Chapter 5: "Blast from the Past" Night Announced at Local Bar

"What is wrong with you?" a woman's soft voice snapped.

"Leave," Jason snarled vaguely recognizing the woman's voice. "Whoever you are, I don't care. Just leave. I'm not in the mood to hear why you are the only one who understands me in one breath while you berate Carly in the next. Nor do I want to hear that I'm so lucky she left so—"

"You don't have to worry about that with me. Lucky? You're lucky she stuck by you as long as she did!" the voice snarled. "Come on, Jason. Don't tell me you've forgotten me so easily. I mean I know you found someone else to kiss in the rain, but really—"

"Courtney?" he whispered in shock as his head swung in her direction.

"In the flesh," Courtney chirped sarcastically. "Figuratively speaking, anyway. Hello, lover, miss me." When shock kept him silent, she tilted her head and continued, "What should I have called first? No answer? Well, are you ready to explain to me why you are such an idiot?"

Jason frowned at her attitude toward him. "Oh, what's wrong? Did I hurt the poor hitman's feelings? Should I have been all sweet and gentle with you since you got your wittle feelings hurt? Well, you can forget that! I'm here to get you on the right track and you're obviously too stubborn to take a hint. Or 15, for that matter. Or maybe 24. How many times can someone have their destiny thrown in their face before they pay attention to the signs?"

"What do you mean?" he asked confused.

"Oh, my gosh, Jason," she sighed in deep annoyance. "Were you always this dumb? Or have you gotten worse for some reason?"

"Look, Courtney—"

"Oh, here's the standard line of bullshit!" Courtney crossed her arms and rolled her eyes. "Don't bother! I've heard it all before."

"Why are you here?" he groaned in frustration.

"Hopefully, to help you get your head out of your ass!" she snapped annoyed "You have one last chance at true happiness. So far, you've blown EVERY opportunity we have set up for you to get it right, but in Her infinite wisdom, She has seen fit to give you one more chance. It's 'sink or swim' time, Jason."

His brow furrowed more before something like comprehension seemed to dawn. "Carly? You're here to help me with Carly?"

Courtney's eyes softened and her snarl melts into a genuine smile. "Ding, ding, ding! Maybe you're not a total lost cause. I hope this means I can do this the easy way."

Jason's eyes light with hope until he feels the envelope in his lap. "But she hates me. She wants nothing to do with me. I've hurt her so much… let her down so many times. Maybe it's time I let her go… so she can finally be happy."

Courtney stared at Jason in completed disbelief. Then, she reached up and smacked him across the back of his head. "Hey," he snarled, rubbing the back of his head. "What was that for?"

"Just when I think you have a brain in that head of yours, you go and say some stupid bullshit like that!" she snapped. "Everything the hard way with you! And people say Carly is the one who makes things more complicated than they need to be. What is wrong with you?! Have you always been such a coward!"

Jason's head snapped back as if she had slapped him, but she continued on gaining steam. "Carly, has been by your side almost since the day you were born as Jason Morgan. She has put you and your wants and needs first before everything. When all you were interested in was sex, she was there. When you needed a friend and you had no one else, her door was always open. When you were all alone with the business, she gave you a life and a family. No one is denying she screwed up along the way, but that was all out of pain and insecurity… a pain and insecurity which you fed at every turn."

"Carly is the strongest woman I know and she understands—"

"Oh, cut the crap, Jason. You know Carly," she growled cutting him. "You've known her for over two decades. You should know more than anything that what Carly needs most is to feel loved, respected, and valued."

Jason: Look, Bobbie got hurt here. I didn't.

Carly to Jason: But you have been. A lot. By me, more than anyone. And it never matters. I mean, you always... You always keep my secrets. And it makes me feel sort of... Valuable. To you.

Jason: Valuable? You need me to say that you're valuable? Because you know you are.

He blinked suddenly remembering that moment. Moments before he kissed her and believed for the first time they could be together, he said the words that he believed she should have already known… But Carly had needed the words to believe. What was it she always said? 'If you say it, I believe it.' Then there was. 'And I know you mean it or it's true because you said it.'That right there was it.

Courtney began again. "Over and over again, Carly has given you everything you've ever asked and more. Time after time, she put you before everyone… No husband, boyfriend, friend, no one but her children has she ever put before her love for you. And she never once hesitated to let you know, but not you. For you, she bent over backwards to be whatever you needed, even just your best friend. She stood by while you gave your everything to every other woman, but her. You betrayed her faith in you again and again, but she forgave you and accepted your excuses-I mean reasons. That is Carly. She's a fighter. She fought for you tooth and nail. Only you made that virtually impossible for her to do. Now you are finally free and having some insight into how royally you've screwed up so you want to throw in the towel! If you fought half as hard to make a life with the woman you love and who loves you as you do to run and push her away, you and Carly would be married and Michael's last name would be Morgan, Morgan would have a different first name, probably Jake, and Joss would be your daughter. Ironically, even through it all, Carly made her kids yours in every way she could besides biology."

Her words pour over him and just as he begins to hope that maybe she's right, a thought occurs that gives him pause. "But Sonny—"

"Oh, God, don't even bring my brother into your dysfunction again! That's what you did!" she snarled. "You realized you screwed up by leaving without so much as a goodbye… by finally saying the three little words she had needed to hear from you for YEARS only to toss the friend tag on. Then she's given a choice in how to fix her mistake, but instead of running away with her like she wanted, you pushed her into the arms of dysfunction. Time and again, she asked you to catch her and you did only to throw her right back into her worst nightmare. If you had stood up just once and fought for your love… God, the life you two could have had. But that window opportunity is closing. If you don't get it right this time, you'll both live your lives miserable and alone. It's in your hands."

"Carly's beautiful. She can have any man she wants," he replied. "She'll fall in love again."

"No, she won't," Courtney told him. "You are the man she trusted and loved with all her soul. You've held her heart in your hand for years, but now, she's lost faith in you. If she has no faith in you, how can she trust any other man? She may engage in casual relationships, but if it's not you, she'll die alone of a broken heart."

Hope grew in the depths of his eyes. "We can really make it," he whimpered his fear obvious. "We won't wreck each other."

She shook her head. "Look around you, Jason. You already have. It wasn't from being together; it was because you pushed her away."

She watched as he looked around him as if seeing with new eyes. His eyes landed on the envelope she left him and he nodded his head. Courtney spoke, "It's time, Jason. It's time for you to be the man she has always believed you to be. You need to be brave and you need to fight like your life depends on it because it does."

Jason lifted his head and all of the fear was gone in its place his eyes burned with a fire of determination and hope. "Are you ready for the fight of your life?" He nodded. "No more being a coward and a jackass?" He smirked and shook his head. "Good, then I'll let Lila know she was right as usual and tell the other guardians to stuff it."

"Other guardians?" he asked his brow furrowing. "You mean like Justus or Alan… or Emily?"

"No comment. I already let enough slip. Suffice it to say that Lila couldn't trust any of your guardians to put their personal issues and biases aside long enough to do what needed doing. So she sent me instead. She figured as Carly's friend and guardian, not to mention, your ex-wife, I'd be better equipped to offer tough love and not let you get away with anything."

"Tell them I love them, and—" she pressed a hand to his mouth silencing him.

"They know," she assured him softly. "We all do. We can hear your heart. So as long as we stay there, we'll always know. Now, I have to go. Get some rest. You've got your work cut out for you."

Jason nodded and smiled as he rested his head on the bed again. "Goodbye, Courtney."

"See you later, Jason." She whispered as she began to fade and his eyes grew heavy. "And don't forget. I'll be watching."

Jason eyelids drooped shut and he drifted into the deepest most peaceful sleep he had experienced since his first night in Carly's arms. He dreamed of the future he would make for them when he found her set things right. Finally.