"Thank you, Mrs. Landsbury. Tell him that it's urgent and to call me back as soon as he can." Dara hung up the telephone and rested her forehead on the heel of her hand.
Alex paused in the doorway as he silently watched her. She was trying to hold it together, but her anxiety over her sister had brought her near the breaking point. He wondered what was so compelling about Robert Jensen that his two daughters would have such extreme reactions to him. Dara had been elated to hear from him while Dawn had become frightened at the sound of his voice. Why? Why did one daughter love him so much while the other feared him, he wondered.
He entered the room and closed the door behind him. Dara raised her head at the sound of the gentle click. Her eyes were glassy as she looked at him. Her voice was confused and sad as she asked, "How could I have been so blind?"
Alex moved quickly to Dara's side. He pulled her into his arms as he said, "You can't torture yourself with that now. It's in the past."
"But, it's not, Alex. You saw her. She hasn't let go of the past," she said, her words muffled against his chest.
"She will. She's made a new start here. With Nikolas and the baby on the way, I'm sure she'll be okay."
"I'm sure she will be, too..."
"But?" he asked, moving his hands from her back to cup her face.
"But I should have done something to help her. I knew they didn't really get along. Those times I went home to visit, I should have found out why."
Alex felt her pain and wished he had the words to make them go away. He wished he had known what to say or do to keep Bright Eyes from running away, but he hadn't. To make up for his inability to take their pain away, he pulled Dara closer to him.
Nikolas rested his back against the soft leather of Stefan's chair and rubbed his tired eyes. The figures on the computer screen glared back at him in defiance, and Nikolas minimized the program in retaliation. He smiled at himself at the thought as a light tap sounded on the other side of his door. "Come in," he said.
"Mr. Cassadine, I thought your uncle...," Mrs. Landsbury stammered.
"My uncle went to GH, and I'm filling in for him here. If there's a message for him, I can take it," Nikolas offered.
"No, there isn't. Actually, I was surprised to find you here. Have you been here long?" she asked.
"About an hour or so," he said with a faint smile. "Is there something I can help you with?"
"No, I'm so sorry, Mr. Cassadine. I did not know you were here. There's an urgent message for you," she said, nervously.
Nikolas rose and asked, "Is it Dawn? Has she been hurt?"
"I don't know, sir. Her sister called and said that you were to call her back immediately. Here's the telephone number," Mrs. Landsbury said, handing him a piece of paper.
Nikolas took the paper and immediately dialed the number. Distracted and filled with concern, he didn't notice when Mrs. Landsbury left the study.
Nikolas began to speak as soon as the ringing stopped. "Dara, what's wrong?"
"Nikolas?" came Dara's voice through the receiver.
"Yes, has something happened to Dawn? Mrs. Landsbury gave me your message. She said it was urgent. Would you please tell me what's happened?" he asked, speaking rapidly and causing his questions to become jumbled together.
"Nikolas, listen to me. Physically, Dawn is okay-"
"Physically? What do you mean by that?"
"I mean that emotionally... Well, earlier today our father called me and she answered the phone. After speaking with him briefly, she ran from my office. I asked her friend, Jordan, to tell her to call me back, but so far, she hasn't," Dara replied, her voice tight with worry and stress.
"What did he say to her?" Nikolas asked angrily.
"I'm not sure," she sighed.
"Okay," Nikolas said, willing himself to not lash out at her in place of her father. "Thanks, for calling me. I'll call her on her cell phone and see where she is-"
"She doesn't have her cell phone. That's why I asked her friend to tell her to give me a call."
"She has it. I saw her put it in her purse before she left," he replied.
"She didn't have it when she was here. She dumped the contents of her purse onto one of my chairs and a cell phone was *not* a part of the pile."
Nikolas closed his eyes as he remembered watching Dawn prepare for her day. He distinctly remembered seeing her put the cell phone in her purse. He couldn't understand why she didn't have it with her when she saw Dara. Her visit with Dara was her first stop. She *should* have had it with her, his mind screamed at him.
"Nikolas? Is everything okay?"
Dara's voice in his ear, distracted him from his thoughts and the endless possibilities which ran through his mind. He tried to keep the worry from his voice as he said, "Everything's fine. We'll call you later, okay?"
"Okay. When you see her, would you tell her that I love her?" Dara asked softly.
As soon as Nikolas hung up the phone, he grabbed his jacket and left Wyndemere. Something was wrong. He could feel it. Finding Dawn was his only thought as he rushed to wait for the launch to take him to the mainland.
The walk from Port Charles High to Kelley's was filled with teasing, laughter and fun. The seven teenagers were loud as they entered the waterfront restaurant. A stern glance from Ruby told them to lower their voices, which they did. The smirk on her face as they did so, didn't go unnoticed by any of the friends and they laughed, but not too loudly.
"Look, Tommy, we have three classes together," Lark said as she compared Tommy's schedule with hers. Tommy leaned closer to her to get a better look and Lark felt her heart begin to race.
"Which ones?" Sly asked, pulling up a chair to sit on the other side of Lark.
"English, Algebra II, and American History," Tommy answered. He moved away from Lark to look at Dawn's schedule which was on the table. He asked her, "How is your schedule?"
"It's okay, I guess. We don't have any classes together, though, considering I'm a Senior," she said with a tight smile. She lowered her voice so that only Tommy could hear her and asked, "Will you be okay in those classes? I mean, you haven't been in school for a long time..."
"Mama would teach me what she could. Also, Keesha and Lizzie have helped me out a lot. I think I should be okay," Tommy said.
"Well, if you need any help, let me know, okay?"
Tommy nodded in reply to Dawn's question. He saw that she seemed a somewhat distracted and quietly he asked, "What's wrong?"
Dawn shrugged and said, "I don't know. Remember how I said that I didn't have my cell phone?"
"Yeah," he nodded.
"Well, now that I think about it, I *know* I put it in there."
"Maybe you lost it," Tommy suggested, wanting to ease the uncertainty he saw in her eyes.
"I don't know how I could have. My purse is pretty secure and I don't think it was opened at all."
"What do you think happened to it, then?" he asked concerned, still speaking in hushed tones as Dawn didn't seem to want everyone to hear them.
"I'm not sure," she said with a slight frown. Tommy's soft sigh brought her eyes to his. Seeing a troubled expression cloud his features, she smiled at him and said, "Don't worry about it, okay? I probably left it in the car. I'm sure the driver found it and gave it to Mrs. Landsbury. It's probably at home, waiting for me."
"Are you sure? If you want, I could go look for it," Tommy suggested.
Dawn shook her head and said, "You don't have to do that. I'm pretty sure."
Tommy nodded at her and they turned their attention back to their friends.
"How did you do?" Lizzie asked, swiping Lucky's schedule from his hand.
"You tell me," he said with a laugh.
"Aw, we don't have any classes together," Lizzie said with a frown, handing Lucky his schedule back.
"We can still study together," Lucky said, reaching for Lizzie's hand.
Jordan rolled his eyes at their interchange. The sound of the bells on the front door made his eyes travel to the door. His eyes widened as he recognized the girl of his dreams and he nudged Lucky. "Do you know the babe at the door?"
Before Lucky could reply, the person in question stopped at their table. "Hi!"
"Hi, Emily," came the voices from around the table.
"Emily Quartermaine meet Jordan James," Lucky said, going out of his way to make the introduction.
"I know Jordan, Lucky," Emily said.
"You do?" Jordan asked.
"Yeah, we met...at the wedding. Remember?" Emily asked.
Lucky stood up to get a chair for Emily. He placed it between him and Jordan. If Jordan decided to make a play for his friend, he wanted to be there to watch. Just in case.
"We did?" Jordan asked, confused.
"Yeah, you did," Dawn said as she laughed at him, happy to have something lighthearted to focus her attention on. "You danced with her, too."
Dawn smiled at Emily to reassure her that Jordan's memory lapse had more to do with him than her. In a stage-whisper, she said to Emily, "He gets like this all of the time."
Emily tentatively smiled back at her. She didn't want to, but Dawn's good-humor was contagious and Emily couldn't help herself.
"I did?" Jordan asked, still confused.
"Yeah, you did," Sly said, shaking his head at his friend. "You walked her home, too."
"We *all* did," Tommy said, unable to resist the urge to join in.
Jordan's brow creased as he remembered what the others told him. Something clicked and he blurted out, "You had a dog, right?"
"Yeah," Emily said, with a small laugh.
The table erupted in laughter as Jordan slapped his forehead. "Don't hit it too hard," Ruby said, having overheard their conversation. "You don't want to shake anything loose."
"Aw, Ms. Spencer, you're breaking my heart," Jordan said with a pout.
"That worked when you were ten. It doesn't work now," Ruby said in her trademark gruffness. She included the entire group as she said, "Do you plan to order anything or do you want me to kick you out?"
"Aw, Aunt Ruby. You'd kick out your own nephew?" Lucky asked.
"No, not you," she said, patting his cheek like he was still a youngster. When the other kids snickered, she pointed at them and said, "But them, I would."
"I'd like some lemonade," Dawn said, leaning her back against her chair.
"Just lemonade? How about some chili?"
"No, thanks. I'm on a diet and chili is definitely off limits."
"The last thing you need is a diet. You could stand a few more pounds," Ruby said, refusing to be put off.
Dawn breathed a sigh of relief as Lucky intervened for her. "She's okay, Aunt Ruby, but I'd like a cheeseburger and curly fries."
As everyone gave Ruby their orders, Dawn's gaze turned towards the door. She saw a figure move into the bushes which were right outside the door. She squinted as she tried to get a better look. Tommy noticed her distraction and asked her, "What's wrong?"
"I'm not sure," she said with a shrug. "I think I saw something. It's probably nothing."
"Is someone out there?" Tommy asked, moving closer to her to see whatever it was that she saw.
"Is someone where?" Lucky asked. He'd had a weird feeling most of the afternoon and at Tommy's question, he felt the hairs on the back of his neck begin to stand.
"Dawn saw something outside. I'm going to check it out," Tommy said, moving to stand.
"I'm going, too," Lucky said, rising from his chair.
Noticing the seriousness of Lucky's and Tommy's demeanor, Sly and Jordan offered to go with them.
"We're okay," Lucky said before he and Tommy left the restaurant.
"You sure know how to clear out a room," Lark said with a small chuckle as the door closed behind the two young men..
Dawn smiled faintly at her to conceal her worry. With a small laugh, she said, "They're kinda protective of me."
"Lucky you," Lark muttered under her breath.
Dawn heard her, but chose to ignore her. Silently, she prayed that her two friends would return safe and unharmed.