A/N: This fic goes along with the song Let It Die by Feist. I've always found it to be inspiring, but I had to wait for a storyline that seemed perfect for it. Just to let you know, there is a very slight spoiler in this, but, if you blink, you'll miss it. Most of it is just conjecture. Thanks and enjoy!
Let It Die – A One Shot
Let it die and get out of my mind
We don't see eye to eye or hear ear to ear
Don't you wish that we could forget that kiss?
And see this for what it is – that we're not in love
"Hey Sweetie," Doctor Kelly Lee greeted her patient and good friend as they met outside of her office, "how have you been?"
"Which answer do you want?"
The OB-GYN looked at her closely. "The true one, why do you even ask?"
"Because there are two versions," Elizabeth responded, smiling fleetingly, but the effort never fully reached her eyes. "There's the one I tell my friends and family to reassure and comfort them, and there's the one I tell myself when I look in the mirror every morning."
"Come inside," the physician politely directed, holding the door open while her patient walked through the threshold. Once they were alone where no prying eyes could see them and no curious listeners could overhear their conversation, the young, Asian woman turned to the young mother before her. "Elizabeth, anything you say to me stays between us, no exceptions, so, if you feel as though you need to talk to someone, I'm here for you as both your doctor and your friend. Now, tell me, please, how are you really doing?"
"Physically, I'm fine. My body has healed from the surgery, I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and I feel healthy."
"But," Kelly urged her on.
"But emotionally," the blue eyed brunette lamented, laughing self-deprecatingly at herself while wiping away her tears before they could fall down her face, "I'm a mess."
"Why don't you go and change, and, while I'm examining you, we'll talk."
Elizabeth simply nodded as she moved into the bathroom. Several minutes later, she reemerged, thin hospital gown on and composure intact. "Sorry about before," he hastily apologized. "I think my hormones are still a little confused. I seem to cry about everything, even Cam's cartoons made me bawl last night."
"That's understandable," the doctor sympathized, smiling reassuringly at her patient, "especially considering what you've been through since Jake was born." Pausing briefly, she helped the other woman get situated on the exam chair. "How did Lucky react?"
"To your crying during your son's cartoons?"
"Oh, Lucky wasn't home," the young mother of two answered. "He was at work."
"Well, what about some of the other times you've become emotional with little or no provocation," the physician pressed. "Is he understanding? Does he console and support you?"
The nurse's brow furrowed in thought. "I guess so," she spoke slowly as she contemplated both the question and her response, "but we haven't actually spent a lot of time together recently. Things have been…tense."
"Stressful situations sometimes put a strain on a relationship," Kelly offered as explanation. "It makes sense that, with the kidnapping, the two of you still haven't found your post-birth parenting routine. It'll happen; just give it time, and this," she motioned between them, symbolizing the exam, "should help."
Unsure of what her friend meant, Elizabeth's face scrunched up in question. "What do you mean?"
"Well, you and Lucky have been married since March, and you still haven't made love. I know that there is more to a marriage than sex," the Asian OB-GYN admitted, albeit slightly hesitantly, "but being intimate with your husband again should help improve your relationship."
"I'm not going to use sex as a Band-Aid. I'm sure Lucky would like to, but I'm not ready."
Quirking her eyebrow at the brunette, Doctor Lee queried, "low sex drive? You know, if it remains a problem, I can look into prescribing you something to help with that."
"My libido is fine," the mother of two snapped testily. "It's my marriage that needs all the help it can get."
"Elizabeth," the physician's kind, dark eyes looked up to meet her patient's watery ones, "is this what was bothering you earlier, what you dismissed as your hormones wrecking habit upon your emotions?"
"Alright, I'm going to say this again," Kelly announced, standing up from her stool and taking off her plastic gloves. "You can talk to me if you need someone to listen. Trust me, these walls are soundproof. I've tested them a few times myself," she revealed with a mischievous wiggle of her thin, sculpted eyebrows, "and, let me tell you, those hunky interns can scream."
"Please tell me that you haven't had sex on this exam chair," the blue eyed nurse cringed. Despite her words, she couldn't help but smile.
"Now that's what I want to see from all my patients who are young, new mothers," the OB-GYN commented upon the other woman's grin. "It's been a while since I've seen you happy."
"That's because it's been a while since I felt that way," Elizabeth revealed. "I don't know, Kelly," she sighed, running a hand through her thick, chestnut locks, "between everything that happened last summer, then the hostage situation, my health issues after giving birth, and Jake's kidnapping, it feels as if I haven't had a moment to actually breathe in a long time."
"And where does your marriage and Lucky fit into that," Dr. Lee questioned.
"They're the two things that are suffocating me the most."
"How do you mean, Sweetie?"
"During the kidnapping," the wife and mother admitted through her tears, sniffling slightly as she tried to regain her poise and self-control, "Lucky blamed me for Jake being taken."
"I'm sure that was his fear and grief talking," the young Asian attempted to reassure her friend. "Your husband loves you; he wouldn't really hold you responsible for something you had no control over."
"But it's not just that," Elizabeth continued as if she hadn't heard her doctor's response. "He not only blamed me for the kidnapping, but he also questioned by abilities as a mother. Since Jake's been born, he's become possessive and controlling, telling me where I can and can't go, trying to pick and choose my friends for me. He's jealous and overbearing, even rude to people if they show interest in Jake, like he doesn't want anyone else to spend time with him."
"You know," Kelly suggested, "sometimes fathers have just as hard of a time adjusting to parenthood as mothers do. There are support groups he could check out if you think he'd be willing to. As for how he's treating you, the only thing I can think of is that maybe he's projecting his own self-doubt and insecurities onto you. After everything he put you through last summer, he has to be apprehensive about hurting you again and ruining your relationship for a second time."
"Well, he's doing a pretty good job of it without even trying," the young nurse commented, shrugging her shoulders out of helplessness.
"Okay, this is what I know – the good news is that, just like you predicted, you're 100 healthy. There are no lasting repercussions from your ruptured placenta and surgery, so you should be able to have more children without complications. Now about your marriage, all I can tell you is to talk to Lucky, tell him how you're feeling, how his actions are hurting your relationship. However, I think it's more important that you put you and your children first. Everything else, if it's meant to be, will fall into place. You'll see."
"Thanks, Kelly," the blue eyed brunette smiled up at her friend.
"You're welcome. Now," the physical stated as she made several notations on her chart, "go and get dressed. While you're changing, I'm going to schedule your next appointment. How does two weeks from today, same time sound?"
"Alright, and, when we meet again, we'll reevaluate your status. As for now," the Asian doctor looked up and smirked at her patient, "you need to keep abstaining from all sexual activity."
After sharing an appreciative look, the two women went their separate ways, Kelly, confident that she made the right decision to put her friendship with the young mother ahead of her professional responsibilities, to prepare for her next appointment and Elizabeth, thankful that she had such a compassionate, sympathetic support group at her place of work, to change and leave.
The saddest part of a broken heart
Isn't the ending as much as the start
As she entered her grandmother's house that afternoon, Elizabeth found herself thinking back to days long passed, days when she still lived with Audrey, a timid, fearful teenager who had her innocence stolen from her and slowly pieced back together by a sweet boy with a generous heart. His kind words, his simple, beautiful gestures of friendship, and his ability to make her feel safe again made her fall in love with him. Then, he was Lucky, her Lucky, and, at the naïve age of seventeen, she thought she would love him forever, but, after more than eight years later, she found herself wondering what her life would have been like without her "Permanent Lock." The thought was frightening liberating and definitely appealing.
Shaking her head to dismiss the idea, she passed through the living room and into the kitchen, searching for her children. A wise man had once warned her about how worrying over the 'what ifs' would never do her any good, and she knew he was right. She couldn't lose herself in the past, and she couldn't hide away from the present by wishing for something that wasn't. Here, today, in that very minute, she had two beautiful little boys who needed her to take care of and love them, and she needed to do that for herself, too. Hearing Cameron's laughter floating through the open back window only served to reinforce her commitment to her sons.
"Hey, Gram," she announced as she passed through the back door and into the yard.
"Elizabeth, dear," Audrey returned with a warm smile. "I didn't expect you this soon. The boys and I have just started to play, and we haven't even had our cookies and milk yet, have we, Cam?"
The young mother turned to look at her son who shook his head negatively to answer his great-grandmother, never once taking his attention off of the toys he was playing with in the sandbox. The sight of his contentedness brought a sense of calm to her. "Well, we can stay a little while longer and keep you company. I have some errands to run later before we head home, but our afternoon is free." Motioning towards one of the lawn chairs, she asked, "why don't you sit, Gram, while I give Jake his bottle?"
"This will work out perfectly," the older woman responded, quite pleased with the development, "because I've been meaning to talk to you about something for a while now."
"What is it? Nothing's wrong, right?"
"Well," Audrey hedged, folding her hands in her lap and averting her gaze away from her granddaughter's, "nothing's wrong per say."
Suddenly nervous, the blue eyed brunette urged the other woman to speak. "Whatever it is, I'd rather you just tell me the truth and get it over with."
Before the older woman could say anything, Jake, sensing his mother's discomfort, started to fuss, and she watched the infant and his mother as she comforted him while starting to speak. "I'm worried about you, sweetheart."
"About me," Elizabeth questioned. "Why, Gram?"
"You see, two nights ago I ran into your wonderful husband at Kelly's…."
"Oh, you see, that's funny, because the last I knew," the mother of two interrupted, "my wonderful husband was a cop, so unless the station has taken up temporary quarters at Kelly's, Lucky shouldn't have been there, because he told me he was working late that night."
"Really, dear," Audrey chastised, "I'd think you'd have more faith in your husband than that. I'm sure that he was only there on his break or that he was simply passing through while on duty to pick up a cup of coffee, but that's beside the point." The older woman ignored her granddaughter's rolling eyes. "I'm not worried about Lucky; he's not the one whose behavior has been somewhat suspect lately."
"Suspect," Elizabeth repeated. "If you want to accuse me of something, why don't you just come right out and say it."
"Fine, if you want candor, you'll have it. Lucky and I," the elderly nurse started reproachfully, "are worried about your relationship with Jason Morgan."
"I can't believe this is happening again," the brunette exclaimed impatiently, standing up from her chair and pacing the length of the patio. "How many times do I have to say it, Gram? Jason is my friend, and he has been there for both me and my children more times than I can even count. There's nothing that you or Lucky will ever be able to say to make me stop being his friend."
"Elizabeth, the man was just released from jail after jumping bail while he was fighting murder charges. He is a known hit man, a racketeer, and he has put your life in danger numerous times. This is exactly why we're concerned for you, dear," Audrey explained, motioning towards the younger woman's emotional reaction. "You are not acting responsibly towards your children and putting their needs ahead of your own."
"Oh, so now you, too, are going to tell me that I'm a bad mother. That's just great, Gram. Thanks for the support."
"Stop it," the older woman snapped, climbing out of her chair and standing at her full height to look down upon her granddaughter. "Don't put words in my mouth. It was one thing for you to associate with a mobster when you were single, but you have two, impressionable sons now, not to mention a husband who is a cop. Do you not care how your relationship with Jason Morgan affects his career? Are you that selfish?"
"It's not as if I've living with Jason, Gram, or meeting him for lunch every other day. If we see each other in the park, we stop, say hello, and talk for a few minutes. If he's in the coffee house when I drop in for a latte, I let him hold Jake and we catch up while I'm waiting for my order to be filled. We're not doing anything wrong, so excuse me for being polite to someone who has always been there for me when I needed him. You know," the mother of two retorted sharply, "I'd think you'd show a little bit more gratitude towards the man who not only saved my life but who also saved the life of your great-grandson not once, not twice, but three times. Is Jason perfect, of course not, but he's never done anything to you, and I'm sick and tired of having to defend my friendship with him to you, to Lucky, and to everyone else in his incredibly judgmental and hypocritical town. No one can tell me who I can spend my time with."
"And what about your sons' time," Audrey inquired. "Your husband told me that he expressed to you his request that you keep Jake away from Mr. Morgan, but, apparently, you have no respect for his wishes, only your own."
She couldn't help it; she laughed. Shaking her head in disbelief, Elizabeth regarded the older woman in front of her. "Do you know what I find funny, Grandmother? A year ago at this time, Lucky was addicted to pills and sleeping with the Police Commissioner's, his boss's, daughter, but no one around here seems to remember that. You and everyone else have seemingly forgiven him for every single thing he did to hurt both me and my children."
"He's not the only one who's made a mistake before. I do believe you've made your fair share as well. Don't forget your behavior when you first came to town, your relationships with Zander, Jason, and Ric, but we've forgiven you for those, too, dear, just like we forgave Lucky."
Choking back her sobs, the younger woman refused to cry. "Well, at least I now know what you really think of me. That's always a good thing, right? We're going now," she announced, moving across the lawn to gather up her eldest son. "Thank you for watching the boys, Gram, but, like I said, I have some errands to run."
"Elizabeth," Audrey started, but she was quickly interrupted.
"No," the mother of two snapped, spinning around to glare at her grandmother. "I don't want to hear another word of what you have to say. You've made your point and opinion of me perfectly clear, and I don't have the time, the patience, nor the strength to stay here and fight with you any longer. However, before I go, I have one thing I want to say to you. Don't you find it interesting how my wonderful husband is so concerned about only one of my boys? He adamantly ordered me to keep Jake away from Jason, but never once did he say anything about Cameron spending time with him. Think about that, and then maybe the next time you feel like lecturing someone on their parenting skills, you'll consider criticizing Lucky for favoring his biological son over the bastard child he's been forced to raise because he married me."
For once in her life, Audrey Hardy was speechless, and it brought a satisfied smirk to Elizabeth's face to know that she had finally accomplished the seemingly impossible – she had stood up to her grandmother and had won the battle with both logic and morality on her side. And, oh, did victory taste sweet.
It was hard to tell just how I felt
To not recognize myself. I started to fade away
And after all it won't take long to fall in love
Now I know what I don't want
I learned that with you
After picking up her dry cleaning, getting the oil changed in her car, and going grocery shopping, Elizabeth had not been in the mood to cook dinner. So, because it was just going to be her and the boys that night, she had decided to treat herself and Cam to some home cooked Kelly's goodness. Besides, between her appointment with Dr. Lee that morning and her not-so-pleasant chat with her grandmother that afternoon, she had needed a relaxing evening. Unfortunately, her children were not cooperating. Jake was fussy, refusing to take his bottle or remain seated while they were eating at the diner. Instead, she had to pace the few feet of open aisle by their table while watching Cameron and trying to scarf down as much of her own meal as possible. Cameron, too, was in a mood, complaining about his food, throwing temper-tantrums when he couldn't have his dessert first, and acting jealous of his younger brother by claiming he wanted held, too. She was about to just give up, to ask Mike to pack their food in a box to take home, when her knight in shining…leather walked through the door, his mere presence bringing a sense of calm to her frazzled nerves.
"Hey," Jason greeted her with a small smile. "You look like you could use some help. Can I," he asked, motioning towards the spare chair at their table.
"Yes, please," she insisted, sitting down with him and placing Jake in his arms so she could focus upon feeding herself and her oldest son. "At this point, I'm in no position to turn down any assistance. Five more minutes and I think we might have ruined Kelly's reputation permanently."
"Mike's used to it," he dismissed with a shrug of his shoulders. "You get Michael, Kristina, and Morgan all in here at the same time, and they make Cam look almost angelic, and that's even before you figure in their parents' behavior."
"I never thought I'd see the day," Elizabeth teased him, "Jason Morgan cracking a joke at Sonny Corinthos' expense and all to make me feel better about my skills as a mother." Quietly, she added, "it's a nice change of pace."
Not hearing her, he asked, "what was that?"
"It was nothing. Forget it."
"Don't do that, Elizabeth," Jason chastised her, "not with me. You know that you can tell me anything."
"I know I can," she reassured him, placing her hand on his before realizing what she had done. Hastily withdrawing it, she continued, "I just….this is the first enjoyable moment I've had all day, and I don't want to ruin it by talking about something that will only upset me. So, how about you do me a favor and let me off the hook for the night. The next time we run into each other, we can talk about it then, okay?" He nodded to show his agreement. "Besides," she quipped, smiling up at him, "this definitely feels like a dock's conversation to me."
"Alright, you get a reprieve," Jason conceded, "but this is not over."
"I never for one moment believed it would be. You know," Elizabeth mused, putting her fork down and resting her chin on her hands while observing him, "has anyone ever told you you're like a dog with a bone?"
"No, I don't think so."
"Well, you are."
Quirking his eyebrows at her, he questioned, "and should I take that as a compliment or an insult?"
She shrugged. "That would depend upon my mood."
Jason simply shook his head in amusement. Changing the subject, he asked, "so, where's Lucky? After everything that happened, I didn't think he'd let you or the boys out of his sight."
"Well, that's just one example of how the two of you are different," she responded, the animosity she felt towards her husband finding its way into her tone. "While you're here helping me with my children, my husband is off with his brother chasing after another family vendetta, except this time, instead of it being against Helena Cassadine, he and Nikolas are going up against Jerry Jacks who, apparently, contrary to the initial set of lies I was told, is James Craig." His face showed displeasure, even anger, but it didn't display surprise. Reading his expression, Elizabeth surmised, "I take it you already knew about this."
"Yeah, I've known for a while."
"So then you know about the leverage Jerry is holding over Emily," she realized. Laughing to herself, she continued, "of course you do, because, otherwise, he would have already been taken care of."
Astonishing her, Jason didn't censure her for asking questions about the business, and he actually answered her inquires. "We have people trying to find a way for Emily to get out of the incriminating papers, but, so far, they haven't found anything, but, Elizabeth," he warned, "Lucky should not be getting involved in this. Jerry won't care that he's a husband or a father. Anyone is expendable to him."
"I'm perfectly clear on that. Trust me, after the hostage situation, I wouldn't put anything past James Craig….Jerry Jacks, whatever he's calling himself these days. As for Lucky," she complained apathetically, "he doesn't listen to anything I have to say. It used to be that he lived in his father's shadow and felt that he had to prove to everyone that he was worthy of being Luke Spencer's son, and, now, he's in some one-sided, ridiculous competition with you, wanting to verify to himself that he's just as capable of taking care of his family as you are. I have to tell you, it's pretty exhausting putting up with all his insecurities, the major chip on his shoulder, and his inability to stand on his own without needing someone there to prop up his overly sensitive ego."
"Elizabeth," Jason started, unsure of what to say and feeling slightly uncomfortable with both her harsh words towards her husband and the tone in which she said them. It wasn't as if he had never thought them himself before, but he had never expected to hear them from her.
"Listen to me though," she laughed wryly, rolling her eyes. "You probably came in here to grab a cup of black coffee to go, and, instead, got roped into helping me, once again, take care of my kids."
"It's not a problem," he assured her. "You know that I like helping you, and spending time with you, Jake, and Cam is never a hardship for me."
"Well, thank you, but we should let you get back to whatever it is you were doing before we took advantage of your incredible childcare skills. It's getting late, I still need to give the boys their baths before bedtime, and there is a pile of laundry the size of Rhode Island waiting for me back at home." Taking Jake from his arms, she put him in his stroller, buckling him in, before taking hold of Cameron's hand. "It was nice seeing you. Talking to you finally made a few things crystal clear for me."
"But I didn't do anything," he protested.
"You always say that," she mocked him, "and you're always wrong. Thanks again." As the three of them made their way out of the diner, waving to Jason, he simply stood there, watching them as they left, with a confused expression on his chiseled, tanned face. She would have given anything to stay and talk to him longer, to explain to him just exactly what he had helped her decide, but there was someone else she had to talk to first. After months of feeling lost in her own life, of not knowing who she was or what she wanted, Elizabeth had finally found some clarity in her existence, and it was past time she listened to herself and not to the rest of the town and did what was best for her and her children instead of what was best for a man who had not put her first in years, a man who had not put her first since they were seventeen.
The saddest part of a broken heart
Isn't the ending so much as the start
The tragedy starts from the very first spark
Losing your mind for the sake of your heart
It was late when he finally arrived home, later than she had been expecting him, but still Elizabeth waited up, a lone lamp on the desk illuminating the living room where she sat watching the clock and preparing what she wanted to say.
"We need to talk," she announced before her husband could say anything else.
"Sure," he agreed readily. "Let me just go and check on Jake first."
"He's fine. I have the monitor on," she gestured towards it sitting on the coffee table. "He woke up an hour ago, I changed his diaper, fed him his bottle, and he immediately fell back to sleep. What we have to discuss can't wait."
"What's wrong," he immediately jumped to conclusions. "What happened with my son? What did you do, Elizabeth?"
"Nothing's wrong, both of my children are healthy and happy, and the only thing I did was come to some conclusions."
"About," he prompted.
Regarding her suspiciously, he pushed, "what about us?"
Sighing, she replied, "it's time, Lucky."
"Time for what?" His words were clipped, callous, and slightly panicked.
"It's time that we accept the truth that has been staring us in the face now for years. This….us, it's not working. It's time to let it die."
The saddest part of a broken heart
Isn't the ending so much as the start