1) Yea I have a lot of reviews I need to respond to for the Christmas binge I gave you guys. Totally getting around to that. It's busy work making and breaking New Year's resolutions. :-P Lol and to those who went "Where did you go?" when the updates stopped coming that was over a year's worth of writing. :-P Keep that in mind. I never intend to stop writing, the writing just won't come. I try and I try, but frequently I just end up with a bunch of half written stories that only Lori (super sweetie) reads.

2) I have decided to recast Gina Williams (Jagger's little sister to the newbies) with Alexa Breckenridge. I liked the difference of having a readhead and not a blonde, but yea Nikki Cox..Eh. Picture whoever you want, just picture her with red hair. :-P

3) So there had been an original end scene, which I hate, then as I went to go post this hours ago, a new scene started to emerge. Stories are odd, I really wish they'd let me have just a little control.


First Day of the Rest of Your Life…

"If you're bored you can leave," Brenda pointed out as she stood in the makeup trailer having the bruises on her body covered. They were no longer vivid and deep blues and purples, but yellowing, brown, awful reminders of that night.

"I'm trying to read, you're the one that keeps interrupting me," he barely looked up from the magazine because if he did he would have to see Brenda in the black and red lace lingerie set.

"How long have you two been married?" The makeup artist questioned. He had been with them for the past thirty minutes applying her makeup, but the art director had been standing over his shoulder having a long drawn out discussion with Brenda regarding the photo shoot that they were getting ready for.

"We're not," Brenda was quick to supply.

"Together?"

"No way in hell."

"Are you sure?"

"Very," Jason finally supplied.

"You were married right?"

"For like a month," Brenda brushed it off, she couldn't vehemently deny that, otherwise that would make it into the press.

"Hmm."

"What hmmm?" Brenda frowned looking down at the fellow.

"Nothing just curious."

"We're friends."

"Whatever you say," he nodded.

"Jason-" Brenda tried to order him to get involved.

"I'm reading," he ignored her.

-o-

"Jason right?" the photographer nodded at him.

"Yea?" He nodded glad to have a reason to keep his eyes off Brenda having her makeup fixed .

"Do you mind getting in a few shots, so I can check the lighting while we're waiting for Joe?"

Jason's eyebrows lifted.

"Five minutes?"

He sighed and stood.

-o-

"That looks amazing," the art director announced as he walked over. "Where's Joe?"

"Still in makeup," the assistant nodded at him.

"How late was he?" The art director sighed.

"It's fine. We're still setting up the lights," the photographer called over. "Have you come to bother me with last minute changes Damien?"

The art director chuckled, "If Joe can look like that with Brenda…I think we're fine."

Brenda was trapped in between the window and Jason.

"Make sure they aren't laughing in the actual shots," Damien nodded.

The photographer chuckled as the art director smiled.

-o-o-o-

Liz was waiting for the girls at Jake's, trying not to look at her phone, scoping out her phone as if she couldn't handle being on her own for ten minutes. She took a deep breath and tried to enjoy the feeling. No children crying for her attention. No ex-husband who still couldn't look her in the eye. The distraught gaze of Nikolas that threatened to pull her down with him. It would be easy to give in and fall apart. Em wouldn't want that though. Of course, if Emily were still around she would have slapped Jason upside the head for agreeing once more to have Lucky raise Jake. Then again maybe she wouldn't, maybe she would say, 'Isn't that what you wanted?' reminding Liz that she had been the one to make that awful decision because Jason had really seemed to love Sam and she couldn't bear to be the one to push Lucky over the edge.

It was all gone now. Everything was a tattered mess. She had no idea how to even begin to pick up her life, especially without Emily. She tried to remind herself of the times it had fallen apart before, but now all that seemed to make her ask was, 'Why bother?'

She wanted to give into the anger, the hurt, the betrayal, the loss. She wanted to tell Port Charles to go fuck itself because nothing ever seemed to work out. It gave her these glimpses of magic and snatched it away.

Robin and Laney walked in and she forced away the thoughts, she noticed they stopped their conversation quickly as they noticed her. Still they all plastered on smiles and prepared to spend the night toasting their friend who caused there to be one less bar stool filled. Liz refused to allow her thoughts to go to her friend's brother, who was across town, rebuilding his life with someone who wasn't her.

'Brenda and Jason can you even imagine that?' Emily asked with a bemused smile on day as they caught up on what had happened while Emily had been away at school.

'It was odd,' Liz smiled.

'I can't imagine Brenda ever accepting Jason for who he is now. At least they didn't kill each other. Once though, they probably would have been great.'

Emily would have been happy for the changes occurring now. To see Jason's life enmeshed with Brenda's. To see Jason out of Sonny's. Liz tried not to recall what they looked like play fighting over dinner as she walked into the kitchen. She tried and failed and called for another shot.

-o-o-o-

"What are you doing?" Her gait was still slightly stiff at times and he noticed the nearly hidden flinch of pain as she sat on the sofa next to him as he sat with his laptop.

"I'm getting a new bedroom set." His room currently haunted him. The room he had lived with Courtney and Sam, now filled with boxes from a room that never got to meet its occupant. They had emptied out the baby's room, which had long since been packed up, but neither he nor Sam ever had the heart to get rid of the boxes, it had been better hidden away like their pain. There'd been no choice but to turn it into an exercise room, partly for Brenda's physical therapy and partly to keep him from going insane trapped in the house.

The boxes in the room added to his insomnia as the rest of the house slept peacefully. No one mentioned the fact that he had taken up running on the treadmill in the middle of the night. Running and going nowhere. Something had to change.

"Really? Where are you looking?" She pulled the laptop away from him, "Did you google bedroom sets? What is this site?"

"It's a furniture site."

"Cheap furniture." She shook her head and plugged in a new address.

"Brenda I'm getting that set, I already decided."

"Oooh look at that," finger extended almost touching the screen.

"I am not getting a four poster bed Brenda."

"Well what," her finger moved.

"Or a wrought iron frame."

She frowned and leaned back, "You're no fun."

He laughed and took the laptop away from her.

"Can you just play a little?"

He chuckled; she was housebound and going as stir crazy as him… "Okay." The smile remained on his face as she shot up and took the laptop away from him again.

"So what did you like about the other set."

"The bed wasn't low."

"The bed wasn't low?"

"Half the beds out there it looks like you're sleeping on the floor."

She closed her eyes as she silently laughed, then out of nowhere let out a bark of a laugh.

"What was that for?"

"I may have had a mental image of you falling to the floor instead of a bed."

"Why did I ask?"

"I have no idea," she laughed and took the computer over again. "So what else? Wood, fabric, leather, any colors in mind?"

"Just something new."

-o-

They quickly picked out beds for everyone as they scrolled through the pictures, but flinching when they called a bed out as being a Sonny.

"Really," she said as he decided between the two beds he'd narrowed it down to.

"What's wrong with it?" He sighed because of course she'd find something wrong with it now and not when they first looked at it.

"Nothing."

He was going to regret asking this, "Just tell me."

"It isn't black or dark, it has detail, it's even a little retro."

He sighed, "Just add all the matching pieces and let's get this over with."

"Matching pieces," she gave him a dirty look.

He was really going to regret asking this, "What's wrong with the matching pieces?"

"Looks like you ordered it straight out of the catalogue and have no sense of design."

"And both of those things are true."

"You're impossible," Brenda shook her head ignoring him and went back to shopping.

-o-

"That one-" Jason paused suddenly realizing that Brenda had fallen asleep as they neared the end of their epic online shopping event. Bed, nightstands, dresser, chest of drawers, chairs, a small table, a bench for the end of his bed, a rug, bedding, two mirrors, she'd made it into three painting before she obviously conked out while they were on the hunt for the third and final one. "Brenda," Jason softly whispered.

"Hmm?"

"Do you like this one?"

"Mmm hmm."

Jason smiled and clicked add to cart and typed in all of his information from memory, information he was a little concerned Brenda might have herself memorized during this. Closing the laptop he debated his options to wake her or to carry her up to bed. He decided he'd pick after he rested his eyes for a bit.

-o-

Jason blearily opened his eyes as he heard Spinelli coming in the door, the guards on duty ensured he'd be loudly awakened if it had been anyone other than Spinelli, so he didn't rush the process of waking up.

Spinelli's eyes were wide as they frequently were; Jason no longer cared about the other man's incorrect beliefs regarding Brenda and himself. "Night," he nodded as he shifted his arms so that Brenda was no longer just holding him, but he was holding her before he stood with her in his arms.

"Ni-night Stone Cold," Spinelli choked out after him.

Jason let out a small smile as he climbed the stairs, he'd been spending too much time with Brenda lately, messing with Spinelli was fun.

-o-o-o-

"Did you get them?" Brenda smiled walking in the door after spending the morning on the set doing a table read.

Jason worried.

"Apparently it is frowned upon taking one of every single paint chip. The Jackal did eventually prevail and convince them this was not for a DIY blog, though now that I see what they are talking about it does look like something Persephone would appreciate."

"Paint chips?" Jason questioned.

"You can't have a fresh new room with old paint," Brenda brushed him off as she headed towards the stack Spinelli produced.

Jason frowned as they immediately dove into the colors, chattering as if they actually enjoyed each other's company. "I need to go out; can you not buy or paint anything until I get back?"

"Can't make any promises," Brenda waved a hand in the air.

-o-o-o-

Spinelli grunted at Georgie as she greeted him with a smile as he joined her at Kelly's.

"Rough day?"

He grunted again.

"Brenda?"

"And Stone Cold!" Spinelli's eyes went wide.

"Poseidon and Persephone are indeed a force of nature; they have not stopped the ENTIRE day. An HOUR of training this morning. Three miles, he made me run three miles!"

"You did ask-"

Spinelli glared at Georgie.

She shut up.

"The Jackal had not yet even finished consuming that morning's nourishment when he was informed they were removing every single piece of furniture from Stone Cold's private lair."

"Did you guys have any help?"

"Two guards!" Spinelli lifted his fingers, "Two, do you have any idea how many guards Stone Cold recruited?"

"Well he probably wanted the guards to…guard," Georgie shrugged.

Spinelli glared. "So what does Persephone do this entire ordeal?" Spinelli's eyes widened again, "She taped, she taped the edges of the room because AFTER all that, the entire afternoon painting! The bathroom too!"

"Does it at least look good?"

"Gah!" He threw his head onto the table.

"At least they're getting along," Georgie offered with a sweet smile.

"He was a benevolent, if sometimes abrasive mentor; she has sucked him into her favorite pastime of torturing his faithful Daniel-san."

Georgie let out a brief laugh and Spinelli only realized Liz was nearby after he came out of his stupor.

-o-o-o-

"Are Brenda and Jason out?" Lulu frowned in confusion because Spinelli had made it clear that Brenda was always around.

"We may find their bloody corpses they had been fighting over a lamp for twenty minutes before the Jackal was left with no choice, but to vacate the premises." Brenda had used Jason's credit card to purchase several necessary accessories online.

Lulu was in the middle of making another face as she took the final step up to the bedrooms.

"You have got to be kidding me-" Brenda screamed.

"Brenda calm down," Jason's firm voice.

Lulu and Spinelli darted down the hall.

"How am I supposed to calm down?"

"Then give me the popcorn."

Lulu and Spinelli arrived in time to see Jason removed the bowl from Brenda's hands.

"Hey," Jason nodded as he hit pause.

"Uh hi," Lulu nodded as she took in the scene. Brenda with her face scrubbed bare, her long hair resting on one side in a fishtail braid, the slouchy long sleeved tee, legs buried under the dusty blue comforter. Jason also under the sheets…

"Hey come in, watch the movie," Brenda patted the bed.

"If they're watching the movie, we're going downstairs."

"We're having a slumber party Jason to celebrate the room being done."

"We are not having a slumber party, we're watching one movie and then you're going to your own room."

"No we're watching 300 after this, you should stay Lulu, 300 ripped half naked soldiers."

"We're watching Casino Royale next," Jason shook his head at her.

She looked at him then shrugged, "I'm not gonna say no to a half naked Daniel Craig."

"Uh yea thanks for the offer, but I actually needed Spinelli to look at something, isn't that right-" Lulu looked around to find Spinelli missing from the hallway.

"He's probably already in his room."

"Yea okay," Lulu nodded, "I'm just going to close this door to give you pri- so we won't disturb you again. Have a good night," she raised a hand, "glad you're feeling better Brenda."

"What are they doing that they need to close the door?" Brenda turned to Jason. "I should text Georgie."

"Just eat popcorn and watch the movie," he shoved the bowl back at her before he turned the film back on.

-o-o-o-

Having Brenda and Jason's names set up for google alerts was a necessity that was generally a pain, but as the pictures came up, Spinelli found himself smiling out of the blue. They were entwined against a window, their body language one thing, but it was the natural smile of laughter as they looked at each other that made Spinelli smile. His suffering was worth it for that to be Stone Cold's reality. Of course now he had to tell Stone Cold that someone had access to the set that leaked those photos…

-o-

"You look like someone who could use a drink," Sam turned on the stool at Jake's.

"I am at a bar," Liz instantly regretted her decision to approach the bar while waiting for the ladies to show up.

"Well let me buy you a drink and we can cheers to Jason being everything we always wanted for him, out of the business, faithful, devoted, in love and laughing," Sam laughed herself recalling the pain that shot through her as she saw the pictures of Brenda and Jason together, "just not with us."

-o-

"I want to go out Jason," Brenda was putting her foot down, she really was.

They went to and from the set, they watched movies, they played pool. People came and visited, but she didn't visit anyone.

"It hasn't even been two weeks-"

"It has been 11 days-"

"And we still don't know-"

"Yea yea who was behind it. I get that Jason, but don't you miss living?"

"Better miss it than be dead."

"No Jason, see that's just the thing. It isn't. We're sealed up in here like it's a tomb. Don't you miss places that don't contain Spinelli?"

"Why can you two not get along?"

"Because we're trapped together in this incredibly tiny apartment."

He sighed.

"I love you guys, I really do, but let's be honest we need to see other people before we kill each other. Wait actually no, you get to leave the apartment, I'm the only one trapped."

"Brenda-"

"Jason," she put her hands on her hips.

"Get your coat," he shook his head and turned towards the door.

She smirked behind him.

-o-

"Let's do shots," was Brenda's greeting as her arms slid around Robin.

"I'm on call tomorrow," Robin laughed not surprised by Brenda's arrival since they had been texting.

"Who isn't slicing into someone's brain tomorrow? Jason's paying since he's driving."

"I need a beer," Jason nodded over the gaggle of females to Coleman.

"You need many," Coleman was already in the process of passing him one and subtly directed Jason's gaze across the bar to Sam and Maxie at a table and Liz talking to a friend.

Jason resisted the urge to swallow the beer in one shot.

-o-

"Jason!"

Jason looked over at the exclamation to see Gina Williams smiling at him with bright eyes.

"Oh my god it's been forever," she threw her arms around him.

"Yea."

She pulled, "I was so sorry to hear about Emily, she was such a sweet kid."

"Thank you," he nodded tensely.

"Gina, you came!"

Robin, Jason noted, had apparently forgotten trying to be a responsible adult.

"How could I not?" Gina smiled as Robin hugged her. "Wow even Brenda, this is a serious throwback. Jagger and I were just talking about you."

"Good things I hope," Brenda smiled.

"Of course," Gina continued to smile.

"Are you in town visiting your parents?" Brenda questioned.

"I actually just moved home. I was here this summer for a friend's wedding and I suddenly couldn't remember why I wasn't living here."

"I just did the same thing," Brenda smiled from her place next to Jason.

"It was so weird, I was so caught up living my life that I forgot to live the life I wanted. Does that sound insane?"

"Not at all," Brenda's head tilted hearing nearly the exact same message she had conveyed to Spinelli and Jason.

"Gina specialized in PEDS, she had an interview at the hospital today. Which reminds me, I want to introduce you to the girls.

Gina was soon whisked away by Robin.

"Didn't she used to have a crush on you?"

"Shut up," was Jason's only response.

-o-

It hit Brenda out of nowhere.

There had been a look from Jason as Liz was openly flirting with a colleague.

Liz had glanced in their direction more than once.

It was only as she glanced in the direction of laughter did she notice it. Did she notice that as Jason's head turned towards the noise that was a boisterous cheers from Kelly and Gina, did he catch sight of Liz staring at him. He turned away immediately. Then Liz with a heartbroken expression as she did the same.

It was guilt.

Brenda saw it now.

"You didn't-" was the straightforward accusation she made.

"Br-"

"Lucky's wife," her words were low, "Emily's best friend?"

"Brenda-"

"How could-"

He pulled her outside.

"So that's what happened between you and Sam? Liz and Lucky?"

He remained stone faced.

"You of all people Jason!"

"I know."

"Is it over? Is it still going?"

"Over."

Brenda sighed. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"I would have told you if I had."

"Let's leave."

"Do you want to say goodbye?"

"No," she started walking towards the car.

-o-

"You're human," Brenda said finally looking up at him once they entered the apartment, "I get that."

He forced himself to look at her, to see the disapproval he had seen in Emily's eyes.

"You've changed," Brenda sighed, "we've all changed, but you've changed a lot. Shit's happened. A lot of it. Most of it crappy and you somehow are better I don't know if it's because of it or in spite of it." Brenda drunkenly rambled, "We are who we are because of the life we've led and you've had a lot less life. So yea, I'm sorry I was a bitch. I appreciate the fact that we're friends now and if it took you fucking Lucky's wife to forgive the rest of us for being human and having emotions and fucking up-"

"Bad time?" Spinelli said with an awkward smile walking into the room.

"I'm going to bed," Brenda announced and headed up the stairs.

"Uh-" Spinelli said moments later.

"Go to bed Spinelli," Jason ordered.

"Happily," Spinelli muttered.

-o-o-o-

He was running as she walked into the exercise room the next morning. For a moment neither of them spoke.

Her hair was in a knot above her head, her hands hidden by an oversized brown cardigan, a loose white tank, black leggings. Dark circles under her eyes.

She studied him as well. The white tee-shirt drenched with sweat. Navy and white basketball shorts. Sometimes her heart broke for who they had become, when once their future had been endless possibilities and this was who they had become.

"You've lost weight," she informed him. Right now he looked old; he looked as old as she felt. Last night though, driving over to Jake's she'd noticed how he looked ten years younger than when she first arrived.

"Yea." Jason confirmed.

"You can't run from this, whatever this is, however long it's been going on. I know that this is more than Emily." Brenda nodded harshly, saying her name still brought pain. "I'm sorry for the way I acted last night. You were always black and white and I was used…And I'm lying." She paused for a moment, deciding to be honest, "You fall in love and you're faithful and you're good and you've been that way since high school and that's you. You're that guy. You fall in love and you're," her hands shook in front of her, "that guy." Her head shook, "The one time I thought you weren't, when I thought you betrayed Robin. It was like you weren't Jason. You finally weren't Jason."

Jason slowed his speed to a walk.

"It was that one thing that was always you and it was pretty much only you. And it just…I don't know. You think you know one thing about someone, one true thing. Everything that has happened, everything that has changed, everything and one that we've lost. I can't lose you, I can't have you be that stranger." Her eyes were glassy.

He stopped.

"If you aren't that guy, if you can stop being that guy then what the hell's the point of even trying with anyone." Tears fell despite the fact that she had been trying to appear strong.

He stepped off.

"If you can't be faithful-"

He hugged her, against all logical thought, he hugged her. He practically crushed her.

"Are you going to lock me in my room or commit me because apparently I'm having a nervous breakdown?"

"Would it make you feel better to know that technically Sam and I weren't together at the time?"

"Would I be pathetic if I said yes?"

"For once, no."

She noisily laughed as all of her now felt clogged with the after effects of crying.

She stood there letting herself be held, letting herself hold him. Feeling more desperate to hold on then when he had been swimming her to shore so many years ago. To hear and feel his racing heart.

She turned slightly as Spinelli just as quickly left the room as he had begun to enter it, "Don't want to know," had been all he muttered.

They both chuckled softly.

"I should go shower," Jason said slowly separating their bodies.

"Me too."

"Sorry," he nodded.

"Sorry about the you know," her hand lifted to her head, "mental breakdown."

He nodded slightly and moved to leave the room.

"Jase."

He turned back.

"Can we stop being caught up in everything else? Can we start living the lives we wanted?"

"I hope so."


So yea, I have no idea where that last scene just came from. I was writing you guys a note that hopefully it would be better in the morning when Brenda was sober. Yea next thing I know that emerges. I have no idea if it all works for the major plot points I had wanted. Guess we'll find out...