Chapter 12

Ugh! She wanted to bang her head against the wall. It was simply amazing how many different ways Courtney came up with for the three of them to spend time together. Though what was more amazing was to hear all of the warehouse and Sonny excuses Jason used to get out of group dinners, lunches, coffees, and bonding sessions. She thought for sure he was going to use the Quartermaines as an excuse next.

She grudgingly admired all he was doing, since she knew he didn’t feel comfortable in her presence or with the things they weren’t telling Courtney. Keesha sighed. It was strange spending so much time with Jason Morgan. Once he dismissed her and their relationship in the hospital, she never spent any time in his presence. Surprisingly, she enjoyed it. Maybe “enjoy” was not the right word. After all she read and studied about him, it had not prepared her for finding his quietness, peaceful; his terse and economic use of words refreshing and soothing. Courtney constantly took the silence as a time to be filled with chatter. She was sure she knew more about Brad and Jen’s breakup than they did themselves.

Her reaction to Jason startled and frightened her a bit. If anyone had asked her before coming back here if she was over Jason she would have said yes. But now she wasn’t sure. She feared she just buried and repressed her feelings for him. Taking a sip of her coffee, she knew she needed to get out of Port Charles on the double. Thank God, the wedding was in two days. All of this lying and half-truths was getting to her. Although as an undercover cop she spun the truth to suit whichever character she was playing, doing it to her loved ones was a totally different story. So many times, Sonny’s advice ran through her head. But the wedding was the day after tomorrow; she had to be okay until then. She could make it.

“Earth to Keesha Ward,” Courtney said loudly, waving her hands in front of Keesha’s face. Jarred out of her thoughts, Keesha replied, “I’m here. What’s up?”

“No, you weren’t. You were a million miles away.”

“You know after a delicious meal, pleasant company, and a nice hot cup of coffee, I get lulled into a peaceful, sometimes sleepy state,” Keesha answered, hoping her BS answer sounded plausible.

Courtney nodded. “Your question was, name the time or place you were the happiest.”

“Paris,” slipped out of her mouth before she knew it.

“I remember when you went to Paris. I think I still have the postcards you sent me. And the adorable Parisian bear is currently sitting center stage in the guest bedroom at Jay’s- - I mean, our place. You know, Keesh, your description of Paris left a huge impression on me. I’m actually trying to convince Jay, here that we should honeymoon there,” Courtney stated happily.

Upon hearing Courtney’s words, Keesha’s stomach dropped and churned like there was no tomorrow. She felt the bile building. As smoothly as possible, she put her cup down and stood up. She faked a yawn and quickly kissed Courtney on the forehead. “I’m too sleepy to stay awake a minute longer. Excuse me, I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Keesh, it’s still early,” Courtney complained.

“For young people, but these bones are getting old. You should get some rest, too, pregnant one. Tomorrow will be here before you know it and you have a big day ahead of you,” Keesha responded. She gave Jason a quick glance and a goodnight.

With Keesha out of the room, Courtney turned to Jason and kissed him with all the passion that had built throughout the evening. As per usual as of late, Jason’s response lacked the same fire.

“Jay, what’s wrong?”

“What are you talking about?” he asked, gathering the dishes and heading to the kitchen.

“Don’t pretend like you don’t know. I feel as attractive as a hyena lately.”

“Courtney, you’re beautiful.”

“Then why don’t I feel like that? Why is it since Keesha’s been staying with me, you won’t spend the night or touch me?”

“It’s strange with her here. I don’t know her,” Jason said, hoping Courtney would be satisfied with that answer. Was he slipping or had her pregnancy made her more perceptive?

“You don’t act this way around my dad, Sonny, or Carly,” she argued.

While continuing to wash the dishes, he replied, “Your relationship with her is different. You’ve known her longer. She’s your family in a way Sonny and Mike aren’t.”

Courtney smiled. “I had no idea you could be embarrassed.”

“I’m not embarrassed. I’m respectful of your relationship with her.”

Standing on her tiptoes, Courtney wrapped her arms around Jason, leaned against his back, and kissed his cheek softly. “Thank you,” she whispered, “Are you going to spend the night?”

He shook his head.

Courtney sighed. “I’ll be glad when the wedding is over,” she mumbled. With another kiss, she said, “Goodnight.” r “Goodnight,” he returned.

Once she exited the kitchen, Jason let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. Keesha. His thoughts turned to her. Since the night of their unique reacquaintance, he tried to keep his distance. Throughout the first getting to know you dinner Courtney had planned, he felt Keesha’s uneasiness, though she hid it pretty well. After that, he made himself scarce whenever she was around.

Putting up the last dish, he reminisced on her take down of him here in this kitchen. She had been on his mind a lot before then. His body went into shock at seeing her again which accounted for his slow reaction that night. He was astonished his body remembered what his mind couldn’t.

Upon Courtney’s announcement of the baby, something inside of him clicked and he knew it was time. Time to find out who Jason Quartermaine was. Through conversations with his Grandmother, Emily, and going through Jason’s things, clothes, and papers, he discovered the man Monica, Alan, and all the Quartermaines missed and that Keesha loved more than life itself. His former self was a good guy and while they might never have been friends, he respected Jason Quartermaine. Jason Quartermaine loved his family and friends and took care of them at all costs, even at the risk of his own life as the case turned out to be.

When he first embarked on this journey, he told himself he was doing it for the sake of his son or daughter. So whenever he or she heard people speak of Jason Quartermaine he could knowledgably inform his child about the man he used to be. But now, he realized somewhere along the way he craved to know who the man was that AJ was jealous of and Keesha wept over.

Keesha. The pure, innocent love she and Jason Quartermaine shared would’ve lasted a lifetime. It probably would have been the healthiest and most faithful marriage the Quartermaines had ever seen. He chuckled at the thought. But his chuckle soon turned sour. With his unpleasant breakup with Robin firmly implanted in his mind, he now understood some of what Keesha felt when he rejected her from his hospital bed. The devastation. The despair. The cruelty. The loss of hope.

Yet in spite of it all, she still named Paris as the happiest time of her life. He read Jason Quartermaine’s account of Paris and part of him was envious. To consummate your relationship with the woman you loved in a place that brought you both such happiness- - Jason grabbed a beer out of the fridge and leaned against the counter. He wished his first time had been as great.

His first lovemaking experience was with Robin. But it was marred with fear. In the back of his mind, he feared she could transmit the HIV virus to him. And also he feared the day that the disease would take her and he would be all alone. Fear of the horrible, painful death that she would one day face.

Even his time with Courtney was spoiled by Sonny’s disapproval. His former self was a lucky guy. Jason took a sip of his beer. He was content with his life. His business was doing well. He was marrying the woman he loved and fatherhood beckoned. He hoped Keesha had found some happiness. He wondered if an apology would or could take away some of the hurt he caused. He wasn’t one for regrets, but after walking through Jason Quartermaine’s life, he felt something close to it for the way he, Jason Morgan, treated Keesha and the demise of their relationship.