"This is a small town Elizabeth. Next week there'll be other news."
Debra was full of shit. It'd been three weeks and nothing had gotten her out of the hot seat. Not only were Lansing's words effecting her socially, not that she had a raging social life but when you can't even go to the grocery store without being accosted by bored housewives with filthy minds it was sad. She'd lost two students to Mrs. Kennedy when their parents threatened to take them out of school.
Over the last few weeks Debra had really pulled through for her. Fighting off angry parents and a disgruntled Superintendent, her new found friend fought like a momma bear protecting her cub. Elizabeth had no idea how she was ever going to repay Debra for her friendship, but someday she hoped she could find a way to express her gratitude.
Another unexpected, but completely welcomed surprise, had been Emily's instant loyalty. She'd been like a guard dog out in public when Lucky had been busy and unable to be with them. Emily's calm, reassuring manner was like balm to Elizabeth's frantic nerves. For the first time in her life, Elizabeth had a female friend. It was a little odd, but a ray of sunshine in the monsoon her life had become.
Laura, in her typical rallying manner had gotten several of the students parents to sway to her side. Listening to Port Charles's version of Martha Stewart tell it like it really was, minus the political and mob related stuff. So not all her students parents hated her and thought badly of her, just most of them did.
But she'd had enough. She'd been a good little girl right? And it was about time Jason Morgan did something for her. This entire situation was his fault and Elizabeth had decided it was time he knew it too.
Stopping in front of the door with a plan looking name plate indicating it was the den of the devil himself, Elizabeth glared at the secretary who hurried forward to intercede her. No one was going to stop her from completing what she came here to do.
"Mr. Morgan's not seeing anyone -."
With a large dimpled smile, Elizabeth's eyed the woman in front of her coldly. "Not even to his much talked about booty call?"
Had she been in a better frame of mind, Elizabeth may have felt a little bad about being so crude. The last three weeks had brought out a new side of her and until her life was put back in order then no one was safe. Lifting only a brow when the older woman sputtered gracelessly, Elizabeth nodded to the closed door.
"Unless you plan on physically removing me, I plan on seeing Mr. Morgan. I'm sure the last thing he wants is for some hysterical female to cause a scene in his office. Especially one who has at least two photographers stalking her at all times."
"Mr. Morgan is on a conference call."
"Tell him I'm here or I will do it myself." Folding her arms over her chest Elizabeth waited as the secretary battled with her meager options.
"Elizabeth." Elizabeth turned her head to where Sonny was standing and her foul mood took a nose dive. "I didn't know you were stopping by."
"Mr. Corinthos I am so sorry." The older woman gushed, looking a little frazzled. "I kept telling her Mr. Morgan was currently busy."
"I'm sure he is." Elizabeth muttered. "But if you two don't mind, my stalkerazzie will soon realize I snuck out the back door to meet a taxi on the road."
"Stalker-what?" Sonny asked, a puzzled look on his face.
"The annoying tag team who's been taking non-stop pictures of me for the last two weeks." Her hands were starting to shake again and Elizabeth knew if she didn't get past the damn door she was going to melt down before she had a chance to skin Jason Morgan's ass. "It's been a real treat. They're quiet gifted too. Just the other day one of them took a picture of me in my bedroom."
"Isn't your room on the second floor?" Sonny asked pulling her to the side and giving Jason's watchdog a look that had her scurrying away.
"Odd you should mention it." Digging in her heels before the Jason's buddy got her too far away from her goal, Elizabeth ran a hand through her hair. "It is. Did I also mention how I was changing at the time?"
"Oh Elizabeth." Closing his eyes and pinching his nose, Sonny shook his head. "Why didn't you say anything sooner."
"And ruin the winning streak you and Jason have going ignoring my existence?" Elizabeth snapped. "This wouldn't be happening if someone would've put their fist into that assholes mouth."
"Ric Lansing." Elizabeth gave Sonny a look, telling him to keep up. "He's tearing my life apart. Well him and his yappy girlfriend."
"Come with me." This time pulling her into Jason's office, Sonny didn't bother to knock as he shoved the door open. Not letting go of her hand until he had the door firmly shut behind them, the older man tried to ignore the deadly look Jason sent him.
Elizabeth was starting to feel a little unsure of her original plan. Mentally creating the plan on knocking Jason on his ass because of the massive mayhem he'd created in her life, was different than seeing him eye to eye. But remembering someone had a picture of her only tattoo quickly changed her mind.
Narrowing her eyes to return Jason's glare, Elizabeth crossed her arms over her chest and waited for him to finish up his phone call. The entire time she tried to ignore how tired he looked. The dark circles around his eyes. His five o'clock shadow. None of it mattered. He was the reason her life was hell and she wasn't going to leave until he fixed it.
"What's going on?" He sounded like his typical self. Royal pissed off and annoyed to be around her. It helped her not feel bad about the ass chewing she was going to give him.
"Elizabeth's been having some -."
Holding up her hand to stop Sonny from going any further, Elizabeth had lectured herself on taking control of the conversation. She was done being pushed and pulled as they saw fit.
"I've had enough and I want it to stop. I swear to god if one of you don't shut Ric Lansing and his high maintenance shrew up I'm going to come unglued."
"Excuse me?" Jason frowned over the desk at her, not liking the wild look in her eyes. He knew that look. Carly had it when she was ready to do something stupid and he'd be stuck cleaning up the mess for months.
"I'm about to lose my job." Elizabeth screeched very unbecomingly. Tossing her purse down in one of the empty chairs. "Three of my students have been transferred to Mrs. Kennedy's class because their parents don't want Jason Morgan's bitch to teach them."
"My what?" Cold rage froze his blood, before the dark anger melted it. Making his heart beat rapidly in his chest.
"Your bitch." Elizabeth said slowly, even though it made her uncomfortable to do so. "It's the sweet little label the bored housewives have given me. From what I over heard near the cantaloupe a few days ago, I'm exceptionally limber and have a kinky streak the size of the Grand Canyon."
Both men turned pink as Elizabeth looked from one to the other. "But that's nothing. You should hear what's being said at the rec center where I was taking a pilates class. They firmly believe I'm Port Charles's version of Sydney Bristow. Only instead of working for the government I'm taking out your enemies."
"Who's Sydney Bristow -." Sonny asked, looking a mixture of outraged and confused.
"Doesn't really matter, does it?" Elizabeth muttered. "I want my life back. Where I was a boring teacher no one noticed."
"Elizabeth people noticed you." Sonny scoffed like a man who had no idea where the conversation was coming from, but knew as long as he placated the angry chick it would be over soon enough and with minimal scars.
"People are calling you my bitch?" The veins in Jason's neck were starting to show and Elizabeth swung her head back to him.
"Keep up with me Morgan, I was telling you how I want my life back."
"Who's saying this?" Bracing his hands on the desk, his voice was deathly low, sending shivers up Elizabeth's spine.
"Does it matter?" Control. She needed to get control of the conversation again. "I'm about to lose my job."
"Elizabeth you know we'll take care of you if it should come to that." Sonny tried to give her shoulder a reassuring squeeze, but Elizabeth dodged his touch.
"I don't want to be taken care of." Not wanting to sound like a whiny brat, Elizabeth took a deep breath. "If I wanted that I would've stayed in Colorado like my Grandmother wanted. Married the most boring man in the world and spawned a few boring children. I want to be a teacher. I want my life."
"I understand. But I want you to know if anything should happen we're gonna be there for you."
"How would I know that when you two jackasses have been avoiding me for the last three weeks? Tell me how I was supposed to know?" With a mock innocence, Elizabeth tapped a finger to her lips.
"Perhaps it wast when you sent Luke, a man who was almost like a father to me, to make sure I wasn't going to nark on you? Or perhaps the way Jason told Lansing to shut up at Back to School night -." Turning to where Jason was still leaning forward on the desk, his jaw clenched tight. "By the way, thanks for being a man on that and saving my virtue. I have no idea how horrible it would've been, being labeled the town whore my first month in town."
"No one said you were a whore Elizabeth." Her words must've been making some sort of impact, because Jason's usual blue eyes almost looked black.
"Then you need to get out more, the entire town is talking about it."
"Elizabeth we didn't do anything because it would've just added fuel to Ric's stupidity." Lowering himself into one of the chairs, Sonny thread his fingers together, his expression for once didn't have that easy charm he used like a weapon. "From past experience we knew it wouldn't have done a damn thing."
"I beg to differ." Elizabeth said. "You two left me standing there like some huge idiot. I may be young and extremely ignorant to the world you live in, but I am not stupid. You knew what Ric Lansing was capable of. Knew he was pissed off at me and you let him come after me while you two stood back and did nothing."
"We were trying to protect you" Jason said, coming out from behind the desk.
"That's what you call protecting someone." Her voice rose. "Are you kidding me? Do you have any idea what I've done for you? Are your lives so corrupted you can't see the risk I took? You almost died in my bathroom, I was worried and scared and the only way you could repay me was to let the town think I'm some kind of skanky whore who sneaks around on the sly with you because I'm not quiet good enough to be seen in public with?"
Without even thinking, her palm snaked out and connected with the side of Jason face. The raw, sharp pain in her hand brought her back from the black rage that had taken over her, leaving her staring at the just as surprised man in front of her.
"Oh my God I am so sorry." Bringing both hands to cover the lower part of her face, Elizabeth fought back tears of self loathing. "I've never . . . I mean – Oh my God."
"Let me get you a drink." Sonny offered softly before slipping from the room.
"I've never actually hit a person." Still reeling from shock, Elizabeth hardly noticed when Jason dropped his hand from his face and helped her into the chair Sonny had vacated. He watched as she fought back the tears forming in her eyes and knew without a doubt she'd feel even worse if she cried in front of him after everything that had happened.
Christ this was his fault. The entire situation had been handled badly from the start. Hadn't he seen the doubt in Sonny's eyes when he agreed to keep Elizabeth out of their lives and again after the crap Lansing pulled and he'd lost it when they'd gotten home?
If what Elizabeth was saying was true and the community was saying such horrible things around town, he was only making it worse by pretending to hardly know her.
"What do you want me to do to fix this?"
"Build a time machine and make it all go away." Elizabeth sniffed, still not looking at him.
Letting out a huff, Jason scratched his brow. "Other than that."
"I have no idea." She said miserably.
Pulling a chair over next to her he sat down. "I can get the photographers off your back."
"That would be nice." Elizabeth sniffed. "I'd like the nude photo one of those perves took of me the other day."
Jason's ears turned pink. He'd actually already taken care of that, after the idiot had tried to bride him. Threatening to post the candid pictures on the internet. He'd been more than willing to teach the overly zealous prick a lesson in choosing the wrong enemy. Not only was the duplicates destroyed, but the camera, dark room and office of the unfortunate individual.
What he'd forgotten, was how they were like cockroaches. Just because one was out of commission, didn't mean others wouldn't replace him.
"So maybe if I start dating someone everyone will start thinking I've either moved on or it was all just a lie." Pushing back her hair, Elizabeth took in a shaky breath. "I don't know many people in town, but I'm sure Lucky knows someone. Or maybe we can get Francis or Johnny to -."
"Absolutely not." His head jerked up.
"Ah you really don't have any say in it." Some of her early anger started to return.
Pinching his mouth together, Jason was left feeling irritated at himself. "I meant you can't date Johnny or Francis."
"Why not? They're good enough to kill people for you, but they can't go out on a few fake dates me?"
"Do you have any idea how irrational you're sounding."
"A little. I believe it's associated to having become a pariah." Elizabeth snapped back at him. "Maybe I should date both of them."
"Now you're just being stupid." Jason snapped, unable to even consider what she was saying. Not just because it was a bad idea, but the worst one ever known to man kind.
The office door opened and Sonny cautiously stepped in. "I've got your drink."
Elizabeth thanked him, took the glass and tossed back the hundred year old Malt Whiskey.
"Alright then." Giving Jason a questioning look, Sonny rubbed his hands together. "So what're we talking about."
"Jason was telling me how I can't date Johnny or Francis."
Nodding his head slowly, Sonny's brows pulled together. Clearly lost, he turned to where Jason sat glowering. "What?"
"I was telling him that maybe if I started dating someone the town would stop talking."
Looking up at his friend, Jason smirked. "So her grand plan is to have her date another alleged mobster, so the town would stop talking about her being with me. It's a great freaking plan dontcha think?"
"Fine I was reaching." Elizabeth muttered. "There's other men in town."
"It's stupid." Jason growled. "First of all people aren't going to stop thinking you're . . ."
"Stop saying that." Jabbing a finger in her direction, Jason popped out of his seat. "A few dates with someone won't stop Lansing from spewing his crap. The rumors would have stopped after a week if he'd just shut up."
"Jason's right Elizabeth." Sonny offered.
"I can't keep living like this." Feeling the warning sting in her eyes again, Elizabeth refused to speak again until she knew she could keep it together. "Something has to happen."
"I agree." Sonny nodded. "And I think you're onto something with this dating idea."
"Come on Sonny, you can't be serious." Jason looked over at his friend in revolt.
"Now hear me out." Sonny responded. "If the town were to see the two of you together -." Elizabeth's mouth dropped open as her brain finished Sonny's thought. While Jason froze in place, looking as though his best friend had just stabbed him in the back or something. "The gossip will lose some of its appeal"
"You have other ideas, right?" Elizabeth questioned.
"We've tried keeping you from being associated with us and see the train wreck it created?" Sonny shrugged. "If this were just one or two individuals we could probably do something more drastic, but when the majority of the town is involved we can't go threatening everyone."
"You consider you plan less drastic?" Running a hand through his hair, Jason turned away from Elizabeth and Sonny.
"I understand what you're saying Mr. Corinthos."
"It's time you called me Sonny." He interrupted
Nodding uncomfortably, Elizabeth continued on. "But it wouldn't be right."
"You're fine at throwing yourself at Johnny and Francis but you can't go out on a few dates with me?" Jason snorted, not liking the way her words seemed to bruise his ego a little.
"They don't have children who might get the wrong idea." Elizabeth argued. "Don't you think Michael would be a little confused."
"He wouldn't know." Leaning a hip against his desk, Jason's gut told him Sonny was right. Let the idiots of Port Charles see them together a few times. They'd soon lose interest and go onto the next scandal leaving Lansing with no more ammunition.
Chewing on her lower lip, Elizabeth wanted to argue more about this. To poke holes into Sonny's theory. This wasn't how she had planned this confrontation. She had wanted to be the one to call the shots. On the other hand, she was being given a choice.
Her eyes darted over to where Jason was waiting. "Fine, it's a date."