Chapter 95

~In the Wee Hours~

"No, don't move."


"No, darling, just be still." Nikolas murmured the command lovingly into Dawn's ear. He wrapped his arm around her and pulled her closer against him as they burrowed underneath the down comforter.

"Nikky, I have to-"

"Ssh," he whispered softly against her ear. "Doesn't this feel like Heaven? A nice warm bed and two even warmer bodies… How could you even consider leaving it?"

"Oh," she groaned, resting the back of her head against his bare chest. "You're not playing fair this morning. It's not that I want to get up. Baby, I have to get up."

Nikolas nuzzled the sensitive spot behind her ear and felt triumphant when she squealed in delight. His arms carefully closed around her even more, bringing her closer to him. His thigh, lightly dusted with fine hair, slid between hers, which caused another low moan to pass from her full, sensual lips.

He was determined to have his way, Dawn sensed. The seduction attempt presented a very tempting offer, but she would have to- "Nikky!" she squealed again when his fingers lightly grazed her slightly distended abdomen. The tingling sensation against her bare skin both titillated and tickled her. She shifted in the bed before the expertise of his skilled hands and fingers got the better of her. Rolling over in his arms, a lecture on the Tickle Monster's untimely visit was on the tip of her tongue as Nikolas captured her mouth with his.

Nikolas' mouth and tongue probed Dawn's until she was more than willing to surrender to his early morning seduction. Well, she was until the alarm sounded.

The shrill ringing of their bedside alarm clock startled Dawn and she pulled away from her husband. Reaching over him, she flicked the light switch on, grabbed the clock and ended the alarm. "Okay, time's up," she told him as she tried to move over him to exit the bed.

"Wait a minute," Nikolas said, holding her firmly on top of him with both hands on her hips. "You can't just leave me like this."

"You started it!" she said without a trace of sympathy at his obvious plight. "I told you I had to get up early today, but noooo…"

"That's harsh." He glanced at the clock and squinted as he read the numbers in the dim light. He could barely see that the clock read three thirty. "And, it's early," he informed. "The program doesn't air until seven a.m. Why are we getting up so early when we have better things to do?"

"We don't have to get up. I do. You know I promised Sly we'd go over the song a few times." She tried to leave the bed again, but Nikolas refused to relinquish his hold on her. "Nikolas, come on. I have to shower and dress and be at the station in an hour. I don't have time for this."

"Well, thanks a lot," he grumbled, removing his hands from her hips.

Dawn stood and looked down at his pouting face. She longed to kiss his enticing full lips and crawl back into bed with him, but she couldn't. Instead, she decided to kiss his forehead. An unsatisfied sigh escaped his lips and unable to resist, she planted a deep, probing kiss on his full lips. As the kiss began to develop a seductive mind of its own, Dawn ended it and stepped away from her very desirable husband.

She shook her finger at him in a silent warning that he should behave himself. Nikolas playfully rolled his eyes at her and watched as she covered her beautiful nude body with his robe. The early hour caused him to yawn, but he was far from being bored. He loved watching her, kissing her, holding her, tickling her… He loved *her*. He folded his arms behind his head and rested his back against the plump pillows, content to simply watch her. For now.

"You're staring," Dawn said, her back to him as she searched her dresser drawers for her undergarments.

"I can't help myself," he grinned.

Dawn laughed softly. Her eyes left the cotton and silk which lay in the drawer to lock with his in the mirror. She smiled at him and blushed under the intensity of his gaze. Shaking her head at him, she said, "You can go back to sleep. I'll be quiet."

"I'm not going back to sleep. I'm getting up in a few minutes. I just want to enjoy the view for a little while longer," he replied.

"Why are you getting up? Go back to sleep."

"I can't believe you think I'd miss your first live television performance. I'm going with you," he moved to rise from the bed.

"Nikky, I-I… Well, you don't have to," she said, turning around to face him. A vision of his nude Greek god body greeted her and she shook her head at him and his antics again.

"What?" he asked, responding to the look she gave him. "You're wearing my robe."

"Did I say anything?" she asked. She wanted to maintain eye contact, but before she knew it her eyes began to travel…

"Hey," he said, forcefully. "My eyes are up here." He pointed to his brown eyes for emphasis. He grinned when she blushed again.

"I know where your eyes are!" she muttered, glaring at him before she went into the bathroom. As she reached the door, she shrugged off his robe and threw it at him. "And, if you're gonna be up, you need to put that on. Now."

"Yes, Mrs. Cassadine," Nikolas grinned as he caught the black, silk fabric with his right hand. He laughed to himself and threw the robe onto the bed. He then followed her inside the bathroom.

"Baby, I'm serious," she said, wrapping her own terrycloth robe around her. She wasn’t surprised that he had followed her inside. She was, however, a little irritated and a little pleased that he had left the robe behind. "I wouldn't be upset if you didn't come with me. It's early and it's not like you got much sleep-"

"Why do I have the feeling that you don't want me to go?" he asked. He folded his arms across his chest as he waited for her to answer him.

"Of course, I would love for you to go, but it's just that… I just don't want you and Lucky to fight or anything." She glanced at his reaction in the mirror. His eyes were unreadable for a moment, and then he smiled.

He moved to stand next to her, and as he grabbed the tube of toothpaste he began to speak. "What makes you think we'll fight? We get along."

"Oh, give me a break." She rolled her eyes. "Since when? You guys do okay, but it could be better. And with that stupid kiss… Well, what I'm trying to say is that I don't want you guys to fight. You're brothers, and I wish you both would remember that."

"We do," he replied, frowning. "It's not like anything could change that, but…"

"But what?" she asked as he stopped speaking and began to vigorously brush his teeth.

When he was done, he shrugged his broad shoulders. "But," he began slowly, "I didn't particularly enjoy watching him kiss you. I know you know that, and know that it couldn't be helped. If I wasn't hopelessly in love with you, watching you kiss anyone and especially my brother, wouldn't have bothered me, but I am hopelessly in love with you and I'd be a liar if I said it didn't bother me."

"I know." She reached for his hand and squeezed it gently. "And, that's why I don't want you to feel like you have to go with me this morning."

"And, that's why I want to go." He pulled her into his arms and hugged her to him. "I want to be there for you, and I want to see Lucky, too. And, I really want to see Robin. She orchestrated all of that, and I realize that I've been entirely too forgiving with her. She set out to embarrass you and Lucky, and to drive a wedge between us. If I don't go with you this morning, she'll erroneously assume that she won. And I refuse to give her that satisfaction."

Dawn's eyes brimmed with tears of love and pride. He was the best and her heart was filled to capacity with her love for him. She wrapped her arms around his neck and said, "Have I told you lately just how much I love you?"

"Yeah," he said softly, kissing her on the tip of her nose. As he raised his head and looked down at her, his eyes danced with mischief and desire as he said, "But I would love it if you would show me."


She'd said yes.

Jason woke from his deep slumber, wide-awake with the memory. He rolled over onto his back and pulled Keesha's sleeping form into the crook of his arm as he did so. She would marry him, she had told him. He had longed for and hoped for the day for what liked seemed like an eternity and now it would happen.

Soon, she had told him when he asked about setting a wedding date. But, he knew, as well as, she, that soon would not be nearly soon enough.

He loved her, and feeling her snuggle closer to him, he wondered how he had forgotten her…his best friend, his first lover, and his first true love. Never mind that he had forgotten everything else about his life as Jason Quartermaine, how could *he* have forgotten *her*, and what they had meant to each other. He shook his head in dismay at what his damaged neurological system had put him through. A deeper side of him began to grow rigid in thinly controlled anger, until he willed himself to keep the darkness at bay. And after a few deep breaths, the dark side of him began to slip away.

Morgan. Quartermaine. Quartermaine. Morgan. Would the battle, which raged inside of him to be one or the other, ever end? A few counseling sessions with Dr. Baldwin had proven to be useless in his opinion. She wanted him to write everything down. The conflicting emotions of rage and compassion frightened him and he found himself staring into space more than writing anything on paper. He knew what would happen if he ever got the words out. The truth would come back to haunt him and he would finally have to face it. And, admitting to himself that he was not the man he wanted to be and only some of the man that Keesha deserved was not something he could do…because if he did, that would mean he would lose everything.

Keesha. Michael. His world. Morgan didn't see a problem with keeping the truth hidden and for now, whatever misgivings Quartermaine had, would have to be placed on hold until after he and Keesha were husband and wife. With her by his side, until death they do part, he knew that he could face the outcome of possibly revealing Michael's paternity and maybe even losing him. But, until their day arrived, he would have to close himself off to the idea of even thinking about it.

Had he really done it? Was it really over, AJ silently asked himself. Resting his head against the fluffy headboard, the questions began. Was his love for Keesha a thing of the past and did the lovemaking he and Eve shared mean he was ready to move on?

Folding his arms across his bare chest, he stared sightlessly out of his nearby window and frowned. He didn't know the answers to his own questions. He knew that speaking with Keesha at the video presentation wasn't nearly as painful as he would have imagined. Not nearly as heart wrenching as seeing her the night before with Jason had been. They were able to laugh and converse like two adults.

He had left the presentation with a smile on his face and with a spring in his step. The burdens of the world and of his broken heart hadn't felt so heavy. It wasn't that their conversation had left him with the hope that they would reunite. Actually, it was the contrary. Laughing with her and talking with her had…given him the encouragement to move on?

Was that it, he thought sitting straight up in bed. That *was* it! None of it made any sense, but it did much to lessen the guilt he felt in sharing his bed with the beautiful woman who slept soundly beside him.

AJ lowered himself under the covers. A smile of contentment spread across his face as Eve wrapped her arm around his waist, snuggling closer to him. This was good, he told himself. He could do this. He could and would always have a special place in his heart for Keesha, but like the overly popular song said, his heart would go on. He would love again.

Chapter 96

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