Sonny's earlier visit to Dr. Graham's office had been a waste of time. He had gone in right after speaking with Jason and Keesha. Apparently he didn't move fast enough as she was gone by the time he entered her office. The receptionist had apologized profusely and Sonny had responded with a dimpled smile. She had blushed, as he had known she would and suggested that he return within an hour or so. Sonny had smiled at her again and left to spend some quality time with his daughter. Now, that he had returned, he stood in the doorway in surprise.
He removed a neatly pressed a handkerchief from the inside jacket of his Armani suit. He folded the material over his hand and used it to press the slightly ajar open. Stepping through the doorway, he was careful to avoid the broken glass, discarded plaques and strewn documents that littered the floor. The place looked like a tornado had swept through it. Frowning, Sonny wondered what could have happened.
A thud followed by a muttered oath came from the back office. Instinctively, Sonny reached for his weapon. His hand closed over the .38 Special that was holstered on his hip. With the weapon at his side, he moved cautiously down the hallway.
A figure moved back and forth in the doctor's office. Sonny pressed his back against the wall and inched further down the hallway. He raised the gun to eye level, preparing himself just in case. The safety slipped off with a click and all movement ceased. The standoff lasted for a total of 30 seconds and then Sonny moved.
The figure stood still and whipped around to face Sonny. Sonny gasped in surprise. "Jason!"
"It's not what you think," the younger man quickly explained. "I didn't kill her."
"What?!" Sonny cried as he re-engaged the safety and slipped the gun back inside the holster. "Who didn't you kill?"
Jason pointed behind the desk. Sonny looked over and noticed what he had missed when he first entered the room. A woman was face down on the floor. Her head lay at a weird angle, as if her neck was broken. Bile rose to Sonny's throat. He swallowed it back down and looked away from the dead woman to Jason. "What happened?"
Shrugging, Jason said, "I came back to find the place ransacked. I wasn't sure what was up so I came back here to check. I found her lying over there."
"Did you call the police?" Sonny questioned, taking note of Jason's odd demeanor. The younger man didn't seem affected at all, and his reaction surprised Sonny. It worried him, too.
"Not yet," Jason said. He turned away and went back to the filing cabinet. With glove-covered hands, he dug through the contents of the file folder. Behind him, Sonny scowled.
"What the hell are you doing?" Sonny questioned.
"I'm getting Keesha's files out of her," he explained, "and of standing back there with a wide-eyed look on your face, why don't you see what you can kind. I think I scared whoever did this. The window was opened when I came in. I think they went out that way."
"What else do you think?" Sonny asked. He picked through the strewn documents as best he could. The last thing he wanted was to leave any fingerprints. "If you see anything in there about Dara, take that, too."
"Those folders on the edge of the desk are all Dara's," Jason told him. "I got hers first."
Impressed, Sonny had nothing to say to that. By the time he realized that there was nothing of any interest in the strewn documents, he grabbed Dara's files and stuck them in his jacket. Jason had finished his search, too, and the men moved to leave the building. Jason pointed to the opposite end of the hallway and Sonny followed him. They exited through the back door and as far as they could tell, no one saw them.
"I'll call 911 in a sec. I don't think you want to be here when they arrive."
Sonny shook his head. "I don't know how I'm gonna tell Carrie about this. She's scare enough as it is. Garcia is about ready to explode."
"Do you want my help?" Jason asked as he pulled out his cell phone. "I have a full house right now, but I can make some time. If that bitch in there did anything to hurt Keesha… I'm in Sonny. Whatever happens next, I'm in."
"How is she doing?" Alex asked Matt after the two men had left Dara's room. "Did this transfusion thing work? Will she be better now?"
Matt indicated with the jut if his chin that they should move away from her room. Alex followed him into the adjoining room. Matt sat down with an audible sigh. Alex moved to stand with his back to the window. The sun's golden rays streamed into the room.
"Are you okay?" Alex asked, frowning as he looked at the other man. "You all have been working around the clock for my Dara. Maybe you should get some rest."
Matt gave him a tight smile. "I'm okay." He grabbed a clipboard and began jotting down notes. As he worked, he answered Alex's questions. "The transfusion should work, but it's a gradual process. We have to give Carrie some time to rest before we do another one. So far, everything seems to be working out fine, but I can't give you any guarantees, Alex."
Alex pinched the bridge of his nose. Emitting a low groan, he turned towards the window. He and Dara should be on that beach! Looking for seashells, building sand castles and making love as the sun set should have been how they spent their time. Not like this. Never like this.
"Alex?" Matt said gently. "Don't give up, yet. Keep fighting. Believe that she will make it through this. We're a lot closer than we were before."
"I know," Alex whispered, "and that helps. Is it okay if I see her now?"
"Of course," Matt said, "go right ahead."
Elizabeth smiled as Dillon approached her. Their date was an hour later than previously planned as Dillon had received an unexpected telephone call. In an effort to make up for the delay, he had changed their outing at the skating pond to a late lunch at the Grille. Elizabeth had been flattered by his determination to please her and the dozen of red roses that were delivered to her made her blush with happiness.
"Elizabeth," he said with a smile. He brushed a feathery kiss against her cheek and held her hand as he sat down on the stool beside her. The bartender arrived as if on queue and took Dillon's order for a cup of coffee. When the man left them, he gave Elizabeth his full attention. "My apologies for being late. I trust that you didn't have to wait long."
"I've been here a minute at the most. I didn't have to wait very long. Is everything okay?" she asked, concerned.
He shrugged. "I've had better days."
"Is there anything I can help you with? I only paint for a living, but if there's anything I can do…"
"I've seen your work," he said, raising her hand to his lips. "You are a truly inspired. Never put down your talents, Ms. Webber."
Embarrassment burned her cheeks. She smiled as he brushed his fingertips across her cheek. "You are wonderful for my ego, but you didn't answer my question. Is there any way I can help?"
Dillon stared at her for a moment before he spoke. When he did speak, his voice was low and even. "Unfortunately, there isn't anything you can do. I will have to take the matter to task myself later."
"Oh…okay. I can understand if you don't want to talk about it."
"I didn't mean to offend you," he quickly apologized. "I appreciate your interest in helping me, but the fact is, I got myself into this mess. I will find a way to get myself out."
"It sounds dirty," she murmured. She smiled at the bartender as he poured more coffee into her cup.
He gave her a charming smile. "It is, extremely so, but I know to use soap and water. All will be clean again."
"What are you doing here?"
Lorenzo swallowed hard. Tommy's blunt question hadn't come as a surprise. "I'm here to help. After what happened in the park today-"
"What happened in the park?" Tommy interrupted. He stepped aside and allowed Lorenzo to come into Nikolas' study. He closed the door behind him and locked it. With arms folded across his chest, he watched as Lorenzo began to pace in front of the fireplace.
"They came after them today," Lorenzo said. "It's been all over the news. I don’t know who you missed it."
"I've been busy," Tommy told him. "Tell me what happened. I haven't heard from Nikolas. Are they hurt? What happened?!"
"There was a shooting. Wait!" Lorenzo said as Tommy moved to run out of the room. "They weren't hurt. Dawn, Nikolas and Noelle got out okay, but no one knows where they are. The cops are questioning Stefan."
"Was the shooter ID'ed?"
Lorenzo shook his head. "There were at least 20 different witnesses and every last one of them saw something different. It's like we're back at square one again."
"Shit!" Tommy rubbed his hands across his face. He released a low whistle. "Were they shooting at Dawn or Nikolas?"
"Dawn and Noelle."
"Dammit!" Tommy hit the wall with his fist. "Noelle's just a baby. What kind of monster could do that?"
"That's why I'm here. I figure that the two of us could figure it out. Are you willing to work with me?"
"Yes," Tommy said, vigorously nodding his head. "Oh, yes."
"Good," Lorenzo said, breathing a sigh of relief. "I have a favor to ask…"
Tommy nodded, reading his friend's thoughts very easily. "I'll let you know when I hear from them."
In an isolated cabin sixty miles northeast of Port Charles, a family of three became acquainted with their surroundings. Noelle sat in her mother's lap, content within her mother's arms. Dawn tried not to jump at the slightest noise as she read her daughter a story. A few feet away, Nikolas stood before the fireplace as he stoked the burning logs with an iron poker.
Within a few pages, Noelle was fast asleep. Dawn set the book on the table and moved to the edge of the sofa. Nikolas dropped the poker in the stand and rushed to Dawn. "I'll take her," he said softly. He cradled Noelle within his arms and went down the short hallway to the room that they had designated as hers. Dawn followed closely behind them.
Nikolas placed Noelle on the bed and pulled the sheet and quilt over her. Bending over her, he gently kissed her cheek. His hand rested on the small of Dawn's back as she did the same. With their hands linked together, they left their daughter's room. Nikolas' moved to go back to the living room, but Dawn refused to budge. She looked at him with a worried frown on her face.
Nikolas cupped her face. "She's fine in here. No one knows where we are. Come with me."
She allowed him to lead her back to the living room. Together, they transformed the sofa into a bed. After the sheets had been pulled into place and the comforter thrown on top, Nikolas turned off the lamps. The light from the fireplace cast a warm glow into the room. Their shadows danced in rhythm with them as they removed their clothing and climbed between the sheets.
"How long will we be safe here?" Dawn asked. She curved against him and her head rested on his bare, muscular chest. Nikolas hands stroked her back, doing much to soothe her still frazzled nerves.
"We'll leave in the morning," Nikolas answered her. He kissed her forehead and positioned himself closer against her. "We'll shower, have breakfast and then we'll leave."
"Where will we go next? I don't want to go too far. Dominik is…" A sudden rush of tears prevented her from speaking further. Nikolas gathered her fully against him. One hand pushed her face into the curve of his neck and the other rubbed her back in a circular motion. "I'm sorry," she cried against his neck. "I want so much to be strong, but I'm so scared. I'm so afraid we'll never see him again."
"Ssh…don't apologize," he murmured. "You are strong. You got Noelle out of there. You got us all out of there. You're doing just fine."
"What will we do now?" she said, raising her tear-stained face to look at him.
"We'll follow Plan B," he said.
"And that is?"
"We become someone else," he explained. "Underneath Noelle's bed, there is a strongbox. It holds our new identities. There's also some hair dye and a change of clothing. On the waterfront, we have a room above a storefront. The kitchen is well-stocked and the neighbors are few. We won't be far from Dominik. We'll be close enough to get him back."
"Did you speak to Tommy?" she asked. "Did he find something new?"
Nikolas sighed. "He…um… He found a few things before we left. He's checking them out for us."
Dawn pulled away from him and rested her head on the pillow. Turning towards the fireplace, she said, "I won't ask why you didn't tell me this before."
"I didn't want to give you false hope…"
"Of course not," she murmured.
"Dawn," he said, rolling onto his side to be closer to her. He wrapped his arm around her waist, moving her so that her back rested against his chest. "I'm telling you the truth. I wasn't sure what he'd find. It could be something or nothing. You're blaming yourself for this and it isn't your fault. If I can shoulder your agony, I will."
"Nikky, I'm a grown woman. I don't need you to be a buffer for me."
"Yes, you do," he said with quiet confidence.
She bristled, but he didn’t release her. His face burrowed in the crook of her neck. "You need me," he whispered again against her ear.
She didn't try to deny it a second time. Nodding, she murmured, "Yes, and our son needs both of us."
"And we will find him. Soon."