She was standing still as a statue at the edge of the docks, her chestnut hair gently tousled by the playful wind.
Too bad she wasn't feeling playful at the moment.
Her arms were wrapped around her small waist, as if shielding and protecting herself from harm's way. Her perfectly shaped eyebrows were drawn down, causing her smooth forehead to create wrinkles that she was too young to have. Her cerulean blue eyes were as troubled and exhausted as the never-ending, crashing waves of the water in front of her. There was nothing else she wanted to do than to jump in the cool and inviting water and to swim away to a safe haven that she had always wanted to have, always wanted to be protected by. There was a time when she did have a safe haven, right here in Port Charles, in the strong arms of a man she had thought would never hurt her, who would always be by her side and would always help her when she had no one else to go to.
That was a false sense of security.
Just like everyone else in her life, he too had hurt and betrayed her, and had left her once again to pick up the pieces of the life she had thought was perfect because of its imperfections. But now, those imperfections were the things that had cut her the deepest, the ones that left the deepest scars on her poor and tattered heart. She thought that after everything they had been through together, all the mistakes that they had thought they learned from would bind them together even more, forming a relationship she thought could have no way out other than death itself.
Funny how death was the way their relationship had ended.
But it wasn't Elizabeth's death.
Nor was it Jason's.
He had been standing there for longer than he should have been. He no longer had the right to comfort her, to touch her, to wipe away the tears he knew were hiding in her moistened eyes. He had lost every right that he had the privilege of having when he was with her. Though he knew she wanted it, needed it, there was nothing he could do but to stand and watch her drowning in her pain, her mind and thoughts, and eventually in a place that she would sink beneath and would never be able to come out of.
That was what made his heart beat painfully each and every single day.
Knowing that one day, he would never see the same woman that had captured his heart so long ago. He knew that one day, he would even lose the right to look at her, because he knew that all the pain that was evitable in her movements, the way her soft, loving blue eyes would droop down because she couldn't even stand to look at him.
And that pain was caused by him. By him only. No one else, but him.
He wasn't a coward, or a fool. He knew that what he had done had hurt her, and he accepted it – bitterly of course – because he knew that he would never find another person like her who understood him to his core, who connected and related to him like no one else ever had. He knew that never in his lifetime would he ever come close to finding his soulmate as he had with Elizabeth. She had been his, but just like everything else, he had also lost the right to name her as his soul mate.
Not being able to stand it anymore, he slowly walked up to her, his black boots making the floor of the docks slightly creak, and though it was barely audible, he thought she would hear him and glance back to see who it was.
But she didn't.
She continued to stare off into the harbor, her feet frozen to the spot she had been standing in for an hour, and did not make any indication that she had heard him.
And what caused a slight tremor go down his spine was, he didn't think she had.
"Elizabeth?" Her name gently rolled off his tongue, and the name came out as a small whisper.
She didn't respond.
He stood there for a moment, contemplating whether or not he should just walk away and just let things be.
He put his hand on her shoulder.
She gasped, flinching from his touch, and lost her footing on the edge of the docks. Losing her balance, she closed her eyes tightly waiting to feel the splash of cool water on her face and body.
But all she felt were a pair of strong arms catch her around the waist and pull her up.
They stood there for a moment, Elizabeth's eyes still closed. She was slightly out of breath, and knew that she should get away from him now. But she didn't move.
Instead, she opened her eyes, and willed her legs to stop feeling like jelly and get her to step away from the man who was once her whole world. Slowly, her right leg stepped back, then the left, until she was standing about three feet away from him. He looked at her with silently inquiring blue eyes, and she felt like a fool all over again.
When she had left him, she had put up a brave front, and though she had been deeply hurt, she didn't let it show too much. Every ounce of normality and saneness she had left had kept her from breaking down in front of him and letting him see her broken.
And she would do it again.
He saw her demeanor change right in front of him. Her body went stiff, her once warm blue eyes became guarded, and her arms dangled to her sides.
"I'm sorry I startled you. I didn't know if you had heard me or not."
She looked at him with the blank stare that she had mastered from him and shrugged nonchalantly.
"I was just thinking. I didn't see you."
Jason absently nodded his head then cocked it to the side imploringly. "Are you all right? You – you seemed really out of it."
She crossed her arms, and shook her head, her evenly cut bangs going off to the side. "I'm fine. Like I just said, I was thinking."
He stuffed his rough hands in the warm confines of his black leather jacket and replied, "Right," and even though in the back of his mind, he knew he shouldn't, the words just tumbled out. "Do you need a ride home?"
She shook her head, even though all she wanted to do was jump on the back of the bike and ride forever. But she knew that she could never do that. She would never give him the satisfaction of knowing that whatever happened, he would always make her feel better.
She walked back to the bench where her purse was and grabbed it, clutching it with both hands. She walked up the stairs, but halfway up, her footsteps faltered. She hesitantly glanced back and murmured so softly that Jason barely heard, "Thank you." She then turned her head back and walked up the stairs and out of sight.
Jason watched her walk away, and knew something was wrong. They had been over for about four months already, and he knew that he really hurt her, but his instinct told him that something – or someone – was troubling her.
And it was serious.
He wanted to run up to her and hold her in his arms, asking her to tell him what's going on, what he could do to help, but he had lost the right to help fight her battles. With all the things that had been going on with Sam, Sonny, Carly and Courtney, they had both drifted away from each other. They each felt too distant to actually tell each other the truth and how they felt like they had before. They acted differently with each other now, both of them not knowing if they had resolved their past and moved on, and both of them not knowing how to address each other anymore. There had been too many things left unsaid and not explained, so Jason took his assumption as a fact, and Elizabeth did the same.
He let out a long sigh, looked up in the direction she had just left, and defeatedly shook his head.
Elizabeth entered the hospital elevator, and tiredly rubbed her forehead. Today had by far been the hardest day to get through. She was so shaken up after her encounter with Jason in the morning, everything she did after that was done absentmindedly and halfheartedly. She hated how she was feeling right now. She hated how just exchanging a couple words with him caused a rush of emotions, thoughts, and feelings to hit her like a ton of bricks, leaving her heart heavy, and her mind so jumbled up and perplexed. And to make matters worse, right in the middle of her shift, she had got a short, rushed, and static phone call from Lucky warning her to watch her back because Helena's men were after them.
A couple of weeks ago, Lucky had decided to go look for Luke who had left on another wild "mission," and even though Lucky and Elizabeth weren't involved romantically anymore, they would always be close friends, because the Spencers over the years had become her family as well, so she had insisted on coming with him. Lucky, after many headaches and arguments, finally relented and let her join him on his quest. After a few weeks, when they had gained no new information, they went back to Port Charles, tired and defeated. However, dear old Helena had found out what they were up to and so as not to interfere with her plans, it was a matter of time before Elizabeth and Lucky were taken care of.
When she reached the ground level, the doors opened, and she wearily got off the elevator. She walked towards the docks, and Jason's look flashed in her mind. Annoyed with constantly thinking about him, she begrudgingly sat on the bench and put her elbows on her knees, massaging her throbbing temples.
She sat there for just a few minutes, but so lost in her thoughts and headache, she didn't hear the soft rustle of the bushes behind her. A man dressed in black and blending into the dark, cool night sky raised his gun, squinted his eye to get a better aim and carefully pulled the trigger. Seeing her small figure slump forward and the red metallic blood starting to trickle down the side of her arm, the man quickly stood up and disappeared into the night.
He didn't know why his gut was telling him to go to the docks. Maybe it was because his encounter with Elizabeth had been clouding his mind all day. Whatever it was, he knew he had to get there. He walked towards the docks and suddenly stopped at the foot of the stairs.
Time stood still.
There was Elizabeth, lying on the ground, her once white shirt now dark red, stained with her blood. He stood there for a moment as if in a trance, watching the life seep out of her. Then his heart shut down, and his mind jumped into action. With one step, Jason was off the stairs and as he kneeled down next to her unconscious body, he tried to find the wound where all the blood was oozing out of.
Knowing that it was impossible to find the wound in the dark, he knew that whoever shot her wasn't just a random shooter. No, she was targeted because of something else, and he knew that he couldn't take her to the hospital, which would open up a can of worms. The closest and the most private place there was, was his bike garage, which was only half a block away. He would be able to carry her there.
He gently picked her up, careful not to jar her injury wherever it was, and rushed down the street to his shop. When he reached the garage, he saw his mechanic, Jackson, there, rock music blaring off the old stereo while he was changing the oil of an old faded red Toyota. Turning around to get a tool, he saw Jason coming towards the garage with what looked like a body in his arms.
He pressed the stop button on the stereo and hurriedly opened the door so Jason would get in easily.
When he saw the bleeding woman in Jason's arms, Jackson backed up a step, holding his hands up in front of him. "Whoa dude, what the hell happened?" he asked.
Jason ignored his question. "Go call Bobbie. Her number is next to the phone."
Jackson nodded obediently and ran towards the phone while Jason carefully carried Elizabeth up to an empty bedroom.
He gently laid her down on the bed, and unsure what to do, he hesitantly started unbuttoning her shirt. Now with the light on, he could see that the bullet went in through the back of her arm and out of the front. At least they wouldn't have to go digging for the bullet.
He started putting pressure on the wound to stop it from bleeding. Judging by her blood drenched shirt, Jason knew she couldn't afford to lose anymore blood. Slowly, the bleeding lessened, and as he got up to throw the stained towels away, Bobbie rushed into the room, carrying a small kit in her hand.
"It was a clean shot. From the back of the arm and out of the front," Jason said when Bobbie she started to gently examine Elizabeth's arm.
Jason watched as Bobbie looked over Elizabeth's blood-stained clothes.
"Tell me, Bobbie," he said with a tight throat.
"I'm not sure Jason, judging by the looks of this wound, I'm not so sure."
"When do you think she'll wake up?" he asked. He looked at her pale face, her form void of any life.
Bobbie slowly stood up and clasped her hands together. Sympathy shone through her wide, worried eyes.
"I'm sorry, Jason. It's up to Elizabeth. We're just – we're just going to have to wait."
Jason sighed and rubbed his forefinger and thumb now crusted with Elizabeth's blood.
Wait. That's all he had to do.