A/N: Yep, I'm hooked on flash fic. Not being able to wait for the next challenge, I've decided to start an ongoing fic with the flash fic prompts to guide me. Like with Halloween Hookups, I have a general plan as to where I want this story to go, but nothing is planned or set into concrete. I'm allowing the prompts to inspire me. Hopefully everyone enjoys this first chapter. As for Reinventing a Quartermaine, I know I need to update it, and I will soon. Promise.
Prompt #261: And the truth shall set you free.
The No Name for Jason Morgan was one of life's many necessary evils. While the conception to most was just a cliché, in his existence, it was simply a means of explanation, something that he could use to excuse his actions. It had been the first lesson he had been taught by his unsolicited mentor and one he would, in all likelihood, never he allowed to forget. In their world, the idea of a necessary evil was there to sooth guilty consciences, and it served as a universal band aid for most if not all wounds, whether physical, emotional, or even mental, and, while Jason hated the expression, it was one he simply could not get away from.
As Alan Morgan's only son, he had been welcomed into an existence few ever experienced and even fewer could understand, and his acceptance in that world only grew when his father's boss, Michael "Sonny" Corinthos, had taken special interest in him as a child. With no family of his own, no siblings, no children, no wife, and not even a mistress, Sonny had seen his organization's doctor and, more importantly, the doctor's son as his relatives, taking the disowned Quartermaines under his wing, providing them with protection, care, and a more than cushy lifestyle, one that even their old moneyed ancestors could not imagine, all in exchange for their loyalty and their honor.
Oh, and also the fact that Jason would someday become the mob lord's dynasty – his sole heir in fortune, name, and position – even if the younger man didn't want it.
And he didn't.
But how could you refuse a don? For that, there was no simply answer. So, he hung back in the shadows, watched, listened, and learned, while, all the while, secretly looking for a way out of the life that had been chosen for him. As of yet, he had been able to keep his hands clean. Although he understood how the business operated and could, if the need came about, step in and run it himself, Jason did not take an active participation in the organization, much to his mentor's chagrin. Sonny insisted that the younger man should be by his side, his second in command, but his wishes were placated, for the time being, by Jason's wish to see the world, experience life, and exist freely for as long as he could remain an innocent, unconnected citizen. True, the other families knew what he was destined for, but, until he physically picked up a gun and declared his intentions, they left him in relative, un-hassled peace. For now.
However, nothing was ever cut and dry, black and white. While he had his freedom, it came with the chains and limitations of the wealthy, privileged class. Sure, he was the bastard son of a mob doctor, but, because both Alan and Sonny had money, Jason was expected to act accordingly. That meant education and the arts, fancy cars and ridiculously expensive clothes, nice restaurants and fine wines. And he hated all of it. If he had his way, he'd live in a simple, barely furnished apartment, he'd drive a motorcycle, he'd wear jeans and a t-shirt, opting for a leather and not a cashmere jacket during the cooler months, and he'd drink beer instead of merlot, but, as his second lesson under his mentor's tutelage had taught him, it was always a good idea not to rock the boat, and, with that in mind, he found himself that evening wearing a suit, sans tie, and eating at the most exclusive, pretentious restaurant in town. Luckily, he was alone and his guards were outside, so no one would know that he had ordered a burger and fries instead of fillet mignon and shrimp scampi and that his glass of red wine was going untouched while he made his way to the bar to order a drink.
Sliding onto a stool, he glanced quickly at his surroundings, a habit forcefully drilled into him since he was a child, before relaxing and settling down to await the bartender. He didn't recognize her from behind, but, knowing the penchant some women had for changing their appearances, Jason was not going to bet the money he had in his wallet that the waitress was a new hire. The No Name had several petite, female employees, and, though they had all been blonde the last time he had been there, hair dye was not a foreign concept. However, as the young woman turned around to face him, young being the operative word, he knew he had never seen her before.
"What can I get you?"
He narrowed his gaze, observing her closely. Big, innocent blue eyes fringed with dark, smoky lashes stared back at him while the girl's lips curled into a friendly smile. She didn't look old enough to serve him alcohol let alone work in a place where the clientele was predominately male and mafia connected, so there was no way Jason was going to let her serve him if she wasn't legal. It would be just his luck that as soon as his beer passed from her hand to his, the cops would storm the establishment, busting him for something he had unwittingly done by simply ordering a drink, because, even though Sonny's associates respected the fact that his future heir was not already ensconced in the business, the police didn't.
So, with that thought in mind, he demanded, "your ID."
Her smile disappeared instantly only to be replaced with an annoyed frown. With hands fisted on her cocked hips, the young woman demanded, "excuse me? I'm not the one standing on the outside of the bar, so either order your drink or leave."
"Are you eighteen?"
"How is that any of your business?"
Sighing, Jason reached up and pinched the bridge of his nose. The movement was a telltale sign that he was becoming frustrated. "Look,…"
"Elizabeth," she supplied for him.
"Look, Elizabeth, I'm not trying to give you a hard time," he assured her. "I just don't want any trouble."
That comment made her smirk. "And you think I'm going to give it to you?" At the sound of her naively stated words, his pupils flared and, against his better judgment, attraction coursed through him. "Trouble, I mean," the brunette clarified after several intense, awkward moments, realization setting in and making her aware of her innuendo laced question.
"If you're not of age and you sell me a drink, then, yeah," Jason told her, "you could make some trouble I really don't need right now. So, why don't you save us both the hassle and just show me your ID, okay?"
Although she obliged, handing him the plastic card, he saw her roll her doe-like eyes in exasperation and tap her foot while he looked over her driver's license.
The bite of irritation in her tone was unmistakable, and he found himself battling to keep his own amusement in check. "Hardly," he responded when he handed the ID back to the petite woman across from him, a woman, he had learned from her card, who had just turned eighteen. "I'll take that drink now though," Jason requested, realizing it might take more than one to help him unwind after their encounter. "A beer, please, in the bottle."
Leaning across the counter, Elizabeth simply smirked. "I have to see your ID first." And, with that, he knew the little vixen was up to something, and he was more than ready and willing to play along.
Reaching for his wallet, he pulled out his license, slipping it between his fingers and twirling it around before finally relinquishing it to the bartender. "Don't you know who I am?" With one glance at it, she handed it back.
"No, I don't, and that's a fake."
"What… how," he sputtered, completely flabbergasted, not by her realization but by the fact that she had come to it. Jason knew it was a fake; after all, he had several of them for they occasionally came in handy, but no one had ever called him on it before.
"You don't become an honorary member of a fraternity at the age of fourteen to not pick up on a few useful things," she explained, shrugging her delicate shoulders in a dismissive way. "I can spot a fake ID from a mile away, and that's not even a good one."
"I have an older brother, and we're close. While he was in college, I hung out with him and his friends all the time. I was their little sister, they watched out for me, and, in exchange, I took care of them. Plus," she added, observing him closely, "you don't look like a Frank. The name doesn't suit you. Do you have a real ID, or am I going to have to refuse you service?"
Without commenting, he pulled his wallet out once again and brought out the correct card, flashing it in front of her before withholding it. "Why do you need to see it," Jason wondered out loud. "If you want to know something about me, all you have to do is ask."
"Don't flatter yourself. There's nothing I want to know about you besides what brand of beer you prefer… except for your age. A girl really wouldn't want to serve someone who's underage during her first day on the job."
"First day? Did you just move here?"
"You ask a lot of questions," Elizabeth pointed out, narrowing her gaze. "Are you a cop?"
"No," he answered, "the complete opposite in fact."
"Oh, so you're a criminal?"
"Not yet." Apparently, candor was the theme of their evening. "But someday…"
"We all could say that," the brunette returned. "Someday, we could be anything. Life's fickle like that; it can change in the blink of an eye. Today I'm a bartender, but someday, who knows what I'll be."
"I'm pretty sure about my future," Jason confessed. "But, back to my ID, surely you don't really think I'm underage?"
"A girl can never be too sure." Holding her hand out, palm facing up, she asked, "may I?"
Acquiescing, he handed her his license, his real license, hoping the sight of his name wouldn't make her freeze up or turn away from him if she recognized it from the papers or the news. He liked her. In fact, if he were honest with himself, he'd admit that he really liked her, more so than any other woman from his past, and there had been plenty. She was obviously intelligent, quick witted, and she could make him laugh. Add those qualities to the fact that she was drop dead gorgeous, and the result was desire. He wanted her, maybe not at that moment, but he wanted her, and, as long as she didn't turn him away, he knew that sometime in the future he would have her.
"So, Jason," she grinned, giving him back his ID and remaining in front of him, open, receptive, and warm, "what will it be? What kind of beer do you want?"