A/N: Alas, this story has ended. I'm sad to see it go, but I'm really excited about what is coming up next. Thanks for making this journey with me through this fic. Enjoy! Charlynn
"You are packing those by genre alphabetically, aren't you?"
He snorted. The sound was her boyfriend's equivalent to rolling his eyes.
"Children," Sonny entered the room, immediately reprimanding them. "Play nice."
"He won't pack the books the way I want him to," she pouted, even going as far as to push her plump bottom lip out to make her point. "Tell him to do what I say, Dimples."
"Jason, listen to the mother of your child." The former nanny crooked her finger in the Cuban's direction, signaling that she wanted him to move to her side. When he did, she whispered in his ear before he straightened and added to his previous statement. "And the woman who can use her pregnancy as an excuse to not sleep with you for another five and half months."
The stack of books the blonde enforcer was holding fell to the ground with a loud, resounding thud. "That's playing dirty, Webber."
Her eyes twinkled devilishly. "I know. Turnabout is only fair though."
"Besides," he added, "it's not as if you're going to be the one unpacking these boxes anyway. I will be."
"With Johnny's help, and why should he have to suffer for your incompetence?" Nodding her head towards the markers she had arranged on the desk, she instructed, "at least make sure you label the boxes according to the color system I worked out."
Jason strode over to the sharpies. "What these," he asked innocently, picking up the red marker. "What's this one for?"
"Appropriate," he commented, shrugging his shoulders and gliding across the room towards her. Sonny simply folded his arms against his chest and watched on, clearly amused. The father-to-be sat down on the sofa, his legs positioned on either side of his girlfriends, took both of her wrists in one of his large hands, and held her arms above her head before pulling the lid off the permanent marker with his mouth. "Close your eyes."
"Wait," Elizabeth protested, squirming underneath him despite knowing she would not be able to escape his grasp. "What are you doing?"
"Making sure the most important item is packed first," he answered, swallowing her complaints with his own mouth to distract her while he wrote her eventual location and use on her chest. Finished and satisfied, he pulled away, separating their lips, and smirked down at her while she glared at him.
Without waiting for her to say more, he slipped his arms around her and lifted her off the couch, tossing her over his shoulder in a fireman's carry. Her legs kicked out behind her, she fisted her hands to pound them into his lower back, and she attempted to bite his shoulder, but nothing deterred him.
"Put me down," the artist ordered, her voice shrill with frustration. "I'm not kidding. I will withhold sex!"
"You can threaten me all you want, but you'll never carry through. You're in your second trimester now, and you know what they say..."
She stilled, became rigid in his arms, and, when she spoke, her voice was just as cold, just as dispassionate. "There are ways a woman can take care of herself, you know."
Jason laughed as they stepped into the elevator. "Yeah, but where's the fun in that?"
She was silent during the entire ride down to the parking garage, but, when she noticed that her boyfriend was taking her towards the car they were riding in to the airport, she started fighting against him once again. "You can't be serious? I am not sitting in the car while you finish packing. It's going to take you hours!"
"Oh, you're going to sit here," he directed her, dropping her playfully into the backseat and buckling her in. "And you're going to like it."
"Like hell I am!"
"I have a snack for you," Sonny offered, handing the petite brunette a giant bowl of chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce, chocolate flavored whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles, chocolate powder, and shaved chocolate curls.
"But what if I get thirsty," she asked, still not satisfied.
"I brought you a chocolate milk shake, too," the mob boss replied, putting the beverage in a cup holder.
"Bored," Elizabeth queried.
"I brought you some art supplies, Shrimp," Johnny spoke up for the first time, alerting the college student to his presence. "And I'll even sit down here with you and we'll play 'Name That Tune' together with the radio."
"Oh." Surveying her accommodations in the car, she sighed, lifted a bite of the sundae to her mouth, and then spoke. "Alright," she agreed, grumbling through her food.
Jason bent down to kiss her once more. "I'll use the markers," he promised her.
"And I won't attempt to withhold sex."
"It was a pleasure doing business with you, Webber," he teased, shutting the door for her.
The second time she sighed it was one of contentment and pleasure. It was the first week of May, she had just finished her final exams, completing her junior year of college, and she and her wonderful, attentive, sexy as hell boyfriend were leaving that afternoon for Europe. At three and half months pregnant, Elizabeth had never been happier. Life was good.
Robin Scorpio hated Paris in the summer. For a native resident, nothing was worse than the season which was overrun with tourists. She was on her way to the hospital, but, because she was early, as always, she was taking her time, walking at a leisurely pace down the old brick streets surrounding the Sorbonne. Lost in her own world, those around her faded to the background, disappearing.
Although the medical student heard her name being called, she ignored it, hoping that it was a mistake or that there was someone else close by who shared her name and knew someone with an unmistakable deep American voice. However, the person was not to be deterred, and, as they stood up in her path, blocking her way, she let her gaze meet theirs only to realize Jason Morgan was in Paris, France and, surprisingly, blending in and looking comfortable there.
The first thought that entered her mind flew out of her mouth seconds later. "What are you doing here?"
He motioned towards the table, both as an invitation for her to join him and to point out the fact that his girlfriend was sitting there at his side. "We're here to get Elizabeth enrolled for the upcoming spring semester. She's going to study abroad for her final year of school."
Accepting, Robin sat down before addressing the other woman, the other glowing, exultant woman. "I'm sure that will be very beneficial to you as an artist. Where are you studying this fall?"
"Oh, I'm not. I'm taking a semester off." Before continuing, Elizabeth linked her fingers with Jason's. "Once we're done here, we're going to Italy, and we're going to stay there until January when we'll come back to Paris. From there, we're thinking either Spain or Portugal for my final semester next fall."
"But what about Port Charles, the business, Michael?"
"Sonny's back, and we don't have custody of Michael anymore; Carly and A.J. do."
"But we talk to him every night," the former nanny added, smiling brightly at the thought of the little boy they both loved so much. "And Lila and Reginald are planning to come and see us during Christmas, and they'll bring Michael with them then."
"Well," the brown eyed brunette stated, sitting back in shock. "Things have certainly changed in a year's time."
"It has," Jason agreed with his former girlfriend before helping his current one up. "We'll see you around, Robin."
The future doctor waved after them, calling out, "enjoy Italy," but the words faded on her thin lips as she noticed the slight bulge to Elizabeth's stomach, an obvious sign that the happy couple was expecting a child of their own, and, despite the fact that the love she felt for the blonde enforcer was now that of friendship, she couldn't help the slight twinge of jealousy she felt towards the younger woman he currently had his arm wrapped protectively around. Two years before, a life, a future, a child with Jason was something she had been dreaming of herself, and now those dreams were coming true for someone else. Sighing, she pushed her chair away from the small, patio table, gathered her things, and proceeded to make her way towards the hospital. Although her life was good, Robin knew Elizabeth's was better.
"Would you like another scone, Mrs. Quartermaine?"
"Sonny," the matriarch chastised him flirtatiously, "how many times do I have to tell you? It's Lila, please. As for the scone, no thank you. However, if you wouldn't mind, could you wrap a couple up for Reggie? He has a soft spot for your cooking."
"It would be my pleasure," the Cuban agreed, smiling at the older woman with his dimples on full display. "Where did he get off to anyway?"
"Oh, Mr. Giambetti is teaching him how to pick a lock. Reggie and I thought the skill might come in handy when Edward starts to get out of line planning one of his corrupt schemes."
"I'm sure it will." Standing up from the dining room table, the mob boss went towards the kitchen, but a knock on the door made him pause.
"Sorry to disturb you," Francis apologized when he stuck his head into the penthouse, "but she would not take no for an answer. She demanded that you speak with her."
Before Sonny could respond, Carly pushed her way into his home. "Where the hell is Jason?"
"I sincerely hope you do not use that language in front of my great-grandson," Lila reprimanded the younger woman. "I want him to grow up to be a gentleman."
"What are you doing here," the bottle blonde demanded to know. "Does Edward know that you're here?"
"Sonny and I have tea together once a week now," the head of the Quartermaine family answered. "We discuss the loved ones we have in common, and I really don't care if Edward knows about our dates or not, because, frankly, in this matter, my husband's opinion matters very little to me. However, I think the better question here should be why are you here, Caroline?"
"I need to speak with Jason."
With a smug smile, the Cuban informed her, "I'm afraid that's impossible. He's out of town."
"Well, when do you expect him back?"
"Probably not until Christmas," he answered, chuckling silently to himself when he watched the caustic woman's mouth drop open in shock and disbelief. Adding fuel to her already simmering fire, he added, "of next year."
"He left," Carly sputtered, angry, "just like that? What about his family? What about Michael?"
"Oh, they speak to Michael everyday," Lila stated, a mischievous twinkle to her crystal clear blue eyes.
"Yes, Caroline," the mob boss explained, "they – as in Jason and Elizabeth."
Furrowing her brow in confusion, the younger woman inquired, "why did he leave in the first place? Did you chase him out of town to keep him away from me?"
"I didn't have to do anything to turn Jason against you," Sonny responded. "The moment you decided to take Michael away from him you destroyed any loyalty he might have felt towards you at one time."
"I wouldn't have done that," the peroxide blonde seethed, "if Princess Purity wouldn't have gotten her claws into him."
"So you punished my grandson for falling in love," Lila realized, shaking her head in disappointment. "That just proves that you never deserved his friendship in the first place, Caroline."
Balling her hands into fist, Carly gritted her teeth together while speaking. "Just tell him that I need to talk to him the next time he calls."
"I will…if I get the chance," Sonny offered. "You see, they're really busy right now."
"What, is the Muffin keeping him occupied by spending all of his money?"
"Actually, no," the Cuban replied with a wide grin. "They're getting ready for the baby." Twisting the knife even deeper, he pressed, "the baby that Elizabeth is carrying, the one that she'll never try to take away from him. Now," he moved towards the door and held it open for the younger woman who was on the verge of tears, "I'm sure you'll be able to find your way out. Don't come back."
Although the method was unconventional, in a conversation that lasted only a few minutes, Sonny was able to pay Carly back for the all the pain she had caused his best friend and the woman his best friend loved, and the fact that he could do so while smiling only made the revenge that much sweeter. Looking across the room, he noticed a pleased smirk on the Quartermaine matriarch's gentle face and knew that she enjoyed the moment just as much as he did. He couldn't wait to tell the story to Elizabeth.
Climbing off his motorcycle, Jason made his way towards the villa they were renting, stripping off his leather jacket in the process. The late August evening was warm, so there was no need for a coat now that he was done riding. After being gone for five days, all he wanted to do was find Elizabeth and spend as much time with her as he could. Although she would argue with him, he knew that he would find something different about her due to the wonders of pregnancy, and he gloried in each and every one of those changes occurring within her body. But, before he could make it into the house, he spotted Johnny sitting alone out in the rose garden, the table he was working at covered in manila folders and paperwork. Despite the Irish guard's casual appearance, he looked tense.
"What's going on?"
The green eyed man jumped, startled by his boss, a move that set Jason's radar on extra-sensitive. No one ever surprised the younger man. He was always aware, always present in the moment. That was what made him a good employee. "Oh, hey," Johnny greeted him with a small wave. "When did you get back? We weren't expecting you for couple more days."
"I finished early," the enforcer answered, squinting and eyeing the other man carefully. "Is something wrong? Elizabeth's alright, isn't she?"
"She's knuckle deep into a bowl of tapioca pudding; she's fine."
"Then what has you so…wired?"
Lifting up one of the folders, the guard let it fall back to the table with a resounding slap. "This assignment Webber has me working on."
Jason smirked, rubbed the side of his face where almost a week of stubble was stubbornly growing. "She's giving you assignments now?"
"Do you want to argue with a pregnant lady?" The older man chuckled, nodding his head in no and agreeing with Johnny. "That's what I thought."
"So, what is this that you're working on?"
"Your girlfriend has me finding you a part time nanny."
Hiding his grin, Jason furrowed his brows and asked, "what?"
"Yeah, she says that you guys will need someone who can come in a few hours a day a couple of times a week so that she can paint and you can work on your bike or so that you can go into town together and have alone time. I told her I'd watch the kid, but she said I shouldn't be tied down to the villa the whole time either, so here I am trying to do the impossible."
"And you don't have any good applicants," the hit man pressed, curious as to why the other man looked so frazzled.
"Oh no," Johnny argued, throwing his hands up, "every damn applicant is perfect. They're all in their early 20's, speak English so that I can actually understand them, and they all love kids. Hell, some of them are even trained in self defense."
"And why would that be needed?"
"I don't know," the bodyguard shrugged, "but it's damn hot. If I didn't know better, I'd say that Webber put out a personal ad and not a help wanted one."
"Well, just go with your gut," Jason suggested. "Trust your instincts."
"My instincts are telling me to hire this blonde who has these legs that go on for miles."
Covering his smirk with his hand, the enforcer asked, "and this is important why exactly?"
"You know," Johnny blushed, looking away. "It shows that she's…in shape, that she'll be able to carry around a baby."
"Aw, of course. What else do you know about her?"
"She's willing to relocate," the security expert added, "says she'll go wherever we need her if she's hired. Her background checks out, and she's got the smartest mouth I've heard in years. She caught me looking down her blouse, and told me off so well I think my ears are still ringing."
"And that's the problem; that's why you don't think we should hire her?"
"Hell no," the Irishman contradicted. "That's why I want you to. Any woman who can put me in my place with a few snarky words, well, let's just say that I won't be able to keep my hands off of her. And that is the problem. Before her first week's even up, I'll have seduced your nanny away from you and into my bed."
Jason stood up and moved towards the house, knowing that his friend's gaze was following his every move as he waited for some advice. Speaking over his shoulder, he advised, "hire her. I was attracted to Elizabeth when I first met her, and look how well that's turned out." Just as he was about to make it into the house, he stopped and turned around, needing to ask just one more question. "By the way, O'Brien, what's her name?"
"Mary," the guard sighed. His only comfort as he wallowed in his own confusion was the sound of his boss' laughter as the older man made his way into the house to find the woman he loved. Johnny's own words had come back to bite him in the ass…hard.
A month later and four weeks before Elizabeth's due date, Jason was making his way through the villa in search of his very pregnant girlfriend. While he had gone to town to pick up some more books, she had stayed at home to rest, claiming exhaustion, and, at that stage of her pregnancy, he knew that she should be tired. However, she wasn't in the kitchen, she wasn't in either of the two living rooms, and she wasn't in the bedroom they shared or the room they had designated as the temporary nursery, so he was starting to get worried. Apparently, as she called out for him, she had heard him wandering around the big, old house.
"Jason, I'm in the bathroom."
Following her voice into the ensuite, he found her lounging in a bubble bath, the room lit only with the soft light of candles. "Are you okay?"
"Braxton Hicks Contractions," she answered without opening her eyes or stopping her deep breathing, "and, before you ask, they're not the real thing. I've had them all afternoon, and they haven't progressed at all, but they were starting to become uncomfortable."
Stripping off his shoes, the father-to-be asked, "did you try taking a walk, moving around?"
"I paced the hallways."
"Didn't help," Elizabeth replied shrugging. "Neither did drinking a couple glasses of water, so, obviously, I'm not dehydrated. All that did was make me have to pee five times in an hour's time span."
"Why didn't you call me? I would have hurried back."
"There's nothing you can do to help." Sighing, the brunette cradled her swollen abdomen, caressing the taunt skin in the hope that her actions would sooth not only their rambunctious child but also her contracting muscles. "Did you find some books?"
"Yeah," he answered. Smirking at her closed eyes, he continued to get undressed while he talked. "I picked up a travel guide on both Spain and Portugal, so we can look over them together and figure out which you would rather go to."
"Mmm," his girlfriend murmured her approval, "sounds good."
Moving towards the tub, Jason directed her to sit up.
"What," the former nanny's eyes snapped open as she turned her head to the side, finally realizing that he was now nude as well. "Why?"
"So I can get in there with you."
Without a word, she did as he said, scooting forward in the whirlpool so that he could sit behind her and wrap his body around hers. Once they were settled against each other, his larger hands replacing hers on her belly, she turned her head to place a lingering kiss upon his damp shoulder. Whispering, she taunted, "I told you I'd get you to take a bubble bath with me one day."
They were the last words either of them spoke for well over an hour.
It was late October, but the days were still mild enough to sit outside, even with a two week old baby. Joining Elizabeth and their daughter, Jemma Jane Morgan, on the blanket his girlfriend had spread out in the now harvested sunflower field behind their villa, he pulled his girls into his arms and held them while Elizabeth breast fed. Nothing was said between them, but it was a comfortable silence, something he had only ever been able to experience with the woman clasped tightly in his strong embrace. By the time the baby was done eating, she was asleep and resting peacefully on Elizabeth's chest, so he laid down on the blanket, gently pulled the mother of his child down to lay her head against his chest, and let his fingers sift through her rich, long chocolate hair as the sun overhead turned the brown locks a myriad of various hues, shades of color he didn't recognize but knew that Elizabeth could name each and every one.
"What did Johnny think of his surprise?"
"He's feeling pretty bittersweet, I think," the blonde enforcer answered. "I know that both he and Mary are excited to be going home, about settling into a place together, but I don't think either of them want to leave you or JJ."
"He's freaking out," Jason admitted with a soft chuckle. "Sonny listened to your instructions and kept Mary a secret from all the other guys. When Max heard that you set Johnny up on a fake assignment to find a nanny and that now his good friend is in a committed relationship with one of those applicants, he thinks he's next to be matched up."
Elizabeth smirked. "He is."
"Well, I had to threaten him with his life to keep him here. He was planning on skipping town and heading home with Johnny and Mary when we weren't looking."
The artist met his gaze and admitted, "I'm not going to do anything until we get to Paris. I want him to forget about his fears and become comfortable around me again before I pull the rug out from underneath him. Besides, I'm going to have to think of something new, because we know Max isn't going to fall for the same nanny trick."
"And once you have him set up with someone," Jason prompted.
"Then he'll go home with his new girlfriend, and I'll have Sonny send Francis out. I think he'll be the hardest nut to crack though, so that's why I'm saving him for last. That man is very set in his bachelor ways, and I'm going to need to be on the top of my game to fool him into falling in love. Besides, Johnny told me that he has a weak spot for dark the mysterious type, so I figured Spain and Portugal will be our best bet for him."
"It's a good thing I'm happily engaged to you," he realized, lifting her left hand to brush his lips across her ring. It was an opal, Jemma's birthstone, and Jason had liked how the light danced inside it and made the stone glow like fire. "Otherwise, you'd probably be trying to set me up, too."
"Nah, you're staying right here with me," she warned him, "so don't go getting any ideas."
He simply smiled, enjoying their light banter back and forth. "And what about Sonny?"
"I don't want to rush Dimples. I think he needs to be alone for a while. He's already been hurt by love twice. He needs to recover from both Lily and Brenda before he even thinks about getting involved with another woman. But someday…"
They fell silent for a moment, but, as soon as she started to fidget in his arms, Jason knew there was something else on her mind. "Alright, just tell me what's wrong."
"I was doing some research today."
"New York Custody Laws," Elizabeth answered. Sitting up, she handed their daughter to him, so she could focus her attention solely upon what she was saying. "I was talking to Lila last night after you got off the phone, and she was telling me that Michael still asks for us everyday. So, curious, I checked to see if there was a certain age in which the state court recognizes the child's choice to choose his or her parents."
Jason had not been expecting this, but he liked the direction in which their conversation was moving. "What did you find out?"
"There isn't a magic age." Despite himself, he felt his face fall into lines of disappointment. "However," the former nanny continued, "that does not mean that the court will not listen to a child's wishes. Because Michael's so young though, the court would consider why he prefers one parent or another instead of simply granting him his preference. Once he's old enough to speak and to understand the consequences of his actions, your Grandmother would like to petition the court and request that custody be given back to us, and she could use Michael's choice to help back up her claims."
"So," he realized, hope entering his cobalt gaze, "what you're saying is that, by the time we return home to Port Charles, we might get our son back without having to put him through a custody case."
"Maybe," Elizabeth responded, shrugging her shoulders. Although the motion appeared indifferent, he could see the anticipation and faith shining through on her beautiful face.
Holding her chin, he pulled her towards him and kissed her softly. The embrace was meant to be sweet and reverent, but, before they both knew what was happening, it was anything but, and, when they pulled away from each other, they were both breathing heavily.
Lying back down on the blanket, Elizabeth snuggled into his side as he wrapped his free arm around her. Jemma slept on contentedly. Finally, just as he was about to fall asleep as well, he felt his fiancé lean up and brush her lips across his ear before whispering, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!," and giggling.
And they really were that happy.