"How does she do this?"
Jason Morgan was exasperated couldn't keep the frustration out of his voice. Again, he exclaimed, "How does she do this," banging his hand against his well worn jeans. The she in question being his lovable, well meaning, but manipulative little sister Emily. Jason still couldn't believe that he had allowed his younger sister to con him into going to the Quatermaine's Christmas Eve party.
She knew Jason had a soft spot for their grandmother and had used that weakness in her favor, for Emily knew that Jason could never disappoint his grandmother Lila. And, if Lila was expecting an appearance from her hoodlum grandson, then Jason Morgan had no choice but to ascend the steps of the family's suffocating abode.
Then she started in about her college roommate, the very girl who had consumed all of his conversations with his little sister since she had gone off to college. And, sadly, even though this girl, apparently, was Emily best friend in the whole world and the sister she never had, Jason, for the life of him, could not remember her name.
Jason knew the only thing that would help him relax before going into the lion's den was a motorcycle ride. Feeling the wind and going fast was what he needed, so, with a resolute nod, off he went along the Cliff Roads to the Bridge to Nowhere. But, when Jason reached his destination, he was surprised to find he wasn't alone. A girl he had never seen before was leaning over the stone wall looking down into the ravine below.
He couldn't help but appreciate how beautiful the stranger was. Wearing boot cut, midnight blue, denim jeans with high heeled black boots, a white winter coat that came down to her knees, and a red scarf that covered up a neck Jason knew he would like to see more of, the beautiful woman continued on staring at nothing, completely oblivious to his presence behind her, allowing him the perfect opportunity to study the captivating girl and her every movement. She was petite in stature, most likely only coming up to his shoulder even in her high heeled shoes, with chestnut hair falling to just below her shoulders, full pink lips he could see even in her profile, and skin so creamy he wondered if it would melt under his calloused touch.
The only thing marring the alluring picture she made was the sadness he saw in her eyes. Jason wasn't sure, but they appeared to be blue in color, but he was too far away from her to be sure. For no logical reason, though, the enforcer felt drawn to this girl, this stranger, and he found himself wishing to ease her pain in some way. Not wanting to scare her, for she seemed lost in her thoughts, but wanting to make his presence known, he cleared his throat to garner her attention, and, as she turned around to completely face him, Jason stopped dead in his tracks, realizing he had not fully comprehended just how gorgeous she truly was until she had turned to directly meet his gaze.
She had the most exquisite sapphire eyes he had ever seen.
Then she smiled, a grin that illuminated her angelic face but did not quite reach her eyes, and it did not matter that he could see through and past the empty, haunted gesture; he was still taken in by her delicate features and fascinating, melancholy aura and thought that maybe he had finally found the closest thing to heaven he would ever be allowed to know and experience.
Then she spoke, and Jason actually thought he had lost the ability to breathe. Her voice was so soft and innocent, and he began to feel that this, that she, was an aberration and that he was imagining the whole, entire thing.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize anyone else was here. I hope you haven't been standing there long. Is this your property? I've never been here before, so excuse me if I am trespassing. I was driving by and was fascinated by the picturesque landscape and just had to stop. This place, whatever it is, it would make a beautiful…" Realizing she was rambling, she quickly looked down, mortified by her loquacious nature.
Jason was so spellbound and amused he couldn't hold back the smirk that started to creep along his mouth. "No, this isn't my property. It used to be a private estate, but most of it was torn down years ago, and, now, this bridge and the gardens below are all that remain. I like to come here to get away and think."
He couldn't understand why he had told her so much, why he had felt the need to not only explain where they were at but also why he was there. At best, she was going to think he was some strange loner who hung out in the middle of nowhere by himself at night, and, at worst, she would be put off by his confession and fear his admitted reclusive nature… and all before he had a proper chance to get to know her, and why that was so important to Jason, why he wanted this woman to know and understand him just as he wanted to know and understand her, he had no clue.
"Thanks… for letting me know," the brunette grinned genuinely, luckily not appearing wary of his confession. "The last thing I need to happen on my first night in a new town is to get arrested. I don't think my friend's family, the people I'm staying with while I'm here, would be too thrilled to get a call from the local police station on Christmas Eve to come bail out some unwanted guest from lockup," she explained.
Laughing self-deprecatingly at herself, it was then that the young lady finally really looked at the stranger that had interrupted her solitude, and what she saw made her heart rate increase to crash cart proportions and her breathing to become erratic. Standing before her was the most gorgeous man she had ever seen. With his short blond hair, Herculean form, cerulean eyes, and the most amazing lips, lips previously too sinful for any other man to possess, she had to actually physically place her hands in her coat pockets to keep from reaching out to touch him, to touch those lips to discern if they were really as soft as they looked. She could feel her face become flush and her legs weak at the knees with both embarrassment and pure, scrumptious, feminine attraction, therefore causing her to have to grab hold of the stone barrier along the bridge to maintain her balance.
"Are you alright," the stranger asked, concern etched on his gorgeous face. Oh, great, the young woman thought to herself. I am making a complete and utter fool of myself. What is wrong with me? It's not like I've never seen an attractive man before.
"Yeah," she answered, mentally chastising herself for sounding so breathless. "I'm fine, just not used to the altitude up here in Port Charles."
That was believable, wasn't it, she asked herself. God, she hoped so, because there was no way she could explain the effect this man was having on her psyche… and her libido… right now.
Jason didn't believe her, but he also didn't feel like it was his right to push the issue. So, instead, he decided the best thing to do was to get her to continue talking which, Jason rationalized would allow him to discern if she truly was sick and needed to go to the hospital. In all honesty, though, he just wanted to continue to hear her voice, which, oddly enough, appeared to calm and soothe his nerves, a rarity in and of itself, not to mention the fact that such a thing would be a welcome change of pace from how he was feeling just a mere thirty minutes before.
"Are you new in town," Jason asked, trying not to sound like he was prying. The last thing he needed was to scare the girl.
"Well, sort of," the brunette stated. "Like I told you, I'm visiting with a friend who lives here, and she is trying her best to convince me to move here once I graduate college in the spring. She is constantly telling me how wonderful Port Charles is and how much fun I would have if I moved here. So, here I am," she spread her arms out wide, visually supporting her claim with the sweeping gesture. "I thought it would be a good idea to explore the area for myself, so I started driving and ended up right smack dab in the middle of nowhere. So far, it's my favorite part of Port Charles."
Thinking to herself and unable to now look directly at the man standing before her, Elizabeth cursed. Oh, my god, I did it again! The guy asked me one simple question, and I proceed to give him my entire life history. Way to go, genius, she inwardly mocked.
Trying not to deter her from continuing in her revelations about herself, Jason, atypically, persisted in asking her more questions, hoping she didn't think he was giving her the Spanish inquisition. He wasn't sure why, but he knew he just needed to find out more about this young woman before him. "Is your family here with you?"
She smiled up at him, this time a genuine smile, and, before he could stop the reaction, he found himself admiring just how beautiful she truly was.
"Curious, aren't you," the brunette teased, and, now, it was Jason's turn to be embarrassed.
Was she flirting with him? Honestly, he couldn't be sure. It was rare for him to meet anyone, man or woman, who didn't back down immediately from his intimidating presence, but, determined to continue his quest to gather more information about the pixie before him, Jason, not really knowing how to flirt, ended up trying to apologize. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you feel uncomfortable."
Ashamed that this man may have thought her to be rude instead of just joking, man my flirting skills need some work, Elizabeth tried to apologize herself. "No, no, it's fine. I'm sorry. I'm just not used to people asking me questions about myself. I'm not here with my family; I'm spending the holidays with my best friend and her family for Christmas and New Years. My parents travel and weren't able to come home for the holidays this year."
And, before Jason could prevent his next words from tumbling out, they were there, left awkwardly, clumsily between them. "Where is home?"
Before she had a chance to answer, Jason noticed, once more, the sadness within the college student's sapphire orbs. Wanting to eradicate whatever had just happened to make her so depressed, Jason again began to apologize, but, before he could get the words out, the angel before him began to speak, interrupting his thoughts and, unbelievably, answering his intrusive question.
"Home, huh? That's a good question I guess the best answer I can give you is wherever I decide to just be at any given time. My parents have always traveled. Since I was born, I was always just dropped off at the nearest relatives doorstep, so my parents could go off and save the world, never wanting an infant, or a toddler, or even a teenager to slow them down, until, finally, I settled down with grandmother in Denver. Don't get me wrong, she was very good to me, but I knew right from the beginning that it was only a temporary arrangement and that, once I graduated college, I was going to have to make it in the world on my own. So, knowing I will never be going back to Colorado, I'm just trying to find a place where I fit in, a place where I can finally call home." Blushing a pretty shade of deep rose, the woman sheepishly asked, "you really didn't need or want to know all that, did you?"
"I asked, didn't I," he countered. "And thank you for… telling me." Jason wasn't sure, but, all of a sudden, he felt very protective of the young woman in front of him.
Caught off guard, lost in his own musing, he was surprised when she shyly asked him a question in return. "Do you live around here?"
Wanting to share with her, like she had done with him, Jason actually answered her question. "Yeah, I do," but then he wondered if she really was interested in his response or just being polite since he had seemed so intrigued by her.
"Well...," she prompted. Do you like it here?"
"Yeah, for the most part I like it, and, then, when I get bored, I just hop on my bike and travel for awhile. Somehow, though, I always end up back in Port Charles," Jason explained not feeling the need to hide anything from this girl.
"Bike?" With the way her deep, sapphire eyes sudden twinkled mischievously, the enforcer knew she was curious and very much engrossed in what he had to say.
"Yeah, my motorcycle. It's over there." He hitched his thumb over his shoulder, indicating the bike's parked position. "Do you want to see it?" Tugging at his ear, realizing he had just asked a complete stranger to look at his motorcycle, Jason backtracked for a moment, "Um, if you're interested, of course. If not..."
She was taken aback at first when he offered to show her his motorcycle, not sure of how to react. Admittedly, the idea scared her. She had never met this guy before, knew nothing about him, but she could sense he was nervous, and that gave her the courage to gaze into his eyes, eyes the most amazingly clear blue she had ever come across, and the only thing she saw there was tenderness, and compassion, and maybe even a smidgeon of desire, if she wasn't simply being wishful, and it was then she knew that she could trust this man with her life.
"Yes," she fairly burst out, fidgeting with excitement. "I would love to see your motorcycle!"
If he was surprised at all by her response, he didn't show it. Rather, he gently took her by the elbow, electricity neither of them had experienced before coursing through their every nerve cell, as he led her towards his bike.
Jason watched her closely and loved how her face lit up when she saw the black leather and chrome machine. He began to think how he would love to feel her arms around his waist while riding fast to nowhere, and, before he could stop himself, he heard himself say, "would you like to go for a ride?"
And without pausing even for a second of rational thought, the brunette responded, "where?"
"Nowhere," he replied simply, shrugging his shoulders.
Gazing back into her new acquaintance's eyes, the college student knew there was no other place she would rather in that moment than nowhere with this man. So, without saying a word, she nodded her response enthusiastically.
Jason let out the breath he had been holding while awaiting her answer, went into his motorcycle bin, and handed her the helmet he always kept on hand just in case. Once she was on the bike, her arms tightly wrapped around him, Jason slightly turned his head towards her and said, "Just yell if there's something you don't like," and he could feel this stranger, this beautiful, alluring stranger nod her head against his back, acknowledging that she had heard his instruction.
As the bike went shockingly fast around the curves of the cliff road, the brunette felt her heart race with adrenaline and thrill, the wind whipping at her face, and arms, and legs. For once, she was glad she decided to dress warmly, and, then, unconsciously, she started to hug the man driving in front of her tighter, feeling his strength and confidence radiate around both their pulsating forms.
Jason was trying really hard to concentrate on the road, but it continued to get harder and harder as he felt her breath on the back of his neck and her arms instinctively wrapping themselves tighter around his waist. He began to wonder what it would feel like for him to be able to wrap his arms around her tiny waist, pulling her flush against his body, to find out if her skin tasted as sweet as it looked, to hear his name burst forth from her plump lips as he drove her to the brink of ecstasy and not his bike. He quietly groaned to himself as he started to feel his jeans getting tighter around his groin, and he was thankful that she was sitting behind him instead of in front so she was unable to see or feel the affect she was having upon him.
Finally, after what seemed liked minutes but was really hours, they returned to their previous hideaway. Slowing down by the path that led to the bridge, they came to a complete stop, and the young woman reluctantly swung her body around, standing on the ground, once again, as she tried to get a hold of her wobbly legs, all of a sudden feeling colder than when they were roaring down the back roads on the back of the motorcycle. There was something about this man that made her feel warm all over, and it wasn't just his good looks, although that was definitely a factor that came into play, and, as her thoughts began to wander, she could feel her face again become flush, a soft pink blush adorning her otherwise pale cheeks.
Jason just couldn't stop looking at her, at the way her face was flush from the cold air after being on his bike, not realizing that the wind wasn't the only reason this woman's face was so flush. And, suddenly, his bike felt oddly lonely and cold, which was unusual for Jason, because, normally, his motorcycle had the opposite effect, bringing him comfort and grounding him when the world around him became too hard to handle.
He didn't want her to go but didn't know how to get her to stay.
"Do you need a ride anywhere," Jason heard himself ask despite already knowing her answer.
"No, thank you. My friend's car is just over the hill there" she explained in response, pointing in the damned vehicle's hidden direction. It was then that the brunette glanced at her watch and realized just how late it had gotten. She needed to head back to her friend's house to get ready for the family's Christmas Eve party, knowing her roommate would most likely be frantic with worry for her by now.
"I'm sorry, I don't mean to be rude, but I really need to get going. I hadn't realized how late it was, and my friend is going to kill me after she just about hugs me to death with relief after seeing that I'm still, in fact alive. I was supposed to be back hours ago," the stranger explained as she turned to head towards her awaiting, borrowed car.
Jason hated to see her walk away, so, before she could, he heard himself blurt out, "wait, will I ever see you again?"
She smiled, a smile that actually touched and illuminated her eyes for the first time that night, thinking how happy she was that this handsome man wanted to see her again. Without stopping to ponder the consequences of her actions, she turned back, walking slowly towards him, and, once in front of her objective, leaned forward and gave him a gentle, slow, tender kiss on the cheek, her lips barely brushing the corner of his ever-so-tempting mouth.
Trying not to blush, embarrassed by her forwardness, she then turned and ran back towards her original destination. Quickly, looking over her shoulder before she lost her nerve, she smirked and said, "well, this is a small town, so I'm sure we'll run into each other again sometime before I leave." Hopefully, she added silently to herself and then swiftly added, "thanks for the ride! That was the most fun I've had in a really long time."
Jason lifted his hand to his cheek, feeling where her soft lips had graced his skin. Blinking, he raised his eyes in her direction once more, realizing she was already gone, and he hadn't even managed to get her name.
"Elizabeth, where have you been," Emily both hissed and exclaimed as soon as her best friend snuck back into the Quartermaine mansion. It was then that Elizabeth started to feel guilty for being away so long. She could see the obvious worry and frustration on her best friend's face.
"I'm sorry, Em, really I am. I just lost track of time. I went off exploring, and, before I knew it, it was getting dark, and I was running late. Very late. I honestly didn't mean to worry you," Elizabeth tried to explain, and Emily, knowing Elizabeth better than anyone, carefully examined her best friend's face and knew she was telling the truth.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to yell, but I was just so worried about you. I know how you are this time of year, and I didn't want you to be alone, feeling sad."
Elizabeth laughed at that. "Em, you do know me, too well in fact, and that is exactly what I was doing until..." Elizabeth bit her lower lip, but even that couldn't prevent the biggest smile she had ever felt from lighting up her face. "I met this guy, Em, this gorgeous, sweet, incredibly sexy guy!"
Emily couldn't believe the smile she had just witnessed break out on Elizabeth's face. She had never in all of the four years they had known each other seen her friend grin like that.
"Well... Tell me who is he. What's his name? What does he do," Emily impatiently blurted out.
Elizabeth couldn't help but laugh at Emily's reaction. She knew she must look like the Cheshire cat smiling the way she was, and she wasn't even sure why. Sure, she had just met this wonderful guy. In fact, she had spent a couple hours with him and had the most incredible motorcycle ride EVER, but, truly, she knew nothing about him. Of course, that didn't stop her from remembering how good it felt to have her arms around him or how he smelled of leather and spice. Oh God, now I'm thinking in clichés while I daydream about him. I really am out of my mind for this guy. Then she looked over at Emily who was now grinning at her.
"Well, I'm still waiting to hear about Mr. Wonderful. I have never seen you this happy in all the time we have known each other."
Elizabeth began to open her mouth but quickly closed it. She wasn't sure how to tell Emily that she knew nothing about this guy - not his name, not where he lived, not what he did. NOTHING! All she could tell her was that she had just spent the most exhilarating couple of hours of her entire life with the stranger.
"Now, Em, don't freak out on me, but I can't exactly answer you."
"What do you mean you can't answer me," her best friend demanded. Are you telling me that you just spent all evening with this guy and you know NOTHING about him! ELIZABETH ARE YOU CRAZY? I mean, I know I told you that I live in a small town, one that is relatively quiet, but there are still crazy people out there, and violence does happen around here. Do you have any idea what could have happened to you," Emily's voice just seemed to get louder and louder as she continued on with her tirade.
"I know, I know, Em," Elizabeth tried to explain, not sure how, because, really, she really didn't understand it herself. "It makes no sense, but, even though I had never met him before, I have never felt more safe. You should see him, Em. He's like all those Greek gods I had to study in art history, and he had these eyes that made me feel protected, and, oh, these lips that made me feel anything but, but that's beside the point..."
"Wait a second," Emily squeaked out. Lowering her voice, she accused, "you kissed him!"
"No, of course not," Elizabeth defended. Well… that's not to say that I wouldn't have liked to, and I did kiss him on the cheek before I left, but that was completely innocent," Elizabeth quietly admitted her own actions and desires. "What I meant is that his lips were full but strong, and all I wanted to do was just touch them to see if they were as soft as they looked, because, let me tell you, they looked damn wonderful from where I was standing. Now that I think about, I'm really not sure if any of this actually happened or if I have been just dreaming the most incredible fantasy ever, simply in order get through my yearly case of the holiday blues."
Elizabeth, knowing that this conversation needed to be tabled, for now, realized they really needed to get ready for the party, and she told her best friend just that.
"Okay, how about this Em," Elizabeth suggested. "We stop talking about this right now, get ready, go enjoy the Christmas Eve party your parents are having, and, then, we'll put our heads together and figure out how I can find this guy again. He did say he was from Port Charles, so it shouldn't be too hard to find him... right?" Elizabeth held her breath, waiting for Emily to respond.
"Alright, alright, but don't think you're getting out of this so quickly… or easily." And then Emily had to laugh. "It will just be one of our many adventures, and this one is going to be so much fun! I do have to say I'm a little sad. I really wanted you to hit it off with my brother Jason. I think the two of you are so right for each other, but I guess it's a moot point now, because I can already tell you are over the moon with this mystery man. It is written all over you face. So let's get this party over with, so we can start planning our attack on our new project!" With that, Emily grabbed Elizabeth's hand, pulling her into her bedroom's ensuite bathroom, so they could both get ready for the party that noisily awaited them downstairs. After all, her family were Quartermaines, and Quartermaines did nothing quiet.
Jason walked into the Quartermaine mansion, looking around for Emily, already feeling dread wash over his body. She wasn't downstairs yet. Again, he thought, how did I let her talk me into this, and how did she convince me that I had to wear a coat. And tie. He was tugging on his collar when Edward and Tracy approached him. Oh, this is going to be good, he complained to himself.
"Who let this hoodlum in here," Tracy barked out, sounding so much like her father. "You are not welcomed here, you deviant."
"Now, Tracy, leave him alone. He's here for Lila, and that's the only reason why I allow this nonsense to go on in my house," Edward stated.
"It's not your house, Daddy," his oldest child taunted. "It's Monica's."
"And Alan, that no good, short sighted son of mine, gave it to her," the old curmudgeon complained. "Yes, I know." Changing tactics, he addressed his grandson. "Now, Jason, it's nice to see you. Does this mean you're ready to leave that life of crime and come back to where you belong, to your family?"
Jason just rolled his eyes at the two of them, again looking for Emily, wondering where she could be.
Just as he was about to walk away from two of the worst Quartermaine vultures, he heard, "Edward, Tracy, leave Jason alone. He is my son, and this is my house, and he is welcome here anytime he wants to come and see us." With that, Monica gave him a quick, tentative hug.
"Uh, thanks, Monica," Jason said, trying to hide his discomfort towards his mother's show of affection. "Have you seen Emil," he asked her, redirecting the conversation away from an uncomfortable situation and completely ignoring a still looming Tracy and Edward.
"No, not yet, but she and her friend, Elizabeth were getting ready, giggling like young girls do. I'm almost surprised we can't hear them all the way down here," the cardiologist admitted, a touch of affection warming her voice. "They should be down soon."
As if on cue, Emily entered the living room. Rushing over to rescue her brother from the pack of wild hyenas that had surrounded him, otherwise known as her family, she gave him a quick hug and then hurriedly dragged him over to the bar to get them both a much needed drink.
"Hey, Jase, no one was giving you a hard time, right?" Emily winked in his direction, shooting a glare over towards her disapproving aunt and grandfather. "Because everybody has been warned to be on their best behavior. I don't need them scaring away my best friend when, after four years, I finally managed to get her here."
Not wanting to cause any problems, Jason just remained silent, patiently waiting for someone else to talk.
Speaking loudly for the whole room to hear, Emily said, "Well, I, for one, am so glad that Jason came tonight, and I know Grandmother will be as well." Quietly, so only Jason could hear, Emily whispered, "really, Jase, I honestly appreciate the sacrifice you made to be here. I know this is not easy for you." And, with that, Emily turned and gave her big brother the most exuberant hug she could muster, and, when they broke apart, Jason nodded at Emily, telling her he understood.
But it still didn't stop Jason from giving his little sister a hard time. "Just remember you owe me, and I may actually collect on this one someday," Jason said teased her, both of them knowing he would probably never actually ask her for a favor. Emily just laughed anyway, happy with the fact that Jason was there.
"Well, where is this friend of yours that you wanted me to meet," Jason asked, not really paying attention to her answer. He knew he should be listening to Emily while she talked, but he couldn't get his mind to focus. All his thoughts remained firmly stuck on the petite brunette he had met earlier that evening. How could I not get her name, he asked himself for what surely was, at least, the hundredth time already. Determined that he would see her again, then and there Jason told himself that he would just go to Stan after Christmas and have the tech guru help him track her down. Or, better yet, he wouldn't wait until after the holiday; instead, he would go and see him as soon as he escaped from the Quartermaine's clutches… and after he removed his tie.
Emily looked at Jason, smiling, knowing that his mind was wondering, probably thinking about how soon he can get out of there, but she didn't care; she was just that thankful that he was there.
"She'll be down in a minute. I should warn you, though. She met this incredible guy tonight that she has not stopped daydreaming about since."
"Huh, what did you say, Emily," Jason asked, uncomfortable that he had gotten caught not really listening to his sister.
But before Emily could respond to his question, she saw Elizabeth walk into the living room, so she just decided to forget the inquiry. It really didn't matter anyway.
"Well, there she is, my best friend Elizabeth," Emily said, pointing towards the doorway where the the other woman had just appeared.
When Jason turned to look where Emily was motioning, he could actually hear his own breath catch. There she was, looking even more beautiful than she had earlier - his petite brunette beauty in a stunning, knee length, strapless red dress, looking right at him with surprise on her face but also, he thought, with anticipation and relief as well. He began to feel his heart beat faster, his palms start to sweat, and he had no idea what to do next. But then he looked up, and he smiled.
Elizabeth didn't realize it, but she was standing in the doorway… right under the mistletoe.
And, with that, he left Emily standing there talking to herself, crossing the room like only a determined man could, over to where Elizabeth was waiting for him, intent upon giving her a proper greeting. After all, it was Christmas, and they weren't strangers anymore.