Elizabeth rushed through the doors of the emergency room at General Hospital and headed for the nurses desk. Her steps faltered a moment as she passed several people. She couldn't define the feeling so she quickly moved on. Once at the desk she was asked to wait after talking to the nurse. She didn't want to wait, but took a chair next to a large potted tree used as decoration and as a room divider. She tried not to fidget, but she was new at this and realized she was failing miserably when her knee started bouncing.
Jason was waiting with Sonny and Carly on the other side of the tree in the waiting room. Bobbie had been out to lunch with Audrey and had taken Michael and Morgan with her when the restaurant had a severe gas leak. Many of the customers were brought to the hospital to be checked out, especially the children.
He had been floored when he saw Elizabeth enter the emergency room. No one had seen her in almost a year. He had thought he and Elizabeth were on their way back to being more than friends after Emily's struggle with cancer. Elizabeth had asked for some time to herself out in California after the hell Ric and then Courtney had put her through. So he let her go, but she never came back. A few weeks after she left Audrey left as well telling everyone she was going to help Elizabeth get settled in California for good.
And now, here she was. Was she visiting her grandmother who had come back only a couple of months ago? Was she here to stay? Would she talk to him like the night in the hospital chapel? Would she go back to ignoring him? He didn't know the answers to any of his questions and he wouldn't know, not until the reasons they were both at the hospital were taken care of.
He heard the swinging doors from the back and watched his mother, Dr. Monica Quartermaine, come out carrying a clipboard. Carly and Sonny noticed, also, hoping for information, but realized Monica was headed to Elizabeth. Monica sat on the ottoman in front of Elizabeth.
Jason and the others were close enough to hear everything.
"Hi, Elizabeth. I just need some information from you."
"I'll tell you what I can."
"Your son is doing well, but I'd like to talk to you about your son's father."
Jason's mind raced with new questions. Son? Father? Is that why she didn't come back? Is that why she never contacted him? Had she met someone else?
Elizabeth sighed in frustration and rubbed her hands on her jeans. Her voice was so low he almost didn't hear her confession.
"I don't know who he is." She tried to laugh it off, but the sound came out shaky. "But, to be fair I don't really know who I am, either."
Jason knew Monica's face had to be mirroring the shock on his own. He heard Carly's gasp, but ignored her.
"I woke up in a hospital last October and I knew nothing. I didn't know who I was, how I ended up in California or even that I'd been injured. I found out I had gone to a minor league baseball game with some girls I had met when I got to California. While talking to one of the girls I was hit in the temple with a foul ball.
I woke up and the doctors soon realized they knew more about me than I did. It was a scary feeling which turned to panic when they told me I was pregnant."
Jason's gaze swung to the direction of Elizabeth's voice behind the tree and then to his mother in disbelief. His mind began to work. October. She said October. Does that mean? She couldn't have possibly slept with some guy she just met, right? So that means....
"The hospital was able to find my grandmother and she came out to help me. She seemed shocked to find out I was pregnant, but wouldn't tell me why. She said she was worried about my ex-husband and asked me to stay in California. She left a month after I had my son." She smiled.
"You didn't ask for all that, did you? You asked about my son's father. You'll probably think I'm crazy, but my heart knows things my head doesn't."
"What do you mean?" Monica asked. Jason was curious, too.
"Well, for one thing, my son's name is Jacob, but I insist on calling him Jake. I don't know why, but that name means something to me. And I knew I was right when my grandmother nearly revolted at calling him Jake. I could see it in her eyes that she knew it was something, too.
Speaking of eyes, I don't know anything from my past, but I know my son has his father's eyes. I am as sure of that as I am of my next breath. His eyes comfort me. It makes me sound nuts, I know, but it's the truth.
Also, Gram didn't want me to come to Port Charles at all, but it's August and I needed to be here. I needed to come because it's August." She chuckled nervously. "I'm not crazy. I'm not."
"You're not." Jason spoke before he even knew he was going to.
Elizabeth's head turned toward his voice, but looked back at Monica when she spoke words Elizabeth never thought she'd hear.
"Elizabeth, I know who Jake's father is." Elizabeth's mouth dropped open. She wanted to speak, but was stunned. In the next moment Audrey barreled out of the back, from where Monica had come from earlier.
"Monica! What are you doing? Stay away from Elizabeth!"
"Gram?" asked Elizabeth in confusion. "Stop. She's helping with Jake."
"No, she's not. I would like to talk to you, Monica."
They watched Monica followed Audrey to a spot just a little ways away. It was obvious they were arguing even though they couldn't hear anything until Monica made one comment they could hear and it glued Elizabeth to her chair.
"You knew!" was Monica's angry and accusing statement.
Elizabeth stood up and took a few steps toward the women and stopped. There were tears in her eyes, but her voice never trembled.
"You knew?" Audrey didn't speak, but the guilt in her eyes spoke volumes. "When did you know?" Audrey stubbornly kept her mouth shut. Elizabeth's voice took on a hard edge. "When?"
"Elizabeth." Her voice was resigned and pleading, but Elizabeth's face never changed. Audrey broke eye contact and looked away.
"Since the moment I saw his face."
Elizabeth's knees buckled. Before she knew it there was an ottoman under her and a gentle hand on her back. She had a fleeting thought that it felt familiar, but she had other things on her mind. She murmured her thanks, but her distraught gaze never left her grandmother's face.
"Since the moment you saw his face." Everyone could hear the shock in her voice. There was silence in their corner of the waiting room. "You watched me fall into a depression in the days after his birth because of the guilt I felt: guilt that Jake didn't have a father, guilt that I didn't even know who his father was, guilt that his father didn't know he had a son. The doctors were worried about me, and in turn, Jake, and you never said anything. I was drowning in guilt." Her words slowed. "And you never said a word.
One of my nurses came in one day and she told me the best way I could honor Jake's father was to be the best mother I could and to raise Jake in a way his father would be proud. She saved my life...and you never said a word."
"It was for the best, Elizabeth."
Elizabeth chuckled, but it was flat and melancholy.
"How many times have you said that over the last eleven months? About leaving Port Charles? About leaving my friends? About raising Jake alone? It seems like I've heard that almost as much as I've heard the it's too dangerous speech." She gasped and covered her mouth with her hand.
Audrey quickly spoke before Elizabeth could process her realization.
"It was for the best, Elizabeth. Jake's father is a dangerous man."
Monica started to defend Jake's father, but Elizabeth beat her to it.
"No, he's not."
"Stop defending him!"
Elizabeth stared at her in shock.
"Quit defending him you say as if we've had this conversation before and I know that the new me has never discussed this before. You were always so careful to act as if you didn't know anything. I suppose I should thank you for not making up some horrible story about him, but I wonder if pretending he didn't exist isn't worse. I can only imagine what he thinks of me or what I've put him through."
"What you've put him through?"
"I wasn't running, Gram. I intended to come back. I know that here." She had her hand over her heart. "And I know he was waiting for me." She sighed. "He was waiting for me and I never came back."
She squared her shoulders and looked at Monica.
"Please tell me who Jake's father is."
Elizabeth turned at his words. He was just a few feet from her, but it was too far. She stopped right in front of him, her gaze never leaving his face. Her hands came up slowly, but she stopped before touching him. She covered her mouth with her hands. She shook as the tears came.
"He has your eyes." And then she laughed through the tears. "He has your eyes." She touched him then, holding his face in her hands. "I know you."
Elizabeth turned to see a nurse outside the double doors and she was holding Jake. She met the nurse halfway. The nurse passed Jake to Elizabeth.
"Jake's fine. We checked his oxygen levels and there wasn't a trace of gas in any of his test results. You just need to sign a couple of forms at the desk and then you can take this cute little guy home."
"Oh, thank you. Come here, baby. Hi, my sweet boy." She talked as she walked. "Mommy has a surprise for you."
Elizabeth went back to Jake's father and motioned for him to sit. She pushed the ottoman over and sat in front of him. She put her hand out.
"I'm Elizabeth, as you know."
He took her hand. She looked at where their hands met.
She looked up and smiled at him.
"I'm so glad to finally meet you. This is Jake."
Jason stared at the little boy, his little boy. He reached out and stroked his son's hand. His voice was soft.
"Tell me about him."
"His name is Jacob Martin, but I call him Jake. He was born on May 25th so he's about two and a half months old. He's a happy baby. "Jason's gaze never left Jake. "Would you like to hold him?"
His voice was rough.
With minimal fuss Jake was placed in his father's waiting arms.
"Jason, I'm so--"
He cut her off.
"No, it's not your fault. You didn't know."
She caught his gaze.
"No, I didn't know." She looked down at Jake. "But now I do."