Jason was furious. His anger rolled off of him in waves. He needed an outlet, something that he could unleash his rage on. Why did this keep happening? Why did he let it keep happening? All he had to do was look into her eyes and he was lost. Why didn't she see that Lucky was killing her, why didn't she see that he was dangerous? Jason didn't know how to make her see it, he only knew that the push and pull was going to shred both of them and it had to stop. He was resigned to the fact that she would never be free of Lucky and his influence.
Lucky was like a drug to her. She was going through her life in a daze, not really living for herself anymore. Gone was the spirited woman that had captured Jason's attention, and in doing so captured his heart. Furious he picked up a chair and slammed it into the table nearest him.
“Hey buddy,” came the shout from behind the bar. “Cut that out.”
Jason glared at the man as he turned around. Not many people could handle a glare from Jason Morgan. He was angry, he was angry because he felt helpless. He wanted her to see the truth, but every time she came close to it, her mask fell back into place and she became Lucky's perfect robot.
Running his hand over his face and through his hair he knew he needed to calm down. Breaking things, and losing his temper were not going to help anyone, especially Elizabeth, and he knew she needed him whether she could admit it or not. He wasn't going to let her live her life for someone else. He wasn't going to let her become a prisoner in her own life. When his hand fell he glanced at the door feeling her before he even saw her.
He knew that the bartender was heading over to him too. The look on her face said it all. She was battling with herself, with her feelings. She felt their connection, he knew it. Where he wanted to explore it, she was afraid of it. He remembered a conversation from along time ago where she had said she didn't know who she was if she wasn't Lucky's girlfriend. She was clinging to that with everything she had no matter that it was gutting her alive.
She headed over to him as the bartender got there. “You break it you pay for it,” the man said holding out his hand. Sucking in air Jason dug in his pocket and slapped some money into the man's hand as Elizabeth touched his hand he clenched his fist. He felt the pure jolt of electricity that ran through him from just this simple contact.
“Jason, what? “ she stopped not knowing what else to say. She watched him struggle to regain control. She had to look away as he kicked angrily at the pieces of the chair he had broken.
Finally he turned to her and asked, “What are you doing here?”
She tried to smile, tried to relieve some of the anger from his face. She hated what she was doing to him. She knew deep in her that his anger involved her and her plea for him to leave her alone from now on. Now look at her, once again she found herself seeking him out. Why didn't she let this go, why couldn't she? “I think I left my gloves in your room,” she told him with a small smile.
Jason took another deep breath. He knew he needed to gain control of his anger before it ate him alive. Before he scared Elizabeth he quietly added to himself. “You did.”
Her face looked so lost, and it broke his heart, this is not what he wanted. He never wanted her to be stuck in the middle of him and Lucky. He had no right to her he reminded himself. Yet he felt that he needed to protect her even if it was from herself. She never smiled anymore, there was a look of infinite sadness on her face now as she replied, “I need them.”
“Okay.” he told her with a nod and turned to go to his room.
As he was about to pass her, she stopped him, “Jason, I'm sorry you're so angry.”
He wanted to reassure her, he needed to, “I'm not mad at you.”
“Well can I help you?” she asked quietly.
“No.” he told her as he rubbed his hand over his eyes pinching the bridge of his nose.
“Just so you know I plan on telling Lucky everything. Tonight.”
He didn't want to hear anymore. He tried to walk past her saying, “I'll get your gloves.”
She stopped again with her words. “I know this isn't fair.”
“Look it will just take me a second,” he told her. He needed to get away. He couldn't listen to her anymore. Couldn't listen to her justify her life with Lucky.
She grabbed his hand in desperation, “I wanted us to be friends like before Jason.,” she sighed and swallowed but tried to continue, “even though we can't I..”
Jason shook his head, “Elizabeth you already told me this.”
“I didn't mean for any of it to turn out like this. You came to me for help.”
He looked at her in the eyes and could see the pain radiate out from their depths. He would do almost anything if he could take her pain away. “And you helped me.”
Jason walked around her heading for the stairs. He could feel her hesitation, and then she turned around and grabbed his arm once more. Closing his eyes he turned to face her.
“Jason, can I go with you?”
“That's up to you,” he told her always making sure she knew she had a choice with him. He stared at her long and hard before turning back to the stairs and starting up them. He knew she followed him. He could feel her move behind him and hear the click of her shoes on the stairs.
He entered the room slowly with her right behind him. He wanted to do this quick, it was becoming physically painful to be near her, and not be able to help her like he knew she so desperately needed. He turned to look her over one last time he thought. He could tell she was nervous, he knew that she was fighting the pull that always brought them together.
“Maybe I shouldn't have come up here,” she said nervously.
“But you did,” he told her quietly. He began to pull her gloves out from under the books and papers that were covering them on his desk. He held them a moment longer then was necessary before handing them back to her.
She took them quietly, he could sense the emotion that was running through her. He could hear it in her voice when she said, “Thank you.”
It was like their last tie was severed. There would be no more return trips to his room. He knew that, he knew this was it, if he was ever going to convince her to stay it was now. But he let out a breath he had been holding and said, “Okay.”
Elizabeth tended to ramble when she was nervous and at the moment she was very nervous. “Jason like I said before I'm going to tell Lucky everything. That I came here after the photo shoot and that I saw you today.”
Jason was sick of it, he didn't want to hear anymore. He didn't want to be angry but he couldn't help it. “I don't care what you tell Lucky.”
“I love him,” she told him in a daze.
The brainwashed robot was back, and he wasn't thinking of Lucky when he thought it. No that robot was right in front of him. “Stop, stop telling me how much you love Lucky.”
“I know this isn't fair,” she said.
“You said I couldn't be in your life anymore.”
“Right,” she said nodding her head.
“Then what are you doing here?” he asked leaning in to her more. He couldn't help it he had to know that she was having just as much of a hard time with all this as he was. “I mean why did you follow me upstairs? What do you want?”
He watched as the tears gathered in her eyes and the look of indecision entered. He watched her search herself and then saw the cold look enter her eyes again. “Well Lucky,” she told him with fake sincerity. “And you.” she said much softer.
His breath caught. Was he finally breaking through that armor that she had gathered around herself. Huffing a breath out he said, “It's not going to work.”
She seemed like something was lifted from her as she had made that tiny announcement, “I know,” she told him. “It doesn't even make sense.”
Frustrated he turned around and then said, “Look you can't keep following me around telling me how much you love someone else.”
“Jason when we first became friends,” she started to tell him.
“You saved my life,” he said looking back to her.
“I thought Lucky was gone forever,” she said shaking her head. “I don't know how I would have survived this past year without you. But when Lucky came back it was a miracle. I can't walk away from a miracle. He needs me, and I won't let him down.”
Swallowing through the pain of her response he replied, “Then take your gloves and go.”
Their eyes locked and Jason knew he wasn't wrong. He knew there was much more between then just friends. It was a connection that couldn't be severed or broken no matter how much either of them tried. “Jason, I should go.”
“But you want to stay,” he said realizing his words were the truth. She wanted to stay. She wanted to be with him right now in this moment. He took a step closer to her.
She took a step back and said, “What I want doesn't matter.”
“Why not?” he couldn't help it he needed to know why she had let Lucky do this to her.
She sighed as if coming back to herself, “It does, I just... I just mean.”
“What Lucky wants matters more?” he asked her.
“No, it isn't like that.” she tried to assure him and herself.
“Then what's it like?” he asked stepping closer again. “I mean you like to paint and you aren't painting. You hate photography studios, but you're planning to be a model”
“The Face of Deception is our dream,” she reasoned with him.
“It's Lucky's dream,” he told her.
“Ugh, I tried to get out of it I really did, but I can't,” she tried to tell him quickly.
He hadn't realized just how far down Lucky had brought her. She was lying to herself, making excuses and changing her mind every few seconds. “Then you don't want to,” he told her looking away.
“I still want to be an artist,” she said with certainty.
“Elizabeth, I'm not going to argue with you,” he told her still looking away.
“Jason I can't spend the rest of my life on the back of a motorcycle,” she finally said.
He looked into her eyes and said, “I let you drive sometimes.”
“No, you know what I mean,” she said with a shake of her head.
He knew this was his moment, “But you like going fast, you like the wind, you like the cliff road after dark, you like looking at the stars.”
“But I can't do any of that anymore okay,” she said nervously.
“Why are you living your life for someone else?” he asked suddenly angry again.
She looked mutinous, she wanted to argue with him. Instead she looked away. She picked the gloves back up off the desk and moved to the door. “I can't do this anymore.”
“Wait, Elizabeth. Please just listen to me,” he said quietly. “I know that you think Lucky being back is a miracle. I know you think you have to be with him. It's not true, you are you're own person separate from Lucky. You don't have to be at his beck and call. You don't have to live your life that way.”
“Jason, who am I if I'm not Lucky's girlfriend?” she asked quietly her back still to him. “Remember I asked you that before.”
“Remember I told you then that you were who ever you wanted to be. You were happy then Elizabeth. You can't tell me that Lucky makes you happy. I haven't seen you smile in weeks. He's making you do things that you don't want to. How is that love?”
“I don't know what I'm doing Jason,” she said brokenly as she turned to him.
He hated the pain she was in, moving rapidly he took the two steps that separated them and folded her into his embrace. “Shhh, I got you. I'm not going to let anything happen to you. Don't you know what you are to me?”
“No, I've never really known,” she told him.
Jason pulled back and lifted his hand to stroke the tears from her cheek. “Words could never tell you what you are to me. I don't think I have ever heard any that completely sum it all up.” He continued to stare into her eyes gently stoking her cheek.
“I'm sorry,” she whispered.
He couldn't help it he had to ask, “What for being here?”
She reached up and grasped his hand, “For hurting you.”
Jason knew this was not the end. She had left an opening here for him and he bent his head to hers. He wanted to kiss away all her doubts and her fears and let her know that he was there for her, had always been there for her. Dipping his head down while their eyes remained locked, he felt the gentle rush of air as she expelled a breath. Finally he looked down at her mouth. Stepping the rest of the way to her he finally claimed her mouth.
Her lips were soft and gentle like he knew they would be. He didn't want to rush her, didn't want to give her a chance to change her mind. He wanted to hold her close and keep all of her demons at bay. He also knew she needed to do that for herself. She needed to choose. He applied gentle pressure to her mouth and finally she opened up to him, allowing him access. He felt her arms circle his neck as she allowed his tongue to explore her mouth.
Finally needing air he pulled back and rested his forehead against hers. She was gulping in air, he knew she was trying to regroup, find her bearings, but he had to say something she had to know. “Before you walk out that door I need you to know that I love you Elizabeth.”
Startled her head lifted to look him in the eyes. She saw her safe place, the man who would do anything for her. She knew that she loved him. She had denied it for so long that her denial had become her cape. Her thing to hide behind, but now here he was baring his heart to her, how could she walk away from him?
Closing her eyes she let the tears fall. She wept for herself and her choices. She wept for the boy she had loved, the boy that should have been a miracle to her. Most of all she wept for closing herself off. She knew that she couldn't go on like this, Lucky was not the man she loved, oh she had tried to love him. He just wasn't the same after the fire, he wanted his perfect sweet little Elizabeth, and that was not who she was anymore. Jason had seen to that, he made her a fighter, he made her want to live again. She knew she had to tell him.
“I love you too, I'm sorry. I've really made a mess of things,” she told him gulping in breaths.
“No, everything will be fine, you just need to live your life for you,” he told her tucking in a strand of hair behind her ear.
“You're right, and that starts now,” she stepped back into his embrace and lifted her lips back to his. It was a passion filled embrace, one that they had denied themselves for far too long. When they broke apart she said in a husky voice, “I choose you, for now and always.”