A/N: I know this update has been a long time coming, and for that I apologize. I had a lot to deal with as of late and did not really have as much time as I would have liked. I hope that this is satisfactory.

When Zander got to Kelly's, he was shocked to find police tape surrounding the area. An officer was watching the area and Zander came up to him.

"What happened here?" He asked.

"Girl was attacked. Her and her attacker are at General Hospital."

"Is the girl okay?" He asked, worried about Elizabeth.

"I'm not sure. I'm just here to make sure no one disturbs the crime scene. I can't say anything more. Now please, be on your way." The guard stated.

Zander left, frustrated. This had not been part of his plan. He had only wanted a little jealous revenge, that was all. But now, everything was out of control.

He knew instantly that Jason was at the hospital with Elizabeth. He needed a new plan, something that would really show Elizabeth that she was wrong about Jason.

An idea came to mind a moment later and Zander pulled out his cell phone.

~*~*~*~

Nikolas questioned Mac, "If we could prove that Tom was Elizabeth's rapist, wouldn't it be easy to prove her case of self-defense?"

"Yes, but that's a long stretch. Elizabeth was raped years ago; it is going to be hard to prove it. Most of the evidence would be circumstantial."

"What if that blood is hers?" Lucky asked, regarding the material he and Nikolas had found.

"What blood?" Elizabeth asked, confused.

"We've got some evidence that might prove Tom was your rapist." Nikolas offered to explain.

"From where?" Elizabeth asked, curious.

Audrey came over, "I'm sorry to interrupt, but Elizabeth, you shouldn't be out here, you should be in your room."

Before she could manage a protest, Audrey pushed her through the crowd and down towards the patient rooms.

"You can deal with all of that after you've had some rest, dear." Audrey said on the way to her room.

When she was settled in her bed, Audrey left her alone in the room. She considered leaving and going back outside to hear all the facts she had not been privy to, when a knock sounded on her door.

She knew who it was, she could sense him.

"Come in." She called.

He slowly opened the door and closed it softly behind him. Their eyes met like a million times before as he crossed the room and sat down in a chair beside her bed.

"I'm glad you're here. We need to talk." She said as he sat.

Before she said anything else, he took her hand and slid it into his own. She smiled at his gesture but knew she still had to go through with her original plan.

"This can't happen." She offered, surprising Jason.

She continued, "None of what's going on changes what happened between you and Courtney, and what didn't happen between us."

"Let me explain." He offered, simply.

"There's no need, I already know what you're going to say. A few years ago, you offered me Italy and I chose Lucky. I thought that he was what I wanted, and I convinced myself of this so much that I began to believe it. And I've done the same thing with us; I've convinced myself that some way we can make this work, that somehow everything we've put up with getting here is worth something. But it isn't. In the end, we're in the exact same place we were then; I have two choices. I can walk away and never look back, cherish what we've had but not imagine that which we didn't. Or, I can just hold your hand forever, get lost in your eyes, and ride away on the back of your motorcycle. But I didn't have to make a choice, you made it for me. You chose Courtney, and I respect that. I respect you enough to let you go and find the happiness you deserve."

Jason could not believe his ears, "Elizabeth, that was just a kiss. It doesn't mean half as much as one moment I've spent with you."

"It's never just a kiss, Jason. There has to be something behind it-some emotion-to justify it."

Before he had a chance to counter, a nurse walked in.

"Mr. Morgan?"

He turned, surprised, "Yes?"

"There is a phone call at the main desk for you. It's urgent. They tried to reach you by your phone. Emergency."

He turned back towards Elizabeth just as she pulled her hand away from his. Her eyes told him to go but he wanted so much to stay, and explain to her everything. He looked deep into her eyes, trying to find a ray of hope that he had not lost everything, but he didn't find it.

"Mr. Morgan?" The nurse called.

He turned and walked out the door, feeling Elizabeth's eyes watching him as he left.

~*~*~*~

"Hello?" He answered the phone.

"You know who this is, we can skip the pleasantries. I've got Courtney. I've left you a clue at the Elm Street Pier." The voice on the other end said.

Jason pinched his noise, frustrated. He had enough on his plate already with Tom and Elizabeth. And now Courtney's stalker was making demands of him.

"Why me? Why not A.J. or Sonny?"

"It's you I want. And this is a limited time offer, if you don't come now, there won't be a second chance." The voice said, and then hung up.

"Shit." He mumbled and stared back towards Elizabeth's room.

He needed to make her understand, and if he went off to help Courtney then it would look more and more like they were together. But if he stayed, Courtney could get hurt.

He couldn't let anyone hurt Courtney; he wouldn't be able to forgive himself. He started towards the elevators.

~*~*~*~

Neither Nikolas nor Lucky wanted to leave Elizabeth. However, they knew that to prove their case, and help clear her, they needed to show Mac what they had found.

They went back to the police station and gotten large police flashlights to make it easier on them all. As soon as they arrived, Lucky and Nikolas lead the way down into the basement.

Lucky and Nikolas held up their flashlights to show Mac the various pictures and articles pertaining to Elizabeth.

"This is his old studio, but we have to have evidence that proves this was him that put these up." Mac offered.

"Wouldn't you be able to lift fingerprints?" Nikolas asked.

"If he was dumb enough to leave them, yes." Mac offered, as he looked over the different articles.

Mac focused on one article in particular, which had a picture of Carly, Taggart, Lucky, Bobbie, and Elizabeth.

"FIRE AT CORINTHOS-MORGAN WAREHOUSE

An explosion set off a wall of fire at a warehouse of alleged mobster Michael 'Sonny' Corinthos. The fire quickly damaged the foundation of the ware- house, which made the job of local firefighters that much more difficult. Carly Corinthos had to be held back by the police from entering the burning blaze. When firefighters no longer felt confident that the foundation would hold, they backed out of search and rescue of Corinthos. Luckily, Jason Morgan, the co-owner of the warehouse was on the scene. Morgan rushed in and saved Corinthos to the awe of spectators, and Port Charles Police. Corinthos was taken to General Hospital as well as his associate Benjamin Abrams, whom was rescued earlier by fire fighters."

"I'm going to call a team out here to collect the articles and pictures. Have either of you touched any of them?"

"No." They answered in unison.

"Well, let's get out of here. I don't want this site contaminated. If there is a print, we'll find it."

Lucky and Nikolas left to go back to the hospital while Mac stayed behind to surround the area in police tape. He called a team from the police station and stayed behind to command them.

~*~*~*~

A minute or two after Jason left, Taggart stepped into her room.

"I'm sorry, but I have to ask you those questions."

"You're doing your job." She answered, as he sat down, "I just hate being stuck in a hospital room."

"If you want, it doesn't have to be here. We could do it in the lobby, or the chapel."

"I could ask my grandmother if we could use the employee break area."

"I think it'll be alright." He said.

Elizabeth refused any help and got into the wheelchair by herself. But she did allow Taggart to push her to the break room. The room was completely empty.

"I need to know what happened before we helped you early this afternoon."

"I came in late, Courtney was already there setting up. We talked for a few minutes and then I went into the back to wash dishes. It was a while later when the customer came in; I didn't see him because Courtney was the only one in the front. I remember her making an offhand comment about the customer being creepy and I was already on edge about Tom but I didn't connect the two. I guess Courtney did, she came and told me to leave and get Sonny or Jason. I didn't understand and just stayed. It was a while later I found out that it was Tom and he had Courtney hostage. She got away and I was left alone with Tom. To make a long story short, I confronted him, he attacked me. I managed to get the scissors and after the register fell . . ."

"Okay. Morgan and I can testify that Tom was attacking you. We already have testimony from Lucky and Nikolas about Tom. Now all I need to get testimony from Courtney. Do you know where she is?" Taggart asked.

"No. I haven't heard from her since she left."

"Okay. Do you want a push back to your room?"

"No, that's okay."

As he opened the door, Elizabeth called out to him, "Wait!"

He turned, "Remember something else?"

"Zander came by the diner. But Courtney had told him I wasn't there and he took off."

Taggart made a note of it and left.

Elizabeth waited a moment more and then opened the door. The coast was clear and she made her way, not towards her own room, but towards Tom's. She assumed he was, or would be soon, out of surgery.

~*~*~*~

When Jason got to the pier, he noticed nothing unusual. He searched for this clue that was allegedly left for him but saw nothing. Believing the trip was fruitless but not wanting to give up, he searched again.

It was the second time looking over the area when the object caught his eye. He pulled it out from between the pieces of wood and examined it. It was a paintbrush that was stained with something red.

Was it paint or blood?

He quickly deduced that it was paint and felt slightly relieved.

It was Elizabeth's image that came to mind. Was the phone call just a way to get him away from Elizabeth so they could do something to her? Was it all just a ploy to get him out of the area so they could pay him back by using her?

He pulled out his cell phone and dialed. A nurse picked up.

"General Hospital. How may I help you?"

"Could you please connect me to Elizabeth Webber?"

A moment later the nurse answered, "She is on restricted access. I cannot transfer this call. I'm sorry sir."

"Could you tell me if she is in her room?" He asked.

"Hold please." The nurse answered.

It took a while but eventually the nurse got back on the phone. The waiting nearly drove the normally patient Jason to the edge. What was taking so long?

"Sir?" The nurse asked, her tone alerting Jason that something wasn't right. He instantly knew what she would say.

"Yes."

"I'm sorry . . . it seems she's not in her room . . . we actually cannot locate her at the moment."

Jason quickly ended the call and shoved the phone in his pocket. He believed that his conclusion was correct, that the phone call placed to him was merely a ploy to get him away from Elizabeth and had nothing to do with Courtney at all.

He left for the hospital, not even having the thought of Elizabeth's studio pass through his mind.

~*~*~*~

When Zander got to the hospital he passed Taggart leaving. He tried to rush right past him but Taggart noticed.

"Zander!"

Zander stopped and turned, "What?"

"Are you here to see Elizabeth?"

"Yes."

"She's fine so it won't matter if you see her in a few minutes."

"What do you want?"

"She said that you came by the diner. Did you see a man inside when you came?"

"Yeah. But I didn't stay long."

"That man was the one that attacked Elizabeth. When you're done with your visit, can you come down to the police station to make a statement?"

"Sure." Zander said, and then started on his way.

Taggart wasn't finished, "Zander! Have you seen Courtney Matthews?"

Zander paused in mid-stride, "Not since I left the diner."

Taggart seemed satisfied, having no reason to suspect him, and went on his way. Zander breathed a sigh of relief and rushed to the nurse's station. He ran into Bobbie.

"Where's Elizabeth?" He asked.

"That's what we're trying to piece together. She isn't in her room."

Zander had gotten to know Elizabeth pretty well recently and imagined where she might be. When Bobbie went on her way, he went straight up to the nurse's station.

"May I help you sir?"

"I hope so. My father was just brought in."

"His name?" The nurse asked.

Zander whispered low, "The man whom attacked the girl."

The nurse's eyes got larger, "The police are watching over him. They haven't let anyone in to see him but doctors."

"Could you tell me the room?"

"236."

He smiled and went on his way. When he turned down the hallway that contained room 236 he was not at all surprised to see Elizabeth. She didn't even register his presence until he put a comforting hand on her shoulder.

Startled, she tried to jump back but then she saw who it was.

"I'm sorry." He apologized, sincerely.

She smiled at him momentarily to let him know that all was forgiven. But then her eyes went back towards room 236. He noticed and kneeled beside her wheelchair.

"Everybody is looking for you. They're worried."

She ignored his comment, "I can't do it."

"Do what?" He asked, confused.

"I hate him. I hate him so much. I want to just go in there and pull the plug. I hate him so much. He deserves it. But I can't." She started, tearfully.

Zander wrapped his arms around her, "It's better that you can't. You can't sink to his level. You're better than him."

She smiled momentarily.

"How about we get you out of here?" He asked.

"I'm not supposed to leave. I should get back to my room before everyone starts to worry."

"You hate hospitals, Elizabeth. Let me take you away from here."

She considered the offer, what did she have to loose? She smiled to let him know that her decision had been made and he started pushing her towards the back stairs to avoid those looking for her.

~*~*~*~

Taggart was in the parking lot of the hospital going over his notes on the case. He noticed a few things. First off, Elizabeth's whereabouts until she arrived at work that morning were still undetermined. Something about the way she had told him about her day, it seemed as though she purposely left her whereabouts the night before out of the conversation. Why?

Secondly, why did Zander stop by? What caused him to rush to confront Jason about Elizabeth?

Taggart recalled that Elizabeth was the one connection between Zander and Jason. Jason had been the one looking for Elizabeth, along with Nikolas and Lucky. So, had they contacted Zander? Was he the missing link?

Lastly, where was Courtney Matthews? Why didn't she come forward when she escaped to save Elizabeth?

Taggart knew that whom he could get some information out of easily and was determined to solve the crime sooner rather than later.

He started his car and took off.

~*~*~*~

"Commissioner!" A young detective squealed.

Mac came rushing over and the two almost collided.

"What do ya got?" Mac asked, hopeful.

"We've got a partial print off one of the photographs of the woman."

"Anything else?"

"Not yet sir."

"Keep looking." He ordered, and the young detective took off.

Mac's phone purred in his pocket and he pulled it out, "Scorpio."

"This is Steve at the lab, we've got the results of the fiber and blood evidence you had rushed over."

Mac hoped that it would match the dress Elizabeth wore and be her blood.

"Well . . .?" Mac asked.

"The tests on the material fiber evidence did not bring up anything conclusive. However, the blood did not match that of the sample you submitted. However, I took the liberty of putting it in our database and we have a match with a missing girl. The girl has been missing since a little before your suspect was sent to prison."

Mac sighed, "I'm sending over a partial print to the lab. I want you to run it against the prints of the suspect. If there is no match, go to the database."

"Yes, sir." The man on the other end of the line agreed.

Mac ended the call and put his cell back in his pocket. He knew a few men whom would be disappointed with the results of the material, but he was hopeful that the print would be helpful.

~*~*~*~

Despite the fact that the hospital was looking for her, it was extremely easy for Zander to remove Elizabeth from the hospital. She wanted to go back to her studio but he convinced her to go to his apartment.

"Maybe you should lay down." He offered, worried.

She didn't want to admit it, but the drugs she was given for the pain in her leg were making her drowsy.

"Will you wake me up in a few hours?" She requested, as he tucked her into bed.

"Is it alright if I leave you alone while you sleep? I have to run an errand."

"Sure. But come back soon." She said, yawning.

He opened his door, turned out the lights, "I promise."

He closed the door and a few minutes later she was asleep.

~*~*~*~

By the time Jason got to the hospital, Audrey was in a panic. When he stepped out of the elevator and was noticed by Bobbie, she ran over before Audrey could.

"Jason, Elizabeth's gone!"

"I know, I called earlier. There's been no sign?"

"No. And Audrey's near hysterics."

"It isn't like her to just leave." Bobbie mentioned.

"It's my fault." He said almost as a mumble.

"Jason . . ." Bobbie started, getting ready to tell him that it had nothing to do with him. But he knew better.

"I'll find her." He said, and rushed towards the elevator.

~*~*~*~

Bobbie had called Lucky after her conversation with Jason to ask if he knew anything about Elizabeth's whereabouts. When he could not provide any information she told him not to worry, that Jason was already looking, and ended the call.

"Elizabeth has gone missing from the hospital." Lucky informed Nikolas when he got off the phone.

Nikolas could not believe that she was missing again. Knowing that Tom was in the same hospital made him extremely worried about Elizabeth's safety. He planned on rushing to the hospital but took notice that the light was on in Elizabeth's studio.

"Where are you going?" Lucky asked as he turned towards her studio.

He pointed to the light and convinced Lucky momentarily that Elizabeth was okay.

Nikolas hurriedly parked and both men ran up to the studio and luckily one had a key. They opened the door, shocked to find Courtney there.

"What are you doing here?" Lucky asked confused.

Courtney almost hugged him, "Zander has had me here since I got away from the diner. He's the one who has been stalking me for months. But the thing of it is, he is only doing it to get back at Jason."

Neither Lucky or Nikolas were surprised that Elizabeth had fallen in- between a battle between Jason and someone else. But Nikolas was the only one who thought of something to do about it.

He dialed Jason's number. It rang twice and then it was picked up.

"Morgan."

"It's Nikolas."

"Did you find her?" He asked, but knew the answer before he posed the question. He could feel that Nikolas had information but he knew that Elizabeth was still not found.

"No, but I did find Courtney and . . ."

"Where was she?" He asked, surprised and relieved.

"She was locked in Elizabeth's studio . . . by Zander." Nikolas offered.

"Zan-" Jason started to ask, but then the pieces started to fall together.

He ended his call and rushed to Zander's. He knew that Elizabeth was safe, in his heart. But he also did not trust Zander enough to know that she would stay that way.

* * *

Zander did not notice Nikolas' car parked near Elizabeth's studio. Nor did he notice anything else unusual as he walked up the stairs to Elizabeth's studio. But as soon as he reached the level her studio was on he heard the voices of two men that could ruin his plan. He took out the gun that he had carried since taking Courtney hostage and pointed it into the room, towards three stunned individuals.

* * * Taggart pulled into the parking space at Jake's and ran down the stairs into the bar. He walked over to the bar and instantly got Coleman's attention.

"What'll it be?" Coleman asked, nonchalantly.

"I'm on duty. I need to ask you a few questions." Taggart informed him.

"About what?" Coleman inquired.

"Zander Smith, you know him?"

"Lives upstairs, why? What's he done?"

"Nothing that concerns you. I just need to know if he's brought anyone home with him recently. A young woman with brown hair?"

Coleman turned and questioned a staff member whom frequently worked behind the bar. They had a brief conversation that was out of Taggart's earshot before Coleman returned to answer Taggart.

"My man said that he saw some young woman going up those stairs last night. That this morning he came down the stairs with her. I'm not sure, having never seen her, but I think it might be the same girl he took up there not even an hour ago."

Taggart thanked him and let him go on serving his customers. Taggart knew that something had been going on between Jason and Lucky for some time. Knowing that Nikolas was also an enemy of Jason helped him put the pieces into place. Elizabeth had gone to get away from them all-perhaps due to a fight of some sort-and asked Zander for help. She spent the night there and that was who the barkeeper saw come down in the morning with Zander. He concluded that Coleman must be mistaken, given that he knew Elizabeth was safe in the hospital. Or at least he thought she was.

He started to leave when he ran into Jason Morgan coming down the stairs. Jason rushed past him and headed towards the back stairs. He ran to catch up and caught up with him at the bottom of the stairs.

"What's the rush, Morgan?" He asked.

"Nikolas called, said he found Courtney."

"Where?" Taggart asked.

"Locked in Elizabeth's studio."

"Then why are you here?" Taggart asked, not realizing any connection.

"Zander was the one who locked her in." He offered, and then started up the stairs.

Taggart followed Jason up the stairs and to Zander's door. Taggart knocked and yelled, "Police, open up."

* * *

"Zander!" Courtney screamed, causing Nikolas and Lucky to turn.

Nikolas immediately stepped in front of Lucky and Courtney and began to try and reason with Zander.

"You don't have to do this. This isn't you." He offered, trying to appeal to the good side of Zander that Emily and Elizabeth had talked to him about.

But Lucky gallantly stepped forward to try and wrestle the gun out of Zander's hands. Nikolas and Courtney watched in horror as the two men fought over the weapon.

The gun went off and Lucky fell to the ground due to the impact of the bullet. Zander looked at the gun in disbelief. Courtney screamed as he dropped the gun on the floor and looked at Lucky laying in front of him.

"I . . . I'm . . . sorr-" He struggled out as he looked down at Lucky.

Nikolas pulled out his cell phone and called an ambulance while Courtney moved in to get a better look at the bullet wound. Zander stood watching over it all, sending up a silent prayer that Lucky would survive.

* * *

Elizabeth woke up to the sound of pounding at the door. She instantly remembered that she was at Zander's and wondered if he had locked himself out.

"Police, open up." A muffled cry came through the door.

She looked at her wheelchair across the room and wished that it were closer. As she started to get off the bed, Taggart and Jason broke down the door.

Both men watched as a surprised Elizabeth jumped at the sudden action fell off the bed. She shouted out with pain as she landed on her broken leg.

Jason was the first to rush over to her side as Taggart canvassed the entire apartment. Jason didn't bother to ask if she was okay because he knew that she wasn't.

"I'm sorry we surprised you." He apologized.

"Why are you here? Was it really necessary to break down Zander's door?"

Taggart came back from checking the entire apartment.

"We had reason to believe you were being held here against your will." He offered.

"Against my will? Zander would never hurt me." She said, knowing that neither Jason nor Taggart were fans of Zander.

"He was holding Courtney Matthews hostage at your studio. You went missing and he became an obvious suspect." Taggart informed her.

Elizabeth was silent in disbelief, she convinced herself that she had heard wrong.

"What?"

Jason answered, "Lucky and Nikolas went to your studio to look for you. They found Courtney there, locked in. She said it was Zander who locked her in."

"Zander would never do anything like that! You both must be mistaken!" She started, trying to convince them but knew that it was like she was addressing deaf ears.

"That is what Lucky said over the phone. I haven't gotten an official statement, but it looks to me as if it's the truth."

"Everybody knows that Lucky isn't Zander's biggest fan. You cannot just accept something as fact without investigating it first." She started, committed to fight for Zander, even if it meant going against Lucky.

"You're right, we don't know the facts. But we do know that you need to get back to the hospital." Jason offered.

She knew he was right so she did not protest.

* * * The ambulance had come and gone, taking with it Lucky Spencer. Nikolas was offered the chance to ride along because of his family relation but had turned down the opportunity to make sure that Courtney was alright. All of them had an unspoken agreement not to tell the police about what happened.

Courtney was worried about Lucky and Nikolas agreed to drive her to the hospital. Zander, still obviously upset over the entire situation, asked if he could bum a ride. Normally Nikolas would have turned him down, and given the circumstances, no one would blame him. But he knew that no matter how bad he thought Zander was, he knew that Zander had not meant to shoot Lucky. He let him ride with him to the hospital.

"Oh my God, Elizabeth! I totally forgot! Is she okay?" Courtney asked, feeling guilty she had forgotten.

"She was at the hospital earlier but she took off. We were looking for her when we stumbled upon you." Nikolas offered.

Zander was silent in the back seat. He did not even register the conversation because the guilt of shooting Lucky was eating him alive.

* * * Jason took Elizabeth to the hospital, leaving Taggart behind to talk with Mac. The ride there was uncomfortable for both Jason and Elizabeth.

Elizabeth knew that Jason felt responsible, as he always did, and felt as if he needed to shelter her from the world. She appreciated his concern but found it overbearing. Jason was concerned, but not so much as with the current situation as with his feelings for Elizabeth.

In the hospital, Elizabeth had told him that they were through. She told him that they could never work and it wasn't worth the pain either had gone through. There had been many rough spots along the way, but Jason knew, as did Elizabeth, that the only things worth having are those you have to fight for. He just wasn't sure if he could remind her of that.

When they arrived at the hospital it was franticly busy. An emergency patient had just arrived and was being rushed into surgery. A group of doctors and nurses rushed past Elizabeth and Jason, following the patient into the room.

"I'm starting to appreciate the fact that I only have a broken leg." She offered as they sat in the waiting area.

He looked at her amazed that she would be concerned with the life of a complete stranger, as if she had some connection to them. It did not surprise him because he knew how large her heart was.

She could feel him looking at her, reading her every thought and she began to feel a little self-conscious. She didn't like the idea of him knowing what she was thinking, because it went against everything she had been telling him.

"How did you get to Zander's?" Jason asked, changing the subject because he could feel that she was uncomfortable.

"I don't like hospitals and he offered another place for me to recuperate." She said, not wanting to get Zander in any more trouble.

"I'm sorry I had to go, I had to take care of . . . " He started.

She finished for him, "some business?"

He waited a moment before continuing, afraid that he might upset her with news that Zander was not the man she thought he was.

"The call was from Courtney's stalker. He said if I wanted to see Courtney alive again then I had to come. I couldn't let her die." He said, feeling as though she might misjudge his motive.

"Was she okay?" Elizabeth asked, concerned.

"I never got to her. I found a clue and I thought it had to do with you so I rushed back here. I forgot once I heard that you were missing."

"Lucky and Nikolas found her?" Elizabeth asked, connecting the dots.

"As far as I know. I haven't heard from them . . ."

The opening of the elevator door cut off Jason.

Nikolas, Courtney, and Zander emerged and made a b-line towards the center nurse's station. The commotion made Elizabeth notice.

"Nikolas?" She called.

All three turned to see her. Nikolas and Courtney looked relieved to see that she was okay. But their main priority was Lucky.

"How's Lucky?" Courtney asked, assuming that Elizabeth would know.

"Lucky? What happened?" She asked, scared.

"He was shot . . ." Nikolas started but trailed off while looking at Zander.

Courtney's eyes met Jason's and he instantly felt guilty. She cautiously looked away as if betraying A.J., but her eyes kept darting back to look at him. He looked tired and concerned. And then she saw him look at Elizabeth and she saw something within his eyes change. Then she noticed the way he sat just a few feet away, his whole body facing her.

She realized, without a doubt, that Jason's heart belonged to another. And perhaps Elizabeth was to blind to see it now, or just pretended not to see it, but it was there.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, A.J. showed up.

"Courtney!" He called from behind her.

She turned, "A.J.?"

"Are you alright?" Hr asked, not even noticing that anyone else was there, including his brother.

"I'm fine, we're just . . ."

"Thank God." He interrupted, pulling her into a hug. "I'm so sorry about before."

Knowing that Jason's heart belonged to another seemed to erase her guilty conscience. She knew that she loved A.J. and assumed, because she hardly knew Jason, that her feelings were merely a passing physical attraction. She reveled in knowing that she had a man that loved her and she need not look elsewhere.

"I'm sorry too."

"Let's get you home." He offered and she accepted.

Minutes after they left, Monica Quatermaine came out of surgery. She walked over to the group and hesitated briefly when she saw her son was among them.

"How's Lucky?" Nikolas asked.

"It's hard to tell right now. He made it through surgery but he's not out of the woods yet. We were able to remove the bullet but there was some internal damage. But we are hopeful that there will be a full recovery."

Jason heard the group let out a collective sigh of relief. He was not the biggest fan of Lucky Spencer, but he was also happy that the younger man had survived.

As if Elizabeth sensed this, she turned to Jason and smiled. For a moment their eyes met, just as they had a million times before, but something within them had changed.

Seeing this change, but knowing not what it was, Jason tried to remove himself from the situation.

"I'll go see if Dr. Jones can see you." He offered, and then got up and started walking towards the nurse's station.

Elizabeth watched him walk away and felt something empty inside of her, as if part of her being was missing.

* * * Lucky was true to his name and survived surgery successfully. The bullet had only hit his arm so there was not much damage. His arm was in a sling, and he was on drugs to relieve the pain, but other than that he was no worse for wear.

Nikolas was the first to come in, holding the door to allow Elizabeth to wheel herself inside. She had insisted that he let her do it on her own and he had not fought her.

"Elizabeth!" He shouted, excited to see that she was safe.

"How are you feeling?" She asked.

"It's not too bad. Similar to how you're leg must be feeling." He offered.

Nikolas interrupted the moment, "I wanted to wait until you both were together to tell you the news."

"What news?" Lucky asked, his interest piqued.

"As soon as Tom is stabilized, he'll be on his way to Pentonville. A partial print of his was found on one of the pictures at his studio and the blood on the red material did not belong to Elizabeth but to another missing girl. It seems that he was a suspect in the case but they had not had enough evidence to convict him. He'll be in there for at least 25 years, with no chance of parole."

"When did you find this out?" Lucky asked, curious.

"While you were in surgery, Mac called."

Elizabeth, whom had tried to remain mum, spoke up, "Lucky, did Zander shoot you?"

Lucky knew that Elizabeth always tried to find the best in people. He didn't want to disappoint her by letting her know the truth but he knew that she deserved honesty.

"It was an accident." He offered.

"And you both found Courtney in my studio?" She asked them both.

"Yes." Nikolas answered.

As if on cue, Zander appeared in the doorway.

"Oh, sorry to interrupt, I'll come back." He said, starting to leave.

"Wait!" Lucky called.

Zander turned.

"I'm not pressing charges and as far as I know, neither is Courtney."

Curious, Nikolas spoke up, "Why'd you do it?"

Zander did not have to say anything because they knew without words. Elizabeth said it out loud, "Emily."

Bobbie interrupted to let them know that Lucky needed his rest and they all had to leave him be. They all left, some more hesitantly than others. Elizabeth was the last to leave and Lucky called her back.

"Hold on a sec." He called to her.

She turned.

"You love him." He offered.

She did not let her eyes linger in his gaze and turned away.

"If you don't see it through, you'll never know." He offered.

"I know it won't work. We tried and we tried but our lives don't go together. We aren't meant to be."

"Jason went above and beyond when you went missing. He ignored Sonny and 'business' and went to look for you. He went as far as going to the police to make sure that you would return home safely. He is willing to change his life around for you. If he is willing to do all that, you should give him a chance."

Elizabeth was surprised to hear these words coming from Lucky Spencer of all people.

She finally admitted something that until then she had kept to herself, "I'm afraid."

Lucky looked at her quizzically.

"I'm afraid that if I allow myself to love him and we get close that I will loose him. It hurt so much when you were gone, Lucky. I wouldn't have survived if I didn't have Nikolas, Emily, and Jason. But if I loose him, I'm afraid that I'll become that girl again."

"You told me once that if you were given a choice to never feel pain again and the cost would be just one moment we spent together, you would not accept it. All I know is that you look at him the same way you use to look at me. Sure, there will be rough times, but there will also be good times. You deserve so much happiness, Elizabeth, and he can bring you that happiness. I know that you'll worry that he might not come home, but none of us have that guarantee. There are car accidents and plane crashes that happen to ordinary people. Sure, Jason's job is dangerous, but maybe if he knew he had someone waiting for him to come home then he would be more cautious. You have to give it a chance. You've said that you're never safe when you love someone; you have to take a leap of faith. Leap, Elizabeth, don't let this slip away."

Before she could answer, he said simply, "Go."

She wheeled herself out of the room and towards the waiting area. Jason was sitting there, his head resting back on the cushion, his eyes closed, and his fingers pinching the bridge of his nose. She realized that he had most-likely not slept since she went missing. She knew that he cared and knew that he would go to the ends of the Earth to protect her.

He opened his eyes as if he knew she was coming, as if he had some sixth sense.

"How's Lucky?" He asked, concerned.

"He'll be okay."

"What's happened?" He asked, sensing that something had changed between them.

"I don't want to stay in this hospital tonight and I know that if I go back to my studio or somewhere else, you'll worry . . . so, can I stay with you tonight."

He looked at her as if in disbelief.

"I'm doing this for your benefit of course."

He smiled, knowing what this meant.

"Of course."

He offered to push her but she declined. They went down the elevator in silence and landed on the parking level quickly. They drove back to Jason's penthouse in silence, both silently enjoying the company of the other. When they arrived at Harbor view Towers, Jason leaned in to help Elizabeth out and got more than he bargained for: a kiss.

He was not at all surprised, but thoroughly enjoyed it. And they both secretly reveled in the fact that there would be many more to come.