It was that time of year again. Port Charles was once again under siege by the Christmas season. People were putting aside their differences. Families were reuniting. Residents were out in droves, their eyes glazed over and their charge cards melting. Christmas was in the air, and Elizabeth Webber wanted to shove her fist down the next person who wished her a Merry Christmas.
How in the world had she ever thought this time of the year was magical? Had she really once bought in all this crap about good will to men? As she saw it, it was just another day for her to be miserable. There was nothing special about that.
Slamming out of the double hinged doors, Elizabeth glanced around Kelley's. Her eyes landing on the irritatingly familiar scene of Courtney serving Jason and the new Mrs. Morgan their midmorning meal. Suppressing a groan, Elizabeth wrapped her apron around her waist and headed to the coffee station. She could do this. Just like she'd been forced to do it for the last two months. Plaster on a whooper of a fake smile and just keep putting on foot in front of the other.
"Elizabeth." Courtney smiled as she came behind the counter. "I didn't see you come in."
"I came through the back door." Shrugging her shoulder, Elizabeth shoved a note pad into her front pocket.
She could practically feel the weight of Courtney's stare. "What?"
"Well I was just wondering." Stammering a little, Courtney shifted as her eyes fought to look Elizabeth in the eye. "What I mean is that AJ and I were wondering if...You know that he and I are working on our marriage and all after the stalker incident..." Putting a hand to her forehead, Elizabeth waited as Courtney tried to get out whatever it was she was trying to say. Wondering if a harsh slap upside the head would get the blond going. "Well he wanted to take me to the Quartermaine cabin this weekend. And I was wondering-."
"If I'd cover your shifts for you." Rushing to cut off the blond before she took another hour to ask, Elizabeth nodded. "Yeah sure."
"Are you positive? Christmas is on Monday. I'd hate to ruin your plans."
"Trust me Courtney, there's nothing to ruin." Stepping around her co-worker, Elizabeth headed to one of the dirty tables. Keeping her eyes lowered as she passed Jason and Brenda, she almost didn't realize that Courtney had followed her.
"I mean it Elizabeth. If you had something else planned I can tell AJ no. It is Christmas after all. If you and your family-."
Spinning around on her heel, Elizabeth forced a smile. "Courtney go. I don't have any plans this weekend. Don't worry, okay?" Turning back around and staking one dirty plate on top of the another, she silently begged that Courtney for once get a clue and just walked away. Before she lost her temper and took it out on her.
Hearing the sound of her footsteps walking away, Elizabeth let out a sigh of relief. Setting a half filled coffee cup on top of the plates she picked the stack up just in time to see an already drunk Luke Spencer, stumble through the door.
"Ho, Ho, freaking Ho." Waiving his bottle of Jim and Beam in the air, Luke took a bleary look around the restaurant, his eyes stopping on his favorite target since his return. "Well if it isn't little Lizzie Webber." Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, Luke narrowed his bloodshot eyes in her direction. "Whatcha been up to? Ruined any other innocent women's lives lately?"
"Go home and sleep it off Luke." Her cheeks reddened at his unwanted attention. The entire restaurant fell silent the moment the town's new whack job tripped through the door. Turning her back on him, she decided the best course of action was to ignore him. Sooner or later he always got tired and turned his attention elsewhere.
Only this time, before she could take a step toward the kitchen, Luke grasped painfully onto her arm and he yanked her back. Her grip loosened on the plates, the coffee sloshing over the rim of the coffee cup and down the front of her before they all went crashing to the floor.
"Ooops did I do that?" His dry chuckle had her teeth grinding together, as she jerked her body away from his, but his fingers tightened. Biting into the flesh of her arm. "What's the matter Lizzie? Does that hurt?" Tears swam in her eyes, but she refused to give Luke the satisfaction of crying. "You know what hurts little girl?"
The sound of a chair scraping against the floor sounded like a cannon. "Let her go."
Both Luke and Elizabeth looked up. Finding Jason just feet away. The veins in his neck bulging, his jaw line corded. "Well if it isn't the other half of the relationship that never was." Nodding his head and sneering in Jason's direction, he shook Elizabeth a little to see what exactly Jason would do. "Don't tell me you're still worried about this worthless, no-good, waste of a human being."
Without a word, Jason stepped around the table.
"Now where was I before the phantom avenger interrupted?" Clearly not phased by the dark look Jason was sending him, Luke scratched the side of his head. Liquor bottle still in hand. "Oh yeah you know what hurts? Is that we allowed you into our family when you had nobody else. I treated you as though you were my own daughter. And what's the thanks I get?" Looking around the restaurant at the startled customers, Luke's glassy eyes were filled with anger. "I'll tell you what she did to thank me. She and my worthless son sent my darling, innocent wife to death row. It wasn't like she doesn't have enough to deal with. But now if she ever gets better she has no future."
Brenda started to move, but Jason turned around and motioned her to stay. Turning back to where Luke was still holding onto Elizabeth, Jason leveled his eyes on the older man. "I mean it Luke. Let her go."
"Let me think about it." Lifting the bottle to his lips, he took a long pull. "No." Laughing he shook his head. "Boy I gotta give you some credit. Getting away from this poison like you did. I'm just surprised you didn't do it sooner Morgan. But no one ever said you were all that smart."
The door behind them opened and Bobbie's voice brought anymore of Luke's ramblings to a halt. "Luke Spencer stop it this minute!"
Turning around, dragging Elizabeth with him, Luke groaned at the sight of his infuriated sister. "Bobbi stay out of this."
"No." With a shake of her head she stepped forward. "You need to stop this, you've gone too far." Taking a hold of Luke's hand and prying his fingers from Elizabeth's arm, she looked him in the eye. Disgust rolling off her in waves. "No more. We all know that you miss Laura, but enough is enough. There will be no more calls in the middle of the night. Asking us to meet you in some secluded spot in the woods to dig fake graves. No more of you angry outbursts. You could've hurt her." Nodding her head in Elizabeth's direction, Bobbie's eyes softened as she watched the young girl rub her arm. "Are you okay Elizabeth?"
"Yeah." Her answer was hollow, as she turned around and headed for the kitchen. Tears pooling in her eyes already. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Jason start to move in her direction. Looking up and sending him a look that told him to stay away, she hurried to the kitchen so she could lick her wounds in private.
The dinning room remained quiet until the doors swung closed behind her.
"Oh stop looking at me like that Bobbie-Jean. I was just having a little fun." Swaying on his feet, Luke spotted a vacant chair and stumbled into it.
"I suggest you keep Elizabeth out of your fun from now on." Jason's voice was deadly quiet, without a trace of emotion. The one that he used for his enemies.
"And I suggest, you overgrown woodpecker, that you take your wife and get the hell out of my restaurant." Waving his hand sloppily over his hand and toward the door, Luke put the bottle to his lips again.
Grabbing up her jacket and Jason's, Brenda joined him by his side. "Come on Jason, let's go."
"Yeah what she said." Luke nodded, staring off into space.
When Jason looked in the direction of the kitchen, Brenda pulled on his sleeve. "Jase, she needs sometime alone." Seeing the indecision in his blazing eyes, Brenda narrowed her eyes slightly. What in the hell had just happened here? Never had she claimed to be the most observant person. With the strain over the last couple of months she was really out of the loop. But the way Jason tensed and nearly came unglued when Luke grabbed the young brunette made Brenda wonder what she was missing.
And what was all that crap about the relationship that never was? Did Jason know Elizabeth? If he did, just how well did he know her? Brenda silently contemplated what she had seen. Went through the dialog inside her head, over and over again. She had a clue, just no real solid facts but she had a strong feeling of who would.
"We have to talk." The words came out of her mouth the second she stepped through Sonny and Carly's door, ignoring the evil look Carly sent her way. Closing the door loudly behind her she unzipped her jacket and threw it in an empty chair.
Sonny felt his blood freeze. Looking from his wife, over to is ex. Everything had been going so well that day. He and Carly were getting along. No fights or miscommunication problems while they decorated their Christmas tree. Talking and laughing like two young people who had just found love. It'd figure his ex would chose that moment to come barging in. A common occurrence ever since Brenda moved in with Jason across the hall.
It wasn't that he didn't love Brenda, she'd always have a special place in his heart. But he was in love with his wife. He also loved not having his wife in some jealous snit like she always seemed to get sucked into every time Brenda dropped in.
"Tell me about Elizabeth Webber." The girl's name was barely out of her mouth, before Carly grimaced and looked over to Sonny.
"Why do you ask?" Sonny's words were slow as he walked around the boxes that littered his living room, all filled with Christmas decorations, to his small wet bar.
"Oh I don't know. Maybe it was the way Jason reacted when Luke Spencer attacked her today..." Placing both hands on her waist, Brenda tilted her head and gauged their reaction.
"Luke." Carly's eyes widened. "As in my Uncle?"
"Yeah as in the unhinged drunk." Brenda nodded.
"What did Jason do?" Setting down the glass bulb she had been preparing to hang on the tree, Carly turned her undivided attention to her husband's former flame.
"He did what Jason normally does when a woman is in trouble." Scrunching up her nose, Brenda waited for what she wanted to hear.
"He came to her defense." Sonny answered, pouring himself a stiff drink. He had a strong feeling he was going to need it.
"It wasn't exactly what Jason did. It was what Carly's charming Uncle said." Sonny and Carly waited wearily. "Something about Jason and Elizabeth being the couple that never was. About how Jason was a smart man to ditch her when he did. Something tells me there's something I don't know."
Letting out a sigh of relief, Sonny gave a short nod. "That pretty much sums it up." Shrugging his shoulders he looked over to his wife to back him up. Carly met his eyes briefly, guilt and pain stared back at him.
"Really." Looking over to Carly, Brenda had the only answer she needed.
This was Carly's chance to be allowed to say what ever she wanted about little Miss perfect. She could see that Sonny expected her to back him up. Giving her the full opportunity to really let go, No censorship, just some free Elizabeth hating fun. "No."
"Carly!" Sonny groaned.
"What? All those times you hollered at me to leave the girl alone, now you want me to say what a horrible person I think she is. Or how I think Jason is better off without her?" Her voice hitched a little. Grumbling under his breath, he turned away from the heated glares of the two females. "I saw a different side of her while you were gone."
"She left him." Muttering under his breath like a child, he poured himself another large glass of Brandy.
"Why?" Brenda ignored Sonny's muttering in the corner, her eyes wearily met Carly's.
"Honestly?" Carly raised a brow. "I don't know. You know how Jason is, he doesn't talk about personal things."
Letting out a frustrated groan, Brenda ran her hands through her hair. "What do you think happened?"
"I think she got tired of waiting for him to come home." Carly said a little loudly as she looked over her shoulder at her husband. "Plus no one let her in on the fact that Sonny was alive."
"She got a little pissed huh?" Brenda's voice mocked, enjoying the wince it produced on Sonny's face. Served the jerk right.
"Like I said, I really don't know."
"Fine then tell me this. Were they in love?" Watching Carly's face twist in agony, Brenda felt her lips twitch. This was killing Carly.
"No." Her mouth frowning a little, Carly wrinkled her nose. "Well maybe. I mean. Please stop! I'm trying hard to be nice here. You don't know how hard this is for me." Rubbing her arms, Carly squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head slightly. As though she were trying to shake Brenda's question from her head.
Draining the rest of his glass, Sonny chuckled at his wife's antics. "Why all the questions Bren?"
Her eyes hardened slightly as she glanced over at him. "Well you know that my Christmas present to Jason is a divorce. But I was trying to find a way to let him know how much I appreciated everything he sacrificed by marrying me. In case you haven't heard I'm not the easiest person to get along with."
"Just moving out of his penthouse will be all the thanks he needs." Carly flashed a tooth grin Brenda's way.
"Actually I have another idea in mind and I need your help." She'd come there to get the confirmation she needed. Perhaps she hadn't gotten it in straightforward words. But she could read their faces and the tension in the room.
"Need the jet to fly back to Europe?" Carly snapped her fingers. "Consider it done."
"Actually I need to have somebody kidnapped." Brenda giggled at their faces, as she clapped her hands together.