I don't know about this fic, so I need you folks to tell me when it starts to veer into places you don't want (um I should point out that the Jake involvement in this fic is just as set as it is in DWYB, we will see what happens with Jake and Jason, but it won't be until maybe the 3rd to last chapter of this fic…do keep in mind that the fic isn't going to be longer than 6 months' worth of events). Characters you like, types of scenes you like, things you had liked previously in the story and I stopped doing…As in this story had a set start and a set end with only a few definite things I wanted to see happen from those two points. So speak up if you have an opinion. That being said…
We Were Friends Once. I greatly dislike this fic. I hate the writing style I used at the start of it, which is the writing style I always used to use because I wanted a direct line of sight into the characters thoughts that involved no interpretation. I get that you folks like it, I personally like the concept of it, but oh man making me reread it is torture. :-P I lost the outline that I had plotted out for this story years ago. I have NO idea if there was anything else I wanted to include in this story, but I'm pretty sure the majority of the chapters would be filler. I know where it would end, Brenda still pregnant, probably only a few months from the last scene (obviously an epilogue…You know I like those). So if you guys want I will just write that last chapter, but if there are things you wanted to see prior to that speak up. Toss it in your review of this story; send me a message later on if you think of something. If you all just want an end, I can just do that.
Slow and Steady
"We should make this our Christmas card," Brenda said from the couch.
"We're not sending out a Christmas card," Jason gave a dirty look around his apartment and the white and silver explosion that had overtaken it thanks to Georgie, Spinelli and his credit card last week. Oddly enough he hadn't minded decorating and the smell of burning gingerbread men as Brenda got distracted correcting his tinsel placement. He wouldn't ever mention that to her though.
"Why are you looking at that again?" Jason diverted his eyes so he wouldn't see Brenda in the skimpy costume again. He still couldn't believe the production company had leaked those to drum up interest in the show.
"Who wouldn't we're gorgeous. I really hope all of those bitchy wives from the Metro Court see this. We've maintained like…Actually wait no I think we're better looking now and with your haircut and losing 15 pounds."
"Why do I keep saving your life?" Jason muttered under his breath.
"Who wouldn't save this ass?" Brenda enlarged the side shot of her ass. "It's amazing. I think I look better in these than I did in Maxim."
Brenda launched herself at him as he stepped into her trailer.
"What's wrong?" Jason asked with his heart pounding in his chest, holding her as tightly to him as she was holding on.
Did she know about the pounding in his heart that was telling him to run? That he had to fight nearly every second of the day? "Brenda?"
"Can you just not? Can you promise?"
"I promise," he whispered knowing that he would continue to do everything in his power to stay.
"We have thirty minutes, so I think we should-" Maxie said walking in looking down at the papers in her hand, "Oh hey Jason." Maxie's eyes widened, "What did you do to her?"
"It was that damn tape," Brenda said pulling away and wiping away the tears that had begun to pour as Jason held her. She had been frozen watching the tape, it was as if her entire body had been overtaken by ice, but Jason's arms had been real and warm, allowing her to melt.
"It was field day!" Maxie shook her head walking into the room. Maxie had asked Chris for something from high school so Brenda could mirror that reaction when she saw Joe's character Josh for the first time in a decade. She was not expecting having to rush Brenda over to makeup and hoping she would be able to pull off being an ice queen with only a flash of emotion. Maxie walked over to the couch grabbing the remote, quickly rewinding, "With dead people. Brilliant. Remind me to thank him. Okay we need to get you over to makeup, so pull it together." Maxie shoved the clipboard under her arm as she moved to hustle Brenda out of the room, "You've done enough, stay," she ordered Jason as he moved to follow.
He frowned, but stayed annoyed with himself a moment later as he realized he had just followed her instructions.
Knowing Brenda was being watched by the guards influenced Jason's decision to sit on the couch, curiosity of the dvd more tempting than watching Brenda get her makeup touched up, yet again. He started it over and mostly watched it on 4x. There were familiar faces, more so than he realized. People he saw around town, but never paid much attention to them. They weren't the focus of the tape no that was the group that had been at the Metro Court, but those other faces, seeing them over a decade earlier was peculiar.
He and Brenda were with the Metro Court group. He had slowly been gleaming information from everyone. He knew that by this point in the school year, late spring judging by the green grass and tee shirts, he and Brenda were single. Single and apparently not willing to mingle with Karen and Jagger because aside from a few snotty from Brenda, they stayed far away.
They looked normal; they looked as if they were actually a part of that group. He had once been friends with everyone, it was difficult to understand, difficult to even try to imagine being the person who easily laughed with everyone around him. To see himself with Brenda. Using her as an arm rest, her using his arm as a pillow, picking her up and hearing laughter instead of screams.
He didn't like it.
Any of it.
He saw a glimpse or two of Karen, a teenager, who wouldn't even have another decade of life. A sweet girl with problems just like Emily, she would go to med school just like Emily, she would get her life together just like Emily and then it would be snatched away in seconds…
He continued to watch on fast forward, he had tried to stop and listen to it, but he realized it hurt. To see and hear them like that, knowing how it would turn out. So he just watched.
Then out of nowhere the pain was searing.
AJ turned up, in slacks and a dress shirt.
Jason had noticed a few spectators on the side, a few parents, a few teachers, but mostly younger students looking on and cheering their friends, only noticeable because they weren't in their gym uniform.
AJ was there though and Jason realized the young man that had once been him was happy to see him.
Jason's discomfort intensified noticing that AJ's ease with his brother's friends was even greater than Jason's. He easily talked to them all, he easily made them laugh.
Then out of nowhere he was frowning at the screen. There was an odd interplay between AJ and Brenda that ended in Brenda smirking and moving to talk to a guy, eventually throwing a look back at AJ.
"Yea yea, you definitely used to want to fuck Brenda," Maxie said walking into trailer, "definitely weird to watch." Maxie shook her head recalling what she had seen earlier versus what she had seen the past week she had been coming to the set when she wasn't working. She was still refusing to accept what Georgie kept saying about them, especially after how Brenda would talk about Chris.
Jason frowned at Maxie.
"I need to head back to Port Charles; I have work in an hour."
"Isn't that what you're doing now?" He knew Brenda had offered her a part time job as her assistant after the first day Maxie had come to visit and taken over everything.
She gave him a look.
"Get Joe's number?"
Maxie just smiled.
Jason headed out of the trailer as Maxie gathered up her things, heading over to the set he knew Brenda would be on.
Brenda flashed him a smile as her attention returned to the director.
"He is the one person you never expected to see again, but you always expected to see."
Jason watched them run through the scene several times. Both Brenda and Joe were off according to the director, though Jason wasn't quite sure what the man was looking for. He wasn't sure how Brenda was supposed to pull off a flash of hope, so brief it would barely touch her lips, followed by coldness. Maybe though, he wondered if he hadn't seen that before. Maybe he thought of how a moment of kindness could cause her to break down.
He started thinking about the people he had just watched on the dvd, the people they had once been as Brenda portrayed someone who was exactly living the life she had wanted and planned for, yet was unhappy. Her character was regimented, living what she and most viewed as a perfect life. Marriage to her high school sweetheart, three children, a large house. A life that was perfect on paper yet left her empty. Jason knew Joe's character was the guy Charlotte hadn't picked, the guy no one ever knew was an option. Charlotte's husband, Doug was the guy that had wanted all the same things as her; Josh was the guy that had wanted his life to be an adventure. He knew the basis for Brenda's character was that she was finally starting to realize that despite getting exactly what she wanted, it might not have been what she needed.
Jason was still stuck on that guy in the dvd though. The guy he had never wanted to be. The guy he had wanted nothing to do with. He wondered what it was like to feel joy like that, to have things constantly be easy. He wondered what it would be like to have the type of life he saw Brenda in at the moment. To see her walking down the front steps, to see kids running after her… He wondered why he thought of that.
He stopped at her room as he headed to his own. He stopped because he heard his own voice. His voice from long ago. He knocked and waited for her to tell him to come in, it was a consideration she rarely granted him.
She had been crying the tears were still fresh in her eyes. "I forgot that this was that day when I gave the dvd to Spinelli," Brenda nodded at the screen. Her face just barely lit by a candle.
"Did he normally lecture you about Sonny?"
"More AJ and Edward."
"Did you sleep with AJ?" The question once more shot out of his mouth without thought.
"That's disgusting he slept with Julia," then she frowned, "actually back then that sounds like something I would have definitely done."
"That wasn't an answer."
Brenda smiled out of nowhere, "We used to play with each other. It was different then."
"More so than I realized," Jason said moving to sit on the end of the bed.
"I don't like this show."
"It's life not a-"
"No, I mean the scripts and filming, the actual show. I don't like having to think about the past. I don't want to be in a tv show where my character is surrounded by friends that she's had her entire life."
The majority of the people he knew he had known for most of the life he could recall.
"I've run into people I went to boarding school with, Chris and I had dinner Tamara and her husband and she was nice and she was nice when we were in high school, but I…I always had to be different, I always had to be the one that stood out, that got the attention. I could never just let things be easy."
"Do you want to talk about how we would have been married with children again?"
"Did you seriously just make another joke? I think that's like your third today. Maybe we should have gotten you a cat scan the other week. And it was child, not children. I would have bailed."
"I don't think he would have let you." Jason looked at the screen, he knew his face wasn't up there, the camera was trained on Brenda, the focus…
"You suddenly became an expert on who you used to be?"
"I think I'm starting to understand him."
"What do you understand?"
"I don't think he let things go. The Quartermaines, AJ, you."
"I wish he had," Brenda's eyes went to a distant place as she looked at the screen, seeing through her own eyes once more and seeing him. For a moment, he was there with her entirely.
"No you don't."
Her expression shifted so briefly he wasn't sure what it meant. "No I don't," she admitted.
He watched her shake it off.
"I told Sonny just a few weeks ago that I didn't have any regrets about the past."
"You do now?"
"The friendships my character is supposed to have, the family. I don't know why I always had to make everything so difficult."
She rolled her eyes. "When the director was telling me to look at Joe and that flash of hope. I don't feel that anymore. I looked at him and I saw Sonny and it hurt. No matter how good and how much promise, right now I don't feel-"
"Sonny isn't Joe."
She rolled her eyes again, "I am aware-"
"No I mean he isn't Josh, if you're comparing this to your life he's Doug."
"The excitement, the adventure-"
"Everything you thought you wanted."
Her mouth remained open. "Sonny's Doug."
"He's the life you thought you wanted."
"That makes a lot more sense." She paused taking that in. "I thought I wanted the fame and drama-"
"Can you exist without drama?"
She lifted a finger to curse him out, then shrugged. "I really had wanted it Jason. That intensity and…" Brenda shrugged. "What do you do when you realize you've made all the wrong decisions?"
"Start making the right ones?"
"I keep trying that," she turned with a wry expression, "doesn't seem to work."
"Ask me first," Jason smirked then moved to get up.
"No stay, watch tv with me."
"I'm going to go-"
"Run away from all your past decisions?"
He stopped standing.
"I am not as dumb as you think I am."
"I never said-"
She gave him a look. "We can't do anything about our past, but we're going forward, remember? So sit down and you can pick what we watch."
"Do you really want to leave me alone and introspective? How do you think that's going to turn out?"
He sat back down.
"Hey," she greeted him a smile, stopping at the edge of the porch. Her dark straight hair fell just past her shoulders. Sunkissed shoulders, barely covered by the straps of the navy blue sundress she wore, her feet bare.
"Have a good day?"
"No complaints. You?"
"Tons," she smiled.
"Where are the kids?"
"In the backyard, possibly killing each other. I'm not that concerned."
He chuckled and took the steps slowly, just as he had taken the whole walk from the car because sometimes that first sight was everything and you wanted to savor and hold on to it before it slipped away.
She smiled brighter as he was the step below her, still just ever so slightly taller than her. Her arms wound around his neck. "Hello dear."
She came in for a kiss then, long and slow. A brief interlude from their life.
"Daddy!" a small voice yelled as footsteps tore at them and tore them apart.
Brenda awoke scratchy and looked down at her arm expecting to see boils after falling asleep to the program about the plague. She turned ready to scold the warm body next to her for picking such a show. He was asleep though. Smiling even. He looked happy, rested and young. She realized he looked better than he had in a long time. They were turning a corner, both of them. She was sure of it. She looked at the time and realized she had 10 more minutes before the alarm would sound. She let her body snuggle back into the bed, pulled the blanket up once more.
"Put an offer in," Jason said walking around the kitchen on his cell.
Brenda frowned as she entered the room.
"That's right," Jason ignored her as she silently tried to communicate with him. "Let me know what he says."
"Who says," Brenda asked as soon as he hung up.
"There's a garage on Fern for sale."
"I thought you were becoming a Private Dick."
Jason's brows barely lifted at the term, she hadn't stopped since Spinelli mentioned it in front of her. "I told Spinelli no."
"You've been telling him no for two weeks."
"Not going to happen."
"Why not?" Brenda shrugged. "You'd be good at it."
He looked at her, the longer she stayed, the more honest they both got. Part of him finally realizing that had been missing from his life for some time as they all kept trying to please each other, kept trying to do what the other needed or wanted. "I've had enough of other people's drama."
Brenda nodded emphatically in agreement, and then frowned. "So what are you going to do when Spinelli does this on his own and you need to keep bailing him out of trouble."
"Encourage him to return to computers?"
"When does the spring semester start at PCU?"
"You're not going to forget are you?" Brenda asked walking around the living room trying to gather her belongings before she left for the set.
Jason was half asleep, which was surprising since he had been awake for hours, of course the fact that he once more had a night full of dreams he couldn't recall and that left him wide awake hours before he meant to wake up... "Bananas, strawberries, milk, your cereal and peanut butter."
"Almond butter," Brenda corrected, frazzled because she had only been awake for a half hour and had barely stopped rushing the entire time.
"Raw and unsalted," Jason finished.
"I'll text you the list from the car," Brenda said shaking her head as she wrapped her scarf around her.
Jason rolled his eyes.
"I probably need my phone to do that," she shook her head. "They're going to have to kill me off after the first season if this 5am thing continues."
He chuckled, "They're just trying to make up time." They had filmed the two hour premiere before Brenda had been brought on, but the network insisted they revamp the show after seeing it, which led to Brenda getting the job and major time crunch they had been working under.
She looked at the phone in her hand that she had just grabbed from the desk, "This is not my phone."
He laughed again and grabbed hers from the shelf he had watched her drop it on.
She sighed, already tired by the day that had barely started. "Lifesaver, okay I'll see you later," she moved in to grab the phone as she said good bye.
They both froze as they realized their lips had just brushed in a careless kiss as part of the departure.
She backed away quickly, "Okay we are spending too much time together."
"Agreed," his eyes were wide and looking up.
"Make a move on Gina tonight," she called out as she grabbed her purse and coat.
"Call me if you need me," he repeated as he repeated every time they parted now.
The front door slammed shut.
He turned just as it opened again.
"That would be useful," Brenda nodded at her phone, still in his hand.
He hid with Georgie and Spinelli at the table of the lounge they'd gone to. Sam had mentioned it a few years ago when it had opened, but it wasn't his scene so she hadn't pushed. Brenda obviously had no similar concerns. There had been no problems getting Georgie in just as Brenda told him there wouldn't be. Jason still kept a focused eye on her, not sure what Mac would do if his youngest child got drunk while out with him. It didn't matter that Maxie was out on the dance floor; Jason knew he would take the blame, especially since he had already handed over a credit card for the night.
"Is this going well?" Spinelli asked louder than necessary causing Jason to flinch.
"Blending with the little people, should we be dancing?"
He had obviously not been watching Spinelli as well as he had been watching Georgie and Brenda.
Georgie snorted in obvious unspoken agreement.
"If you want to dance, dance."
"The Jackal would never leave-"
Jason stood and gave a brief look at the guard next to him, making sure the man knew to watch their belongings and drinks.
He didn't walk to where everyone was dancing, but pointed Spinelli that way when he tried to follow him to the bar.
"Rough night?" Gina said taking in his face as he walked towards her.
He threw a look back at everyone on the dance floor.
"I'm living with my parents there is no way they can be worse than that."
His eyebrows lifted.
She let out a burst of laughter, "I'm impressed I could say that with a straight face."
He let out a loud breath.
"You need a drink or several…or maybe shots," Gina turned on the seat to get the attention of the bartender.
Logan and Maxie had taken Georgie and Robin home and Chris had left hours earlier citing an early morning flight down to the city for ELQ business and Gina caught a ride home with him claiming she had to leave before she needed to cut off her feet.
Therefore the SUV contained just as many guards as it did inebriated inhabitants. Spinelli was stretched across the backseat snoring off and on and Brenda was staring vacantly out the window at the darkened Christmas lights.
"Did you want to go away?" Jason asked continuing the conversation they had been having about Christmas, they had no plans, nothing they needed to do, and her mood had dropped significantly after that realization.
She frowned, "No," she sat up. "We're changing right? Going forward? You're buying a garage; I'm dating a guy that owns a house. If we want Christmas-"
"I didn't say I wanted-"
"We have a Christmas, our Christmas, in our place. With Christmas Eve and dinner, maybe footie pajamas for Spinelli."
"Definitely," she smiled already making lists in her head.
"Thank you for coming down, busy time of the year?" Joy Behar said as Brenda was surrounded by the ladies of The View.
"Thank you for having me, you got a day off filming so I can do my Christmas shopping."
"You do not want to go out there," Sherri said with wide eyes, "a woman tried to take me out for a scarf the other day."
Brenda smiled, "Maybe I'll just do it online."
"Ignore her, you have to go and see the windows," Elizabeth grinned, "so do you have any big Christmas plans?"
"No we're just having a small little Christmas, maybe have a few friends over."
"We," Joy's ears perked up, "now would we be your very gorgeous husband that I saw backstage? Oh I'm sorry ex-husband. Have you guys seen the pictures?"
"Oh no," Brenda didn't have to feign embarrassment for what she knew was coming, all while secretly enjoying it.
"Ex-husband," Joy said still looking back at the picture taken that day on the set.
"And me in my underwear on national television."
"I saw him backstage," Sherri deadpanned, "and I was thinking about going for a walk down Broadway so he could throw himself at me."
"Yes," Brenda nodded, "he is a very good ex-husband."
"I'll say," Whoopi joined in, "you normally try to run over your ex."
"Can I just say you two are pretty together," Sherri was still looking up at the screen, "I mean damn."
"Yea it's a really good picture."
"So he saves you from moving vehicles, travels down to the city with you and you're having Christmas together?"
"You know I didn't actually say that, you did."
"Probably because I keep seeing that you're living together again. So 2008, wedding bells?"
"You know I have to say this, Jason and I are very happily divorced."
"I'd put a ring on that," Sherri said once more looking up, "I'd lock that down."
"Speaking of lockdown," Joy said and the picture changed.
"Oh no," Brenda said hiding her head as a picture of her and Jason walking out of the courthouse appeared on the screen.
"Your personal life has more going on that a lifetime movie."
"Aren't I here to talk about the show?"
"She does have a new show coming out," Whoopi agreed.
"I'm pretty sure this is more interesting." Joy's eyes were wide.
"What I want to know is do we have any good shots, you know by the pool, in the bedroom, can he come out here and bench press me?" Sherri started giving come hither looks at the camera.
"Wow I'm really glad he can only divorce me once."
"Do you have to use me to sell your show?" Jason asked as Brenda entered the green room.
"According to my publicist, yes."
Thanks for reading folks!