Prompt #13: Black Licorice
For a Charm of Powerful Trouble
Enough was fu… freaking enough already.
Jason understood that things came up sometimes; distractions, commitments, even illnesses were unavoidable. As a renowned hit man, he was used to complications in his life, having to reorganize his schedule and prioritize his time so that he could minimize his workload, and he was good at it. With five years of experience doing just that before he and Elizabeth started dating thanks to being a single parent, the enforcer had assumed working his girlfriend into his schedule would be no more difficult than finding opportunities to spend with his little girl. He had been wrong.
The first week had been amazing. He, Elizabeth, and Ella appeared to be perfectly in sync and in tune with each other. While his girlfriend and daughter went to school, he went to work, and then they had all afternoon to spend together, and, after his five year old went to bed, he and the woman he loved had all evening to be alone. Most of the time, they were at his place, though she didn't seem to mind, mainly because it had more than one main room like her studio, providing the necessary privacy they needed, and everything had gone smoothly until… well… it didn't. In fact, after eight glorious days of harmony, all hell broke loose.
Between crazy mobsters demanding his attention (and, when he said crazy, he meant crazy in a beyond Sonny-esque way), his nanny quitting to run off and get married, and a sudden large amount of school work for Elizabeth, they had barely managed to see each other once a week. Then the holiday season rolled around, which, stupidly, he had thought meant things would get better for them, but they hadn't. Instead, Ella came down with the chicken pox, and, because his girlfriend had never suffered from the childhood virus before, she had been unable to have any contact with him or his daughter for almost three weeks. Once Ella was better, Elizabeth started student teaching, he had to go on business trips practically every other week, and life, in general, simply spun out of control.
So, here they were, a year into dating, and they had probably managed to spend fifty days together out of twelve months. Now, granted, fifty sure kicked the crap out of one, but, now that he had her in his life as his girlfriend, he was greedy, and he wanted much, much more. In fact, he wanted everything. He wanted them to live together, he wanted to fall asleep with her in his arms at night and wake up with her in the morning sprawled across his chest which seemed to be her habit. He wanted her to help him get Ella ready for school in the morning, and then, when his daughter went over to eat breakfast with her Uncle Sonny, he wanted to help Elizabeth get ready for school. It drove him crazy to see her in her tight fitting yet conservative teaching clothes with her hair pinned back, and he firmly believed she wore the seamed black hose everyday with her seductively sweet heels, mary-janes she called them, just to torture him, so, of course, he felt the need to watch her put them on every morning just so that he could count the hours until she came home and he could strip them back off of her.
He wanted to cook dinner with her every evening, help her wash the dishes every night, tease her while they did laundry together, and then take her on top of the washing machine. He wanted to know what it would be like to fall asleep holding in his arms while they laid out on the balcony during the summer or in front of the fire place during the winter. He wanted to teach her how to play using their pool table in their penthouse, and then, after she had learned, he wanted to make love to her on said pool table. He wanted all her girly stuff to crowd his medicine cabinet, he wanted her to hog the blankets at night and to slowly, over time, steal all his closet space, and he wanted to trip over her shoes and purses when he tried to make his way upstairs at night after a long day of work. He wanted it all, and, he had waited long enough. After all, Jason Morgan didn't sit back and let thing happen on their own; he went out and he simply did them. That's what he was paid for – taking care of business before business needed taking care of. In essence, he was a sort of problem solver, and this was one problem he could easily find the answer to.
So, he did.
He made some phone calls, he cancelled some meetings, and he actually threw around his money and his power to get everything he needed done in one afternoon. Now, it was time to sit back, bask in his self-satisfaction, and wait for the inevitable, figurative you-know-what to the hit the fan. And it would, too. As soon as Elizabeth got home from work, she'd see that everything in her apartment was gone – all her furniture, her clothes, her art supplies. He had even cleaned out her refrigerator, offering the men working for him that afternoon a free lunch. She would gape like a guppy for a few minutes and then come running to him.
As Jason Morgan's girlfriend she knew better than to call the cops, for, even if they could find a way to pull their heads out from where the sun doesn't shine, they would never help someone connected to him, so, instead, she would hope that he would be able to help her. Then he'd have to tell her that he had taken the liberty of moving her right into his penthouse, that he had given notice to her landlord that he could put her studio back up for rent, and that there really wasn't anything she could do or say about it. His comments would lead to her becoming angry, her anger would lead to a fight which, during the entire argument, he would have to hide his amusement at her temper, and, when everything was said and done, they'd have makeup sex and she would actually be happy to be living with him… or so he hoped. If nothing else, his actions would surely make for an unforgettable birthday for the brunette.
Luckily, he could always hear her getting off the elevator as she talked to the guards before she ever actually reached his door, and, that afternoon, it gave him the chance to wipe his smug grin off his face and appear nonchalant.
"All my stuff has been kidnapped!"
Oh, this was going to be even more fun than he had thought. She had bypassed worried, run through furious, and gone straight to paranoid. There were no greetings, no hello kisses, not even a preface to her irrational statement, and the enforcer couldn't wait to tease her.
"Kidnapped," he questioned with a mock-confused expression on his face. "Are you sure it wasn't just stolen?"
"Who would want my stuff?" Elizabeth threw up her arms in frustration. "Heck, I don't even want my stuff."
He rubbed his jaw, tilting his head to the side in thought. "So, then it's a good thing it was taken, right?"
"Just because I didn't like it, that doesn't mean I didn't want it," she explained, not really making much sense. "It was still mine, and it wasn't costing me any money. Unless I find my old stuff, I'm going to have to buy all new stuff, and I can't afford that."
"Well, I would offer to help, but," the blonde held up his hands before she could interrupt, "I know you, and I know that you hate to accept money from other people, so I won't even suggest it."
"Now, about this kidnapping theory you have," Jason turned the conversation back to its original topic. "Have you gotten a ransom note yet?"
She glared at him. "Very funny."
"I'm being serious," he defended himself. "If your things were really kidnapped, then there will eventually be a ransom note. What did they take? Did they take your bed?"
"Yes," the art teacher pouted, making him want to stomp across the room and take her full bottom lip into his mouth and never let it go.
"Damn, I liked that bed."
"It was lumpy," she complained.
"I don't know," the enforcer defended. "I always enjoyed myself when I slept in it."
"The first time you were ever in my bed, you were delirious," she pointed out, crossing her arms over her chest and glaring at him. "And, as for all the other times, we didn't exactly do much sleeping, and, once we did, you were always too exhausted to care how uncomfortable you were."
"You make a strong case," he allowed, turning around for a moment so she couldn't see his smirk. Pretending to be contemplating the issue for several minutes, he remained silent. Finally, he stated, "well, since you didn't like the bed, you were probably going to get a new one sooner or later anyway, right?'
"What else did they take?"
"Everything," she shouted, throwing up her arms to emphasize her point. "My clothes are gone. They took my painting supplies, my TV, even my school books. Hell, they even took my tampons and condoms."
"So," he mused, shrugging his shoulders, "by that we know that the kidnappers are women and like to have sex."
"Jason," she stomped her foot as tears started to well up in her deep, bewitching, blue eyes, betraying the fact that she wasn't really mad but scared and distressed, "this isn't funny! They didn't even leave the important, personal things like all my pictures of you and Ella or the paintings she's made for me. I can't replace that stuff."
He had taken his joke far enough.
"Your things are fine," he promised her, moving to stand directly in front of his girlfriend so he could tip her chin up and look into her wide, sad gaze as he spoke. "Your clothes are hanging in my closet upstairs, your paint supplies are in the guest bedroom, and your furniture is in storage. I put your photo albums in the bottom drawer of my desk, and all of Ella's paintings are hanging up on the fridge."
"But I…," she blinked rapidly, her tears disappearing just as quickly as they had formed. "I don't understand."
"I moved you in today. There's not going to be a your place and a my place any more," he answered, hardening his features into a stern face that, he hoped, brokered absolutely no argument. "There's just going to be our place."
"So, let me get this straight," she started, stepping away from him to pace back and forth behind the couch. "Without asking me, you took it upon yourself to make this decision, to move me out of my studio and into your home?"
"Our home," he corrected, but she didn't appear to hear him.
"And I assume you also gave up my apartment, so I can't very well go back there even if I wanted to, right?"
"You're not going anywhere."
"Right," she realized for herself, rolling her eyes. "And you did all of this without considering the fact that I might like a say or would appreciate having a conversation about it first? Jason," she turned to look at him, "this is a big…huge decision. There are a lot of things we're going to have to work out."
"Actually," he contradicted her, "it's quite simple. You live her with me and Ella, and we become the family I know we both want to be."
"What about my portion of the bills, of the groceries, of the responsibilities around here," she suggested, nodding her head as if she were agreeing with her own ideas. "And, speaking of your daughter, did you even ask her what she thought about this?"
"Ella loves you. She'll want you to live here. As for all those other things," Jason shrugged his shoulders dismissively, "we'll figure them out as we go."
Well, he certainly hadn't expected it to be that easy. "Fine?"
"Yeah," the artist reiterated her response. "Fine. I'll do this for you, I'll move in here and I'll like it, just as long as you do something for me."
"Name it," he offered, smiling widely. "Anything you want."
"You have to go with me to my work Halloween party tonight."
"No, don't do that, don't Elizabeth me," she threatened him, glowering in his direction. "You said you would do anything, and this is what I want." Sauntering past him, she went to move up the stairs. "By the way," she tossed over her shoulder, "it's a costume party."
"Now, Jason," she taunted, stopping to cast a disapproving look in his direction. "You're going to need punished later for that."
He simply grunted.
"Red or black?"
"Red or black what?"
"You'll find out later."
"Black," he barked, not really caring but going with a color he often relied upon for… we… everything. "Now can you tell me what it's for?"
"Nope," Elizabeth denied him. "It's going to be a part of your punishment later. I'm going to have one costume for the party and one just for you, and your only clues are that it'll be made out of something black and something very small." Pivoting back around to continue her way upstairs, she had one last thing to say. "Think about that while you're getting dressed for tonight, Jason."
Oh he would. He most certainly would.