Many moons ago, I posted excerpts from the first episode. If you follow me at Crimson Glass, you know that a lot of my creativity has been sucked out by stresses in my real life. Damaged has really fallen off my radar, but so has writing in general. One of my resolutions this year is to try and write at least fifteen minutes every day. Some days I don’t get there. Some days I do. Lately, I’ve been writing for Damaged. The first episode is finally almost done. That might not seem like a lot of progress to you, but for me, it’s a huge leap forward.
So to show some good faith, I am posting the entire Jason/Elizabeth scene from the first episode. It’s a turning point for their relationship and sets the tone for the entire third season. I hope you guys are willing to continue this journey with me, no matter how long it takes.
Webber Home: Living Room
Elizabeth stepped off the last stair and just looked at Jason as he sat at the dining room table, a stack of paperwork at his side.
“The boys are asleep,” she murmured. She wrapped her arms around her middle and turned towards the window, fatigue setting in.
She heard the chair scrape back and Jason’s footsteps behind her. “What’s wrong?”
Elizabeth bit her lip and debated. He was tired, and she knew it had been a long day. She should leave this until tomorrow. Or some other day.
But she’d be lying to herself, and she was done with that.
She turned to look at him, this face that she had known for so long—had loved nearly half her life. “When you came home—you were worried that I was—that it would be like before. That it would be like Lucky. That I would twist myself to be with you because I thought it was what I was supposed to do.”
Jason exhaled slowly, hesitation creeping into his eyes. “Elizabeth—”
“And you’re right. That’s exactly what I did with Lucky.” She tilted her head, wondering how she could say this without hurting him. And knowing it might not be avoidable. “I was…so grateful to have a second chance with him that every time that little voice of doubt whispered in my ear, I ignored it. When I was unhappy, when I was doing things just to make Lucky happy—I didn’t say anything to him. I wasn’t honest. I didn’t want to be a model. I didn’t want to get married.” Her voice broke. “I didn’t want to sacrifice my life to save his.”
“I never told him. And maybe if I had—maybe if I had told him about Jake, or been honest with him after that summer that no matter how hard he tried, I was never going to love him as much as I did that night in the church when we were sixteen.” She swiped at her eyes. “And it’s happening again. I can feel it.”
“You’re not happy,” Jason said flatly, the hand he had been stretching towards fell to his side.
“You’re not happy,” Elizabeth corrected. “You’re going through the motions. Every morning, you wake up with the boys. We get them together for breakfast, we divide them up. You’re closer to the baseball field on the way to the coffee house, so you get Cam and Jake, I take Aiden to Laura’s—we go to work. We come home. We have dinner. You listen to every word the boys say, you take it all in. And you’re amazing with them—you’re an amazing father, and I love you so much for the way you listen to them, the way you make them feel important—how you never, not for one moment, make Cam or Aiden feel like they’re different from Jake, that you love them any differently—”
“But you’re not talking to me,” she cut him off with a slash of her hand. “You’re not being honest with me.”
Jason shook his head. “That’s not true.” His cheeks flushed, his eyes flashing with anger. “I’m not lying—”
“You’re not telling me everything, either.” She tossed back her hair. “Earlier. You told me you fought with Luke and Julian. You told me what happened at the Lake House, that you think Robert is going to go rogue, that Julian might not be controllable—”
“And all of that is true—I know you’re not keeping me out of the loop with what’s happening. You wouldn’t do that.” She bit her lip, took a deep breath. “But you’re just reciting facts, Jason.”
He frowned, shook his head. “That’s not—”
“Everything in our lives right now hinges on Victor believing he’s got you under control,” Elizabeth retorted. “And you think Robert or Julian could put that plan in danger. And you know damn well your ability to control them is nonexistent. If they can’t be reasoned with—”
“I know all of this, what does this have to do with anything—”
“Because we keep circling around to the same problem we’ve always had and I’m done with it.” She pushed past him towards the back of the house. She heard him following, so Elizabeth kept going until she was on the back patio, away from the front of house where the boys’ bedrooms were.
“What the hell does that mean?” Jason demanded, his voice tight and harsh. “What problem?”
“You never open up. You never talk to me about what’s going on in your head—” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “I know that I’m to blame for a lot of what happened before. I know that. I pushed you away, and there was Zander and Ric—”
“That’s ancient history—”
“But somewhere along the way you started to close in on yourself, and you stopped acting. You react, Jason. You wait for someone else to take a risk, to take the first step—when I came to tell you about Jake and Carly had already told you what she thought was the truth—you were disappointed. Weren’t you?”
“Of course I was.” Jason clenched his hands at his side. “Elizabeth—”
“And I asked you if it turned out how you wanted it to. I begged you to tell me what you were feeling. And you said I turned out for the best. Because it was easier for you—” A tear slid down her cheek. “If you had just—if you had just given me the slightest hint that you wanted Jake, that having him wouldn’t ruin your life—”
“So it’s my fault you lied?” he demanded. “You’ve always been good at making someone else—” He stopped and shook his head. “I’m not doing this.”
“No, say it.” Elizabeth grabbed the fabric of his shirt, holding him back from going to the house. “Say it.”
“It’s always someone else’s fault when you lie. When you make a mistake,” Jason shot back. “You went back to Lucky, Elizabeth. Not me. You decided not to tell me the truth about Jake. And you lied for months. And you wanted to raise him with Lucky—You let Sonny and Carly in your head. Not me.”
Her eyes burned with it, but she nodded. “And I justified it by blaming it on you. Because you’re right. That’s what I do. That’s how I can sleep at night. Because if I had told you the truth the minute I got that test, if I had had the courage to say yes when you asked me to marry you any of those times you asked me—if I had refused to let you walk away from our son—if I had taken just one more step towards you, Victor wouldn’t have been able to pull it off.”
“I didn’t steal five years of your life, but I didn’t notice it. I didn’t see. I made it about me.” She planted a hand against her chest. “You were an asshole because you didn’t love me. Because there was something wrong with me. I never once stopped and thought there was something wrong. Because the man I fell in love—he never would have walked from his son without a damn good reason. You wouldn’t have stopped loving Jake.”
“I love you,” she said, her voice softening. “But I can’t stand to watch you fold in on yourself. What we’re dealing with—I’m terrified all the time. And I’m scared to tell you how I feel. Because I don’t want you to decide it’s too much. I’m scared for the boys. I’m scared that you’re right—that Robert is going to go after Robin and damn the consequences, that Julian Jerome can’t be trusted. That Preston is still out there—that he’s going to come back and ruin our lives. I’m terrified, Jason.”
“Elizabeth—” Jason closed his eyes. “I—”
“I don’t know if you’re scared, too. I don’t know if you’re worried. Or angry. Or happy. I don’t know. You won’t tell me. I can’t do that again—”
Jason cut her off by folding her in his arms and holding her tightly. “Okay. I’m sorry. I didn’t—” She could feel his breath against her hair, the rapid beating of his heart. “I’m good at what I do,” he said finally. He drew away slightly so he could look her in the eyes, though they were hard to see in the dim light from the patio lamp. “When I worked for Sonny, there was nothing I couldn’t handle. It got hard sometimes, and I didn’t always do it right the first time. But when it came to his enemies, I—I did what had to be done.”
“I know that.” She slid her hands up his chest. “Jason—”
“I can’t fight this. I don’t—” He dipped his head for a moment. “I don’t know how. I don’t know Victor’s resources. If I could put a bullet between his eyes, and that would keep you all safe, that’s what I would do. And maybe you don’t want to hear that—”
“I don’t think you spend all your life baking donuts,” Elizabeth murmured. “And if I thought killing him would fix our problems, I’d load the gun for you. He destroyed our lives. And he did it without—he did without malice. He wasn’t out for revenge, it wasn’t personal. He wanted Sonny’s territory, and he didn’t care what he had to do to get it. He’s cold. And he’s calculating. He’s not crazy like Anthony, or just out for power like Moreno or Sorel. And he doesn’t hate Sonny’s guts like Alcazar or Ric.”
“I don’t know how to protect you or the boys,” Jason admitted. “And I’m scared, too. I understand Robert wanting Robin back. If Victor had any of the boys—I’m not sure I would care about the next guy’s problems. I don’t know how to make him care about you and our family. And I don’t trust Julian Jerome. I don’t know why anyone does.”
“Have you talked to Luke or Alexis about any of this alone?” she asked.
“What would the point be?” Jason exhaled. “But I could try.” He looked away. “Michael came by the coffee house today. He knows some thing isn’t right. He thinks the coma changed me. He wants to help me figure it out. To be there for me.”
“He’s such a good man,” she murmured. “Kind. Compassionate. And he’s dealing with the horror in his life so calmly. You gave him that foundation, Jason. I know you hate lying to him. He’s your son, too. I know that.”
“I learned a long time ago,” Jason said slowly, “that it was better to keep certain things locked up inside me. After the accident, I didn’t—I didn’t have impulse control. I got into fights—I was angry all the time. Taggart wasn’t wrong when he called me Anger Boy. The doctors said I would be damaged. That I was never be anything—”
“They were wrong. Jason—” Her eyes burned. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have—”
“But you’re right,” he continued as if she hadn’t spoken. “I keep things inside even when I shouldn’t. I should have told you that I wanted Jake to be mine. That even if he wasn’t, I would have taken him anyway. I should have told you I wanted to be with you. But I thought you wanted Lucky, and I didn’t want to put myself through it—”
“And I should have told you that I wanted to marry you the second you asked, even if Jake was Lucky’s,” Elizabeth said, tilting her face up. “But you’re right. It’s ancient history. Because we’re here now, and the boys are upstairs. They’re happy, they’re whole. And they love you. I love you. We’re a family now. And I will do whatever I have to do to protect that. And you.”
“I love you.” He dipped down, brushing her lips with this. “When this is over, when Victor Cassadine is out of our lives, I’m going to ask you again.”
“And I’m going to say yes,” she promised him, their breath mingling as he kissed her again.