Elizabeth was stunned to see Jason standing there. Stunned and relieved. She grabbed her night shirt and pulled it back on. Jason was here and everything would be all right now.
Luis faced Jason Morgan without fear. "You're a fool," he stated. "I'm surprised you made it this far, but my men---"
"Are taking a long nap," Jason interjected, then he cocked the gun. "Say goodbye."
"Look out!" Elizabeth shouted the warning as she saw a figure behind Jason.
Jason turned and fired, taking down the guard who had been about to shoot him.
Luis was on the move as the shooting took place. He grabbed a lead based figurine off the dresser and clubbed Jason in the back of the head. He smiled as the other man crumpled, grabbing the gun out of lax fingers. He aimed at Jason's head and was about to pull the trigger when a gun shot rent the air and Luis's body jerked in reaction. He looked down at his chest. A crimson stain spread across his shirt. His knees buckled and he fell to the floor and went still.
"Oh God…oh god!" Elizabeth screamed. She was shaking so hard she about fell over. She clutched the bed post then turned to see that it was Zander who had shot Luis. He was leaning against the headboard, the gun still pointed towards where Luis had been standing, and Elizabeth noticed that the bedside table drawer was open. Elizabeth was about to go to Zander when she saw Jason stir. She went to help him up. "Are you all right?"
"Fine." Jason stood up then froze. He was facing the bed.
Elizabeth turned to see what he was looking at and she gasped. Zander was holding the gun to his head. "NO! Zander…please no!" Elizabeth begged. Without thinking she moved to the bed and was crawling on it, her eyes locked on Zander's face. She held out her hand. "Please...please, Zander...give me the gun." Her hand was shaking.
Tears slid down Zander's face. "I’m sorry," he whispered. "I'm so sorry..." His finger curled around the trigger.
"I love you," Liz blurted out. And she meant it.
Zander froze then he lowered the gun just a fraction.
It was enough of an opening for Jason to grab him. He had been moving behind Zander all the while he was focused on Elizabeth, and now he tore the gun out of Zander's hand. He popped the clip. Empty. Then he checked the chamber. Empty as well.
"I love you, Zander," Elizabeth whispered, as she grabbed a blanket and wrapped it around him. He was shaking as badly as she was. Then she pulled him into her arms and rocked him as he whispered, over and over again, "I'm sorry...I'm sorry...I'm sorry..."
* * * * *
Dr. Selena Morales studied her notes. They offered her nothing. Heaving a sigh, she slid her glasses off then rubbed her eyes. Two weeks had passed since Jason Morgan had brought Zander Smith back to the facility. Two weeks with no progress in his condition. He had been catatonic by the time they had arrived and nothing had changed. Elizabeth had told Selena what had happened to Zander most recently. Including the fact that he had shot Luis Alcazar. Shot him, but he had not killed him. Jason had informed her of that fact and Selena believed it might help Zander to deal with the shooting at a later date.
It bothered Selena that she felt so helpless with this case. She was able to help Elizabeth deal with everything in their sessions. They talked about it every day. Elizabeth would sit with Zander the rest of the time. She would help to feed him and she would read to him and remind him of the good times they had shared. Selena would mention some of those things when she talked to Zander. Sometimes she thought he was truly listening. Other times she saw no reaction in the beautiful hazel eyes. They were empty. Zander had gone into hiding somewhere deep inside himself. She had the feeling he never wanted to be found. Not that she was going to give up. And Selena knew that Elizabeth would not give up on Zander either. She also knew that Jason Morgan would be there to help them both. It was obvious that Elizabeth loved Zander and that Jason cared deeply about Elizabeth. What intrigued Selena was the fact that Jason Morgan cared about Zander as well. Perhaps more deeply than he realized. In some ways, Jason was more of a puzzle than Zander would ever be. More complex and more detached emotionally.
Rising from her desk, Selena left her office to visit Zander's room. He was curled up on his side as if to sleep, but his eyes were open. Selena sat down on the stool next to the bed and reached out to comb her fingers through his hair. It was shorter now. Elizabeth had insisted on cutting off about six inches. Leaving some length and layers to it, and Selena smiled at the forelock that fell over Zander's forehead. Elizabeth had said that the long hair was something Luis had made Zander do, and that it would be a reminder of the man that Zander didn't need. Selena had agreed with her. "You have the softest hair I've ever felt, kiddo," she whispered as she stroked the dark strands. "And you have long, lush, eyelashes too. It sucks. Guys always have long lashes and you never appreciate them." Selena chuckled to herself then sighed. "What am I going to do with you, Zander Smith? Hmmm? How am I going to reach you? What can I say to make you want to come back to life again?"
She jumped then turned to find Jason lurking in the doorway. "I need to put a cowbell on you," she stated. And she was only half kidding. It freaked her out that he could move so silently. Like a shadow. "Is everything all right?"
Jason entered the room and moved to stand next to the bed. He looked at Zander before saying, "You tell me. Any change?"
"None." Selena stood up and stretched her kinked muscles. "I'm not sure what to do next. Right now I think it might be best to simply play the waiting game. I know Zander is in there, he's just not ready to come out and play."
"Would it be safe to move him?"
Selena frowned. "Move him where?"
Jason pulled her off to the side. "I want to take Zander and Elizabeth to a ranch in Montana. It's somewhat isolated and very beautiful and peaceful. There are horses and dogs and cats. Even a lake. I was thinking that maybe a change of scenery might do them both some good."
"It might," Selena allowed.
"I'd like you to come with us."
Selena was surprised on two levels. "You're going to?"
"All right. I'll go." She knew that she would be paid well and she had made Zander and Elizabeth her exclusive patients. Her other work was research and she could bring that with her. She had no other ties to anyone that might keep her here. "When do we leave?"
Selena smiled. "Sounds good. Have you told Elizabeth?"
Jason shook his head. "I thought you could." He looked down at Zander then reached out to smooth a lock of dark hair out of his eyes. "I'll be in touch."
"We'll be ready." Selena watched him slip out as silently as he had come in, then she returned to Zander's side. "Here that, kiddo? We're going on a field trip...so to speak. I've never been to Montana. Should be interesting. Since we're leaving in two days...I guess I should go pack. Actually...I should go tell Elizabeth first thing. Goodnight, Zander." Selena touched his cheek then headed for the door. She turned off the lights on her way out. She didn't see Zander finally close his eyes.
© Shelly 2004