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Elizabeth Webber nodded absently to one of Luke’s hosts as he held out his hand and helped her step onto the gangplank of the Haunted Star. She carefully lifted up her dress and stepped gingerly down the walkway and aboard the floating riverboat that Luke was re-opening tonight. She’d been in her tennis shoes for the past 36 hours at the hospital and stepping into 4 inch heels always took a bit getting used to.

She felt the silky fabric of the new dress slide sensually through her fingers. It wasn’t a dress she would normally buy, first it cost a fortune and second the sunflower yellow was to say the least eye catching and third the slit up the right side to her mind was a bit high. But something about it had called to her from the window so she’d bought it and hung it in the closet.

Stepping through the doors and into the main parlor the lights from the tables and the dance floor beamed. She let the dress slide from her fingers to the floor and glanced around. She looked for Robin who promised her she would be there or for Patrick who she also knew was planning to attend. Liz secretly thought he was doing so just to spend time with Robin but didn’t share that with her friend.

She saw Sam right away, her short pink sequined dress standing out in the elegant crowd and Liz thought not in a good way. The other woman seemed to be looking for someone and Liz was grateful she didn’t notice her yet. Seeing Sam there almost made her turn around and leave hoping to avoid the scene Sam always seemed to cause.

Turning around she almost ran into Lucky. “Liz. Wow…I mean you look amazing. I’m really glad you came.” Her ex said smiling down at her.

Liz cringed inwardly. Lucky had asked her to come with him tonight to the re-opening of his dad’s riverboat and she’d turned him down, quickly telling him she would only come with Jason and since he wasn’t coming neither was she. But then Robin had begged so here she was.

“Robin asked me too…that’s the only reason.” She said not liking the possessive gleam in his eyes. “Besides aren’t you here with Sam.”

“Sam. No…no not really.” Lucky answered uneasily.

“Well…I’m going to find Robin.” Liz answered turning around and walking quickly away before he could stop her.

Making her way around the room she made small talk with a few people she knew and then saw Nicolas across the room and made her way to him.

“Hi. I’m surprised you came.” She said embracing him for a quick hug.

‘Yea me too…I mean I thought you weren’t coming.” He said by way of an answer.

“Oh I wasn’t…but Robin wanted to come so here I am.” She smiled slightly knowing he didn’t want to be here. Monica had told her that Nicolas had confided to her his tumor made him see Emily. It made her friend’s reluctance to have the life saving surgery understandable, Liz was honest enough to know if she were seeing the person she loved more than anyone it wouldn’t be an easy decision, even at the cost of her own life.

Talking to Nicolas Elizabeth felt the moment Jason entered the room. She didn’t even need to see him to know he was there, something in the air around her changed and became charged. She knew Nicolas was still talking but he faded far away. Turning slowly around her eyes locked with his. A tiny jolt went through her when she saw him. He looked dangerous, black suit and black open collared shirt only matched his dark scowl. Only his ice blue eyes shone clear and bright.

Jason didn’t want to be here tonight…he wanted to be at work or at home with a cold beer and the game but then he wouldn’t be able to see her. So here he was and in a suit, all in all he would have rather been at he safe house alone with Elizabeth. He didn’t need to scan the room to find her, his eyes went instantly to her, finding her among the crowd easily. His gaze locked and held hers, piercing her.

His hands stuffed inside his pockets started to itch and not from the surgery or the stitches but from wanting to touch her. His gaze roamed up and down her body; he didn’t know anything about dresses but this one looked like warm butter that would melt in his hands when he slid it off her. He mentally shook himself, still shocked him how much he wanted her, how just being in the same room with her brought all these thoughts to his normally controlled demeanor.

“Liz? Liz? Are you listening to me…what is it…oh great Jason. Should have known that.” Nicolas said under his breath never understanding what she saw in someone like Jason.

“What?” Liz said not hearing what Nicolas said but the scowl on his face told her it had been something negative about Jason. Lifting her chin she smiled, “Excuse me.”

Keeping her eyes locked with Jason’s she pushed her way through the crowd toward him. She knew they’d agreed to keep their relationship secret a while longer but this was a public place and no one would think anything about them talking.

“Liz. Look we need to talk.” Lucky said stepping in front of her and grabbing her arm.

“What?” she said startled.

“Talk. We need to talk.” He tried again wondering why she was so distracted.

“About what?” she asked trying to look around him for Jason but Lucky blocked her view.

“About you and the boys and this insane decision you made.” He said keeping his voice low so no one could hear.

“Lucky I already told you this is not your decision and I’m sorry I hurt you…again…because of Cam and Jake...but that’s the way it is.” Elizabeth answered starting to get exasperated.

“No I can’t accept that…” he started taking her arm hoping to steer her outside where they could talk in private.

“Excuse me Lucky, but I believe Elizabeth would like you to let go of her arm,” Patrick said steadily coming up behind the other man.

“You know what…mind your own business.” Lucky retorted. He’d never liked Patrick and had always imagined he was interested in Elizabeth, even when he was with Robin Lucky imagined it.

“Lucky let go.” Elizabeth hissed through clenched teeth, tugging her arm free and stepping around him to Patrick’s side.

Lucky spun around reaching for her again, but Patrick blocked him, “I don’t think so…and if you want to cause a scene at your father’s grand opening go right ahead.”

Patrick didn’t wait for him to answer just put his arm on Elizabeth’s waist and steered her onto the dance floor.

“You ok?” he asked when they had moved to the other side of the floor.

“Yes. Fine. Thank you.” Elizabeth answered gratefully. She didn’t understand why Lucky still felt he had the right to run her life. He’d been this way before and she hated it but she still felt guilty about all the lies she’d told him so she tried to understand.

“He doesn’t give up does he.” Patrick said glancing over her shoulder at where Lucky stood glaring at them.

“No…I guess not.” She answered truthfully wondering what she could say to make him understand she’d made her decision to be with Jason and there was nothing he could do to change that. She hated Sam but she accepted that if Lucky wanted to be with her it was none of her business.

Thinking of Jason made her crane her neck around looking for him. She hoped he hadn’t seen Lucky grab her, she knew Jason would want to say something and Lucky would just make a scene. She thought again about just leaving now before anything happened but then she caught Jason’s eye near the bar and gratefully realized he hadn’t seen any of it.

“Liz? Earth to Liz?” Patrick said scowling.

“What? Oh sorry…uhm Robin? No I haven’t seen her yet but she said she’d be here.” She said apologetically. She knew she was right about Patrick only coming to see Robin when he frowned.

When the song ended she walked with Patrick toward the back of the room hoping to make her way to where Jason was, but Robin intercepted them.

“Hi sorry I’m late…I hate this dress.” Robin said glancing down at her pale blue gown, grudgingly admitting it was the only thing that fit today.

“Why it’s pretty.” Liz said smiling, taking her friend’s hand.

“You look beautiful…the color is perfect for you.” Patrick said smiling down at her.

“Oh really…I mean thank you…I didn’t know you were coming…I mean I’m glad you’re here. It gives Elizabeth someone to dance with.” She finished weakly while both Elizabeth and Patrick laughed.

“Well we already did so it’s your turn,” Elizabeth said pushing Robin into Patrick’s arms.

Waiting until they went onto the dance floor Elizabeth turned to walk to the other side of the room but only got half way before Nicolas stopped her.

“Sorry. Look uhm…want to dance…I need to talk to you.” He said darkly not waiting for an answer but pulling her onto the floor and into his arms.

“Nicolas is everything ok?” she asked laying her hand on his arm while they moved to the music.

“Yea…look I saw Lucky trying to talk to you earlier…what’s going on with the two of you?” he asked quickly.

“Lucky? Nothing. Why?” Elizabeth answered confused not sure what Nicolas meant.

“Look it’s just that Sam’s my cousin and Lucky’s my brother and well I mean I told him it was a bad idea that he needed to be certain that he wanted it to ruin his marriage but…” he started but Elizabeth cut him off.

“Nicolas Lucky sleeping with Sam didn’t ruin my marriage…it was ruined a long time before that…before we even got remarried and you know it.” She said slowly.

“Yea because of Jason.” He interjected angrily.

“No not because of Jason…because of a lot of things…but mainly because of Lucky and I…things that he did and things I did…that’s all.” She said pulling back anger evident on her face.

“Yea but Jason didn’t help did he…he took advantage of you and everyone knows it.” Nicolas said again glancing around as he lowered his voice.

Elizabeth glared at him before pulling away and turning her back on him, walking quickly off the floor.

Stepping up to the higher landing she saw the back of Jason’s head and smiled walking around to the side but stopping when she saw the was talking to Claudia Zacharra. The woman was as usual dressed in bright red, which was too tight and too short. Elizabeth couldn’t hear what they were talking about but she could tell from how cold Jason’s eyes were he didn’t like it and was getting angrier the more she said.

She watched them for a few minutes before Jason simply turned away and stormed off leaving Claudia standing there open mouthed. Elizabeth smiled wanting to laugh but she just shrugged and turned to follow Jason.

“Ah Elizabeth my dear just the beautiful lady I have been looking for. Come and dance with an old man my dear.” Edward Quartermaine said smiling at her.

She’d always like Emily’s grandfather, probably because he made no secret of his willingness to do anything he felt he had to in order to protect his family. It reminded her of Jason but she knew both men would scoff if she said that.

“I saw that ridiculous Lucky Spencer harassing you earlier dear, you know some men simply can’t accept when something is over.” Edward said swinging her into his arms.

“Do you think that’s it?” she asked smiling up at Edward as he effortlessly glided her across the floor.

“Yes I’m afraid so…it is especially pathetic when it’s so fairly obvious tonight that your…attention…is on someone else.” Edward said leaning down to whisper quietly.

Liz felt herself blush and started to stammer, “Edward I don’t know what…”

“Oh come now my dear girl I’m an old man not dead or blind…although it amazes me how many people seem to be…Lucky for example.” Edward laughed.

“Anyway I wanted to say that while I’m sure my wayward grandson has some silly reason for all of this nonsense…I was there when that poor man Joe took over the emergency room you know and saw Jason and how…worried he was about you…and know how he rescued you from that awful Diego and also how he has been watching you tonight.” Edward went on not letting Elizabeth’s obvious unease stop him. He’d been thinking about this for months now, ever since that day in the hospital and tonight it seemed to make sense.

“So when this is all taken care of I want you to know how much I'll enjoy a sweet young woman calling me grandfather again. You know since Emily…well anyway I’ll enjoy that.” Edward finished twirling a speechless Liz around the floor.
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