The rolling waves and the light fall breeze did little to soothe Dawn's frazzled nerves as she stood on the docks, waiting for the launch to arrive. When she'd left the Spencer home and the sound of Laura's tears behind her, she'd walked away with a shroud of anger and vengeance around her, but as soon as she entered the limo, the shroud removed itself and left her shaken.
She hadn't planned to give Laura Spencer a piece of her mind when she agreed to lunch with her. In the back of her mind, she was aware that the possibility of her losing her temper with Laura was strong, but she'd been certain that she could handle it. That she *would* handle it for Nikolas' sake. But now as she stood on the docks, she became afraid that she might have unintentionally driven a wedge between Nikolas and his mother, and if that was so, she'd never forgive herself.
She turned at the sound of her name. She was surprised to see Lucky's blue eyes staring back at her. She didn't understand it, but the sight of him brought tears to her eyes. Blinking furiously, she gave him a brief smile and turned back towards the water, hoping that he hadn't seen the tears, but knowing that her hopes wouldn't be realized.
Lucky had seen the tears. He had also seen the pained look on her face when she left his former home, which was why he'd followed her to the docks. He didn't know what had happened there, but he had a fairly good idea. She had given his mother the benefit of her opinion in regards to how Nikolas had been treated, the same as she had given him. Looking back now, he acknowledged that he'd learned a great deal in their interchange. He no longer looked at the Cassadines with blinders on and he realized, that just like in everything, there was good and there was bad. Rarely was anything or anyone all one and void of the other. Including, Cassadines.
"Dawn," he said softly, placing a hand on her shoulder, "are you okay? I guess that was a dumb thing to say. Of course, you're not okay. You're upset. Do you want to talk about it?"
Dawn felt herself relax a small fraction at the gentle pressure of her friend's hand on her shoulder. She took a deep breath and released it slowly, in an effort to calm herself even more before she turned to look at him. "Thanks, Lucky, but I don't know if talking about it will help. It seems that talking too much can cause problems."
"Are you finally admitting that you talk too much?" he asked, trying to lighten the sadness that surrounded her by teasing her. It didn't work.
"That's exactly what I'm saying," she admitted. "One of these days, I'm going to learn how to keep my big mouth shut-"
"Now, wait a minute here," he said, interrupting her. "Who are you and what have you done with my friend? Dawn, this isn't like you. Would you tell me what happened with my mother?"
"How do you know about that?" Dawn asked.
"I was on my way over there when I saw you leave."
"Did you see her?" she asked, softly.
"No, I saw you and how upset you were. I decided to see if you were okay, so I followed you," he replied.
"You probably should have gone inside to see your mother. She was crying when I left."
"She's always crying," Lucky said with a shrug.
"Lucky, that's not nice. She's still your mother."
"That she is," he answered, his blue eyes darkening as he thought of his mother. She was his mother, but that didn't mean quite as much to him as it did in the past. She was someone he didn't know anymore, and now that he knew the truth about her past with his father, he wasn't sure if he wanted to know her.
"Lucky? Are *you* okay?" Dawn asked, prompted by the dismay she saw in his eyes. "Maybe you'd rather talk-"
"I'm not buying it, Greedy," he told her. "We're talking about you. Not me. Besides, I'll be okay. There are just some things I have to get through and make sense of, but in the end, I'll be alright."
"Well, if you're sure."
"I'm sure." Lucky looked around and was surprised to see how watchful her bodyguards were. He was accustomed to their being around, but before they seemed less uptight. Now, he had the oddest feeling that if he said, "boo" they'd shoot him. Turning back to Dawn with a slight frown on his face, he asked, "What's the deal with Boris and Natasha?"
"Are you referring to my faithful Russian protectors?" Dawn asked with a small laugh for Lucky's name for them. When he nodded, she continued. "Get used to them. They're going to be around a lot more often."
"Why?" he asked.
"I met Helena last night," she told him, subconsciously shaking at the memory.
Lucky noticed her reaction to saying the old witch's name and drew Dawn to him by placing an arm around her shoulder. "Did she do anything? Threaten you or the baby?"
"Not in so many words," Dawn shrugged. "She's a scary old bat, though. I never thought I'd admit this, but I'm glad to have Boris and Natasha around."
"Well, I'll tell the guys what's going on. We'll keep an extra look out for you, too," he said, giving her a brief hug before he released her.
"Aw, that's so sweet," Dawn teased, but both knew that she was touched. She was serious as she said, "Thanks."
"You're welcome, and besides, I can't let the Ice Queen get her hands on you or my little niece or nephew. As an uncle, I have a special job, you know."
"You most certainly do," she smiled, placing a protective hand over her abdomen. Silently, she added, "And, so do I."
"You two don't look the worse for wear," Keesha commented as Gina helped her assemble Michael's nursery. Gina and Tommy had arrived more than an hour ago and Keesha could no longer resist the urge to say something and maybe find out what had happened earlier that morning.
"Oh, we don't?" Gina asked, a smile playing at the corner of her lips. She grabbed a box of diapers and disappeared into the closet.
"No, you don't," Keesha laughed. "In fact, you two were grinning from ear to ear when you walked up. So, spill it. What happened?"
Gina reappeared and shrugged at her friend. When Keesha's eyes widened at Gina's torture, she laughed.
"Gina, I'm warning you," Keesha threatened as she picked up one of Michael's rattles and shook it at her.
"Okay!" Gina said. "Simone has given her consent to our relationship. She's okay with it...in a way."
"Part of that sounds good and the other part doesn't," Keesha replied as she placed Michael's socks into a drawer. "What's going on?"
Gina waited until Keesha faced her before she answered her question. Silently, they agreed to take a break and the two woman sat down on the floor. "She was afraid that our feelings are based on our having spent so much time together...before. She thought that because of our experiences, we were afraid to meet new people."
"But, you said that you hardly spent any time with Tommy when you were held captive," Keesha replied.
"It's true. Tommy and I got along, but we weren't exactly close. I cared about him and I knew that he cared about me, but there was nothing romantic about it," she said.
"Well, there's definitely romance around you two, now," Keesha teased. "I see the way he looks at you and you at him. It's so sweet."
"Oh, you!" Gina said, shaking her head at her friend as she stood. "You should talk! I see the way Jason ogles you. And, I won't even mention how your eyes devour him."
"My eyes don't devour him," Keesha denied, rising from the floor. "I simply appreciate what I see and that's reflected in my eyes."
"Yeah, sure," Gina laughed, tossing a stuffed animal at Keesha who caught it and placed it on the shelf. She tossed a few more teddy bears and tele-tubbies to Keesha before she spoke again. Her voice was serious as she said, "You, Jason and Michael are a happy?"
"Very," Keesha answered with a smile. She turned away from the shelf of toys and faced Gina as she said, "I never thought I'd feel this way again. Being with Jason and knowing that he loves me as much as I love him is pure bliss. I don't mean to gush, Gina, but there's no other way for me to describe it."
"I don't mind the gushing," Gina answered. "You've been gushing every day since you two got back together. I'm used to it. It's just that...well...what about Michael's mother? I forget her name."
"Carly," Keesha said, her voice hard. "Her name is Caroline Benson. What about her?"
"She's away at a hospital, right?"
"Yeah, she shot Tony Jones in open court and she's being held in a psychiatric hospital."
"But she's going to be released soon, right?" Gina asked as she began to fold up an empty box.
"In a few months or so. Why all the questions?" Keesha asked, moving to the crib. She began to place the fitted sheet on the small mattress and Gina soon joined her.
"I'm happy that you're happy...with Jason and with Michael, but I'm a little concerned, too."
"Well, because you and Michael are so close now, but what's gonna happen when Carly comes back. From everything I've heard about her, I'm pretty sure that she won't like the bond that you and Mikey share."
"So?" Keesha shrugged. "So what if she doesn't like it?"
"Well, she *is* his mother. If she's as jealous and as petty as I've heard, then she won't want you around her son. And, there's that stuff about Jason..."
"Okay, Gina, what gives? What have you heard?" Keesha asked, folding her arms across her chest. "Are you trying to tell me something? If you're referring to her past relationship with Jason, I know about that and it doesn't bother me. He's with me now and I'm not afraid that Carly will come between us because she can't. We love each other and even someone as deceitful as she is, can't change that."
"Mr. Morgan...um...Mr. Quartermaine, are you sure you want to put that desk there. According to Feng S-"
"V, for the last time, call me Jason. Okay? It's perfectly fine if you use my first name," Jason said, annoyed after reminding her for maybe the tenth time that day. He heard a light snicker and he glanced at Tommy who was at the other end of the desk. He rolled his eyes and he had to bite his lip to prevent himself from saying more.
"I'm sorry," V said. "Maybe it would be better if I left now. Everything is almost done anyway, and I'm sure that you and Tommy don't need any more of my help."
"V, wait," Jason said, resting his end of the desk on the floor. "You don't have to leave. You've been a great help to us. Besides, the pizza hasn't even arrived, yet."
"No, actually I do have to leave," she said. "Jax and I have some last minute details to go over before the video showing tonight. You're both coming right?"
"Gina and I wouldn't miss it," Tommy answered, resting his backside against the solid oak desk.
"Keesha and I are going, too," Jason said. "But really, V, I hope you're not leaving on my account."
"I'm not," she reassured him as she picked up her purse from where it rested on the floor. "I'm going upstairs to let them know I'm leaving. I'll see you two later tonight."
"See ya later, V!" Tommy called as she left the room. After she was gone, Tommy released the laughter that had been building up inside of him. He'd watch Jason keep his temper in check with her for the last hour and it was all he could do not to laugh at his older friend's expense.
"Are you done?" Jason asked, folding his arms across his chest as he looked at Tommy who was now wiping the tears from his eyes.
"Almost," Tommy panted as another wave of laughter overcame him. He laughed so hard he had to sit down and force himself to breath. After a few deep breaths, he was able to speak coherently. "Yeah, I'm done now."
"Good. Now help me with this desk," Jason said, lifting his end of the desk. Tommy moved to the other end of the desk and lifted it. They worked in silence as they set up the office. V had shelved the books for them, so after they set up Jason's and Keesha's desks, they were finished.
Jason stood in the doorway and admired their handiwork. The movers had been good, but Jason found that working with Tommy was better. He was smart and Jason trusted his judgment, which made the work go smoother since he didn't have to watch every move the teenager made.
"Looks good," Tommy replied, wiping his forehead with the back of his hand. "You and Keesha will help a lot of kids here."
"And, you, too," Jason said. "Don't forget that."
"Me?" Tommy asked, shaking his head. "I didn't do much. I made a few shelves and desks. How is that helping? Anyone could have done it."
"Maybe. But I doubt if *anyone* would have asked his cousin to paint the mural in the library," Jason said, sitting down an empty crate. "Don't knock what you've down. You put a lot of heart into the woodwork. I noticed it and Keesha noticed it, too. I'm sure the children who come here will see it and appreciate it."
"Maybe," Tommy shrugged, a little embarrassed, yet, pleased by Jason's compliment.
"No maybe to it," Jason said, rising from the crate. "I'm going to the kitchen. Do want anything? Some water? Gatorade or a Coke?"
"The thirst quencher would be good," Tommy said.
"Okay. Here's the money for the pizza if the guy never shows up," Jason said after retrieving a wad of bills from his wallet. "Don't they have a thing where if it's not here in forty minutes, it's free?"
"Yeah, I think so."
"Well, it's almost forty minutes. If they're not here by the time I come back, call them. I don't really care about whether it's free or not. I just want that pizza."
"Yes, sir! Mr. Morgan, sir...um Mr. Quartermaine, sir," Tommy grinned as he pocketed the money Jason had given him.
"I'd cut that I out if I were you," Jason warned as he left the room.
Tommy laughed softly to himself at Jason's warning. A quick glance at his watch told him that the pizzaman's forty minutes were up. Reaching for the telephone, Tommy was surprised when it rang just as his hand rested on the receiver. He raised the telephone to his ear and said, "Ward House."
"Ward House? Is that what you said?" came the unfamiliar female voice.
"Yeah. This is the Ward House. How may I help you?" Tommy asked.
"I was looking for Jason Morgan, but I obviously dialed the wrong number-"
"No, wait! Don't hang up. Jason's here. I'll get him for you. Who should I say is calling?" Tommy asked.
"Tell him it's Carly," the woman replied. "The mother of his son."