Chapter 47

Dominik peeked through the curtains to the outside world. Night had fallen. Stars twinkled in the fall sky and Orion gleamed brilliantly among the other constellations. If he tilted his head just right, he could even make out the Big Dipper and his son, the Little Dipper. Shining the brightest and beaming in the moon's glow was the North Star. His Grandma Carrie had often told him that the Star guided lost souls home. The boy prayed that the Star wouldn't forget about him. He wanted to go home more than anything.

He looked around the room that was so much like the one he left behind at Wyndemere. The furniture, the toys and the books were a mirror image of his beloved possessions and pained him every time he looked at them. They reminded him of what he missed the most—his family. His Mommy had just come back home and his Papa said that she wouldn't go away again. It wasn't fair that he wasn't with them. He had missed her. Her laugh, her smile and her love.

Dominik kicked a Hot Wheels car across the room. His bottom lip trembled and he fought the urge to succumb to tears. He was a male Cassadine and they didn't cry. Papa had told him that there was no shame in tears, but Dominik didn't want to resort to them like he did on that first night. He wasn't a baby anymore. Not like Noelle. It was okay for her to cry. She was still little. She could crawl into their parents' laps and tell them that she was afraid without looking weak. He couldn't. He almost wished he could, though.

He crawled into bed and pulled the covers up to his chin. With his knees bent and his chin resting on them, the sheet was converted into a little tent. If he had been at home, he would have pulled out his flashlight and read a Hardy Boys mystery underneath the covering. But he wasn't at home and he didn't feel like reading anyway.

He thought about his last night at Wyndemere and wondered about Sarah. She had told him that his Papa needed him to come to him right away. That was why Dominik followed her. He believed her. She was his father's friend and he knew that he could trust her. Maybe he shouldn't have. Maybe she lied to him. He'd been there for days and he hadn't seen her since that night and no one had mentioned his Papa. His throat burned from the struggle to keep from crying. Tears stung the backs of his eyes and he stopped struggling and allowed the tears to flow freely down his cheeks.

A light tap came from the door before it creaked open. Dominik watched through blurred vision as the woman who served him his meals returned. She carried a tray of sandwiches and milk. She set the tray on the table in the center of the room and then went back to close the door. This time, she didn't leave him alone but sat down at the table and began to lay out the food and drinks. Dominik remained quiet and still as he watched her.

"You are a growing boy," the woman said. "It is not good that you do not eat. You will make yourself sick."


"So, your parents would not be happy that their little boy is ill. You do not wish to make your parents unhappy, do you?"

Dominik sat up straight in the bed and wiped at the tears on his face. "What do you know about my parents?"

"I know that they do not want you to be sick. They want you to eat."

He frowned. "Did they tell you this? Are they here?" He jumped up from the bed and ran to the door. "I want to see them. I demand that you take me to them."

"I'm sorry," she said, shaking her head, "but that cannot be done right now. You have to eat."

Dominik stepped away from the door and moved cautiously towards the table. He stood just out of reach of the woman as he asked softly, "And then you'll take me to them. Please?"

Her eyes became watery. She looked down at the sandwiches and the milk and patted the setting she had made for him. "It is not for me to do. Please, you must eat something."

"I want to go home."

Dominik's hoarse whisper compelled the woman to look at him. She nodded and said, "I know you do. Now, eat. It will make you feel better."

Going home would make him feel better, not eating. Dominik didn't argue with her. He knew it was pointless.


"Are you sure that Bobbie won't think it's odd for us to just show up on her doorstep?" Dawn glanced at Lorenzo as he guided the car through Port Charles to his aunt's brownstone. "She's gonna think it's strange. I just know it."

"She won't think anything," he replied, confident. "I usually visit her when I come to Port Chuck. She's probably wondering what's taken me so long."

"I guess so," she murmured. Her hands clenched together in her lap.

With his right hand, Lorenzo reached and closed his hand over hers. His fingers caressed her in a gesture that was more comforting than romantic. The light touch stopped as his fingers encountered her wedding ring. When they stopped at a traffic light, he looked at her. "You'd better get rid of that."

Her throat constricted. "I don't want to."

"I know," he said softly, "but you have to. It will only be for a little while. We'll get this thing figured out soon."

"Are you sure?" she asked, yearning to believe him. "Do you think it's Carly as opposed to Sarah?"

"I don't know who it is," he answered her with honesty, "but I do know that they won't be able to hide forever. Whoever it is, is no match against the baddest brainiacs of the free world."

Dawn grunted. "They haven't had much to worry about from the baddest brainiacs of the free world so far."

"You're giving Sarah that much credit?" The light changed and Lorenzo removed his hand from hers to shift the gears. "I never woulda thunk it was possible."

"Think I how I feel?" she said quietly. She looked down at her beautiful wedding band. During the past six months, she'd found ways to justify still wearing it. After all, she and Nikky were still married. He refused to divorce her, shouting from the rafters that he never would.

But all of that was about to change. Come morning, a process server would be on her doorstep... Maybe if they worked that quickly. She didn't know for sure and in all honesty, it really didn't matter when the papers would be served. What mattered was that they were being drawn up...that she and Nikolas would actually have to divorce. That she wouldn't be his wife anymore.

"You can't go in there with red eyes and a long face, Greedy," Lorenzo spoke gently. "We don't have to do this tonight. We can start tomorrow."

Dawn swallowed hard. The lump in her throat almost disappeared on the first try. "Tomorrow is another day. Another day where God knows what is happening to my son. Another day without my little girl. Another day without Dara receiving the treatment she needs. Another day without Nikolas. I can't wait until tomorrow," she said. "If Bobbie knows anything about Carly, we have to find out tonight."

He nodded. As he slowed down the rental, he looked at her again. "The brownstone is up ahead. There's a spot in front of Bobbie's, but before we go in, let's take a few minutes, okay?"

"Sure." Her index finger traced the intricate design of the stones on her wedding band. The street lamps provided enough light for her to see the jewels as she thought about how much they symbolized. She wondered if Nikolas had removed his ring and if it was as hard for him. She didn't want him to be in pain, but she hoped that removing the ring wasn't easy. It shouldn't have been, especially when it was tearing her apart.


"Ssh," she whispered. "I'm almost ready."

Lorenzo's jacket rustled as he settled back in the driver's seat. He looked to his left, giving her the privacy she needed without leaving the car. Silently, she thanked him for it.

Taking a deep breath, she grabbed the ring and pulled it off. She then removed the chain with the Cassadine medallion from around her neck. After undoing the clasp, she slid the ring down the chain and then secured the clasp again. She closed them inside the zipper compartment of her small handbag and exhaled. "I'm done."

He shifted on the seat so that he could see her face. His hand cupped her face, tilting it so that he could get a good look at her. "You look awful."

"Well, it's a good thing I'm not a model, right?" she commented with a trace of humor. "I'll be okay. Bobbie won't suspect a thing."

"You're the boss lady," he sighed.

He guided the car down the street towards Bobbie's brownstone and the parking space right in front of it. After he had turned off the ignition, he left the car and moved around to the passenger side to get the door for Dawn. When they were both standing on the curb, she threw herself into his arms. Thrown off balance, Lorenzo would have made them both fall if he hadn't wrapped his arms around her waist. "Dawn-"

The rest of his words were lost as she pressed her lips against his. The kiss began as chaste and mild until Dawn parted his lips with the tip of her tongue. After hesitating, she deepened the kiss and Lorenzo slowly followed. Behind them, the door to Bobbie's home opened. A loud fake cough interrupted the passionless moment and the two sprang apart. As Dawn joined Lorenzo in greeting his aunt, she prayed for strength to play her role and to play it well.


"The gravest mistake is to underestimate her."

"Father, I don't intend to."

"Another error is meeting with her alone," Stefan cautioned. "T'would be prudent if Thomas or I were in attendance."

"It isn't necessary," Nikolas replied as patiently as he could. "Tommy's set up cameras and microphones in the library-"

"What if she would rather be entertained elsewhere?" his father asked. His eyebrow arched for emphasis.

Nikolas' mouth thinned with displeasure. "She won't be invited to my bed, Father."

"Perhaps, Sarah would invite herself," Stefan suggested. "After all, it would not be the first time since your arrival back in Port Charles. Before, your stubborn determination to keep Dawn bound to you by marriage was your shield against her shameless advances. With a divorce forthcoming, what will protect you against her now?"

His lips twisted into a cynical smile. "I will cross that road when I come to it as the saying goes. Now, would you please leave? She should be here soon. I'd rather she didn't see you as she's intimidated by you."

Stefan smiled. "As she should be."

Stefan left the parlor and disappeared down the hallway. Upon his exit, Nikolas breathed a sigh of relief. With his Father hovering around him, he had become anxious and tense. In order to get to Sarah, he'd have to be natural and relaxed. A certain amount of tension would be expected but not so much that she became suspicious. He needed her to be relaxed and responsive. He needed her to trust him. Without question.

The loud ring of the doorbell announced that a visitor had arrived. Nikolas moved briskly towards the library to wait. Everything had been prepared so he there was nothing else he could do.

Mrs. Lansbury appeared a few minutes later to announce Miss Webber. Nikolas smiled his thanks to Mrs. Lansbury before she closed the door to leave them alone. He then moved towards the door to welcome Sarah with a hug. His hands stroked her back as he pressed her to him. "Thank you for coming."

Sarah reached for his hands after the hug ended. She held onto them tightly. "Of course, I'm here. You sounded so awful over the telephone. You must tell what happened."

Nodding, Nikolas squeezed her hands before he released them. He gestured toward the ivory loveseat that faced the fireplace. While she made herself comfortable, he asked, "Should I get you anything to drink?"

"I don't need anything." She patted the empty space beside her. "Please, sit and talk to me."

He lowered himself onto the loveseat. The inch of space that separated them vanished as she pressed her thigh against his. A ton of bricks fell into the pit of Nikolas' stomach, but he chose to ignore them. Plastering his face with a faint, gracious smile, he said, "I wanted you to hear it from me first. I am filing for divorce."

"Really?" she asked, just barely able to conceal her delight. "I thought you had decided to give her another chance."

Nikolas shook his head. "I changed my mind. She wasn't the woman I had imagined her to be, and I don' woman she really is. It's time I've moved on with my life."

"You make it sound easy. I'm sure you're hurting."

"I am," he agreed. "It's difficult, admitting what a fool I've been and for so long." He gave her a humorless smile. "I hope this doesn't change your opinion of me."

"Nothing could ever do that," Sarah promised. "I've always known that you are a man who loves deeply. It's not your fault that she took advantage of that. I'm your friend, Nikolas. I'll be here for you anytime you need me."

"Thank you, Sarah," he murmured. His fingers lightly traced the curve of her cheek. "Your friendship has always meant so much. I couldn't imagine surviving this without you. Thank you so much, Sarah."

As he pulled her inside the circle of his arms, he couldn't help but wonder if the words he'd used to describe Dawn would be better suited for Sarah instead. If she turned out to be the mastermind behind his family's pain, would his family ever forgive him for trusting her? Would he forgive himself?

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Darkest Before the Dawn (and all original characters) © 1998-2001 niklovr
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