Goodbyes…and hellos

Liz wandered down by the docks, her thoughts churning, the same thoughts repeating themselves, over and over again. She was supposed to be at Deception, but Lucky had been at work, and he clearly was not over the fact that she was happy not to be the FOD. She'd spent an uncomfortable evening explaining to him her whereabouts of the day before. He'd been everywhere looking for her, so she couldn't use the excuse that she'd been at Kelly's, or had gone to her studio. She finally had snapped at him that she'd needed some time alone; that after all the months of striving for the position of the Face of Deception, it had been a let-down to lose. So she'd just needed to be by herself. The idea of running into him at Deception this morning was suddenly more than she could take; so she decided to take the morning off. She called in to the office and made an excuse of not feeling well.

"Elizabeth." At first she thought it might be Jason, but she looked up to see Lucky instead. Her smile faded.

"What's the matter, did you think I was Jason?" Lucky came closer. "You did, didn't you? Is that why you're wandering around down here by the docks? So maybe you could run into your lover boy?" His last words dripped with anger and sarcasm.

"He's not my lover, Lucky." Liz said. The words stuck in her throat. He never was and he never will be. No! She was not about to give up so easily. Eliana Salazar was not going to win!

Lucky was still ranting along, oblivious to the direction of Elizabeth's thoughts. "You expect me to believe that? He's always sniffing around you, Elizabeth. And I saw him you bring you home the other night on the back of his motorcycle."

She hadn't thought he'd seen anything. She'd thought he was asleep when she came in. Elizabeth looked away, suddenly unable to meet his eyes.

"Yeah, I saw you. So don't bother trying to tell me that there's nothing between you and him." Lucky grabbed her by the wrist and dragged her up from the bench.

Elizabeth stared into his eyes and for the first time, was afraid of him. "Lucky please," she said, trying to twist free and failing. "You're hurting me!"

"It's nothing like how you've hurt me, Liz." Lucky tightened his grip.

He was really hurting her now. Elizabeth's wrist was beginning to throb. "Lucky….please."

He continued on like he didn't hear her. "How many times have you snuck out to be with him? How many times have you betrayed me with him?" He twisted her wrist and Elizabeth bowed downwards towards the ground with the pain as his voice raised to a shout. "How many times!!"

Tears of pain blurred her vision. Then suddenly, Lucky's grip was broken. Her wrist echoed with pain as she raised startled eyes to those of Johnny, Sonny's bodyguard. He had Lucky in an unbreakable hold. One hand at the back of his shirt collar, the other twisting Lucky's arm painfully behind his back.

"I advise you leave Ms. Webber alone." Johnny said. His response was to try and twist away, but Johnny held him easily. "Don't make me hurt you. Neither one of us wants that."

"Johnny…don't hurt him." Liz said with a gasp.

"He was hurting you, Miss Webber. I don't much like to see young punks who think that it's okay to hurt women."

"Maybe you'd like to just take me on, man to man." Lucky snarled at him. He tried to move again, cursing aloud in pain as Johnny shifted his hold a little tighter.

"No contest there, kid."

"What's going on?" Jason asked as he walked onto the scene.

"The Spencer kid was making a nuisance of himself." Johnny said.

"It was just a misunderstanding." Automatically Liz jumped to Lucky's defense. Johnny's eyes went to her wrist, that she was still cradling. Jason's gaze followed his, and she watched as his eyes turned to blue ice.

"He had his hands on you." Johnny said.

"I think you need to go somewhere alone and cool off." Jason said. At a nod from him, Johnny released Lucky. The younger man jerked himself angrily away from both of them.

"Come on, Elizabeth. Let's go." He said.

Jason shook his head. "I think maybe you didn't hear me clearly. I said somewhere alone."

"You don't tell me what to do, Jason." Lucky said angrily.

"Fine." Jason shrugged. "And you don't tell Elizabeth what to do."

Johnny stepped in front of Lucky. "If and when Miss Webber wants to talk to you again, I'm sure she'll contact you. For now, though, I think it's best that you leave."

"You think? You're allowed to do that now? Wow, you must have gotten a promotion." Lucky said.

Elizabeth didn't want Lucky to get himself hurt. "Lucky, just go. I'll meet you back at Deception later on." At his unconvinced expression as he looked from her to Jason and back again, she looked at him steadily. " I promise."

"Fine." He snapped finally. He turned and walked away from them.

"Are you okay?" Jason turned to her. "Did he hurt you? Do you need to go to the hospital?"

"No.." Liz said. The throbbing in her wrist was barely hurting her now, she ignored it as she looked up into Jason's eyes. "No, I'm fine. It was an accident. Lucky didn't even realize that he was hurting me."

"Give me a moment, Johnny." Jason said. He walked Elizabeth a short distance away. "I think you're wrong about it being an accident. I told you before that Lucky was dangerous to be around; something isn't right with him."

"Lucky would never hurt me. Just like you would never hurt me…" Elizabeth said. She paused, then let her voice drop carefully. "…or let anyone hurt me in any kind of way."

"Is there someone else who is trying to hurt you, Elizabeth?"

She loved the concern she saw deep in her eyes. Liz knew that he still cared, even if he felt he had to hide it -- but it was a secret she could keep. But here was a chance for him to prove it. "Well, Carly has never liked me. And she has one of her infamous plans in action. She'd love nothing better than to hurt me; but I'm afraid that it's you that's going to end up hurt. And I couldn't bear the thought of that. That's why I was down here, trying to find the words to tell you the truth."

Jason didn't say respond as she expected. He didn't say anything, but instead just watched her carefully, waiting for her to continue.

"This Eliana person. She's just a part of one of Carly's schemes. She's here to help Carly in Deception. And she's here to keep you from me."

"What are you talking about?" Jason said.

"Look at it Jason. Look at everything. First this woman comes out of nowhere, with a story that gets her into your apartment and into your life. Then she gets a position at Deception, a position of authority. So now Carly has a powerbase at Deception. She's already started. First Gia Campbell gets the FOD. Why? Because Carly wanted it, and Eliana was there to help her make it happen."

"You don't even know Eliana. Why would you think that about her?"

"She's a friend of Carly's What else is there to know? How well do you know her? Did anyone ever check out her story about being raped?

Was she even really raped?" Liz asked carefully. She'd given him something to think about; she could tell by the look in his eyes.

"Carly would do anything to come between me and you." Without coming out and exactly saying so, she planted the seed of distrust in him. Liz knew that Jason was all too familiar with Carly and her infamous plans. So who was to say that this wasn't one more of them? She may not have had any proof of that, but she was sure.

"And Eliana? Do you think she would too?" Jason asked. "Do you really think any woman would pretend something like that?"

"When it comes to Carly, I would. I'd put nothing past her. Look at the things she's already done."

"Carly is Carly. But you don't know anything about Eliana."

"Doesn't matter. She's a friend of Carly's. Why do you think that is? What else could it be but G-M-T-A. Great Minds Think Alike. That can only mean that this Eliana thinks like she does. This woman comes out of nowhere and comes up with a story that gets her into your apartment and then into your bed. And this isn't some scheme?" Liz said. Did Eliana think she'd believe that lie that she'd known Jason before she knew Carly? That was just a scheme to keep her, Elizabeth, from putting two and two together.

She put one hand on Jason's arm, enjoying the feel and looked up at him, letting her gaze soften deliberately. "Why are we wasting time talking about them anyway?"

To her shock, Jason stepped away from her. "I never thought I would hear stuff like this coming out of your mouth." He said slowly. "Eliana is not just Carly's friend. She's my friend too. She was my friend before you were." His voice hardened. "I saw her the night she was raped. I saw her clothing ripped. I saw the bruises on her and the pain in her eyes. I've held her while her memories gave her nightmares she couldn't wake up from.

"But Elizabeth, I can't believe that after what you went through yourself, that you would say that about another woman. That you would think that any woman would use that as a scheme. But then again, you aren't a woman are you? Maybe you are just a little girl playing at being a woman. That's what that stunt at Jake's was all about. Did you think that I would just fall into bed with you?"

"Jason…how can you say something like that to me? You know how I feel about you. I just...I just wanted to show you, that's all."

"No Liz, I don't know how you feel about me. You said that you cared about me, but how did you show it? By sneaking around to see me whenever Lucky let you out of his sight? The other night at Deception, did you even come over and say hello to me? You acted like you didn't even know me. You told me to stay away. But then you snuck outside to see me. I'm good enough to be seen in the shadows, but not in the light. I won't live my life like that."

"I didn't mean to, Jason. At Luke's, I was there working, there just wasn't time. And Lucky, you know how he is..." Her voice trailed off.

"There was always an… 'And Lucky' between us -- it doesn't matter, Elizabeth. I told you, I'm done with this."

"Done with me?" she asked in a small voice. "Jason…no…."

His eyes softened the littlest bit. "Not done with you, Elizabeth. If you ever need my help, I'll always be there for you. Never doubt that. But, I'm just finally done with "us". We never were, and I guess we were never meant to be." He reached out and traced her face. "You still have a lot of growing up to do. I shouldn't have expected you to do it overnight."

"But Jason…."

He shook his head and she could see in his eyes he wasn't going to change his mind. Once Jason decided on a thing, it was done. "Eliana is better for me."

"Why?" Liz asked bitterly. Eliana's words came back to haunt her -little girl- "Because she's your age...she's all grown up?"

"I never worried about your age, but maybe you're right. Maybe it does have something to do with it. I'm not trying to hurt you, Elizabeth. All I know is that she's better for me, that we are good together, so yeah."

"She's no angel. She's not prefect by a long shot!" Elizabeth brings up the argument that she and Eliana had. "I bet she couldn't wait to run and tell you her version. Her lie. Don't you see? She'll do anything, say anything to keep you away from me."

"No Elizabeth, Eliana never said a thing to me about you and her and any disagreement. So it looks like it's you who'll say or do anything." He paused and looked at her. To her horror, all she saw was pity in his gaze. "Goodbye, Elizabeth."

With those words, she realized the finality of it all.

Jason turned and walked away. Liz sank down on a nearby bench and dissolved into tears.

She felt a hand on her shoulder. "Jason?" she looked up hopefully.

"Nope." AJ Quartermaine said. "Close, but no cigar. Will I do?"

Elizabeth starts to walk away, but AJ offers her a sympathetic ear, playing on her emotional state.
"Look," he said, putting out one hand to her arm to stop her. "Have I ever done anything to hurt you?" When Elizabeth shook her head in a tiny "no" he nodded and continued. "Then don't prejudge me. I get enough of that at home. As far as my family is concerned, I've lived up to their lowest standards."

Something in his voice convinced Elizabeth to stay. She sat back down and AJ sat besides her.

"You said my brother's name just now. So I'm guessing that you're upset because of him?" Her silence gave him all the answer he needed. "You probably don't want to talk about it, but how about we head over to Kelly's for a cup of coffee or something? There's nothing worse than being miserable and cold and alone. I can take care of all three, if you let me."

Elizabeth looked at him, a trace of suspicion still in her eyes. "Why should I trust you?"

"Why shouldn't you? I've got nothing to gain by hurting you. Sometimes it's easier to talk about your problems with someone who doesn't really know you. I can't prejudge you. Or the situation. If you want to talk, we can talk." AJ shrugged. "Or not. Your choice."

Elizabeth looked at him for a long, hard moment. Why not?