of as his sister and let her cry.

 

Across the hall, Jason and Sonny didn’t hear any of the exchange between Francis and Elizabeth. “She just defended us the way she always defended you,” Sonny said with awe.

 

“Yes, she did,” Jason said. “I can’t believe she was willing to do that after everything.”

 

“Neither can I but I swear right here and now that I will never let her down like that again,” Sonny said. “What about you?”

 

“I love her,” Jason said. “I just don’t know if I’ll be able to break her walls down enough to get her to realize it or to admit she feels the same way.”

 

“Well at least you’re admitting it now,” Sonny said. “That’s a step in the right direction.”

 

“What do you mean?” Jason said eyeing his boss and friend.

 

“I may not pay a lot of attention but I’d have to have been deaf, blind, and dumb not to see that you have loved her since that December in her studio,” Sonny said. “Hell, Jase, she was the one person you wanted with you when you went to see the world. That should have told you something.”

 

“I guess it should have,” Jason admitted.

 

“Well then get over there and start showing her,” Sonny said opening the door.

 

Jason took a deep breath before walking across the hall with purpose. He faltered slightly when Francis sent him a killing glare but he swept into the room to see Elizabeth curled up on the sofa in an afghan, the remnants of tears still on her face. Jason rushed to her side and knelt on the floor.

 

Elizabeth, are you okay?” Jason asked wiping away the trail left by the tears.

 

“Francis told you,” Elizabeth said.

 

Jason was tempted to say yes but he wouldn’t lie to her again. “No,” he said. “Sonny and I got off the elevator when Steven was here. We heard everything.”

 

He saw he cheeks turn bright pink and realized she was thinking about admitting she loved him.

 

“We went across the hall when it was clear you were going to win the argument,” Jason said. “Sonny was amazed that you would defend us that way after everything that has happened.”

 

“Were you amazed?” Elizabeth asked.

 

“I’ve always known how far you’ll go to protect the people you love,” Jason said. “We have that in common. I know you told Sam you thought I only saw you as an obligation. I wouldn’t have trusted an obligation with my life and my feelings about Michael and Robin. I wouldn’t have brought an obligation to live here—that’s what safe houses are for. I wouldn’t have run so hard, guarded myself so fiercely if you were only an obligation. It wouldn’t have hurt so much that I almost couldn’t breathe when you left if you were only an obligation. I love you, Elizabeth. I have since the December you hid me and lied to everyone to protect me. I just was too afraid to admit it before, even to myself.”

 

There were tears shining in Elizabeth’s eyes again but her joy at those words shone through even brighter. Jason had thought her eyes couldn’t be more beautiful but in that moment he knew he had been wrong about that too. Elizabeth leaned up and kissed him. She poured all her love, all her pent up longing into that kiss and it rocked Jason to his very core. He had thought kissing Courtney in the rain was amazing but that was like kissing Brenda compared to this. Elizabeth broke the kiss before they got out of control.

 

“I love you, Jason Morgan,” Elizabeth said and they both leaned in as one.

 

CHAPTER 10

 

Sam and Elizabeth sat on the couch drinking hot chocolate while Elizabeth recounted the events of the previous night. Sam had entered the penthouse that morning, taken one look at Elizabeth, squealed and started jumping up and down. Elizabeth had started laughing and Jason decided it would be best to beat a swift retreat upstairs, using the excuse that he needed a shower.

                                        

The two brunettes were deep in conversation when the door was flung open and Carly and Courtney strolled in like they owned the place.

 

“Jason!” Carly called before seeing the two on the couch. “Good grief, who forgot to take the trash out?”

 

“Funny,” Elizabeth said. “Would you please keep it down? I just got Cameron to sleep.”

 

“You are going to sit in my best friend’s home and tell me to shut up?” Carly demanded shrilly.

 

“I didn’t say shut up,” Elizabeth said. “I asked you to lower the volume.”

 

“Well when Jason asks me I will,” Carly said. “Until then why don’t you and the town bike go away. We need to talk to Jason and you aren’t welcome.”

 

Sam stood up and faced Carly. The brunette smirked evilly and said, “You’re just jealous that there are men in this town that want to sleep with me, including your husband. It’s not my fault you can’t hold a man with your…charms.”

 

Elizabeth desperately tried to keep a straight face but Carly noticed her amusement and immediately went on the attack. “How does it feel to know the only reason Jason let you back in his penthouse is because your rapist is on the loose? How low do you have to go that you would use that as an excuse to get back into Jason’s bed? Of course, his white knight complex wouldn’t let him push you away no matter how distasteful he found you. After all, why in the world would he want a muffin like you after he’s had a real woman like Courtney?”

 

From his vantage point on the landing, Jason saw the blood drain from Elizabeth’s face as Carly accused her of using Baker’s presence to seduce him. He finished walking down the steps just as Carly finished her mini-tirade and Cameron started crying.

 

“Oh good, there you are,” Carly said smiling at him. “Courtney and I need to speak to you. Alone.”

 

Sam was watching Jason closely. If he didn’t kick the blonde witch out immediately, Sam was going to do some kicking of her own. Before Jason or Sam could do anything, Elizabeth walked over and grabbed Cameron, his diaper bag, and the stroller. Neither of them missed the tears glistening in her eyes as she pushed past everyone into the hall.

 

“Jason,” Sam said and the warning in her voice was evident.

 

“I know,” Jason said as he headed for the door.

 

“Where are you going, Jason? I told you Courtney and I need to talk to you,” Carly screeched.

 

“I’m going after Elizabeth,” Jason said looking at her the way he looked at Faith. “When I get back with her, either be prepared to apologize or don’t be here.”

 

With that Jason slammed out of the penthouse. He glanced at Max who said, “I called downstairs and told them not to let her leave the building.” Jason nodded his thanks before stepping onto the elevator.

 

The guards’ interference wasn’t necessary however. Elizabeth had stopped inside the lobby, realizing that she needed to get a hold of herself and calm Cameron down before she could go anywhere. Not only would it be difficult to get anywhere with a screaming baby but she wouldn’t be able to see where she was going through the current stream of tears. She had succeeded in calming Cam down a little when the elevator chimed and she felt him get off the elevator.

 

Elizabeth,” Jason said tentatively. “Please don’t leave.”

 

“I don’t have a choice,” Elizabeth replied quietly. “I can’t fight with her, or you, anymore. I just can’t.”

 

“I don’t want you to fight with me,” Jason said. “But could you fight for me?”

 

Elizabeth looked at him and the defeat he saw in her eyes almost brought him to his knees. “I shouldn’t have to,” Elizabeth said. “I have both been there and done that. And you know what it got me? Nothing. I was devastated and alone. Just like now when your best friend attacked me in the one place I felt safe. But I won’t go through that again. I did fight for you but I’m done now.”

 

“Please, Elizabeth, give me a chance to fight for you,” Jason said. “Come back upstairs with me. If you still believe I’ll hurt you again, I’ll find you a safe house and round the clock guards. Please. I love you.”

 

“Fine,” Elizabeth said softening when he said he loved her. “But this is it, Jason. I will not put up with her or her crap anymore. Not under any circumstances.”

 

Jason nodded and took the diaper bag from her while she wheeled the stroller back toward the elevator. They rode up to the penthouse in silence.

 

Meanwhile in the penthouse, Sam had decided it was time to put an end to this crap once and for all. She approached Carly who was fuming over Jason’s exit.

 

“Did you even need anything or did you just come by to ruin Jason’s life once again?” Sam demanded. Turning to Courtney, she demanded, “And you—were you just along to kick Elizabeth once Carly had battered her down?”

 

“Watch it,” Carly barked.

 

“I have watched it,” Sam said continuing toward Carly. “I’ve watched you ruin everyone else’s life and I’m done. So are you.” With that she clocked Carly in the nose, sending her sprawling to the floor. Courtney stepped forward but Sam threw her easily into the wall and pinned her there.

 

“I know you think you can fight because you did tae bo or whatever,” Sam said. “But until you’ve been alone in a bar up against four guys Max’s size, you’ll never be able to take me. Now be a good girl or I’ll knock your ass down beside Carly’s.”

 

Sam let go of Courtney but didn’t let her guard down until the younger blonde went into the kitchen and returned with ice for Carly’s nose. Carly pulled herself up to the couch and held the ice against her face while Courtney hovered over her. Both blondes threw evenly timed dirty looks at Sam who just smirked at them and waited for Elizabeth and Jason to return.

 

When the door opened, Jason and Elizabeth both stopped in shock upon seeing Carly and Courtney. Sam stood there looking very proud of herself. Elizabeth glanced at Sam who shot her a smug grin and Elizabeth shook her head in amusement.

 

“What in the hell?” Jason said.

 

“She attacked us, Jase,” Courtney whined.

 

“You mean the way you attacked Elizabeth?” Sam demanded.

 

“Sam,” Jason warned.

 

“Fine, whatever,” Sam said. Turning to Elizabeth, she said, “Are you staying?”

“I don’t know yet,” Elizabeth said glancing at Jason who was checking Carly’s face.

 

“Well I’m outta here,” Sam said. “You know where to find me if you need anything.”

 

“Thanks, Sam,” Elizabeth said. “Just for my information, would your boat hold two more for a couple of weeks if we need a place to stay?”

 

“Sure,” Sam said. “In fact, if you want, I can get you anywhere you want to go. It would be hard for Baker to get to you if you’re on a boat in the middle of an ocean.”

 

“Thanks, I’ll keep it in mind,” Elizabeth said.

 

Jason had looked up when Elizabeth asked Sam for a place to stay. He then looked at Carly and Courtney who were now directing their glares at Elizabeth. He sighed heavily.

 

“Courtney, did you need something?” he finally asked.

 

“No, I just came because Carly asked me to,” Courtney said.

 

“Fine, then you can go,” Jason said. “I need to talk to Carly.”

 

Courtney nodded and told Carly to call her before shooting another glare at Elizabeth and walking out the door.

 

“I can’t believe you left when I told you I needed to talk to you,” Carly said.

 

“Get used to it,” Jason said. “From now on, you call before you come over and you knock when you get here. This is Elizabeth’s home too and she shouldn’t have to endure your verbal attacks. You scared Cameron pretty bad, Carly.”

 

Carly glanced at the baby and had to suppress a wave of guilt.

 

“You aren’t going to get away with this,” the blonde said to Elizabeth. “Just because you need a daddy for your kid doesn’t mean you can just waltz back in here and have Jason.”

 

“I think Sam’s punch has scrambled your brain,” Elizabeth retorted. “Because it’s you that you’re thinking of when it comes to needing a father for your kid.”

 

“Why you little…” Carly lunged off the couch but Jason held her in place. “Are you going to let her talk to me like that, Jason?”

 

“Yes,” Jason said simply. “I’m also going to change the locks this afternoon and the only people with keys will be Elizabeth and myself. That way we can be sure that no one is going to just charge in here for no good reason other than to start a fight.”

 

Carly gaped at him realizing he was serious. “You stupid muffin!” she screamed at Elizabeth. “Why can’t you just get out of town? Go back to wherever you had your baby and stay there. No one wants you here.”

 

Elizabeth looked at Jason waiting to see what he would do.

 

“Do you really want Elizabeth to leave town?” he asked Carly.

 

“Yes,” Carly answered.

 

The enforcer looked at Elizabeth and asked, “How long before you can have your and the baby’s stuff packed up?”

 

Elizabeth’s shoulders slumped in defeat at Jason’s words and Carly’s gleeful smirk. “It’ll be done in an hour,” she said shakily heading for the stairs.

 

Jason’s next words shocked her into silence. “Good, it only takes me about ten minutes to pack so I’ll have enough time to make some calls and arrange storage for my bike and the pool table before we leave.”

 

“And the Wind,” Elizabeth said.

 

“And the Wind,” Jason said with a soft smile at the woman who had shown it to him.

 

“You cannot be serious, Jason!” Carly cried.

 

“You said you wanted her to leave town, Carly,” Jason said looking back at the blonde on the couch. “The only way I’m going to allow her to go is if I’m with her. So either she stays and you leave her alone or we both take off—for good.”

 

Carly stared open mouthed at the man she had always counted on and realized that this muffin was indeed the most important thing to him. She didn’t know how it happened but she had no doubt that Jason would leave town and never speak to her again if that was the only way he would be able to keep Princess Purity. Carly rose slowly and walked toward the door, her head down in defeat. She didn’t even glance back at Jason before she quietly closed the door behind her.

 

“Do you think she believed you?” Elizabeth asked after several moments of silence.

 

“More importantly, do you believe me?” Jason asked. “I will keep you in my life, Elizabeth Webber. No matter what it takes.”

 

“I know,” Elizabeth said. “I finally know.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONTINUE

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