Chapter 40

Tommy looked at the clock and released a low whistle. Trapped behind a computer, he hadn't moved for hours. His neck ached from being in one position for so long and his eyes burned with fatigue. Looking through the windows in Nikolas' study, he saw that morning was creeping over the horizon. More than twelve hours had passed and he hadn't heard from his friend. Believing that no news was good news, he was optimistic that they were okay.

A light knock came from the door. He called out a greeting and Mrs. Landsbury entered with a breakfast tray. The rich aroma of coffee filled his nostrils. He sat up straight. The caffeine affected him before he even had a taste. He smiled his gratitude as she cleared a space for him and set a plate filled with bacon, eggs and toast before him. She filled his mug with coffee and placed the cream and sugar beside him. He shook his head when she offered him juice and then with a faint smile, she left him alone, closing the door behind him.

Dividing his attention between the food and the ballistics report from the park shooting that Mac had given him, Tommy went back to work. Mac's men had removed the bullets that had miraculously missed their targets and had lodged in the trees instead. The police's report had concluded that a semiautomatic pistol had been used.

All night he had researched the information. Using his own database and a few connections, he was able to locate the manufacturer of the firearm. The handgun had long been outlawed in the United States and Tommy's work hadn't been easy. Grateful that he was fluent in Spanish, Tommy put it to use and placed a series of phone calls South of the border.

The first few calls had been met with suspicion, but with a little charm and some wire transfers, Tommy was able to get the information he needed. He discovered that his previous assumption that the handguns had been made with illegal drug trafficking had been in error. Instead, he found that the semiautomatic pistols were made for an elite guerilla force, which was similar to the US Drug Enforcement Agency. Upon reaching the commander of one of the top patrols, he was told that a shipment had never reached its destination. The commander was still angry and requested that if Tommy found the culprits, he would forward the information along. Tommy had assured him that he would.

Swallowing more coffee, Tommy processed the telephone call and what it meant. Sure, he didn't know who stole the pistols or even if they were directly involved with the shooting. The lack of knowledge could almost lead him back to square one. Almost, but not quite. The handguns were stolen from a restricted part of the country, and whoever did the deed would have needed special permission from both governments to be there. It would take some more digging, but coupled with the print that he found at the edge of Spoon Island, Tommy had no doubts that a break would happen soon.

The shrill ring of his digital phone interrupted his thoughts. Flipping open the compact device, he pressed the receiver to his ear. "Hardy."

"It had better be," said Nikolas on the other end. "Is it okay to talk?"

"The call can't be traced," Tommy assured him, "and I'm alone. Is everyone okay?"

There was a brief pause and a faint rustling could be heard. Then, Nikolas answered him. "Physically, yes. Emotionally… This has to end."

"It will," Tommy encouraged. Nikolas' anger and weariness traveled to him. Tommy couldn't imagine how he would fair if the situation was reversed. Silently, he admired his friend's strength and courage and prayed that everything would be set right again soon. "What's the outlook?"

"Plan C," Nikolas said. As they had already discussed it, Tommy knew exactly what he meant. Nikolas continued on, "We need to implement it as soon as possible."

"Understood. Will this also include the larger package or just the smaller one?"

Another brief pause and then Nikolas whispered, "Just the smaller one. For now."

"Okay. I'll be at the depot in thirty minutes."

"Is that wise?" Nikolas asked. "I mean…you… I don't know who else could, but everyone knows that you're like a brother to me. Other than Father, I wouldn't turn to anyone else. What if you have company?"

"I would rather it be me. I can be invisible if need be, but you're right. If I missed something and something happened…" Tommy stopped speaking as the unimaginable possibility of Noelle being hurt or worse entered his mind. Frowning, he quickly pushed the thoughts away and forced himself to concentrate on the present. They needed an alternative solution and like a flash, one came to him. Confident that Nikolas would agree, Tommy said with a smile, "PK would be perfect."

"Okay," Nikolas said with an audible sigh of relief, "PK is the one."


"I'm sorry for calling so early."

PK stifled a yawn. Rolling onto her side of the bed, she looked at the bedside clock. Morning had come, and she felt like she hadn't slept at all. Well, actually, she hadn't. Her mouth parted into a secret smile. The last twenty-four hours had been one pleasurable blur. A smile still on her face, she spoke into the receiver. "It's not a problem, Tommy. What's up?"

"I have a favor to ask of you," he began. "If you'd rather not, just say so. I promise there won't be any hard feelings."

"Well, ask me before you decide for me, okay?" A frown replaced the smile and she rose from the bed. She grabbed her robe from the floor and pulled it on. Pushing her arms through the sleeves, she padded to the bay window and its cushioned window seat. Oblivious to the view from the lighthouse windows, her entire concentration was centered on the man at the other end of the telephone. "Tommy?" she said when he remained quiet for too long. "What's going on?"

"Well, you know about the shooting-"

"Shooting?!" she shrieked. "What shooting?"

Tommy released a loud sigh. "I'm sorry for having to tell you like this. It's been all over the news and in the papers. I thought you knew. Dawn and Noelle were shot at in the park yesterday. Nikolas was with them."

"Oh, my God," PK whispered. Burning tears stung her eyes. She wiped them away with an absent gesture of her hand. "Are they okay?"

"Yeah. For the most part."

The ominous tone of his voice set her nerves on edge. "What do you mean by that? There's more, isn't there?"

"Yeah, Dominik was abducted a few days ago." He quickly rushed on before she could interrupt. "We didn't tell anyone. We didn't want the press to know and screw up getting him back."

"So the shooting was related?" she asked. Her mind spun with every word he spoke. For the last few days, her world had been idyllic while one of her closest friend's had tumbled out of control. It just didn't seem fair. "Is there a ransom for Dominik?"

"We believe the shooting was related to what's happened to Dom. The police think it was the random act of some crazies, but they may need to find out about Dominik sooner or later. I'm hoping that we'll get him back long before they need to know."

"And, a ransom?" she repeated, hanging on to his every word.

"They don't seem to want money. Well, at least, they haven't asked for any. From the note that was left, this isn't about money. It goes deeper than that. We're trying to figure it out, but every day…"

Tommy's voice faded to silence. She didn't press him to continue. She knew what Dominik meant to him. Her heart constricted with pain. How could someone just take a little kid? What kind of idiot shot at a mother and four-year-old child? Her blood began to boil with outrage. "I'm here and I'm available. What do you need me to do? What was the favor you wanted?"

"Sunshine," Tommy said quietly. "We need you to get her out of here."

"Is she at Wyndemere?" she asked, rising from the window seat. Her feet sped across the carpeted floor and led her first to her closet and then to the bathroom. "I can be there in about twenty minutes. Maybe less."

"Speed is good," he told her, "but she's not here. You'll have to pick her up and go. This can be dangerous. If you'd rather not-"

"Listen, Hardy, I said I'd do it," she cut him off. "I'm not afraid," she added softly. "I can get her anywhere Nikolas wants her to be. Just tell me where and she's as good as there."

"Okay," he said."

PK listened closely as Tommy gave her the instructions. When he was done, she lowered the telephone to the marble bathroom counter. Pressing the heels of her hand against her forehead, she gave herself a moment to digest everything he had told her. Behind her, a quiet sigh sounded from the doorway. "What now? What is there to be afraid of?"

The faint Australian accent didn't hide his growing anger from her. She had anticipated it. With her shoulders squared, she faced Jax and his censuring blue eyes. She really didn't have time to placate him, but in light of recent developments, she couldn't ignore that she owed him an explanation. "Jax, something has happened and I have to disappear for a few days."

"No." Blond hair toppled against his forehead as he shook his head emphatically. "I will not allow you to run all over the planet, extinguishing Cassadine fires. Let them handle their own messes for once."

"Jax, please," she said quietly. "You don't even know what's happened-"

"I know that losing you because of them is not something that I will sit still for. I overheard you. I don't sleep as lightly as you think. You said something about not being afraid…which means danger. Nikolas is man. Let him handle his own affairs, and if he can't, there's always Tommy."

PK stared back at him. His protective streak was both endearing and infuriating. Only Jasper Jacks could make her feel such opposite emotions at one time. "Tommy can't do this. If you would only listen-"

"I listened to the vows you made to me not two nights ago and to the vows I made to you. I heard the Justice of the Peace pronounce us husband and wife. Were you listening? I refuse to be a widower. I won't lose you." Sliding across the floor in one movement, he gripped her upper arms to emphasize his words. "I'm not trying to boss you. I just want to love you."

"I know," she said, returning his embrace when his arms stole around her waist and pressed her against his solid chest. "And I am listening to you. If the circumstances were different, I would even heed your advice, but I can't this time. A child's life is at stake. Dominik is missing and yesterday, someone shot at Dawn and Noelle."

"I didn't know!" Jax abruptly released her to stare at her. "What are they doing to find him? Are Dawn and Noelle okay?"

"There's no way you could have known," she said softly. Taking his hand, she added, "They are doing everything they can to find him. The authorities are in the dark right now, but that may soon change. And, so far, Dawn and Noelle are fine. Nikolas wants Noelle out of the country. That's why Tommy called. He asked me if I could do it and I told him I could. I am."

"Of course," Jax responded. He cupped his hand against her face. "We both are."


"The phone just rings and rings," Laura announced as Scotty entered the living room of their uniquely decorated two-story home. Above them on the second floor, their teenaged daughters prepared for school amid the sound of slamming doors and crackling tension. Scotty reached Laura just as she slammed the telephone down. "I can't believe he wouldn't call me. He has to know I'd be worried! Someone came this close," she said, measuring the distance with her forefinger and thumb, "to h-hurting my gr-granddaughter. Why won't Nikolas just call to me know if they’re okay? Does he hate me so much?"

As tears streamed down her face, Scotty pulled his wife into his arms. His hands briskly rubbed her back and shoulder-length flaxen hair. "Oh, sweetheart, Nikolas doesn't hate you. Maybe he's in a situation where he can't call. I know if I were in his place, the only thing on my mind would be keeping my family safe. I'm sure that's what he's doing. Once they're secure, I'm sure he will let you know."

"I'm sure Stefan knows," she accused through sniffles. "I've called him, too, and all I get is his voicemail. I don't think I can wait much longer. I'm going to Wyndemere."

She pulled away from his arms and headed for the spiral staircase. Scotty reached her before her foot landed on the second step. "Laura, wait." He took her hand and guided her towards the sofa. Despite her resistance, he managed to pull her down to sit beside him. "With people shooting at them, it isn't wise to go running over to Spoon Island."

"How can you to expect me to sit here and do nothing?" she questioned, her voice becoming shrill. "I may be a grandmother, but I'm not one who will sit around, twiddling her thumbs! I can help him if he would let me."

"Sweetheart," he said gently, "Nikolas isn't alone in this. Dawn is his wife-" He paused when she stiffened. When she didn't speak, he added, "She's also Noelle and Dominik's mother. Right now, the less unnecessary tension around them, the better."

"I would not cause any tension," she clipped. "I can get along with Dawn."

"I don't believe that any more than you do," he told her. On the second story, a door slammed. Scotty glanced up to the second floor landing and then looked back at his wife. "Is Lesley Lu okay for school today? Maybe we should let them stay home if they want to."

Laura nodded. "Serena seems to be okay, but Lu and Nikolas are close. If they want to stay home, I don't see why they can't."

The next few minutes were quiet as the Spencer-Baldwin family had breakfast. The usual morning banter was absent as the family of four ate in silence. Serena was the first to clean her plate and leave the table. Scotty also rose from his chair and looked back and forth between the two girls. "If you want to stay home today, you can. Serena? Lesley Lu?"

"If I hung around here, I'd just think about all sorts of awful things," Serena explained. She kissed her father's cheek and then Laura's. "I'm gonna go to school."

"Okay," Laura said with a faint smile for her stepdaughter. She held her hand out to her daughter. "What about you, Lu?"

The dark-haired girl shook her head. "I can't go, Mom. I want to be here in case Nikolas calls. I want to be here when he says that they are all okay and are coming back h-home…" Barely able to get the words out, she burst into tears and ran upstairs. Fast on her heels, Laura followed Lu up the staircase, leaving father and daughter alone.

"Are you sure about school?" Scotty asked Serena again. "You don't have to put on a brave face. It's okay to be worried and scared."

Scotty wrapped his arms around Serena's shoulders and she leaned against him. "I am scared, Daddy, but staying home won't change that. I'll be okay at school, and if I start to feel weird, I'll just call you. Deal?"

Scotty smiled down at her. "Deal."

He walked her to the curb and stood at the gate as she boarded the school bus. As the bus moved down the block, he remained at the gate, watching as a familiar car pulled in front of his house. "Any word?" he asked as Tommy extricated his long frame from the small sports car.

"How are Mrs. Baldwin and Lesley Lu?" Tommy asked, following Scotty up the walk and into the house.

"The best as can be expected," Scotty answered. His blue eyes darkened as he gave Tommy a hard stare. "You didn't come over here to ask about Laura and Nikolas' little sister. You have heard from him, haven't you?"

Tommy nodded. "I spoke with him-"

"Tommy?" Laura called down from the staircase. Hurrying down the stairs, she said, "I thought I heard voices down here. I looked out the window and saw your car… Please, tell me they are okay."

He nodded again. "Dawn and Noelle weren't injured yesterday. The three of them are safe."

"Where are they?" she questioned. "I want to see him and the baby. I can help them-"

"I'm sorry, but it's best if you don't know."

Laura's expression hardened. "I wouldn't put my son and his family in jeopardy. I spent nearly twenty years on the run. I'm not a novice."

"I know," Tommy said, offering her a faint smile, "and believe me, I understand. I want to see them, too, and know that they are okay. I'm not related to your family, but I do love them. A great deal. I wouldn't want to see any more harm come to them—any of them. To insure their safety, Nikolas does not want their whereabouts known and I have to honor his wishes. I'm sorry if that upsets you."

"We understand, Tommy," Scotty said. He moved to stand beside his wife. Her blue eyes flashed with indignation and he wrapped his arm around her waist to soothe her. "At least we know that Nikolas, Dawn and Noelle are safe-"

"Where's Stefan?" Laura asked, unintentionally interrupting Scotty. "Is he with them?"

"No, ma'am, he's not. The Commissioner kept him overnight for questioning about the gunplay at the park. When I leave here, I'm meeting Alexis at the station," Tommy explained.

"You're moving around just in case you're being followed," Scotty reasoned.

Tommy responded with a single nod. He turned to leave, but a hoarse voice stopped him. "Tommy?" Lesley Lu left her perch on the stairway to come down the stairs to him. He opened his arms to her and she fell against him. Her sobs were muffled against his sweater.

"This will be over soon," he told her.

Nodding, she sniffled and stepped out of his embrace. Her small hands squeezed his. "When you talk to my brother again, will you tell him that I love him and praying that we will all be together again soon?"

"I promise," Tommy whispered.

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