Elizabeth pulled her jacket a little closer to her body to ward off the chilly breeze as she walked. She hadn’t even changed out of her scrubs so the crisp October air was causing her to shiver some. The wind was sporadic making the dry leaves she stepped on the only sound as she made her way to the crypt. She bypassed the bench and stopped right in front of the nameplates. She traced Emily’s name with her finger before backing away and sitting down.
“Hey, Em. I’m sorry I haven’t been out here in awhile. Life has been crazy. I would like to say it’s been good crazy, but after this afternoon I can’t say that. When am I going to stop making questionable choices? When am I going to say enough is enough? When am I going to admit that what others see is what I see, too? Why do I insist that people have changed when they haven’t?”
She let out a harsh chuckle.
“Why do I always insist on being a sucker? Franco did terrible things, including steal my baby, but I let him in, I let him be part of my life because it was the tumor and no one is responsible for an illness like that, right?”
The silence around her was no help.
“He was one of the only people not to look at me like I was evil personified last year after the truth came out. He supported me, even encouraged me at times and that helped me get past it. Keeping silent about Jason’s identity blew my life apart and I’d rather not go through that again.” She swiped at her wet cheeks. “And now he’s asked me to keep this news about Jason and a twin to myself.” Her voice was ragged. “Why? Why would he ask me to do that when he knows what a secret did to me last time? And his face, Em. I was afraid. I shouldn’t be afraid of him, should I? He says he loves—.”
The dark shape at the edge of her vision stunned her. The Jason she befriended and fell in love with was standing there. Her breath caught. She smiled.
“Plastic surgery did a nice job, but there’s no comparison to the original. I guess my brain conjured you up so I can figure out my next step before actually going and talking to you. Oh, I miss you. This you. The one who always asked me if there was anything you could do, the one who always listened to me even when you were concerned I wasn’t happy.” She sighed. “I miss how we used to be.” She blinked repeatedly trying to keep more tears at bay. “Before the lies. It was bound to happen, right? You finally give up on me because eventually I’d hurt you so much you’d have to protect yourself from me. I can’t blame you for that.”
“When I see the real you I’m going to tell you I’m breaking things off with Franco. Today has put everything from the last couple years in perspective and maybe I’ll finally learn.”
Her vision of Jason had started moving closer while she was talking and was now only a few feet away.
“I want you, this version of Jason who loved me, to be proud of me. I’m making a promise right now. I promise to put myself and my boys first, especially when it comes to a man who says he loves me, but asks me to keep this huge secret.”
Her Jason reached out for her hands. She reached out as well automatically. However, when her hands grasped something warm and tangible her eyes swung to his and she let out a strangled gasp.
His voice, the one she knew so well, and shouldn’t have been coming out of his mouth was too much for her. Her mind and her mouth refused to work together and she stared at him in stunned silence.
“Hello! Who’s out here?”
Elizabeth turned towards Monica’s voice and lost physical contact with the man who had Jason’s face.
“It’s me, Monica!”
Monica came into view from around the line of trees. Elizabeth turned back but there was no one in front of her.
“Are you alright, Elizabeth?’
“Yes, I’m fine, but—“
Elizabeth rubbed her forehead with her fingers.
“I was here to talk to Emily. I was talking to her when—“
She stopped as she realized what she was about to say.
“Nothing. I was talking to her and I got emotional remembering the good times.”
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
She laughed to ease Monica’s mind.
“Just forgetful today.”
“Want me to walk you to your car?”
“It’s really not necessary. I’m good. Just late.”
She left Monica and was in her car in no time. She turned the car on to help warm her while she tried to sort out her thoughts. The man she thought she had made up in her mind had been a real person. A person who looked like Jason and sounded like Jason. What if Franco was wrong? What if he lied? What if Drew hadn’t died as a child? What if he was the Jason with the new face? She leaned her forehead agains the steering wheel. All these thoughts were too much, but she needed to know.