Disclaimer: I don't any of it. The characters belong to GH and the song Shimmer belongs to Fuel
A/N: So I figured everyone has waited quite long enough for an epilogue. In all honesty, I had no intentions of writing one, but decided that the demand was high enough and therefore I should in order to appease my readers. For those of you who enjoyed the original ending, you can disregard this installment.
Shimmer (Epilogue to Last Train Home)
She calls me from the cold
Just when I was low, feeling short of stable
And all that she intends
And all she keeps inside, isn't on the label
She says she's ashamed
Can she take me for a whirl?
Can I be a friend?
We'll forget the past
Or maybe I'm not able
And I break at the bend
Courtney Matthews slid quietly into the back of the overcrowded court room. She wasn't sure what drew her to this particular place other than the inexplicable need for vengeance. Yes, this was indeed Sam McCall's day of reckoning and she wanted to watch it for herself in person. From what she read in newspaper clippings, the trial had been tediously long due to D.A. Lansing's thirst to bring up every unsavory thing in the young woman's past. Ric was out for blood and nothing would deter him in his quest, certainly not the thirty-seven motions that McCall's attorney had filed over the eighteen month long trial.
Her eyes wandered along the benches of onlookers as she waited for the judge to emerge from his chambers. Mostly media clogged the first two rows. After all, a homicide trial is big news anywhere, especially Port Charles. She recognized Lucky, Emily, and Nikolas all huddled together holding hands. Emily was frequently dabbing the corners of her eyes with a tissue. Elizabeth's family was represented by her Grandmother who remained steely eyed through the whole procession. And as for the rest of the crowd, well Courtney hardly recognized any of them. Sure she had been away a few years, but still she thought she would see a few more familiar faces. The large mahogany doors creaked open and she watched as Ric entered walking down the aisle with long confident strides. He stopped momentarily to look at Sam, who was already seated, and offered her a sly grin. From her vantage point, Courtney could see the worry creeping into her would-be killer's face. Sam McCall was no longer cool under pressure. The brunette had spent the better part of the last five minutes chewing on her nails only looking up every few moments to see if the judge had arrived yet. Courtney liked the idea of watching her squirm. It was almost pay back enough. Almost.
"All rise for the honorable Judge Hughes." The bailiff's monotone voice brought order to the court room. On cue, everyone stood and the judge entered quickly taking his seat. He turned to the jury, obviously not wanting to waste any time in getting the verdict.
"Madame Foreperson, have you reached a verdict?" His voice sounded surprisingly weak to Courtney's ears. You would think a judge would have more strength behind his voice.
"We have your honor."
"What say you, then?"
"On the first count, murder in the first degree: We find the defendant, Samantha McCall, guilty." A relieved sigh filled the court room. The judge banged his gavel lightly before signaling for the foreperson to continue. "On the second count, attempted murder: We find the defendant, Samantha McCall, guilty."
"And the last count?" The judge prodded.
"Yes. The third count, conspiracy to commit murder: We found the defendant, Samantha McCall, guilty." Courtney led her eyes slide close. She wasn't surprised by the verdict, more overwhelmed then anything. This meant that it was finally over. Sam would finally pay for what she did.Which in turn meant that Courtney could finally move on with her life. She didn't bother waiting around to hear the judge speak, instead the blonde slid out of the courtroom just as quietly as she came. The cool February air greeted her flushed face. She wasn't surprised to find him sitting off to the corner away from the media's watchful eye. Camera and news people flooded the steps, each waiting for their chance to get the first reaction.
Courtney sighed, if she ran, he would never see her. His steady gaze was focused on something else off in the far distance. Yet, like a moth drawn to the flame, she could feel her legs crossing the small space between them. It wasn't long before she stood in front of him, long blonde hair blowing in the brisk wind. He looked up and she took a sharp intake of breath. His clear blue eyes twinkled, but the rest of his face remained stoic. A silence settled between them for a moment and it wasn't long before Courtney could feel herself suffocating in it. She wanted to move, she wanted to turn and leave. It would be easy to pretend that it never happened. Hell, she had tricked herself into believing that the whole airport scene was indeed a dream, a figment of one's imagination, if you will. But as she stood there, everything seemed far too real. All the feelings, that she had long since buried, rushed to the forefront of her mind and it took every ounce of self control not to wrap herself up in his warming, protective arms.
"I didn't expect you here…" His low voice caught her attention.
"I had to see it for myself, you know?" She wrapped her arms around herself trying to ward out the evil chill of winter.
"Yeah." Jason agreed. "How have you been?"
"Ok." She returned.
"Yeah. I heard you were in Boston a few months ago…" She whispered, but he didn't answer. "Carly told me."
"I knew she would."
"I half-expected for you to show up on my doorstep." Half hoped, would have been more like it.
"I almost did, but then decided to spare myself of getting my heart stomped on once again." Bitterness coated his voice and Courtney cringed. Had she finally done it? Had she finally made him realize that they were over? And if so, why was she so sad about it?
"The trial isn't the only reason I'm here, Jase." It was a soft confession and one that she didn't realize was going to be said until it left her lips. Jason looked up and opened his mouth to speak, but she quickly cut him off. "I needed to see you."
"Who knows?" She laughed sardonically. "Maybe it's the fact that ever since I got on that plane, you're the only thing I think about. Maybe it's the fact that I don't like who I am when I'm not with you. Or maybe just maybe, I needed to see you to be sure that I made the right choice."
"And did you?" His voice caught in his throat.
"Damn it, Jason! I don't know." She ran her fingers through her hair in frustration. "I know how wrong we are for each other. I know that no matter what, it's going to end in heartbreak for both us."
"But…" Courtney drew the word out carefully. "I also know that no one has ever made me feel as alive as you do."
We're here and now, but will we ever be again
'Cause I have found
All that shimmers in this world is sure to fade
His arms were around her waist in a second. She buried her head deep in his chest, wishing that this didn't feel so right. Damn it, Courtney! You just had to go over to him, didn't you? Her mind reprimanded her, but her heart beat with a fury she hadn't felt since she left all those months before. His cologne invaded her nostrils and she savored it, knowing that this might not last. After all, nothing gold can stay. And right now, she and Jason were twenty-four carats in her mind. His index finger guided her chin up and before she could help herself, their lips were joined. The kiss was soft at first, but quickly turned into something more passionate and unbridled. For a moment, Courtney forgot about the cameras that stood just a few yards away. She moaned softly as she felt his hand tangle through her tresses.
"Jase…" She pulled away in an effort to catch her breath. His arms remained encircled around her waist and he smoothly guided her down the steps. She didn't ask where they were going, because deep down she knew. And she had a feeling that their destination was going to be the end of her. Once she entered his sleek penthouse, there would be no chance of her ever stepping on a plane back to Boston. Thus, the conflicted emotions began to stir within her once again. Still, she didn't fight him as he helped her into the passenger seat his SUV. Nor, did she make any effort to escape as they boarded the elevator that would take them to the top floor of Harborview Towers. Hell, she couldn't manage to even form words until they stood right in front of his door and even then they came out weak. Almost a strangled cry.
"Please don't expect too much from me." He nodded and opened the door for her. She looked over her shoulder down the hall once more before entering. Maybe she didn't need Boston as much as she thought she did…
She dreams a champagne dream
Strawberry surprise, pink linen on white paper
Lavender and cream
Fields of butterflies
Reality escapes her
She says that love is for fools who fall behind
And I'm somewhere between
I never really know
A killer from a savior
'Til I break at the bend
"I want ice cream." Courtney looked at Jason with her best pouty smile. They had been lying in bed together for the last few hours and her appetite was beginning to get the best of her.
"I don't think I have any." He admitted and waited for the onslaught of ridicule that was sure to come after such a confession.
"No ice cream?" Her blue eyes grew large as saucers. "What do you eat?"
"Stuff that won't rot my teeth?" He returned casually.
"Whatever. If you want me to stick around, then you are going to need to start buying ice cream…"
"So you are planning on staying for a while?"
"I don't know, yet." She replied honestly. "Things between us…"
"Are going to be fine." Jason finished.
"How can you be sure about that?" Silence. "Because correct me if I'm wrong, but things have never been 'fine' between us for too long."
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but we are not the same people we used to be."
"And doesn't that scare you?" She whispered. "You're right. I'm not the same girl you fell in love with. Just like you're not the same guy I fell in love with. And what if these new personas that we play don't match up like they used to? What if in the long run we are setting ourselves up for failure by pretending that we are what we aren't?" He sighed and adjusted her head that was resting on his shoulder. Her pure blue eyes peered up at him searching for answers that he didn't quite have. But in her face, he found all the answers he needed for his own piece of mind. In a moment of clarity, he realized that no matter how the years had changed her, she would always be the sweet, slightly naïve girl he fell for the day she walked into town.
"Courtney, nothing you say or do can ever change the way I feel about you. You're it for me. For better or worse…" She let out a small sniffle. She always knew that Jason was not the harsh, callous figure he portrayed, but she had never heard his voice this raw, this full of emotion. Even during their wedding, he had kept his tone steady. "Can you really live with yourself if you walk away?"
"Love isn't meant for us, Jase." She whispers with tears clogging in her throat.
"Why? Because you're too scared to give it another try?"
"No." She replies firmly. "Maybe it's because I'm too smart to fall for it again."
"Bullshit." He pulls away from her and slides out of bed. She tangles her fingers in the soft silk of the sheet that surrounds her bare body. "You're here for a reason. Whether or not you choose to acknowledge it, I know how you feel about me."
"Awfully sure of yourself, aren't you?" Courtney bites back.
"Tell me I'm wrong." A silence falls between them and Jason begins to tap his barefoot impatiently. "Come on. Prove me wrong."
"I can't." She replies with a sigh. She's trying desperately to form an argument in her mind, but everything he says disproves what she thought she believed. "But that doesn't mean that I'm ready for this. It doesn't mean anything…"
"Yes it does." He leans across the bed and pushes a stray blond strand off her face. "Please, stop fighting this." Her gaze rests on his and the tears that had once remained in her throat begin to shine in her crystal blue orbs. She wants to curl up in the comfort of his embrace and never leave. Yet, something in her mind screams that it's a waste of time. She's been broken by him far too many times and not sure if she could handle the day when he inevitably leaves her. After all, it's bound to happen. One day, he's going to realize that she doesn't belong in his lifestyle (even if it is tamer than the one he used to live). One day, he's going to realize that he indeed wants a child and she won't be able to give it to him. And when that day comes, her recently super-glued life will fall to pieces once again. "What's going on in that busy little head of yours?"
"You don't want to know."
"I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want to know."
"Jase, what's going to happen when you decide you want kids?" He looks at her strangely. "I mean, we both know it's eventual. You have the fatherly instinct in you."
"Court…" He stops, trying to formulate his response. "You're right. Someday I'm probably going to want children."
"And I can't be the one to give them to you…"
"You know what?" He sighs. "I'm sick of doing this. I'm sick of trying to give you a reason to stick around, when it's obvious that you are dead set on leaving."
"You didn't answer the question." She returns with equal amount of animosity.
"Does it matter? Whatever I say, you're just going to find a way to twist it around." She continues to look at him. Her glare is wordlessly prodding him for a response. He can feel the temper within him rising and lets his lids slide close in an effort to cool it. "I can picture my life without kids. But I can't picture my life without you." Pause. "It doesn't really matter, does it? You said it yourself; you're too smart to fall for this again."
We're here and now, but will we ever be again
'Cause I have found
All that shimmers in this world is sure to fade
Neither of them has spoken for close to fifteen minutes. It's some sort of strange holdout that the two have gotten themselves into. Courtney remains in the bed while Jason takes sanctuary on the plush leather chair located in the corner of the room. They both bite their tongue for fear of what the response might be. So instead, they remain in silence hoping that eventually it will break. Courtney wonders if she should just leave. She could walk out the door and pretend that this never happened. And each time she finally works up the courage to slide out of bed, something deep in the pit of her stomach stops her. Jason has laid his heart on the table for the second time and she cannot force herself to do the same for him. It used to be the other way around, her begging him for a chance. But not anymore and she thinks that is what unsettles her the most. The fact that he has indeed changed and is willing to be for her what she always hoped he would be. Now if things go wrong, it's her fault. And could she really live with herself if she managed to fuck up the thing she has dreamt about for so long. But then again, what if things were finally meant to be, but she never knew because she was too scared to give it a try. Deep down she knew that there was no hope of her leaving his side. She had spent the last seven years without him and they were the loneliest she had ever felt.
"Ground rules." She starts firmly and catches his attention.
"Ground rules?" He cocks his eyebrow in confusion.
"Yes." She returns. "One: There will be no talk of the past."
"Two: We take it slowly. Like a snail's pace." She eyes him carefully. "Three: No more of you not telling me things because you think you are protecting me."
"How many rules are there? Should I grab a pen and paper?" He asks somewhat annoyed.
"Four: Under no circumstance are either of us to allow Sonny and Carly into the middle of our relationship." She continued on unfazed by his comment.
"And five: You're not allowed to leave." He chuckles.
"The same goes for you then. No hopping on a plane to Boston when things become a little to real for you."
"Fine." She crosses her arms over her chest and smiles. "It's a good thing we have each, because I'm pretty sure we are far to fucked up for anyone else to deal with."
"Speak for yourself on that one, princess." He returned with a small grin before moving across the room to join her in bed. She snuggles deep into his chest and lets the new feeling of comfort wash over her. The fear that festered in the pit of her stomach is alleviating slightly as he whispers softly into her ear. "I knew I would wear you down eventually."
"What can I say? I'm a sucker for a good lucking guy." She bites back a laugh at the indignant look on his voice.
"I am not a piece of meat, dear."
"Ok." She replies dismissively and runs her hand along his naked chest. "I love you."
"I love you, too." His lips brush softly across hers. "Even if you are a bit neurotic."
"Shut up!" She cries and tries to pulls away, but his grasp is too tight.
"But that's half the reason I love you. It's cute." His index finger traces the out of her jaw and despite herself a small smile creeps onto her face.
"You really think it's going to work this time?" She asks softly.
"How can it not? I mean we have ground rules and everything." He answers with a sense of assurance.
"Don't mock me."
"I'm just kidding." He waits a beat before speaking again. "I think we've been through everything that we could possibly have to go through, it should be smooth sailing now."
"I hope so." She agrees.
"And if it's not? Well, we're just going to have to find a way to deal with it. Together." Jason put emphasis on the last word and it draws a sense of meaning in Courtney's mind. For the first time since she set foot in the apartment, she feels secure. Secure with herself and the new relationship she is about embark on.
"Together." Courtney murmurs more to herself than Jason. "I like the sound of that."
It's too far away for me to hold
Too far away...
Guess I'll let it go
A/N: Big shout out to Nicole, for the song used was suggested by her. Betcha thought I forgot about it didn't ya? Anyways, that's it. I'm officially done with Last Train Home. There will be no sequel. No epilogue part two or anything along those lines. If you didn't enjoy the epilogue, well you can pretend I never wrote it and stick with the original ending. If you liked the epilogue, well thank you. Either way, leave a review if you would like.