Title: "Throwing Caution"
Author: monimala
Fandom: "General Hospital"
Rating/Classification: SAC, Jax/Carly-ish, humor, mild language, angst.
Disclaimer: Don't own them, nope.
Summary: Around the week of 2/18/02. Accusations and hormones are a flyin' and here's a little scene two very important parties need to have. Haven't written soap fic in ages...probably very rusty at characterization.

Her head was pounding like a bitch. She tried to raise it...but just a fraction of an inch made her moan and fall, limp, against the soft, downy pillows. She reached out, blearily, feeling for the alarm clock on the bedside table.

So much for going out and having a good time...finding a man and having a little fun. According to the crack in her eyelids, it was seven in the bright, shiny morning.

And she couldn't remember a damn thing about the night before.

She rolled over, slowly, feeling her stomach lurch and tasting what seemed to be two-day old whiskey on her tongue. Whoa...maybe the old Carly HAD come back with a vengeance? She groaned, rubbing the tangles in her dirty blond hair and hoping to GOD there wasn't a man lying next to her.

Not that she didn't love Michael...but one child conceived in abject drunkenness was quite enough.

Unfortunately, it looked like God was NOT on her side.

The screech that escaped her lips was nothing short of glass-breaking. "Oh NO. Nonononono."

Next to her on top of the covers...God, it wasn't even Zander...and she could've sworn that's who she'd been coming onto at some point in the evening...it was someone big and blond and...er...big and blond and Australian...and Jax.

"Oh. God."

Jasper Jax. Her business partner.

In her bed.

She raised her head two inches. Okay...not her bed. In fact, it looked like she was in HIS bed. In his PENTHOUSE. The momentousness of the observation was enough to make her lose balance and slide straight to the floor. HIS floor. By HIS bed. In his PENTHOUSE.

"Okay...okay, calm down, Carly. Just calm down," she muttered, wincing and rubbing her back. The silk of her blouse moved under her fingers and that, at least, gave her pause. She was still dressed. Mostly. No shoes. No stockings. But shirt! And underwear! Waking up with her underwear meant nothing untoward had happened.

Unless she'd put it back on... *after*...

She shuddered, grasping the side of the bed and peering up, over the edge. He was still up there. And he had no shirt. But pants! There were pants. And shoes.

Of course, men didn't HAVE to take off their pants to have sex. OR their shoes.

She whimpered. "This...this is a lesson! This is proof that Sonny can live just fine without me and I am just DOOMED."

"Yer not 'doomed', Carly." A sleepy murmur. One blue-gray eye open. Then two. And a winsome little smile. "Follow your own advice and calm down."

"Calm down?? How am I supposed to calm down???" Had she even ever realized he was cute? Had that been part of the bargain? Had they skipped straight to "who needs cuteness, let's screw"? She didn't know. She didn't remember! And wasn't that annoying bitch Skye following him around like a perpetual shadow these days? How had he managed to ditch her? "We had sex!!" she reminded, huffily, standing up and yanking her blouse down as she searched for her leather pants.

"We did?" Jax sat up with much more grace than she, herself, had managed. And he only looked slightly rumpled. Like some gorgeous hero in a movie except without a make-up girl standing by to do touch-ups. "Now I *know* you and Corinthos still think you're married. You both excel at outlandish accusations about my intentions towards you."

She saw the erstwhile pants peeking out from under a chair and marched over to get them, ignoring how her throbbing head completely disagreed with such deliberate motion. "What's outlandish? You. Me. Waking up in a bed. I've done this before, Jax...it isn't pretty. In fact, it's screwed up MOST of my life and the only good thing to ever come out of it is my little boy."

Suddenly, the twinkle in his eyes diminished. He swallowed, audibly, absently scratching his chest as she tugged on her pants and zipped them up. "Carly...Carly, look...you don't have to worry."

"Why? Were we safe? Did you use protection?" she demanded. "Are you a little Aussie Boy Scout? Do they even HAVE Boy Scouts in Australia? Geez, no wonder Sonny hates you!!"

Now it was time to find her shoes. Prada. Expensive little bastards. She hoped she hadn't lost them somewhere.

He rose...moving to her in swift steps, and gently grabbed her wrist, stalling her frenetic search tactics. "Carly. We. Didn't. Have. Sex," he said, softly, emphatically.

"What?" Her brows furrowed. And as his words sank in, something almost like disappointment flickered in the pit of her stomach. God...only SHE could wake up, half-naked, with a hunky guy and STILL not get laid. "What do you mean...?" she murmured, straightening up.

He steadied her with one large palm wrapped around her shoulder as he ushered her to the edge of the bed. "I found you, last night, at the bar in the PC Grill. I think you'd all ready been to Jake's and possibly to see Zander Smith...who turned you down. You'd been drinking and were obviously very upset...and quite vocal about it, I might add...so I brought you up here," he informed, one of her shoes magically appearing in his palm. He slid it onto her foot, tightening a strap. "You fell asleep. On my bed. And so did I. End of story."

She screwed her eyes shut, feeling the groans and whimpers return. *Ohnono.* "I made a scene? Your partner made a scene and you had to carry her out of the Grill? That must be GREAT for business."

His fingers were cool against her cheek. "You did not make a scene," he assured. "You did, however, leave a few unfortunate, unsatisfied men hanging in your wake. I think a banker from Albany threatened to beat me up because he wanted to assure you that you were, indeed, desirable and sexy."

Hysterical giggles bubbled up from her throat. "I wanted...I wanted to prove I could have a good time. That I could throw caution to the wind...!"

There was no condemnation on his face. Only kindness. He could not possibly be for real..."Without Sonny, you mean?" he prompted.

She nodded, miserably. "I guess...I guess I thought I could use somebody...just get it over with and make the pain go away...forget about him as easily as he's forgotten about me."

"There's nothing wrong with needing a friend," he assured. And, for just a moment, there was something dark and resentful in his gaze. "It's only when you aren't honest with them that you're truly using them."

Oh. That explained the absence of Skye. She swallowed, gulping back a few tears and hoping a few aspirin would make her hangover AND her embarrassment go away. "I-I...didn't mean to use Zander. Or you."

He reached under the bed, pulling out another black stiletto heel. His hands were light on her calf as he fastened the straps around her ankle. "I know," he said, simply, stroking the soft skin along the arch of her foot and making lightning follow in the wake of his touch.

She shivered, trying to swallow the cottonwood taste in her mouth that, suddenly, didn't seem to be a result of excessive booze. "*Can* I use you?" she heard herself ask, brassily. And it was too late to take the words back...

The speculative glint in his gaze that was usually so charming turned remote, ruthless, as he helped her stand and guided her out of the bedroom with a proprietary hand on her waist. It took him until the front door to answer her.

"Jax...I just wanted to thank you for--"

He cut her off with a sharp shake of his golden head. His accent was thick with something not-so kind. Something like promise. "Know two things: when I DO have sex with you, Carly, you'll remember it. And you'll forget about anyone else."

She blushed beet red. "Oh. Erhm...okay. Thanks."

"You're welcome," he said, with the faintest of smiles, and directed her down the hall.

And, later, as the elevator stalled, for a moment, between the tenth floor and the ninth, it occurred to her that he'd said "when"...not "if."

*When I DO have sex with you, Carly...*

*whimper.*

"I'm doomed."

--end--

February 18, 2002.



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