Chapter 72

The pair walked hand in hand from the limo up the stairs to the front door. He whispered softly in her ear and she giggled in reply as she turned to face him. Lacing her fingers at the base of Nikolas' neck, Dawn said, "You didn't have to walk me up. I could have made it on my own, you know."

"So, you'd begrudge me my husbandly duty?" he teasingly asked, as he pushed his hands inside the opening of her calf-length leather coat and pulled her against him.

"No, I'd never do that," she said with a smile. She giggled as his hands began to explore and she said, "You'd better stop."

"You don't want me to stop," he said huskily before he lowered his lips to hers. They kissed passionately and when the kiss ended, Nikolas groaned softly. "Do you really have to do this? Can't you and Carrie talk later? Let's get a suite at the Port Charles Hotel and-"

"Nikky, no, we can't!" Dawn said quickly before he could convince her otherwise. "Mama and I have big plans today and she won't be happy with me for being late."

"You're not *that* late," he said with a shrug, leaning towards her to kiss her again.

"I'm late! And you're not helping matters any," she said, placing her hands on his chest as she tried to dodge his kiss. She laughed softly as placed the kiss on her neck instead. The laugh soon turned into a moan as his tender kiss became more sensual. "Nikky..."

"Hm?" he asked, moving his lips to wreck havoc on her sensitive ear lobe.

"You've got to stop," she whispered hoarsely as she leaned into his kisses.

He did as she asked and sighed. "You owe me one."

"I'm good for it," she said, smiling at him with eyes hazy with desire.

They held each for a few moments more as they waited for their bodies' longings to subside. A cold breeze blew, causing Dawn to shiver. Nikolas pulled her closer to him and said, "You should go inside."

"Aren't you coming with me? To say hi to Mama and Lucky."

"Nah, I'll talk to them later. You can give them my regards for me," he said with a smile.

"Will do. Tell"

Nikolas laughed softly. "I thought you two had worked things out. I have an idea! You should join us for lunch instead of hanging out with Lucky again today."

"I'm not hanging out with Lucky! And what's the 'again' stuff?" she asked. When she noticed the teasing glint in his eyes, she realized that she'd been had. "It's not working, sweetie. I have to do this and you have plans with Robin. So, shoo!"

"Wait a minute," he said, wrapping his arms around her as she placed her hand on the door. Her back pressed against his chest as he whispered against her ear. "You've been pretty determined about this *thing* you have planned with Carrie. What's going on here? Maybe I should cancel lunch and spend the day with you here."

"Nothing to concern yourself with. Go to your lunch!"

"I have ways of making you talk," he growled against her ear.

"It's a surprise, okay?!" she said, caving in a little bit. "Now, please, go to your lunch."

"What kind of surprise?"

"Nikky!" she squealed when he persisted. "Go!"

"Okay, okay. I'll 'go,'" he said, reluctantly.

Relieved that he was finally going to do as she asked, she turned to face him. Her palms rested against his smooth cheeks as she lowered his face to hers, drawing his moist full lips to hers. His lips parted as soon as they made contact with hers. She slipped her tongue inside and drew him into her mouth, tasting and tantalizing him. When he pulled her fully against him, she knew that the kiss had to come to an end. Slowly, she pulled away. Their eyes mirrored their need as they looked at each other. As her thumb brushed against his lips, wiping her lipstick off, she said, "I want you to think about that while you're having lunch with Robin."

"Whatever you say, Mrs. Cassadine," he said with sensual smile. "And I want you to do something for me while we're apart."

"I'm listening."

"After Serguei drops me off at Cafe Matisse, he's bringing the limo back here for you. In the meantime, keep Arman near you at all times. His job is to protect you. Let him do that."

"I don't stop him," she mumbled, looking past Nikolas' shoulder to the quiet object of their conversation.

The sandy haired man with the strong jaw and watchful gray eyes stood at a discrete distance from them. At six foot five, he was an imposing figure and caused a stir wherever he went. He was approximately ten years older, but he seemed fifty years wiser. He knew English, yet, he rarely spoke. He preferred to stand his guard with minimal conversation. His standoffish demeanor intimidated Dawn and she didn't like having that feeling, nor did she like him. He didn't appear to like her either, thus making the assignment very difficult for both.

"Oh, no?" Nikolas asked in disbelief, causing her eyes to quickly shift back to his. He saw the troubled look there and he knew what her thoughts had consisted of. "Neither of you *have* to like each other, but, you both have to follow orders. You can let that be your common bond and move from there."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever," she grumbled. She gave him a very quick kiss and said, "We'll discuss *my* having to follow orders later. I love you."

"I love you, too."

Dawn watched as Nikolas walked briskly back to the limo. Serguei immediately opened the door for him, but before Nikolas moved inside, he turned to Dawn and waved at her. She smiled and waved back, watching as Nikolas moved inside the limo. She continued to watch as Serguei closed the door and pulled the limo away from the curb. Her eyes drifted to Arman who had moved closer to the stoop. When she asked him if he was coming inside, he merely looked at her. She glared at him for a second and then she turned on her heel, went inside her mother's brownstone and shut the door, with more force than necessary, firmly behind her.


"Jason Morgan-Quartermaine, cut it out!" Keesha said through bursts of laughter as she swatted at his hands. Even though he was almost dressed, wearing a pair of faded blue jeans, he was still determined to remove her towel and she was just as determined to stop him.

"Aw, c'mon, baby," he coaxed as he paused in his attempts with the towel to wrap his arms around her waist. His eyes captured hers in the bathroom mirror and he smiled. He liked the picture they made together, her happy face smiling back at his. If Michael was awake, he'd make the picture complete, Jason thought.

"So, are you giving up?" she asked with a grin.

"Do you really want me to?" he fired back with an even broader grin.

"I don't answer trick questions," she said with a laugh.

"I'll take that as a 'no,'" he said, lifting her hair from her neck so that he could blow against it.

"You ar-"

Keesha's comment was cut off by the ringing of the telephone. "You should get that before it wakes Michael up."

"I'm on it," Jason said, quickly moving away from her to pick up the cordless from the nightstand. "Morning," he said into the receiver as he sat down on the bed.

"Well, good morning to you, too," came the friendly teasing voice.

"Sonny! How's it going over there? I thought we'd planned to touch base later. Is something wrong?" Jason asked, lowering his voice as he moved farther away from the bathroom. Even though he was pretty much out of the organization, he still had a few loose ends to tie up. Keesha never said a word about it, but he knew that his involvement, no matter how minimal, still bothered her. Once he was completely out, he planned to have a long discussion with her about it to reassure her that everything was all behind him.

"Nothing's wrong. Well, not really. Renaldo's a good student. He maybe not be as good as you, but he's close."

"So, what's the problem?" Jason asked, pushing the telephone harder against his ear as he rested his other hand on his denim covered hip.

"We can discuss it later when you come to the penthouse."

"Okay, sure," Jason replied, understanding that whatever needed to be said couldn't be said over the telephone wire. He smiled at Keesha as she joined him in the bedroom. She was completely dressed much to his dismay. Wearing a pair of black jeans and a white turtleneck sweater, she looked scrumptious, and he beckoned her to come closer.

She was doing as he requested as a sad wail from the adjoining room stopped her. "I'll get him," she said, softly before she left to see what troubled Michael.

"Okay," Jason said, as he watched her leave.

"Okay, what?" Sonny inquired, confused.

"Oh, sorry. I was talking to Keesha. So, what time should I come over? Earlier than planned, or...?" Jason asked, directing his attention back to his telephone conversation, but it was short-lived. He barely heard a word Sonny said as Keesha came back into the room with Michael.

"He wants to say good morning to his daddy," Keesha said, holding Michael up so that Jason could give him a kiss on the cheek. She laughed softly as Michael tried to grab the telephone. "Okay, that's enough. Time for your bath."

Jason's eyes followed them as they disappeared into the bathroom. Hearing his name repeated over and over reminded him that he was in the middle of a telephone conversation. "Sorry about that. What were you saying?"

"You still haven't told her about him," Sonny replied, his voice matter-of-fact.

"Sonny..." Jason began, warning in his voice.

"I'm staying out of it, but I want you to know that you're playing a dangerous game, my friend. She won't take too kindly to being lied to."

"I never lied to her," Jason said softly, as he listened to Keesha and Michael laugh and splash in the bathroom.

"Every day you don't tell her, you're lying to her, but like I said, I'm out of it."

Jason became silent as he began to ponder Sonny's ominous words.

Chapter 73

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