Flashback 7

London
The next day...

The Cassadine jet sailed high above the clouds. Inside the steel structure was the Cassadine family. Knowing that they were safe and sound, Dominik and Noelle were fast asleep. Across from them, their parents sat. Nikolas' eyes were on his wife as he struggled to find the words to ask her the questions that had been playing on his mind.

"You're staring," Dawn murmured as she eased off her Nikes and flexed her feet on the plush, beige carpet of the jet.

"Am I?" Nikolas asked softly. He reached for her and pulled her close to him so that her feet rested in his lap. He pulled off her socks and cupped the sole of her right foot in the palm of his hands. With firm, gentle strokes, he began to give her a foot massage. "Well?" he asked, smiling at her as she moaned softly from his touch.

"Well, what?" she asked. She fell back against the sofa's plush cushions. Her eyes were closed and a smile graced her face as Nikolas' hands slid underneath her pants' leg and trailed a path from her ankle to her calf.

"Dawn, sweetheart, there's something that I wanted to ask you..."

"Hmm...?" she asked, in a relaxed tone. "What's your question?" Dawn stretched and rubbed her leg against Nikolas' midsection.

"Behave yourself, woman," he growled, placing her leg back onto his lap. He paused in his ministrations to rest his hands on her legs. "This is serious."

"Okay." Opening her eyes, she lifted herself so that she rested on her forearms and elbows. "What's up?"

"Come here," he said, beckoning with his forefinger. She moved closer to him and he pulled her onto his lap. "How do you feel about this trip?"

"Huh?" she asked, confused. "I feel okay. Sly and Jordan are like my brothers. Of course, I'd want to be there for their club's grand opening. Why do you ask?"

"Babe, the club is not the only reason why we're going to London..."

Dawn shrugged. "I know. And, you know that I'm happy for Elizabeth. She's wanted the engagement for a long time. She's my best friend... I don't understand why you're asking me this."

"Because you've mentioned everyone except for my brother," Nikolas responded quietly.

She drew a long breath. Lowering her eyes to the buttons on his shirt, Dawn remained quiet. Nikolas placed his fingers underneath her chin. Gently, he tilted her head upwards until their eyes met.

"What's going on between you and Lorenzo? Is there something I should know?"

"No, of course not," she answered quickly. "Why would you say that?"

"I've noticed that you and Lucky aren't as close as you used to be. I didn't want to intrude or anything, but if he's done something... Well, it's just that I find it odd how your friendship has changed."

"Really?" Dawn asked, her voice distant.

"Yes, really." She looked away from him again and he cupped her face between the palms of his hands. "Sweetheart, talk to me."

"Nikky," Dawn said as she straddled his lap and covered his hands with hers, "there is nothing to talk about. Friends grow apart. It happens."

"But, Dawn-"

"Really," she said, interrupting him. "It's not worth talking about."

"Okay," he said. "I'll drop it then."

"Thanks." She lowered her mouth to his and gave him a firm kiss. As she broke the kiss, she said, "Now, I think you were in the middle of giving me a very nice massage. Is it too much to ask for you to continue?"

He smiled at the teasing light he saw in her eyes. Shaking his head, he said, "No, my love. It's not too much. Assume the position."

"Gladly!" she responded before she fell back against the sofa cushions again.

~*~

The opening of Sly and Jordan's nightclub lived up to its name-Dynamic. Feeling especially proud of themselves, the two friends worked the crowd with charming smiles and sincere gratitude. Sitting in the shadows and on opposite sides of the club, their closest friends observed the scene. Dawn and Lorenzo were thrilled with their friends' success, but the unresolved tension between them left a bittersweet taste in their mouths.

"Sweetheart," Nikolas whispered softly against Dawn's ear as he placed his arm around her shoulder, "this is great, isn't it?"

"Hmm?" Dawn asked. She turned her head to look at him. "I'm sorry. What did you say?"

"I was just commenting on the guys' success. I think this is will be a good gig for them," Nikolas replied before he raised a glass of wine to his lips.

"Gig?" Dawn repeated, giggling softly.

Nikolas set his glass back down onto the table before he addressed his wife. Taking his time, he looked at her and then with a set jaw asked, "Are you making fun of me?"

"Who me?" she asked. Her words were spoken with sincerity, while a light of mischief danced in her eyes.

Rolling his eyes, he said, "As if."

"My sentiments exactly!" she remarked, indignantly.

Nikolas laughed out loud and shook his head at her. "I don't know what I'm gonna do with you."

"I could think of a few things..." she murmured low under her breath.

A wicked grin spread across his full lips. "Naughty, naughty, Mrs. Cassadine-"

"Why are you two in hiding over here?" a teasing voice asked. "This is party! Mingle for goodness' sakes!"

"Elizabeth!" Dawn slid from the booth and pulled her best friend into a fierce hug. "When did you get here?"

"We've been here for a little while now. The place is so packed that it took me forever to find you two." She returned Dawn's hug and when the hug ended, she turned to Nikolas and accepted his heartfelt embrace, too. "Sly told us that you were in a dark corner somewhere...doing God knows what..."

"One of these days, Eckert will go too far with that," Nikolas said. The smile in is eyes softened the subtle warning. He glanced behind Liz and made a show of looking for someone. "So, where's your worse half? I wanted to congratulate him and warn you at the same time."

"Hush, you!" Elizabeth wagged her finger at Nikolas. "I don't need any warning about your brother. The time has come for us to be together. I couldn't be more happy about sharing my life with him."

"I think you will be so good for him." Nikolas embraced Elizabeth again. As he pulled away from her, he looked at his silent wife. Taking her hand, he said, "Don't you agree?"

"Of course," Dawn said softly. "You are the perfect woman for him. No one else could love him the way that you do."

"That's so sweet for you to say." Tears glistened Elizabeth's eyes. She quickly blinked them away. Laughing, she added, "Every since he put this ring on my finger, I've been weepy. Is that normal?"

"Um...well...if memory serves-"

"You make it sound like a million years ago," Nikolas interjected. "We've only been married-"

"Forever," Dawn said, smiling up at him. "It feels like a long time ago because everything paled in comparison until I met you."

"Well, in that case," Nikolas said, smiling warmly as he wrapped his arms around her from behind, "it has been a million years...the best million years of my life. You'll see, Elizabeth. Sharing your life with the person you love and who loves you is a great gift. I know that you and Lorenzo will be as happy together as we are. In fact, I guarantee it."

"A Cassadine guarantee? Is that a good thing?" Lorenzo asked with a laugh as he joined the trio. His hand reached for Liz's as he grinned at his brother's dark scowl.

"Damn straight!" Nikolas said with a broad smile. He released Dawn and went to his younger brother. The two men embraced each other with the love that they openly displayed to one another. "Congratulations, little brother," Nikolas told Lorenzo after the hug was over.

"Thanks, old man," Lorenzo said. "So what's this about a guarantee? What are you promising my betrothed?"

"Your betrothed? You sound like some medieval lord. Has living in England un-Americanized you, Spencer? Should we make our home in Port Charles instead?" Elizabeth asked, teasing him.

"My home is wherever you are, Lizzie," he said as he placed a loud kiss on her cheek.

"Wow," Nikolas smirked, "Check out my little brother, sweetheart. Is he husband material, or what?"

"Yeah, Dawn," Lorenzo asked, turning his head to look her squarely in the eyes. "What do you think?"

"It doesn't matter what I think," Dawn replied, wrapping her arm around Nikolas' waist. "Liz is the one who'll have to deal with you." She looked a Liz and smiled, "What do you think?"

"I think he's rough around the edges," Elizabeth replied while directing her attention on Lorenzo, "but he's ready. I think we both finally are."

"There you have it," Dawn said.

A few seconds of silence followed before Nikolas broke it. "Can you hear it? I think they're playing our song. Let's dance, love."

Shaking her head, Dawn fanned her face and said, "Maybe in a few minutes. It's warm in here. I think I'll go outside for some fresh air first."

"Are you okay?" Nikolas asked, concerned. "Perhaps, you should sit down...have some water..."

"Nikky, I'm fine," Dawn said. "I'm just feeling a little hot. A few minutes outside will do the trick."

"Perhaps, I should go with you-"

"I can go with her and make sure she stays out of trouble. Why don't you and Lizzie dance? But I'm warning you, Cassadine, no funny stuff," Lorenzo said, his blue eyes twinkling.

"And, that goes double for me!" Nikolas said, laughing as he shook his finger at his younger brother. He took both of Dawn's hands inside his own. "Are you sure that fresh air is all you need?"

"I'm sure," Dawn said. She smiled as Nikolas kissed her hands. "I just need to cool off, but I have a warning of my own. Don't dance too hard with Liz! I'll be back and I want my fair share, too."

"Duly noted," Nikolas replied. He softly brushed his lips against Dawn's before he and Elizabeth left for the dance floor.

After Nikolas and Elizabeth departed, electric tension surrounded the remaining pair. Desperate to put an end to it, Lorenzo blurted out, "Alone at last."

Dawn's mouth parted in shock. "Unbelievable!" she muttered with disgust.

Without waiting for his response, she spun around on her heel and pushed her way through the crowd in search of the exit. Lorenzo was right beside her as she stepped outside. As the doormen closed the doors behind them, he placed his hand on her forearm and turned her around to face him. "We need to talk."

"Take your hands off of me!" Dawn cried, trying unsuccessfully to pull free of his grasp.

"No! Not until you hear me out. We're about three years overdue for this and I'm not letting you go until you hear what I have to say."

To be continued...in Part 2

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