After spending hours shopping for art supplies with her best friend, Elizabeth couldn't help but feel the need to spend some quality time alone. As much as she loves Zander, there really was such a thing as too much time with him, something she's certain he feels from time to time.

"I'm gonna be right outside." Zander says, standing in the front doorway. "Do me a favor and don't bolt."

"Where would I go?" Elizabeth counters, smiling softly. "Go. I'll be fine."

"Okay." he says simply, wrapping his hand around the doorknob. "Enjoy the peace and quiet."

"Oh, trust me, I will."

"Ouch!" he feigns offence before chuckling. "Harsh much?"

"Nope." she smirks, pushing him out the door. "This is harsh."

Slamming the door shut, she couldn't help but laugh when he yells "fine, be like that!" through the door, followed by a throaty chuckle. Despite their unusual banter, they both know that their friendship means more than most could ever understand. Some days, they too can find it hard to understand their connection, but they always know that its something they can't lose.

Making her way into the living room, she sets up her easel by the large window, feeling the need to paint instead of sketch. Normally, when she's indoors, sketching is her go to art release, but not today. With an image stuck in her mind, painting felt like the only way to do it justice.

Jason could see her lips moving, obviously she wasn't happy with him, but he just couldn't hear the words coming out of her mouth. As she berates him for treating her like a stranger or worse, an enemy, his mind is taken to the dinner he and Elizabeth shared with his sister. He couldn't have planned it any better if he tried.

"Jason!" she shouts. "Are you even listening to me?"

"That depends, Carly." he counters. "Are you done shouting?"

"Well, excuse me for feeling like you're shutting me out!" she snaps. "I mean, you leave town without any notice and then you move out of your penthouse the moment you get back. You tell me, Jason, how did you expect me to react to that?"

"React however you want to." Jason replies simply, knowing that there was no telling her how to act. "My reasons for moving out have nothing to do with you."

"Why don't I believe that?"

"You're asking me?" he looks at her confusedly before shaking his head. "I've been living in the penthouse for a long time. I wanted a change of scenery. That's it."

"Okay...fine. I can accept that." Carly concedes, taking a deep breath. "But that still doesn't explain why you kept it from me or why you haven't invited us to your place."

"I spend almost all of my time with you and Sonny." Jason points out. "My home is my escape. Whether you understand that or not, that's just how its going to be."

"Unbelievable! How would you feel if Sonny and I changed the locks on our penthouse?" she snaps. "Or better yet, how would you feel if we moved and didn't tell you where we were staying, huh?"

"You could do that." he agrees. "But, then, you'd have to explain to Michael why I won't be coming by anymore."

"You win this round." Carly snatches up her purse before giving him a stern look. "But make no mistake, this is far from over."

Watching her storm out of his office, Jason couldn't help but rub at his temples, feeling an intense headache starting to form. Though he has tried to put off seeing Carly for as long as possible, there was just no getting around it when she took it upon herself to camp outside his office.

As if dealing with Carly wasn't bad enough, the next headache in his life comes walking into the warehouse looking for him. Courtney. He was about to go downstairs to talk to the workers, but then she comes walking into the warehouse, causing him to hideout in his office. Today just wasn't his day.

Setting down her paintbrush, Elizabeth takes a step back to admire the first draft of her painting, knowing that there was still a lot to be done before it would be completed, but liking how the painting was coming along. If nothing else, her art has taught her to be a very patient person, that's for sure.

Taking the painting, she stores it in one of the empty closets before locking it up, not wanting anyone to see it before its completed. Not even Jason. Call her superstitious, but she's always done it this way and she can't afford to change it. Besides, people would probably freak out at how crazy her paintings are before they're actually complete and image presents itself.

"Mamma Carrie..." she says nervously over the phone as she walks towards the living room. "Why didn't I call sooner? Huh...good question."

Plopping down onto the couch, she listens as Mamma Carrie scolds her for not calling to let her know that she had gotten to town in one piece. After a long, in depth, scolding, Mamma Carrie moves on to tell her how things have been in town. The local gossip and whatnot, letting her know that her place is taken care of, as well.

"Oh, gosh, is it that time already?" Elizabeth glances at the clock before rising to her feet. "You know, Mamma Carrie, I truly enjoy our talks, but I have to get started on dinner."

"Of course, dear." Mamma Carrie replies, a soft smile on her face. "You do that and I'll call you later."

"You know what, why don't you talk to Zander?" Elizabeth suggests, making her way to the door. "I'm sure he'd love to hear how his father's doing."

Walking over to the door, knowing that this would be the perfect payback for ducking out of dinner at Mamma Carrie's place, Elizabeth smiles slightly before handing him the phone. It was clear on his face that he was confused, but the moment that he heard Mamma Carrie's voice, the look turned to one that Elizabeth couldn't help laughing at.

"You're gonna pay for this." Zander mouths silently, Mamma Carrie's voice going on and on over the phone.

"Love you, too!" she replies, slowly closing the door. "Have fun!"

Shutting the door, she makes her way into her bedroom to wash up before getting ready to make dinner. Mamma Carrie's an amazing woman, but she could talk the ear off of her if she let her. How she comes up with so much to talk about is beyond Elizabeth, but she just attests it to the woman she is.

A few hours later, she finds herself standing in the kitchen, putting her cooking on low heat, needing it simmer a little before its done. As she's mixing some sweet tea to go with their meals, Jason comes walking into the house with her cellphone in hand.

"Hey, you." she greets him, walking into his waiting arms with a slight smile on her face. "You look like you had a hard day."

"You can say that." he concedes, leaning in to place a soft kiss upon her lips. "How was your day?"

"Relaxing for the most part." she admits, closing her eyes as his forehead touches hers. "I'm sorry you had a hard day."

"Comes with the job." he assures, allowing his eyes to close for a moment. "I'm just glad its over and I'm home with you."

"Me, too." she admits, pulling away to meet his eyes. "Why don't you get washed up for dinner while I set the table?"

"You sure you don't need any help?"

"I'm sure." she says with a soft chuckle. "Its your turn to relax. I'll be fine."

"One of these days I will find out the reason behind that laugh."

"Sure you will." she smirks. "Go."


Placing a soft, lingering, kiss upon her forehead, Jason promises her that he won't take too long before he makes his way upstairs to get washed up for dinner. She knows that he has a tendency to want to do everything for her, but that's just not the girl she is. So, in spite of his natural instincts to do everything, Elizabeth will make sure that she balances that out whenever she can by doing things for him.