Lifejacket

Aug. 2nd, 2005 10:43 pm
chrysalitron: (forbidden)
[personal profile] chrysalitron
Okay, damn it. Another story. I finally finished the NiCo one, and.....well, I notice that I tend to flip-flop between past and present tense. *sigh* So yeah, that's a pain in the ass. But I guess as long as it amuses me, that's all that matters, right?

I've noticed that Liz's pregnancy with the communal fetus has made appearances in both stories I've written now. Maybe I ought to just give up the ghost and write a whole series about different characters dealing with Liz's pregnancy. Insert her expecting ass into everything, even if it's just Elizabeth rubbing her belly while two characters argue. Heh.


She remembers how it used to be with Jax. He’d walk into the room and she’d get butterflies. Even when she was pretending to hate the guy, that she was only in the bet to prove his egotistical ass wrong, she still got weak in the knees whenever she got that first glimpse of him. He just had that effect on people....on her. He’d saunter in like he owned the place (which, sometimes, he did), flash that grin, and any female within a hundred-mile radius was his. And he knew it.

At first, it confused her. She’d never known a guy like that. Jason would sneak in under the radar, preferring not to be noticed. It was a trademark of his job that he took into his everyday life. Then there was AJ. He’d come roaring into the room, so desperate for attention that he didn’t care who he offended.

Jasper Jacks was neither of those. He didn’t have to scream for attention. He just got it naturally. That was how he liked it. And for the longest time, that was how she liked it, too. That was how she liked him.

She’s not sure when it began to change. Was it after their wedding? Was it when she realized she couldn’t conceive, and the inadequacy began to creep up on her? Was it when she saw the way he marveled over Elizabeth, the way she flushed or the way her belly was beginning to soften? She doesn’t know.

Now, when he walks into the room, she steels herself. She waits, knowing that she’s about to be regaled with tales of St. Elizabeth of the Golden Womb. She waits to hear about the way Liz holds Cameron in her arms, or the way she laughs when she talks about carrying this child, or - god forbid - the fact that she’s already gotten indigestion.

He actually brings that up at dinner, like it’s the most amazing thing in the world. She hesitates, the bite of lobster she’d so been looking forward to now forgotten.

"Are you serious? We’re having a romantic dinner, and you want to talk about Liz’s gas?"

Jax threw her a look of complete befuddlement. "Don’t you? Courtney, she’s having our baby. Don’t you want to be a part of this? Don’t you want to know what she’s going through?"

She doesn’t know why she’s so upset all of a sudden, but she is. "The truth, Jax? I really don’t. I don’t care about how gentle she is when she wipes Cameron’s bottom, and I don’t care about the fact that she can’t eat a banana without burping afterwards. And I sure as hell don’t care about all the grief Lucky is giving her, because the truth is, I can sympathize with him."

The blue eyes began to harden slightly, the shocked expression giving way to one of annoyance. "Lucky is being ridiculous and stressing Elizabeth out, which is not something she needs right now - "

"I know, I know!" she bursts out, throwing down her napkin and shoving her chair back roughly. "God forbid we upset Elizabeth! We all know that if poor little Lizzie gets her feathers ruffled, the world is sure to end!"

"Courtney, what is wrong with you?" he exclaims, also standing up. "I don’t understand what in the hell is going on with you."

As quickly as the anger came, it was gone. "I don’t understand, either," she whispers, feeling her chin start to tremble. Noticing this, Jax reached towards her, but she wrenches away from his touch. "I need some time alone."

She hears him say something - ask her to wait, perhaps - but doesn’t take the time to listen. She just grabs her purse and runs out the door.

~*~

Nikolas collapsed onto a bench, breathing heavily. He’d run all the way from the ferry to the docks without stopping. He wasn’t sure why. What was he running from?

Deep down, he already knows the answer: Emily. He was running away from the fake smiles, the steel face that masked the grimace whenever he touched her. He was trying to leave behind the assurances of "We’ll be okay" or "It will be like it was." It wasn’t like it was. It hadn’t been for a long time, and he was beginning to doubt it ever would be again.

He’d never thought he’d want to get away from her. She was his reason for being. Every time she held herself just away from him, he tried to remind himself how he felt when she had cancer. He tried to imagine his world without her, tried to recapture that crushing pain he’d felt when he thought she was dying. But no matter what, he couldn’t make himself feel less angry with her.

He knows it isn’t her fault. She’s trying. He knows that. Unfortunately, he has the gnawing feeling that that fact is what makes him so damn angry. She shouldn’t have to try. She should just love him, the way he had always loved her. He hadn’t been the one to hurt her. He’d gone to jail for her, for god sakes. He’d pushed his own grandmother off of a cliff just to keep Emily safe, and for what?

He knows that in her heart, she’s already given up the fight. She’s just going through the motions. He’s not sure whether he should love her or hate her for that. Instead, he just keeps his feelings hidden. He puts on his own mask and pretends that everything is going to be okay.

He doesn’t have to do with that with Courtney. He never thought she would understand what he was going through. After all, she was Emily’s sister-in-law - twice over, in fact. So he’d never once considered pouring his feelings out to her. He figured if he did, he’d get the same reaction he got from everybody else. "Give it time." "She’s trying, what more do you want?" "She loves you - if she didn’t, she wouldn’t still be here." This was probably all true, but it still did nothing to make him feel better.

So eventually, he decided he wasn’t going to say a word. He couldn’t bear for one more person to look at him like he was the selfish one, like he was being inconsiderate for expecting his own wife to want him. He was going to keep it all locked inside, just like a good Cassadine.

But then, Emily had stood him up for dinner. The hospital needed her, she’d said. She couldn’t even come up with a better excuse than that. He knew damn well that for months now, she had barely bothered to go into work. He’d never worked for a living, but even he knew that, if her parents didn’t own the hospital, she’d have been pink-slipped some time ago. But now, all of a sudden, she’s a workaholic. Now, all of a sudden, General Hospital will literally fall down if Emily is not there with her clipboard to keep things running smoothly.

He hadn’t even noticed Courtney when he’d stormed onto the docks. He hadn’t noticed her when he’d tossed the bouquet of stargazer lilies into the water. But he had noticed her when she’d put herself between him and the wall he was about to punch. The concern in her eyes hurt him worse than the actual punch probably would have. When was the last time Emily had looked that concerned about him?

Before he knew it, he’d spilled his guts to her. Without even thinking about it, without even considering what she might say or how his words might offend her. Hell, he’d even gone into detail about his sex life. He was pretty sure that somewhere, Uncle Stefan was rolling in his grave over his gross lack of manners.

It was so easy to talk to her. She hadn’t judged, she hadn’t patronized. She’d just listened, and - even more amazingly - when he was finished, exhausted from his outburst, she’d said she understood. And she did.

As he sits on the bench, still trying to catch his breath, he suddenly figures it out. He may have been running, but he wasn’t running away. He was running to her. He knows, somehow, that she’ll end up here. Maybe he should feel guilty about this, about the anticipation he feels at seeing her. About the peace that comes over him when he’s with her. But he doesn’t. Right now, all he cares about is the moment when she comes around the corner, no matter how wrong it may be.

~*~

She tries to stifle her sobs as she approaches the docks. She’s sure she looks like a crazy person, running out in her cocktail dress with her everyday purse. Brown leather with lavender satin - she’s willing to bet she’s breaking a fashion rule or two. If Carly were here, she’d tell her to get her shit together. Actually, if Carly were here, she’d probably go charging over to the penthouse and start smashing things. It doesn’t take much to set Carly off, certainly not when it comes to Jax.

Courtney snorts through her tears at that visual. She can just picture Carly trashing the place while Jax stammers and blinks. "Carly, you can’t - Carly, I really don’t think - Carly!" Before she knows it, she’s giggling hysterically, still wiping the tears away.

Suddenly, she pauses, sensing a change in the air. Before she even turns all the way around, she knows that he’s here.

Nikolas doesn’t have to sneak into a room. He doesn’t have to announce his presence from the rooftops. He doesn’t even have to strut in like he owns the place. He’s just....there. It’s not something that she can explain, even to herself, but she can become aware of his presence without him speaking a word.

How did she know he’d be here? She can’t even say. She didn’t think she was running to anything in particular, but now that she’s here - now that he’s here - she knows that she was running to him. And she knows that it makes no sense....she knows that it’s wrong, on so many levels....but right now, she doesn’t much care. Nikolas understands. That’s all that matters.

So when he takes one look at her and holds out his arms, she doesn’t hesitate. She just moves towards him, towards the comfort she knows she’ll find there. He’s become a lifejacket in the sea of good intentions and hidden feelings that she’s drowning in. And whether it’s wrong or it’s right, there’s no way in hell she’s about to give it up.

(no subject)

Date: 2005-08-03 09:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] angel-grace.livejournal.com
Haven't watched GH in ages, but I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea of Liz carrying a baby for Jax and Courtney, of all people. Courtney, with her annoying neediness and stripping woes and idiotic husband AJ, who swept in and dashed all my Elizabeth's hopes that she and Jason could be together. That's just fucked up.

That said, I enjoyed this, which surprised me, because I never liked Courtney and I didn't much care about Nikolas. So...good job! :)

(no subject)

Date: 2005-08-03 10:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chrysalitron.livejournal.com
Ohhh, you don't even need to get me started on how Fronsstrikeout> Courtney ruined Liz and Jason. Years later and it still hurts my soul. *sigh*

But, yeah, it was sort of out of left field. All Courtney and Liz have done for the last few years is fight and snipe at one another. Hell, Courtney even RAN LIZ DOWN WITH HER CAR. (Okay, so she was hopped up on drugs and didn't MEAN to, but come ON). So it is a little hard to fathom that Liz is like "So, you're forgiven - and by the by, want me to carry your baby for you?" But you know how things are with these writers. Do they care that it doesn't make sense? Nope.

Thanks for liking the story, though! :) Heh. For some reason, Court and Nikolas kinda intrigue me. I don't know why - maybe it's because Casper has been ruined for me, and NEm - good god, I would probably love ANYTHING that might mean the end of NEm. Nikolas/Liz? Nikolas/Carly? Nikolas/Jason? Whatever it is, I'll take it.

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