Disclaimer: I don't own General Hospital or its characters.
Author's Note: Seems as though John Mayer songs are meant for Journey! Thankfully, Rheanne was able to do amazing justice to the song Back to You, if you haven't read that already, it's a chapter in her Leather and Lace series so read it and leave her some praise! And while you're at it, read the rest of her stories as well, you won't be dissapointed.
This one was suggested to me by Asia, so I really hope you enjoy it girl, and thank you SO much for encouraging me to write this!
All right, it's a long one people… I hope you enjoy it and as always, feedback is appreciated!
It wasn't an ideal relationship by any means. It wasn't something they had planned; it wasn't something that they even necessarily wanted. It wasn't something either of them would dream of giving up. Go ahead and call them crazy, because Carly certainly did.
Here they were, eight years after their divorce, both married, happily so, mind you to other people; and living almost three hundred miles apart, yet Jason and Courtney had somehow managed to move on from their past to become the best of friends.
Neither was sure how it had happened, it just simply had. Jax and Courtney had gotten married just weeks after she had been cleared of the whole AJ debacle and within two months, they had moved upstate to New York City, where, as Jax had explained, Courtney could run her foundation more successfully and he wouldn't have to travel as much. Courtney was fairly certain he just wanted her as far away from her ex-husband as he could get her. Jason and Sam had married soon after and it seemed as though everything was buried in the past, much to Carly's chagrin. She finally had to admit that her two best friends had moved on and she had to be happy for them.
Courtney and Jax had settled into their city life easily, and as promised, Jax didn't spend months at a time away on business. It had been a shock to the both of them, when in their seventh month of marriage Courtney became pregnant. Nine months later she had given birth to a healthy baby boy and life it seemed, couldn't get any better. It was the same for Jason and Sam, though they never did have any children of their own, because according to Jason, the timing was never right. Nonetheless, they were still happy.
But then, after several years, the honeymoon was over, so to speak, and the idyllic lives they had built for themselves seemed to fade, though neither ever spoke of it to anyone because well, nobody wants their personal fairy-tales to end badly. Nobody ever tells those stories.
I never liked this apple much
It always seemed too big to touch
I can't remember how I found
My way before she came around
Jason stood outside a tiny outdoor café and rubbed his temple tiredly. He hated New York City, he never did like the place, but yet here he was waiting for a business meeting that he knew was never going to happen. The guy had already cancelled on Sonny three times, that being the very reason Sonny had sent Jason in his place, and surprise surprise, he had just left Jason a message with the hostess that he wouldn't be able to make this meeting either. He debated on whether or not he should just go back to Port Charles now, or if he should stay another day and see if he could coerce this guy into a meeting. While the thought of staying another night in the city gave him a headache, the thought of going back home only intensified it. He wasn't sure he could handle another night of fighting with her.
"Jason?" The quiet, yet strangely familiar voice startled him out of his thoughts and he turned around.
"Courtney?" It had been almost five years since he had last laid eyes on her, but she was not an easy person to forget and he would recognize her anywhere, even with a sleeping child in her arms. She smiled at him then, and he felt himself smiling back.
"What are you doing here?" she asked as she adjusted the still sleeping boy, switching him from her left to right shoulder carefully.
"Business," he replied, smirking as she rolled her eyes.
"Some things never change," she said, grinning back at him. "You look great," she said honestly.
"You do too. Is this—" he placed a hand on the child's back.
"Zachary," she finished with a nod. "Yeah, we're just on our way home from a play-date." She laughed softly. "He had quite a time, as you can tell."
"Looks like it," Jason agreed, chuckling along with her.
"Are you waiting for someone or are you done?" Courtney asked suddenly. "Because Zach's nanny is meeting us here in a few minutes, and if you aren't busy, maybe we could have a cup of coffee and catch up?" she suggested.
"Yeah, no that sounds great," Jason found himself saying. He located an empty table and held out a chair for her to ease into. Zach never stirred in his sleep. "He's really out, isn't he?"
Courtney nodded and smiled as Jason helped her take her coat off then sat down across from her. "Once he's out, he's out. I could walk him past that jazz band playing on the sidewalk right now and he wouldn't open an eye."
"Just like his mom." Jason smiled at the memory of how he always teased Courtney that she could sleep through anything.
"Oh he's definitely more like me than he is Jax," she said.
"How is Jax?" Jason asked then. They were momentarily interrupted as Zachary's nanny showed up and took him from Courtney to take him home.
"Jax is…" She fumbled for her words briefly. "Jax," she decided with a shrug of her shoulders. "He absolutely loves Zachary and he's a great father, he spoils him way more than I ever could.
"So things are good then?" Jason pressed on. He could tell she wasn't telling him the whole truth by the way she wouldn't look at him; instead she was fidgeting with the tablecloth. She never could keep her hands still when she was avoiding things.
"Things are stable, I guess you could say," she said, looking up at him. "It was a big adjustment when Zachary was born, not just for him, but for me as well. It took us awhile to find our groove, and it we might have hit a few rough spots, but I think we've worked most of them out. We've worked enough of them out."
Jason nodded, knowing that he wasn't going to get much more out her. He knew from Carly that she and Jax had had problems in the past but he never wanted to hear the details of everything, he knew exactly what Courtney and Jax were fighting about, it was the same thing he and Sam would.
Speak of the devil. "How's Sam?" Courtney asked then, and Jason nodded his head.
"She's good," he replied, leaning back in his chair. "She's been trying to get her business off the ground, but it's still in the beginning stages."
"Yeah, Carly said she's trying to be an interior designer?" Courtney tried to keep her voice neutral, but it was hard as she remembered the garish bright colors she had redecorated Jason's penthouse in. Jason caught Courtney's eye and she started laughing.
"She's getting better," he protested, cracking a smile himself. She should after all of those classes she took, he thought to himself.
"Well then," Courtney smiled but it looked a little forced. "I guess married life agrees with the both of us now."
"Yeah," Jason agreed uncomfortably. They sat there in silence, each looking into their cups
A simple cup of coffee was all it took for their friendship to blossom again. That day marked a new beginning, not just for him, but for her as well. A new chapter in each of their fairy-tales and yet neither could possibly know how this one was going to end.
I tell everyone
I smile just because
I've got a city love
I found it in Lydia
And I can't remember life before her name
After that day, Jason didn't protest going to the City as much as he had before. It wasn't as though he and Courtney were involved in some seedy, torrid affair, it was exactly the opposite. They were friends again, as they had been at the very beginning. They didn't hide the problems in their life from each other as they did with everyone else. They could confide in each other without having to keep up the ruse of having the perfect lives everyone assumed they had.
Two years had passed since their first meeting at that cafe, and they continued to see each other as frequently as every other week. It was never anything extravagant; it was always play dates in the park with Zachary, or lunches together, even lunches with Jax, the few times he was around.
"How did it go?" Courtney asked as the office door opened and Jason appeared. She handed him a cup of coffee, which he accepted gratefully and they walked out into the bright sunshine.
He shrugged. "She knew everything that was happening, she knew what I would ask for and what I didn't care about, but she still wants to make it as hard as possible for me." Three months ago, Jason had petitioned for a divorce from Sam and now she was threatening to take him for everything he had.
"I'm so sorry," Courtney said. "I'm sure though, that deep down, she knows it's for the best. Jase, she couldn't have been any happier than you were."
He shook his head as he sat down on a park bench and took a drink of his coffee. "She cheated on me," he admitted quietly. "And there isn't a damn thing I can do about it."
"What?" Courtney placed a hand on his arm and looked at him, confusion evident in her eyes. "I don't understand."
"She cheated on me," he repeated. "Several times that I know of."
"Why do you think?" He looked hard into her eyes. "She thought I was cheating on her."
"Oh." She looked down at her hands. "Well, shouldn't that make it easier for you to get the divorce?"
He shook his head. "She doesn't know I know, and I can't bring it up in court. It would ruin too many lives." One life in particular, he added silently.
She nodded, still looking at her hands. "For what it's worth, Jase, I'm so sorry you've had to go through this, but I'm glad that you've confided in me throughout the whole thing." She looked up at him then as a sad smile crossed her lips. "I guess it just means a lot to me that after everything, we can still do this." She gestured between them.
Jason nudged her knee with his. "You're not going to start crying, are you?" he teased, trying to lighten the mood.
"No," she said, trying to give him an annoyed look that failed miserably due to the tears in the corners of her eyes. "Shut up," she protested as he smirked at her. She was saved from any further teasing by the ringing of her cell phone. A few moments later she turned to Jason, upset. "Feel like taking a cab ride with me?" she asked, standing up.
"Oh nothing." She shook her head angrily. "My wonderful husband forgot to pick up our son from school and he's been sitting there with the teacher for almost an hour now, that's all."
"Forget the cab, come on. We'll take my car," Jason said, pulling her away from the curb and leading her over to where his driver was waiting for him.
Once they were on their way he watched as she dialed Jax's phone and could tell by the way her face fell that she had gotten his voicemail. "I'm sure he just got caught up in a meeting," he said helpfully.
"Yeah, maybe." She laughed bitterly, looking out the window. "Except that he's not working today." She closed her eyes as Jason reached over and squeezed her hand comfortingly. As he thought back to his meeting earlier in the afternoon with Sam, and how she had bolted from the room as soon as they were done with some flimsy excuse about having to pack and get back to Port Charles, it was hard for him to not assume that if he just showed up at the hotel room, Courtney's missing husband would be there as well. But he couldn't do that. Just because his family was falling apart, he wouldn't destroy hers.
"Hey," he said, breaking Courtney out of her thoughts. "What are you and Zach doing tonight? There's something I want to show you guys."
"Jason, it's gorgeous," Courtney said, standing in the middle of the dining room. After picking Zachary up from school Jason had taken them in Connecticut to show them a house he had just purchased. "What are you going to do with all this space?"
He shrugged as he looked out the window and saw his guard playing with Zachary in the front yard. "I needed a place away from Port Charles," he explained. "And I mentioned it to my lawyer, and he drove me up here yesterday. I signed the papers yesterday."
"Just like that." Courtney rolled her eyes. "You're not going to move out here permanently, are you?"
"No, maybe just weekends, a month or so in the summer." He tore his eyes away from the scene outside and walked up to her. "Do you like it?" he asked.
"It's a beautiful place," she said, smiling at him. "I can see you liking it out here."
"Yeah." He hesitated. "I'm going to need someone to take care of it when I can't be here, you know? Take care of the flowers, make sure everything inside is okay."
"Shouldn't be hard to find someone to do that," she said, walking into the next room to inspect it as well.
"I know." He caught her elbow and turned her around. "Here," he said, pressing a key into her hand.
"Please," he said. "I don't even expect you to do anything, just feel free to use the house whenever you want. Look at Zach out there, it's like he has his own park to play in, he doesn't have that at your penthouse." He paused and looked away. "It can be your escape too," he said finally.
She sighed, her hand curling over the key. "What makes you think I need an escape?" she asked softly, walking away again.
He caught her hand before she got far and pulled her back to him. "Courtney, I've been entirely honest with you about my problems with Sam. I've been through what you're going through right now, and you were here for me when I needed someone to talk to, and we both know I don't talk easily. At least give me the same courtesy of not lying." He looked away as he spoke, seeing as how he was lying to her at that very moment.
"Things aren't great right now," she admitted quietly after a few moments. "But they're slowly getting better, and I have to make it work. Not because I need him Jason, but Zachary does." She sighed and walked over to the window and smiled as she watched her son. "You know, he'd spend a lot more time out of the country if it wasn't for Zach," she said. "That's what really keeps him around."
"I don't believe that," Jason said, coming up behind her. "Jax still loves you."
"There's a lot of different kinds of love Jason," she said, turning around to look into his eyes. " And both you and I know that not all of them make a happy marriage."
"Use the house then," Jason insisted and despite every instinct telling her not to, Courtney agreed.
She keeps a toothbrush at my place
As if I had the extra space
She steals my clothes to wear to work
I know, her hairs are on my shirts
Courtney and Zachary stayed at the house whenever they could. She used it as a distraction for her son, taking him there whenever Jax was out of town. Jason wasn't always there the weekends they were, but a lot of the time he was, and the weekends that the three of them spent together made him realize all he had missed out on with Sam.
Jason smiled to himself as he walked through the house one day, about two months after buying it. He had told Courtney that he didn't expect her to do anything to the house; he could hire people for that. She didn't listen though. She was slowly making her way through the house, adding little touches here and there, making the place seem more like a home than a vacation spot. It reminded him of their loft, he realized as he walked into the sun porch, seeing that it was newly painted bright yellow. She had done this at the loft, and even at the penthouse when she had lived there. No matter which room he went into, something in there reminded him of Courtney.
She could lie all she wanted, and tell him she came here for Zach, the truth of the matter was she was distracting herself from everything else. But that was why he had bought the house in the first place.
"Hey!" she stepped onto the sun porch and smiled at him. "I didn't realize you were here already." She leaned out the door to call for Zach to come say hi. "Zach learned about insects today at school," she said, dusting her hands off on the bottom of her shirt as she rolled her eyes. "So we're very busy digging for creepy crawly things." A closer look proved that it wasn't her shirt after all, but actually one of his blue t-shirts.
"Jason!" Zach came into the room and wrapped himself around one of Jason's legs.
"Hey buddy." Jason ruffled the mop of blond curls on his head. "So I hear you're busy out there?"
"Very," he answered with a nod of his head. "Mommy doesn't like bugs very much though, maybe you can help me look?"
"Now that sounds like fun," he agreed. "Just give me a second to talk to your mom and I'll be right there." He waited until Zachary ran back out into the yard.
"I thought Jax was coming this weekend?" he asked, looking at Courtney again.
She shrugged her shoulders at him. "He's too busy at the office to be here all weekend, but he swears he'll be here for Zachary's birthday on Sunday." She looked up again. "It is okay if we have his birthday here, right? Zachary wanted an outside party and—"
"Court, it's fine." Jason grinned at her. "I let Carly know about it, and she definitely has some things planned, so you might want to call her tonight." He laughed at the look of terror that crossed her face. "Don't worry, Zach will love everything she's got going."
"I'm sure." She relaxed and looked out to where her son was digging again. "Let's just hope his Daddy makes it," she whispered.
I tell everyone
I smile just because
I've got a city love
I found it in Lydia
"Zach seemed to enjoy himself," Carly said, picking up the last of the paper plates and throwing them into a trash bag.
Courtney laughed. "How could he not? Carly, you rented him an entire zoo for the backyard for the day. He got to ride on an elephant, you made his entire week!"
Carly shrugged. "It was fun, and I don't get to see him to spoil him as much as I'd like to." She shoved Courtney sideways playfully. "You either for that matter. You don't visit that much anymore, why not?"
Courtney shrugged. "Jax is always busy with work, and Zachary has school. It's just not easy to get back."
"Speaking of Jax, where is your lovely husband?" Carly asked, arching an eyebrow suspiciously. "I haven't seen him all day."
"That's because he's not here," Courtney sighed. "Where's Zachary?" she asked suddenly, trying to change the subject. She didn't really want to talk about the fact that Jax had called about an hour before the party had started and made some excuse about not being able to leave work to make it.
"Inside with Jason." Carly eyed her best friend curiously. "That brings me to my next question."
"Which is?" Courtney knew what was coming.
"What's going on with you two? Are you living together now?"
"Carly!" Courtney rolled her eyes. "No we are not living together. Zachary and I just come here on weekends and we watch the place for Jason." She didn't mention that Jason was there most of the time they were.
"Right." Carly didn't sound too convinced. She looked at her watch. "Well, I think we're about done here, so I'm going to go see what my boys are up to, if that's okay with you?"
"Sure," Courtney agreed. "I was about to go find Zachary and try and get him ready for bed."
"With that sugar rush?" Carly laughed. "Good luck." She smiled again and headed into the house with Courtney following slightly behind her.
She heard her son before she found him. He was in his bedroom with Jason, and they appeared to be having a very serious talk. She paused to listen outside the doorway.
"So, fun day today, huh?"
"Oh man, it was so much fun!" Zachary answered. "Did you see how big that elephant was?"
"Yeah, you looked pretty cool on top of him."
"I wish my Dad could have seen it." Courtney closed her eyes and leaned against the wall.
"Yeah, I know buddy, but you know your dad's really busy with work right?"
"I guess. Um, can I tell you a secret about my daddy?" Courtney opened her eyes and listened closer.
"Yeah, what is it?"
"He makes Mommy sad all the time," Zachary whispered. "Sometimes they fight, and he leaves and she doesn't know that I hear them, but she cries."
"I'm sorry that you hear that," Jason said. Courtney couldn't see into the room but it sounded like maybe Zachary had hugged Jason. "Sometimes your mom and dad are going to fight, but you know what? They still love each other and they still love you very much."
"I know." Zachary paused. "You and mommy never fight though," he pointed out. "And mommy always smiles when you're around."
"Hey!" Courtney stepped into the room smiling. She walked closer to her son and scooped him up in her arms, tickling him as she set him down on his bed. "Pretty cool birthday party, huh kiddo?"
"Yep!" Zachary grinned and nodded. "I loved it, I told Aunt Carly it was my best birthday ever."
"I think you're right about that one." She drew the blankets around him, tucking him in. "I think you're probably pretty tired too, aren't you?" She grinned when he nodded. "All right then, how about you go to sleep now, and tomorrow we'll go to the beach?"
"Yeah!" Zachary clapped his hands. "Can Jason come too?" he asked.
"I think Daddy's going to be here," Courtney said, not looking at Jason.
"But if he's not, can Jason come?"
"We'll see," Jason answered for her. "But your mom's right. You need to get some sleep."
"Okay. Night Mommy, I love you."
"Night Zachary." She reached down and gave him a hug. "Happy Birthday and I love you too." She stood up and walked out of the room with Jason, closing the door behind them.
"So you and Jax are still fighting?" Jason asked once they were in the living room.
"What do you mean?" she asked, feigning ignorance. She should have known better.
"Court, you're great at a lot of things, but eavesdropping isn't one of them." He looked at her for a long moment before handing her a glass of water. "What's going on Courtney? Why wasn't Jax here today?"
"Your guess is as good as mine," she said with a shrug. "Obviously there was something more important going on in the city."
"More important than his own son?"
"Well I didn't say it was a good excuse!" She shot back. "I don't know why Jax does half the things he does anymore. For me to know any of that, we'd have to actually talk. And you heard Zachary, when we talk, we fight."
"Why are you still with him Courtney?" Jason ran a hand through his hair. "Make me understand."
"You know why I'm with him," she said tiredly. "Zachary deserves to have his family in one piece and despite all of Jax's flaws, when he's around, he's a damned good father."
"When he's around Courtney." He shook his head in disgust. "He missed his son's sixth birthday party for what? A business meeting on a Sunday afternoon? Open your eyes!"
"What do you want me to say Jason? That Jax is with another woman? Well of course he is!" She began pacing angrily. "You don't think I'm stupid enough to believe that he's been out of the country three times this month when according to his passport he hasn't left the United States in the last six? I'm not blind Jason, I know what's going on."
"Then why are you with him still?" Jason repeated. "It's obvious Zachary knows something isn't right."
Courtney sighed. "This is my third marriage Jason," she said sadly. "And yes, I still count ours as being real, because it was. I can't let another marriage end badly because I didn't work hard enough at it. Especially now."
"It's not all up to you," Jason protested. "Courtney, you're amazing. I can't tell you how impressed I am that you haven't taken Zachary and left Jax already. You're so much stronger than anyone will give you credit for, and yet here you are, blaming yourself because Jax is the one that screwed up."
She shook her head stubbornly. "He wouldn't have done this if I hadn't done something to cause it," she said.
Jason walked over to stand in front of her. "Do you really believe that?" he asked. "You did something to make Jax cheat on you?"
"Look around Jason," she said with a sad smile. "Who's here right now? It's you and me. You don't think that upsets Jax? My friendship with you probably ruined my marriage."
"If you believe that, then why are you still here?"
She bit her lip and looked away. "Because I'm selfish," she said finally. "Yeah, my marriage is a big joke right about now, but I know as long as I don't say anything he won't divorce me. This way, Zachary has his father, but we both still have you."
She wasn't surprised when Jason turned her around and kissed her. She had expected him to, and even more, she had wanted him to. She closed her eyes as his hands went around her waist, and her own hands balled up in the bottom of his shirt as his mouth came down on hers.
It had been seven years since their last kiss, and yet it hardly seemed like hours as Jason brought one hand up to the nape of her neck, remembering how she liked to be kissed. He may have been the one to initiate the kiss, but it was Courtney who deepened it by letting her mouth fall slightly open under his. He felt her press against him, and he could tell by her reaction, that it had been a long time since she had felt this way. He knew the feeling; it had been way too long for him.
Jason wanted to pull away; he knew that he should end this before it went any further. He tried to pull away but she resisted, wrapping her arms around his neck. As they kissed all he could think of was how very wrong this was, how it wasn't what she really wanted, yet he obliged her, because just as she said not minutes ago, he was selfish too.
The front door opened and slammed shut, causing Courtney to jump back, her hand to her mouth in shock over what had just happened. "Hello? Courtney?"
She retreated to the other end of the room at the sound of Jax's voice. She shook her head pleadingly at Jason before answering him, telling him that she was in the living room.
"Hey," she said, a smile plastered on her face as she went to greet her husband. "I didn't expect you until tomorrow," she said, kissing his cheek. "Everything go okay at the meeting?"
"Everything went fine," he replied, kissing her back while eyeing Jason. "I got everything accomplished that needed to be done and headed straight here. I missed my wife and couldn't wait until tomorrow to see you." He looked pointedly at Jason as he spoke. "Now, where's my birthday boy?"
"He's asleep already, but I think it'd be okay if you woke him up, he really missed you today," she said, taking Jax's coat and laying it over the back of a chair. "Come on, I'll go with you."
"Jason." Jax nodded at him as he passed by. Jason could see the smugness in the other man's eyes and it took every ounce of strength not to throw a punch in his direction. Instead, he gritted his teeth and nodded back at the Australian.
Courtney followed behind him. She turned in the doorway to face Jason and the words she mouthed, I'm sorry, told Jason everything he needed to know.
Courtney was going to do everything she could to keep her life from falling apart and he wasn't going to be the one to ruin it. If he waited long enough, Jax would do that all on his own.
And I can't remember life before
She called up and came to me
Covered in rain
And dinnertime shadowing
And as her clothes spun, we spooned
And I knew I was through
When I said "I love you"
Four months passed without either of them mentioning the kiss. Jason wouldn't mention it because he was still determined to let Courtney figure out everything by herself and Courtney didn't mention it because she knew if she did, Jason would tell her to leave Jax once and for all, and this time, she would listen to him. They still remained close however, and for the most part, they both acted as though it had never happened.
All of that changed though, one night when Jason opened the door to his penthouse to see Courtney standing there, soaking wet from the downpour she had walked over in.
"Courtney, what are you doing here?" he asked, drawing her into the room and looking at a clock. "It's almost two in the morning! Where's Zach, is everything okay?"
"You knew, didn't you?" she accused; her normally bright blue eyes were clouded with anger as she faced him. "Didn't you?"
"I came home early today from work Jason. Zachary was on a play-date for the whole afternoon and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to start repainting his room and do a few other things around the apartment that I needed to do. Do you know what I saw?"
He shook his head, reaching out for her arm but she jerked away from him and walked the length of the living room.
"I went into my bedroom to change my clothes and imagine my surprise when I found my darling husband in bed. Not alone, of course, oh no. Would you like to guess who he was with Jason? I'll tell you," she went on before he could answer. "Because there's no way you could know because you would have told me. You would have told me that my husband was sleeping with you're ex-wife!" She whirled around to stare at him and folded her arms across her chest. "You don't look very surprised," she said.
Jason sighed. "I'm sorry," he said, for lack of anything better to say.
"You're sorry?" Courtney shook her head angrily, sending droplets of water back and forth from her hair. "You're sorry. Why? Because Sam's a lying whore, pathetic excuse of a woman who wasn't happy enough not only sleeping with my brother or you, but she had to go ahead and sleep with husband? Are you sorry for that?" She paused but didn't wait for him to respond. "Or are you sorry because you knew and you decided not to tell me?"
"I didn't think it was my place to tell you," he said finally. "I didn't want to be the one to break your heart. Not again."
"Break my heart? Jason my heart's been broken so many times, there's nothing left to break! I'm not stupid, I knew Jax wasn't faithful but I never expected that he was sleeping with Sam." Her anger subsided with each word and it became apparent to Jason that it was all hitting her just then. She turned away from him but he could see her back heave up and down as she cried and before he could stop himself he crossed the living room and wrapped his arms around her.
"It's okay," he whispered into her hair as she cried onto his shoulder. He tried to soothe her by rubbing small circles at the base of her spine but it didn't help all that much, she sobbed hard for several minutes before calming down enough for Jason to lead her over to the couch and sit her down.
"You knew," she whispered against the sleeve of his shirt. "I know you did. You knew that day in New York when you told me Sam was cheating on you. Why didn't you tell me then?"
"Courtney, if I would have, what do you think would have happened?" he asked. She shook her head and he went on. "You would have been hurt, you would have been upset, just like you are now, and rightfully so. But you know what else would have happened?"
"What?" she asked, taking a shaky breath and looking up at him.
"You would have left Jax and you would have ended up with me."
"You say that like it's a bad thing," she said, wiping at her eyes with the hem of her sleeve.
"Well, it would have been," he said gently. His fingers played in her hair as he explained. "Courtney, we would have comforted each other and most likely ended up in bed ourselves, and the timing would have been all wrong. We would have been together out of spite and anger and hurt, and it wouldn't work. We'd use each other and then not know where to go from there, and I had just found you again Courtney. We were becoming friends again, and I wasn't about to lose that again." He tilted her chin up so she would look at him. "Am I right?"
She nodded. "Probably," she said reluctantly. "But Jason, I would have much rather found out that way then the way I did."
"I know, and I'm sorry." He found himself kissing the top of her head. "What did he say?"
She laughed slightly. "He couldn't say much with me standing there and screaming at him. I didn't give him a chance. I told him to finish what he was doing, that I was leaving, and that he better not be there in the morning when I came back. And then I left."
"And you came all the way here?"
"I wasn't thinking straight," she admitted. "But I knew I needed to see you, I needed to know if you knew, and Zach was staying the night at his friends so there was no reason I couldn't come to Port Charles."
"Well, you'll stay here for the night, and then tomorrow we'll go back, get your stuff, and move you and Zach into the house," Jason decided.
"No," she said, rising away from him and shaking her head. "Jase, you don't have to do that. Really, Zach and I will—"
"You'll move into the house," Jason insisted. "Come on Courtney, why do you think I bought the house in the first place?"
"Oh." Courtney blushed, not sure of what to say. "Zachary would love to live there," she admitted finally.
Jason smiled. "Yeah," he agreed. He stood up, pulling her up with him. "Okay, you're going to get sick if we don't get you out of these wet clothes. Why don't you go upstairs and change, you know where everything is, I haven't changed any of it. I'll throw your stuff in the dryer so you'll be set for the morning, how does that sound?"
"You're too good to me, you know that?" she asked, as she managed a smile at him before walking up the stairs to his bedroom.
He waited until she disappeared around the corner before answering her. "Just the opposite, Court," he whispered. "I'm not good enough."
After a few minutes he realized she wasn't coming back downstairs and he laughed. He climbed the stairs and sure enough, he found her lying on the bed. She had fallen asleep halfway through undressing and he couldn't help but smile as he carefully got her out of her wet clothes and into dry ones. She didn't flinch as he settled the blankets around her, making sure she would be warm enough. He took her things downstairs to the laundry room and after turning off all of the lights and locking the door he headed back up to his room, where he sat down at the foot of the bed and watched her sleep.
Friday evening, we've been drinking
2 AM, I swear I might propose
but we close the tab
split a cab
and call each other up when we get home
falling asleep to the sound
"Well, how do you feel?" Jason asked as he looked across the table at Courtney. "You look happy, you're smiling," he noted. It was six months after the Courtney came to Port Charles and they were both back in New York, celebrating.
"How can I not?" she asked. "Jase, it's done with, finally, it's done with." She smiled again, raising her glass at him. "As of today, I am no longer Mrs. Courtney Jacks." She took a sip of her wine and set the glass down. "I still can't believe he gave me everything I wanted," she said. All Jax had asked for was the apartment in Manhattan and monthly visitations with Zachary, which Courtney had agreed to without a fight.
"Well then Miss Matthews," he said with a grin. "What happens next?"
She shrugged, taking another sip. "For once, I have no idea," she said honestly. "And I'm actually okay with that." Her smile faded slightly. "I've got to make everything okay for Zachary though. I don't think he completely understands that Daddy doesn't live with us anymore."
"I don't think you give him enough credit," Jason said. "He's a lot like Michael was at that age, and realizes a lot more than you think he does."
"I know, but still, this is going to be a big change for him. I just hope he can handle it."
"He will," Jason said, reaching over and squeezing her hand. "But what about you? I know you're happy tonight, and don't get me wrong, you should be, but what happens in a few days when the shock of it wears off and you realize what it all means?"
"I've made it through worse Jason," she answered. "Trust me, compared to some of the things I've dealt with in my life, compared to what you and I went through, this is nothing. I've been ready for this for a long time already, and now that it's happened, I'm relieved Jason. I'm not sad, I don't hate Jax, I'm just happy that it's over and I really believe that Zach and I are going to be okay."
"Well of course you are," he agreed. " I never doubted that." He looked at his watch. "It's getting late, we should get you back to the house soon so the babysitter isn't late getting home."
She nodded and pushed her chair back. As they walked out into the parking lot she linked her arm through his and rested her head on his shoulder. There was no doubt in her mind that he was the reason she was getting through this so effortlessly. Jason had been her rock throughout the whole divorce and she wasn't sure how she would ever thank him.
And more importantly, now that they were both free again, was it possible to find their way back to each other?
"Drive safe." Courtney smiled as she watched Zach's babysitter walk to her car and leave the driveway. She closed the door and turned to see Jason coming out of Zach's room. "Is he asleep?" she asked.
"He's out." Jason shook his head. "It really is amazing, he fell asleep half sitting up in bed, with a giant plastic dinosaur under his head and a comic book in his lap. He didn't even blink when I put him down the right way."
Courtney laughed at him. "I told you, he's a lot like me," she said. She paused in the doorway to look at her son, snoring away and she laughed again. "Although, he'll be awake at six AM and I won't be in any shape to fix him breakfast," she said, remembering the bottle of wine they had consumed at dinner.
"I'll take care of it," Jason assured her. They stood awkwardly in the hallway between their two bedrooms. "You deserve to sleep in tomorrow," he added.
She smiled. "Jason thank you," she said suddenly. "You've done so much for Zach and I these last few years, and I have no idea on how I can ever let you know just how much that means to me."
He shook his head and waved his hand at her. "Everything I've done, I've done for the both of us," he admitted. "Let's face it Courtney, it hasn't been just me helping you all this time, you've helped me just as much." He smiled at her again. "We keep each other sane, we always have."
"You're right," she agreed. She chewed on her lower lip nervously. "But where does that lead us now?"
Jason looked at her for a long moment before closing the space between them and lifting her chin to kiss her softly on the lips. It wasn't as intense as their last kiss, but to Jason, it was definitely sweeter.
Which is why he was surprised when he found himself pull away just a few seconds later. "We go to bed," he whispered, tracing her lips with his index finger. "You've had a long day, and we've both had a little too much to drink, so I think it's best that we each go to bed, and we talk about us later," he suggested.
She nodded reluctantly and then flashed him a bright smile. "Good-night Jason," she whispered, reaching up to kiss his cheek.
"Good-night," he echoed. He stood there and watched her enter her bedroom. As she closed the door he placed his hand on the hard oak frame and closed his eyes. Out of all the things he could have said and done in that moment he was stunned that he actually had the strength to go to bed alone that night. He knew it was the right thing to do, but that didn't make it much easier.
It was all a matter of time he realized as he climbed into his own bed. They may have already found their ways back to each other, it was only a matter of time before they were both ready to admit it.
I've got a city love
I found it in Lydia
From the battery
To the gallery
It's the kind of thing you only see
In scented, glossy magazines
"Jason, do you love my mom?" Zachary didn't even look up from his puzzle as he asked his question.
Jason looked over at the boy in surprise. Quickly he looked into the other room to see if Courtney had heard, but she was nowhere to be seen. "What makes you ask that Zach?" he asked.
"Aunt Carly said you do. I heard her tell Uncle Sonny." He put the last piece of the puzzle in place and finally looked up at Jason. "She also said you were married to my mom like my dad was. Were you?"
"Yeah." Jason nodded. "A long time ago, we were."
"Well then do you still love her? Because both mom and dad tell me that even though they're not married, they still love each other."
Jason sighed, making a mental note to strangle Carly later. "Yeah, Zach, I guess I do," he said. He sat down next to Zach so that they were at eye-level with each other.
"Well, does my mom still love you? And if she does, why did she marry my dad?"
He was definitely talking to Carly too much, Jason decided, trying to think of something to say.Before he could come up with an answer though, Zachary spoke up again.
"Aunt Carly said that there are different kinds of love. That the way she loves me is different than the way she loves Uncle Sonny. Does that mean the way you loved mom was different than the way my dad did?"
Yeah, Jason thought to himself, this kid was definitely as smart as Michael had been at that age.
"Aunt Carly's pretty smart," he said.
"Yeah." Zachary nodded. "She said that too. So, if you loved my mom before, and you still love her now, are they the same kind of love or are they different?"
Jason laughed, as the kid hit the problem right on the head. "I wish I knew," he said, more to himself than to Zach. "I really wish I knew."
"I think mom loves you too," Zach said, not ready to let the subject drop. "Aunt Carly said she does and I think she does because you never make her sad. She a lot happier than she was before."
"What's going on in here?" Courtney asked, appearing in the doorway.
"You don't want to know, believe me," Jason said with a shake of his head. "Zachary and I were just having a little man to man talk, that's all, right Zach?"
"Right," Zach agreed.
"Mm-hmm." Courtney didn't look convinced. "Zach, why don't you go get another puzzle from your room and I'll help you put it together?" she suggested. She waited until he ran off before facing Jason again.
"You're getting better at eavesdropping," Jason said, standing up and walking over to her. "How much of that did you hear?"
"Oh enough to want to kill Carly," she said with a grin. "Quite the talk you and Zach had there, wasn't it?"
Jason nodded. "He's a pretty perspective kid."
"Yeah he is." She caught her lip between her teeth and nodded back. "So, are we going to talk about this?" she asked hesitantly.
"Do you want to?" he asked. He wasn't going to push her if she wasn't ready.
"I think we should," she said. She wrapped her arms around her waist and walked over to the windows. "Do you agree with what Carly told Zach?" she asked. "That there are different kinds of love?"
"I think she's right," he agreed, walking a little closer to her.
"So where are we at then, right now?" she asked as she turned from the window. "So much has happened in the last eight years Jason, we're completely different now than we were back then, so what does that mean for us? I mean, you can say you love me Jason, but is that going to be enough this time? Because I have Zachary now and he's a part of me, and if you can't—"
"You think I don't love Zach?" Jason looked at her in surprise. "Courtney, you know better than that. For the last two years I've been lucky enough to get to know Zach and you know that I love him like he was my own."
"He loves you too," she admitted.
"Well see?" He stepped closer and grazed his knuckles across her cheek. "Zach isn't our problem. "You want to know if I love you? Yeah, I do. And no, it's probably not the same way that I loved you ten years ago. Courtney, it is so much more than that now. Honestly, I don't think I ever stopped loving you, and that the love I feel now? It's only grown from what was before and I don't think I'm quite done yet."
Courtney smiled and picked up his hand, lacing her fingers with his. "Did you know this would happen?" she asked, tracing circles in the palm of his hand. "When I ran into you at that café, did you know we'd end up back together?"
He shrugged but his eyes confirmed Courtney's suspicions. He closed his hand over hers and pulled her against him. "Are you saying we're back together?"
She ducked her head shyly and slid her arms around his waist, locking her hands together. "I think it's about time, don't you think?"
He laughed, running his hands down her back. "I think we're almost there."
"Almost?" She looked up at him curiously.
"Well yeah." He winked at her. "I mean, I've admitted that I still love you and Zachary, but you, Courtney, you haven't said anything back to me."
"Mmm, you're right," she agreed. She rose up on the tips of her toes to press her lips against his, pulling away as soon as he responded. "Just like you said Jason, I never stopped loving you and I really can't imagine not ever loving you."
"It's good that you say that," Jason said, bringing her close for another kiss. "Because I don't intend on letting you go ever again." Neither was willing to be the first to let go of this kiss, but Zachary ran into the room, ready with his next puzzle, and as they separated, Courtney had to admit that he had given them just enough time to reconnect, so she couldn't really complain.
She smiled as she watched Zachary pull Jason to the ground to help him organize the puzzle pieces. As she joined them on the floor and her eyes connected with Jason's as she pulled Zach onto her lap, she realized, that maybe she had been wrong all those years ago.
Maybe her fairy-tale hadn't ended the day she thought her life started getting rough. Just like most stories, hers had a beginning, a middle, and an end, only what she had considered to be the end, was really the middle, the part where things just started to get interesting.
As for the end of it, well, as it happens with most heroines, a knight in shining armor had saved her, and as chance would have it, the beginning was the same as the end. She and Jason had come full circle and while she couldn't be sure what the future held for them, she was pretty sure that they could count on a happily ever after.
And I can't remember life before her name...
A.N/2: Well, if you made it this far, congratulations! I know that was a long story, it even surprised me. I hope you enjoyed the story and thanks for reading!