“You were a good cop, Ward, I hate to lose you, but I know it’s for the best,” Captain Frank Pembleton said to her.
“Captain, I’m taking a leave of absence. I’ll be back.”
The Captain shook his head.
“First a vacation, the first you took in the three years you worked in this department and now this. No, trust me. You’re done and it’s for the best. Go live a life, where you’re not constantly watching your words and your back, afraid someone will catch on to your lies. The sane cops get out of undercover work while they’re still sane. The crazy ones live the rest of their lives out in a pretend world, never knowing where their lies stop and they start.”
The Captain sighed. “Go find yourself a husband and have some kids and immerse yourself in the good things of life. I go home every night and have that with my family.”
“Thanks, Captain. One day I will do that, but for now I’ll call you when I’m ready to come back.”
“Never, but I’ll wait for your resignation call. Whatever happened while you were gone put a bounce in your step that wasn’t there before and it wasn’t there when you and Martinez were sneaking around.”
Keesha’s eyes registered with shock.
Pembleton chuckled. “You can’t hide anything from me that’s why I get the low pay and high stress. Now get out of here and go hang out with whomever put that twinkle in your eye. I’ve got some work to do.”
“Thank you again, Captain.”
He nodded and went back to work.
Walking out of the Captain’s office, she passed through the squad room one last time and walked out into the sun. She had already said bye for now to all of her colleagues that weren’t on assignment.
Now it was time to go back to Port Charles. Back to Courtney. Back to Jason. Did she really have a pep in her step and a spark in her eye? How was that possible? She had destroyed Courtney’s dream relationship. Her best friend was hurting and confused. But her heart reminded her of her returning feelings for Jason. If Nene wanted to work things out with Jason, then she would and could gratefully lay these thoughts about him and possible feelings to rest. But first she had to give her place another once over and then off to the airport.
Keeping her fear inside, she mustered her courage and stepped off the elevator and ran directly into Dara. “Dara?”
“It’s so good to see you,” they said simultaneously, hugging each other.
“What are you doing here?” they asked in unison, laughing.
“I’ll go first, I’m looking for Courtney Matthews,” Keesha stated.
Dara raised her eye brow. “I haven’t seen her- -“
“Aunt Dara, Aunt Dara, can we- -“ Stone started
“Go to the park?” Michael finished.
Keesha looked from Dara to the brown-haired boy to the red- headed boy, who was obviously Michael Corinthos. She could see a bit of AJ in him. It was now her turn to raise her brow.
“Michael, Stone, this is Miss Ward.”
“Hello,” they greeted together.
“Hello,” she returned.
“We need to catch up,” Dara said in response to her look.
Dara reached inside her purse and handed Keesha her card.
“Will you be in town long?”
“Then let’s do lunch.”
“I think it’s going to take a lot more than lunch to do this conversation justice.”
Looking at the boys, then at Keesha, Dara laughed. “You’re right. I’ll save an all nighter for you,” she replied, ushering the boys inside the elevator. “And yes, Jason’s home.” With waves and a quick good-bye, Dara and her young friends were gone.
She walked over to Jason’s door, knocked once, and the door opened. “Where’s Courtney?” she asked, walking into his place.
“What do you mean gone?! Gone where? Is she okay?”
He handed her a letter.
She instantly recognized Nene’s handwriting. She scanned the letter for clues, but found none. “Are your men looking for her? She’s alone out there, pregnant. She’s never been on her own before.”
“She’s not alone. She was smart enough to take her two guards. They’ll keep her safe.”
“Does Sonny feel the same way?”
“He wanted to search for her, but she asked that we didn’t so we honored her wish.”
“This is crazy. She asked me to come back here and she’s gone. I don’t have time to play games. I have a job to get back to,” Keesha explained as she went from being worried to annoyed and frustrated.
“The security business can’t spare you for a while?”
“I- -“ She paused. That’s right. How could she forget she was still keeping secrets? “Yes, they can spare me, but I’m not irreplaceable.” Thanks a lot Courtney. Now she needed a place to stay. She could stay at the Port Charles hotel for tonight and then make plans from there. With a plan in place, she finally noticed the living room. She saw all of the boxes and suitcases throughout the room and dining room. Courtney’s belongings. “I’m sorry. Was I interrupting something?”
“No,” Jason said, shaking his head. “I was moving the boxes upstairs to the guest room.”
She didn’t feel like twiddling away her afternoon alone in a hotel room and she definitely didn’t want to run into anyone else in town, so she mimicked Jason, picked up a box, and followed him upstairs. Looking around the tastefully decorated room, two things caught her attention. One, Jason nor Nene decorated this room. And second, the Parisian bear was on the bed just like Nene stated. She reached across the bed and picked up the bear. Oh, the memories the bear brought.
She could remember dragging Jason around the streets of Paris looking for an authentic bear to add to Nene’s collection. She hadn’t wanted to buy one from the toy stores or the vendors set-up for tourists. Finally one day after lunch, they came upon a little mom and pop store. As soon as she walked inside, she saw the bear and knew it was the perfect gift for Courtney. While Jason haggled over the price with the husband, the wife, a robust woman, came over to her and between her minimal French and the woman’s limited English, she discovered the woman had handcrafted the bear and its refinery. Instantly she told Jason to give the man whatever she wanted, she had to have the bear. And it had been the right choice. Nene had loved it. Simply adored it. Life was so simple back then. As she hugged the bear to one final time, she glimpsed something underneath the bear’s shirt. She slowly pulled on the paper and it fell into her hand. Taking a seat on the bed, she called out to Jason. Seconds later, he appeared in the doorway with another box in his hands. She held up the letter. “Courtney wrote another letter.”
He set the box down and leaned against the dresser and nodded.
“Dear Kee and Jay, this is such a hard letter to write. Please forgive me for running off the way I have, but I couldn’t stay. I was constantly reminded about every lie I was ever told since I stepped foot in this town. And I also left because Kee, I couldn’t face you or Jason any longer. The sound of your voice, Keesha, and the letters you use to write about Jason were married in my brain. I always said to myself that I would fall in love with someone like Jason. I would have my very own Jason. How ironic, huh? My fantasies were to be as happy as you were with him and low and behold, I thought I was until I realized I’d fallen in love with your Jason. Keesha, you are a mother, sister, and best friend to me and now when I look at my relationship with Jay, I feel like I’ve committed incest. Sorry Jay. I’m so confused. Kee, please be there when I get back. Hopefully, I won’t be gone long, but I honestly don’t know. Thank you, Jay, for respecting my wishes and not coming after me and most importantly, thank you for stopping Sonny. If you two could get to know each other again, remember to look past the labels. I- - I’ve got to go. I love you both, Courtney.”
Her heart broke at her little sister’s despair. Keesha took a breath. It was a good thing she had taken a leave of absence, it looked like she was staying here for a while. She wondered if Luke or Bobbie had any available rooms over Kelly’s.
“You can stay here,” Jason informed her, breaking the silence.
“Uh, no, but thanks,” she refused, hopefully sounding polite.
Looking at him in disbelief, she replied, “Because you’re engaged to my best friend- -“
He reached into his pocket and tossed an object to her. She opened her hand in time to catch it. There in the palm of her hand sat Courtney’s beloved engagement ring. Oh how, Nene crowed and crowed over it. She’d been so proud.
She shook her head. “It’s not appropriate, regardless.”
“There are no available rooms at Kelly’s, Jake’s, or Bobbie’s and based on what you make a year, you can’t afford to stay at the Port Charles hotel indefinitely.”
“My finances are none of your concern.”
“How are we going to get to know each other if you run away?”
“We don’t need to know each other any better than we already do.”
“I know about you and Jason Quartermaine.”
Nodding her head, as if talking to a little kid, she answered, “Yes, I know you do and so does the rest of the world.”
“No, I know about you two,” Jason countered, reaching inside the bureau and again tossing the claimed object to her.
This time it landed on her lap. Keesha was speechless.
“I would like to meet the love of Quartermaine’s life,” he stated, then walked out of the room.
Gently rubbing her fingers against the leather journal with Jason Quartermaine’s initials engraved on the cover, she sat reminiscing. She had given him the journal as a thank you for the Paris trip. She never thought she would see it again. Picking it up as if it were fine china, she flipped through the pages and read select passages. Tears streamed down her face. Morgan knew about her relationship with Jason, every intimate moment that was meant for just the two of them alone, was now being shared by three. Was it three even? Was she betraying her Jason by having feelings for his cold, stoic substitute? The turmoil of the day finally caught up to her. She fell back on the bed, clutching the journal, and cried herself to sleep.
Jason found her in the fetal position on the bed when he brought up Courtney’s final box. Reaching into the closet, he grabbed a throw and laid it across her. He saw a stray tear and brushed it away. As soon as his hand touched her face, Keesha’s body turned towards his touch and let out a
slight groan. He was tempted, so tempted for a moment to lie on the bed next to her and make her groan and moan louder. But he refrained. That wouldn’t help anything at all. What was this connection between Quartermaine and Keesha? He felt something every time she was near. He had never felt anything like it but he wanted to explore it. He would make his intentions loud and clear.
Courtney ended their romantic relationship the moment she ran out, leaving her engagement ring, and a Dear John letter. With a final caress, Jason quietly left to make sure all the rooms at the Port Charles hotel and nearby hotels were full for the foreseeable future.