A/N: This one shot examines what might have happened if the stars were aligned differently that fateful year when Jason and Elizabeth broke up and went their separate ways. After all, anything is possible and probable in Las Vegas. Enjoy this one example of what might have been! Charlynn
Veracity in Vegas
She had done a bad, bad, foolish thing. She knew better than to get mixed up in one of Luke Spencer's scams, but the lure of leaving the memories, and the pain, and the trouble behind was too great, and now here she was far away from Port Charles and all the way across the country with a man she had for many years considered the closest thing to a father that she ever had and preparing to do something that was completely insane. And it felt good.
Staring into the eyes of the reflection in the mirror, a reflection that was watching her in return, Elizabeth noticed that her eyes looked sad. They were the windows to the soul, people always said, but, up until that very moment, she had never believed it. The expression seemed too cliché, too trite and unoriginal, but, looking at herself, the young woman realized that, if someone really wanted to see inside of her heart, all they had to do was look deeply into her sapphire irises. It was frightening to know that she was that transparent, but it was also the wakeup call she had needed to make a change and a drastic one at that.
"Hey, are you about done in there? That glass of scotch I had earlier seems to be flowing right through me without any detours to unload all of its delicious nutrients to my unreceptive body."
Luke's words startled her, made her jump. For a moment, she had forgotten the hotel room she was sharing with her ex-fiancé and his eccentric father, she had forgotten that they were in Sin City together to run a scam, and she had forgotten that she was supposed to be getting ready for the first step of the plan. Instead of focusing on the task at hand, she had let herself disappear into her own mind, a scary place these days, and get swept away with every thought and whim.
"Didn't anyone ever tell you not to rush a woman when she's getting dressed?" The only response the grey haired scoundrel outside of her door gave was an impatient snort. "And, by the way, Luke, it wasn't just a glass of scotch; it was the whole bottle."
"It must have been watered down, because I'm still thirsty."
She didn't respond and simply left him to his own complaints. Focusing instead upon the task at hand, she unzipped her makeup bag and pulled out her supplies. All she needed to disappear and become someone else was a lot of black eyeliner, even more black mascara, many shades of smoky, alluring eye shadow, and some lipstick in a shade so rich, so red that it was practically sin personified.
"Liz, I really have to use the john."
"Go downstairs to the casino, knock on the neighbor's door, hell, use your empty scotch bottle. It doesn't matter to me. However, you're not getting into this bathroom until I'm good and ready. Is that clear?"
Normally, she would have laughed at the older man's unique simile, tossed back her head of rich, chocolate locks and laughed until there were tears in her eyes and her sides hurt, but, she hadn't been in the mood to laugh for days…weeks. Hopefully, her trip with the two Spencer men would change that though.
"Tell me more about this plan of yours," she requested of her partner in crime as she reached across the vanity to pick up her hair brush. Her natural curls needed to be fuller tonight, decadent, so damn enticing any man would be itching to run his fingers through them. "Let's go over the steps one more time."
"It's simple, Darlin'. I need money to go after Helena, and you're going to help me get it."
"There's this very exclusive, very wealthy club of gamblers in town this week, and you're my ticket into their ranks," he revealed. "All we have to do is make them think that you and I are married, and I'm set. You'll fit in with their young, gold digging wives, and, when I play cards with them, you'll also be able to distract everyone else into making bad moves, and I'll be able to win the pot every hand." He chuckled softly to himself, pausing for a moment only to, she imagined, take another generous drink from his fresh, newly opened bottle of scotch. "Plus, it'll help matters even more that Cowboy will be our dealer, but, if anything gets out of hand, you'll be there to, again, distract and calm their pacemakers down. It's a great plan."
"It's the worst plan you've had since your last terrible one backfired on us."
"Now that's kind of harsh," she heard him gripe through the thick, ornate wood of the bathroom door. "Just what exactly is wrong with my idea?"
"No offense and I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but who in the world would believe that you and I are a couple? I mean, you're old enough to be my father."
"Exactly, and that's the card we're going to use." The crafty conniver laughed to himself while shaking his crystal glass to make the ice cubes clink together before taking another drink. Sighing appreciatively as the alcohol coursed its way down his throat, he continued, "You, my dear, are going to have a Daddy complex."
That Elizabeth had not been expecting. "A what?"
"It's obvious to anyone who sees you and Cowboy in a room together that you have history, so I decided to make that work in our favor. We're going to tell those old geezers that you got sick of the little boys and dumped my no good son for me. You know," Luke mused, "it would help our cover story if we could point to any other past tendencies of you going for the older man. Let's see, you were involved with Morgan for a while there. Did you ever feel an attraction for the male Doctor Q?"
Finished with her transformation, she loudly slammed her hands down on the sink counter, gaining the former mayor and sometimes bar owner's attention. "That's it," she threatened, flinging the door open and glowering at the taller man before her. "If I'm going to help you, we're setting some ground rules right here, right now."
Gaping at her, he asked, "Darlin', what did you do to yourself?"
"Rule number one," the feisty brunette ticked off on her fingertips, ignoring his question, "if we go through with this and I pretend to be your wife, there will be absolutely no touching. This persona I'm portraying for you might have a Daddy Complex, but I sure as hell don't."
"You're supposed to be all cute and innocent, you know, so you can catch more millionaires with your smile and charm. This," Luke motioned towards her appearance, "is not what I was expecting."
"Secondly, there will be no tequila involved in this scam at any point."
"Got it," he agreed readily, "you don't dig the worms. I must admit that I'm partial, myself, to liquor that does not have living creatures swimming in it.
"And, finally," Elizabeth stated, steeling her blue eyes into cold ice and fisting her petite hands on her leather clad hips, "there will be absolutely no mentioning of, no alluding to, and no thinking about anything even vaguely related to Jason Morgan. Do we have an understanding?"
"I think I can handle your stipulations. The more important question here is: what the hell did you do to yourself?" Swallowing thickly, the older man gestured up and down her small form with a hand cupped around an empty scotch glass. "I never pictured Elizabeth Webber as a leather…and leather girl. Cowboy's even more dim-witted than I thought he was if he let this go."
"This is not me, Luke," the artist explained. "Who you're looking at is Lizzie Webber, my trouble making, chain smoking, badass alter ego. She's the girl you want for this plan; she's the girl who can pull this off."
"You ain't a kiddin'. I have a feeling Lizzie can pull off just about anything."
"Damn straight, she can," she reassured him. "Now, let's get this show on the road. Where's Lucky?"
"I sent my unfortunate offspring off to get us our new fake ID's." Looking down at his watch, the brains behind their operation continued. "He should be back by now though and waiting for us downstairs in the car." Holding his arm out for her to take, he asked, "shall we?"
"I've got nothing better to do," Elizabeth stated. "Just one more thing though before we go. What is my new alias?"
"It's a surprise, Darlin', but I think you'll find it to be…fitting."
His laughter carried them out the room, and, as she accompanied him to the elevators, all she could think about was the fact that she was making a very big mistake. Luke's plans never worked out the way they were supposed to. The only question at that point was though: just how wrong was the scam going to turn out?
"Quit breathing so loudly," the brunette sitting across the aisle from him snapped, offering him an angry glare before turning back around to face the sanctuary that looked like the inside of a Pepto-Bismol bottle. "God, how can anyone put up with you?" He ignored her like he always did, saving his barbs for when they could be used for ultimate damage. So, instead of responding, Jason simply cracked his knuckles, leaned back in his chair, and crossed his feet at the ankles. "Just to let you know," Brenda continued in what he would consider her unreasonable, snotty voice, "Hewoman is not stepping foot in the penthouse once I move in, and, if you want to see her, you better be discreet, because, despite this marriage being a sham and one of convenience, I will not have you making a fool out of me all around town."
"Why not," the enforcer asked not even bothering to look at his fiancé. "You do a good enough job embarrassing yourself already? After all, you are crazy. That's why we're here, isn't it?"
"At least I don't let my supposed best friends yank me around by a chain that's attached to my balls." Laughing derisively, the former model mocked him. "And you like to claim that you are your own man, that you make all your own decisions and don't let anyone tell you how to live. Ha, that's a joke."
He knew he shouldn't bait her, that he should just let their petty argument drop, but there was something about the woman he was preparing to marry that turned Jason into an immature, insulting five year old. "What exactly are you yammering on about?"
"I'm yammering on," Brenda repeated, using air quotes to ridicule his choice of words, "about your inability to say no to Sonny and Carly. I mean, look at you. You're here, marrying me, because Carly's too insecure about her marriage to trust that her husband won't leave her for me. Just because you're the second in command, Jason, that does not mean that you have to fix all of your boss' wife's problems. It's a good thing your relationship with Hewoman is a joke, because, otherwise, it wouldn't last. Any normal girlfriend would quickly get sick and tired of you always being at Sonny and Carly's beck and call and dump your ass. We might as well pick you up a studded dog collar from one of the novelty shops while we're here, because you're already wearing a figurative choker."
"Are you finished yet," he asked, even going so far as to wait for the brunette's response. She paused, contemplated his question, and then, finally, nodded grudgingly. "Good. Now, can you shut the hell up, please? You haven't shut your trap since we left Port Charles. No wonder you're insane. If I had to listen to you talk for thirty years, I'd be one foot in the nut house, too."
"I might be certifiable, but at least I'm living in the present."
"I have no idea what the hell you're talking about, nor," he added when she went to interrupt him, "do I care." Waving his hand towards the back of the chapel where they first came in, "shouldn't you go and powder…something?"
"Me," the petite woman questioned. "If anyone here needs to look in a mirror, it would be you. Fonzie called, Jason, and he wants his wardrobe…and his hair gel back."
Folding his arms across his chest, the enforcer stared straight ahead, his facial expression impassive and hard. "Nice try, but I'm not going to bite."
"You do realize that fashion is an evolving thing, don't you," Brenda queried. "It changes, it grows, it progresses. Couldn't you, I don't know, say try a pair of khakis and a button up shirt? I know this is a revolutionary idea, but couldn't you try, just once, the idea of washing your hair and not immediately dirtying it again with more hair products than the entire pool of Miss America contestants use?"
"Not all of us can be as cool as you and cut off the sleeves of our shirts and still wear them. Or wait," Jason paused, smirking at the irritated woman he had foolishly agreed to make his wife, "was that the illness that made you do that and not fashion? Didn't anyone ever tell your doctors that crazy women should not be given scissors?"
"This is pointless," the retired cover girl announced, standing up and dusting off the front of her jeans. "I'm going to go and see what the delay is. Try not to do anything extreme or radical like grow a backbone while I'm gone. It'll be much easier to be married to you if I can walk all over you," she stated while sauntering out of the chapel, not even bothering to turn around and face him while she talked…not that he particularly wanted to see her smug face anyway. In fact, if he had his way, Brenda Barrett would disappear from his life for good, never to return, but Jason knew better than to wish for things, because he never got what he wanted. What he wanted ran away from him without looking back, and the worst part was that he couldn't even blame her.
"Two beautiful, brunette, and not-so-blushing brides in one night, how did I get so lucky?" Jason heard the owner of the chapel loudly declare from somewhere behind where he sat. The short, obnoxious man had introduced himself earlier, but he hadn't cared enough to listen. "The question is: who's getting themselves hitched first?" The minister laughed at his own comment, and the blonde haired, leather wearing, motorcycle driver winced, silently cursing his wife-to-be for what could easily be the hundredth time that night alone, for only she would pick a chapel with such an unbearable proprietor. "Well, thanks to some quick thinking and some planning ahead, it looks like Miss Morgan Mainequarter and her fiancé are up first. If you could just proceed to the front, we'll be able to get started shortly."
Cursing himself and his sudden, newfound inability to remain aloof, the enforcer found himself turning around in his chair to look at the woman behind him. Her name had just hit too close to home, throwing him, and he needed to make sure it wasn't a trap or a set up. At that point, he wouldn't put anything past Brenda. Instead of a joke though, he saw the last thing he ever expected to see in Las Vegas…or rather the last person. Elizabeth Webber clad in leather from head to toe, from her bustier to stiletto boots, stood scowling at someone off in the shadows of the chapel's foyer, completely obvious to his presence.
Before he could question his actions or rethink them, Jason found himself standing up and quickly striding down the aisle, intent upon speaking to the woman masquerading herself under an alias derived from his own name. He needed to make sure that she wasn't in trouble, that she didn't need his help, and he sure as hell needed to find out who she was marrying and put a stop to it. It was one thing that he was willing to tie himself down to someone he couldn't stand, but it was an entirely different story if Elizabeth was doing the same thing, because, in his book, she deserved so much more.
"There you are, Pookie," a familiar voice called to Elizabeth just as Jason was about to say her name and get her attention. "Are you ready to make me the luckiest man on earth?"
"What in the hell are you trying to pull, Luke," the youthful waitress directed daggers with her turbulent sapphire eyes at the older man, the older man who was dressed in a powder blue, ruffled, ill fitting tux, complete with top hat, cane, gloves, and a fake, orange, fur stole. Looking at the club owner his own boss used to consider a partner, Jason wasn't sure if he had ever seen anyone look more ridiculous than the elder Spencer. "Morgan Mainequarter, is that your idea of some sick joke? Have you already forgotten about rule number three, you know, the anti-Jason Morgan rule?"
The grey haired schemer's gaze met that of the enforcer's, and he frowned. "Blame my shiftless son for the name, Darlin', but, as for your ex, it appears to be a little to late to avoid him."
Elizabeth watched as the only father figure she had ever known pointed into the chapel, and, as she turned to look in Jason's direction, their eyes locked together, and she froze in place. "Oh."
Just then, Brenda decided to join their awkward group, calling out for the director of the wedding chapel. "Can we please just get this farce over with already? Even my fiancé's super hold hair gel doesn't last forever, and he's going to want to look his best in the wedding pictures. This might be my fourth wedding, but it's his first."
Jason could only stand by and watch as the scene before him unfolded, knowing that, if he were capable of dreaming, the events that were occurring would have been born straight out of one of his nightmares.
Luke chuckled, nodding his head in amusement. "I'm not normally a claustrophobic man, but is it just me or is the planet feeling a little undersized and stifling right about now? This is just the situation where a guy wishes he had a flask hidden somewhere on him."
"Oh my god," the past model exclaimed, moving towards the night club owner's side. "I can't believe you're here. What is Lu…"
"Stop right there, pretty lady," the older man ordered her good-naturedly. "Around these parts," he explained, taking her hand and kissing it with a debonair flair only the truly eccentric can pull off, "people call me Jimmie Bind. You, however, are a sight for sore eyes. It's been too long, Darlin'. How are you?"
"I'm…alive," Brenda hedged, shrugging and laughing softly. "You?"
"I'm amazing. Miss Morgan Mainequarter over there and I," Luke pointed to Elizabeth, "are getting married tonight."
"Wait a minute, isn't that your son's ex-girlfriend?"
"She was ill-fated enough to date Cowboy." With a wicked twinkle to his otherwise kind eyes, the scam artist continued, "she also used to date what appears to be your fiancé. I didn't realize you and Jason were so close, but, considering the fact that he and Sonny have already shared my dreadful niece Caroline, this shouldn't be too surprising."
The hit man in question glared at the grey haired lush across from him but still didn't say a word. Instead, Brenda took it upon herself to clarify Luke's suspicions. "Jason and I are not a couple, nor are we in a relationship. Our getting married is a business arrangement, pure and simple, and nothing more, one we will be fortunate to make it out of without killing each other."
"That's quite the romance the two of you have going on," the former mayor announced, smiling brightly, too brightly for Jason's tastes. "It's the stuff movies are made out of, if you ask me."
"I'm sorry to interrupt this little…reunion the four of you seem to be having," the chapel's proprietor spoke up, "but is there going to be a wedding today, and, if so, I need to know whom I'm performing the ceremony for."
"Yes," Jason surprised everyone by answering. Stepping forward, he stalked his way towards Elizabeth's side, gently took hold of her right hand, and clasped their fingers together. "We'll be getting married."
Brenda threw her hands up in frustration, Luke started patting himself down as he looked for the bottle of liquor he had mentioned wanting earlier, and the beautiful, stunned woman beside him simply looked up at his face, amazement and acquiescence sparkling in her indigo irises. The minister was the first to speak.
"You do realize that her name is going to be Morgan Morgan?"
"Actually, my first name is Elizabeth. What you saw earlier was a fake ID."
"Do you have a real one," the chapel's owner wanted to know. Apparently, by his nonchalant attitude, the switching of grooms and the use of aliases were a commonplace occurrence. Reaching into her back pocket, Jason watched as his new bride-to-be pulled out the desired form of identification. "Well then, everything seems to be in order. Whenever you're ready, simply meet me at the other end of the aisle." And with that, the director walked away. Already having been paid, he was content to forego formalities.
"This is just great, Morgan," Luke complained, tossing aside his fake boutonnière in a disgruntled gesture of impatience. "Now how the hell am I supposed to pull off my plan?"
"Marry Brenda," the enforcer answered, shrugging his shoulders. "She only wants someone there to take care of her when she finally loses it completely. You're already insane, so, the way I see it, the two of you are perfect for each other."
"If it wasn't so true, I'd take issue with what you just said."
"Look, helping you run your scam would probably be a good thing for her," Jason continued as if he had not been interrupted by the older man. "It'll take her mind off her own problems, and, if nothing else, she's a convincing liar."
"Wow, thanks for the stellar recommendation," the brunette in question pouted. "It's good to find out what you really think of me."
He ignored her, and, instead of commenting back, turned to face Elizabeth. "Are you ready," he asked, surprising the other two witnesses to his impromptu marriage to Elizabeth with the fact that he actually smiled genuinely at his future wife. "We can get the paperwork filed later to make this official before we leave town."
"Okay," the up-and-coming artist agreed. "This is such a completely insane thing to do, but it feels…right. So, yes," she consented again, squeezing his hand with both of hers, "I want to marry you, Jason Morgan."
As they made their way down the aisle together towards their future, Jason couldn't hide his grin, even with Brenda's taunting words ringing in his head. "If you do this, don't you dare think I'm going to tell Hewoman for you. My face is too pretty for her to mess up."
"As is mine," Luke concurred.
Yes, they were going to have many issues to face when they returned to Port Charles from their trip to Vegas – his absurd relationship with Courtney would have to be officially ended, a line between his professional and personal lives would have to be drawn, they would have to decide where they wanted to live and then move their things in together to make one home, people would have to be told of their decision to elope, and, as a couple, he and Elizabeth would have to learn how to be married to each other. However, before they returned to the reality of life, Jason was determined to make her his wife, and, once their ceremony was over, he was taking her to the first courthouse they saw to file a marriage license, to he first car rental agency they ran into to rent a motorcycle, and then to a small, intimate inn on the California coast that he had passed before on one of his many journeys to make love to the woman he was going to spend the rest of his life with.
It was strange how things worked out sometimes. Here he had gone to Vegas to start a lie, and he was leaving it only after finding the truth.