Simone smiled to herself as she watched Lark wheel her cart of goodies out of her room. Lark had been in out of Simone's room more than the nurses. She told Simone that she wanted to make sure that she had adequate reading material, but Simone doubted the truth of her words. She had a strong suspicion that Lark was more concerned about her son than Simone's reading material. So far, each time Lark came in, she found some reason to ask about Tommy. Lark thought she was being subtle, but Simone saw through it. Her son had an admirer. She wondered if he knew.
She looked at the newest stack of magazines Lark had given her. Oprah's everywhere, she thought, as she set the magazines aside. She'd read about Ms. Winfrey later. Right now, she'd rest her eyes for a little bit. She lowered her bed to a reclining position and settled herself underneath the covers. She had just closed her eyes when she heard her door open.
"Oh, Simone, I'm sorry. I'll come back later."
Simone sat straight up. "Gina, come back here."
"But weren't you about to take a nap?" Gina asked as she entered the room.
"Yes, but because of boredom. Have a seat. Tell me what's going on in the outside world," Simone suggested with a smile.
Gina sat down on the guest chair and scooted it closer to Simone. "Not much is going on. Gail has been at a conference all week. Things have been pretty slow,"
"I said 'outside world.'" Simone replied, using the controls to reposition her bed. "I don't want any General Hospital stories. Amy is more than happy to fill me in on that. Let's talk about something fun."
"Something fun?" Gina asked, arching an eyebrow. "Such as?"
"I don't know," Simone said, laughing at herself. "Tell me about my son. What has he been up to lately? He came by this morning, but he hasn't been too clingy lately. Is he out there scrounging for work after I told him not to?"
Gina shifted uncomfortably in her seat. Not wanting to break her promise, she didn't quite know how to answer Simone's question. Instead, she decided to change the subject. "Have you talked to him about school?"
"School?" Simone asked, "You mean Port Charles High?"
"Yeah," Gina replied. "Has he said whether or not he intended to register?"
"Shouldn't he have registered by now?" Simone asked with a frown.
"Registration is this week. I tried to talk to him about it a while back, but every time, I brought it up, we ended up arguing. I was hoping he mentioned something to you."
"No, my pigheaded child hasn't said a word to me about it, but don't worry, Gina. He's going to school. Did he say why he didn't want to go?"
"He said that he was worried about you, which I believe was true, but I think there's something else, too," Gina said quietly.
"I think he's afraid the other kids won't like him or treat him differently. I'm not sure if anyone's told you this, but after we were all rescued, the media went crazy. They hounded Tommy like there was no tomorrow until the Cassadines, I believe, put a stop to it," Gina said.
"The Cassadines? Why would they concern themselves with Tommy?"
"He and Nikolas Cassadine are friends. Don't worry," Gina said when she saw anxiety and concern creep into Simone's eyes. "He and Nikolas are close. I've heard bits and pieces about them, but I'm not sure if it's all true. Nikolas helped in the rescue and he asked Tommy to stand up for him as his best man. I think Tommy's safe in his friendship with him."
"Back up, Gina. My son was the best man at a wedding? When?"
"A few days ago. Don't be upset with him. The wedding was supposed to be hush hush, but I think it's out in the open now. I'm sure that's why he didn't say anything."
"I'm not upset. I'm surprised. And happy," Simone's eyes brimmed with unshed tears. "My son has friends. I hoped it would happen, but I didn't want to believe it could be true. My God, Gina, we're really out of that hell hole. It's really and truly over, isn't it?"
Gina moved to the bed and gathered a crying Simone into her arms. She felt the tears stream down her face as she gently rocked her friend. I don't think it will ever truly be over for me, she thought to herself. Not ever.
"I told you not to come here," Robert Jensen said angrily as an unwanted visitor burst into his expensive office in New York City's upper west side.
"My friend, I think you should watch your tone. You really don't want to make me angry, now do you? What would your associates think?" Juan asked softly, his slight accent adding emphasis to his thinly veiled threat.
"Look, Juan, I told you that coming here is too dangerous. If anyone saw you here before-"
"Before? Ah, so you have come to a decision, no? Would that be a yes?" Juan asked as he moved about Robert's office as he owned it.
"'Before' was a bad choice in words and no, I haven't come to a decision. What you suggest would be too risky. My career means too much to me," Robert said, watching Juan handle his valued possessions behind angry eyes. He hated the day he had ever involved himself with the man, but now, as Juan continued to pester him, there seemed to be no turning back. Damn him.
"Your career... Risks... What is life without risk? I would think you'd look at this as a challenge. Don't you want to challenge yourself within the confines of your career?" Juan asked, moving to the shelf that contained the Jensen family portrait. He picked it up and carefully looked at every face. The photo had been taken a few years ago, but the three beautiful female faces would still be very recognizable. "You have a very beautiful family. Such lovely women."
Robert moved angrily from his desk and grabbed the framed portrait from Juan's well-manicured hands. He place the frame in a desk drawer and turned to face Juan. "My family stays out of this!"
"I decide whether or not your family stays out it. Not you. I'd think after what almost happened to your lovely young daughter the last time you failed to respond to a request in a timely manner, you wouldn't make the same mistake again," Juan said, his lips smiling, but his eyes remaining cold and void of emotion.
"You said what happened to her was a mistake!"
"I lied. Come now. Wayne and Angel may be fools, but even fools know how to follow directions. I asked them to do me a small favor, to teach you a lesson, of course, which they did. You should be grateful that her young lover was a Cassadine and that Angel's fear of him saved her...saved her life."
"After everything I did for you! Risking my career...and you have the nerve to tell me that you actually tried to grab my baby girl to be one of your workers?" Robert said in outrage.
Juan looked at him for a moment and then he began to laugh. A real laugh from deep within. He stopped laughing as quickly as he had started. With steely eyes, he said, "The outraged father act doesn't work with me. I know why she ran out that night, remember? I also know that you never liked her in the first place-"
"I love my daughter-"
"Roberto, por favor. I am no fool. No father who loves his daughter would treat her the way you did. And hitting her, too. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. And such a beautiful daughter, too. Actually, they both are. Your wife's genes are strong and breathtaking," he said softly as he moved to stand before the large window which gave a wonderful view of Manhattan.
"Si? Have you come to a decision? Time is of the essence."
"Giving you a brand new face... I'm not sure if that's even truly possible," Robert said, trying to remain firm, but knowing that he had been defeated. He wanted Juan out of his life and he hope that maybe, just maybe, with this final act, he would be.
"Make it possible. You're a fine plastic surgeon, Roberto. If anyone can do the impossible, it's you."