~ Relax, the Continuation ~
"I miss my wife."
Sonny nodded in agreement with Jason's melancholy words. The downhearted expression on the younger man's face looked like a mirror to Sonny's soul. He had eagerly volunteered to find answers when Dominik's abduction took Stefan on a different course, but he hadn't anticipated how long the search would take. Dara's life was in jeopardy and he wouldn't give up. But still... He missed his wife and his daughter. He missed home.
"Good evening, may I start you off with drinks or appetizers?"
A waiter appeared, putting a momentary end to the men's longing for their families. Jason asked for a beer. Sonny requested the same. After the waiter left, they discreetly looked around the Port Charles Grille. The dinner crowd was slowly milling in. A few tables across from them, Tommy sat with Lynn. A laptop lay unattended on the table beside him and the two appeared to be in deep conversation. He glanced at his watch a few times, but other than that he appeared normal.
Sonny could sense the tension from across the room. He wondered what Tommy was up to and it bothered him that he couldn't just get up and ask. Making a mental note to keep tabs on the younger man, Sonny drew his dark gaze from his stepson to look towards the bar. He and Jason had followed Vincent there. The new boss of the organization had no visible bodyguards but Sonny knew that his protection would never be far away.
The waiter returned with their drinks. He quickly took their orders for dinner and left. When they were alone, Jason leaned forward and said, "Think he's been stood up?"
"I can't say for sure," Sonny replied. "He spends all day at home only to come out now for a drink. I guess a full day with her could do that to a man. What did you find out about your cousin? Does he know what Santiago is into?"
Jason took a swig of beer and as he set the glass onto the table, he shrugged. "The kid is as tight as a drum. I couldn't get anything out of him without just asking outright."
"Did you talk to AJ or Justus?" Sonny asked. "Isn't the kid VP of something or other at ELQ?"
"When AJ left ELQ two years ago, he washed his hands of it. He doesn't know anything about Dillon's personal life either. Justus said that Dillon took a leave of absence from the company early last year."
"He told Justus that he was too young to have his life consumed by ELQ. He wanted to live a little before taking part of the family business. He gave Emily his proxy and that was that," Jason explained.
"That was that?" Sonny asked, surprised. "Tracy must be rolling in her grave right now. So, why would Dillon involve himself with Santiago?"
Jason shrugged. "I have no idea. Maybe it's the lifestyle."
Sonny rubbed his forehead. A head throbbed. The brick walls they kept running into gave him a headache. "It has to be more than that. They were too chummy at the shooting range. Maybe Santiago's using him to get into ELQ."
"You sound like Edward when he accused you of using me to do the exact same thing," Jason remembered with a chuckle. "I guess it's possible, but since Dillon's not even involved with the business, it would be a waste of Santiago's time."
"We need to find out when and where they met," Sonny decided. They were still missing something important. If they dug deep enough, they'd have to find it.
"Do you think Dillon is involved with this mess, too?" Jason asked. "He's just a kid, Sonny. He wouldn't have anything against the Cassadines or Dara."
"Relax," Sonny advised. "I doubt if he has anything to do with this, but it doesn't hurt to double check their connection. It could be that he doesn't know what he's gotten into with Santiago. You never know."
"He said that she got this from AJ?" Tommy questioned. He held the small untraceable digital telephone in the palm of his hand. The inside of the prototype was like nothing he had seen before. He was impressed by the intricate design and planned to talk to AJ about the details later. For now, he had other things to consider. After replacing the telephone's back cover, he slipped it inside his jacket. He smiled at Lynn. "I didn't realize AJ's company was so advanced. Remind me to give him a call sometime."
"Sure," she replied. "So, is everything all set?"
"Yeah," he said. "Everything and everyone is in place. We should get some answers tonight."
"What if..." She chewed on her bottom lip as she tried again. "What if something goes wrong with the...stuff?"
Tommy shook his head. "He has the necessary amount. Nothing should go wrong."
"What if she has a negative reaction?" Lynn persisted. "I've read the research about this serum. It can be dangerous. What will he do if she dies? How will he explain that to the authorities?"
He released an exasperated sigh. "Lynn, you worry too much. I've read the research about it, too. In the experimental stages, it was unpredictable. We don't have to worry about that. Her body weight is so small that she won't need more than the few drops that are in the vial that I gave him. She won't die. She'll just reveal the truth to him. Besides as soon as he gives it to her, he's gonna let me know and I'll be there if there are any complications."
"Your mother's a doctor," she reminded him. "Not, you."
"Whoa!" he said, his green eyes lit with laughter. "You are pistol when you're nervous. You can go home if this is too much for you."
A rosy blush crept across her cheeks. Lynn lowered her eyes and shook her head. "I'm sorry. I am nervous, but I'll be okay. This is the furthest we've ever gone...using drugs... I know the reasons are good, but it's still scary. What if the hunches are wrong and she has nothing to do with what's been happening? Will you and Nikolas be okay with what you're doing tonight?"
Tommy couldn't deny that her questions were good ones. The suggestion to use the truth serum had been Tommy's. Standing on the launch at Spoon Lake, he couldn't forget about the conversation he and Nikolas had. His friend was desperate to find his son and hadn't been shy about the lengths he would go to do that. He wouldn't past judgment on Nikolas' methods, but what if there was another way?
Then, he remembered the data he had received about a truth serum from an old college friend, Mark Harper. He quickly called Lynn and asked her to contact his friend while he discussed the possibilities with Nikolas. By the time Lynn contacted him and told him that Harper would give him a small vial no questions asked, he and Nikolas had convinced themselves that they had no alternative but to use the drug on Sarah. If she knew anything about Dominik's abduction and Dara's illness, they had to know. There couldn't be any further delays.
"A little boy has been taken from his family," Tommy began, speaking softly. "His aunt has been poisoned and could die. We don't have any answers. Nothing. If Sarah doesn't know anything, then at least, we know to look elsewhere. Right now, she's the best bet that we have and we have to take it. I can live with myself and I believe that Nikolas has accepted the consequences, too."
He closed his hand over hers and patted it lightly. "My cousin won't die, Lynn. I may not like her very much, but I do care about her. If she has a negative reaction, I will call the paramedics immediately. Harper did a lot of research on this thing. His is more organic and nothing like that experimental synthetic version that the government's scientists came up with. We're getting positive results tonight, Lynn. Believe that."
The telephone conversation with Nikolas weighed heavily on Dawn's mind. He had been tense, agitated. He tried not to show it, but she knew that he was deeply bothered by something. As the call came to a close, he seemed more relaxed. However, underneath the surface, there was still a drastic feeling in the air between them. Something had shifted the balance and she wondered what it was. Because he hadn't said anything, she knew that he didn't want her to know. Choosing to tease him, she decided not to question him. Instead, she reminded him that she believed in him and loved him still. But, God, how she wanted this to be over!
"What's wrong now?" Lorenzo asked as he entered the suite to find her pacing. "Did you get through to him?"
"I did," she said, pausing to look at him. "He seemed upset."
Lorenzo pulled off his jacket and tossed it on the back of a chair. "We're all upset. These are upsetting times."
"Is that supposed to be funny?" she questioned in an even voice.
"Am I laughing?" he countered. He expelled a low breath as went towards her. Placing his hands on her shoulders, he squeezed. "I wasn't making light of this. I know you're worried about him and probably hate that he's with Sarah. Maybe we should get out of here for a while. Go have dinner and figure out a way for you to deal with my cousin without wanting to strangle her."
She gave him a half-smile. "Was I that bad with her?"
Lorenzo shrugged. "It's expected. She has that effect on people. It would have been strange if you had been all sweetness and light with her."
"Well, that's good," she responded as she moved away from him. She grabbed her shoes and sat down on the sofa to put them on. "I couldn't have pulled off 'sweetness and light' with her. Not unless I was comatose. Where are you taking me for dinner? I haven't eaten all day and my head is killing me."
His eyes narrowed while he watched her. "You told me you ate."
"I lied," she replied. "I couldn't. I was too antsy, waiting for AJ to bring me the phones. I wish we had them six months ago. This mess would have been over by now. Nikky told me that Stefan's with Mama and Dara. He hasn't called in so we don't know... I guess if she had taken a bad turn, I'd know. I'm gonna believe that she and my little boy are fine and will be fine."
"That's the best thing to do," he advised. He sat down beside her. A strand of hair fell from her ponytail and he reached for it. While he rubbed the dark locks between his fingers, silence echoed in the room and she pulled away from him.
"You didn't tell me where we're going," she said with her back to him. "Fancy or normal? What should I wear?"
"Your clothes are fine," he said as he rose to stand behind her. He leaned forward to whisper, "Sorry."
"Don't apologize," she said. She turned to face him. "I overreacted and I'm sorry. I get scared when that happens," she whispered softly. "I don't want to hurt or to mislead you. When we're in public, it makes sense, but when we're alone... We've searched this room. There are no cameras or microphones here. We don't have to perform for an audience."
"I wasn't performing for anyone."
Dawn frowned. "So, why did you do it? What's gonna happen to you when this is over and I'm back with my family? Will you try to make things work with Elizabeth again? Do you still love her?"
"Whoa!" Lorenzo held up his hands and stepped back. "I'm starving. Let's go."
"Not so fast, Selfish. Answer me. I worry about you," she told him. "These past six months have been horrible for me and I can't imagine that you've had a good time of it either. You and Lizzie were gonna be married. Don't you wonder what your life would have been like?"
He shoved his hands into his pockets. Pain darkened his blue eyes and he stared at her as he answered, "Of course, I do. I think about it, but what good does that do? Back then, I wanted nothing more than to share the rest of my life with her. I wanted us to have the happy life that you and Nikolas boasted about."
"It could still happen," she said, responding to the bleakness in his voice. "When she knows what happened, she'll forgive you."
Lorenzo nodded. "She probably will forgive me...to a degree. I don't think she'll love me the same, though. I'm not even sure I still love her."
"Don't say that-"
"It's true," he interrupted her denial. "I don't know what I feel any more. The time with you...has...well, it's brought back stuff that should have been buried a long time ago. A lot is going on with me right now. I'll deal with it all in my own time."
Tears stung her eyes. "I am so sorry. I don't know what to say... You already know how I feel. Maybe I should move into another suite. Maybe you should leave-"
"I'm not going anywhere until we get my nephew back and you're not moving anywhere." He smiled at her. "And please, stop apologizing. You didn't do anything. I didn't do anything. Neither of us did a damn thing!"
"Well, something happened somewhere," she argued.
"Yeah," he agreed. "We were all born. Fate or a very cruel Cupid took over after that."
"Is that supposed to be funny?"
He nodded as he laughed. "Yeah."
Her laughter joined his. "Good because it sure sounded funny to me. 'A Very Cruel Cupid'...sounds like one helluva title for a song, don't you think?"
"Yep," he said. "I think we could sell records with that one. Come on. Dinner at Kelley's awaits. Let's go before the chili gets cold."
"I've enjoyed tonight," Sarah said as she lit another candle. Brushing a wave of tawny-gold hair from her face, she glanced over her shoulder at Nikolas. Smiling coyly, she added, "I hope that you have, too."
Nikolas left his perch on the barstool to stand in front of her. Reaching out, his finger lightly traced the line of her cheekbone and jaw. His voice was quiet with emphasis. "I have enjoyed myself very much, Sarah. I cannot begin to tell you how much these past few days have meant to me. I've felt so detached until you broke through the loneliness and brightened my days with your beautiful smile and tender care."
She took his hand, lacing her fingers with his. "You've been through so much already. Of course, I wouldn't want you to go through this alone, too." She pressed her cool hand against his jaw. "You deserve happiness. That's all I've ever wanted for you."
"Oh, Sarah," he murmured, drawing her inside the circle of his arms. His large hands pressed her slender frame, holding her close against him. "I have always wanted the same for you, too. So many mistakes were made in the past. Soon they will all be corrected. It feels so good knowing that you were here with me every step of the way."
"I'll always be here," she promised as he released his hold on her.
Her hand returned to his jaw and her pale blue eyes stared up at him with yearning. Nikolas knew that she expected him to kiss her. Offering her a faint smile, he bent his head to hers.
Her mouth was small and soft beneath his. He brushed his mouth against hers for a moment before raising his head. Passion did not stir within him at the touch of her lips. He hadn't desired another woman since he met Dawn. She incited his senses like no woman ever had and now as the kiss onto Sarah's lips ended, he felt something akin to disgust at what just occurred. Unsure if his emotions would be evident to her, he quickly turned away and went to the bar.
His hand shook as he reached for the decanter of brandy. Taking a deep breath, he commanded himself to relax, to stay focused. The truth serum was inside his pants pocket. With a few drops, he could have all the answers he needed without touching her again. His other hand slipped inside the pocket and grasped the vial. In a raw, husky voice, he asked, "Would you like anything to drink?"
"I'm not thirsty," she murmured against his ear.
Her close proximity surprised him and he nearly jumped out of his skin. He laughed nervously as an attempt to calm his rattled nerves. "I didn't hear you behind me," he explained.
She smiled at him with understanding. "I know." She pulled his hand from the decanter and led him to the sofa.
The Presidential Suite of the Port Charles Hotel was equipped with the best in everything. The furnishings were elegant and the large, beige sofa was soft and inviting. The plush material folded against him, comforting and warm. He would have found it all very relaxing if her thigh wasn't pressed so hard against his and if the chance of using the truth serum as opposed to his body had been realized. Groaning inwardly, he placed his hand on her thigh and gave her what he hoped was a disarming smile.
She closed her hand over his. "Relax, Nikolas. There's no reason for you to be nervous with me."
He released a low breath. Perhaps he could use it to his advantage. "I'm not accustomed to feeling this out of sorts."
"It's understandable," she assured him. "I can imagine that you've only had one lover. The possibility of being with someone new can be overwhelming."
"I wouldn't say 'overwhelming'," he clarified as he shifted on the sofa to face her. He dropped his eyes, allowing his gaze to roam over her slender form, which was skillfully displayed in a clinging, silk two piece pantsuit. The top dipped into a v-neck, revealing the curve of her pale, supple breasts. His perusal lingered there until her chest began to rise and fall rapidly. He then looked up to the base of her throat. Lowering his head, he placed an open-mouthed kiss against the pulsating flesh. Her moans buzzed around him.
"Maybe overwhelming was the wrong word," she breathed when he lifted his head.
Large blue eyes glassy with passion stared at Nikolas. Without so much as a real kiss between them, he had aroused her. He wasn't proud of his accomplishment, but since he had come so far, he had no choice but to use the achievement to his advantage. Rising, he pulled her to her feet with him. She needed no further invitation and led him to the bedroom.
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