Chapter 65

Tommy dropped the stick he had been holding and charged at Maxwell. The thought of someone being close enough to Dawn to steal her cell phone right from her purse enraged Tommy and he unleashed his wrath with swift blows and hard punches. The sight of Dawn's apprehensive eyes as she told him that she saw something in the bushes clouded his vision as he began to pummel his foe.

Lucky was frozen as he watched Tommy's venomous attack. Only when Tommy began to shout, did Lucky regain his ability to move. Lucky tried to pull Tommy away as he cried over and over,


"Come on, man. Stop! STOP IT, TOMMY!!" Lucky screamed as tried to pry Tommy away from the cowering thief.

"ANSWER ME!!! WHY WERE YOU FOLLOWING HER? WHAT DID YOU PLAN TO DO TO HER? DID YOU PLAN TO HURT HER?" Tommy yelled, grabbing Maxwell by the collar of his jacket. Tommy slammed him against the dumpster and glared at him through rage-filled eyes.

"Nothing!! I wasn't going to do anything to her!!! I saw her drop her cell phone and I was taking it to her-"

"LIAR!!" Tommy shouted as he banged Maxwell's back against the dumpster again. "NOW, TELL ME THE TRUTH!!"

Lucky grabbed Tommy's arm in an iron grip and again tried to pull him away from Maxwell. "We got him, man. He won't do us any good if he's dead, you know? Just let him go. He's not going anywhere."

"And, neither are you," came a voice near the entrance to the alley.


"You missed a spot," Sly said, his blue eyes determined as he stared at Dawn.

"Thanks," she replied sarcastically. "But, I'm done."

"No, you're not. Eat it. Eat all of it."

"Nope," she said, pushing the bowl of chicken noodle soup away from her. "I'm full."

"You only ate half of it," he said with a frown.

"So? I'm full and I don't want anymore."

"You told us that soup is the only thing that you can really keep down. You need to eat something, so finish your soup!"

"Sly, leave me alone," she said, the strain and worry evident in her voice.

"But, he's right," Lizzie said, moving to take the chair that was left vacant by Tommy. "You've got to eat. You can worry about them on a full stomach just as easily as you can on an empty one."

Dawn sighed and picked up her spoon again. "I suppose you're right."

The friends sat quietly as they watched Dawn make another attempt with the soup. They breathed a sigh of relief as she finished the bowl. Concerning themselves with her food intake was the one way they could keep their minds off of their missing friends.

", Emily," Jordan began, pausing to clear his throat, "have you registered, yet? Do you know what classes you're taking?"

"I registered yesterday. I didn't get a great schedule. I may ask the guidance counselor if I can change it," Emily replied as she reached into her drawstring purse to pull out the folded sheet of paper.

"Oh, yeah? What's wrong with it? Who did you get?" Jordan asked. He gave her a small smile when she handed him her schedule. He placed hers next to his and began to compare the two. "You have Davis for Geometry. He's not *so* bad. I had him last year."

"That's the one I'm dreading the most," she said with a sigh. "I'm awful in math, especially when it comes to angles and triangles."

"It's not as hard as it seems. If you need help, let me know. I wouldn't mind helping you out sometimes," Jordan said. His eyes were serious as he looked at her.

"Okay, I will. Thanks, Jordan," Emily said.

"No problem," he said. He held her eyes for a second longer and then, he looked at her schedule again. "I see you have Garner for Spanish last period. Have you heard the rumor about him?"

"I have Garner for last period, too. What's the rumor?" Dawn asked, relieved to focus on something other than her worry for three of the most important males in her life.

"Are you serious?! You have him, too? *And* for last period? Talk about rotten luck!" Sly said as he began to laugh.

"What's so funny?" Dawn asked, intrigued and irritated at the same time.

"With...your...queasy...stomach! Oh, boy!" Sly could barely get the words out as he began to laugh harder.

"Sly, stop being such a butthead!" Liz said, throwing her towel at him.

"So...rry!" he chuckled as the tears began to stream down his face.

"Maybe you should transfer to Ms. Colletta's class," Lark suggested as she looked at Dawn. "You don't want to take his class if you have a queasy stomach."

"Why not?" Dawn asked.

"Well, because" Lizzie said, but stopped as she was unable to find a delicate way to state the problem.

"Because he stinks!" Sly said, wiping the tears from his eyes.

"He's a bad teacher?" Dawn asked, confused.

"No, he's a good teacher, but he has a b.o. problem. A *bad* b.o. problem!" Jordan said with an exaggerated sigh.

"Are you serious?" Emily asked.

Jordan nodded and said, "Yeah. I had an English class next door to his last year and by last period, you can smell his fragrance all the way by the library."

"No way," Dawn said, shaking her head.

"Yes way," Sly said, grinning. "Rumor has it he's allergic to soap and after smelling him, I'd have to say that was true."

"Maybe it won't be so bad this year," Emily said, trying to be optimistic.

"What? Do you think he'll suddenly overcome his allergy?" Sly asked, sarcastically.

"It could happen," Jordan said, as he gave Sly a look that told him to back off.

Sly understood the look on Jordan's face and snickered. But, he didn't say another word.

"I was looking forward to taking the class with you, but if he smells, I may have to bale," Dawn said. Afraid that wave a nausea was about to strike, she picked up her glass of water and began to sip it slowly.

"Hey, I understand," Jordan replied. He looked at Emily and said, "I suppose you'll transfer, too?"

Emily shook her head and said, "Nah. I think I'll try it for a week or two, and see how it goes."

Smiling, Jordan said, "Cool."

Lizzie nudged Dawn and they smiled at each other. "My, my, my," Lizzie said under her breath. "I hope Em knows what she's getting in to."

"He's not so bad," Dawn said. When Lizzie gave her a look filled with disbelief, she quickly added, "Not all of the time."

"Does anyone know what time it is?" Emily asked.

"Do you have to leave?" Jordan asked with a hint of sadness in his voice.

"Yeah. My mom and I are going shopping."

Emily's innocently asked question brought Dawn's worries to the forefront. A glance at her watch told her that Tommy and Lucky had been gone for quite some time and that Nikolas' thirty minute deadline was close at hand.


Nikolas glanced at his watch for clarification, but he could tell from where the sun set in the sky, his thirty minute deadline was coming to a close. He had searched everywhere for his brother and good friend, but so far, he had come up empty. He found it hard to believe that they could just disappear. He didn't want to jump conclusions as to their whereabouts, but he couldn't prevent himself from worrying.

He thought about Dawn and knew she was probably on pins and needles, waiting for him to return. Not wanting to cause her any more anxiety than she had already experienced that day, he decided he would check one more alley and then, he'd go back to Kelley's.


Lisa sat on a bench, her face hidden behind the Classified section of the Port Charles' Herald. To passersby, she appeared to be a teenager who was searching the want ads, but appearances could be deceiving. And in Lisa Miller's case, they were.

Her days as a teenager were behind her and the get-up she wore didn't suit her personality any more than the persona she used during her interview with Carrie Jensen. Lisa chuckled to herself as she remembered the expression on Carrie's face when she told her about her past 'cashiering' experience. She was sure if Carrie knew what she really did for a living and how good she was at it, Carrie's attitude would have been just a little bit different. Too modest, she thought. Carrie's attitude would have been *way* different.

From Lisa's position, her surveillance of Carrie and her companion, Stefan Cassadine, went unnoticed. She could see them clearly and from her well-trained eyes, they appeared to be somewhat friendly. Maybe even flirtatious, but tastefully so. Having done her homework, Lisa knew that Carrie wasn't the type to indulge in an illicit affair, but the same couldn't be said of Stefan Cassadine. She couldn't find any concrete evidence, but Lisa was almost positive that Stefan's divorce from one Barbara Jean Spencer had plenty to do with his 'friendship' with the now deceased, Katherine Bell. Carrie should watch herself with him, Lisa silently advised.

The shrill ring of her cell phone interrupted Lisa from her thoughts. Still hidden behind the newspaper, Lisa deftly pulled out her phone with one hand and flipped it open.

"Yeah," she said.

"How did it go?" came the strong, masculine voice on the other end.

"I don't think she's going to hire me," Lisa replied, her voice matter of fact.

"Unacceptable. Make her hire you."

"I don't think it's as simple as that," Lisa said. "The creation we decided on wasn't to her liking."

"Impossible. Carlotta Jensen never turns away a stray. Make sure you're not her first. I shouldn't have to stress the importance of this."

"You don't have to. I understand. I'll make it happen."

"That's what I wanted to hear. I'll check on your progress periodically. I'll expect a detailed report of your surveillance asap."

"You'll have it first thing in the morning," Lisa replied.


"An X-Files marathon?" Carrie asked with a small laugh. "Yes, that sounds like her. I'm sorry she forced you to watch with her."

"There's no need for an apology. I enjoyed myself immensely," Stefan replied. His eyes twinkled as he regarded Carrie's understated beauty. She should smile more often, he decided.

"Well, I'm sure that if she knows that, you'll become her X-Files partner. She tried to persuade me to watch it with her, but escapades into the paranormal is not my cup of tea."

"So, you don't believe the truth is out there?" Stefan asked, with a teasing smile.

Stefan's usage of Mulder's mantra caused Carrie to laugh out loud. "I think it may be too late for you."

"Maybe so," he said, enjoying her mirth. He became serious as he said, "Carrie, would you be interested in assisting me with a surprise for our newlyweds?"

"What kind of surprise?" Carrie asked.

"A wedding celebration. According to Cassadine tradition, a Bacchanalia is held when one becomes betrothed, however, in light of their current circumstances, I think it would be appropriate if we forego the tradition."

"So, what are you suggesting? Your Bacchanalia is a formal event, I'm sure. Are you suggesting something less formal for their celebration?"

"No, not less formal, but different. The Cassadine Bacchanalia is a masked ball. In light of recent incidents, I would not suggest we go that route for them," Stefan replied.

"A black-tie affair, then?" Carrie asked, her interest piqued.

"Yes, most definitely. This event would serve to celebrate the joining of our families, as well as, introduce Dawn to family, heads of state, and various business associates."

"Oh, this doesn't sound like the run-of-the-mill belated wedding reception. Are you sure that surprising them with this is best?"

"I think it is, yes. I'm aware that Nikolas wouldn't be pleased, but once he realizes that this would be in Dawn's best interest-"

"How would this be in her best interest? First, you suggest this as a little surprise and now it's in her best interest?"

Stefan paused before he continued. He wanted to find the right words to voice his reasoning without alarming her any more than necessary. The pause lengthened as the words alluded him and he decided that sometimes there were no 'right words.' He spoke softly as he said, "A publicized event would prove to protect her from my mother. There has been no formal announcement as to Dawn's addition to the Cassadine fold which, in Helena's eyes, leaves Dawn unprotected. If Dawn is formally introduced to society and the world at large as a Cassadine, Mother would find it much more difficult to find allies who would aid her in a strike against her."

Carrie frowned as she concentrated on Stefan's words. Helena, again, she thought. Determined to do whatever it took to protect her daughter, Carrie nodded in agreement. "If you're certain this is the best course to take, I agree."

"It is. I-" Stefan paused as the ring of his cell phone interrupted his dialogue. "Stefan Cassadine," he said, answering his call.

"Hello, Stefan. This is Dawn. I hate to bother you, but..."

"Dawn? What is it?" Stefan asked, disturbed by the distress he heard in her voice.

"Nikolas told me to call you if he was gone for over thirty minutes," she said.

"Where did he go? What's wrong?" he repeated. He glanced at Carrie and could see the worry in her eyes. He would have liked to reassure her, but he was as worried as she looked and no placating words could come to him.

"I thought I saw something in the bushes, and Tommy and Lucky left to check it out. They were gone for over an hour when I called Nikolas. He came and left to find them. He told me to call you if he didn't return in thirty minutes. He also said that I should call the police after I spoke with you."

"How long has Nikolas been gone?"

"Twenty-five minutes," she said.

"Where are you?" Stefan asked.

"I'm at Kelley's. I'm not alone. My friends are here, too."

"Dawn, I want you to listen to me."


"Stay there. I'm not far from Kelley's. I'll be there in less than ten minutes."

"Should I call the police?"

"No, I'll alert the authorities. Try to refrain from becoming agitated. I'm sure Nikolas and your friends are in no danger," Stefan said, rising from his chair.

"I hope so," she said quietly. "Thank you, Stefan."

"I'll be there soon." Stefan listened for the dial tone and then he ended the call on his end. He turned to Carrie and said, "Nikolas, Lucky and the Hardy boy may be missing. They went in search of someone who may have been following her. I'm going to her now."

Carrie stood and grabbed her purse. "I'm coming with you."

"I know," Stefan said, offering his arm to her. She took it and they left the coffee shop, unaware that their movements had been watched and recorded.


Nikolas had finished checking the last alley as the wail of sirens screamed out at him. His pace quickened to a run as he ran towards the flashing red and blue lights and noise to get a better look.

The police had blocked off the entire entrance to the alley which Nikolas had somehow missed during his search. He strained to see what was happening, but the group of onlookers prevented him from seeing anything.

"What happened?" he asked the older man next to him.

"Gang war," the man replied.

"A gang war? Did you see anyone? Was anyone hurt?" Nikolas asked, not entirely convinced of the man's commentary.

"I didn't see much, but I heard that the cops found a knife," the man answered.

"A knife?" Nikolas repeated with a frown.

"Yeah," replied a young woman who had overheard their conversation. "I think one of the kids was whathisname? The Spencer kid. Chance Spencer or something like that."

"Chance? His name is Lucky," Nikolas said angrily. He walked away from them and edged closer to the group of policemen who blocked the entrance. "I need to speak with someone who's in charge."

"Listen kid-"

"No, you listen! My brother and a very good friend of mine may have been involved in this altercation, and I want to know if they're okay!" Nikolas said, his voice anxious with concern.

"What are their names?" the police officer asked, softening his attitude. He figured the least he could do was be civil, especially considering the outcome of one of the boys involved.

Chapter 66

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