Back To Life

~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~

Sitting up in bed, her legs to her chest, Elizabeth smiles softly as flips through her completed sketchbook, each page filled with a different memory. From the moment she and Jason decided to take a chance on each other, not waiting for the proverbial right time to see it through, she has put a new sketch in the book almost every single night. Making herself a promise once she finishes filling up the entire book and that day has finally come. It's finally time.

"You're up," Jason voices from the doorway, eliciting a bright smile from her as she lifts her gaze to meet his. "Hungry?"

"I can eat," she replies simply, closing the sketchbook before rising to her feet. "Give me a minute?"

"Sure," he shrugs, smiling as she walks over to him, kissing her softly when she hints at it. "Love you."

"I love you, too," she whispers, her eyes closing as he places a gentle kiss upon her forehead. "I won't be long."

"Take as much time as you need," Jason assures her. "I'll be waiting."

Watching him walk back to the dining room, Elizabeth lets out a soft sigh, feeling beyond blessed to have small moments like these. After everything it's taken to get her to this moment, Elizabeth has learned to appreciate each and every little moment, to relish in it for as long as they last because the future is undoubtedly unpredictable. Making her way to the closet, Elizabeth gets the gift box that she's been saving for this exact reason, sliding her sketchbook inside before tying it up with a bow.

"What's your day looking like?" Elizabeth questions him as they sit down to have breakfast.

"I'll be at the warehouse for most of the day," Jason replies as he sets out the drinks. "Shipment problems."

"Ah, okay," Elizabeth smiles softly. "What about dinner?"

"I'll be home," he promises. "What about you?"

"My Gram's coming over for tea later," Elizabeth replies. "After that, I don't really have much planned."

"If that changes..."

"I'll take the guys with me," Elizabeth assures him. "But something tells me that I'll find more than enough to do here."

Something in her eyes made him more than a little curious, but Jason doesn't question it. She's in a good mood and that's always a good thing. Whatever the cause for it may be. Allowing a comfortable silence to fall over them, they finish off their breakfast before Jason heads out to the warehouse. Once alone, Elizabeth goes into planning mode, wanting to make sure that everything is perfect for tonight. She had just gotten all the ingredients together for the dinner when her grandmother came knocking on the door.

"You look quite busy," Audrey comments when they make their way into the kitchen. "Special occasion?"

"You could say that," Elizabeth smiles brightly. "I finished the sketchbook last night."

"You don't say," Audrey smiles lovingly. "That's beautiful, my dear. I'm so happy for you."

"Thank you," Elizabeth says, accepting the hug that her grandmother offers. "I thought I'd be nervous when the time finally came, but I'm not. I've never felt more ready for this moment than I do now."

"Because you gave yourself the time that you needed to feel secure in your relationship," Audrey points out as she pours them a cup of tea. "Seeing you find your way, knowing I could have missed out on all these moments...I'm so thankful."

"Me, too, Gram," Elizabeth says wholeheartedly. "It's moments like these that I fought so hard to come back for. To have more moments with you."

"Well, that's enough of that or we'll both end up in tears," Audrey laughs softly, knowing exactly how Elizabeth feels about talk of the past. "If you don't object, I'd love to help you put your night together."

"I'd love that, Gram," Elizabeth smiles softly. "Thank you."

As Elizabeth and Audrey get started on creating the perfect night, Jason is making his way into the warehouse to see how things are doing there. They were having an especially large load coming in today and he wanted to be there in case things started falling behind schedule. He was a little surprised to see Sonny there, but the reason was made clear almost immediately. Benny must have dropped off the paychecks earlier than expected.

"Jason," Sonny greets him when he spots him. "Got a minute?"

"Sure," Jason says simply, following him into the office. "You okay?"

"Yeah, everything's good," Sonny assures. "Things have been really good lately actually."

"Good," Jason says curiously. "What's up?"

"Seeing as things have been so good, I was thinking that now would be a good time to put some vacation hours to use," Sonny explains. "You know, while things are calm and all."

"Sure, I don't see why not," Jason says simply. "I can keep things running while you take some..."

"Not me," Sonny cuts him off swiftly. "You."

"Me?" Jason looks at him confusedly. "You want me to go on vacation?"

"That's what I said," Sonny counters. "Look, I can string a bunch of words together until you get a headache and agree. How about we skip that part and you just agree?"

"How long?"

"Two weeks should suffice," Sonny replies simply. "So, you'll take it?"

"Do I have a choice?"

"No," Sonny laughs softly. "Lighten up, man, it's a vacation not termination."

"Right," Jason eyes him carefully. "Fine. When?"

"Tomorrow," Sonny says simply, rising to his feet. "Try to enjoy your time off, will ya? Make sure you take Elizabeth away for a while. Call me when you get back."

Jason wasn't sure about Sonny's reasons for sending him on vacation all of a sudden, but he has learned to pick his battles and this wasn't one of them. Come to think of it, some time off could do him some good, having wanted to take Elizabeth travelling for a while now. She has been working hard on her artwork lately, wanting to put a gallery together, and travelling will definitely help her create more pieces. Accepting that this is happening, Jason puts a call out to Stan, asking him to put together a travel package to the most artistic places in the world and have it to him by the end of the day.

"Elizabeth," Jason calls out when he walks into the house and finds all the lights dimmed down.

"Right here," Elizabeth voices at the top of the stairs, smiling softly when his eyes lift to meet hers, his breath clear taken away at the sight of her. "I take it you approve."

"You can say that," Jason voices, his eyes following her as she walks down the stairs and into his arms. "What's going on?"

"You'll see," she says simply, kissing him softly before pulling out of his embrace to take his hand in hers, guiding him to the dining room. "I hope you're hungry."

Jason had walked into the house thinking he'll be the one with the surprise, but clearly hers was a whole other level. Allowing her to help him out of his jacket, Jason takes a seat at the table while she takes a seat across from him. As curious as he is, Jason couldn't find the words to question it, the look on her face was more than enough to keep him silent. Such beauty, such love in her eyes, it was too perfect for words. They have dinner in comfortable silence with soft music playing in the background.

Once the main course came to an end, Elizabeth lifts the gift box and places it down on the table, sliding it over to him. With curious eyes, Jason pulls the box over to him, obviously not expecting to be given a gift. With her insistence, Jason opens the box, finding her sketchbook laying within it. The one that she's had by their bedside every night since they got together. Setting the box to the side, Jason flips through the sketchbook, finding sketches of all their moments together. Beautiful.

"Are you sure?" Jason dares to ask once he falls on the final page, lifting his gaze to meet hers, to which she simply puts down a small velvet box onto the table. "Okay."

Taking the box into his hands, heart pounding against his chest, Jason couldn't believe that this is truly happening. He has wanted to ask her for so long, but he didn't want to push things. She had been through so much that he just wanted to give her time to readjust to being home. The more time that passed, the more he watched her return to the girl he knew, the more he wanted her to feel comfortable with him. He was planning to do this eventually, but he never would have thought she'd be the one to create the moment for them. It was too perfect.

"Elizabeth," Jason says as he gets done on one knee, taking her hand in his as he holds the ring out to her. "Will you marry me?"

"Yes," Elizabeth says lovingly, tears welling up in her eyes as he slides the ring onto her finger before taking claim to her lips, completing the moment perfectly beyond words. "I love you, Jason."

"I love you more than words could ever express," he says wholeheartedly. "I love you more than life."

Picking her up into his arms, Jason carries Elizabeth to their bed before making love to her in the most sensual of ways. As their future opens up before them, Jason put his entire being into this moment, showing Elizabeth just how truly in love he is with her. After all she's been through, knowing that every moment with her is a gift to be treasured, Jason swears that he will do whatever it takes to give Elizabeth the life that she deserves. No matter what it takes. To have a woman like her love a man like him, he just had no words.

With morning light, Elizabeth and Jason exchange vows in a small chapel with those closest to them as witnesses, sharing their love with those that matter most. The day came didn't come as too big a surprise to anyone in attendance, but Sonny's calmness made him question whether Sonny knew this was going to happen. After one of the most beautiful ceremonies in town history, Jason and Elizabeth thank them all for coming before jumping on the private plane to destinations unknown, ready for whatever lays ahead.

Staring out the window of airplane, Elizabeth can't help but smile, knowing that her life with Jason has officially begun. Knowing that her life has finally become everything she could ever truly hope for and much more. For so long she had fought to gain back some semblance of normalcy and now she couldn't be happier if she tried. She has her grandmother back. Her friends. And now a family of her own. Sure, she's lost a lot along the way, she's been through hell and back, but her blessings now far outweigh the bad. After everything that's happened, she finally feels like she's come back to life, like she's finally truly alive and it's the most beautiful feeling in all the world.

A/N: I was going to end this on the last chapter, but I couldn't help adding this. Unfortunately, this is where this one ends and I truly hope you enjoyed the ride. Thank you all so much! Take care.