Chapter 84

Knock. Knock.

The knocks on the door woke Keesha from her slumber. Sitting straight up in bed, she said, "What time is it?"

Her question barely registered in Jason's groggy state and he sunk deeper under the covers, wrapping an arm around her waist in an attempt to pull her closer.

Keesha, ignoring Jason's arm, leaned against him to look at the clock. Surprised by the lateness of the hour, she shrieked, "Jason, I thought you set the alarm! We're late. Get up!"

"Huh?" he mumbled, rubbing his hand over his face. "What about the alarm?"

"You didn't set it," she replied, sliding from the bed. "The movers are here." She grabbed her robe and headed for the door.

"Oh, shit! Tell them I'll be right out, okay?" Jason said as he leapt from the bed and ran into the bedroom.

"Okay," she called as she crossed the living room and reached the door. She quickly ran her hands through her hair, smoothing her hair out as much as she could, and then she opened the door. "Gina! I thought you were the movers," Keesha said.

"Sorry," Gina replied. "If it's any consolation, their truck is downstairs."

"That's no consolation, but thanks for the info," Keesha replied with a chuckle. "Jason and I overslept. Give us a few minutes and we'll be ready."

"Well, actually, that's why I'm here. I won't be able to help you this morning, but I'll try to come by later this afternoon. I'm sorry, Keesha."

"Don't worry about it. We'll be okay. Justus is helping out and with Tommy directing them we should be fine," Keesha shrugged.

"He won't be there either," Gina sighed.

"This doesn't sound good. What's going on?"

"Simone isn't too happy about our relationship-"

"She found out!"

"Who found out what?" Jason asked as he left the bedroom. Dressed in a gray t-shirt and faded blue jeans, he was ready to move. "Where are the movers?"

"Gina said they were downstairs," Keesha answered him. When he bent over to clear a space on the sofa, she watched him for a second and then turned her attention back to Gina. "When did she find out? I thought you had decided to wait to tell her."

"Who found out what?" Jason repeated, settling himself on the sofa as he pulled on his socks and Nikes.

"Simone knows about Tommy and me," Gina replied. "She saw us on the terrace last night."

"Oh," Jason nodded. "Was she pissed?"

"Yeah. Very pissed."

"That's not good," he mumbled.

"No, it's not. Um, I don't want to bore you guys with this. I'm just sorry that we have to flake on you this morning, but we'll come by later this afternoon."

"Nah, Gina, don't worry about it," Jason said. "We'll be fine. Good luck with Simone."


"Call me later, okay?" Keesha said, walking Gina to the door. "I'm sure she won't be too bad."

"Maybe. Maybe not. Tommy's her number one priority and she feels I'm too old for him-"

"Normally, I would agree with her about the age difference, but this is different. You and Tommy are different. Simone's fierce when it comes to him, but she'll see how happy you are together. She'll understand."

"Oh, Keesha, I hope so," Gina said as she and Keesha embraced. "I'll see you at the Ward House later."

"See you later, and tell Tommy that we're pulling for you two," Keesha smiled before she closed the door.

"Well, that's just great," Jason grumbled.

"What is?" Keesha asked, going back into the bedroom.

"We're two people short now," he said as he followed her into the bedroom.

"Well, we don't have to be..."

"Aw, Keesha. No, please. Never mind. We'll be okay," Jason said, quickly changing his mind as he sensed who Keesha had in mind.

"No, maybe we won't be. I think you're right. I'll call our reinforcement," she said, grabbing the cordless phone before Jason could reach it.

"C'mon, Keesha baby. You don't have to call V. We can call Sonny instead. He wanted to help anyway," Jason pleaded as he sat beside her on the bed.

"V wanted to help, too. I know she talks alot, but she's great. She knows more about where I want things than Sonny, plus she's very efficient."

"All of that may be true, but if she comes, her shadow will follow. Jax hates me and I hate him back," Jason grumbled with a pout.

Keesha found the pout irresistible and gave him a brief kiss. "Jax might not show up. In fact, I'll have her ask him to stay put."

"Thanks," he said with a smile. "You know, when Brenda ran off with Miguel, I never would have thought that Jax would turn to V. She doesn't seem like his type. Too smart."

"Maybe he's growing up," Keesha shrugged as she punched in V's number. As she waited for V to answer, she glanced at Jason who was now lying on the bed, watching her. Her eyes danced at the sight of him as she said, "I love that we're doing this."

"Me, too, baby," he smiled at her. "Me too."


"Dear, I know you like maple syrup on your pancakes, but aren't you overdoing it?" Audrey gently chided as she watched Tommy come very close to making a mess.

"Ma'am?" Tommy asked, blinking his eyes as he directed his attention to her and away from what lay ahead for him and Gina when they talk with his mother.

"The syrup."

"What? Oh! I'm sorry, Grandmother. I'll clean it up," he said, pushing himself away from the table. He carried the container of syrup to the sink and wiped away the stickiness before he set the syrup back on the table. He then grabbed a sponge and wiped the table where the syrup had spilled from his plate.

Audrey sipped her morning coffee and watched Tommy with an amused expression on her face. "Why are you so distracted this morning?"

"Um...I dunno," he mumbled, turning away from the table to go back to the sink. He rinsed off the sponge, squeezed the excess water out and then placed the sponge on the counter. Afterward he washed his hands and went back to the table. As he stared at the syrup-drenched pancakes, he realized that he really wasn't hungry after all.

"Tommy...if something is wrong, you can tell me," she said softly, patting his hand in an effort to comfort him.

"I know. It's just that... Well, I don't quite know where to begin," he said, unsure as to whether or not Audrey would understand or if she'd take Simone's side. He'd spent most of the night, thinking about what his mother would say and how he should respond in kind. Finally, in the wee hours of the morning, he realized that trying to second guess Simone was a waste of time. It would be better to just tell her the truth and hope for the best.

"The beginning is usually the best place to start," Audrey said. When Tommy continued to remain silent, she continued, "I may be an old woman, but I still remember some things. Does this have anything to do with a girl? Did you meet someone at the party last night?"

"You're not old," Tommy said. "And, you're right. This has to do with a a way."

"Well, if you're afraid she doesn't feel the same, there's only way you can find out. You're a great young man. Any girl would be lucky to have you care for her."

"Thanks, Grandmother," Tommy said as a faint blush crept across his face at her compliment. "I know how she feels about me...that's not the problem."

"So, what is, dear? If she cares for you as much as you care for her, it should be fine, right?"

"It should be, but it isn't. Mama doesn't like... Mama isn't really happy about the relationship."

"That doesn't sound like Simone. Would you like for me to talk with her? She shouldn't expect you to remain a child forever," Audrey said, rising from the table. She went to the coffee-maker and poured herself another cup of coffee.

"I'm not being entirely honest, Grandmother," he sighed. "I haven't told you who the girl is."

"It's not that Lark girl, is it? If so, I can perfectly understand Simone's objections. She's caused her share of problems at the hospital-"

"No, Lark isn't the girl, but even so, she's not that bad. She just has a few problems," he said, watching Audrey as she rinsed off her plate and set it in the dishwasher. When she came back to the table and sat down, he said, "Gina and I are seeing each other, Grandmother. Mama saw us together last night and she wasn't too happy about it. She's upset about the age difference."

"Well, I can certainly see her point. How long have you and Gina been seeing each other?"

"Almost a month," he said quietly. His eyes remained on hers as he waited for her to scold him.

"A month. Hmm, well, I see."

Audrey's reaction surprised him and he sat up straight in the chair. A frown creased his brow as he said, "What do you see?"

"I see that you and Gina saw fit for you to hide it from us-"

"Well, we didn't actually hide it from everyone..."

"Oh. Just your mother and I. Is that it?" she questioned.

He nodded. "Our friends kinda figured it out, and we weren't sure how Mama would react. I didn't want to say anything to you because I didn't want to put in you an awkward position."

"Thank you for thinking of me," Audrey replied, dryly. "Have you thought about why you and Gina saw fit to hide your relationship from Simone?"

"We didn't want her to be upset..."

"But, why would she be upset?" Audrey asked. "You're her son. Gina is one of her closest friends. Surely, she'd be happy for you."

"I know what you're saying, Grandmother, but we didn't think she would be. And, as it turned out, we were right. She was mad when she saw us together."

"Maybe her anger stemmed from being deceived," Audrey said, as she rose from the table. She paused to pat Tommy on the cheek. "Nobody likes being lied to. No matter the reason. I think when you and Gina speak with her today, you should remember that. Tell your mother the truth about how you feel about each other, and prepare yourselves for her truth. I wish you luck, my dear."

Tommy rose from the chair and enveloped his grandmother in a hug. As he released her, he said, "Thanks. I'm sorry about lying to you."

"I know you are. Just don't do it again, okay?"

"Okay," he smiled.

"I really meant what I said. Good luck with Simone today, and remember that what she decides is because she loves you and wants the best for you."

"Gina is the best for me," he replied. "But, I will remember."


Nikolas smiled in the mirror as the door behind him opened and Dawn came into their bedroom. A grin spread across his handsome face as he said, "Good morning, Leather Tuscadero."

"Ha ha. Very funny," Dawn grumbled as she shut the door behind her. She went to him and wrapped her arms around his waist as she said, "I told you. No leather teddy. And, no more 'Happy Days' marathons for you." She kissed his neck and then went to sit down on the window seat.

"Spoilsport," he laughed. His laugh was soon replaced with a frown as he looked at his reflection in the mirror. The bruises on both sides of his neck were too visible in the light of day for his peace of mind. "Did you really have to give me two?"

"Give you two what?" she asked, absently, her mind a million miles away.

"Two hickeys. I did that lipstick thing, but it's not working," he said.

"You probably didn't do it right. Come here and bring two of my lipsticks with you."

Nikolas came to her and faced her as he sat next to her on the seat. She took the tubes of lipstick from him and began to roll them on his neck. "Let me know if I'm rubbing too hard."

"Nah, it feels fine," he said, pulling her into his lap so that she straddled him. He watched her closely as she went about her task. He had expected more of a reaction from his 'Leather Tuscadero' comment and now as he looked at her, he could see that she was upset. She was trying to hide it, but he saw through her attempt and softly, he asked, "What's wrong?"

"I can't get anything pass you, can I?" she asked with a faint smile.

"Nope," he answered. He stopped her hands from rolling the tubes of lipstick against his neck and he held them. "Talk to me."

She released a long breath and said, "I was talking to Stefan a little while ago and I called him 'Uncle'."

"So?" he shrugged.

"So! I don't call him Uncle. You do. I shouldn't have called him that, but it just slipped out. I'm sure he's not happy about it, either," she said quietly.

"Why would you say that? Did he raise an eyebrow when you said it? Or maybe folded his arms? Did he stiffen and narrow his eyes?" Nikolas asked, demonstrating each action for her in the hopes of seeing a smile across her face.

However, Dawn was oblivious and she was serious as she said, "No, he didn't do any of that. He just...sat there. He didn't move or react at all. Maybe he didn't hear me."

"Oh, I'm sure he heard you. Do you want my honest opinion?"

"No, Nikky, I want you to lie to me," she laughed. "Of course, I want your honest opinion!"

Nikolas laughed and handed her the tubes again, silently instructing her to get back to work on his hickeys. As she began to rub the tubes on his neck again, he said, "I think he liked it. You said before that he gave you the option of calling him Stefan or Uncle. I think he's grown fond of you and doesn't mind your slip at all. I would go so far as to say that if you start calling him that on a consistent basis, he wouldn't say a word. He'd probably even smile. He might even grin from ear to ear."

"Oh, you!" she laughed. "There's no way Stefan would grin. I can't imagine it."

"I can. Mark my words, my dear, he liked your little slip up and if you did it again, he wouldn't object."

"Maybe so," she shrugged, unsure whether or not, she'd slip like that again.

"Is it working?" he asked, interrupting her thoughts and preventing her from contemplating Stefan's actions further. "Are they fading?"

"Somewhat," she grinned. "Besides, you shouldn't want them to fade. You should wear these hickeys with pride and honor!"

"I'll wear mine with pride and honor if you'll wear mine with pride and honor!" he countered, pulling her closer to him as he captured her neck with his lips and teeth.

"No! Stop!" she laughed. "No, don't. I'll make the bruises fade. Honest!"

"Yeah, sure," he laughed, raising his head from her neck. "Just remember that I owe you two."

"Oh, I won't forget."

The next few minutes passed in silence as Dawn worked diligently to erase her handiwork. Nikolas was content to watch her as she concentrated on her task. When she spoke again, he was surprised by where her quiet thoughts had taken her.

"Do you think Lucky will move back in with Laura now that she's back?"

"I don't know," he shrugged. "Why are you asking?"

"I was wondering because he left soon after she showed up. He also seemed... I don't know kinda upset at seeing her. He became really quiet."

"Yeah, I noticed that," he mumbled, looking away from her to stare out of the window.

"I just realized something. Lucky lived in that boxcar for a long time. Neither of his parents were here, and yet, he stayed there instead of at his house. That's kind of weird, don't you think?"

"I guess so."

Dawn stopped rolling the tubes against his neck to look at him. She placed the lipsticks on the seat beside them, and gently cupped his face between her palms. She turned his head so that his eyes were drawn to her and away from the world outside. Her voice was curious and soft as she said, "You know more than what you're telling me."

"Yeah, I suppose I do."

"Will you tell me willingly or do I have to drag it out of you?" she asked with a playful smile.

"I'll tell you willingly," he said. He paused for a second to collect his thoughts and then, he allowed the words to come forth. "I know why he moved out. Actually, it's kinda my fault. I also know that he'll probably rather stay with Carrie than move back in with Laura."

"This sounds like it's more Cassadine/Spencer stuff," she sighed. "Is it?"

"In a way, but not exactly," he shrugged, his eyes became unreadable as he remembered the cold winter's day that changed everything for his brother. He now wished he could take the words back, but it was too late for regrets. Maybe Lucky was destined to find out the truth about his parents from him. Maybe that's why fate took him through the park that morning.

"Baby, I'm listening," Dawn said, softly. "I'm not going anywhere. I can handle whatever happened."

"I know, sweetheart," he said, caressing his cheek with his palm. He pulled her to him for a second and just held her close to him, drawing strength from her love for him and allowing it to give him the courage to tell her what he'd left out the first time they'd discussed his mother.

After endless seconds, he released her from his embrace. His eyes held hers as he began to speak. "I don't quite know where to begin."

"It doesn't matter. Just start. I told you before, I'm not going anywhere," she said, gently reassuring him that there was nothing he could say that would drive her away from him.

Nikolas released the air he had been holding and said, "Remember, how I told you that I couldn't speak for a while..."

"Yeah, I remember dragging that out of you," she said.

"Yeah, I guess it was something along those lines," he said with a faint smile, remembering how upset with him she'd been that she learned about his shooting and subsequent stroke from someone else instead of him. He'd taken the tongue-lashing like a man, and they'd quickly made up. He wondered what her reaction would be to what he had to tell her now-

"Nikky, out with it!" she said, grasping his shoulders and giving him a little shake.

"Okay!" he answered. "Well, the day I got my voice back, I'd received a letter from Laura and Leslie Lu. Something about the letter caused me to have a breakthrough and the words just came pouring out of me. Robin was great-"

Dawn rolled her eyes and crossed her arms, which caused Nikolas to pause. "I haven't said anything," Dawn denied. "Please, go on."

"Dawn, she really was great. She and Emily helped me a lot when I couldn't speak," he gently reminded her. "But, anyway, the next day, as I was going through the park, I saw Lucky and in my excitement...about speaking again...the letter...I don't know... I started talking to him, and back then, we didn't talk to each other. In fact, we hated each other."

"I'm sorry," she said, softly.

"Don't be. We're better now," he reassured her. "Well, anyway, I mentioned Laura and the letter. He immediately became upset and lashed out. He said...he said... Well, I didn't know about Lizzie, then, and so when he said that I..."

"What did he say to you?" she asked, her eyes steady on his.

Nikolas sighed and blinked back the tears which threatened to fall from his eyes. Swallowing hard, he said, "He said that I was the product of rape. That's what he'd always thought I was because that's what his father had told him-"

"Luke told him that?! And Lucky repeated it?! That little piece of sh-"

"Dawn, wait. Calm down," he said, cupping her face. "I need to tell you the rest, but sweetheart, you have to calm down first. Getting upset isn't good for you-"

"-or the baby. I know. I know." She took a deep breath and slowly released it. "I'm calm. Honest, I am. Tell me the rest. I promise I'll try not to react, okay?"

"Okay... Well, after he said that to me, I blurted out that Luke raped Laura. I didn't mean to. It just happened. Soon after, he moved out and then Luke left town."

"You blurted it out?" she softly repeated. "Was it true? Did it really happen or were you just really angry with him?"

"It's true. Luke raped her," he said, surprised that he wasn't upset that she'd questioned him.

"When? After she left you on the island?" she asked, confused.

"No." He shook his head. "It happened before they were married."

"Say what?! Luke raped her and she married him anyway?"


"That's sick," she said, rising from his lap. She stood beside him as he continued to sit on the window seat. She didn't move, except to run her fingers through his hair, still needing to touch him and knowing that he needed it, too. "I don't understand her. He raped her and she married him anyway. She thought he was dead, married your father, and had you. She found out he was alive and ran back to him, leaving you behind... She left you for the man who violated her. I don't get it."

"I don't either," he said, quietly.

Dawn heard the sadness in his voice and when she looked at him, she wasn't surprised to see the tears, rolling down his cheeks. She sat beside him again and pulled him into her arms. "I don't know what to say, sweetheart. Every time I think I know all there is to know, you surprise me with something else. I'm so sorry. I'm so very sorry," she said, sniffling as the tears began to flow down her cheeks, too.

"I shouldn't have told him," he said as his head rested on her shoulder. "It was wrong of me to say anything at all..."

"No!" she said, pulling away from him to cup his face. "None of this is your fault. None of it! Lucky shouldn't have called you a product of rape. Hell, Luke shouldn't have raped her. And, maybe she shouldn't have married her rapist, but don't you ever, *ever* think that any of this is your fault...because it isn't. I don't care how they try to twist it. You didn't cause any of this-"

"But, if I hadn't said what I said to Lucky... It wasn't for me to say..."

"Nikky, you can't live on what ifs, baby, you just can't. You can't go back in time and change things. The best you can do is apologize and move on."

"I suppose you're right, but still... Laura's back now and she has no idea what's happened while she was away. When she finds out that I'm the one who told Lucky..."

"What? What will she do? Leave again?" Dawn questioned, hating to say the words as she could only imagine the effect they were having on him, but she knew that they had to be said. "Baby, so what if she does? She should have been here. She can't keep running away and expecting... I know that you want a relationship with her. I can see it in your eyes and I understand. can't censure yourself in the hopes that she'll want to be a mother to you, too. It's not fair to you."

"So, what am I supposed to do? Not care? I can't help myself, but I do care. I want a mother. I want Laura to want to be a mother to me. I want her to love me, too!" he cried, as fresh tears began to stream down his face.

"I know!" she said, as the tears began to flow down her face. "I know how you feel. I just don't want to see her hurt you again. That's all. It's not that I don't want you to have a relationship with her. It's just that I'm afraid of what will happen. I couldn't bear to see anyone hurt you and not try to do anything about it."

"I know, but that's the risk, right?" Nikolas asked, wiping the tears from her face as she wiped them from his. "I'm willing to risk it. And, if she leaves again, so what, right? You'll still be here, and you'll still love me, right?"

"Always. I'll always be here and I'll always love you," she said, kissing his hands before he pulled her into a tight embrace again.

The shrill ring of the telephone interrupted their quiet moment. Dawn murmured, "I'll get it."

She rose from the seat and moved to the night stand. After taking a deep, calming breath, she picked up the receiver. "Hello."

"Oh! Hello, Dawn. This is Laura. How are you?"

An overwhelming feeling of anger overcame Dawn for a moment, but she quickly pushed it away. With a brightness she didn't really feel, she said, "Hi, Laura. I'm fine, and yourself?"

Nikolas stood at the mention of Laura's name and moved to stand beside Dawn.

"I'm fine," Laura replied.

"Well, that's good. Nikolas is right here. Hold a second and I'll-"

"No, wait! I want to speak with Nikolas, of course, but I wanted to invite you to have lunch with me first."

"I'm sure we can do that. We don't have any plans for lunch," Dawn answered.

"Actually, I wanted to have lunch with just you. I thought it would be nice for just the two of us to get to know each other a little bit."

"Oh, I see," Dawn said slowly. She glanced at Nikolas and saw the hope in his eyes and she knew what her answer would be. She only hoped that she'd remain civil during the lunch. She wasn't sure if that would be possible, but she'd try.

Chapter 85

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