Part IX

The last few weeks she had felt anger and resentment every time she stepped into the penthouse. Now…now it felt different. Her palms were clammy and her eyes bounced around the room nonstop as she stood in the doorway. She was nervous that much she knew. The flight of butterflies flapping their wings in her stomach proved that.

Gripping the strap of Cameron's white diaper bag and the bouquet of red roses she had caught with her white-gloved hands, Elizabeth fully entered the penthouse. Her steps timid. Her eyes on the polished hardwood floor. Her bottom lip tormented by her white teeth. She remained in the threshold of the living room, unmoving, unnerved.

She glanced over her shoulder at him. They were all still in their outfits from the wedding. Cameron barely awake in his father's arms had begun screeching towards the end of the wedding to be released from the confines of his tuxedo and now wore only his dress shirt and socks under his red sleeper and matching red jacket. Another button of Jason's pewter colored dress shirt was opened. He wore no coat over his suit. The man was immune to the cold. She on the other hand was still in her floor length burgundy gown and wore a white coat, buttoned all the way up to her chin to protect her from the harsh winter winds.

He smiled encouragingly at her. "You can go in," he said rubbing a hand over their son's back.

She nodded her head, not quite capable of doing anything more.

Stepping further into the penthouse, Elizabeth took in the room that had once been apart of her home in the past and now a second home for her son. She didn't like the sound of that—a second home. Her son should only have one home to always come home to. Loving parents to always return to.

Glancing at her son staring at her through hooded eyelids, his chin resting on his father's shoulder while Jason closed the door. As she stared into her son's wary dancing blue eyes, Elizabeth felt a pang in her heart. Her son had been in the middle of the vicious tug of war the last few weeks and as much as they had tried to shield him from it, he had still felt it. Every time Jason and she had shared the same air with Cameron present, their son had watched intently, a scowl on his face, his mood cranky. Just like everyone else in their lives, he had felt the tension and hostility between his parents. Their innocent son had been affected the most by their stubborn behavior.

Jason's gaze caught hers when he turned to face her. She saw the hope dancing in his cerulean eyes. Her heart tugged at the sight, she wanted to believe the hope in his eyes that they would be able to find their way through the turmoil their lives had become.

"I'm going to put this sleepy head," he gestured to a sleepy Cameron with a tip of his head before finishing, "in bed."

She nodded her head, touched by the love that he saw in his eyes for their son.

Stepping less than an inch away from her, Jason ran a hand through Cameron's light golden hair. "Kiss mommy goodnight," he murmured, angling their son in his arms to face his mother. The child cooed from the ticklish kiss his mother placed on his neck.

"I love you," she whispered into Cameron's ear, loud enough for Jason to hear. Kissing him on the forehead one last time, she pulled away.

Her mind was moving at a mile a minute, trying to create some peace among her frenzied nerves. There were too many thoughts and emotions filtering through her mind for her to process at once.

Regret.

Guilt.

Shame.

Hope.

Love.

And most of all fear.

A soft kiss against her hair drew her from her thoughts.

Jason smiled at her. The hope still reflected in his beautiful eyes, but was now flickering.

A smile pulled at her lips at the sight of his. He was trying that's what mattered now.

"I'll be right back," he promised, taking their son's diaper bag from her.

The young mother watched intently as the father of her child climbed each step, careful not to jar their son. Her eyes remained on the staircase long after he disappeared upstairs, her heart wanting nothing more than for him to always come back to her.

Sighing she looked away. Placing the bouquet on Jason's desk, she tugged off her white gloves she stuffed them into her pockets. Unbuttoning the pearl buttons of her long coat with every step she took, Elizabeth bathed in the warmth that the penthouse offered her chilled skin, especially her stocking clad legs. Pulling open the oak closet door beside the foot of the staircase, she hung her jacket next to his in the nearly empty closet. Hand on the knob; ready to close the door, she paused. Her finger rose and ran over the old leather jacket that hung beside her coat. She had wrapped her arms around the jacket on him endless times, inhaling the rugged scent that only belonged to him. It was a part of him. A part of their history. She wanted countless more moments to feel the rough leather fabric against her skin as she kissed him in greeting or goodbye.

Tearing her hand away from the jacket, she moved to close the door, but once again paused. This time her eyes landed on the metal box on the top shelf of the closet. The metal box that she had once seen him stand over, pulling out his glock. She had felt the cool metal of his gun against his back numerous times and it never bothered her of what he did. She simply wanted him to return home safely even after she had found him tainting the snow red with his blood and had watched him struggle to breathe.

People had written him off in the past as the wrong man for her because his job was dangerous and for the blood that scarred his hands. But they were all wrong. His title as the enforcer for one of the deadliest underground crime organizations didn't define who he was. It was simply his occupation, just like a banker's was. Enforcer for the mob wasn't who he was, just apart of who he was.

She feared for his safety, always had, always would. During her time with Ric, she had wanted him to rot in hell, but now all she wanted was for him to go on chasing the wind with her and be a father to their child. There was no doubt in her heart that Jason wouldn't protect Cameron with every fiber of his being and do the same for her. It was who he was. He loved with everything he had.

Looking away from the metal box, Elizabeth finally shut the door of the closet and strode to the single seat couch, facing the fireplace. Tugging off her black stiletto heels, she rubbed her feet. They were exhausted after running around town all day to get the last minute details of the wedding done. Lifting her legs onto the couch, she tucked her knees under her chin and rubbed her legs to warm them up fully, wearing only stockings in the dead of winter wasn't a really great thing.

Her eyes traveled over the room from her spot on couch. The room was the same as she had left it a few days ago. The tanned couch with the over stuffed throw pillows matched the painting of the walls. The furniture was polished and fit in with the rest of the décor. Everything about the room had changed except the pool table and Jason's work area. A smile tugged at her lips at the memory of playing pool in the penthouse to pass the time and the one time that Jason had joined her. She missed the pool games, despite the fact that she always lost.

Letting her gaze flicker to the mantle of the fireplace, she stilled. Cautiously she placed her stocking clad feet on the ground and took small steps to the fireplace. She stared at the item on the mantle for a long time, not sure if she could believe her eyes. Taking in a deep breath she blinked and it was still there. Her hands shook as she reached for the item resting a few inches from her.

Slowly bringing the picture frame to her eye level, she once again blinked. It was a picture of her and Cameron. It was a few months after they had moved back to Port Charles. Emily had been playing around with an old fashioned black and white camera she had found at Spoon Island. It was black and white. It was at their eye level. They were lying against a propped up throw pillow on one of the couches at Wyndemere. Cameron's had come to rest his head on her shoulder, tucked under her chin. Her eyes were facing down, his to the side. It had become a habit of there's to come rest on the sofa in that position.

She fingered the sterling silver frame. It was cool against her skin. It glinted in the light as she continued to gaze at it. She had the same photograph sitting in Cameron's nursery on his nightstand.

Her breath hitched when a rustle of air brushed against her neck. She didn't have to turn around to know who was standing behind her. Jason.

"I hope you don't mind," he murmured. "Emily had a few copies and offered me one when I saw it."

Tears rimmed her eyes as she continued to gape at the frame she now cradled lovingly in her hands. It stood out on the mantle in the center of the others that were in mahogany wooden frames to match the rest of the living room furniture. Her throat constricted. She had a place in his life and she had ignored it because she was hurt. The regret and guilt swelled in her heart as the image of the photograph in her hands blurred.

Swiping away the tear that had fallen onto the glass of the frame protecting the photograph, she placed it back in its place with an unstable hand. Her back remained to him. Her mind wrapped around the last few weeks and what they had both gone through. He had let go of the anger and held his hand out. Her…she had embraced her unleashed rage and pushed him away.

"Elizabeth?" He was standing behind her, but his voice sounded far away.

Turning on her stocking clad feet, shame washed over her as stared at the hem of her burgundy gown. The tears fell to her gown, staining it.

"Elizabeth?" He repeated, her name full of worry. His warm hands took hold of her bare shoulders. She still wouldn't look at him, her face now covered in tears as her mind remembered her words towards him. Her actions against him. She had hurt him. The look in his eyes every time she had said something against him showed his hurt, but she had chose to ignore it and go on with her cruel behavior. A sob slipped her lips at the thought. She had only brought further damage to their already shattered relationship.

Using a lone finger under her chin, Jason tilted her head up. His eyes roamed her face, full of apprehension. Cupping her face, he asked, "What's wrong?"

She only cried harder at his concern.

Not wanting to push, Jason simply hooked an arm under her knees and lifted her into his arms. Holding her gently against him, he stepped to the empty couch and held her while she cried. She buried her face into the crook of his shoulder and cried. Cried for the pain. Cried for the lost time. Cried for love.

Her hot tears spilled from her face and onto his skin. Clenching one hand in her thick hair that had fallen out of its place, he held her close to him with another hand on the small of her back. Cradling her, he rocked her gently in his arms. He said nothing, just held her, waiting.

Memories of the past few weeks flashed through her mind. Finding Jason at the hospital, holding him while he cried, spending time with him and Cameron, falling back in love, finding her son barely breathing, learning Jason was his father, breaking the news to an unsuspecting father, and most of all hurting each other. Her sobs racked through her body as she wept and she finally felt the rage and resentment lift from her heart.

"I'm so sorry," Elizabeth mumbled against his warm skin as her tears subsided. "I'm so sorry."

Turning his head to look at her better, Jason peered down at her with a look of confusion in his eyes. Tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear, tracing the shell of her ear, he asked, "What are you apologizing for?"

"Everything," she sighed on a tortured breath. "I hurt you. Please say you'll forgive me?"

Jason's eyes closed for a moment at her request. When he opened them, they were blood shot and tears of his own glistened in the light. "There's nothing to forgive," he whispered. "I'm sorry too. I hurt you just as much."

Shifting on his lap, Elizabeth looked him straight in the eyes. Her blue orbs roamed over his face full of love and guilt, with trembling hands she slowly began to trace his facial features. His eyes fluttered close at her soft touch.

"I hurt you so much," she murmured. "In the past when I abused your feelings for me. I always leaned on you when things were difficult with Lucky and then always pushed you away for him." She traced the creases of worry on his forehead as they slowly eased beneath her touch. "I walked away from you when you offered me the world." Her gentle digits skimmed from the bridge of his nose to the tip. "And then when we finally had a chance, I threw it away for Zander, when what I felt for him was nothing compared to what I felt for you." She paused her study of his face to swallow roughly. "And the last few days, I didn't want to admit to myself that you were willing to try again." She traced his closed eyelids. "I was scared of getting hurt again."

His eyes remained closed, but the tightening of his hold on her told her he heard every word she had uttered. "You had the right to treat me the way you did," he stated.

"No I didn't," she objected.

"Yes you did," he murmured, the hand that was clenched in her hair began to comb through the silky tresses. "I hurt you by being arrogant and ignorant. I should have listened when you told me about Cameron." Once again her fingers began their study of his face. "I felt like a gap in my heart had been torn open again and I was scared to lose Cameron and I took it out on you and didn't stop when he was alright." A small smile pulled at his lips. "Until Carly knocked some sense into me."

Elizabeth chuckled at the news that his best friend had been the one that pushed him to see straight. "Never mess with Carly."

Jason laughed at her words, his features softening for a moment before they grew serious and tender again. "The past," he paused. "Is the past. I won't lie," he murmured, leaning against the back of couch, taking with her with him. "You did hurt me, but I didn't give you much of a choice. I created problems in your life that you didn't need then." Her fingers traced over his cheekbones. "I hurt you by leaving you to worry for me when I lied that Sonny was dead. I will always regret that."

She shook her head. "No," she muttered. "I understand why you did it now. You were just trying to protect someone you loved and I shouldn't have punished you for that."

It was his turn to shake his head. "It doesn't change what I did." Releasing her hair, her gripped her waist in a gentle hold. "I shouldn't have left you to worry when I knew I could trust you with my life."

"I forgave you for that," she murmured, tracing his strong jaw line. "I never told you, but I came to forgive you without really knowing. After you lost the baby and we started spending time together again, I just naturally let the hurt of the past go."

"If you are able to forgive me for what I did in the past," he sighed as her fingertips traced the outline of his lips. "Please forgive what I did recently."

"I did." Her hands came to a stand. "I thought you hated me," her hand fell from his face and her head dipped.

His eyes flashed open at her silent admission. Cupping her face with one hand, he brought her eyes to meet with his. Unshed tears pooled in her eyes as she gazed down at her limp hands, willing herself not to look at him. "I could never hate you," he murmured in a low, soothing voice.

A solitary tear shattered down her already tearstained face.

"You have given me more than I could have imagined." Jason kissed the tear away. "A son." He placed an open mouthed kiss on her chin, she giggled. "A family." He pressed a feather light kiss on the corner of her lips. "Dreams to believe in." He brushed his lips tenderly against hers. "And most of all," he whispered against her lips. "A chance to love you."

Uttering the simple words, Jason brushed his lips against hers once more, this time firmer. Softly he continued to slant his mouth over hers, until finally Elizabeth's eyes fluttered close on a sigh, wrapped her arms around his neck, and granted him entrance to her warm mouth. Opening her mouth, she allowed for his tongue to slip in and join hers in a mellow battle for control.

Elizabeth's hands toyed with the short hair on the nape of Jason's neck as his hands continued to caress her hips. Spreading her thighs apart in his lap, she straddled him. He groaned against her mouth from the contact of her center against his growing erection. Fisting his hands in her thick locks, Jason pulled her even closer if possible and rubbed his tongue leisurely against hers. He groaned against her mouth, when her hands slipped from his neck and splayed wide on his hard chest.

She whimpered in protest at the loss of his warm mouth against hers to drag down the column of her throat. Her protest turned into a moan as his hot tongue dipped into hallow at the base of her throat. She fisted her hands in his pewter dress shirt as he placed hot open-mouthed kisses on her collarbone. Throwing her head back, she gave him better access, but soon cool air brushed against her exposed throat instead of his warm breath.

Dragging her eyes open, she gazed at Jason confused and slightly hazy. "Jason," she panted, her chest rising and falling rapidly.

He breathed heavily as well, staring at her with a look of lust mixed with love and tenderness in his cerulean eyes. "I need you to know," he breathed.

"Need to know what, Jason?" she asked, resting her forehead against his, still attempting to get her breathing under control.

"I need you to know," he repeated gruffly. "I love you."

Her breath caught at the silent admission. Tears pooled in her eyes once again as she gazed down at him, staring up at her with loving eyes and a fragile smile. A tear fell as she opened her mouth to respond, but he beat her to it.

"If we go upstairs," his voice was low and serious. "I won't be letting go."

Her supple lips, grazed across his in a soft caress. "I love you too," she whispered against his lips. She licked her lips before she said, "I wouldn't want you to let go."

"Ever."

That one word slipped from his lips right before she pulled him to her again. She kissed him with everything she had; all her love and emotions for him flowed through her. He unhooked her legs from around his thighs before lifting her back into his arms. Nuzzling her neck, Jason took long strides to the staircase, while Elizabeth rested contently in his arms, her hand over his heart. With every step he took up the stairs, Jason planted a kiss on her neck.

Reaching the master bedroom, Jason exchanged one last glance with Elizabeth. There was no hesitation in her eyes or any apprehension. There was ease and joy in them as she gazed up at him. Pressing a quick kiss against her fallen curls, he pushed the already unlocked door open and entered the room that he hoped would come to be there's.

Lying her gently down in the center of the bed, Jason held back for a moment before joining her. His eyes roamed over her body. Her hair was spread over the white cover pillows. Her burgundy gown stood out against the white bedding. Her skin glowed in the soft light of the bedside lamps. She sat up and took his callous hand in her smaller delicate one.

Sitting on the edge of the bed he kicked off his shoes and socks, before he turned back to her. Jason cupped her cheek with one of his work-roughened hand and dipped his head to meet her tempting lips again. Fusing their lips together, his hands traveled down her back and searched for the zipper to the gown that concealed her body from his eager eyes. Finally finding the tab, he pulled it down fluidly. Pulling the dress away from her body, Jason groaned, moving his lips to her neck when his hands felt satin on her upper body. She was wearing a strapless bra.

Pulling back, he saw that her lingerie matched her gown, a deep burgundy. Muttering something, his hands moved to push her dress past her hips. She helped by wiggling out of it. He threw her dress somewhere across the room before carefully, lying her back down on the bed again. Running his hands over her smooth skin past her belly button and her now warm center, his hands came to her garter belts as hers reached for his dress shirt—he had already taken off his suit jacket.

Jason snapped the garter belts to release her stockings. She tugged his mouth back to hers to only mew into his mouth when one of his warm hands skimmed down the insides of her thighs as he took off one of her stockings with a soft touch. Her talented digits worked on the buttons of his dress shirt and soon it joined her gown somewhere in a heap of clothes in the room.

Flipping the latch of her bra open, Jason latched onto one of her dusty nipples as he worked on removing her other stocking as well as her garter belts. Her hands trailed down the front of his body, rediscovering the muscles and ridges she had touched once before. She didn't hesitate to unbutton his trousers and push them away along with his boxers. He moaned at her tentative touch on his barely kept erection.

Running a tongue over one nipple and kneading the other, Jason made sure they were hard before pulling back, panting. Hooking one long tan finger on her satin panties, he searched her eyes for any hesitation or objection. There was none, but he didn't move forward.

"I don't have anything," he admitted. Last time neither one of them had thought of any protection, but now it lurked in his mind.

Elizabeth gazed up at him with a beautiful Mona Lisa smile gracing her lips. "I wouldn't mind," she murmured, sweeping a kiss against his jaw line. "Having another baby with you."

A genuine smile tugged at his lips. "Another baby," he whispered into her ear as he moved over her.

He hovered over her, simply admiring the beauty beneath him before pushing her legs wide open to slip between them. He touched his lips silently against hers once more. He swallowed both of their moans as he entered her at last. She fit him perfectly just like she had last time.

Everything slipped from their minds. The past. The anger. The hurt. It all faded away as they found each other again. His strokes were gentle and composed, her meeting him stroke for stroke. Soon they found their rhythm, before Jason felt Elizabeth tense around him as she gripped his shoulders to hold on, but she let finally came with him following right behind.

Fluttering back from their ecstasy, they remained locked in each other's arms. Rolling over, Jason took his weight off on her and lay on his back with his hands tangled in Elizabeth's chocolate locks. She sighed contently against his bare chest. Neither one was ready to let the other go. Resting in bed together, they both found something they had been missing. A home.


His mind awoke before his eyes opened. He felt the warmth surround him. Warmth he had once before felt, warmth he missed and had longed for. The warmth of Elizabeth's body against his. Burying his face in Elizabeth's thick hair, Jason sighed happily, inhaling the lavender and lilac aroma he had only received whiffs of in the last few weeks. Their legs were tangled under the white duvet of his bed. His arms were wrapped around her, her back to him, her hands twined with his. Bare skin rested against bare skin.

No longer able to keep his eyes shut, Jason opened his fully awake eyes and shifted in bed. He watched her chest rise and fall with every breath she took. He listened to her soft breathing. Her hair was scattered over her pillow as well as his. Her pale porcelain skin was flushed a deep red this morning. The corners of her lips were pulled upwards. Her face was serene as she slept on. She was simply beautiful.

Last night had happened.

She had taken his hand.

They had talked.

She still loved him.

They had made love.

It still stunned Jason that he was lying in bed with the woman he loved. When he had held his hand out to Elizabeth the night before, he had half expected her to walk away like she had in the park years ago, but instead she had taken his hand. His heart had lurched back to life the moment her petite hand took his and she let him lead her off the dance floor. They had talked and it wasn't the one sided conversation that they had been having. Everything between them had been put out in the open. The past was now apart of the past.

They still had things to work out, but much of the hurt and bitterness between them had been resolved. He loved her with everything he had. It didn't matter that she gave him a son or unknowingly kept him away for a few months. They had a chance and he was going to make sure this time things worked out. They had a son now that they had to think of as well.

It amazed him that in a few weeks he had everything that he could have dreamed of. Elizabeth in his arms. Cameron sleeping in the nursery only a few doors down. The penthouse no longer felt empty with them in it. It had always served as just a place to sleep, but now it could be their home if Elizabeth agreed to move in, which he hoped she did. They fit in perfectly with him in the penthouse If not he could always ask Carly, Emily, and Sonny for help. Jason smirked at the thought.

Without their friends they wouldn't be here right now. If Emily hadn't decided to play detective and drill him with questions he would have never realized that he loved Elizabeth. He owed Carly a great deal, her meddling made him see how much of a jerk he was being and hurting Elizabeth as well as himself. Sonny, the man had his own way of pushing him to be with Elizabeth. His little explanation of the garter and bouquet toss had given him a little confidence to speak to Elizabeth.

A blissful smile tugged at his lips at the memory from last night.

Elizabeth had caught the bouquet of red roses and he had caught the garter, which according to tradition meant that they would be getting married to each other.

The notion danced around in his mind as he kissed Elizabeth's silky bare shoulder. Tightening his hold on her elfin frame, he once again took in the sweet scent of her skin before letting his eyes drift close again.

Sighing, he whispered to Elizabeth's slumbering form, "I love you."

Sleep slowly seeped into his mind, when his son's muffled cries filtered through the baby monitor on his nightstand. Pressing his lips softly against her temple, he pulled away.

Pulling on a pair of black boxers, Jason trudged to Cameron's nursery. Entering the dimly lit room, the young father took quick strides to his son's crib. Peering into the crib, his blue eyes stared back him with tears shining in them Jason reached in and lifted his son into his arms. The child instantly snuggled against him and sniffed.

Running a hand over Cameron's blue fleece sleeper, he murmured. "I'm here now." Jason rocked him gently. "I'll always be here."


She felt cold. It wasn't the ordinary cold. It was the undeniable coldness of absence. Eyes still shut; Elizabeth moved her hand over the silk linen that she rested on. There was nothing there. A chill ran from her hand through the rest of her body when all she felt was cool silk against her skin. Eyes flashing open in panic, she shot straight up in bed, clutching the white duvet to her bare chest. Her wide cobalt orbs flew to the empty side of the bed and a feeling of fear began to grip her heart.

Throwing the covers away from her body, Elizabeth scrambled for the pewter dress shirt and her panties besides the bed and threw them on. Her hands frantically worked on the buttons as she flew out of the room. With every step she took the terror in her increased. Her mind kept flashing back to another night, another morning alone.

Half way past a wide open door, she froze at the sound of a steady murmur. Remaining in the threshold of the room, she took in the sight before her. They sat on a couch that matched the walls angled towards a wide window with a stunning view of the harbor. A book in hand wearing just a pair of black boxers, Jason read to Cameron on his lap. The worry in her began to fade away as she watched them in the morning sunlight, comfortable in their surroundings. She stood motionless watching them.

"Elizabeth," his gruff voice broke through her trance. Jason smiled at her, when she finally looked him in the eyes.

"Good morning," she mumbled, stepping into the room. It was a plain room with white baby furniture. A bookshelf sat in the corner, stacked up with travel books. Many of Cameron's toys filled the room. She had never been in the nursery even before they had found out that Cameron was Jason's. The walls were bare and painted a light blue, but no artwork covered the surface.

Her skin was pale. Not her usual pale coloring. Her shoulders were slumped in defeat. There was something wrong. He could tell from the lost look mixed with fear that had been in her beautiful eyes when she had first appeared in the doorway. It bothered him. "Elizabeth?"

Her eyes tore away from the room and landed on him. Both Jason and Cameron watched her intently. Identical pairs of cerulean eyes were narrowed in concern as they studied her. Gripping the long sleeves of Jason's dress shirt, she inched towards them.

"Are you okay?" he asked, his words laced with concern and love.

Elizabeth's eyes fell away from him at the question and guilt rushed through her. She had thought he had left again. That after last night he had left her alone in bed again. She couldn't help her mind from remembering the morning she had woken up alone. Her mind went back to that morning a moment ago and she regretted it. After last night, she had no reason to doubt Jason anymore. He had told her he loved her. Wanted a family with her and their son. Wanted another child with her. Tears glistened in her eyes as she thought of the night before and her panic a few minutes ago.

Catching sight of Elizabeth's tears, Jason held his hand out to her. She took it willingly and allowed him to pull her to him. She nestled against his bare chest, listening to his heartbeat as she fiddled with Cameron's stuffed elephant. With one hand he held Cameron to him and with the other he held her and a feeling of ease filled Elizabeth's body.

A few moments passed before Jason finally asked, "Want to tell me what was bothering you?"

She exhaled fully aware that she wouldn't be able to dodge him. "I'm sorry," she mumbled against his chest.

"Sorry for what?" He frowned, brushing away the hair that hid her face from his eyes.

"I got scared," she muttered, ashamed of her actions. "I woke up and you were gone and I panicked." His hold tightened on her. "And I thought you left again." She sighed. "But then I saw you with Cameron," she ran a hand through their son's golden locks. "And I realized that I was wrong." She pressed a gentle kiss to his bare chest right above his heart. "You'd never leave us."

Jason remained quiet, his hand still combing through her soft hair. "I don't want to hurt you anymore."

She sat up at his soft admission. Her eyes searched his and all she saw was love and hope. "I don't want to hurt you anymore, either," she murmured, before capturing his lips in a gentle, coaxing kiss. It deepened with the light brush of her tongue on his lower lips, but the sound of something hitting the floor had them tearing apart.

Looking first at Cameron and then at the floor they found that he had thrown his bottle down for attention. The young parents laughed at their son's antics.

Kissing her softly, Jason pulled away before Cameron could interfere. "I love you," he murmured, a breath away from her lips.

"I love you too," she replied, cuddling into his side. The walls caught her attention again and Elizabeth couldn't keep her question to herself any longer. "Jason, why is Cameron's nursery so…blank?"

A shy smile appeared on Jason's lips. "Carly tried to help, but I wouldn't let her do much, but paint the walls. I wanted you to put our son's room together."

A bright smile graced her lips as she began to imagine the room.

"If you'd like to, that is," he added.

"I would love to," she replied back, snuggling closer into his side.

"Nice shirt by the way," Jason commented in a gruff voice, his eyes running over her frame appreciatively.

She blushed, her skin turning the color of a rose that he loved watching spread. "Thank you," she mumbled. His shirt feel at her thighs leaving her legs visible and wearing no bra gave him glimpses of her bare breasts through the gaps between the buttons.

Chuckling he pressed a kiss against her hair and couldn't help running hand through her chestnut mane. "I'm glad you're awake." He exchanged a glance with their son.

"Why is that?" Elizabeth questioned, sitting up, but remaining close by. She shot him a suspicious look when he flashed her a lopsided grinned.

Shifting, he handed Cameron over to his mother and moved away. "I'll right back," he called over his shoulder as he exited the room.

"What's your Dad up to?" She asked her son, combing a hand through his golden hair. He muttered gibberish in reply and clutched his elephant closer to him.

Jason reappeared in the room within moments carrying two boxes in his hands. One was square, covered in a deep blue wrapping paper and larger than the other. The other was a bit smaller in a rectangle shape, a deep wood color. Joining Elizabeth and Cameron back on the sofa, he placed them besides his feet on the white rug on the hardwood floor. Lifting the largest of the box he placed it in front of Cameron. The child shot his father a curious look before reaching for it. Helping their son, Elizabeth also gave him curious glances. Pulling all the wrapping paper away, she gasped at what she saw. A globe. One of the ones that lit up at the touch of a button. Cameron immediately launched at the box, banging on it with his small fists in an attempt to get to the globe. His parent's laughed at him.

"I can't believe you did this," Elizabeth said, her voice full of amazement.

"I made a last minute trip before I got back from Spain," Jason tugged out the globe for Cameron, who immediately gazed at it in awe. "I didn't know what to get you and Cameron for Christmas, but when I got there it just came to me."

"You didn't have to."

"I wanted to," he replied back, handing her the second box.

Gently, she took it for him. It was a polished wooden case that was very heavy. She ran her hands over the engraved script "E" on the cover before lifting the lip open. Her mouth fell open at the sight that greeted her. Small jars of paints in every color possible. She was at loss for words as she stared at the paint jars, afraid to look away and find them gone. Pulling the bottom compartment open, she found paintbrushes in every shape and size with handles that matched the wood of the case.

"I know you have little time to paint now, but I thought that you'd like to have a set nearby when you felt inspired." He chuckled. "And maybe sing for use while you paint."

She laughed at the thought. "Thank you so much," she whispered, stunned by the gift. It was thoughtful and something Jason would do.

"There's something else," Jason murmured, reaching for the floor again. She eyed him as he held out a small black velvet box that she hadn't seen him carry in. "I didn't think I would find this, but I did."

Elizabeth stared at the velvet box. Hundreds of thoughts ran through her mind as she examined it with her eyes. It looked only a few inches wide and long. It was small and it only puzzled her more as to what it held. Placing Cameron and the globe back on the nursery floor she reached for it. She took it from him with care. Running her hands over the velvet surface of the box, she peered up at him. A wary smile was on his lips and his cerulean eyes were full love, but a hint of fear was there also.

Taking in a deep breath, Elizabeth gasped the cover and flipped it open. Her lips parted on a slight gasp as her eyes filled with tears, "Jason," she breathed, running a cautious finger on the pendant. The pendant that was made of red Italian glass. The same type of glass Jason had given her for Valentine's years ago in her studio. It was an oval shape and hung from a simple white gold chain. "Italy. You went to Italy?"

Jason nodded his head. "I made a quick stop in Murano before I headed home. Sonny took care of the flight plans for me." He shrugged. "I wanted to get you something that you'd like. I thought maybe a piece of glass like last time, but then when I walked onto the island and wandered around the glass blowers I changed my mind." He took a deep breath before continuing. "I saw the necklace sitting besides one of the glass blowers and it was beautiful. I knew you liked necklaces and I couldn't leave without getting it for you. But then when I got here I couldn't find the right time to give it to you. There was Cameron being sick. Not talking to each other and—"

Elizabeth's bubbly laughter had Jason swallowing the rest of his words. "I'm sorry," she apologized, but continued laughing. "You were rambling."

Jason's husky chuckles joined hers. "I guess you're rubbing off on me." He mockingly grimaced.

"Hey, that's not a bad thing," she argued, swatting his arm playfully.

He only smirked at her.

"Can you put it on me?" She held the velvet box out to him.

Hooking the necklace on one of his long fingers, Jason raised it from the box and let it dangle in the air for a few moments. Elizabeth turned, facing away from him and pulled her hair out of the way. Placing the pendant on her chest, he brought the two ends of the chain around her neck and clasped them together. Kissing the skin that the clasp rested against, Jason moved back, murmuring. "Just perfect."

Elizabeth gazed at the necklace; still astonished that Jason had made the trip to Italy for her. It was beautiful, rising from her spot on the couch, she strode to the window and held it up to the morning sun. A beautiful shade of red reflected through the glass. She was in awe as she watched it twinkle in the light.

Jason appeared by her side with Cameron in his arms. Their son reached out to touch the light that was mirrored through the glass pendant.

Watching the pendant glint in the sunlight, a realization passed through Elizabeth's mind. "I didn't get you a Christmas gift," she bowed her head in shame.

Wrapping a secure arm around Elizabeth's small waist, Jason pulled her back against his wide chest. "You've given me the greatest gift of all," he murmured into her skin. "A family."

Moving her head against his chest, she tilted her chin to look up at him. He looked relaxed. The lines of worry and exhaustion had faded from his face. His shoulders were loose. His smile was soft. Curling a hand around the back of his neck, Elizabeth pulled him down towards her. Touching his lips with hers, she simply kissed him with everything she had. Deepening the kiss, she danced with his tongue before pulling back.

Breathing deeply, she whispered, "I love you." She would never get tired of telling him.

"I love you too." The words that he had always held back from her now flowed easily from his lips. Touching foreheads with Cameron, he smiled at the same shade of dancing blue eyes that stared back at him. "I love you too," he told his son. Nuzzling Elizabeth's neck, he murmured, "With every breath that I have."

Content, they remained in their spot in front of the window, watching the light stream through the glass pendant. Cameron gleefully watching the red trinket spin in front of him from his mother's smooth flicks of her wrist.

"All we have to do now is see it against the light in Italy," Jason told them.

Two sets of blue eyes turned to face him in surprise. "Maybe visit Palermo while we're there. Walk through the Cappella Palatina. Watch the glassblowers in Murano." He shrugged, handing Cameron over to his mother.
Leaning against Jason's chest, Elizabeth sighed as Cameron began to fiddle with his mother's new necklace. The glass fascinated the child. "Tell us about Italy," she requested softly.

Wrapping his arms around the woman he loved and their child, Jason recited what he had memorized in a soothing voice.

"Officially known as the Italian Republic, Italy is a Southern European country. Italy offers the world the canals in Venice that float on islands in the Adriatic lagoon, the arches of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence to the crumbling Coliseum in Rome." Jason watched Elizabeth and Cameron's blissful reflections in the windows of the nursery as they listened intently. "Venice is a popular tourist spot. St. Mark's Square is the town square of Venice. It's more commonly known by its Italian name, Piazza San Marco. Pizza San Marco is famous for attracting lovers…"

Dreaming of Italy, the young family watched the morning sky. Their clandestine meeting was now a token of their past and their future to come.

The End

El Fin

La Fine

Sorry couldn't help myself.