Though a name is not provided in this story, I had a definite person picked out to be our anonymous husband. I'm curious to see if you take the information provided for you and fit it with someone we're all familiar with. Also, we're going back now to fill in the FNF's I missed by skipping ahead for Jules. Other than that, this story is pretty straight forward, uncomplicated. Just have fun with it. Thanks and enjoy!

~Charlynn~

Missing in Action

A One Shot
FNF#38: I went out with a guy who once told me I didn't need to drink to make myself more fun to be around. I told him, I'm drinking so that you're more fun to be around.
~ Chelsea Handler

She was married.

Elizabeth Imogene Webber, her name until she got back home and legally changed it, was married, and, frankly, she had no idea how that had happened.

Sitting alone on her honeymoon at the hotel's bar, she lazily stirred the fruity, topical, alcoholic drink before her. Though it was only a little past four o'clock in the afternoon, she knew that she was, at least, slightly tipsy if not outright drunk, but she needed the liquid courage to face both her thoughts and the task before her. They had arrived the night before so late that both she and her new husband had immediately crashed, postponing the consummation of their nuptials for the next day, except, early that morning, she had gotten up, long before her significant other had, and disappeared from their room.

First, she had sat by herself in the hotel restaurant and had breakfast. Afterwards, she had gone to the spa, excusing her behavior as wanting to be completely primped and primed for when she and her husband finally made love. Because they hadn't yet… even before they were married. Foolish or not, Elizabeth had made it that far without giving up her virginity, so she decided, after she and her spouse became serious, that she would remain hymenly challenged until after she said 'I do.' She wanted her first time to be special, to be memorable, to be worthwhile, and, though she knew she was putting too much pressure both on herself and the actual deed, that knowledge had not been persuasive enough to change her mind.

Surprisingly, her husband had not fought her decision at all. He never once attempted to pressure her, and he never once even ridiculed her decision. In fact, he seemed, if not in agreement with her choice, then, at least, amused by it, and, while they had fooled around together quite a bit before the wedding, never once had she seen her partner naked, and never once had he seen her in anything less than her underwear. But his accommodating nature was one of the things that she loved the most about the man she had married. There were many other things she appreciated about him as well.

For one, he respected her as an artist. In fact, he supported her dreams without trying to make them come true for her. He went with her to gallery openings, but didn't insist upon buying her every piece she admired, and he went with her to fundraisers and benefits, donating anonymously so as not to draw attention to himself. When they discussed their life after they were married, he immediately agreed to whatever financial arrangement she desired. While he could shower her in expensive clothes, jewelry, and cars and buy them a large, opulent house outright, her new husband agreed to share the responsibility for the bills, and he never once showed a single qualm about her keeping her lowly job as a waitress as she toiled away, attempting to someday make it big as a painter. Essentially, he allowed her to stand on her own two feet… even when he was right there behind her to catch her if she would fall.

Elizabeth also loved the fact that her spouse knew how to have fun. Despite the fact that he was an upstanding, respected member of the community, he knew how to let his hair down. He would go to dive bars with her, drink tequila, and, even if he wouldn't himself sing karaoke, he still managed to enjoy listening to others make a fool out of themselves, including her. He would eat ice cream and watch chick flicks when she didn't want to go out on the town, and, when he suggested a camping trip and she wrinkled her petite little nose in dismay, he had surprised her with a tent and fake fire on the floor of his apartment building's parking garage.

And he took her dancing, too. Unlike all the other men the brunette had dated before, he didn't just stand there on the dance floor like a bump on a log, allowing her to do all the work as she swayed to and fro around him. He held her close during the slow songs, and he would grind with her during the dirty, fast paced ones. Her husband would even participate in the silly, laughable traditional dances. An expert already at the Macarena, she was still training him on the Electric Slide and the Cotton Eyed Joe.

He was good looking, too. Stately, refined, classy, he was a man made to wear a suit, and he did so well. The man she had married was always impeccably dressed, his hair always styled just so, and the smile that was perpetually on his face was his best accessory. Other women always looked his way, some men, too, but her husband only seemed to have eyes for her. That was another thing that she loved about him.

The best thing, though, was the fact that her family supported their relationship. Her grandmother thought he was a fine choice, that he would both be an excellent provider and a good father. Those were the highest compliments someone like Audrey Hardy could ever give a man. Her parents approved of his background, of his lineage, and her father had even complimented her husband's golf game, a rarity from Jeff Webber. Her brother immediately started to include him in all his outings, making him another one of the guys, and her sister had been practically green with envy, insisting that 'Lizzie' had to help her find someone just like him for herself.

Although Elizabeth had absolutely no intentions of ensuring that her sister was just as happy as she was, she had been pleased by the attention nonetheless. But, then, everything seemed to spiral out of her control. After dating for just a month, she had introduced her new spouse to her family, and, two months later, there she was… on her honeymoon.

Despite distinctly remembering the proposal and saying yes, the idea that she agreed to become someone's wife was still slightly absurd to the young artist, and, despite the fact that she harrowingly recalled exchanging vows with her husband, it felt as though the words had been spoken from someone else's mouth. There were so many things that she loved about the man she had just the day before married, but Elizabeth was unsure if she was actually in love with him. And that's why she was at the bar, getting drunk, instead of celebrating her honeymoon with her new spouse.

While there were things she adored about her husband, there were also a good many of things that she found irritating as well. He never fought with her, he never showed any signs of great passion or even a temper, and, though some women would prefer to marry either a pushover or someone who could be viewed as somewhat spineless, Elizabeth didn't relish the fact. How could their marriage be one of great ardor when nothing seemed to cause a rise in the man she had married? And forget about makeup sex. Although she was still a virgin, she wasn't completely clueless, and she had plenty of girlfriends who shared their bedroom stories with her. One of the things she was looking forward to the most was makeup sex, but, with her husband, such a thing would probably be impossible.

And then there was the fact that he was quite a bit older than she was. Maturity was a good thing, but the two of them seemed to have nothing in common. Yes, he catered to her, did what she wanted, and she tried to be cooperative in return, but, while her spouse enjoyed white wine and conversations about the stock market, she liked beer and dirty jokes. When she talked about her youth, her husband seemed to have completely forgotten about his, and, if he hadn't, then he certainly didn't like to talk about it. When the shine of a new relationship wore off, Elizabeth feared that there would be nothing left between them but obligation, admiration, and a standoffish sense of attraction.

There were so many other things, little things, that annoyed her, too. While she liked clutter, her husband was a neat freak. Where she enjoyed all four seasons, the man she married hated the cold, avoided all forms of moisture, and burned in the sun. When driving, she liked the windows down; he only used the air conditioner. Unlike her new husband who was always proper, Elizabeth had no qualms about swearing in public, about going out without any makeup on, or about eating food with her fingers. They were like night and day, and, while opposites could attract, the petite brunette was pretty sure, eventually, all magnets weakened.

Sighing glumly, she propped her suddenly heavy feeling head in her left hand and met the gaze of the trustworthy, sympathetic bartender. "I'll have another," the artist informed the hotel employee, hoping that he wouldn't question whether or not that was such a good idea. And he didn't. Apparently, he was used to those on their honeymoon getting drunk off their asses the second night they were there in paradise.

It wasn't so much that she wanted another drink or that she desired the buzzed sensation the alcohol provided her with. Rather, the painter was either hoping the liquid courage would persuade her to just get over her anxiety and sleep with her husband already or that it would knock her out completely so that she wouldn't have to. Plus, the habitual action of lowering her lips to the straw in order to drink did help keep her mind somewhat occupied, though it couldn't, by far, alleviate the thoughts running around rampant in her overly pensive head.

Just as the new, frosty glass was placed in front of her and her old one was taken away, she more or less sensed someone take a seat beside her. Automatically tensing, for she feared the new presence was that of her husband, Elizabeth waited for the person, quite obviously a man due to the sheer heat being radiated off of the newly arrived form, to speak before she took a sip of her fruity concoction.

"What are you drinking?"

The voice was unfamiliar, though not unwelcome, and she immediately felt herself brightening towards the stranger and the conversation she imagined them having. Swiveling in her barstool to observe the guy beside her, Elizabeth grinned, quite pleased with herself that she didn't even wobble once. Laughing, she responded, "I have no idea, but it's good."

"And did you like it two hours ago when you started drinking?"

The query made the brunette purse her lips in thought, for she really couldn't remember. Instead of admitting that, though, she just shrugged her lithe, bare shoulders noncommittally. "All that matters," she finally answered as she took another sip, "is that I like it now." Noticing that the new customer still didn't have a drink, Elizabeth offered, "can I interest you in one as well? I can just have yours added to my tab."

"No, Stu knows what I drink, but thank you."

Confused, she felt her brow wrinkle. "Who's Stu?"

"The bartender," the dirty blonde stranger replied. "And you?"

"Elizabeth."

"Jason," he returned.

They both fell silent then as they turned their stools to face the bar once more. Side by side, they sat, completely quiet. No other individuals filled the large, shiny hotel establishment, but the artist couldn't say that she actually regretted the fact. For some reason unknown to both her and her inebriated mind, she didn't feel awkward being alone with the unknown man. Eventually Stu placed a crisp, cold bottle of beer in front of the guy beside her, and he started to drink as well, the timing of their hands ultimately finding a rhythmic unison. But the lull made her restless, the lull made her remember why she was there at the bar in the first place, and, since the stranger was there, Elizabeth decided to take advantage of his presence.

"I think I made a big mistake."

Chuckling softly, the man asked, "the drinks?"

"No, they're fine," she waved off his concerns. "I'm the reigning 'lick it, slam it, suck it' winner back home, so don't worry. I can handle my liquor."

"Good to know."

"No, the problem is that I think I made a mistake marrying my husband."

When he remained silent, the painter plowed on with her explanation. "On paper, he's the perfect guy – good family, good job, good looks, but here, now, in the light of, well, probably too many mixed, fruity drinks, he's – we're a complete train wreck together."

"Why?"

It was just one word, but it was enough to make Elizabeth keep talking. Without realizing what she was admitting, the brunette blurted out, "because the idea of my first time having sex being with the man I married drove me down here to drown myself in booze, that's why."

"Oh," the man stated.

"Yeah," she just so happened to agree with him. "Oh exactly."

Once more, a quiet descended upon them, and they both, again, lifted their respective drinks simultaneously to take a harsh pull of the fortifying liquids. Privately, the newlywed was kicking herself for saying so much to a guy she didn't know. Hell, she knew more about Stu the bartender than she did Jason, the man sitting beside her, but had that stopped her from admitting that not only was she regretting her decision to get married but that she was also a virgin? Of course not! It wasn't so much that she felt uncomfortable or even uneasy with the blonde being in possession of such knowledge; instead, she felt embarrassed, humiliated. Here she was, a complete novice when it came to everything sexually related, and she was admitting such a personal detail to a man that rather made her fancy breaking her wedding vows right then and there on top of the bar.

Catching her off guard thanks to the direction in which her thoughts had progressed, Jason said, "then don't."

Blushing profusely while attempting to wrap her mind around what he had just said, Elizabeth asked, "don't what?"

"Then don't sleep with your husband."

Shocked, the artist exclaimed, "but don't I have to?"

The stranger shrugged. "You don't have to do anything you don't want to." Standing up, he threw a few bills down on the bar, plenty, she could see, to cover both his tab and her own. She was sorely disappointed when she realized that he was about to leave, but then he held a hand out to her and offered ,"want to get out of here for a while?"

"And go where?"

"Anywhere," Jason responded, his lips barely just curling up into a tight, wicked smile. "Nowhere."

It was stupid, and foolish, and impulsive, and it would probably land her butt in divorce court as soon as she stepped foot back in Port Charles, but Elizabeth Imogene Webber did it anyway. She put her hand into the blonde's and allowed him to lead her outside of the hotel to where he had his motorcycle parked. As she climbed onto the back of the chrome and leather covered machine, wrapping her arms around the still unknown man, just one thought made itself present in her mind: at least now she wouldn't have to worry about legally changing her name.